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Archive Monthly Archives: July 2017

What happens when children’s books fail to confront the complexity of slavery? | Michael W Twitty

We need literature that wrestles with the evils of slavery while confronting its complexity especially when its written for children

A book called George Washingtons Birthday Cake has caused controversy for depicting a smiling black cook, in this case chef Hercules and his daughter, preparing cake in the kitchen for the president, who held in bondage hundreds of enslaved workers. It is unclear what kind of moment we are witnessing on the cover. Is it familial love, servile obedience, or, perhaps, a smile to hide the pain of being enslaved? Improving our understanding of the lives of slaves is key to answering those uncomfortable questions.

The rationale which the illustrator, Vanessa Brantley-Newton, gave for the happy slaves imagery was that these enslaved folk, identified as servants, were proud and felt privileged to serve a man of such a great stature. In her plea for a middle ground, the author, Ramin Ganeshram, argued that not every enslaved person was in the middle of hell every single second, and therefore, smiling isnt an unreasonable thing to suggest.

I know Ganeshram, as do many in the black culinary scene. I have not dialogued with her about the book, nor have I had the opportunity to read it. Both the author and illustrator, are of color. On the surface, they are right on both counts. But why are we still uncomfortable, opposed and furious even after the book has been pulled?

Part of the problem is that our society has poorly dealt with slavery in relation to our children. The first talk about race, especially for children of color, should confront American slavery, and it would be great if there were a plethora of books to ease that process. This book, although well-intentioned, doesnt quite succeed.

We need literature that wrestles with the evils of slavery while confronting its complexity we have yet to find a middle ground for a national conversation and understanding of the peculiar institution that doesnt sandwich our understanding between slavery as Maafa and slavery as Song of the South.

I remind my audiences at period cooking demonstrations that slavery was colloquial and discretionary. Slavery differed from property to property, slaveholder to slaveholder and from one enslaved community to the next. A one- size-fits-all narrative is insufficient.

As one of a very few people willing to portray and interpret the lives of the enslaved, and as one of an even more select group someone whose cooking career is almost entirely based on the cooking done by enslaved people for kitchens high and low it becomes easier to enter the headspace of a Hercules or James Hemings, both of whom were slave chefs to US presidents.

Hercules might very well have felt at times in his life power, autonomy, authority and an elevated status. He would have felt some measure of attainment and pride in his skill set and his ability to make money. Enslaved culinary professionals werent quite the House Negroes of Malcolm Xs parables, nor were they constantly plotting revenge.

They lived very complicated lives with fuzzy lines between themselves and white slaveholders on one hand, and the black community of artisans, field workers and their fellow domestic staff on the other if they were in fact on a property able to maintain such diversity of labor.

However, the close proximity to slaveholders presented constant dangers for the enslaved who worked in kitchens. The kitchen was perhaps the number one space where the rape of enslaved women occurred. A cook might be fixed with a horses bit to prevent them from eating the food, or find their whole head caged in the most severe of cases. One mistress in the French Caribbean calmly entertained guests after having her cook burned alive in the oven for burning a cake. This was not a place of ever-sun; it was a liminal zone of hardship and horror.

Hercules ran away on George Washingtons birthday, after having spent some time at Mount Vernon demoted from his position. After his loyalty and service was repaid by having to work outside in wet, cold Virginia weather, Hercules successfully absconded.

When his daughter (presumably the one depicted on the cover) was asked how she felt about her fathers absence, she said she was pleased he had obtained his freedom. Hercules was later seen in New York in 1801 by the then mayor, but by then, all of Washingtons chattel had been emancipated.

Keeping ourselves and others honest about slavery in American history and beyond is constant work. I perform historic cooking demonstrations on a southern plantation in order to preserve the past. When I lift those pots heavy with boiling water, cook as our ancestors did and pick cotton for 16 hours, I am often dismissed by visitors with a good luck with that attitude.

But its not my job alone to bear the burdens of our heritage we as African Americans must own our past and keep others honest about it so we can move forward. Still, I have yet to see a majority African American audience at one of my historic cooking demonstrations on a southern plantation, or at other events meant to draw in the African American community. We still fear the plantation.

The weight of social media outrage over a book cover pales in comparison to the importance of keeping historic sites and house museums honest when they use terms like servants, or when visitors try to assuage their discomfort by assuring themselves that everything was satisfactual and loudly proclaim that slavery wasnt so bad, or that x group had it far worse.

All of us must be engaged in a greater cultural and historical literacy so that when the story of our ancestors is told and the books are read to all children, our complicated history of struggle and sorrow, joy and triumph receives a depiction that bears resemblance to the truth.

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How to Start a Blog – A Blogging Guide for Beginners – The Good Men Project (blog)

How to Start a Blog – A Blogging Guide for Beginners
The Good Men Project (blog)
Starting a blog has never been easier. In fact, anyone with 20 minutes of spare time can start blogging and building an online empire. With coding knowledge no longer a prerequisite and a plethora of online guides to making money on the internet, the

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Live Cowboys training camp updates – day six – with integrated Twitter feed – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

Live Cowboys training camp updates – day six – with integrated Twitter feed
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Blogging The Boys Blogging The Boys, a Dallas Cowboys fan community. Log In or Sign Up · Log In · Sign Up · Fanposts · Fanshots · Sections; Library; Cowboys · Odds · Shop · About · Masthead · Community Guidelines · StubHub; More. All 319 blogs on.

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Nikki Sixx launches campaign to get YouTube to ‘do the right thing’ over music royalties

Mtley Cre and Sixx:AM co-founder wants to swell the chorus of criticism of Google service from musicians and persuade it to up its payouts

Mtley Cre co-founder Nikki Sixx is the latest musician to criticise YouTube over the royalties it pays out for music video streams. Sixxs call for the video site to pay more to musicians for using their videos is part of a campaign by a coalition of prominent musicians launching this week, with pressure to be put first on YouTube, then on US legislators.

Sixx and James Michael partner in his current band Sixx:AM are calling for more artists to speak out and put pressure on YouTube to match the royalty payouts of music streaming rivals. A number of big names are expected to speak out this week.

YouTube is paying out about a sixth of what Spotify and Apple pay artists, Sixx told the Guardian, on the eve of a world tour that he intends to use to bring the issue to wider prominence. We are not telling them how to run their business. Were saying treat artists fairly the way other streaming services are. And by the way, we are a big part of what built your business: music is the No 1 most-searched thing on YouTube.

Sixx:AM are joining a debate that has heated up in recent weeks, as legislators on both sides of the Atlantic mull reform of the safe harbour laws governing sites such as YouTube that allow their users to upload content.

Under current safe harbour laws, these sites are protected from copyright infringement prosecutions as long as they remove any copyrighted material when notified by the rights owners.

The music industry bodies argue that this immunity means YouTube negotiates from a position of strength when negotiating licensing deals with labels and publishers.

They were recently backed by a petition sent to the US Copyright Office for its consultation on safe harbour reform, signed by artists including Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Deadmau5 and Christina Aguilera.

When musicians get involved in debates about streaming royalties, a common criticism is that they are motivated by greed: rich artists grumbling about not being richer. However, Michael who is also a producer who has worked with Meat Loaf, Kelly Clarkson and Alanis Morissette as well as emerging artists stressed that Sixx:AM are speaking out on behalf of their younger, poorer peers.

Fans may look at this and say, You guys are rich, why are you complaining, why do you want more money? But its not just a bunch of rich guys wanting more money, he said. Quite the contrary: this is about the little guy the up and comers that we were at one point. We were afforded the opportunities, but those opportunities will go away if we dont get some balance. This is about the future of music.

A spokesman for YouTube, which is owned by Google, told the Guardian: Google has paid out billions to the music industry, and were engaged in productive conversations with the labels and publishers around increasing transparency on payouts. We believe that by providing artists and songwriters greater visibility around revenue earned on YouTube, we can solve many of these issues.

Were also working hard to bring more revenue to the music industry through our subscription service, as well as continuing to grow our ad supported business, which allows artists and labels to monetize the 80% music listeners who historically have never paid for music.

YouTubes defence against criticism over its music payouts is multi-pronged. First, it points to the $3bn it has paid out to music rights holders so far, noting that they include some young, independent artists who built their fanbases on YouTube.

Violinist Lindsey Stirling, for example, earned more than $6m in the 12-month period up to June 2015 according to Forbes. Those earnings included album sales and tours, but were fuelled by her YouTube channel.

YouTube also points to its Content ID system that identifies copyrighted music uploaded by its users, and enables the rightsholders to remove it from YouTube, or claim the videos and make money from adverts shown around them.

Under safe-harbour laws, rights holders have to send a separate take-down notice every time they find a song that has been uploaded without their permission.

Sixx:AM will continue to use YouTube: We love YouTube. We just want them to pay everybody fairly

Content ID automates that process, with YouTube telling the Guardian that 98% of copyright management on its service taking place through the system, and only 2% through takedown notices. Over 90% of all Content ID claims result in monetisation, resulting in significant revenue for YouTube partners, said a spokesperson.

The complaint from the music industry is that rights holders have to agree to YouTubes licensing terms if they want to use Content ID, and that those terms are inferior to those negotiated with rivals like Spotify, which do not qualify for safe-harbour protection.

YouTube have said, Heres our solution: we will ask artists to agree to our licensing terms, and in exchange for that we will pay you. But what theyre offering to pay is such a small fraction of what their competitors are paying, said Michael.

The technology does already exist to do a much more accurate job of protecting artists against unlicensed use of their music. The problem is that the only way they will engage that technology to protect you is if you agree to their terms. And those terms are just not adequate.

Theyre hiding behind this safe-harbour loophole, added Sixx. That is allowing them the freedom to not take care of artists.

Sixx:AM are about to release their latest album, Prayers for the Damned Vol 1. Despite their campaign over royalties, the band will still use YouTube to promote their music. We love it. Are we planning on pulling [our music] and not even being engaged in YouTube right now? No. We love YouTube. We just want them to pay everybody fairly, said Sixx, who hopes more artists will put pressure on the video services parent company.

Googles original corporate motto was Dont be evil because they wanted to take care of their employees and do things fairly. They recently changed it to Do the right thing, said Sixx.

All were saying to Google, which owns YouTube, is yes, dont be evil! And do the right thing as far as artists are concerned, for the fans. Thats all were saying.

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Generic cialis softtabs (tadalafil) 20mg – What is cialis soft tabs – Island Eye News

Generic cialis softtabs (tadalafil) 20mg – What is cialis soft tabs
Island Eye News
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Caturday blogging: Keeping up with the Kattarshians – Culturess


Culturess

Caturday blogging: Keeping up with the Kattarshians
Culturess
Need more cats in your life? A 24-hour cat camera from The Icelandic Cat Protection Society is here to fill your heart with kitty love on Caturday or any day. If there's one thing the internet can't get enough of, it's (still) cats. But after April the

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Big Insurer Eyes Exit From Obamacare Exchanges

WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest health insurance company is scaling back on marketing its products on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges and is considering pulling its offerings after the current sign-up period ends, UnitedHealth Group announced Thursday.

The company currently sells health plans in 24 states and covers more than half a million of the approximately 9 million consumers who get their health insurance from the exchanges, or about 5 percent of the market. UnitedHealth is losing money on those customers, prompting the company to warn investors Thursday that its exchange business, while a small part of its portfolio, would negatively impact earnings this year.

The Affordable Care Act has successfully reduced the share of Americans without health insurance, which has declined from 14.4 percent in 2013 to 9 percent through the first half of this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But UnitedHealth’s negative outlook reflects uncertainty about the prospects for the exchanges themselves. Insurers report that patients are costlier than expected and premiums are rising an average of 7.5 percent next year, with much higher rate hikes for some products.

The third annual open enrollment period for private health insurance sold on the exchanges began this month and runs until Jan. 31 for benefits that take effect next year. Before sign-ups started, the Department of Health and Human Services downgraded its projections for increased enrollment this year and expects fewer than 1 million new people will use the exchanges to obtain coverage for 2016. Almost 1.1 million people signed up for insurance from Nov. 1 to Nov. 14, and 34 percent of them are new to the exchanges, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Wednesday.

Since the rollout of the health insurance exchanges two years ago, a key question about their future has been whether an adequate number of healthy people would enroll in plans to offset the expenses incurred by those with greater medical needs. For the 2016 enrollment season, insurers for the first time had actual data on their customers’ health care usage, and saw higher-than-expected utilization of services, leading to financial losses and larger premium increases on average across the country.

This dynamic contributed to the closure of most of the nonprofit co-op health insurance plans created under the health care law, and other private health insurance companies report concerns about the profitability of the market. 

“In recent weeks, growth expectations for individual exchange participation have tempered industrywide, co-operatives have failed, and market data has signaled higher risks and more difficulties while our own claims experience has deteriorated, so we are taking this proactive step,” UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley said in a press release, referring to the company’s revision of its earnings projections. 

It would be a blow to Obamacare if UnitedHealth departs the exchanges in 2017, even if only as a indication that the health insurance industry has genuine doubts about whether it can make money in this new system.

A large potential untapped market for the exchanges exists, however. As of June 30, 17.5 million people are eligible to use them who aren’t doing so, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Only 36 percent of those who qualify for exchange coverage — people who don’t have access to coverage from other sources, like Medicare or Medicaid, or job-based benefits — got their health insurance from the marketplaces. 

Affordability remains a significant concern for the population being sought by the health insurance exchanges and the companies selling products within them, especially for healthy consumers who don’t see the value in an insurance policy they don’t think they’ll use. Yet financial assistance is available for this coverage.

Eighty-seven percent of those who have private coverage through these exchanges receive tax credits to reduce their premiums, as do people who earn between the federal poverty level — about $12,000 for a single person — and up to four times that amount. Those subsidies are generous for people on the lower end of the income scale, but their value diminishes near the top of the subsidy range, and households that earn more than four times the poverty level don’t qualify for assistance. 

The amount subsidy-eligible exchange customers actually pay is capped as a percentage of their incomes, so those with low earnings may be largely shielded from the premium increases. Those facing big rate hikes may be able to avoid them by switching to another policy, because prices vary greatly. 

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5 ways to make money with your blog – BusinessDay (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog)


BusinessDay (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog)

5 ways to make money with your blog
BusinessDay (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog)
If you are looking to be a successful blogger, you cannot use the business model they used. You must find a way to distinguish yourself. When it comes to blogging, one of the easiest strategies to get in the face of the viewers is to distinguish yourself.

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Cowboys sign quarterback Luke McCown to a one-year deal – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

Cowboys sign quarterback Luke McCown to a one-year deal
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Blogging The Boys Blogging The Boys, a Dallas Cowboys fan community. Log In or Sign Up · Log In · Sign Up · Fanposts · Fanshots · Sections; Library; Cowboys · Odds · Shop · About · Masthead · Community Guidelines · StubHub; More. All 319 blogs on.

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Why an NFL minor league will only ever be Jarryd Hayne’s dream

From Tim Tebow and Jonny Manziel battling for a place in the majors to four-point field goals, another league could work. But there are barriers in place

One of the great Australian athletes would prefer to extend his athletic career playing minor league football in the United States. Instead, it looks like hes heading to play rugby in France.

Jarryd Hayne, the one-time rugby league star and now former fourth-string running back for the San Francisco 49ers, told the New Zealand Herald last week that hed still be playing American football if there was a lower-tier league where he could get some in-game reps to more quickly learn the sport: I need to be getting game time and you just cant get that … because of the way [the NFL] works. The offense is only on for a certain amount of time and then theres five other running backs. If there was a second division team where I could get those mental reps of being on the field, 100% Id go back to the NFL. Im at the end of my career where I really [have] just got to get on the field.

In Haynes limited action on the field last season, he ran 17 times for 52 yards, had six catches for 27 yards and totaled 76 yards on eight punt returns. Impressive NFL numbers for a 27-year old who had never put on a football helmet before last spring, but not eye-popping enough for the 49ers to beg him to return when he chose rugby sevens over Chip Kelly back in May.

So an international sports star with a few years left in his prime, and whose athleticism and toughness had 49ers players raving a year ago in training camp, is forever done with Americas most popular sport because somehow Americas most popular sport only has only one league and one level.

It hasnt always been that way, of course. There have been second-tier football leagues and upstart wannabe competitors to the NFL for more than 30 years. There was the USFL, which fielded teams in the spring and summer from 1983 through 1985. It was created to take on the NFL and employed some big-name players including Jim Kelly, Herschel Walker and Doug Flutie. But the league folded in no small part due to mismanagement by the New Jersey Generals owners, a 37-year old Manhattan real estate developer by the name of Donald Trump. Today he has moved on to destroying a political party and, maybe soon, an entire nation. 

In 1991 the NFL launched its own secondary league, the World League of American Football — later renamed NFL Europe — that operated on and off through 2007. Its best-known features were huge financial losses and uniforms that were ghastly even by 1990s standards. 

Midway through the World Leagues run came Vince McMahons much-hyped XFL. It promised to counteract the corporate NFL with excitement, fun and ultra-violence. But TV ratings plummeted after 14 million watched the opener on NBC and the league folded after a single season. McMahon called the league a colossal failure, thereby proving He Hate Me prophetic. 

The most recent foray into minor league football came in 2009 with the formation of the United Football League. It had only five teams and where the XFL attempted to be disruptive, the UFL sought to be as straight-laced as possible. It was so boring that a founding franchise was placed in Hartford, Connecticut. The UFL lasted just three years its games bouncing between the cable sports hinterlands of HDNet, Versus, Comcast SportsNet and CBS Sports Network and then was forgotten to history (if it was even remembered by anyone when it existed). The Canadian Football League and Arena Football League also continue to exist, but they are both decidedly not American football in their own ways and have never been heavy feeders of players to the NFL. 

Yet for all the football league failures, its obvious why a new league comes along every few years backed by a fresh crop of investors: in the football-mad USA, where minor league baseball teams have existed for decades in most every town with more than two stoplights, it seems obvious that a single football league should be able to work. NFL preseason games featuring the kind of fourth-stringers, projects and marginal talents that would populate a minor league football team beat pennant chase MLB games in the ratings every August. So why is there nowhere for Hayne, and hundreds more like him, to play? Because the NFL hasnt decided to make money off of minor league football yet, and with college football providing the league with hundreds of trained and pre-marketed players every year free of charge, Roger Goodell and his band of merry capitalists have little impetus to launch a feeder league of their own. The World League operated under the aegis of the NFL, but it was tucked far away from American viewers and served primarily as a global marketing effort, not a true minor league. 

If a lower-tier league is going to work, it will have to have the backing of the NFL and the league must believe that it will make NFL owners even richer. The best way to do that is to have a minor league mirror the NFL monster in every possible way. 

Play the season not in the spring and summer, but in the fall when the audience is pre-conditioned to consume football and cant seem to get enough. Dont throw the minor league players on unaffiliated teams with weird names and bad uniforms; dress them in the same colors and uniforms that their big league team wears. We all know those preseason NFL games get ratings simply due to laundry loyalty, not quality of play. And then schedule the games on Tuesday evenings, as of now a football-free night, and air them on NFL network partner affiliates ESPN2, for example that are starving for content and desperate to placate their NFL masters with ever-more of the leagues product. 

Watch as fans and media debate whether players who have big games on Tuesday night deserve a call-up for Sunday. Laugh at the prospect of struggling NFL quarterbacks getting demoted to the minors. And enjoy the entertainment of Hayne, Tim Tebow, German receiver prospects, maybe even a rehabilitated Johnny Manziel, trying to work their way onto an NFL roster. None of it would undermine the NCAAs role in providing pro-talent. And all the while the NFL can experiment at the lower level with banning kickoffs or instituting four-point field goals beyond the 50 yard-line or robot refs or whatever else the competition committee thinks up every year after a few beers. 

A football minor league can work, but only if the NFL wants it to and only if Roger Goodell has the vision to make it happen. So Hayne should probably stay in rugby shape.

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