Arora and Himes clash in debate

himes
Republican Harry Arora makes a point as Jim Himes looks on. — Bryan Haeffele photo

Election security, gun violence, health care, immigration, climate change, and partisan politics were the topics addressed during a debate between candidates vying to represent Connecticut’s Fourth District in Congress: Democratic incumbent Jim Himes and Republican challenger Harry Arora. The debate, attended by about 400 people, took place Sunday afternoon, Oct. 21, at the Clune Center in Wilton. Despite exhortations not to, many applauded their favorites and grumbling undertones could be heard throughout the afternoon.

Moderator Kay Maxwell of the League of Women Voters presented the first question on any action Congress could or should take to ensure the integrity of the nation’s elections.

First to answer was Arora, who said that while the federal government should spend more money on ensuring all districts have the technology and ability to conduct fair elections, a more pressing problem was what he termed “information warfare.” This he described as “other people influencing elections by manipulating information.”

“That’s where we need to be on guard … that large media companies don’t sway or favor one participant or one party or one idea over the other,” he said, although he admitted he did not know how this could be achieved.

Himes, who is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said, “The U.S must speak with perfect clarity when we are attacked.” This was a reference, he said, to President Trump “who has waffled over these past two years” about Russian interference in elections.

One of many technical fixes that are possible, he said, is addressing the dozen or so states that don’t use paper ballots that would allow a post-election audit.

What he felt most passionately about, he said, is the “need to understand the Chinese, the Russians, the Iranians, North Korea — all the usual rogues — want us at each other’s throats. They want us to believe that the only truth that you can find is on Fox News if you lean right or MSNBC if you lean left or that crazy tweet is true. We’re citizens of the United States. We’re participants in a democracy. That is not free. That implies a responsibility to know that what you’re hearing, even if it makes you feel good, may not be true and it may be put out there to make you feel angry with your neighbor.”

Arora responded by saying voter fraud “is a very big thing” and people voting must show identification. Himes said election fraud is a “tiny, tiny thing” and that voters without IDs tend to be older black Americans in the South and “every single voter ID law you’ve seen has been promulgated in a red state.”

Himes
Jim Himes answers a debate question as Harry Arora listens. — Bryan Haeffele photo

Gun violence

The discussion then moved to gun violence in schools and elsewhere.

With 36,000 Americans killed by firearms each year, two-thirds of those are suicides and many could be prevented, Himes said, with smart gun technology that would allow a gun to be fired only by its owner. He sponsored a bill to that effect two months ago, he said. He also pointed out some steps Connecticut took: universal registration — wherever someone buys a gun they undergo a background check — limits on assault weapons, and limits on the number of rounds in a magazine. He said he would work to take that to the federal level.

Arora said any gun laws should “actually reduce violence; number two, they are implementable … are they in line with our values and Constitution? So all of those three principles allow us to come to a set of laws that generate consensus, agreement and progress.”

He added gun owners and those who do not own guns need to be brought together. Arora said he will have credibility with “both sides” to get universal background check laws done. That is the “easiest, most important thing.”

Both men said they do not own any guns themselves.

Health care

On the issue of health care, Arora claimed the Affordable Care Act( ACA) “has broken our private insurance system. … if you take the three criteria I always use: affordability, access, and choice.”

He said there should be one market for people with pre-existing conditions that will be subsidized, and a second market for everyone else that would allow more options. “The private market will work more dynamically,” he said.

Himes responded by saying there are 20 million people today with health insurance who did not have it 10 years ago and personal bankruptcies have been cut in half.

To include a provision for pre-existing conditions without a personal mandate is not workable, he said. While the cost of premiums have increased 43% from 2008 to 2016, they went up by 97% from 2000 to 2008, before the ACA was enacted. Rising premiums need to be dealt with, but what also needs to change, he said, is improving the efficiency of the American healthcare system.

He added, “if you want a market in health care, think about what that means. Some people drive a Rolls Royce and some can’t afford a car.”

Other issues

Regarding immigration, both support border security but Himes believes a wall “is a stupid idea” because half the people who enter the country illegally do so by overstaying a visa. He said he wanted to vote for a 2013 bill that passed with 68 votes in the Senate. It included money for border security and a system that would electronically verify a person’s ability to legally work here. The bill also had a “very rigorous earned path to citizenship” for those who are undocumented and may have spouses or children who are citizens. Himes said he did not get to vote for the bill because House Speaker John Boehner never brought it to the House floor.

Arora asked why Himes did not vote on a House bill that would have included more money for technology, border patrols, and fencing, which he also said provided a path for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) residents, known as dreamers.

Himes took umbrage, saying the bill in question failed to get 112 Republican votes because it was a “brutal bill” that gave dreamers only temporary status as long as a border wall continued to be built.

Arora said it didn’t matter who else voted for it. “That’s what the challenge is.”

Arora said more people “walk through the southwest border” than overstay a visa. A process is needed to handle them expeditiously when they show up. “We have to be compassionate but we have to be firm,” Arora said. Many are coming for economic reasons, he said, “but we have our problems, too. We have a very large number of people in our country who are economically disadvantaged and who we do need to help.” He said schools are being “overloaded with the folks who are undocumented.”

On climate change, both agreed it is a very important issue and Himes said the only way to convince other countries to be responsible is by leading them. More concrete solutions could include increasing mileage requirements on automobiles, a move by former President Obama the Trump administration is trying to reverse. Some municipalities are enforcing energy-efficient building codes. He also pointed to a fully refundable carbon tax that, he said, puts a small tax on the use of carbon fuels and then gives it back to Americans, not the government.

Arora said that while the U.S. needs to do more, “we have to compel” other countries that pollute at a greater rate to reduce their emissions. “Leadership is making them see and compelling them to step up. It’s one planet, it’s one mankind. We have to do it together.” He did not say how they could be compelled.

Arora said instead of a refundable carbon tax what would work is a carbon tax with a cap and trade aspect, but he acknowledged it would raise the price of electricity 50% to 100%. “We have to figure out how to implement it correctly,” he said.

On the issue of partisan politics, Arora said the simplest answer is to focus on facts and problem-solving. Himes said the best individual members of Congress can do is model good behavior. “Compromise is the way we get things done,” he said.

In his closing comments, Arora said he stands to “solve problems for all of us. I am strongly committed to a strong economy. … When it comes to civil rights, minority rights, I am going to out there fighting like there is no tomorrow.” He received hearty applause.

Himes said he would make three pledges: to continue to fight “like a wolverine” for what the district needs, such as transportation infrastructure, vote independently, and speak out “when the president goes on [TV] and says the justice department is compromised, our elections are rigged, women are dogs, women are horse faces.”

Going over his allotted time he continued, “When the president says there are two sides to every story when Nazis are marching in Charlottesville, I am going to go on TV and say that is not what we want.”

That drew loud applause and a standing ovation from his supporters in the audience.

The debate was sponsored by the Connecticut League of Women Voters, and co-sponsored by the local leagues of Bridgeport, Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Stamford, Weston, and Westport.

The two candidates will meet again for a debate on foreign policy issues on Monday, Oct. 29, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., in the GenRe Auditorium of UConn’s Stamford campus on Washington Blvd. This event is hosted by the World Affairs Forum.

Pigment International to host “Miami Reveal” during Art of Black Miami and Art Basel

PIGMENT International
Improv Jazz by Paul Branton

PIGMENT Internationalthe artists’ collective, will host a three-day intimate salon event at the Penthouse Riverside Wharf, 125 SW North River Rd. December 4, 5 & 6. The event  includes an exhibition of fine art by some of the preeminent African American artists in the country.

The event will include an Art Talk on collecting and valuing art, special recognition of two acclaimed national artists – Frank Frazier and Gerald Griffin.  Entertainment and guest appearances include The Lady in Red, Karen Briggs, Grammy Award-Winning hip-hop artist, philanthropist, and politician Rhymefest, and Miami’s own Hip Hop artist Flo Rida.

The curated celebration will feature PIGMENT Intl’s founding member artists Paul Branton, Gerald Griffin, Jason E. Jones, Blake Lenoir, James Nelson, Dana Todd Pope, Pearlie Taylor, Raymond Thomas, Martha Wade, Minnie Watkins, and Reisha Williams.  Also exhibiting will be Nkosi Imported Crafts, and guest artists Ferrari Sheppard and Shawn Warren.

Schedule of Events – December 4th

On Tuesday, December 4, the exhibition will open at 3:00 p.m. for a preview and an invitation-only Collectors Talk focused on the buying, valuation, and sale of art.

Participating will be Art Appraiser Diane Carr, noted collector and financier Russell Goings, nationally noted collector Denise Gardner, and Atlanta gallery owner September Gray.

There will be an opening reception at 6:00 p.m. featuring entertainment by Miami’s own Deep Fried Funk.  Cuisine will be provided by acclaimed Miami restaurant Dragon Fly.

The exhibition opens to the public at 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Wednesday for art viewing and sales.

There will be a special reception beginning at 6:00 p.m. where Pigment artist Griffin will be recognized with the “Arts Innovator Award.”  Griffin, an artist, sculptor, and poet works in a variety of mediums and styles, creating emotionally intense figures in urban environments.  Griffin holds a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Schedule of Events – December 6th

Thursday, December 6, the exhibition opens to the public from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. for art sales and viewing.

A special reception from 6:00 p.m. – 10 p.m. will recognize the work and career of Master artist Frank Frazier.  He will receive the “Arts Pioneer Award” for his more than 50 years of artistic excellence and social activism.

The sculptor, painter, and collagist has served as a mentor and role model to generations of artists, gallerist and collectors.  His work is sought after by institutions and collectors around the world.   “When I see young people look with respect and appreciation at the art of today, I think of Sankofa, and how we must go back to the past to understand the present,” Frazier offers.

Schedule of Events – December 8th

Pigment, International will end the week with an Art Talk at the Betsy Hotel on Saturday, December 8 entitled “Generation Shifts, Generations of Creativity,” where the conversation will shift to the next generation of creators and collectors.  The talk will feature father and daughter artists, Eugene ‘Eda’ and Martha Wade.

A number of special guests will be attending the three-day exhibition and sale.

Tickets for all the events are available via Eventbrite.  Follow the conversation about Pigment using #PigmentMiami #PigmentReveal

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Yvette Thomas-Henry Named Regional Vice President for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts



Four Seasons Hotels

Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta anounced the promotion of Yvette Thomas-Henry to Regional Vice President of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts; Thomas-Henry will remain General Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta. In her new role, Thomas-Henry will be responsible for the operations at Four Seasons Resort Nevis, a AAA Five-Diamond resort, as well as Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis, a AAA Four-Diamond hotel.

Thomas-Henry’s career with Four Seasons spans over a decade, including senior management roles in New York, Washington D.C. and Atlanta. During her tenure in Atlanta, the hotel has continued to thrive as the only AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star hotel in the city—an accolade it’s held since opening in 1997. After two record setting years, Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta is currently finishing a multi-million-dollar renovation in preparation for Super Bowl LIII, which will take place in Atlanta in February 2019.

Since her arrival in Atlanta in 2015, Thomas-Henry has actively engaged in the greater Atlanta community, with a variety of organizations. She sits on several boards, including the Midtown Alliance, the Alliance Theater at the Woodruff Arts Center, The National Black Arts Festival and the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Thomas-Henry also sits on the executive committee of the Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association and is a member of their Women in Leadership Steering Committee.

“I feel honoured and privileged to take on this role with Four Seasons where I will help to create a lasting legacy for the hotels and resorts I will oversee,” said Thomas-Henry. “Atlanta, Nevis and St. Louis are dynamic destinations full of art, entertainment, culture and business and I look forward working with these talented teams to push the boundaries and achieve even more success.”

Born in St. Thomas, USVI and raised in St. Croix, Thomas-Henry was encouraged by her mother to be the best at whatever she did. After earning her Bachelor of Arts from Pace University, Thomas-Henry went on to receive a Master of Science from Audrey Cohen College in New York. Throughout her career, Thomas-Henry has developed a sharp eye for detail and a dedication to the community she calls home. Under her leadership at Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, the hotel’s community outreach team, made up of hotel employees, has logged over 500 hours of service for local organisations across the city. 


Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.









RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

The Real Beto O’Rourke

I recently attended an indoor Beto O’Rourke rally in Corpus Christi, Texas in the Richardson Auditorium on the Del Mar College campus. Arriving 45 minutes late (after meeting for 15 minutes with fawning press backstage), he was introduced by Congressman Joe Kennedy. O’Rourke bizarrely rolled onto the stage on a skateboard (he had done this in an earlier rally in Brownsville) and spoke for 30 minutes. 

O’Rourke called for essentially open borders and free health care. He attacked Trump along with his senatorial election opponent, incumbent Texas Senator Ted Cruz, but there was no mention of his previous statement approving of disrespect for the flag,which Cruz and others had pounced on. O’Rourke appeared awkward and thin and was constantly flailing his hands and arms.

I noticed something rather unsettling. I was only sitting ten feet away from O’Rourke. The temperature outside was a near perfect 78 degrees, and the hall itself, which is kept at 72 degrees, seemed chilly. The stage lights are 20 feet above the stage. But just minutes into O’Rourke’s speech, sweat began to pour down his face and spread across the front of his shirt. In his introduction, Joe Kennedy had said of O’Rourke that “he sweats a lot,” and the local Caller-Times, in what was basically an advocacy article, showed pictures of O’Rourke before and after the speech both dry and drenched in perspiration.

If one googles “Beto sweat” there are several articles from websites both left and right that make reference to it. The primary causes of cold sweats are said to be anxiety and stress.

He quickly exited after his speech and took no questions from the audience, but what I had wanted to ask O’Rourke about was his arrest record and some of his inconsistent statements concerning it. In 1995, he graduated from Columbia University in New York. He then went by “Rob” and had a degree in English literature, and among other things, was known for scolding other students for smoking cigarettes while constantly using marijuana (of which he now avidly supports federal decriminalization).  

Days after the commencement, on the campus of the University of El Paso (UTEP) with two other men, he was arrested for attempting to burglarize a building. The charges were dismissed the next year, but at the time of the incident, even though he had already left college and never attended UTEP, he consistently has called it a “college prank,” which had happened “during his college years.” I attempted to locate the two other “pranksters,” one of whom apparently still lives in El Paso, to no avail.  

Then there is the more serious issue of his arrest for DWI in 1998. O’Rourke has always described it as a “mistake for which there is no excuse.” But in late August, the Houston Chronicle as well as the San Antonio Express News obtained the arrest report, and the Chronicle found that the incident was “a more serious threat to public safety than has been previously reported.”

The police report showed that in the early morning hours of September 27, O’Rourke was traveling -n a 75 mile an hour zone on Interstate 10 in Anthony, Texas, about 20 miles west of El Paso. He passed another motorist, who was also headed west, and then lost control and collided with a truck. The impact sent O’Rourke’s Volvo over the grassy median and he ended up on the eastbound side. The motorist that O’Rourke had passed on the westbound side also crossed over to the other side and began to pursue the fleeing O’Rourke. He began to flash his lights and honk to try to get O’Rourke to stop as well as warn other vehicles, and then he finally was able to impede O’Rourke.

Arresting officer Richard Carrera spoke to the motorist first and then approached O’Rourke, who was obviously intoxicated and failed several sobriety tests. Carrera placed O’Rourke under arrest and he was transported to a police substation in west El Paso. During his interview, O’Rourke claimed to have had only two beers. He agreed to take a breathalyzer and the readings showed .136 and .134 of blood alcohol content, far above intoxication levels.

For O’Rourke’s reported size and weight, he would have had at least six beers. He was then taken before a judge and later booked into the county jail. The bond was placed at $1,500 and O’Rourke made bail the next day. The charges were dismissed after O’Rourke completed a court-appointed diversion program.

Carrera filed two reports, one with the Anthony Police Department and another with the State of Texas and El Paso County. The only thing that is unclear is the direction on the interstate O’Rourke had used to flee. In both reports, Carrera wrote that when O’Rourke landed on the eastbound side, he was also pointed east. If he continued to flee in that direction, he would have been going the wrong way down I-10. The witness/reporter who had chased O’Rourke and forced him to stop is unnamed and Officer Carrera cannot be located. 

But what is clear is that O’Rourke fled the scene. During a debate with Ted Cruz in September a few weeks after the arrest record became public, the moderator asked O’Rourke if he had fled the scene. “I did not try to leave the scene of the accident, though driving drunk, which is a terrible mistake for which there is no excuse or justification or defense.” Then he returned to his familiar stance before the more serious details recently became known. “I can tell you that I was able to have a second chance in life.” O’Rourke then awkwardly pivoted to make the issue about racial justice. “What I do know is that as a white man in this country, there is a privilege that I enjoy that many African-American men and women do not.” 

Days later, Glenn Kessler, the Fact Checker of the Washington Post, gave O’Rourke the lowest rating of “Four Pinocchios,” which qualifies as a “whopper.”

A few days later, O’Rourke did a friendly interview of over an hour with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith. When Smith asked if he had fled the scene of the accident, O’Rourke said, “I did not flee. The police report on this count is wrong.” Then O’Rourke added that, “I reached out to the passenger who was in the car I was driving who does not appear in the police report, among other factual errors, somebody that I’ve not spoken to in more than 15 years, and asked her recollection of that evening. She said, “No, we were in the median of the road. We did not try to flee.'”

Smith did not follow up and ask who the mystery passenger was. I recently contacted the O’Rourke campaign as to her identity but have received no response. It should be noted that none of the police reports mentioned another passenger. But the reports did mention that there was another passenger with the witness/reporter who was able to chase down and stop O’Rourke.

Currently, O’Rourke has raised 38 million dollars, much of it from out of state. But Cruz continues to gain in the polls. Other Democrats in closer races were asked if they could share in the funds. “No,” O’Rourke said. “I’m focused on Texas. Most of our contributions have come from Texas.” Actually, much of the money comes from ActBlue, which raises money almost entirely from out of state. 

At the second and final debate last week, O’Rourke awkwardly called Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” the moniker that Donald Trump had previously bestowed upon him, and the campaign followed up with attack ads, something that O’Rourke said he would never do. At a recent town hall on CNN, O’Rourke reiterated that he would vote to impeach Donald Trump, putting him in the same category as the angry Maxine Waters.

O’Rourke is not only being misleading about his past, but is a man of the far left who would not be able to win statewide elections through most of the country. It seems that no matter how much fawning press coverage and millions of dollars flow in from elsewhere, O’Rourke will lose, and probably by a significant margin. “Betomania” is all hype. To coin a current phrase from urban America, O’Rourke “ain’t all that.”

I recently attended an indoor Beto O’Rourke rally in Corpus Christi, Texas in the Richardson Auditorium on the Del Mar College campus. Arriving 45 minutes late (after meeting for 15 minutes with fawning press backstage), he was introduced by Congressman Joe Kennedy. O’Rourke bizarrely rolled onto the stage on a skateboard (he had done this in an earlier rally in Brownsville) and spoke for 30 minutes. 

O’Rourke called for essentially open borders and free health care. He attacked Trump along with his senatorial election opponent, incumbent Texas Senator Ted Cruz, but there was no mention of his previous statement approving of disrespect for the flag,which Cruz and others had pounced on. O’Rourke appeared awkward and thin and was constantly flailing his hands and arms.

I noticed something rather unsettling. I was only sitting ten feet away from O’Rourke. The temperature outside was a near perfect 78 degrees, and the hall itself, which is kept at 72 degrees, seemed chilly. The stage lights are 20 feet above the stage. But just minutes into O’Rourke’s speech, sweat began to pour down his face and spread across the front of his shirt. In his introduction, Joe Kennedy had said of O’Rourke that “he sweats a lot,” and the local Caller-Times, in what was basically an advocacy article, showed pictures of O’Rourke before and after the speech both dry and drenched in perspiration.

If one googles “Beto sweat” there are several articles from websites both left and right that make reference to it. The primary causes of cold sweats are said to be anxiety and stress.

He quickly exited after his speech and took no questions from the audience, but what I had wanted to ask O’Rourke about was his arrest record and some of his inconsistent statements concerning it. In 1995, he graduated from Columbia University in New York. He then went by “Rob” and had a degree in English literature, and among other things, was known for scolding other students for smoking cigarettes while constantly using marijuana (of which he now avidly supports federal decriminalization).  

Days after the commencement, on the campus of the University of El Paso (UTEP) with two other men, he was arrested for attempting to burglarize a building. The charges were dismissed the next year, but at the time of the incident, even though he had already left college and never attended UTEP, he consistently has called it a “college prank,” which had happened “during his college years.” I attempted to locate the two other “pranksters,” one of whom apparently still lives in El Paso, to no avail.  

Then there is the more serious issue of his arrest for DWI in 1998. O’Rourke has always described it as a “mistake for which there is no excuse.” But in late August, the Houston Chronicle as well as the San Antonio Express News obtained the arrest report, and the Chronicle found that the incident was “a more serious threat to public safety than has been previously reported.”

The police report showed that in the early morning hours of September 27, O’Rourke was traveling -n a 75 mile an hour zone on Interstate 10 in Anthony, Texas, about 20 miles west of El Paso. He passed another motorist, who was also headed west, and then lost control and collided with a truck. The impact sent O’Rourke’s Volvo over the grassy median and he ended up on the eastbound side. The motorist that O’Rourke had passed on the westbound side also crossed over to the other side and began to pursue the fleeing O’Rourke. He began to flash his lights and honk to try to get O’Rourke to stop as well as warn other vehicles, and then he finally was able to impede O’Rourke.

Arresting officer Richard Carrera spoke to the motorist first and then approached O’Rourke, who was obviously intoxicated and failed several sobriety tests. Carrera placed O’Rourke under arrest and he was transported to a police substation in west El Paso. During his interview, O’Rourke claimed to have had only two beers. He agreed to take a breathalyzer and the readings showed .136 and .134 of blood alcohol content, far above intoxication levels.

For O’Rourke’s reported size and weight, he would have had at least six beers. He was then taken before a judge and later booked into the county jail. The bond was placed at $1,500 and O’Rourke made bail the next day. The charges were dismissed after O’Rourke completed a court-appointed diversion program.

Carrera filed two reports, one with the Anthony Police Department and another with the State of Texas and El Paso County. The only thing that is unclear is the direction on the interstate O’Rourke had used to flee. In both reports, Carrera wrote that when O’Rourke landed on the eastbound side, he was also pointed east. If he continued to flee in that direction, he would have been going the wrong way down I-10. The witness/reporter who had chased O’Rourke and forced him to stop is unnamed and Officer Carrera cannot be located. 

But what is clear is that O’Rourke fled the scene. During a debate with Ted Cruz in September a few weeks after the arrest record became public, the moderator asked O’Rourke if he had fled the scene. “I did not try to leave the scene of the accident, though driving drunk, which is a terrible mistake for which there is no excuse or justification or defense.” Then he returned to his familiar stance before the more serious details recently became known. “I can tell you that I was able to have a second chance in life.” O’Rourke then awkwardly pivoted to make the issue about racial justice. “What I do know is that as a white man in this country, there is a privilege that I enjoy that many African-American men and women do not.” 

Days later, Glenn Kessler, the Fact Checker of the Washington Post, gave O’Rourke the lowest rating of “Four Pinocchios,” which qualifies as a “whopper.”

A few days later, O’Rourke did a friendly interview of over an hour with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith. When Smith asked if he had fled the scene of the accident, O’Rourke said, “I did not flee. The police report on this count is wrong.” Then O’Rourke added that, “I reached out to the passenger who was in the car I was driving who does not appear in the police report, among other factual errors, somebody that I’ve not spoken to in more than 15 years, and asked her recollection of that evening. She said, “No, we were in the median of the road. We did not try to flee.'”

Smith did not follow up and ask who the mystery passenger was. I recently contacted the O’Rourke campaign as to her identity but have received no response. It should be noted that none of the police reports mentioned another passenger. But the reports did mention that there was another passenger with the witness/reporter who was able to chase down and stop O’Rourke.

Currently, O’Rourke has raised 38 million dollars, much of it from out of state. But Cruz continues to gain in the polls. Other Democrats in closer races were asked if they could share in the funds. “No,” O’Rourke said. “I’m focused on Texas. Most of our contributions have come from Texas.” Actually, much of the money comes from ActBlue, which raises money almost entirely from out of state. 

At the second and final debate last week, O’Rourke awkwardly called Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” the moniker that Donald Trump had previously bestowed upon him, and the campaign followed up with attack ads, something that O’Rourke said he would never do. At a recent town hall on CNN, O’Rourke reiterated that he would vote to impeach Donald Trump, putting him in the same category as the angry Maxine Waters.

O’Rourke is not only being misleading about his past, but is a man of the far left who would not be able to win statewide elections through most of the country. It seems that no matter how much fawning press coverage and millions of dollars flow in from elsewhere, O’Rourke will lose, and probably by a significant margin. “Betomania” is all hype. To coin a current phrase from urban America, O’Rourke “ain’t all that.”

The Wizard Earl of Kilkea Castle

WikipdeiaGerald Fitzgerald 11th Earl of Kildare

Gerald Fitzgerald 11th Earl of Kildare was born in 1525. A time of great upheaval and volatility for an Anglo-Irish Aristocrat and especially, for a Roman Catholic. He was the son of Gerald Fitzgerald 9th Earl of Kildare and Elizabeth Grey Countess of Kildare. Gerald was born at a very auspicious time in European history. The light of intellectual liberalism had signaled the end of the dark ages for medieval Europe heralding a time of Scientific and artistic enlightenment and age of discovery – The Renaissance.  Gerald would become the ultimate Renaissance man embracing the arts gaining a reputation as an Astrologist, Scientist and Alchemist and It was because of this interest in the emerging sciences that Gerald also gained a reputation as a Sorcerer, practitioner of the black arts and the  soubriquet “The Wizard Earl”  

Sixteenth century Ireland was a perilous place and like most Irish noble families, the Fitzgerald’s were continuously involved in deadly power games where internecine warfare was rife and political alliances were mercurial. The specter of death would always loom large for the Fitzgeralds; Gerald’s father Gearoid Og had died in the Tower of London in 1534 and three years later Gerald’s brother the 10th Earl known as the Silken Thomas would face a traitors death at Tyburn in London where along with five of his Uncles he was hung, drawn and quartered, leaving Gerald as the sole male Geraldene heir and consequently, a child of 12 with a price on his head “ whose life was sought with avidity equal to Herods”

The Flight of “The Wizard Earl”

The Young Gerald sought refuge with his Aunt, Eleanor McCarthy in Cork before being despatched to Donegal where under the protection of Lady Eleanor o’ Donnell he became a figurehead for an unsuccessful rebellion mounted by a federation of Irish Chiefs. The English Crown offered a “most gracious pardon” which unsurprisingly he chose to ignore.

Fleeing the clutches of the Protestant Monarch Henry VIII and seeking the protection of King Francis of France and Charles V, The Holy Roman Emperor. Gerald decided to leave Ireland with a small retinue of loyal servants and a most generous gift of 140 gold coins supplied by Lady o’ Donnell.

Gerald was intelligent, hardworking and above all very curious and in France, under the patronage of his cousin Cardinal Pole, the last English Roman Catholic Arch Bishop of Canterbury, he received an excellent education. Moving then to Rome and mixing with the religious and intellectual elite. He would inevitably be pulled into the orbit of the powerful Medici family, where he served as Master of the Horse to Cosmo Medici Duke of Florence receiving a yearly salary of 300 ducats.

Love and Marriage

Following the death of Henry VIII in 1547 he visited London in the company of some foreign ambassadors where he attended a masqued ball given by Edward VI and met and fell in love with Mabel Browne an English Roman Catholic who was his brother’s stepdaughter. They later married and returned to Ireland eventually to live at Kilkea castle.

Kilkea Castle - photo credit Marnie Farrell

3

Kilkea Castle – photo credit Marnie Farrell

Death and “The Tower”

In 1552 Edward VI “The Boy-King” restored most of the Fitzgerald lands including the old Norman castle of Kilkea where it was believed that Gerald “The Wizard Earl” practiced magic in a special ‘workroom’ located in the highest tower of the castle. The Roman Catholic Queen Mary would restore the titles of Earl of Kildare and Baron of Offaly to him in recognition for his help in the subjugation of the Protestant rebel Thomas Wyatt. Gerald ever the pragmatist would later at the insistence of Elizabeth l eventually renounce his Roman Catholic Faith probably to defer a charge of treason. This, however, would not save him from a place only too familiar to the Fitzgeralds. He died in 1585 after a period of internment in The Tower of London. But he would at least, escape the executioner’s gruesome talents.

Ghostly Horseman

Legend has it that “The Wizard Earl” actually disappeared after demonstrating his magic powers to his wife. On the condition that she showed no fear lest he is dammed for eternity. he first made the waters of the river rise up to her mouth, then caused a Deadman to walk and shake her hand before conjuring up a large hissing snake which coiled its body around her. The Countess remained impassive throughout the ordeal, until finally “The Wizard Earl” turned himself into a bird which flew up and landed on her shoulder and started to sing a most beautiful song……A black cat then pounced and the Countess fainted in shock. “The Wizard Earl” disappeared! Never to return in mortal form. His Ghost, however, returns to Kilkea Castle every seven years mounted on a fearsome white steed shod with silver shoes! The same ghostly specter has also been seen galloping across the Curragh leading a band of phantom horsemen!

The Wizard Earl's Workshop at Kilkea Castle

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The Wizard Earl’s Workshop at Kilkea Castle

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WikipdeiaGerald Fitzgerald 11th Earl of Kildare

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Stephany Rose Spaulding on Her Congressional Run and Black Women Doing the Impossible

Stephany Rose Spaulding, Ph.D., wants to make history by turning Colorado’s 5th Congressional District politically blue for the first time. She is competing against the Republican incumbent, Doug Lamborn, in this year’s midterm election and spoke to EBONY about the important issues she’s running on.

Dr. Spaulding, why did you decide to run for Congress?

I decided to run because of the 2016 election cycle and witnessing the level of vitriol and divisiveness that we as a nation experienced. Having to respond to the kind of devastation that my students were feeling. . . and trying to hold people together, I recognized that at that moment, we had to do something. I didn’t necessarily know that it would turn into running for office on the congressional level. I wanted to ensure that they understood that it was not the time to give up, but the time to live our values that much more.

Wonderfully enough, I actually went to the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., in January 2017. It was there where I began to understand for myself what doing more looked like. I didn’t know I would run for office when I left to go to D.C., but that night coming back to the hotel room, I got a message from a friend of mine who asked me if I ever heard of Brand New Congress. I had not. Their goal is to flip the entire Congress, and while I recognized that to be ambitious, she wanted to nominate me and that’s when the seed was planted that I should look at the upcoming congressional race.

Stephany Rose Spaulding

YouTube

How do you feel about having gotten this far and possibly winning in November?

It is absolutely amazing! I can say for certain that when I did come back to Colorado Springs and began exploring what a congressional run would look like, there were enough people telling me it was not possible. [They told me] the district had never been run by a Democrat, this is a predominately White, conservative evangelical community and did I recognize who I was and where I was? And of course, I did. I know I am a Black woman, I know that I am progressive, but as I shared with other people, life in the U.S. for African-American women is not easy. We’re used to doing the things that people think are the most improbable and having great success in that work.

I am blown away by what we have been able to accomplish, and we’ve been able to do it with just people on the ground. We haven’t had tremendous national support, and I am grateful that we have gotten this far.

What have your possible constituents been telling you as you campaign?

They have been tremendously inspired by this campaign in ways I don’t think have ever manifested before, and that for us is a blessing. We have been able to have conversations that they haven’t been able to have with the current incumbent, who is supposedly a representative and not doing much.

We’ve had complex issues around health care. When most people talk about universal health care, moving toward expanding Medicare for all, which I’m an advocate for, it looks very different in my district. I know that because of the conversation and connection point  I’ve had with people on the ground. One of our counties, Park County, has zero pharmacies. It doesn’t have medical facilities. People have to travel three hours or wait for months before they can actually see a provider. That is a different conversation for me than talking about universal health care; that is not just about having insurance but having access. We’ve been able to have really rich conversations.

Part of my district is in rural spaces. When we have conversations about equitable access to education, yes, it is around teacher funding; yes, it is around attracting exciting and innovative professionals to work in those districts and giving quality education, but we have areas where there’s no access to broadband. Our students don’t have the internet. While people are fighting over wanting a free and fast internet, we have people who just want a working internet.

Besides health care and access to the internet, What other issues are you running on?

Education, equity, and the environment. We also have a housing crisis  . . . [and]  inequitable to employment opportunities, even though it looks like everybody in Colorado is working, according to national surveys. We have disparities in what people are earning and a housing market that’s pricing them out. The tax plan has really impacted working-class families, so supporting working-class families is part of our platform as well. [So is] supporting military families because we have one of the highest installations of military populations in this district.

If you win, what is the first thing you want to tackle once you take office?

The absolute first thing on my heart to do is immigration reform. To renew and to write a clean Dream Act because we have DACA recipients whose lives have been in the balance for the last year and a half. We have families who are still separated on the border and children who are being traumatized. That is  first for me in terms of national policy. That has to happen as soon as we’re sworn in.

Why is it important for people to go out and vote and how they can get registered in Colorado?

Nationally, the easiest way for anyone to check their voter registration is vote.org, and that is for any state in the Union. You can go to any state and check your registration. Specifically for Colorado, you can check at govotecolorado.com.

It is important this cycle and every cycle for us to participate because elections have consequences. We are experiencing the impact of those consequences because so many people either stayed home and did not vote in the 2016 election cycle, or they chose not to vote for particular races. Not only do we have to vote so we get the kind of legislation and legislatures who will move our country forward and not backward, but we also have to make sure we are voting down ballot for every single race, every single ballot initiative that includes the judges, we have to vote the whole ticket.

Study finds hiring booms bypass poorest residents

Baltimore

A healthy dose of job growth has long been seen as a likely cure for poverty. But new research suggests that poor Americans are frequently left behind even when their cities or communities benefit from hiring booms.

When such cities as Atlanta and Charlotte enjoyed a job surge in the 20 years that began in 1990, for example, the job gains mostly bypassed residents — often African-American — who had been born into poverty.

That is among the findings of a study led by Raj Chetty, a Harvard economist whose newly launched Opportunity Atlas found no association between job growth and economic mobility for poor residents of the affected areas.

“Job growth is not sufficient by itself to create upward mobility,” Chetty said. “It’s almost as though racial disparities have been amplified by job growth.”

His finding challenges much of the conventional thinking, of government officials, business executives and economists, that job gains are the surest way to lift up people in impoverished communities.

President Donald Trump pledged to save neglected towns through “jobs, jobs, jobs.” His 2016 presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, asserted that government investments to foster hiring would help create “an economy that works for everyone.” Governors and mayors have traded tax breaks for pledges by companies to create jobs in distressed communities.

But Chetty and his colleagues, whose atlas examined communities down to Census tract levels, found that economic mobility hinges more frequently on other factors. A person’s race, for example, plays a pivotal role. Economic mobility varied widely among people of different races who lived in the same neighborhoods in Los Angeles or Houston, among other places.

Additionally, living in neighborhoods with many two-parent families improves the likelihood of emerging from poverty— even when someone was raised by a single parent. Mobility is often greater for children who come from neighborhoods with higher-priced housing. And it’s generally better when a high proportion of adults in a neighborhood are working, according to the analysis by Chetty; economists Nathaniel Hendren of Harvard and John Friedman of Brown University; and researchers Sonya Porter and Maggie Jones of the Census Bureau.

In the two decades that ended in 2010, the Atlanta and Charlotte areas were flooded with jobs. But many of the people hired were moving to these areas, so people from poorer neighborhoods essentially got cut out of the boom.

Metro Pittsburgh, on the other hand, lost jobs between 1990 and 2010, yet its residents’ economic mobility improved as the area became a nexus for college graduates working in technology and health care.

In the Seattle area, the home of such corporate powerhouses as Amazon and Microsoft, both jobs and economic mobility grew over the same period.

Disparities exist not just among metro areas but also among neighborhoods within the same city, according to an Associated Press examination of the data in the Opportunity Atlas.

In Baltimore, the “Old Town” neighborhood near Johns Hopkins Hospital is a mecca of entrepreneurship. The number of jobs there surged 21 percent between 2004 and 2013, compared with job growth of just 3.4 percent nationally.

Yet the neighborhood is marked by abandoned storefronts, public housing and a 93 percent nonwhite population. More than half its residents live in poverty. And the Opportunity Atlas shows that a low-income child from that neighborhood is likely to become even poorer as an adult.

For nearly four years, a program called Turn Around Tuesday has been trying to address this mismatch between employers and residents in the neighborhood. Backed by the interfaith group Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, the program seeks to match employers like Johns Hopkins to workers who have lived in poverty, have struggled with drug addiction or have criminal records but who are regarded as qualified for a job.

Recently, about 40 people gathered in a church basement as Melvin Wilson, the co-director, offered a prayer before getting into the business of getting and holding onto steady work.

“Pray for jobs,” he said. “Though we’ve created 555 living-wage jobs, you know, as we know, God, that’s not enough.”

The Getty to Start a Research Center for African-American Art

LOS ANGELES — African-American art history resources could be described as something of a diaspora: Early letters by an important artist might be held at one university, her most prominent exhibition materials filed away at a museum, and notebooks and sketchbooks still stashed away in the artist’s studio. Today the Getty Research Institute is announcing a new program to help bring the pieces together: The African American Art History Initiative.

At its heart are plans for the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, the academic branch of the J. Paul Getty Trust, to strengthen its African-American holdings through key archival acquisitions, and it has begun by collecting the papers of the pioneering assemblage artist Betye Saar, who lives in the city.

Kellie Jones, a Columbia University art historian who will be a senior consultant on this project, calls the Saar acquisition a strong start: “Saar is one of the major African-American artists in the region, somebody whom artists like John Outterbridge and David Hammons look up to. And she was born in 1926, so to start with something this wide-ranging is wonderful.”

With an initial budget of $5 million, the Getty has committed to hiring a curator and bibliographer in the field to help make new acquisitions and develop research projects, subsidizing two postgraduate fellowships in the field each year and partnering with educational institutions and museums to help them preserve, digitize and make public their own archives.

The Getty’s initial partners include the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, the California African American Museum, Art+Practice in Los Angeles and Spelman College in Atlanta, which has just received $5.4 million from the Walton Family Foundation to create the Atlanta University Center collective for the Study of Art History and Curatorial Studies.

“The Getty is not trying to do this all alone but in partnership with other important institutions,” said James Cuno, the trust’s president.

“I think the collaborative ethos here makes this project really exciting,” added Ms. Jones. “The collaboration can help move important archives out into other facets of the contemporary art world, whether the classroom or the museum.”

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Kehinde Wiley, artist who painted Obama, unveils ‘power portraits’ of St. Louisans

Ashley Cooper thought the artist might be pulling a prank.

At a Little Caesars pizzeria in north St. Louis, an entourage with lights and a camera asked to take her photo. She would be paid.

“I was like, ‘Is this a joke?’”

Cooper, 31, and her sister, Shontay Haynes, 28, went to the St. Louis Art Museum last year for an official photo shoot. They were two of several people Kehinde Wiley found here for his latest art exhibit. “Street casting,” he calls it.

Cooper was a little nervous early this week about how the artwork — a huge oil painting based on those photos — turned out. But the Wellston resident was eager for the exhibit’s opening: “I just want to see how beautiful I look.”

Last year, Cooper had never heard of Wiley. But several months after his summer trip here, Wiley received international attention when his official portrait of former President Barack Obama was unveiled. The painting hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

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Obama Portrait

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama stand on stage as their official portraits are unveiled at a ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, in Washington. Barack Obama’s portrait was painted by artist Kehinde Wiley, and Michelle Obama’s portrait was painted by artist Amy Sherald. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The St. Louis exhibit with its 11 large artworks is Wiley’s first since the Obama portrait was revealed and may appeal to an even broader audience than he’s had before.

“There’s been a whole new level of interest after the Obama portrait,” says Simon Kelly, the museum’s curator of modern and contemporary art. “Wiley is an important figure within portraiture and in contemporary African-American art.”

Although made particularly for the St. Louis Art Museum, the paintings follow Wiley’s famous, signature style: realistic images of African-Americans, many posed like historic images of kings and gentry.

In them, gold and silver jewelry seems to reference the adornments of the wealthy sitters from hundreds of years earlier. The backgrounds, like the one in the Obama portrait, show repeating patterns of colorful ivy, vines and flowers. In St. Louis, the backgrounds look like vibrant William Morris wallpapers fighting for control: Vines and flowers push in front of the humans, wrapping legs possessively. But the people in the black frames hold their confident and regal poses.

Wiley saw the work framed and mounted on the museum walls Wednesday. He had arrived that afternoon from New York to celebrate the exhibit, which runs through Feb. 10.

As he looked at the largest oil painting, a commanding 9-by-11-foot canvas of three women, Wiley was pleased:

“This is pretty badass.”

He surveys all 11 works’ placement, assessing whether the choices he made “feel good.”

The paintings ask “who are these people, what are their narratives?” he says. But they also question whether art can really reveal a person.

“My work lives somewhere in the gap between what is possible and what is actual.”

Three years ago

St. Louis “is a perfect example of America’s cities,” cities that give rise to our stories, our inheritance, Wiley says.

The art museum’s planning for the exhibit goes back to 2015, Kelly says. Wiley then came here last summer and spent hours walking through the museum to look at the historical paintings for inspiration.

“It was like a treasure hunt for him,” says Hannah Klemm, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art.

The range of objects he chose were broader than Klemm and Kelly expected. One is a relatively modern piece, “Three Girls in a Wood” by German painter Otto Müller (1920). That primitivist painting has been described as portraying “three non-Western nude figures in a studio-contrived scene of nature.” The artist was influenced by Gauguin and did the painting on burlap.

“Wiley hasn’t chosen anything before that was that abstract,” Klemm says.

“Three Girls in a Wood” was the inspiration for the “badass” 9-by-11 painting. Its seated women are Lynora Foote, Nakia Taylor and Lynette Foote, all of St. Louis, the museum says.

The grouping is similar to the figures in the wood, but the St. Louisans are fully clothed and painted in sharp detail, tattoos included. One wears overalls with stars. Another has a Band-Aid that’s so realistic, it looks like it’s been on the finger a day or two.

In addition to the unusual choice of the 1920 painting, Wiley also picked a statue called “Tired Mercury” and a drawing, “Saint Jerome Hearing the Trumpet of the Last Judgment.”

The other historic progenitors are more traditional picks for Wiley, who, as Kelly says, often references paintings that evoke a history of power, colonization and slavery. “Power portraits,” as Kelly puts it.

A Dutch portrait of “Charles I” shows the monarch in rich red and white, hat monstrous with plumage. The king posed for Daniel Martensz Mytens the Elder with his hand on his hip, a jeweled crown beside him. The painting apparently was made in 1633 (before Charles was executed in 1649).

Wiley himself has been quoted as saying his work is partially about “drawing attention to a very real, lived present, to people who are oftentimes ignored, people who are diminished into two-dimensional caricatures. I wanted to treat them with the same loving hand, with the same attention to detail that was devoted to some of the most powerful people in European history.”

Two area residents are posed as Charles I, the title of each painting.

Remastered

Cooper didn’t know it before the exhibit, but she is in one of the “Charles I” paintings.

In Wiley’s work, Cooper is in a 6- or 7-foot frame, her bare legs glowing like burnished copper. She has long braids and leather sandals and wears camo print. The pattern of her clothing seems to morph from greens and browns to blues and purple, as if not just vines from the background are finding their way onto her body, but the colors are, too.

The other “Charles” is Thomas Bradley, whom Wiley found in a Ferguson barbershop.

“For me to be in an art museum, that’s uncanny,” Bradley says. “That’s mind-blowing.”

Wiley showed Bradley, 28, samples of his work: “I am a big art fan myself. Everything he showed me, it was really tasteful.”

Bradley remembers standing for 30 or so photos in various poses. He was paid a few hundred dollars. But, he says, “it was an honor just to be chosen. I would have done it for free.”

Wiley says that some of his sitters get to pick how they want to be seen. But with the St. Louis project, he had chosen the historic references, so he described to some extent how he wanted the subjects to pose.

He says, “I told all of the sitters, ‘Remember, this will be in a museum. Think about what you’d like to wear.’” Little in the paintings actually alludes to the area — except for one hat labeled “Ferguson.”

A few years ago, an article in New York magazine called Wiley “the most successful black artist since Basquiat, possibly the wealthiest painter of his generation” and “the gallery world’s most popular hip-hop ambassador.” Born in 1977, the artist who grew up in South Central LA earned a master’s in fine arts from Yale University. He’s now painted people around the world and has multiple studios, including one in China.

Not all art critics are fans, of course, pointing out that his studio includes assistants to fill in the backgrounds or saying his motifs are too similar. Wiley says in the magazine article, “I don’t want you to know every aspect of where my hand starts and ends, or how many layers go underneath the skin, or how I got that glow to happen.”

But when tickets for his art lecture in St. Louis went on sale, they sold out in minutes. (It was to be live-streamed Friday and should appear on the museum’s YouTube channel.)

Klemm calls Wiley’s work “eminently relatable,” saying it’s “art that people who don’t think they like contemporary art get.”

Arnold Tutson Jr., of O’Fallon, Ill., met Wiley when the artist asked him for a haircut last summer. He Googled Wiley to learn about him. “I was most impressed with his insight with the culture and artistry. How he can combine so many elements of society and articulate what it means.”

Tutson, 38, who works at Breeze Unisex Salon in north St. Louis, was too busy to cut Wiley’s hair, so another barber did it. Both posed for portraits, but Tutson didn’t learn for a while that he had been chosen for one of the paintings.

“A year goes by, and I get a phone call and email. I was blown away.”

Tutson says he was so excited to be part of the show. He planned to bring not only his wife and kids to the exhibit, but also his mother (who has ALS and uses a wheelchair) and brother, who recently got out of prison.

Like the other sitters, he didn’t immediately connect Wiley’s name with the recognizable paintings, some of which have appeared on TV’s “Empire.”

But Tutson had been familiar with the work: “In the African-American community, it’s a big deal when someone does something like paint President Obama.”

For “street” models, too. As any power portrait would be.

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