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And We Haven’ Even Got to The Trial Part Yet…The Chumph’s Approval Number Tank To a New Low

We haven’t even go to the part where one or more Chumph collaborators and fellow traitors has gone down yet!

I can’t think of any President who has been on the wrong side of so many issues, and who has created issues de jour to be on the wrong side of so consistently.

Trump’s Approval Rating Drops to Lowest Level Yet in New NBC News/WSJ Poll

 President Donald Trump’s job approval rating has declined to the lowest point of his presidency, and nearly half of voters want their vote in the 2018 midterms to be a message for more Democrats in Congress to check Trump and congressional Republicans, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Thirty eight percent of Americans say they approve of Trump’s job performance — down five points since September — while 58 percent disapprove.

Trump’s previous low in approval in the national NBC/WSJ poll was 39 percent back in May.

Trump Job Approval, Oct. 2017

“This is his worst showing of his young presidency so far,” said Democratic pollster Fred Yang of Hart Research Associates, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff and his team at Public Opinion Strategies.

The drop for Trump has come from independents (who shifted from 41 percent approval in September to 34 percent now), whites (who went from 51 percent to 47 percent) and whites without a college degree (from 58 percent to 51 percent).

“Are we starting to see the fraying of the Trump base … after this week of [Republican] infighting?” Yang asked.

Trump’s job approval rating of 38 percent is the lowest in modern times for a president at this stage of his presidency. The NBC/WSJ poll had George W. Bush at 88 percent, Barack Obama at 51 percent and Bill Clinton at 47 percent in the fall of their first year as president.

In this new survey, Trump also has seen a decline in his personal rating, with 36 percent viewing him positively and 54 percent negatively.

Back in September — when the political headlines were focused more on the president’s handling of the hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida, as well as Trump’s spending deal with congressional Democrats — his score was 39 percent positive, 49 percent negative.

But this current poll, conducted October 23-26, comes on the heels of a tumultuous two weeks in American politics, which included:

  • Trump charging that his predecessors didn’t make calls to the families of fallen U.S. soldiers;
  • Trump upsetting the family and friends of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who was killed in Niger, by allegedly telling them that Johnson “must’ve known what he signed up for”;
  • Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., criticizing their party’s own president.

Additionally, the NBC/WSJ poll measures some of Trump’s recent actions over the past couple of months. The most popular: By a 48 percent to 27 percent margin, Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

And by a 42 percent-to-37 percent margin, they give a thumbs-up to the president’s handling of the economy.

Trump approval rating, Oct. 2017

But Trump is underwater on almost every other issue. Just 35 percent approve of his handling of his role as commander in chief; 34 percent approve of his handling of North Korea; 33 percent approve of his handling of the mass shooting in Las Vegas; and 30 percent approve of Trump’s handling of NFL players protesting during the National Anthem.

At the bottom: 29 percent agree with his handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico; 27 percent approve of his handling of health care; and 24 percent approve of his handling of the Iran nuclear deal…

And there is no bottom in sight!

 

 

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Losing the Black Millenials – Hillary and the Democrats

Chances are in this election, Hillary is going to win. It however is going to turn out to be a much closer battle than it should be.

Hillary is busy making noises about sidling up to Republicans. Excuse my French …But fuck that.

Hillary’s problem is she isn’t seen as a progressive. And the 25% of the under 34 black population, which certainly isn’t going o vote for Trump…

Isn’t going to come out to vote for her.

They quite frankly, and with good reason…Don’t trust her.

Some of Hillary’s problem goes back o her Husband’s administration. Some of it goes back to Obama’s decision to play handsie with Republicans, holding back, while they screwed the country and black folks into the ground during his first term.

You don’t make peace with a rabid fox or raccoon. You kill it. I currently live in the country, and if, as has happened in the past, a rabid animal comes staggering across my yard, the the next sound you hear is my 300 Win Mag putting one through it’s heart. Why? Because there are only two alternatives when you run away. First it bites another animal propagating the problem, and second – it bites the neighbor’s kid playing in a sandbox next door. Same in politics. The Republican Party which embraced it’s “Southern Strategy” during Nixon has festered to the Party of Trump, whose racist followers have declared open season on unarmed black boys on the street corners of America. Dropping a rock on Trump doesn’t man calling him a racist. Everybody in America has already figured that isht out. I have been in the Marketing organizations of major corporations in my lifetime – driving hundreds of million of dollars, and even billions in revenue. You don’t make that kind of money advertising to two winos on a corner.

So it is time for Democrats, and Hillary to get to some reality here.

  1. 25% of black folks in this here US of A live in “poverty”. But only 3% of black folks actually receive “welfare”. That means that 97% of the black folks in the US find some way to put food on the table without the assistance of Uncle Sam.
  2. Only 7% of the black population of the United States lives in “the Ghetto” anymore. By Ghetto I mean concentrated inner city environs. About 90% of the murders and violent crimes happen within 10 miles of these locations. So what we have here is a small, dysfunctional portion of the black community as a whole, driving the entire conversation. Now, assuming I were a Millennial, I would feel real bad about a group of hardheads killing other hardheads (and collateral damage), but what gets close to my heart is having two college degrees, and not being able to pay the rent because I can’t get a job I’m trained for. You can stand on the podium and talk about the “plight” of poor black folks all you want – but WTF are you going to do for me? The funny thing about this – is the Chumph “gets it”.
  3. Yeah – the school to pipeline system is a problem. But there is even a bigger problem. I’ll call it the Ferguson System. The issue is a legal system in the municipal town and city courts designed to make it as difficult as possible for anyone caught up in it to move up financially. Got a flower pot on your front porch…They got a ticket, and a $50 fine which doubles every 3 days for that.Ergo, we have a system in this country which has totally gone away from serving the public…To serving the system. Under Obama, AG Loretta Lynch has begun to attack the foundations of that. Some of the Red States have started “Debtors Prisons” to enforce their will. The problem here being a municipal “tax” on the poor, for no other reason than being poor.
  4. Jobs…Yeah JOBS
  5. Fixing the banking system

The sad fact is the Republican’s accusations are at least partially true – Democrats have not delivered for the black community, one of their largest constituencies.

Young Blacks Voice Skepticism on Hillary Clinton, Worrying Democrats

Brittany Packnett, 31, a St. Louis-based activist, said young black voters wanted more than “a candidate who is better than the alternative.”

When a handful of liberal advocacy organizations convened a series of focus groups with young black voters last month, the assessments of Donald J. Trump were predictably unsparing.

But when the participants were asked about Hillary Clinton, their appraisals were just as blunt and nearly as biting.

“What am I supposed to do if I don’t like him and I don’t trust her?” a millennial black woman in Ohio asked. “Choose between being stabbed and being shot? No way!”

“She was part of the whole problem that started sending blacks to jail,” a young black man, also from Ohio, observed about Mrs. Clinton.

“He’s a racist, and she is a liar, so really what’s the difference in choosing both or choosing neither?” another young black woman from Ohio said.

Young African-Americans, like all voters their age, are typically far harder to drive to the polls than middle-aged and older Americans. Yet with just over two months until Election Day, many Democrats are expressing alarm at the lack of enthusiasm, and in some cases outright resistance, some black millennials feel toward Mrs. Clinton.

Their skepticism is rooted in a deep discomfort with the political establishment that they believe the 68-year-old former first lady and secretary of state represents. They share a lingering mistrust of Mrs. Clintonand her husband over criminal justice issues. They are demanding more from politicians as part of a new, confrontational wave of black activism that has arisen in response to police killings of unarmed African-Americans.

“We’re in the midst of a movement with a real sense of urgency,” explained Brittany Packnett, 31, a St. Louis-based leader in the push for police accountability. Mrs. Clinton is not yet connecting, she said, “because the conversation that younger black voters are having is no longer one about settling on a candidate who is better than the alternative.”

The question of just how many young African-Americans will show up to vote carries profound implications for this election. Mrs. Clinton is sure to dominate Mr. Trump among black voters, but her overwhelming margin could ultimately matter less than the total number of blacks who show up to vote.

To replicate President Obama’s success in crucial states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, she cannot afford to let the percentage of the electorate that is black slip far below what it was in 2012. And while a modest drop-off of black votes may not imperil Mrs. Clinton’s prospects, given Mr. Trump’s unpopularity among upscale white voters, it could undermine Democrats’ effort to capture control of the Senate and win other down-ballot elections.

Mrs. Clinton’s difficulties with young African-Americans were laid bare in four focus groups conducted in Cleveland and Jacksonville, Fla., for a handful of progressive organizations spending millions on the election: the service employees union, a joint “super PAC” between organized labor and the billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, and a progressive group called Project New America. The results were outlined in a 25-page presentationby Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster, and shared with The New York Times by another party strategist who wanted to draw attention to Mrs. Clinton’s difficulties in hopes that the campaign would move more aggressively to address the matter.

Word of the report has spread in the constellation of liberal operatives and advocacy groups in recent weeks, concerning officials who saw diminished black turnout hurt Democratic candidates in the last two midterm elections.

Adding to the worries is a separate poll of African-Americans that Mr. Belcher conducted earlier in the summer indicating that Mrs. Clinton is lagging well behind Mr. Obama’s performance among young blacks in a handful of crucial states.

In Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, 70 percent of African-Americans under 35 said they were backing Mrs. Clinton, 8 percent indicated support for Mr. Trump and 18 percent said they were backing another candidate or did not know whom they would support. In 2012, Mr. Obama won 92 percent of black voters under 45 nationally, according to exit polling.

Over 25 percent of African-Americans are between 18 and 34, and 44 percent are older than 35, according to 2013 census data.

“There is no Democratic majority without these voters,” Mr. Belcher said. “The danger is that if you don’t get these voters out, you’ve got the 2004 John Kerry electorate again.”

In Ohio, for example, blacks were 10 percent of the electorate in the 2004 presidential race. But when Mr. Obama ran for re-election in 2012, that number jumped to 15 percent.

What frustrates many blacks under 40 is Mrs. Clinton’s overriding focus on Mr. Trump.

“We already know what the deal is with Trump,” said Nathan Baskerville, a 35-year-old North Carolina state representative. “Tell us what your plan is to make our life better.”…Read More Here

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Dueling Memes on Black Murder

Conservatives, vested in racism, always want to start any discussion having to do with the black community on a standard set of racist memes..black-on-black crime, illegitimacy, poverty…

It is, after all, all The Great Society’s fault.

Such racial histrionics stymie any conversation, and derail any substantive effort to attack either the structural or micro-cultural issues at the base of the gun violence issue.

Quite frankly, I am hoping this election cycle ends up in a landslide for Democrats, destroying the Republican Party. Not that the timid-tabby Democrats, replete with their own Closet-Queen bigots, and Blue Mutts are any better. It is just that they are likely to GTF out of the way, instead of actively submarining and resisting community or local efforts.

What Black Americans Say About ‘Black-on-Black’ Gun Violence

We understand that police violence and gun crimes are two parts of the same systemic problem. If only news media saw that, too.

Over Memorial Day weekend, at least 69 people were shot in Chicago. If past trends continue, most of them are people of color. Mass shootings in places like Newtown, Aurora, and San Bernardino grab national attention, but gun violence is a regular part of life in many communities of color. Among boys and men ages 15-34, for example, African Americans are over 20 times more likely than whites to be victims of gun homicide.

While more attention to gun violence in communities of color is sorely needed, too often existing coverage focuses on “black-on-black” dysfunction rather than structural causes and potential solutions.

A recent New York Times story provides an example. “A Drumbeat of Multiple Shootings, but America is Not Listening” chronicled the victims of 358 shootings with four or more deaths or injuries. Many stemmed from arguments over a petty grievance, an insult, or another sign of disrespect. The story emphasized the “black-on-black” nature of gun violence, and suggested black activists expend too much energy protesting police violence against African Americans and too little energy focused on “routine gun violence.” While the story’s narrative describing the death of an innocent bystander put a compelling face on statistics, the story did not offer meaningful solutions.

The problem of gun violence stems not just from petty grievances among impulsive youth of color, however, but from larger structural issues such as credibility of law enforcement, easy access to guns, and a lack of job skills and opportunities. Communities of color care about both gun violence and police violence. Further, communities of color are not simply sources of problems—they also provide important solutions.

Last month, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the Urban Institute, and the Joyce Foundation released Engaging Communities in Reducing Gun Violence: A Road Map for Safer Communities. Our research debunked the notion that African Americans are less attentive to the problem of gun violence than police violence.

In compiling this report, we brought together and listened to residents of communities hard-hit by gun violence—faith leaders, formerly incarcerated individuals, law enforcement, elected officials, social service providers, community activists, and others. Most of the participants were black or Latino—people like Fathers & Families of San Joaquin Executive Director Sammy Nunez; Petersburg, Virginia, Police Chief John Dixon; and Wanda Montgomery of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Others were members of our steering committee and have devoted their careers to building safer communities—people like Gary, Indiana, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson; Rev. Michael McBride of PICO National Network; and Kayla Hicks of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. We then tested the ideas that emerged against a nationwide survey of 600 African Americans and 600 Latinos conducted by Benenson Strategy Group (BSG) and Ron Lester and Associates.

While about half of African Americans we surveyed nationally described police brutality (54 percent) and police misconduct (50 percent) in America as extremely serious problems, 80 percent of African Americans described gun violence in America as an extremely serious problem. Indeed, rather than discounting gun violence or seeing it in a silo isolated from police violence, many African Americans see the problems as interconnected. For example, 61 percent of African Americans agreed with the statement that “fewer guns on the streets would improve the relationship between the police and the communities they serve.”

Similarly, the communities with which we met thought improving police-community relationships was a key factor in reducing gun violence. Distrust that stems from arbitrary stops and discriminatory enforcement makes residents less willing to work with police, and makes communities less safe.

Solutions put forth by community members were supported by the survey research. Over 90 percent of African Americans and Latinos supported strengthening police accountability through civilian review boards, body-worn cameras, and racial bias assessment and training of police (including new recruits). Over 76 percent of both groups support prioritizing enforcement on higher-level gun violence offenders rather than lower-level “broken windows” offenders.

Community members also emphasized other solutions that address structural factors that underlie gun violence.

For example, community residents recommended limiting access to guns by the small group of people at high risk of engaging in violence—sometimes no more than 0.25 to 1 percent of a city’s population. Rather than looking to greater penalties for handgun possession that could increase mass incarceration, community members emphasized universal background checks, mandatory reporting for lost and stolen firearms, and increased oversight of licensed firearm dealers. Each proposal was supported by over 86 percent of African Americans and Latinos in the survey research. These restrictions are seen as reducing rather than fueling mass incarceration.  About three-quarters of both African Americans and Latinos agreed that “if we keep guns out of the wrong hands, we can also help decrease the number of people who are in prison.”

Community members also recognized that areas hardest hit by gun violence often have suffered disinvestment of resources by companies and the public sector, and that many of those at high risk to commit or to be victimized by gun violence face a lack of job skills and opportunities, addiction, and other challenges. Thus, our report recommends increased investment in social services targeted at high-risk populations and their families, such as drug treatment, mental health services, job training and placement, and conflict interrupters who mediate disputes and discourage retaliation. Over 92 percent of African Americans and over 88 percent of Latinos support solutions like job training, life skills support, and mental health counseling available to young people and people just released from jail or prison.

In addition to these solutions, we heard a deep desire for community members to engage with law enforcement, elected officials, and other community leaders in developing and implementing solutions to gun violence.

While we should be honest and give much-needed attention to gun violence in communities of color, we need to consider all the facts. Focusing largely on shallow black-on-black spats makes gun violence a “black and brown” problem, masks deeper structural causes of gun violence, and obscures the responsibility of all Americans to help solve the problem.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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The Less Than Spartan Olympics

Summer Olympics is supposed to happen in Rio this year. It may not.

Issues include an unstable and volatile political situation, with the current President having been impeached, pollution issues making the events dangerous for competitors, the Zika virus running rampant, and whether the event facilities will actually be ready. In other words, it’s a rolling disaster.

Add to that as significant portion of the Russian Olympic team will be banned for use of steroids, and at least 31 athletes have been banned for illegal substance use so far…

And things are looking a lot less than “Golden”.

Olympics now digging into past winners, issuing bans

The IOC issued a stern statement on Tuesday promising to step up the fight against sports doping after a series of damning reports exposed systematic and mass cheating by Russian athletes.

The Olympics organizers said 31 athletes in six sports have tested positive inreanalysis of their doping samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee said it has opened disciplinary proceedings against the unidentified athletes from 12 countries.

The samples had been stored at the IOC laboratory in Lausanne. They were retested using enhanced methods on athletes who were expecting to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August.

The IOC said “all those athletes infringing anti-doping rules will be banned from competing” in Rio.

The committee said the results of 250 retests from the 2012 London Olympics will “come shortly.” There will also undertake a “wider retesting” of medalists from Beijing and London.

“The re-tests from Beijing and London and the measures we are taking following the worrying allegations against the Laboratory in Sochi are another major step to protect the clean athletes irrespective of any sport or any nation. We keep samples for ten years so that the cheats know that they can never rest,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in the statement.

Over the weekend, Russia’s sports minister said his country has a “problem” with doping and is “very sorry” that its cheating athletes were not caught sooner.

“Serious mistakes have been made by the federation management, along with athletes and coaches who have broken anti-doping rules and neglected the principle of fair play,” said Vitaly Mutko, writing in British newspaper The Sunday Times. “Let us be clear. We are ashamed of them.”

Russia will discover on June 17 whether its athletics federation has met the reform criteria to return to competition in time for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Russia was plunged into another doping scandal last week after a series of exposes by “60 Minutes,” The New York Times, and others.

A former Russian anti-doping official allowed “60 Minutes” to listen to 15 hours of conversations he secretly recorded with a prominent doctor involved in the country’s testing regime.

Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov shared details of a systematic cover-up in Sochi during Skype conversations with Vitaly Stepanov, a former Russian anti-doping official turned key whistleblower. The doping program reportedly involved at least 15 Russian medal winners.

“He had the ability to help to get the necessary results,” Stepanov told CBS News — referring to gold medals.

In the recordings, Rodchenkov named Russian gold medalists in three sports — bobsled, skeleton and cross country skiing — whose dirty drugs tests he helped cover up.

It was all part, he said, of an elaborate scheme to protect Russia’s Olympic medal winners, with the help of his country’s intelligence service, known as the FSB.

“FSB tried to control every single step of the anti-doping process in Sochi,” Stepanov said Rodchenkov told him.

The FSB figured out a way to open bottles considered to be tamper-proof containing urine from drug-tainted athletes. Then they filled the bottles with clean urine collected from athletes before they started doping.

Former Olympic Cycling Champion Tammy Thomas before and after stopping steroid use

 

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2016 in News

 

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American Teens Identify The Major Issue in America…Racism

Interesting survey on the changing opinions of America’ youth. The murders, and subsequent inaction or failure of the jusdicial system int the Trayvon Martin case, Michel Brown, and others have had a major impact on the view of how much racism still exists in America – and it’s impact.

WHAT DO AMERICAN TEENS WANT? LESS RACISM

In 1966, Newsweek published a landmark cover story, “The Teen-Agers: A Newsweek Survey of What They’re Really Like,” investigating everything from politics and pop culture to teens’ views on their parents, their future and the world. The article was based on an extensive survey of nearly 800 teens across the country, and it also profiled six teens in depth, including a black teen growing up in Chicago, a Malibu girl, and a farm boy in Iowa. Fifty years later, Newsweek set out to discover what’s changed and what’s stayed the same for American teens. The result, “The State of the American Teenager,” offers fascinating and sometimes disturbing insights into a generation that’s plugged in, politically aware, and optimistic about their futures, yet anxious about their country.

…This past fall, in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of “The Teen-Agers,” Newsweek enlisted Harris Poll to conduct an online survey replicating key questions in the original work and to expand on it. We asked 2,057 teens, ages 13 to 17, from diverse backgrounds and geographic areas, about everything from politics and education to parents, sex, mental health and pop culture. The result, “The State of the American Teenager,” offers fascinating and sometimes disturbing insights into a generation that’s plugged in, politically aware, optimistic about their futures yet anxious about their country.

Two-thirds of teens (68 percent), for example, believe the United States is on the wrong track, and 59 percent think pop culture keeps the country from talking about the news that really matters. Faith in God or some other divine being dropped from 96 percent in 1966 to 83 percent. Twice as many teens today feel their parents have tried to run their lives too much (24 percent, up from 12 percent in 1966). Fifty years ago, the five most admired famous people were John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Lyndon B. Johnson and Helen Keller, in that order. Today, pop culture rules, as President Barack Obama, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé top the list, with Selena Gomez tying Abraham Lincoln for fourth place.

More than half of teens support gun control (55 percent), the death penalty (52 percent), abortion rights (50 percent) and gay marriage (62 percent). (On her support of gay marriage, Allison Moseley, 16, of Cudahy, Wisconsin, says, “Love is love.”)

The most compelling findings show that race and discrimination are crucial issues for teens today. In 1966, 44 percent of American teens thought racial discrimination would be a problem for their generation. Now, nearly twice as many—82 percent—feel the same way. The outlook is more alarming among black teens: Ninety-one percent think discrimination is here to stay, up from 33 percent in 1966.

Recent headlines—police-involved shootings of unarmed black men, the Black Lives Matter movement, Donald Trump’s xenophobic politics—reveal a country deeply divided on race, with seemingly little hope for reconciliation. For many black Americans, the entire casino is stacked against them: They’re disproportionately affected by unemployment, poverty and lack of educational opportunities. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and while blacks and Latinos comprise 30 percent of the population, they account for 58 percent of the prison population. In 2013, the wealth gap between whites and blacks reached its highest point since 1989, according to Pew Research Center: The wealth of white households was 13 times that of black households, and 10 times that of Hispanic households.

Newsweek found that black teens today are more likely than white or Hispanic teens to be aware of gun violence and of police officers accused of killing innocent people. They’re also more likely to worry that they’ll be the victims of shootings—at school, by police or in places of worship. And m any teens, regardless of race or ethnicity, perceive that black Americans are discriminated against at higher rates than others, including the way they’re treated by police (62 percent) and their ability to access decent jobs (39 percent)….More Here

 
 

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Obama And Misty Copeland Have a Talk

Misty Copeland quite simply is the best Ballerina in America right now, and perhaps the world. To reach that pinnacle with the American Ballet, she had to overcome a lot of obstacles beyond that of just having the physical and artistic talent including race and body image. Ballet dancers at this level also are incredible athletes, at the level of he most demanding professional sports.

Growing up, I thought that Ballet, like the Opera and Classical Music were things for old white people…Until I got to see the Bolshoi perform in Moscow in their heyday in the early 70’s. The beauty and artistic form was breathtaking. In those days, the old communist government began training the dancers in state schools at 3 years old. Those that survived the brutal regimen were quite simply miles better than anything else in the world in the dance form.

BTx3 is saving his pennies for that ultimate trip to NY to see Hamilton and Misty.

Misty Copeland And President Obama Sit Down To Talk About Race

The two discussed activism, body image, gender and success.

On Feb. 29, President Barack Obama and ballerina Misty Copeland sat down with Time reporter Maya Rhodan to talk about race, gender and success in their respective careers.

While one currently resides at the White House and the other can often be found rehearsing in the storied halls of the American Ballet Theatre, they’ve encountered similar setbacks and triumphs, whether they’re talking about the body image ideals of classical ballet or the way social media is used by political activists today.

This week, Essence Magazine is running a three-part video series that gives a peek inside the White House Cabinet room, where the interview took place. The clips show Copeland, a member of the presidential Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, and Obama discussing Black Girl Magic, Black Lives Matter, and the realities of raising two African American women today.

Here are 11 of the best quotes from the interview:

On the Power Of Athleticism

“As a father of two daughters, seeing how images of strong athletic accomplished women carry over, and encouraging them in sports and dance and how they move physically, it turns out that every study shows that young girls who are involved in sports, dance, athletics end up having more confidence generally.” —Barack Obama

On Humility

“For all the blessings and privileges and responsibilities that I’ve gotten, I’m just representing a huge cross section of people who are talented and capable and supported me getting to where I came from.” — BO

On Race

“A lot of what I’ve experienced has not always been to my face, or it’s been very subtle. But it’s in a way that I know what’s going on and I feel it deep inside of me. And I, being the only African American in almost every environment in terms of classical ballet, it weighs on you and it wears on you after a while […] I think that being African American has definitely been a huge obstacle for me. But it’s also allowed me to have this fire inside of me that I don’t know if I would have or have had if I weren’t in this field.” — Misty Copeland

On the Future of Ballet

“I think that being in this position and showing that I can execute and do all of these things, that it’s possible to have any skin complexion, to have a healthy body image for the ballerina body. I think it’s given me more of a voice. And it’s I think forcing a lot of these top tier companies to address the lack of diversity and diversifying the bodies that we’re seeing in classical ballet. It’s really forcing that conversation to be had.” — MC

On Black Girl Magic

“To use social media to have a positive impact on our generation is huge […] to have movements like Black Girl Magic, I think it couldn’t be more positive for a young black girl to see that it’s okay to be yourself, it’s okay to not have to transform and look like what you may see on the cover of a lot of magazines. That you are beautiful, that it’s possible to succeed in any field that you want to, looking the way that you do.” — MC

On Social Media

“Well social media obviously is the way in which young people are receiving information in general. So the power of young activists to help shape color and politics through things like Black Lives Matter, which I think is hugely important. And when I think about the journey I’ve traveled, there’s no doubt that young African America, Latino, Asian, LGBT youth, they have more role models. They have more folks that they can immediately identify with.” — BO

On Mentorship

“I hope that there are young men of color who are looking at me and saying, I can aspire to be the president, or a senator, or a community organizer and make change in my neighborhoods. But if they are locked out of opportunity, and in neighborhoods where even if I’m on television, there are no men in their neighborhoods who’ve got jobs that are able to support a family, then you’ve still got problems.” — BO

On Opportunity

“You know, being the only African American at this level in American Ballet Theatre, I feel like people are looking at me, and it’s my responsibility for me to do whatever I can to provide these opportunities in communities to be able to educate them. And if that means having a program just for black dancers to allow them to have the same opportunity that generations and generations of white dancers have had, it’s necessary.” — MC

On Teaching Kids about Race

“You know, I mean I think about this now as a parent. Michelle and I are having a lot of conversations around the dinner table. And for me, what I always try to transmit to my kids is that issues of race, discrimination, tragic history of slavery and Jim Crow, all those things are real. And you have to understand them and you have to be knowledgeable about them. And recognize that they didn’t stop overnight. Certainly not just when I was elected.” — BO

On Divisions

“Part of what I think successful social movements have involved is having a certain righteous anger about injustices being done to you, but also understanding that people who are on the other side of this, they’ve got their own history and their own circumstances. And you have to understand that, and you have to recognize that each of us has some good and some bad in is. And that’s not an excuse, but what it does do is it gives us an opportunity then to have a conversation and to reach across the divide.” — BO

On Education

“Well, you know, I spend most of my time thinking about institutions. And there’s no doubt, even though it’s a cliché that the single biggest difference we can make is making sure that our kids get a good education. We can do a lot to keep the economy moving forward, we can do a lot to make sure that we’re enforcing our nondiscrimination laws. We can do a lot more to open up people’s perspective about who belongs where. And press to make sure that we have more women CEOs, and more African American film directors. And more Latino police officers. And all those things are important. But the foundation that all this depends is making sure that on the front end, when these little babies are born and start to get curious about the world and are like sponges, that we are giving them the kind of education and the nurturing that they need. So that they’re off to a good start. And that involves an imaginative leap, a moral leap on the part of the society as a whole that says every kid should get a genuine opportunity and we’re willing to put money behind it, and we’re willing to invest in that to break cycles of poverty.” —  BO

Misty performing solo

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2016 in Giant Negros

 

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Sandra Bland Investigation Falling Apart

Looks like the investigation into Sandra Bland’s death  has been derailed….

The Sandra Bland Investigation Is In Trouble

Sandra Bland

On July 13, Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman, was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas, three days after being arrested over a traffic stop gone wrong. Sheriff Glenn Smith, who oversees the county jail and had been fired from a previous job after allegations of racism and police brutality, promised an all-access, top-to-bottom investigation to uncover what happened to Bland. He set up an “independent” commission to review the sheriff’s department. Smith tapped Paul Looney, a local criminal defense lawyer, to lead the probe and to pick the commission’s other members.

“The whole nation, the whole world is looking at us,” the sheriff said.

But from the beginning, Looney’s investigation was beset by a conflict of interest: His law firm had a financial relationship with Carbett “Trey” Duhon III, Waller County’s top elected official — and the man who’d likely have to write the Bland family a large check out of county funds if that inquiry turned up wrongdoing. (Duhon, who referred clients to Looney in exchange for a monthly retainer, has since severed that relationship.)

Now, despite Waller County officials’ vows, Looney says his panel isn’t looking for possible wrongdoing at all and is simply compiling recommendations that Smith can “throw in the trash” if he chooses.

“I am not looking forward to sharing this information with the Reed-Veal and Sandra Bland family at all,” Cannon Lambert, a Bland family attorney, said when told about Looney’s comments. “I am dreading this conversation. It’s stunning.”

Duhon, for his part, clearly recognizes the value to Waller County of a fair investigation by an untainted commission. “To avoid the appearance of impropriety,” he told The Huffington Post, he asked Looney to serve as a nonvoting member of the six-person panel. Duhon cited worries that “somehow I could influence the outcome of that investigation. That’s the insinuation that people have made.”

Looney agreed not to vote on the panel’s recommendations. He’s still running the probe.

Duhon, who was elected county judge in 2014, is relatively new to Waller County. He moved from suburban Houston a decade ago and started a solo law practice, doing a lot of title insurance work. He also began involving himself in the kinds of local groups and governance boards that ingratiate a new guy with the old guard, such as the chamber of commerce, a toll road authority and a sub-regional planning commission.

When the county judge slot opened up, Duhon won the Republican primary and then a gently contested general election last year. In Texas, a county judge, though properly addressed as “judge,” is not a judicial official. He’s the executive officer of county government and presides over the elected commissioners’ court, which is not a court but the county’s legislative body. In other words, Duhon straddles the executive and legislative branches of local government, much like a mayor who votes with the city council.

With the new job, his law practice got squeezed. “There’s only so many hours in a day,” Duhon said. “The county judge position in Waller County just absolutely requires an incredible amount of time, day in and day out.”

So from June 2015 — a month before Bland’s death — until Sept. 1, Duhon was “of counsel” at Looney & Conrad. What that meant, Duhon explained, is that Looney’s firm paid him a fixed amount each month, and in exchange he passed along potential clients he didn’t have time to help.

Despite his wide network in Waller County, Duhon told HuffPost he is “the anti-good ol’ boy.”

 

“I am not about sheltering elected officials or anyone else,” he said. “If people need to be responsible for their actions, they need to be responsible for their actions. I am not about to sacrifice my integrity for another elected official.”

Duhon wanted to be clear that he is not somehow profiting, or helping others profit, from the independent investigation run by Looney. He pointed out that Looney and the others on the panel are not being paid and that, in any case, the monthly retainer he received from the firm was not tied to its revenues. He also expressed hope that Looney serving as a nonvoting member would alleviate any suspicions about deals among political insiders.

The county judge is likely best-known for two ill-conceived tweets that he sent after Bland’s death. The first referred to “high levels of active THC in her system at time of death.” In the second, Duhon tried to explain why he mentioned Bland’s possible marijuana use by writing, “It goes to her mental state. Also relevant if she was self-medicating for depression.” He quickly deleted his Twitter account.

Concerns about potential conflicts posed by the county judge’s recent relationship with the law firm of the man probing the sheriff’s work cannot be so easily erased, for they go beyond private profit. Duhon writes the county budget, including funding for the jail and the sheriff’s department. (The commissioners’ court then votes on it.) Waller County collects about $1.23 million in fines a year — otherwise known as revenue — thanks in large part to the sheriff’s department. And county funds could take a serious hit, in the form of a settlement with the Bland family, if Looney’s investigation turns up civil rights violations, criminality by government employees or other wrongdoing.

Looney told HuffPost last week that Duhon’s ties to his firm posed no conflict of interest. He also said that their arrangement ended as of Sept. 1 because it was scheduled to run just three months.

Duhon has a slightly different take. He told HuffPost he ended the relationship because of an Aug. 3 advisory opinion from the chair of the ethics committee of the State Bar of Texas’ Judicial Section. Evelyn Keyes, who also sits on an appeals court in the Houston area, indicated that a county judge being of counsel to a law firm did indeed pose a conflict for that firm within that county’s courts.

Whatever the reason, Duhon’s departure seems to resolve the appearance of at least one conflict that hung over the Looney-led commission, leaving it free to uncover malfeasance and root out wrongdoing in the sheriff’s department and the Waller County Jail.

Waller County Courthouse

But that still isn’t what the commission is doing.

“We’re not trying to do an exposé,” Looney told HuffPost. “It’s more in the nature of a consultant report for the sheriff to use as he wants.”

Looney emphasized that his independent commission would make its report public at the same time the findings went to the sheriff — but the sheriff has sole discretion over what to do with the report. “He can read it or not read it,” Looney said. “If he wants to throw the whole thing in the trash can, he can.”

Duhon, who said he’s had no involvement with the panel since asking Looney to be a nonvoting member, had a different impression of its mission. “I was told early on that they would be doing a comprehensive review,” he said. “If that’s changed, that’s not anything I would have any knowledge of.”

According to Looney, the voting members of the commission are taking their jobs seriously and pursuing their review earnestly. “It’s kind of cool to see,” he said, although they are mostly just “observing and taking notes” at this point.

There is no deadline for Looney’s panel to finish its work. Meanwhile, local and outside critics have begun calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate potential civil rights violations in Bland’s case.

Unprompted, Duhon raised the possibility that the federal government could conduct its own inquiry.

“Waller County has been open to that since day one,” said Duhon. “We are OK with the Justice Department. We have never been opposed to that.”

 

 
 

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