Why is Trump’s nomination of Steven Menashi to one of the most powerful courts in the US so ‘outrageous’?

Steven Menashi, the associate White House counsel and special assistant to the president, has just been confirmed by the senate for a lifetime role as a judge on one of the most powerful courts in the US.

While all Republicans who were there supported Mr Menashi apart from Senator Susan Collins, all Democrats were against his confirmation on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

The 40-year-old, who was nominated to the role by US president Donald Trump in August, will be taking up a judicial seat once held by Thurgood Marshall, a civil rights leader who was the first African-American justice to join the US Supreme Court.

1 What is his background?

Campaigners argue the judge has pushed bigoted and racist immigration policies espoused by the Trump White House. 

Mr Menashi, who holds no previous experienced as a judge, has a highly controversial track record and has faced fierce criticism for his time working with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as a legal adviser.

The New-York born judge supported Ms DeVos in rolling back a slew of Obama-era protections for LGBT+ students while working in the department of education.

Significant adjustments were made to Title IX – a federal civil rights law which bars discrimination based on sex in schools that get federal money – by Ms DeVos while Mr Menashi worked at the department.

This overhaul included a suggested measure which would permit universities to shelve many sexual harassment complaints.

Mr Menashi also lent his backing to workplaces being able to enforce their own religious views on staff and bans on them from having birth control covered by the Affordable Care Act. 

The judge has been roundly criticised for dozens of blog posts and editorials penned in the late 1990s and early 2000s which contain provocative remarks about women, Muslims, ethnic minorities and the LGBT+ community.

He once branded Roe v Wade ​– the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalised abortion nationwide in 1973 – an example of “radical abortion rights.” 

The verdict codified “abortion on demand, for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy”, he wrote.

2 Why is he such a controversial Trump pick?

Mr Menashi is regarded as one of the most controversial judicial nominees which Mr Trump has selected.

He worked with Stephen Miller, a highly controversial White House aide, to shape the Trump-Pence administration’s immigration policies.

In the lead-up to the 2016 election, Mr Miller, the most influential adviser carving out immigration policies, sought to propagate white nationalism, far-right extremist ideas and anti-immigrant discourse via far right news site Breitbart, according to a recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC).

Mr Menashi has previously argued countries are weakened by ethnic diversity – claiming “ethnic ties provide the groundwork for social trust” and “solidarity underlying democratic polities rests in large part on ethnic identification” in an academic journal back in 2010.

The judge formulated an illegal program “to use private Social Security data to deny debt relief to thousands of students cheated by their for-profit colleges”, according to the New York Times.

3 How much power could he exert in his position?

The confirmation of Mr Menashi has overhauled the Second Circuit Court of Appeals so Republican appointees now make up the majority. Five Trump appointees now sit on the court.

This constitutes a radical change in the power equilibrium which could potentially enable Mr Trump to protect himself from criminal accountability in New York.

4 What are campaigners saying about his confirmation?

Campaigners have raised concerns about the appointment of Mr Menashi – with Planned Parenthood, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Alliance for Justice all saying they are in opposition to the lifetime appointment.

Anna Chu, of the National Women’s Law Centre, said: “Shame on those in congress who pushed this outrageous vote through. Menashi’s record of undermining the fundamental rights of women and communities of colour could now shape laws for decades to come. 

“There’s no way that students, survivors, or anyone impacted by discrimination can trust that they would have a fair hearing in his court. We will continue to fight Trump’s persistent littering of the courts with extremist, bigoted judges. People across the country deserve better.”

Over 100 demonstrators assembled outside Mr Menashi’s hearing last month and at least ten individuals were arrested. 

“Steven Menashi has supported policies that are overwhelmingly racist, sexist, homophobic, and Islamophobic,” Alexis McGill Johnson, of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said ahead of the confirmation.  

“Access to sexual and reproductive health care is on the line. People of colour, the LGBT+ community, women, and Muslims need someone who will protect their constitutional rights – not someone who has spent his career working against them”.

DIA’s ‘Detroit Collects’ shows why the Motor City is a treasure trove of Black art

click to enlarge “After Manet, from May Days Long Forgotten,” 2002, Carrie Mae Weems, American; digital chromogenic print. Detroit Collects: Selections of African American Art from Private Collections runs through March 1 at the DIA. - SHIRLEY WOODSON AND EDSEL REID COLLECTION; COURTESY OF THE DIA

  • Shirley Woodson and Edsel Reid Collection; Courtesy of the DIA
  • “After Manet, from May Days Long Forgotten,” 2002, Carrie Mae Weems, American; digital chromogenic print. Detroit Collects: Selections of African American Art from Private Collections runs through March 1 at the DIA.

Opened to the public on Tuesday, Detroit Collects exhibits 60 works of all mediums from 19 Detroit-area art collectors, some of which are now available to the public for the first time ever. All are focused on Black artists, including works by Carrie Mae Weems, Romare Bearden, Nick Cave, Alison Saar, and Rashid Johnson, as well as artists with Detroit connections, like Charles McGee, Mario Moore, Tylonn Sawyer, Allie McGhee, and others. The DIA’s General Motors Center for African American Art bills itself as the first curatorial department dedicated to Black art in the U.S.

See DIA website for schedule; 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; dia.org. Free with general admission, which is free for residents of Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties. Show runs through March 1.

Get our top picks for the best events in Detroit every Thursday morning. Sign up for our events newsletter.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Heads up for Black people in 2020; stay woke

Black people

As we enter the last quarter of the 400th anniversary of our African ancestors being forcibly brought to enslavement in North America, here are my suggestions for 2020 and beyond. 

That we as a people stop trying to claim people who don’t want to be claimed. We are not so lacking in quality people that we must lay claim on people who regularly insist that they are not Black artists, writers, scholars, etc.

But ones who just happen to be Black. It’s time we let such people be what they want to be and call them whatever they want to be called. 

That Black people speak out in a loud voice against those writers, singers, film makers, playwrights and rappers who pass off their crude, sleazy and vulgar products as shining examples of being Black.

They’re being American to sell their creations with crudeness, sleaziness and vulgarity, not being Black. 

Recognize economic power 

That we recognize that our collective economic resources are a potentially powerful weapon on the struggle for equal justice and equal opportunity that we rarely, if ever, use effectively. 

For instance, there was much talk recently about banks that seldom provide loans to Black applicants. Immediately there was a call from some for a big, loud protest. 

Much more effective than that would be for 500 Blacks to turn up at that bank one morning and withdraw all their money. That’s the proper use of economic power. 

Appreciate Black teachers 

That Black folks will realize that we are sitting on top of a gold mine of Black history. If properly mined, it can be very productive for us both educationally and financially.

That Black people recognize that there is no more valuable member of any community than a master teacher. Much more needs to be done to show such a person how much he or she is appreciated for taking on the essential task of educating our children. 

That those Black folks who are insensitive to the attempts of Native Americans to change the name of the Washington Redskins ask themselves how they would feel if the team was called the Blackskins?

That we recognize that predatory street criminals and selfish me, myself and I Black professionals are equally destructive to efforts to build politically, economically and culturally powerful Black communities throughout the country. 

That Black students reject any notion that striving for academic excellence is somehow trying to be White. The fact that even a few Black students believe such stupidity is a victory for our enemies. 

Use common sense 

That we let the whole nation know that the emphasis on Black self-help did not begin with the so-called Black conservatives. People such as Martin Delaney, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, among a host of others, were emphasizing self-help long before it was discovered by Clarence Thomas, Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell. 

One of the major differences between the approach of those like Malcolm X and the latter is that while advocating self-help, they didn’t believe in letting the government off the hook. 

Black people pay much more in taxes than they get back in goods and services so they have a right to demand their share of public monies. 

Finally, that we remember what my grandmother once told me when I was over-complicating a problem.

“Use your common sense, Boy,” she said. We as a people need to use our common sense in 2020 and beyond.

A. Peter Bailey’s latest book is “Witnessing Brother Malcolm X, the Master Teacher.” Contact him at apeterb@verizon.net.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

2019 Takeaways: Suburb shift, high turnout and ‘Socialism!’

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Odd-year elections in Louisiana, Kentucky and Virginia have let Democrats expand their footprint in Southern states where Republicans dominated not long ago.

Those outcomes hardly predict national 2020 results: President Donald Trump isn’t suddenly at risk of losing Louisiana because Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards got re-elected Saturday. And the story wasn’t all good for Democrats: They came up short in Mississippi, where Republicans won the governorship and picked up the last remaining statewide office that had been held by a Democrat.

But there are lessons for Democrats and Republicans as the political focus shift to the presidential and congressional elections next November.


Huge turnouts started with Virginia’s statewide elections in 2017 and continued through the 2018 midterms and the 2019 odd-year slate. More than 1.5 million Louisianans voted Saturday, an increase of about 385,000 votes over the 2015 governor’s race.

Edwards’ 40,000-vote victory margin can be attributed to his uptick of support in East Baton Rouge and Orleans Parishes — two of the most concentrated centers of the state’s black population, and home to many of the college-educated white women who have trended away from Republicans in the Trump era. Edwards got about 66,000 more votes out of those parishes Saturday than in 2015.

“The motivating factor that Trump is in the African American communities and in the suburbs among white and black women is strong,” said Bob Mann, a Louisiana State University professor and former aide to many Democratic elected officials.

Mary-Patricia Wray, a political consultant for Edwards’ 2015 race, said the re-election campaign made a concerted outreach to local black leaders and their constituents: “It’s maybe something that’s a very simple concept, but it’s something that Democrats got really wrong in 2016.”

In Mississippi, though, Democrats had little shot in the governor’s race since nominee Jim Hood failed to generate the enthusiasm that Edwards managed in Louisiana.


Suburban New Orleans isn’t the same as suburban Philadelphia, Chicago or Los Angeles, metro areas that fueled Democrats’ midterm House takeover. And John Bel Edwards — an anti-abortion Catholic and gun-loving West Point graduate — wouldn’t top Democrats’ ticket in many states. But like more conventional Democrats elsewhere, Edwards benefited from a suburban shift.

He won Jefferson Parish, the most populous of the suburban New Orleans parishes, with nearly 60% of the vote. Still, it’s hard to measure Edwards’ crossover appeal. He got about 98% percent of Hillary Clinton’s Jefferson Parish vote total (73,670) against Trump. Republican Eddie Rispone managed just 54% of Trump’s 100,398.

Likewise, Beshear posted stark shifts over Republican incumbent Matt Bevin in Kentucky’s Louisville suburbs and metro Lexington. The trend even showed up in Republicans’ unusually narrow win in the Mississippi governor’s race, with Democrats narrowing the usual GOP advantage outside Jackson and south of Memphis, Tennessee.

Republican states won’t flip because of the trend. But Virginia illustrates what happens when the suburbs move in a state that’s already a battleground: Democrats in January will control both the executive and legislative branches in Richmond for the first time in more than 20 years.

Republican pollster Whit Ayres noted that governor’s race for both parties can buck usual partisan leanings. (Massachusetts and Maryland have popular Republican governors.)

“That said,” Ayres explained, “the basic trends with Republicans’ increasing strength in rural areas and small towns and Democrats’ increasing strength in urban and suburban areas is a very consistent trend, and frankly a very concerning trend if you’re a Republican.”


Louisiana’s Edwards and Kentucky’s Gov.-elect Steve Beshear avoided delving directly into the Democratic presidential primary split between progressives advocating a single-payer government insurance system (“Medicare for All”) and those wanting to add a government insurance plan to the Affordable Care Act exchanges (the “public option” plan).

But they didn’t run away from health care entirely. Edwards’ campaigned as the governor who extended health insurance to 450,000 Louisianans by expanding Medicaid under the 2010 health care law, just as he promised upon first running in 2015. Beshear ran against a Republican incumbent, Matt Bevin, who tried to dismantle the Medicaid expansion that Beshear’s father oversaw after the Affordable Care Act passed.

Neither Democrat played up the Affordable Care Act link. But they didn’t have to. They effectively took a center-left, mainstream liberal position to expand coverage within the existing system. And voters rewarded them for it — or at least didn’t punish them.

The approach aligns them with most of the House freshmen who helped Democrats flip more than three dozen GOP-held seats in 2018 after Republicans spent eight years trying to gut the 2010 overhaul.

“Health care is kind of the Holy Grail of politics right now,” said Zac McCrary, Edwards’ lead pollster. “It enthuses the Democratic base. It can persuade independents.” But the way Democrats talk about it matters, McCrary said: “Strengthening, protecting, improving the ACA, that’s a much better battleground than scrapping the ACA and starting from scratch.”


Republicans tried to cast Edwards as “radical” and in the only debate, Rispone tried to make hay of Edwards’ support for Clinton in 2016. “The point is when we get the next wacko, the socialist out there that we have running for president, he’s going to support that person over Donald Trump again,” Rispone said.

But Edwards withstood the attacks — including ads and mail pieces trying to associate him with national Democrats unpopular in Louisiana. He touted his own brand as a former Army Ranger, family man, devout Catholic, avid outdoorsman.

“You’re not talking about me. You’re talking about some generic Democrat that’s in your mind,” he shot back at Rispone.

But, pollster McCrary said, Edwards didn’t run from being a Democrat. “He ran TV adds talking about schools and education, and not a single one talking about abortion or guns,” McCrary said. “Voters were comfortable with who he is, and they listened to him when he focused on Democratic issues that resonate with voters everywhere, even in the Deep South.”


Barrow reported from Atlanta.


Follow the reporters on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP and https://twitter.com/MelindaDeslatte.

Pete Buttigieg is struggling with black voters — and not just because he’s gay

ROCK HILL, S.C. — On a recent Sunday morning, Pete Buttigieg stood before rows of black churchgoers, a group he and the other Democratic 2020 candidates must win over for a reasonable chance of capturing their party’s presidential nomination.

“I know what it is to look on the news and see your rights up for debate,” he told the crowd gathered in the sanctuary of an African Methodist Episcopal events center in Rock Hill. “I also know what it is to find acceptance where you least expect it and to find compassion when you most need it.”

As Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, highlighted his personal knowledge of the marginalized American experience, and as he quoted verses from the books of Proverbs and Matthew, he did not overtly describe himself as gay or mention the husband he adores. He was trying to connect with a group of potential voters who, on the whole, have been skeptical of his candidacy.

Buttigieg, 37, may have won over many members of the mostly white political commentariat in New York and Washington, and recent polls of Iowa’s overwhelmingly white electorate put him at or near the front of the crowded Democratic field there. But, at the start of October, a poll in The Charleston Post and Courier found Buttigieg had no black voter support in the state and just 4 percent support overall.

Nov. 17, 201904:53

That has left two questions generating a stream of television commentary, social media memes and heated disputes. How much of Buttigieg’s difficulty with black voters, and in many cases religious voters, is because of his sexuality? And, given that black voters make up about 20 percent of the Democratic Party’s base nationwide, why is he still considered a serious contender for the nomination when he doesn’t have black voters’ support?

Rep. Jim Clyburn, the veteran African American congressman from South Carolina who serves as House majority whip, told CNN recently that there was no question that support for an openly gay candidate was a “generational” issue for older African American voters and would affect Buttigieg’s popularity in the state.

“I know of a lot of people my age that feel that way,” Clyburn, who is 79, said. “I’m not going to sit here and tell you otherwise. I think everybody knows that’s an issue.”

But others say that it is more complicated, and that there are other factors dampening Buttigieg’s support in the South.

“I am sure some latent homophobia is influencing some people’s coolness toward Mayor Pete Buttigieg,” said Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University who studies black political behavior. “But it’s more complex than ‘They are religious and he’s gay.’”

Black Americans are significantly less likely than white Americans to support same-sex marriage, a metric researchers see as a proxy for acceptance of gay people. According to the Pew Research Center, 51 percent of black Americans support same-sex marriage, compared to 62 percent of white Americans.

Historically, that gap is an outgrowth of the black American experience with racial bigotry, Horace Griffin, a black and gay Episcopal priest wrote in his 2010 book, “Their Own Receive Them Not: African American Lesbians and Gays in Black Churches.” Some black Americans remain wedded to the idea that outward displays of traditional values, including what they regard as sexual purity, serve as a bulwark in a country inclined to dehumanize black Americans.

Nonetheless, support for gay marriage among both white and black Americans has been rising for more than a decade. And while just 27 percent of white evangelicals support gay marriage, 45 percent of black Protestants say they are in favor, according to an October poll by the Public Religion Research Institute. In both groups young people were more supportive of gay marriage.

Pete Buttigieg shares a smile during a Sunday service at the Kenneth Moore Transformation Center. Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Venus Sabb, 60, who lives in Columbia, South Carolina, where she and her husband raised their son, said her black Baptist church has about 4,000 members. Young members, she said, are more open about every aspect of their lives and expect the church to engage on all sorts of social issues — gentrification, immigration, civil rights, gender and sexuality, to name just a few.

“It’s very different than the way I came up,” Sabb said. “Very. That’s for sure. But it is certainly where I and a lot of other people want to be.”

There are so many factors for black voters to weigh in 2020 that a candidate’s sexuality is unlikely to be the deciding one, according to political and public opinion experts, as well as more than a dozen black voters in South Carolina who recently spoke to NBC News.

But that doesn’t necessarily translate to support for Buttigieg, whose biography includes more than just his sexuality. Buttigieg is arguably 2020’s most overtly religious Democratic contender, a combat-tested veteran and the mayor of a 100,000-person city who has never been responsible for national policy. He’s a moderate, a let’s-improve-the-system-not-explode-it candidate.

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Black voters have historically made the pragmatic choice in both primaries and presidential elections. In the primaries, they’ve often selected the least bad option, the white Democrat who can win and has said the fewest or the most tolerable of the offensive or dismissive things often said about black experiences and political priorities. In general elections, that means they’ve supported candidates promising the greatest push for equality, experts say.

According to a Public Religion Research Institute poll last month, priorities among religious black voters include health care, crime reduction, presidential election fairness, race relations and jobs — and in several of those areas, experts and undecided South Carolina voters say they see weaknesses in Buttigieg’s positions.

“The true Pete Buttigieg test, the one he’s unquestionably failing,” Gillespie said, “has to do with the résumé and the issues.”

Voters and values

Buttigieg arrived in South Carolina about a week after the leak of results from three focus groups commissioned for his campaign. The McClatchy News Service reported that interviews with 24 uncommitted black voters in Columbia, ages 25 to 65, revealed a pattern of tolerance for Buttigieg rather than full acceptance of him.

Interviews did not reveal aversion to electing Buttigieg because he is gay, McClatchy reported. Rather, many of those queried expressed discomfort with an openly gay man and Buttigieg’s frankness about his sexuality. Several also expressed concerns about the mayor’s youth and inexperience. But Buttigieg’s faith also offered a strong testament of character to older black women in the focus groups. Just one participant, a woman in her 40s, said she was contemplating a vote for Buttigieg.

A flurry of stories about black voters, sexuality and values followed, raising questions like: Was it correct to label black Democratic voters in the South social conservatives? Could 24 voters really speak for millions? Who had leaked the information, and to what end? And why were black voters allegedly weighing down the otherwise rocket-like Buttigieg campaign?

The campaign declined to comment on the leaked analysis, saying only that Buttigieg’s sexuality came up organically during the discussions.

“As Pete connects with black voters across the country, we find that they identify with his message and his vision to tackle the urgent challenges they face,” Marisol Samayoa, a spokeswoman for the Buttigieg campaign, said in a statement.

The campaign also noted that 400 black South Carolinians have endorsed Buttigieg’s plan for empowering black Americans, though some of them have not endorsed Buttigieg for president.

One of the black voters who heard Buttigieg speak during his swing through South Carolina recently was Sabb, a housing counselor at a Columbia historically black college.

“I may not agree with his lifestyle, Mayor Buttigieg,” Sabb said. To her, though, there’s more to consider than Buttigieg’s sexuality.

“Really, my choice comes down to how is this person going to affect the whole American body,” she said after attending a criminal justice forum where Buttigieg spoke. “How committed is this person to meeting as many of all of our critical needs as is possible? That is the person I want to vote for. That, for me, is going to be the key and deciding factor.”

Sabb is watching Buttigieg but said she’s leaning toward former Vice President Joe Biden or Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

The next day, as Buttigieg spoke at the Rock Hill service, some parishioners lifted church fans bearing the image of the Obama family to support him.

“What will it be like,” Buttigieg said, “the first day after the current president is no longer our president? Picture the relief we will feel on that day, but also, the pain that will be with us on that day.”

That inspired a round of applause and some interjected, emphatic amens.

“That spoke to me,” Maurice Sanders, 64, a church usher who works in the nuclear power industry, said afterward. “There’s a lot of damage that’s been done, a lot of repair that’s going to have to be undertaken. There’s a lot of healing that needs to begin.”

When a reporter asked how Buttigieg’s sexuality might influence his decision, Sanders said he was unaware that Buttigieg is married to a man. That’s “part of the young man’s private life that is of no consequence or concern to me, as long as there is transparency,” Sanders said.

The issues that matter

In the 2000s, the majority of black voters moved politically from activist and far-left positions to the center of the Democratic Party, said Gillespie, the political scientist. But their sense of what is most important has consistently been informed by a struggle for equality.

Religious black voters — the people some political commentators have dubbed the party’s conservatives — are also committed to the same issues. A full 79 percent of black Protestants identified health care as their chief political priority in the Public Religion Research Institute poll in October. White evangelicals put terrorism as their top concern, an issue that didn’t make the top five for black Protestants.

“It’s not just about partisanship but what white and black Christians see as in need of urgent attention,” said Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, who researches faith, culture and politics. “In political spaces, the way they move, what they prioritize could not be more different.”

Buttigieg’s brand of centrism with change that can be measured by inches may fall short of what some progressive black voters hope to see in a 2020 candidate, Gillespie said. These are weaknesses “that black voters may see particularly well,” she said.

Take the top priority identified in the institute’s poll of religious voters. On health care, Buttigieg has said that a government-controlled, single-payer-only health care system would be economically disruptive. He supports what his campaign described as a “national option.” A Buttigieg system would offer a government program for those unable to afford private insurance. That government program would aim to be affordable, but also so attractive in terms of offering what people need that it forces private health insurance programs to compete. It’s not entirely different from the dual Obamacare and private health insurance system that exists now.

Several black voters in South Carolina told NBC News they were skeptical of any plan that maintained the existing public-private health care system, which they said had not produced equity.

And when the Kaiser Family Foundation aggregated the results of its July, September and October tracking polls, support for a dual system ran higher among black Americans — 84 percent — than with white adults, 68 percent. But the gap in support for “Medicare for all” was even more vast. A full 73 percent of black adults supported a unified national health care system while just 43 percent of white Americans agreed.

When trying to woo more moderate voters, Buttigieg also has to compete against the other moderates in the race, chiefly Biden, the popular former vice president elected alongside the first African American president. In October, a series of polls of South Carolina Democratic voters — a group that’s mostly black — put Biden 21 to 39 points ahead of Buttigieg. Then there are the two black moderate candidates: Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California.

Buttigieg must contend with questions about his record on race, police accountability and crime reduction in South Bend, which came to the forefront after police there shot and killed a black man in June. The city’s violent crime rate is double the average of comparably sized cities. And the number of shooting victims in the city has nearly doubled since 2018. Buttigieg was also criticized for firing the city’s first black police chief, who viewed himself as working to expose and remove racist white officers, in 2012, the year Buttigieg took office. Buttigieg is widely perceived as not having handled the situation well.

“If nothing else, hopefully it will come across that among the candidates I’ll be one of those who has engaged these issues and the challenge that they represent,” Buttigieg told The New York Times in August. “This is not a specialty or back-burner issue for me.”

Asked about what will prompt them to pick a candidate, many black and religious South Carolina voters pointed to the desire to defeat President Donald Trump, as well as to specific issues, including eliminating gender and racial pay gaps.

Sabb said she wants a candidate to prioritize “fairness, mercy and decency.” Her faith demands it, she said. There’s a biblical command to care for those with the least.

“America, it is supposed to be the land where dreams come true, where things are possible for anybody,” she said. “That’s not true, right now.”

‘Flow’ series to feature African American artists in 2020

Published 7:49 am PST, Sunday, November 17, 2019

CINCINNATI (AP) — A new performing arts series in Ohio will feature and celebrate African American artists throughout 2020.

“Flow, an African American Arts Experience” is a series presented by ArtsWave, a nonprofit arts organization that funds arts projects and organizations in the Cincinnati region.

The series will feature performances by African American artists and groups from various disciplines each quarter. It kicks off Feb. 21-22 with performances by the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.

Education and discussion will also be part of the programming. The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company will act as a resident artist and engage with Frederick Douglass Elementary students.

ArtsWave CEO Alecia Kintner says ‘Flow’ is a part of the organization’s long-term goals which include deepening the roots of Cincinnati residents and bridging cultural divides.

Ralph Nader: What are the Democrats waiting for? Trump is the most impeachable tyrant in the country’s history — hands down

Amid the worst Republican President and Republican Party in modern times, the Democrats are playing the politics of low expectations. This is not the time for Democrats to be in disarray. On Capitol Hill, the prevailing view of most Democrats is that they will cling to their House majority and they shouldn’t expect to regain the Senate in the 2020 elections. The Democrats should be using massive rebuttal evidence, relayed with invincible vibrant rhetoric, toward a “wave election win” as occurred in 1936, when President Roosevelt won 61 percent of the popular vote and the Democrats won large majorities in both the House and Senate.


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Tyrant Trump is the most impeachable president in the country’s history—hands down. Before he resigned, Richard Nixon was sure to be impeached and convicted in 1974 due to his obstructions of the Watergate scandal investigation. Selected president Donald Trump has committed many more serious offenses than Nixon. Trump’s abuses amount to repealing the gains of the American Revolution against monarchical rule, and they eviscerate the U.S. Constitution’s “separation of powers” system of presidential accountability. Moreover, major protections for the American people against big corporate crime, power and greed are all on Trump’s unlawful chopping block.  His offenses and violations are more than enough to require his removal from office!


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The Democrat’s narrow impeachment move on Trump focuses on his attempted extortion of Ukraine for personal political gain. The current House inquiry does not yet include the far more serious systematic “high crimes and misdemeanors” he is brazenly committing. These affect the daily livelihoods, freedoms and just treatment of all the people where they live, work and raise their children.


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A president who lies and fabricates by the hour is destructive to life-preserving science, reason, truth, and public trust. Trump separates those who believe his delusionary tweets and rantings from the realities they need to confront. No family, neighborhood, community, or workplace can operate under such thunderous falsifications. Trump even lies about his promises when challenged—such as his claim that Mexico will pay to build the wall.


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Alexander Hamilton described “high crimes and misdemeanors” as “violations of the public trust.” Trump is the poster boy for this yardstick. He tells Americans they have cleaner air, water, food, forthcoming wonderful health insurance, tons more manufacturing jobs and “clean, beautiful coal.” He continues to maintain these fictions when just the opposite is occurring due to his deliberate destruction of existing health, safety and economic protections. He is subordinating people to increased corporate control. Trump caves to corporate demands for more tax escapes, taxpayer subsidies, stalled or frozen minimum wages and other mechanisms to stop the people from getting what they have earned.


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Trump’s income taxes on corporations and his own businesses are the lowest in modern U.S. history. Some companies—like the big banks and General Electric are nearing tax-exemption, so little do they pay into the U.S. Treasury. And Trump’s use of the presidency to enrich himself and his businesses is shameless.


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Remember all the factories that he said were coming back to America and the trade deficit he was going to diminish and the federal deficit he was going to reduce? Well, his actions have made a mess of all these matters. Manufacturing output and manufacturing jobs are down, the trade and federal deficits are up. Irregular Gig economy jobs with low pay and no-benefits are replacing good jobs. Consumer debts, including student debt, are at an all-time high.


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Overall, average inflation is low, but this is not helping low-income people paying higher rent, rising uncovered health care bills and public transit hikes. Home ownership is sliding, especially for African-Americans. Average life expectancy in America is declining for the first time.


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Hand it to Donald Trump. Sometimes he really means what he says.  His cruel attacks on immigrants who take tough jobs, such as being home health care aides that nobody else wants, and his brutish treatment of women and minorities matches his rhetoric. He really has illusions of megalomania. “I am the chosen one,” he said recently.


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Trump trumpeted dictatorially: “Under Article 2, I can do whatever I want as President.” Which is what he is doing in violation of many sections of our Constitution, starting with sweeping contempt of exclusive Congressional authorities under our Constitution. These violations involve the appropriations, war and confirmation powers. He has violated surveillance rules, campaign finance laws and encouraged voter suppression of citizens likely to vote against Republicans. He is engaged in an attempted coup, not the Democrats.


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No other president has regularly violated more provisions of our Constitution, some of which also involve statutory crimes. No other president has engaged in more personal violence against women, openly incited violence against critics and reporters at his mass rallies. No other president has been more ineffective regarding fulfilling his boastful promises to his betrayed supporters.


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There is never a “last straw” fulmination by Donald Trump. The winner thus far is his latest incitement that “If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal,’” Trump quoted from a Baptist pastor’s statement. Such a crazy, dangerous incitation would have been decisively actionable to our founding fathers, not to mention Mr. Republican himself – Abraham Lincoln, whose presidency was engulfed by Civil War.


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What are the Democrats waiting for? Present to the American people the many demonstrable impeachable offenses, which entail very harmful “kitchen table” impacts. A comprehensive impeachment inquiry will engage more of the public and will produce the critical broader public support for impeachment.


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Send ‘Trump and company’ back to Mar-a-Lago so they can contemplate the rising sea levels which he calls a “Chinese Hoax.” Set the stage for the crucial election of 2020 to end the supremacy of grasping corporations placing their “Tories” in what Thomas Jefferson called “the People’s House.”


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On an upswing, the Pete Buttigieg show rolls through New Hampshire

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Earlier this week, Pete Buttigieg traveled more than 100 miles through the Granite State on a bus emblazoned with his name and packed with over a dozen journalists. It’s a spectacle that hasn’t been seen in recent presidential races, but it’s part of a freewheeling strategy that has helped bring Buttigieg from relative obscurity to the top of the Democratic primary field. 

As the bus headed toward Buttigieg’s third event of the day in Rochester, N.H., on Monday, news broke that a Quinnipiac University poll was showing the South Bend, Ind., mayor in third place in the state, just 1 percentage point behind Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. It was the latest sign Buttigieg has emerged as one of four frontrunners in the packed Democratic primary field along with Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Vice President Joe Biden. 

Buttigieg welcomed news of the numbers, saying it reflects the “crowds we’re seeing in the gyms, the enthusiasm we’re seeing on the faces of the people that I speak to.” He added: “One poll is just any one poll, but I would hope that we start to see the numbers reflect the enthusiasm we feel on the ground, and it sounds like that might be validating that.”

The numbers are even better in Iowa, which is the first state to vote in the primary. On Saturday evening, a new poll came out that showed Buttigieg had surged into first place. That survey brought Buttigieg into the top spot in the state on average.

Buttigieg’s near constant media blitz since entering the race in January, combined with positioning himself as a moderate alternative to progressive candidates, appears in recent weeks to be paying off. The mayor has already done hundreds of interviews, according to his campaign, and has gone on three of these media bus tours, two in Iowa and this latest one here in New Hampshire.

He sees the press engagement as a crucial part of his recent success.

“I think this has served us well. We believe in trying as much as possible to show in the course of the campaign what the White House would look like with me as president, and part of that is believing in the importance of engaging with press and the importance of as much transparency and access as we can responsibly offer,” Buttigieg said.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg on a campaign sweep through New Hampshire on Nov. 11, 2019. (Photo: Hunter Walker/Yahoo News)Mayor Pete Buttigieg on a campaign sweep through New Hampshire on Nov. 11, 2019. (Photo: Hunter Walker/Yahoo News)
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg on a campaign sweep through New Hampshire on Nov. 11. (Photo: Hunter Walker/Yahoo News)

Buttigieg isn’t the first presidential candidate to have this kind of press bus. His long rides with reporters have clear echoes of the “Straight Talk Express” the late Arizona Sen. John McCain rode as he locked down the Republican nomination in 2008. 

“Definitely [we] got a lot of comparisons to another bus tour, some of which I think we had to work through to reflect the fact that I’m a different person and this is a different era than the last time this had been done,” Buttigieg said of McCain.

Presidential candidates are typically drawn from the ranks of Congress or governor’s mansions, but Buttigieg, who was elected in 2011, is mayor of a city with a little more than 100,000 residents. When Buttigieg began the race, few people knew his name. By June, nearly three quarters of Democratic voters were familiar with him. Buttigieg’s rise from a Midwestern city hall to near the head of the Democratic pack has been a source of frustration for some of his rivals who have privately griped about his relative inexperience. He brushed off that critique when asked about it on the bus. 

“I’m not really focused on that,” Buttigieg said. “I think that if we continue to reach voters with the right message, then that’s how we’re going to win.”

At 37, Buttigieg is also younger than any of his rivals, or any other president in history. He would be the first millennial president and the first openly gay man to hold the office. He spent six years as an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserves, including a stint in Afghanistan in 2014 that required Buttigieg to take a leave from City Hall. 

That military experience is something that Buttigieg said “shapes my understanding of what public office means.” The mayor spent last Monday in New Hampshire celebrating Veterans Day, and he rolled out a plan for veterans’ services, including an emphasis on programs for their families. 

While has has gained momentum in recent weeks, Buttigieg has not returned to the high numbers he saw before a June incident when a white South Bend police officer shot and killed a black man. The shooting put a national spotlight on the fact his hometown had a dramatic spike in violent crime this year, and it sparked angry protests from the city’s African-American residents who were dissatisfied with his oversight of the police department. 

The demonstrations called attention to Buttigieg’s relative lack of support among black voters, underscored by a poll in October in South Carolina, where African-Americans make up the majority of Democratic primary voters. Buttigieg’s black support there was at an anemic 1 percent

Buttigieg’s response to the situation included setting up meetings with Black Lives Matter activists to discuss potential reforms. However, some of the community groups criticized Buttigieg after their meetings with him and said he“rushed” the conversation.

Buttigieg hasn’t attended all of the police reform meetings in the city, but said he’s confident change will begin on his watch.

“It’s true that I haven’t been in the room for all of those community meetings, but I’ve certainly participated and I think they’ve set us up in a very good direction. They’ve culminated in a set of recommendations that went to our board of public safety … and the board will be taking those up,” he said. “I think at least some of those components will be acted on in even the weeks before I leave office.”

Buttigieg’s issues with black voters won’t pose much of an issue in the initial phase of the primary. Iowa and New Hampshire, which are the first two states on the calendar, are over 90 percent white. On the bus, Buttigieg defended the current schedule by pointing to the next two states on the calendar, which are more diverse.

“The role of the first four states taken together is very healthy for this process,” Buttigieg said, adding, “You have such different states from each other in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.”

While in some ways Buttigieg is an unconventional candidate, he is pushing for a more moderate approach than many of his rivals. Along with his nonstop media blitz, Buttigieg’s success so far is, at least in part, due to voters who are looking for a centrist option in the Democratic field. Both Sanders and Warren support a Medicare for All plan that would establish a public health care system. 

Buttigieg has pushed “Medicare for All Who Want It,” which would preserve some private health insurance plans. Though his policies are clearly less radical than those of some opponents, Buttigieg rejects the labels of “moderate” and “centrist” and instead paints himself as a pragmatist.

“It’s certainly the case that I don’t have a lot of appetite for an extreme solution on health care, for example,” said Buttigieg. 

Buttigieg may not see himself as a centrist, but many of his supporters clearly do. Carol McMahon, a retired insurance agent who lives in New Hampshire and attended the mayor’s speech in Rochester, said she has campaigned for Buttigieg in her home state and Iowa. McMahon said she has met many New Hampshire voters who aren’t aware of Buttigieg but are primed to back him because they feel Sanders and Warren are “too far left” to beat President Trump and worry the other more moderate frontrunner, Biden, is “too weak.” 

“So, I say you just pulled right into Mayor Pete’s driveway with those comments,” McMahon said.

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Why Franco is in a coveted position for any living Kenyan artiste

Franco Luambo Makiadi [Photo: Courtesy]

In October, the world marked 30 years since the death of Africa’s most famous singer, Franco Luambo Makiadi. That is a coveted position for any living Kenyan artiste.

Franco’s fame went beyond his role in associating the two Congos with ‘the heart’ of African music. Others rightly point out that his skill lay in the ability to praise and criticise the Zairean state at the same time. Franco’s genius was, for me, in the use of music to strengthen Congolese nationhood in ways that included our continent, and touched on issues that Africa contests with the world.

But he did not act alone. Graeme Ewens’ 1994 book, Congo Colossus, obviously lacks the lyrical breadth and beauty of Gary Stewart’s Rumba on the River (2000), but it contains the most intimate knowledge about Franco.

Sorcery, talent, laughter, language and ideology, which Ewens gives as contributors to Luambo’s success, have all led analysts to spread the myth that Franco was a superhuman. They conveniently forget the most important point: the Zairean presidency.

Sorcery is the easiest to kick out first, since it is the word African systems of knowledge invented for anything outside their understanding.

Johny Junior: The reigning king of local Rumba music

One only needs to read about the stoning of women with perfect teeth in Ghana, and of merciless killing of child ‘sorcerers’ in many African societies when famine is coming.

An example of sorcery falsehood is in our Akamba community.

A convincing research shows that the unhelpful Kenyan association of the Akamba with sorcery is based on a single incident in Kambaland during the 1950s, when villagers lynched a number of witchdoctors.

Franco Luambo Makiadi [Photo: Courtesy]

One is tempted to add male circumcision and the narrow-minded futility of its sorcery in Kibra Constituency, where old medical doctors go back to children’s habits of throwing stones – the same childishness from which they claim male circumcision liberated them. It is therefore understandable ‘sorcery’ when Franco, a poor, unlucky boy, suddenly builds a music empire.

Franco was a talented guitar player – not singer – with a narrow vocal range. Ewens notes that the singer’s height was just slightly above average. Dalienst Ntesa, Lutumba Simaro and Djo Mpoyi were all taller.


His laughter was the third factor. The illiterate village boy tickled people on a scale that no Congolese singer before or after him did, and probably because they went through college education (I think that formal education kills true art).

Franco caused laughter with as much ease as does West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo. Prof Lonyangapuo would have won ardent fans across all Kenyan tribes if he were a Kenyan musician who sings in Kiswahili.

Pioneer singer

Language is important. It has been observed that over 90 per cent of rumba is sung in the Congolese lingua franca (Lingala). Kenya’s most successful pioneer singer (Daudi Kabaka) mostly sang in Kiswahili, and not in his native Tiriki. It is also possible to explain the current fame of the Ohangla singer, Emma Jalamo, on the musician’s regular use of Kiswahili.

Read Also: The re-birth of local Rumba music

Pride in Africa’s indigenous languages affirms our humanity, but this position does not address the practical hardships, which come with that desire. Those who preach linguistic extremism in Kenya have a good argument, that we read Russian Literature through translation.

But they never say Russia is a country of 146 million people, and that the massive linguistic inertia in such a country reduces the headache of the politics of ethnic identity. Someone who says I read Leo Tolstoy in translation obviously assumes that I value the Russian writer over my Kenyan author who was born in Narok. I do not.

Millions of Kenyan students read HR Ole Kulet in English, not in translation from his Maasai mother tongue. The other specific difficulty with Kenya is that all songs that preach ethnic hatred are sung in indigenous languages. Franco avoided such ethnic gossip by preferring Lingala to his native Kikongo.

Franco Luambo Makiadi [Photo: Courtesy]

This points to Makiadi’s personal philosophy. TP OK Jazz occasionally included singers from Nigeria (Dele Pedro), Cameroon (Manu Dibango), Zimbabwe (Isaac Musekiwa), Zimbabwe/Angola (Sam Mangwana), and Congo Brazzaville. Franco supported Patrice Lumumba (of the Batetela tribe), and not Joseph Kasavubu (his own Mokongo tribesman).

The only brave Kenyan singers who would join his club are Bomet County’s Sweetstar, and Homa Bay’s Attomy Sifa, for supporting politicians outside their tribes. Makiadi would find it interesting that our singers say very little about the African continent. The death of 400,000 people in Southern Sudan’s civil war is not enough to make them reject bad leadership in Africa.

Franco’s legendary fame partly came from his own personal attributes, but it rested solidly on the singer’s ties to president Mobutu Sese Seko’s active interest in the power of music.

Cultural ambassador

Mobutu first anointed Franco as Congo’s national cultural ambassador by sending the singer to the first World Festival of Black Arts in Dakar, Senegal, in 1966, and, from 1973, made Makiadi the president of Congo’s music trade union, UMUZA, which Franco ruled with as much cruelty as Mobutu did Zaire.

Stewart writes that the trade union strategically barred other Congolese bands from visiting abroad when TPOK Jazz travelled the world. Then came Franco’s acquisition of Zaire’s main record-pressing plant, MAZADIS, and other huge properties he entitled himself to through Mobutu’s patronage. Franco was an entrepreneur musician backed by state connections.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has done many positive things for our music. He remains the only leader who has publicly questioned the small coins that reach Kenyan singers’ mobile phones through mobile money transfer. He knows where his achievement falls in comparison to the Mobutu presidency’s robust support of music in the former Zaire, and how this affects the growth of Kenya’s nationhood.

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53 things you may (or may not) know about the CMA Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Think you’re a country music expert? Here are 53 things you may…or may not know about the annual CMA Awards show.

#1: The first CMA Awards was held in 1967 at the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville. 

#2: The first televised CMA Awards took place the following year.

#3: Taylor Swift was the youngest person ever to win the “Entertainer of the Year” award. She was 19.

Taylor Swift accepts the Horizon Award at the 41st Annual Country Music Association Awards, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

#4: The CMA Awards have been held in Nashville ever year except in 2005 when they were held at Madison Square Garden in NYC.

#5: Loretta Lynn was the first woman to win the coveted “Entertainer of the Year” award. 

#6: George Strait has the most CMA Awards nominations – 83.

#7: Of his 83 nominations, George Strait has won 23 CMA Awards.

#8: Brooks & Dunn is the only duo to ever win “Entertainer of the Year.”

#9: Vince Gill hosted the CMA Awards every year from 1992 to 2003.

#10: Barbara Mandrell was the first artist to win the “Entertainer of the Year” award twice.

#11: Garth Brooks has won the “Entertainer of the Year” award six times – more than any other performer.

Garth Brooks accepts the award for entertainer of the year at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

#12: The CMA Awards is the longest-running annual awards show on national TV. (Information from Billboard Magazine)

#13: Musician Paul Franklin is the most-nominated artist who has not won a CMA Award. (Information from Billboard Magazine)

#14: Miranda Lambert is the most awarded female in CMA history with a dozen wins and 39 nominations. (Information from Billboard Magazine)

#15: Lambert also won “Female Vocalist of the Year” a record straight six years (2010 – 2015).

#16: The Country Music Association was founded in 1958.

Related – PHOTOS: Dolly, Reba, and Carrie through the years at the CMA Awards

#17: At the 2014 CMA Awards, Brad Paisley announced his co-host Carrie Underwood was expecting a baby boy with her husband, retired Nashville Predator Mike Fisher. 

#18: Eddy Arnold won the first-ever “Entertainer of the Year” award in 1967.

#19: Albums and songs released between July 1 of the previous calendar year and June 30 of the award show’s year are eligible for consideration. (Information from Wikipedia) 

#20: Awards are given for 12 different categories – Entertainer, Male Vocalist, Female Vocalist, New Artist, Vocal Group, Vocal Duo, Single, Song, Album, Musical Event, Music Video, and Musician. 

Related: QUIZ – The history of the CMA Awards

#21: In 1981, a new category was added to the lineup – the Horizon Award. 

#22: The Horizon Award later became Best New Artist.

#23: Six artists who won the Horizon Award/Best New Artist have gone on to win “Entertainer of the Year” (Ricky Skaggs, Garth Brooks, Dixie Chicks, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, and Taylor Swift).

#24: Reba McEntire has the most CMA nominations in history for a female artist. She has a total of 50 nominations and six wins. 

Kix Brooks, left, of Brooks and Dunn, and Reba McEntire perform at the 49th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

#25: The Judds, Dolly Parton, Blake Shelton, Statler Brothers and Taylor Swift all have 9 CMA Awards. 

#26: Jimmy Buffett won “Vocal Event of the Year” in 2003 for the song “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere” performed by him and Alan Jackson. 

#27: Carrie Underwood has a total of seven CMA Awards. 

#28: Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton have all won the “Female Vocalist of the Year” award. 

#29: Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton have both won “Entertainer of the Year.” 

#30: Johnny Cash won three CMA Awards in 2003 two months after he died.

Musicians perform a tribute to Johnny Cash during the 37th annual Country Music Association Awards show in Nashville, Tenn. on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2003. Included in the performers are Sheryl Crow, Travis Tritt, Hank Williams Jr., Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

#31: Country singer Chris Stapleton announced he and his wife were expecting their fifth child at the 2018 CMA Awards. 

#32: Alabama was the first group to win “Entertainer of the Year” (1982)

#33: Speaking of Alabama, they were also the first to threepeat the “Entertainer of the Year” award (82-84).

#34: Charley Pride is the first (and as of 2019 the only) African American artist to win “Entertainer of the Year” – 1971.

#35: After winning “Entertainer of the Year” in 1989 and 1990, George Strait won for the third time in 2013. The 23-year gap is the longest time between wins for an artist in the category.

George Strait poses backstage with the award for entertainer of the year at the 47th annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

#36: The CMA’s instituted a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. It was named after the inaugural recipient, Willie Nelson.

Country music singer Willie Nelson, left, is congratulated by presenter and singer Dolly Parton as he receives the entertainer of the year award at the 13th annual Country Music Association awards show at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House, Tenn., Oct. 9, 1979. (AP Photo)

#37: In 2016, Dolly Parton became the first female recipient of the “Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award”.

#38: Dolly Parton has won an award in each decade the CMA Awards have existed.

#39: Two movie soundtracks have won “Album of the Year” – Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2001)

#40: In 2000, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill made history as the first married couple to win both “Male/Female Vocalist of the Year”.

#41: “There Goes My Everything,” written by Dallas Frazier and performed by Jack Greene, won the first “Song of the Year” and “Single of the Year.” It was later covered by Elvis Presley.

#42: Kenny Chesney and Alabama hold the record for the most consecutive wins for “Entertainer of the Year.”

Kenny Chesney holds the Entertainer of the Year backstage at the 40th Annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Tenn. Monday, Nov. 6, 2006. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)

#43: For the first time since 2008, Brad Paisley is not hosting this year’s show. 

#44: Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn has won the most CMA Awards with 19.

#45: Maren Morris has the most nominations this year.

#46: The coveted CMA Award was originally made of walnut.

#47: Each award weighs 6 pounds and stands 15 inches tall.

#48: The award is made hand-blown fine crystal in Florence, Italy.

#49: At its inception, the award was designed to resemble a chart bullet.

#50: In the last 32 years, three female acts have won “Entertainer of the Year” – Shania Twain, the Dixie Chicks and Taylor Swift

#51: The CMA Awards nominees and winners are determined by more than 7,400 industry professional members of the CMA. 

#52: The Country Music Association was established in 1958 and was the first trade organization formed to promote an individual genre of music.

Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash are shown at the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tenn., in 1978. (AP Photo)

#53: The CMA Awards began airing on ABC in 2006, where it continues to air.

The 53rd annual CMA Awards will be hosted by Carrie Underwood with special guests Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton. The show will be held at the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville on Wednesday, Nov. 13.  

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