Monday, December 5, 2016

Hurray for the Riff Raff - "Rican Beach"

In “Rican Beach,” frontwoman Alynda Segarra sings a dedication to the Standing Rock water protectors. In a press release, Segarra says:
"This is dedicated to the water protectors of Standing Rock – thank you for your bravery and giving us hope. Also, to the people of Peñuelas, Puerto Rico, who are demanding an end to the AES dumping of coal ash which leads to water contamination – we are with you.

All over the world there are heroes, who, despite suffering generations of oppression, are protecting the land and the future of our humanity. Rican Beach is a fictional place, but it was written with my ancestors in mind. It’s time to call on yours and to always remember: this land was made for you and me."

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Michael Jordan Workout

Live Strong:
In 1989, no championship rings yet decorated the fingers of Chicago Bulls shooting guard Michael Jordan. He was in his fifth year as a pro and able to pour in 30 to 40 points most games, but the Bulls hadn’t been able to get past the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference postseason. Personal trainer Tim Grover saw an article on Jordan’s frustrations with the physical, strong play of the Pistons and contacted the Bulls’ team physician, leading to his being hired to train Jordan in 1989. Added strength in his upper body, core and legs helped Jordan propel the Bulls to six championships from 1991 to 1998.


Grover’s workout for Jordan focused on core strength, on the theory that a solid core is essential to helping an athlete run faster, jump higher and reach his athletic potential. While athletes and gym goers typically presume that core training means abs strengthening via crunches, these can neglect your oblique and erector muscles, Grover told “Stack” magazine. Strengthening all the core muscles increases athletic performance and helps you to avoid injury.

Balance and Resistance Work

Jordan’s workout included the anterior reach on one leg, involving extending the arms forward and extending the nonplant leg straight back. His Airness worked on squats on an unstable object, such as a balance board, holding the squat with his thighs parallel to the ground. Walkouts required bending at the waist and walking forward on the hands with the legs straight until the body was fully extended and then walking the hands back to the feet. Jordan is also shown in a rare video on performing dumbbell and bench presses, as well as biceps curls with an EZ bar. Grover suggests extra attention to the shoulders and legs for basketball players, including deadlifts, squats and power cleans, as well as good mornings -- forward bends performed with an unweighted bar on the shoulders.

Medicine Balls

Jordan had to do pushups on medicine balls and medicine ball situps, holding the medicine ball above his chest with both hands throughout the entire motion of the situp. He also did 6-inch leg raises that involved lying on his back and raising his straightened legs off the floor, holding the position for two to three seconds and returning to the starting position.

Time Frame

The core workouts occurred twice a week and involved two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. On other days, Jordan worked for an hour on agility, quick repetitions and light weight lifting as part of an early morning workout plan, beginning by 8 a.m. and lasting for one hour. He completed his strength workouts before going to the Berto Center in Deerfield, Illinois, for the Bulls’ two-hour practice beginning at 11 a.m.


Teammates, including Scottie Pippen, began to join the morning strength and agility sessions. Jordan’s chef would cook the players breakfast afterward, and thus they became known as the Breakfast Club. The results were especially clear at the foul line, where Bulls players displayed some of the most developed biceps and deltoids in the NBA, and in the scoreline, as the team became capable not only of defeating the rival Pistons and Celtics with superior strength but also besting the Western Conference champs in the NBA Finals.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cards Against Humanity FTW

On Friday, Cards Against Humanity, the maker of the popular card game, announced it was celebrating Black Friday by digging a hole in the ground for as long as people were willing to pay for it.

"The holidays are here, and everything in America is going really well. To celebrate Black Friday, Cards Against Humanity is digging a tremendous hole in the earth," the company said.

Starting at 1 p.m. ET on Friday, Cards Against Humanity launched its Holiday Hole campaign. For every dollar donated, the company added 1.8 seconds to the "dig clock."

It is unclear if all of the $100,573 raised went into the equipment rental and labor costs or if the company has any leftover funds for use as it sees fit. The company is slated to release an update about the event soon.

And if it keeps going until it hits magma? "At least then we'd feel something," the company said.

Getting people to throw their money away for nothing has become a tradition for the maker of the self-proclaimed "party game for horrible people."

Last year, its Black Friday deal was just as unusual as the company asked people to give it $5 to receive absolutely nothing in return. The stunt brought in more than $71,145, which Cards Against Humanity split among its employees. Two years ago, the company even sold $180,000 worth of actual bull poop.

"You're supposed to think it's funny," the company said of this year's shenanigans. "You might not get it for a while, but some time next year you'll chuckle quietly to yourself and remember all this business about the hole."

Monday, November 28, 2016

Day Wave - "Gone"

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fidel Castro

When it came to matching words with deeds on the topic of racial equality, the most stalwart leader of the Western hemisphere, over the course of the 20th century, was Fidel Castro.

Now we are again feeling the heat of the burning topic, the man, who bonded black Americans to his Caribbean island. Yes, it was Fidel Castro who—even though out of power now for years—is angering so many Americans, especially police officers, over his signature action three decades ago.

It was Fidel who gave amnesty to Joanne Chesimard, known now as Assata Shakur, still wanted in the 1973 killing of a New Jersey state trooper, Werner Foerster, in a highway shootout. Shakur was convicted but was busted out of prison in 1979 by comrades. As a leading figure in the Black Liberation Army, which took bolder actions than even the Black Panther Party did, not only getting into gun fights with cops but holding up banks, Shakur became a legend in her time, a Robin Hood of the black masses.

On Dec. 17, in an historical moment, President Barack Obama announced he would seek to normalize relations with Cuba. On the same day, federal and New Jersey police officials repeated their offer of $2 million for information leading to the capture of Shakur. Last year the feds made Shakur the only woman on the FBI Most Wanted Persons list.

You can be sure on black websites and newspapers there will be attention given to the increasing calls for Shakur’s capture or negotiated return. That attention will come with a history.

Castro did not just provide a haven for fugitive revolutionaries, who made the argument, accepted by perhaps a majority of Cubans under Fidel Castro, that blacks were an oppressed people fighting for fair treatment and an end to police abuses in their communities.

No, he was a kind of Martin Luther King with power. For example, before the Cuban revolutionaries led by Castro took over Cuba in 1959, there was fairly rigid racial segregation through the country, including, for example, Santa Clara in the interior of Cuba.

When I was in Santa Clara in early 2001, a woman there told me how black and white Cubans in the 1950s and earlier had walked along different paths around the beautiful downtown Vidal Park. (All it took in Cuba to be white was to have straight hair, be fair complexioned and not want to be called “negro.”)

This racial division largely ended under the government of Fidel Castro. Moreover, Castro made an effort to reach out to blacks in the US.

When he came to New York in 1960 for a United Nations meeting, Castro got upset at the management of the hotel where he was staying, the Shelburne, and he packed his bags and took his entourage up to the Theresa Hotel in Harlem, where he famously leaned out of the window and waved to the black residents of the community. Thousands of Harlemites called out his name in a bonding-with-power they were totally unaccustomed to.

And it didn’t stop there.

In the 1980s, before the end of the Cold War, Fidel sent some 25,000 troops to fight in Angola, on the side of those opposing the then-apartheid government of South Africa. This aspect of Castro’s time in power was little reported in the US media. Fidel militantly opposed racist South Africa at a time when the US was diplomatically supporting it.

It was I who in 1987 first reported that Shakur had actually escaped to Cuba and was residing there, protected by Castro. I spent several days with Shakur at her apartment and walking along the Malecón; my Newsday colleague, photographer Ozier Muhammad, photographed her as she posed provocatively outside the US Interests Section, hands up in victory.

As you know, things have changed since then.

The Soviets stopped supporting Cuba; and then the Soviet Union collapsed to the ground. For two decades there has been speculation that one day a liberal American president might move to end the now-half-century embargo against trade with Cuba and allow Americans to travel there freely.

Republicans and many Democrats were outraged at what they called a concession by Obama to the communism they said Cuba—through the retired Fidel’s brother Raul—still represents.

Muffled in the discussion on cable channels are the feelings of kinship and appreciation that black Americans hold for Fidel Castro.

Federal officials and others are aware of how Shakur has become a kind of folk hero among black Americans and even blacks in the Caribbean, with a number of parents over the past 25 years naming their daughters Assata.

Adding to the appeal for blacks is Assata Shakur’s connection to the late rapper Tupac Shakur, who is related to Assata through his male ancestors (though not by blood) and is considered a nephew.

By the way, Assata is not the only revolutionary received by Fidel with open arms. He also gave asylum to Nehanda Obiodun (formerly Cheri Laverne Dalton), the only person still wanted in the early 1981 $1.5 million Brinks armored vehicle holdup in Nanuet, New York, in which two police officers were killed.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

- Cannabis as Medicine

More information:
» Waking Times: "This Is The Cannabis Oil Recipe Rick Simpson Used To Heal His Cancer"


On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Marcus Peters held a black-gloved fist aloft during the national anthem, an homage to the 1968 black-power protest of John Carlos and Tommie Smith. Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots raised their fists, too, and four members of the Miami Dolphins kneeled on the ground during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” with Arian Foster saying after the game, “They say it’s not the time to do this. When is the time? It’s never the time in somebody else’s eye, because they’ll always feel like it’s good enough. And some people don’t.”

It’s not just an NFL thing. Soccer player Megan Rapinoe took a knee during the anthem. So did a football player at Indiana State University and high schoolers in Nebraska, Kentucky, Virginia, Illinois, Minnesota, and Maryland. All of these athletes are following Colin Kaepernick’s lead. Back in August, Steve Wyche of NFL Media asked the San Francisco 49ers quarterback why he didn’t stand for the national anthem. (He’d done the same thing the previous two weeks but nobody had noticed.) When Kaepernick explained he was protesting the oppression of black Americans, he was widely ridiculed as an ignorant, washed-up millionaire athlete who just wanted attention. Well, one of those things was true. Kaepernick did want attention, and he’s getting it. The guy in the Fidel Castro T-shirt is changing the way we talk and think about sports and symbology and patriotism. The people calling him a dummy are having the conversation Colin Kaepernick wants them to have.

The pundits who disagreed with Kaepernick’s stance didn’t just tell us they disagreed with his decision to protest. The Daily Caller called him both an “uneducated idiot” and an “uneducated coward.” Fox Sports’ Clay Travis termed Kaepernick an “idiot” twice and a “fucking idiot” twice more, writing that his “decision not to stand for the national anthem … [is] an insult to anyone with a working brain.” Tomi Lahren of Glenn Beck’s the Blaze promised to “eviscerate [Kaepernick’s] mouth diarrhea,” saying he’s a “whiny, indulgent, attention-seeking crybaby.”

What has Kaepernick’s supposedly empty gesture achieved thus far? It’s inspired football players and other athletes to speak up about race and police violence, and to do so in such a way that reporters, fans, and team owners actually pay attention. According to Robert Klemko, more than 70 NFL players, including Kaepernick, Foster, and Richard Sherman, are in a group text talking about “what Kaep started.” That’s not a gesture. That’s a movement.

The 49ers franchise announced they would donate $1 million to, in the words of the team’s chief executive, Jed York, “the cause of improving racial and economic inequality and fostering communication and collaboration between law enforcement and the communities they serve here in the Bay Area.” Kaepernick has pledged $1 million of his own money to address the same issues. “I have to help these people. I have to help these communities. It’s not right that they’re not put in a position to succeed or given those opportunities to succeed,” he said. That’s a movement with money to back it up.

Just as important, Kaepernick has made his fellow Americans think about what they’re standing for, and why. It wasn’t typical for NFL players to stand for the national anthem until 2009—before then, it was customary for players to stay in the locker room as the anthem played.* A 2015 congressional report revealed that the Department of Defense had paid $5.4 million to NFL teams between 2011 and 2014 to stage on-field patriotic ceremonies; the National Guard shelled out $6.7 million for similar displays between 2013 and 2015.

And as the San Francisco Chronicle’s Ann Killion noted, if you think Kaepernick’s gesture is an empty one, you need to grapple with the fact that “standing for the national anthem before a sporting event is an equally empty gesture for many people.” Consider that, as Marcus Peters raised his right fist in Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, thousands of fans interrupted the supposedly sacred anthem to yell out “home of the CHIEFS!” Thousands more jersey-wearing, beer-swilling patriots booed President Obama’s pre-recorded Sept. 11 speech as it poured out of PA systems in Baltimore, Seattle, and New Jersey. Patriotism!

If Kaepernick had donated $1 million without the anthem protest, or if he’d stuck to venting on social media, then prominent columnists and TV yakkers wouldn’t be calling him an idiot. Nobody would be saying anything at all, because nobody would care. Back in our nonhypothetical universe, an NFL player who happens to be black and happens to play quarterback happened to sit during a patriotic pre-game ritual to protest the country’s racial inequities. Kaepernick’s gesture worked because it was divisive—because his supporters celebrated him for giving voice to the voiceless, and because his detractors amplified that voice by trying to shout it down with ad hominem attacks. His protest, striking at the heart of America’s most cherished pieties from the stage of its favorite sport, was precision engineered to accomplish exactly what it’s accomplished, and the response has only proved its necessity. Who’s the idiot now?

More information:
» Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: "Insulting Colin Kaepernick says more about our patriotism than his"