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The Prez Does the Tango

The Prez cuts a step in Argentina –

Of course some of the media criticized the Prez’s moves – but nowhere on the list of Presidential duties is being a professional dancer.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2016 in General, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Cuba and Race

The diaspora after the Cuban Revolution actually did the country a huge favor in terms of race relations. Like other places in Latin America and the Islands who got jobs, ownership of import-export franchises, and business opportunities was largely driven by the racial strata of their chief customer (and sometimes occupier) the United States until late in the 60’s. And that meant the lighter and whiter the better.

As such the Cuban population of first generation refugees look nothing like the population on the Island.

Despite protestations to the contrary, including in the American Press – the Revolution did not entirely kill the Devil. It just drove it underground and made it a bit more nefarious.

One of the major issues of rapprochement, either by the US or European countries is who specifically will benefit from the emerging tourism and product marketplaces. And whether the “new invasion” of foreigners will apply or wittingly or unwittingly support the old color structure. I would guess there is some trepidation in welcoming the Cuban-American diaspora back.

The diaspora aren’t going to be real high on the list for either this, or the next Democrat President, because they, alone among Hispanic and Latino groups in the country have been a reliable voting block for Republicans.

Cuba Says It Has Solved Racism. Obama Isn’t So Sure.

President Obama spoke of his Kenyan heritage. He talked about how both the United States and Cuba were built on the backs of slaves from Africa. He mentioned that not very long ago, his parents’ marriage would have been illegal in America, and he urged Cubans to respect the power of protest to bring about equality.

“We want our engagement to help lift up Cubans who are of African descent,” he said, “who have proven there’s nothing they cannot achieve when given the chance.”

Mr. Obama’s speech on Tuesday, in an ornate Spanish colonial-style hall in Havana, was not only strikingly personal. It was also an unusually direct engagement with race, a critical and unresolved issue in Cuban society that the revolution was supposed to have erased.

For many Cubans, Mr. Obama’s comments were striking for their acknowledgment of racism in both countries. His remarks served as a reminder that their particular kinship with him — as reflected in dozens of conversations and responses to his history-making three-day visit this week — involves not just policy, but also identity.

“It’s a revolution,” said Alberto González, 44, a baker who was one of the few Afro-Cubans to attend a discussion with the president about entrepreneurship on Monday. “It’s a revolution for everyone with a background descended from Africa.”

Defensiveness has long hovered over the subject of race, in part because Fidel Castro said shortly after the revolution that racism had been solved, making the subject taboo.

The discomfort, in part, came from pride: Some of the revolution’s most visible achievements involved ending institutionalized segregation, at beach clubs, at schools and in neighborhoods where the homes of wealthy white Cubans who fled were often given to Cubans of color.

Socialized medicine and education also helped create a society more deeply shaped by interracial interactions and marriages than the United States.

And yet, Cuba is no more postracial than anywhere else. Many Afro-Cubans in Cuba and abroad have been quick to point out that the presence of Mr. Obama, the first black president of the United States, only highlights that the Cuban government does not reflect the demographics of their country.

On an island that is around two-thirds black and mixed race, according to a 2007 study by the Cuban economist Esteban Morales Domínguez, the civil and public leadership is about 70 percent white. He also found that most scientists, technicians and university professors, up to 80 percent in some fields, were white.

“The images of the meetings, the agreements, they’re all shameful for many black Cubans — I’m including myself in this — because it’s difficult to feel represented,” said Odette Casamayor-Cisneros, an associate professor of Latin American and Caribbean literatures and cultures at the University of Connecticut and a scholar at Harvard University.

She added that elements of Mr. Obama’s trip reflected some of the same dynamics: The Cuban-Americans traveling with the president were nearly all white, as were the Cuban officials who interacted with him on the island. Indeed, much of the audience for his speech on Tuesday was white.

In that context, the president — along with his wife, daughters and mother-in-law, who joined him on the trip — offers a clear contrast.

“What you see is confirmation of black empowerment, which has generally been denied in Cuban society,” Ms. Casamayor-Cisneros said. “For black Cubans, the mere existence of Obama is unusual and overwhelmingly symbolic.”

Some Afro-Cubans, like the hip-hop artist known as Soandry, linked the president to “what can be achieved in a capitalist system.”

Other Cubans brought up race more directly, without prompting, arguing that because Mr. Obama is African-American, he understands their country.

Mr. González, whose bakery counter is adorned with photographs of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, said it was not just the president whom people admire. “Look at that family,” he said, smiling broadly. “Can you imagine? Have you ever seen a more beautiful family?”

The challenge, Mr. González and other Cubans said, is turning that inspiration into something more substantial, starting with a more open conversation about race….Read The Rest Here

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Even the CBC Has Heartburn With Obama SCOTUS Choice

Support among Progressives and even old line Liberal factions of the Democrat party is tepid for Obama’s “compromise choice” for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. This does not portend well for an all out confirmation fight. Would be nice if the CBC exhibits some cajones for a change. Sick of this one-way “compromise” shit. Obama may well find himself out in the cold with progressive support on this one, especially in view that the pending election is shaping up to be an all out donnybrook.

The CBC – Not Feeling the Love on Obama’s SCOTUS Pick

Black lawmakers irked by Obama’s Supreme Court choice

Some African-American lawmakers are urging their Congressional Black Caucus colleagues to skip a meeting with Valerie Jarrett because of discontent with President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

Several black lawmakers are irked by Obama’s selection of a moderate judge instead of a progressive who could rally the base, according to three lawmakers and senior aides familiar with the meeting. They also don’t feel as if their input was adequately sought by the administration before Merrick Garland was nominated.

A source said members are asking themselves “what is the point” of attending the meeting now that Garland has been nominated.

And some black lawmakers questioned why Garland, who is white, was selected over a minority who could have made the court more diverse.

Jarrett, a senior advisor to Obama, was on the Hill Thursday to meet with the CBC about Garland’s nomination and other topics, according to a source.

The process to fill the late Antonin Scalia’s seat has been sharply acrimonious. Senate Republican leaders are refusing to hold confirmation hearings for Garland, saying Obama should not be able to influence the ideological bent of the court so close to a presidential election.

Progressives have expressed tepid support for Garland. National progressive groups said they wished the selection was more liberal but they still planned to back Obama in his fight with congressional Republicans.

 

 

 

 

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And Obama’s Bracket Choice Sucks as Well

Besides a poor pick for the SCOTUS opening…I have problems with the Prez’s NCAA Men’s March Madness picks!

No way Kansas makes it as far as the Final Four. Maryland has the front line to stop Kansas cold, and in the unlikely event Kansas makes it past that point, Nova’s 3 point deadeyes will put them to rest! Nova for the South Final Four.

The weakest bracket is the West. Sans an upset by Texas, it should be A&M vs Oklahoma. A&M in a walk. If Oklahoma beats A&M…They are in the Final Four, as the teams in the top half of their bracket are he weakest in the tournament.

In the Midwest there are two very strong 5 & 6 teams, Purdue, and Seton Hall. If Mich State survives Seton Hall, they will face another bruiser with either Va or Purdue.

The East is the toughest – there are 4 teams with the ability to reach the Final Four. I am guessing Indiana or Xavier. Indiana can bang the boards with UNC, Xavier is just quicker in almost every position.

My “4” picks…’Nova, A&M, Purdue and Indiana.

You can beat me up next week if I am totally wrong and Kansas wins the tournament.

Upset minded teams – Iona, UNC Wilmington, Cincinnati, Pitt, Baylor,  and VCU…and don’t underplay Miami.

Obama NCAA Tournament Bracket 2016: POTUS Unveils March Madness Predictions

Ahead of the 2016 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the Kansas Jayhawks earned Wednesday the endorsement of the country’s No. 1 fan. President Barack Obama picked the top-seeded squad to win March Madness in his bracket, which has become an annual tradition for the basketball-loving commander-in-chief.

Obama joined ESPN to make his picks as president for the eighth and final time. The Jayhawks might not celebrate the president’s pick, however, since Obama has chosen the correct winner just once while in office, which happened when he selected North Carolina in his first year.

Obama’s Final Four selections in 2016 were Kansas, North Carolina, Texas A&M and Michigan State. He chose Kansas over North Carolina in the final, and also had the University of Virginia, West Virginia, Duke and Villanova in his Elite Eight. This is Obama’s third time picking Kansas to win while in office, and he joked that the team’s coach Bill Self needed to pull out a victory for him ahead of the president leaving office in January 2017.

“Bill Self owes me,” Obama said jokingly while filling out his bracket with ESPN. “I’m putting Kansas in here. Coach, I’m just teasing. I’m not putting pressure on you. But I think the Jayhawks in a squeaker get past UNC.”

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2016 in General

 

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Obama Punts Again With SCOTUS Pick

Here we go again with the classic Obama fold…Yet another utter and complete failure kowtowing to the Reprobates.

President Obama To Announce Merrick Garland As Supreme Court Nominee

Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland is President Obama’s pick to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, NPR has learned.

Citing a source close to the process, NPR’s Nina Totenberg says Obama chose Garland, 63, over two other federal judges who were also seen as contenders for Scalia’s seat.

Obama is slated to make the announcement official at 11 a.m. ET, speaking from the Rose Garden at the White House.

“I’ve made my decision: Today, I will announce the person I believe is eminently qualified to sit on the Supreme Court,” Obama said in an email Wednesday morning.

Garland, who is currently the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, is a former prosecutor who’s viewed as a moderate. He has also cultivated a reputation for openness and collegiality at the D.C. Circuit, a bench that’s sometimes called the second most important in the land.

Before becoming a judge, Garland occupied top posts in the Justice Department, where he oversaw some of the biggest investigations of the Clinton era, including the Oklahoma City bombing, the Unabomber case, and the Atlanta Olympics bombing.

Garland has been a finalist for two other Supreme Court openings during Obama’s presidency; he joined the appeals court in 1995, after a long Senate delay and a 76-23 vote.

Garland has won praise from senior Republican figures, including Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch and Chief Justice John Roberts.

The former prosecutor also has a relatively conservative record on criminal justice. A 2010 examination of his decisions by SCOTUSBlog’s Tom Goldstein determined that “Judge Garland rarely votes in favor of criminal defendants’ appeals of their convictions.” Goldstein “identified only eight such published rulings,” in addition to seven where “he voted to reverse the defendant’s sentence in whole or in part, or to permit the defendant to raise a argument relating to sentencing on remand,” during the 13 years Garland had then spent on the DC Circuit.

To be clear, Garland’s record does not suggest that he would join the Court’s right flank if confirmed to the Supreme Court. He would likely vote much more often than not with the Supreme Court’s liberals, while occasionally casting a heterodox vote. Nevertheless, as Goldstein wrote in 2010 when Garland was under consideration to replace the retiring liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, “to the extent that the President’s goal is to select a nominee who will articulate a broad progressive vision for the law, Judge Garland would be a very unlikely candidate to take up that role.”

 
 

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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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Obama To Live in DC Area After Term is Over

Well…At least he won’t have any problem finding a home, and he possibly will be the first former President since George Washington to actually live in the area.

Daughter Will Keep the Obamas in Washington

After years of speculation, President Obama confirmed on Thursday that he and his wife, Michelle, intend to remain in Washington for “a couple of years” after his term ends.

It has been decades since a president stayed in the capital after leaving office. But Mr. Obama said during a visit here that “we’re going to have to stay” in Washington until his younger daughter, Sasha, finishes school.

“Transferring someone in the middle of high school — tough,” the president said in response to a question from a woman at a restaurant here.

Sasha is on track to graduate from the exclusive Sidwell Friends School in the spring of 2019. Mr. Obama said he was unsure where the family would move after that.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2016 in Giant Negros

 

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