In A President’s First 100 Days, The News Is Rarely Good

U.S. President Donald Trump walks during a G7 session in the Sicilian town of Taormina, Italy. Andrew Medichini/AP hide caption

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Andrew Medichini/AP

U.S. President Donald Trump walks during a G7 session in the Sicilian town of Taormina, Italy.

Andrew Medichini/AP

Most American reporters don’t live in fear for their lives, like colleagues in Mexico, Russia, China, Turkey or Iran, where journalists have been imprisoned or killed. But there have been a few recent incidents of reporters being roughed up or arrested in America as they’ve tried just to report a story.

Ben Jacobs of The Guardian was slammed to the ground this week by Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for a House seat in Montana, after Jacobs slipped into a room to ask a question about health care. Gianforte has been charged with misdemeanor assault; but he was still elected. An audio recording of his big-time wrestling takedown of a bespectacled reporter has been played over and over; eyewitnesses have confirmed the reporter’s account.

But citizens like Debbie Warriner don’t trust press reports. She told Montana Public Radio they’re “a crock of baloney. … I mean, that story — it’s possible it’s not even true.”

This attack on a reporter occurs the same week that Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy released a study that says news coverage of President Trump’s first 100 days in office has been about 80 percent negative. Some of the president’s supporters seize on the study to say, as does the Daily Caller, “A Harvard study … has revealed a dramatic anti-Trump bias in the media.”

But if you read a little deeper, the center recalls that about 60 percent of the coverage of the first 100 days of the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush presidencies were also negative. Thomas Patterson, who authored the report, says, “Presidents are more than the main focus of U.S. reporters. Presidents are also their main target.”

The study notes that negative coverage of President Obama’s first 100 days was only 41 percent. But the inauguration of America’s first African-American president was an extraordinary moment. During the next 100 days of his presidency, Mr. Obama was targeted liked his predecessors, and received about 60 percent negative coverage, too. As Thomas Patterson puts it, “Although journalists are accused of having a liberal bias, their real bias is a preference for the negative.”

During these last 100 days, reporters have had to cover President Trump’s legislative defeats, his babbling of confidential information to foreign officials, his firing of the head of the FBI, and the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in American democracy. The media might have a bias — for news.

Get to know your ARM processor: Next instalment to Richard Murray’s Assembly guide

Get to know your ARM processor: Next instalment to Richard Murray’s Assembly guide

By Chris Williams. Published: 9th Apr 21:32:16 | Permalink | PrintableProgramming your RISC OS computer can be achieved using various programming languages and Assembly is one of them. It is black art often refered to as machine code, it directly instructs your microprocessor on what to do and even some university computer science departments avoid it, preferring sanitised languages like C++. Despite the mystery and complexities shrouding assembly coding, Richard Murray has decided to open the lid on the language and write a detailed guide on machine code programming.

“The ARM assembler site is your place for learning how to write code in
assembler under RISC OS”, announced Richard this week. “While there are examples for C/APCS, to get started you need absolutely nothing. Both !Edit and BASIC are built into your machine already, that’s all you need to learn assembler.”

Richard’s guide tackles assembly programming in an amicable and straightforward manner; every aspect is described in a step by step structure without any horrendous verbiage you might encounter on a certain comp.sys.acorn newsgroup. New topics and updates to the guide include:

  • Converted archives to Zip. Now non-RISC OS users should be able to read them, SparkFS/SparkPlug can read them (the latter available via a link), and they’re smaller. Richard’s main aim for doing this is to attract non-RISC OS ARM developers and maybe woo them to programming for everybody’s favourite exclusively ARM based OS…
  • Index amended, new section “32 bit operation” so all the 32bit stuff can be collected together.
  • Added document outlining rules for writing 32bit code.
  • Unsqueezing.
  • Newsflash for C/C++/asm development from RISC OS Ltd.
  • And a page outlining where ARM might crop up. :-) contacted Richard and he explained to us why he started writing the ever-growing guide.
“Well, I didn’t know much assembler and when I looked around on the ‘net, there was precious little. So I figured I should learn, and write up my findings so that it might help others.”

Richard also revealed that it wasn’t all a smooth drive- there were some bits that he got stuck on first time round, something that will reassure any budding programmer. Official documentation was also something difficult to get hold of as it was generally in PDF format and Richard believed his RISC OS machine wasn’t upto rendering and printing off large PDF datasheets.

“I’m working on a few things in the background”, continues Richard. “The current two are a table listing all the opcodes, brief details, and links. Save you thinking ‘What’s ACS categorised under?’ I’m also attempting to break into the co-processor ASIC. I think it is kinda silly to have a lump of silicon in the machine and not have it doing much when the machine [PC Card software] isn’t running.”
Richard is quite intrigued by the Aleph One co-processor boards and after working out how to program the Intel-based processor, he would like to document his efforts in the Assembler guide. However, the PC card design is owned by Aleph One and they are willing, according to Richard, to provide information on programming the co-processor provided you sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect their product design, which is fair enough. This would unfortunately prevent Richard from publishing anything he has learnt about the co-processor. Despite his confidence in his ability to manually investigate the workings of the co-processor he admits it might be a demonstration in futility.
“Actually, to be honest I can’t see much point in running code on the 486, but I don’t feel the site would be complete without an example of how to do it.”

Finally, in a future update of the guide, Richard hopes to document the ARM processor vectors, a vector being the microprocessor’s SOS call when it hits something it didn’t expect. Just before we uploaded this article, Richard emailed us with details on what he is currently in the process of writing for the next update of his assembler guide (in his own words):

  • Document SMULL/UMULL…
  • Document LDRH etc…
  • Write details on the software and hardware vectors, with examples.
  • Provide source for a basic module what will reverse the L/R mouse buttons. It’ll provide a SWI to set state, and a *command to set the state. Basically, an example.
  • Expand details of the FP instructions, and provide example code.
  • See if I can’t find some processor pictures to accompany the text. Could probably make my own ARM2, ARM3, ARM610, and ARM710… Just gotta whip out the SP_Dual (no biggie, phone line being what it is!) and fit the HCCS Vision. Use Canon video camera, it’s resolution is better than the Sony.
  • Pre-emption? Will need full explanations and a source. I’m thinking a module to load code into (?) RMA and run it under callback. [not really a priority at this time, but could be an interesting bit on setting up customised environment handlers!]
  • Expand the processor detection code to include ARM6/7 (CP15?), and possibly StrongARM (Castle Kinetic?).
  • Update the “All instructions” page, and all those called, so that each instruction takes you directly to it, not to a page containing several… Amend the all list to include common stuff you are likely to come across in assembler – the OPT thing is a good example.
  • Write up ExtBASasm, detail it’s use, and provide links to it both in the page and on the main index.
  • Send 16million colour demo to CodeCraft, and document it on the website.
  • Finish that text (half written) on pre-emption types and caching methods []
  • Try to locate any on-line reference to ARM2-ARM3 hardware/IOC etc.

Heyrick ARM Assembler guide:
Guide Editor:

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  • South East 2008 theatre talk videos now online
    Didn’t make to the South East 2008 show in Guildford this year? Not to worry, because on top of the usual Drobe coverage, you can now watch videos of the presentations made by RISC OS Open and RISC OS Ltd staff at the event. Recorded live at the show, the videos, in which products and projects are talked up by developers to punters, also include question and answer sessions from the floor.
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    RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

    Stephen Kessler: Ethnovictimecology: protest, rebellion, thuggery, crime

    My late friend the poet Wanda Coleman, a street-fighting homegirl from South Central Los Angeles who titled her first book “Mad Dog Black Lady,” used to call herself, only half-jokingly, an “ethnovictimecologist.” Her mock-social-scientific self-identification spoke to her deep study and broad experience of racism in everyday life. Just as she cynically approved of the O.J. Simpson verdict, she probably would have found the recent actions of UC Santa Cruz’s Afrikan/Black Student Alliance an encouraging expression of uppity people-of-color’s power to make white liberals uncomfortable.

    So uncomfortable that Chancellor George Blumenthal humbly capitulated to their demands — the most ironic of which, mandatory “diversity training,” evidently does not extend to their own confused equation of Jews with white people and Zionists with racists. Verbal abuse of such straw figures is undoubtedly rationalized in the name of free speech, even though it also suggests that some speech is freer than others.

    Intimidating liberals, also known as Mau-Mauing, has been a popular tactic in Black Nationalist circles since the 1960s. Amiri Baraka in his autobiography has a telling anecdote about a group of activists visiting Harry Belafonte at his Upper West Side Manhattan home to extract a cash donation to their Black Arts theater project in Harlem. Baraka, a celebrated poet formerly known as LeRoi Jones, at the time figured that thuggish aggression would be an effective way to coerce the singer, who had made his fortune entertaining white people.

    But Belafonte, who had also marched in the South for civil rights with Martin Luther King Jr. and had faced far scarier aggressors than Baraka and his comrades, told them flatly to get lost. He wasn’t impressed by their black leather jackets, tough-guy posturing, militant rhetoric or bad manners. In Baraka’s retrospective recounting of the incident he acknowledges respect for Belafonte’s cool dismissal of their bluster.

    Oakland’s Black Panther Party of that era was also confrontational, following the police around with their own armed patrols, as well as serving breakfasts to children and instilling racial pride in their community. The fact that some of their leaders, like Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver, were gangsters at heart who had committed various and serious crimes complicates their legacy as heroic resisters of honky oppression.

    Surely the UCSC students who commandeered the administration building were channeling such role models of rebellion when they strong-armed Chancellor Blumenthal into folding to their demands. They were savvier than the group a couple of years ago who blocked Highway 17 for several hours in protest against rising tuition. Those students were eventually dislodged, arrested and charged with punishable crimes. The California Highway Patrol does not take kindly to such disruptive obstruction of a major public thoroughfare.


    But UCSC is a soft target, not a realistic proving ground for guerrilla actions in the larger world. While UC campuses represent the corporate bureaucracy of a state institution, they also (at best) stand for open-mindedness, free inquiry, intellectual curiosity and tolerance — i.e., a liberal education. They are inherently “safe spaces” for informed debate, rational discourse and experimental discovery; for studying outside one’s comfort zone and entertaining diverse ideas. Dogmatic adherence to ideology — the kind of conformist thinking unfortunately common in some current academic settings — should be questioned routinely, even by those who may be sympathetic to a cause as worthy as racial justice.

    Self-righteous rebels of the left and resentful hooligans of the right who invoke their victimhood to justify aggressive antisocial behavior, even if they win one skirmish against perceived oppression, are not necessarily doing themselves or their causes any favors in the longer struggle for public opinion and better policies. I hope the student activists who Mau-Maued Blumenthal will pursue their studies conscientiously enough to learn that even highly-paid administrators like him, and schools like the embattled University of California, are not what’s holding them back, and are not the enemy.

    Stephen Kessler was a graduate student in literature at UCSC from 1968 to 1970 before taking his rebellion off campus. He writes regularly for the Sentinel.

    RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

    Puerto Rico’s Political and Economic Crisis Deepens

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    The protest was massive and peaceful; there was an almost festive atmosphere. Street-theater actor Israel Lugo, a University of Puerto Rico alumnus whose group The Tactical Operations Unit of Police Clowns participated in the hope of cooling tensions and underlining the sadness of repression, felt that “despite the indignation we shared, we were having a day where there was some hope.”

    Yet just as the event was coming to an end, a sudden surge of unsanctioned vandalism and police violence left clouds of tear gas choking protesters, media members, and march observers and mediators alike. By week’s end, the governor and the FOMB invoked Title III of PROMESA, beginning a legal process leading to a form of bankruptcy—and intensifying the air of uncertainty over the island’s future.

    The Milla de Oro represents the triumph of modernity that US colonialism intended to bring to Puerto Rico in the 1950s and ’60s. A palm-tree-lined boulevard called Luis Muñoz Rivera Avenue, festooned with glass-box buildings housing banks and corporate offices, signaled a level of prosperity that didn’t exist in the rest of the Caribbean. Fifty years later, the island territory is deep in the throes of a fiscal crisis driven by a $70-plus billion bond debt, as well as an additional $49 billion pension obligation to government employees.

    The PROMESA board’s original model was the one created in the wake of New York City’s 1970s fiscal crisis, whose financier-driven management solutions greatly aided the rise of Donald Trump as a major real estate player. The one that intervened in the recent Detroit bankruptcy produced debt-cutting settlements, but that debt was only $18-20 billion, and, like the one in New York, it was imposed by elected officials who were elected by local residents. In Puerto Rico, PROMESA, imposed to tame an exponentially larger debt, is viewed as an external force that is symptomatic of the lack of democracy on the island and emblematic of Puerto Rico’s second-class status.

    The crowd gathered around the stage on Muñoz Rivera Avenue was unaware that just around the corner on Bolivar Street, masked rogue demonstrators were throwing stones at the main headquarters of Banco Popular, the island’s largest bank, shattering some of its largest windows. Police—including regular forces and the riot squad—reacted slowly, moving into the area and marching en masse toward the main stage down the block. They launched tear-gas canisters and pushed into the crowd as stage announcer Millie Gil, a local media personality, was desperately calling for calm. “Don’t be provoked.… We don’t want the headlines of tomorrow’s newspapers to say that we lost control of a peaceful demonstration!” she pleaded.

    But the police, after a negotiated standoff, engaged in continual confrontations with protesters, pushing, striking, and gassing peaceful demonstrators and masked provocateurs alike. Images of vandals, tear gas, and students running under late-day thunderstorms dominated the evening news. It was a tailor-made media op for the rightist statehood party (PNP) government. Governor Ricardo Rosselló held a press conference denouncing the vandalism, but he recklessly lumped the vandals together with the marchers. His tone of moral opprobrium was underscored the next morning in another staged media tableau that showed him helping workers sweep up shattered glass in front of the Banco Popular tower.

    The mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, as well as Representative Manuel Natal Albelo, who was one of the first elected officials to champion the idea of an independent debt audit, quickly denounced the governor’s equation of peaceful protesters with vandals. The ACLU, led by William Ramírez, held a lengthy press conference in which Ramírez, who was still recovering from the effects of tear gas he was exposed to while acting as a negotiator and observer, displayed tear-gas canisters and even rubber bullets that had been used by the police. His statement directly contradicted one made earlier by police Superintendent Michelle Hernández, who denied their use. Ramírez also criticized violations of protocol (including no warnings, and plainclothes officers not wearing badges) and excessive use of force.

    In addition, eyebrows were raised when a lawsuit was filed by Banco Popular on the afternoon of the protests and disturbances, naming 42 plaintiffs, including community organizations, labor unions, and “unknown demonstrators.” Ariadna Godreau-Aubert, a human-rights lawyer who is part of a Legal Action Committee that is trying to draw attention to SLAPP lawsuits, or frivolous suits brought to intimidate people who take part in demonstrations, found the suit to be highly irregular and part of a disturbing pattern.

    “This suit came out just an hour after the events, and even the president of the Banco Popular said that the lawsuit was made in a preventive way, that they had it ready in case something happened. You can’t have a demand ready in case something happens—lawsuits exist to remedy real damages and include people that caused real damages, not something prepared or speculative,” said Godreau-Aubert. She pointed out that a previous suit against demonstrators engaging in another protest in late April was dismissed because of lack of evidence.

    This past Friday, Governor Rosselló signed into law revisions in the penal code that will increase criminal penalties against demonstrators who wear masks, seemingly aimed against students and young protesters; will make it a crime to obstruct construction sites (up to three years in prison), aimed at union protests; will impose a fine of up to $30,000 for interfering with tourist activities, spurred perhaps by the closure of an access road to the airport on May Day, and for obstructing access to or functions in health or government offices or learning institutions.

    This last element was particularly relevant because, just days after the governor and the PROMESA board invoked the Title III clause and its modified bankruptcy provision, the education secretary announced that 179 public schools around the island would be closed. While the continued population exodus from the island has pushed down the number of enrolled students, the closures will still heavily affect poor and working-class areas and place on many families an increased burden of extra commuting time to more distant schools. Some schools and parents are already announcing plans to protest.

    Title III and Its Discontents

     Governor Rosselló’s decision to request the invocation of Title III was met by derision from many political observers, who noted his previous insistence that the island could pay its debt in a restructuring process that would not require bankruptcy proceedings. He has also been harassed by the centrist Commonwealth Party Senator Eduardo Bhatia, who filed an injunction to force the release of a copy of the proposed budget the governor sent to José Carrión, the head of the FOMB, arguing that the island’s citizens are entitled to full transparency. Yet most observers seemed unsure of what to expect—for the moment, the 22 known litigation proceedings against the government to collect debt, which had been frozen, will be absorbed into the framework of Title III. The Puerto Rican government and several financial-sector observers have given reassurances that Puerto Rico will now engage in an “orderly” process of resolving its debts, but no one is quite sure what that will mean.

    The pseudo-bankruptcy proceedings, which could take from six months to several years, began on May 17 and are presided over by New York District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain, an African American appointed by Bill Clinton in 1996. Swain, who spent most of the session establishing rules for arguments—and quirkily banning the use of all colognes and fragrances among those in the courtroom because of her allergies—is faced with a process that has no legal precedent.

    The primary order of business for her will be to focus on the fate of the general obligation bonds ($12.7 billion), which are backed by a constitutional provision, and the COFINA bonds ($17.3 billion), which are tied to an 11.5 percent sales tax imposed several years ago. While the matters will be considered “jointly,” creditors from the two sides are warring against each other, each claiming priority.

    For Rolando Emmanuelli Jiménez, a bankruptcy lawyer who has become well-known on the island for his explainer lectures and book about PROMESA, the move to Title III was “badly needed, but you don’t celebrate what is badly needed.”

    There are many troublesome aspects about the debt-restructuring negotiations: Pensioners remain a potent force and are attempting to claim a higher priority on a debt that adds $49 billion to the already contested $70-plus billion bond debt; the government may be forced to sell off a substantial amount of its properties to lessen the blow of the apparent “haircuts,” or downward negotiation of payouts to creditors; collective-bargaining agreements with unions representing government workers may be suspended to renegotiate contracts; and the “absolute priority” rule in PROMESA for the general-obligation debt may mean it must be paid in full.

    Emmanuelli Jiménez sees some silver linings in the process. He thinks the audit report that will be done under PROMESA—even though it will not be anywhere near as thorough as an independent audit—may find that billions of dollars of COFINA debt could be declared “non-priority debt,” which could further postpone payment of it or even result in some of its being eliminated. He also thinks that Swain may be sympathetic to ordinary Puerto Ricans in some of her rulings, since, “as an African American, she knows about marginalization and discrimination.”

    “But let’s face it, she’s an imperial judge,” continued Emmanuelli Jiménez, albeit one, “like the Spanish poet Miguel Hernández says, with garras suaves [soft claws].” The problem remains a political one, in which Governor Rosselló, he says, will be limited to “carrying water for the Junta and the judge. The governor has practically ceded control of the immense majority of the issues that have to do with the development of public policy. When the Junta approves the budget the legislature can’t do much because it’s already been certified. The whole democratic process breaks down.”

    Another political problem emerged for the Junta last week with the release of a new report, “The Looting of Puerto Rico’s Infrastructure Fund,” by the Hedge Clippers, a watchdog group that, according to its website, is “working to expose the mechanisms hedge funds and billionaires use to influence government and politics.” The report systematically details how FOMB member Carlos García, in his previous roles as a Banco Santander executive and later president of Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank, diverted $1 billion intended for infrastructure improvement and maintenance to “a series of financial transactions that were intended to bolster the island’s credit rating, but which became tied up in the issuance of billions in new debt.” The same day, Puerto Rico AFL-CIO president José Rodríguez Báez called for García’s resignation.

    The Road Ahead: More Austerity Cuts, More Protests

     Despite the appearance of an orderly debt-restructuring process, the situation in Puerto Rico remains dire. The problem is that making sustainable payments on the debt requires austerity measures that will undercut any stability that the Title III process promises. The balanced-budget requirement for the next four years, for example, is likely to provoke severe crises, with looming battles over which services—the university, the police, health care—will be deemed “essential.”

    “The requirement of a balanced budget could be achieved hypothetically, but only under conditions that will have catastrophic effects,” said Ian Seda-Irizarry, an economist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, especially given “the explicit vision of the FOMB regarding the need to cut government spending in an economy that is in free-fall and in areas that will not affect everybody equally, with the working class and small businesses bearing the brunt of the adjustment.”

    “The new budget goes into effect on July 1,” said Emmanuelli Jiménez. “Most municipalities will be affected, budgets will be slashed, [including] the [proposed $450 million] cuts to the university; the new series of taxes and fines; health care. It’s going to be very difficult for the middle class. Who’s going to be able to pay both the car and the mortgage?”

    This past weekend student assemblies in seven out of the 11 campuses, including the main branch in Rio Piedras, rejected a preliminary agreement with government officials to reopen the university gates, prolonging the strike. The proposed university budget cuts still loom—Junta president José Carrión announced on May 12 that the cuts, estimated at $450-512 million over the next eight years, were “non-negotiable”—but the FOMB board has since agreed to meet with students on May 24. Meanwhile, on May 22, Judge Lauracelis Roques Arroyo—who had earlier ruled that the university must reopen to comply with a suit brought by some students who argued that their right to go to classes has been impeded by the strike—threatened interim university president Nivia Fernández with arrest if she didn’t come up with a concrete plan for reopening. The next day, Fernández resigned, along with three members of the university’s governing board.

    Another general strike is rumored for June 11, the day a plebiscite to vote on the island’s status is to be held. The plebiscite remains mired in controversy, with commonwealth and independence parties urging a boycott, and zero buzz coming from Washington, where Congress would consider the results.

    “The general feeling is always going to be uncertainty, fear,” says first-year law student Carlos Sosa. “We are facing something that could affect all the sectors of the population, not just the students. And that same uncertainty about how it will happen, how fast it will happen, the fear that can be reflected, is a little overwhelming, oppressive. But you can see that there’s a multi-sectoral population united to confront this.”





    Gomez faces Ahn in 34th Congressional District race

    LOS ANGELES — Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, defined by his supporters as a “strong, progressive voice,” squares off against lawyer and former Los Angeles Planning Commissioner Robert Lee Ahn, the son of Korean immigrants with a knack for crafting coalitions with diverse populations, in the battle to win the runoff election for the 34th Congressional District on June 6.

    Both Democrats hope to fill the position vacated by former U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra, who resigned the position in January to become California’s new attorney general. Gomez already represents about half the district as the assemblyman from the 51st District.

    Ahn, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Emory University in Atlanta and a law degree from USC, boasted on his campaign website of “two decades of private sector experience” working with legal firms and a real estate company owned by his family, and a record of creating jobs in multi-ethnic communities of Los Angeles.

    Ahn supports the Affordable Care Act and Medicare expansion, backs reimbursements to physicians with money from additional tobacco sales taxes levied after voters approved Proposition 56 last Novemeber, and favors a transition to a single payer’s health insurance system.

    “I do support single payer,” he said. “I recognize that one of the biggest challenges facing us now is the need to level the cost curve so everyone gains from Obamacare’s benefits. This means keeping intact the most popular features such as protections on pre-existing conditions, allowing children to stay enrolled on their parents’ insurance until age 26 and operating the health care exchanges.”

    Robert Ahn

    Additional revenue from tobacco taxes should “improve health access for low-income families,” he added. Ahn warned against Republicans’ plans to erase services for women’s family planning and contraception.

    “It’s short-sighted and endangers women’s health,” Ahn pointed.

    On immigration, Gomez opposes President Donald Trump’s “unconstitutional ban on religious” motives, and lambasted the administration’s approach to split families by pursuing nationwide deportations of people without criminal records and parents of children born in this country.

    Gomez’ parents migrated to the United States from Aguascalientes, Mexico in 1972, and held jobs in restaurants and laundries to sponsor his education, which includes a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA, and a master’s degree in public policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

    “I’m so proud of my parents and the challenges they overcame to give their children a better life,” Gomez said in a letter. “Their example guides me every day as a member of the state Legislature. And if I am elected to Congress, I will fight to protect hard-working immigrants from Donald Trump’s threats. I owe it to my family.”

    Gomez finished first in the April 4 primary, earning 25 percent of the votes, while Ahn garnered 22 percent. They defeated a pack of 23 candidates.

    On small business development, Ahn said the Small Business Administration has to ensure the flow of low-interest loans for minorities and women, and streamline the process to get them government contracts, because most are unable to bid on projects unless they are tied “with large prime contractors.”

    “As a small business owner, I understand the difficulties small businesses go through fighting government red tape and getting access to capital,” Ahn said. “The SBA serves two valuable areas: guaranteeing the availability and affordability of small business loans and providing aid and assistance to entrepreneurs wanting to start their own businesses.”

    He promised to open more SBA offices in the 34th Congressional District and said brochures with information should be in English and in the languages of entrepreneurs willing to start new shops and offer services.

    “SBA resource guides on its website are only published in English, which seems ridiculous to me considering the wide variety of ethnicities and nationalities of immigrants opening small businesses. At the very least it should provide native language information in more languages that reflect our population,” Ahn added.

    Ahn, a former Republican, switched to the Democratic Party in 2012 after he concluded the Republican Party ignores the challenges of diverse neighborhoods, such as how to encourage households that average gross incomes of about $30,000 a year to improve their incomes.

    The Rev. Cecil “Chip” Murray, pastor emeritus of First AME Church in South Los Angeles, recently endorsed Ahn at a gathering of African American and Korean religious leaders, and said he is the leader the community needs in Washington, D.C.

    “Robert Lee Ahn is smart and superbly qualified to be our next congressman,” said Murray, also a religious studies teacher at USC. “He’s a man of unique character and high moral fiber.

    “Robert is a uniter, his history of bringing people together and commitment to our community make him the perfect choice for Congress.”

    Ahn also has been endorsed by Michael Woo, the first Korean-American elected to serve on the Los Angeles City Council.

    Gomez has racked endorsements from state leaders and local politicians such as Gov. Jerry Brown, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Senate President Kevin de Leon, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar and farm worker’s organizer Dolores Huerta.

    “Jimmy has led a career dedicated to the wellbeing of workers and their families,” Huerta said in a campaign mailer.

    “We need Congress to return to focusing on justice and equity, and there is no one better to help lead the charge than Jimmy Gomez.”

    Maria Cabildo, a contender in the primary election, said the residents “need a strong progressive voice representing the 34th Congressional District. In addition to being supported by groups that I care deeply about, Jimmy understands the importance of protecting Social Security and Medicare.”

    The 34th Congressional District stretches from Northeast Los Angeles neighborhoods such as Eagle Rock and Highland Park to downtown Los Angeles and Pico Union, and from Westlake to Koreatown.

    Elvis link, red velvet boost value of jet up for auction

    A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley and featured on the National Geographic Channel is set to be auctioned after sitting on a runway in New Mexico for 30 years.

    The red 1962 Lockheed Jetstar, one of many owned by the King of rock ‘n’ roll, has no engines and needs a restoration of its cockpit. But Elvis designed the interior that has red velvet seats and red shag carpet. The plane had been a source of mystery in Roswell, New Mexico, where it has sat largely untouched and tucked away at a small airport’s tarmac., which is handling the bidding, said the jet was owned by Elvis and his father, Vernon Presley. “This jet has the potential of being fully restored, and placed on exhibit for the world to come see,” the auction website said.

    Photos of the plane show exterior in need of restoration and seats of the cockpit torn.

    Roswell International Air Center Interim Director Scott Stark said the plane is privately owned and rarely was open for tours. “It’s been five or six years since there have been any tours of it,” Stark said.

    However, the owner has allowed the plane to be shown at various aviation events. Stark said the owner, whose name has not been released, recently decided to sell it.

    GWS Auctions Inc. of California said on its website the plane will be auctioned May 27 at an event in California featuring celebrity memorabilia including handwritten notes from The Beach Boys and lost photos of the late R&B singer Aaliyah.

    GWS Auctions Inc. did not immediately return a phone message and email from The Associated Press.

    The auction house estimates the Elvis plane’s value at $2 million to $3.5 million.

    Elvis also owned more well-known planes. The Lisa Marie plane, for example, can be seen at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.

    Presley was born in Tupelo on Jan. 8, 1935, and moved to Memphis with his parents at age 13. He became a leading figure in the fledgling rockabilly scene by covering songs originally performed by African-American artists like Big Mama Thornton (Hound Dog) and Arthur Crudup (That’s All Right).

    His provocative dancing and hit records turned him into one of the 20th century’s most recognizable icons. Historians say his music also helped usher in the fall of racial segregation.

    Elvis was 42 when he died on Aug. 16, 1977, in Memphis.

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    Maryland Lawmakers Pledge to Defend Obamacare, Turn Back GOP Repeal Efforts

    As Senate Republicans get to work crafting their own plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Maryland’s Congressional delegation re-committed themselves to defending the law.

    Republican lawmakers face a similar challenge as their House counterparts in creating a bill which will generate the 50 votes needed to pass. The House passed a health care reform bill earlier this month after an initial, rushed attempt became an embarrassing public failure.

    Chris Van-Hollen

    U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) believes the Affordable Care Act should be strengthened, not repealed.  For an issue as important as healthcare, Marylanders deserve a bi-partisan approach, he said, not a GOP-led effort which will put tax breaks ahead of improving wellness.

    “There are plenty of ways we can improve our health care system and work to bring costs down, but this partisan effort to dismantle our health care system and give tax breaks to millionaires and insurance companies will not prevail,” Van Hollen said.

    According to The Maryland Office of Policy Analysis, Maryland has benefitted considerably from the Affordable Care Act.  The percentage of Marylanders who were uninsured due to the cost of insurance fell dramatically from 7.0 percent in 2011 to 2.8 percent in 2014.

    Rep. John Sarbanes, (D-3) serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, one of two House panels responsible for the GOP’s health care reform bill, called the American Health Care Act. Sarbanes voted against that legislation, which narrowly passed the House of Representatives on May 3.

    “Estimates show 400,000 Marylanders are in jeopardy of losing their insurance. Scaling back Medicaid will not only strip thousands of people off the health care rolls, but will hurt the state’s ability to address the growing problems of opioid addiction and mental illness,” Sarbanes said.

    U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D) joined Van Hollen in pledging to wage a vigorous fight against turning back the Affordable Care Act.

    “We will not lose track of Republican efforts to sabotage America’s health care system. We will fight it every step,” he said in a tweet after the House passed the Republican-backed health bill.  

    According to the Center for American Progress, the healthcare policy recently passed by the House would leave an additional 313,300 Marylanders uninsured by 2026, and increase the costs of insurance to those who could afford it by an additional $3,456 annually over the next 10 years.

    Congressman Elijah Cummings

    Congressman Elijah Cummings was particularly concerned that the Congressional Budget Office had not had a chance to analyze the economic impact of the American Health Care Act.

    The CBO’s report on the House measure, issued May 24, predicted an additional 23 million Americans would lose insurance by 2024, and coverage would skyrocket for those who are currently ill or face pre-existing conditions.   

    Baltimoreans such as Simone Barrett and Johnny Jowers are joining their Congressional leaders and watching the Senate effort carefully.

    Barrett, who closely monitors the health of her 19-year-old son, as well as her mother, who is in her senior years, said that the Republican-backed healthcare proposal will hurt many of President Trump’s core supporters as well as African Americans who overwhelmingly voted against him.

    “The Republicans are talking about access to healthcare but access and affordability are two different things,” she said. “They are playing word games with people. The healthcare initiatives proposed by Republicans and backed by Trump will hurt both poor Blacks and poor Whites. If neither group can afford the healthcare they have access to, then everybody’s worse off.”

    Octogenarian Johnny Jowers lives independently and is in good health right now. But he said he knows that the financial limits on coverage for major illnesses in the Republican plan would be devastating for many of his contemporaries and their families.

    “I’m a veteran, so my health care needs are largely taken care of,” Jowers said. “Now that the healthcare debate has shifted to the Senate, I’m hoping that more seasoned and experienced voices will inform lawmakers of the impact of the healthcare policies being considered before they act.”

    “I’m on a fixed income but able to watch my expenses and still live a comfortable life. Yet, I know very well that life on a fixed income changes considerably when you are faced with a major illness,” he said.

    Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-5), Elijah Cummings (D-7), Sarbanes (D-3) and Jamie Raskin (D-8) protested in front of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s residence this year after Hogan failed to join four other GOP governors who issued their own proposals to overhaul Medicaid for low-income people. The lawmakers were concerned about Hogan’s silence on Republican healthcare policy, especially since Maryland opted to utilize Medicaid expansion. That expansion offered healthcare coverage to an additional 248,000 Marylanders, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

    Kehinde Wiley Paints The Formative Black Artists Of Our Time

    In mythology, the trickster is an archetypal character that takes many shapes ― animal, human and divine ― distinguished by intellect, cunning, a penchant for mischief, and an aversion to rules, lines and norms of all kinds. In African folklore, the trickster takes shape through Anansi the spider; in America, Brer Rabbit; in France, Reynard the Fox. In pop culture, you’ll recognize trickster tendencies in characters like Bugs Bunny, Felix the Cat and Bart Simpson.

    In each case, the character uses questionably moral tactics and a generous helping of wit to subvert the natural order of things, tip-toeing over boundaries and shaking up power dynamics to turn the world topsy-turvy. They are clowns, jokers and provocateurs, able to outsmart traditional hero archetypes through their ability to camouflage, think on their toes and step outside traditional moral frameworks. 

    Outside the realm of myth, in contemporary life, artists often embody the trickster ethos, pushing buttons and testing limits in a world that, quite often, doesn’t quite know what to make of them. This was, at least, painter Kehinde Wiley’s understanding when he embarked upon his most recent painting series “Trickster.”

    “Artists are those people who sit at the intersection between the known and unknown, the rational and irrational, coming to terms with some of the confusing histories we as artists deal with,” Wiley said in an interview with HuffPost. “The trickster position can serve quite well especially in times like this.”

    Kehinde Wiley courtesy: Sean Kelly New York

    Kehinde Wiley, “Portrait of Rashid Johnson and Sanford Biggers, The Ambassadors,” 2017, oil on canvas

    The series consists of 11 paintings, all depicting prominent black contemporary artists who, according to Wiley, embody this trickster mode of being. There’s Mickalene Thomas, known for her bedazzled portraits of glamorous black women, as the Coyote, portrayed with feathers in her hair and a hand on her heart. And Nick Cave, whose boisterous “sound suit” sculptures are ecstatic cyclones of matter and sound, assumes the role of famous portrait subject Nadezhda Polovtseva, wearing a beanie and high-top sneakers while beckoning to the viewer with an umbrella. 

    Wiley described his subjects as his heroes and peers. “These are people I surround myself with in New York,” he said. “Who come to my studio, who share my ideas. The people I looked up to as a student, as a budding artist many years ago.” He savors that intersectionality, using his brush to peer into art’s past, present and future. 

    Since 2001, Brooklyn-based Wiley has painted grandiose, large-scale portraits of black subjects, injecting them into the largely pasty halls of Western portraiture. Riffing off traditional Renaissance imagery canonizing kings, nobles and saints, Wiley gives his contemporary subjects a hybrid sense of regal aplomb and swagger, a nod to the performative gestures that communicate youth, blackness and contemporary, image-saturated life.

    Wiley’s painted figures are most often swallowed up by his sumptuous textile backdrops that creep meanderingly into the foreground. The serpentine vines and decorative flourishes usher Wiley’s typical human subjects ― whom he plucks from sidewalks and shopping malls ― out of their previous existences into the realm of paint, timeless and eternal. Over the past 15 years, Wiley’s artistic style has become immediately recognizable, if not iconic. And yet the artist believes his much of his practice remains, to a degree, misinterpreted.

    “So much of my work has not been fully investigated,” he said. “Many people see my early work simply as portraits of black and brown people. Really, it’s an investigation of how we see those people and how they have been perceived over time. The performance of black American identity feels very different from actually living in a black body. There’s a dissonance between inside and outside.”

    Kehinde Wiley courtesy: Sean Kelly New York

    Kehinde Wiley, “Portrait of Yinka Shonibare, Reynard the Fox,” 2017, oil on canvas

    Wiley perceives his current series, too, as an exercise in careful looking. “It’s about analyzing my position as an artist within a broader community,” he said. “About an artist’s relationship to history and time. It’s a portrait of a group of people coming to terms with what it means to be an artist in the 21st century dealing with blackness, with individuality.”

    Those familiar with Wiley’s work might do a double take upon seeing this new work, which does away with lavish, cloth-like backdrops in favor of phantasmagorical scenarios. “This show is about me being uncomfortable as an artist,” he said. “When I’m at my best, I’m trying to destabilize myself and figure out new ways of approaching art as a provocation. I think I am at my best, when I push myself into a place where I don’t have all the answers. Where I really rely on instinct.”

    While Wiley’s earlier works have drawn comparisons to Barkley L. Hendricks, Jeff Koons and David Salle, this current series calls upon the spirit of Francisco de Goya, specifically, his “Black Paintings,” made toward the end of the artist’s life, between 1819 and 1823. The most famed work in the series, “Saturn Devouring His Son,” depicts Saturn as a crazed old man ― bearded, nude, eyes like black beads ― biting into his child’s body like a cut of meat. 

    “I’m interested in blackness as a space of the irrational,” Wiley said. “I love the idea of starting with darkness but ending up with a show that is decidedly about light. There is a very self-conscious concentration on the presence and absence of light ― tying into these notions of good and evil, known and unknown. There is a delicate balance that comes out of such a simple set of metaphors.”

    The trickster, like Goya, alternates methodically between these notions of light and darkness. Yet the practice extends beyond the metaphorical and into all too real life when black artists navigate the hegemonic and largely white institutions of the art world. “The trickster is an expert at code switching, at passing and posing,” Wiley said.

    “In African-American folklore, the trickster stands in direct relation to secrecy,” he continued. “How do you keep your home and humanity safe from the dominant culture? How do you talk about things and keep them away from the master? These were things talked about in slavery that morphed into the blues, then jazz, then hip-hop. It informs the way young people fashion their identities.”

    Just as a young man hanging out at the mall performs black masculinity through his look, walk and speech, artists like Kerry James Marshall, Wangechi Mutu and Yinka Shonibare are cast in the role of “black contemporary artist” ― a role they pilot with dexterity and finesse. “It’s about being able to play inside of it and outside of the race narrative at once,” Wiley said. “It’s difficult to get right.”

    Kehinde Wiley courtesy: Sean Kelly New York

    Kehinde Wiley, “Portrait of Kerry James Marshall, La Lectura,” 2017, oil on canvas

    Wiley’s paintings are visual folktales littered with clues ― a rifle, a leather-bound book, a slew of dead foxes ― that, like Goya’s 19th-century canvases, reject certain understanding. Instead, they place viewers in an indeterminate space of in-between: between past and present, dark and light, classical and contemporary, reality and myth. 

    “I am painting with this romantic idea that portraiture tells some kind of essential truth about the subject,” Wiley said, “but also with this modern suspicion of any representation to tell the truth about an individual. It’s about being in love with a tradition that is inclusive of so many possibilities, but still contains so much absence.”

    Indeed, portraiture has historically served aristocrats and elites, leading critics like Vinson Cunningham to question whether such a medium can ever transcend its chronicled prejudice. “How can Renaissance-descended portraiture, developed in order to magnify dynastic princes and the keepers of great fortunes, adequately convey twenty-first-century realities or work as an agent of political liberation?” he wrote earlier this year. 

    Yet what Cunningham views as painting’s weakness, Wiley sees as its strength. “Any writer or artist or thinker must have a set of limitations from which to push off from,” he said. “By virtue of its familiarity it can offer surprise.” And it does. With each subsequent series and show, Wiley stretches the understanding of what shape a portrait can take, who the art establishment serves, what the next generation of great American artists has in store. 

    “When I have exhibitions, the people who don’t belong to the typical museum demographic show up,” Wiley said. “People view themselves within the rubric of possibility.” The artist himself had a similar experience back in the day, upon seeing Kerry James Marshall’s portraits flourishing, black American life at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The works left him “thunderstruck.”

    Today, Wiley refers to Marshall as “a hero who has, in an improbable way, become a friend.” His smiling face appears three times over Wiley’s “Portrait of Kerry James Marshall, La Lectura.” Seated amidst a dim, rocky cave, Marshall assumes the roles of both student and teacher, directing the viewer’s attention to a large book in his lap, whose insides remain indecipherable. His grin is illuminated with wisdom, kindness and a glint of mischief, leaving the viewer to question what comes next. 

    Kehinde Wiley courtesy: Sean Kelly New York

    Kehinde Wiley, “Portrait of Wangechi Mutu, Mamiwata,” 2017, oil on canvas

    Kehinde Wiley’s “Trickster” runs until June 17 at Sean Kelly Gallery in New York. 

    RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

    Sheila Jackson Lee Blasts OMB Director for Diabetes-Shaming People

    Friday, May 26, 2017 at 6 a.m.

    Representative Sheila Jackson Lee speaking in Houston in April.

    Representative Sheila Jackson Lee speaking in Houston in April.

    Photo by Hope Bauman

    When you want a member of Congress to use a committee hearing to really hammer a point, Houston Democrat Representative Sheila Jackson Lee is the one to do it.

    Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney appeared before the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday to testify about President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, which includes a bid to slash Medicaid funding — and Lee started asking some very direct questions.

    See, earlier this month Mulvaney spoke at a conference at Stanford University and was asked whether he supports keeping a clause to ensure that people can’t be denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions.

    Mulvaney said yes, but with conditions.

    Specifically, he told the audience that while he is in favor of ensuring that people with pre-existing conditions can get health insurance, “that doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes.”

    This statement is troubling for many reasons. For one thing, as the American Diabetes Association has already pointed out, while it might be convenient to try to blame the people who get diabetes by claiming they’re just lazy and thus deserve it, genetics are a major factor in the development of Type II diabetes. On top of that, African-Americans are 77 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the condition, which means that the people Mulvaney was claiming are undeserving of health care are far more likely to be black.

    During the hearing, Lee went right for that statement, reading it back to Mulvaney and then rattling off her questions about what he really meant.

    “Are you saying that you support a health-care plan that makes distinctions between the deserving ill and undeserving ill, in deciding who could get federal support and how much? Is that why you have the audacity to cut $880 billion out?”

    Mulvaney tried to explain the quote away, but Lee wasn’t having it.

    “Regarding my statement last week on diabetes, I was speaking at a health-care conference, and what I was trying to do is draw a distinction between type 1 and type 2,” he said.

    “But you did say it,” she asked.

    “Again, I’m trying to put my comments into context, ma’am. I’m aware of the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.”

    “But you’re not a doctor either?” Lee interjected.

    “I am not a doctor; are you?” he shot back.

    “I know diabetes,” Lee replied. “It’s in my family and it’s in my community, and it particularly impacts African-Americans and we will be devastated by this budget along with working Americans, working families.”

    Mulvaney had no response to that.

    Lee is never one to shy away from the spotlight, as we’ve recently noted, but at the same time, when she’s good, she’s very good.