Muhammad Ali, Titan of Boxing and the 20th Century, Dies at 74

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Muhammad Ali, the three-time world heavyweight boxing champion who helped define his turbulent times as the most charismatic and controversial sports figure of the 20th century, died on Friday. He was 74.

His death was confirmed by Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman.

Ali was the most thrilling if not the best heavyweight ever, carrying into the ring a physically lyrical, unorthodox boxing style that fused speed, agility and power more seamlessly than that of any fighter before him.

But he was more than the sum of his athletic gifts. An agile mind, a buoyant personality, a brash self-confidence and an evolving set of personal convictions fostered a magnetism that the ring alone could not contain. He entertained as much with his mouth as with his fists, narrating his life with a patter of inventive doggerel. (“Me! Wheeeeee!”)

Ali was as polarizing a superstar as the sports world has ever produced — both admired and vilified in the 1960s and ’70s for his religious, political and social stances. His refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War, his rejection of racial integration at the height of the civil rights movement, his conversion from Christianity to Islam and the changing of his “slave” name, Cassius Clay, to one bestowed by the separatist black sect he joined, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, were perceived as serious threats by the conservative establishment and noble acts of defiance by the liberal opposition.

Loved or hated, he remained for 50 years one of the most recognizable people on the planet.

Roots Miniseries: A Cultural Phenomenon

In the simpler media landscape of the late ‘70s, networks considered a show a blockbuster if it was watched in three of every 10 households. When “Roots,” a 12-hour miniseries exploring the multi-generational story of an African-American family, made its historic premiere on ABC during the last week of January in 1977, it could be found on more than half of the nation’s televisions (that night in Los Angeles, the share was 67 percent).

When putting the estimated audience of 130 million into perspective, one network executive said, “it’s like millions of people reading the same book simultaneously.”

Author and journalist Alex Haley made his name exploring different chapters of the African-American story, from Malcolm X to Miles Davis, and the blockbuster miniseries adaptation of his best-selling 1976 masterpiece “Roots” was a prologue to them all. Haley’s family story tells “the symbolic saga of a people,” a tale far more universal than even the most compelling celebrity interview.
Chasing the answer to a simple question of origins, which required the author to spend 6,500 hours in 57 libraries and archives, led to profound answers.

Rights Law Deepens Political Rifts in North Carolina

12carolina-web1-sub-master675RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina has been pummeled with boycotts, criticism and cancellations in the wake of its new law on gay and transgender rights. Now liberals and conservatives in the state have turned to pummeling one another.

For North Carolina, a state that has long been considered one of the South’s most moderate, the intense reaction to the law, especially from business interests, has provided an ego-bruising moment.

But beyond ego and self-image, the legislation is exacerbating the political divisions in a state almost evenly divided between conservative and liberal forces. The acrimony is certain to play out not just in one of the nation’s most closely contested races for governor but also in the rare Southern state that can be up for grabs in presidential politics.

And while the state has been pilloried from the left, it is not at all clear who will be the ultimate winner in the battle set in motion by the law, which restricts transgender bathroom use and pre-empts local governments from creating their own anti-discrimination policies.

Democrats inside and outside North Carolina have been supported by a number of corporations, and the opposition looms large in a state with a long pro-business tradition.

Over the weekend, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina N.A.A.C.P., vowed that the Moral Mondays movement, which flooded the State Capitol with liberal activists in the past to protest the policies of the Republican-controlled legislature, would begin “a campaign of mass sit-ins at the General Assembly.” The protesters plan to take the action if the General Assembly does not repeal the bill before it meets again in regular session on April 25.

But Republicans have been sweepingly dismissive of the fallout. When PayPal said it would cancel its plan to open a global operations center in Charlotte and employ more than 400 people there, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest said, “If our action in keeping men out of women’s bathrooms and showers protected the life of just one child or one woman from being molested or assaulted, it was worth it.”

Turf Dancing From Street To Subway

Published on Dec 22, 2014

The Bay Area may be the birthplace of Uber, but here’s something you’d never see while ride sharing: the mad Turf Dancing skills of iDummy, Slow Motion, C4 Boom, Kidd Strobe, No Noize, Turf Bieber, Torch and Phil Of The Future. Together they are TURF NATION. Watch as they turn BART trains into showcases for their mad skills.

Produced by: Chaz Hubbard, Ike Sriskandarajah
Filmed by: Luis Flores, Chaz Hubbard, Mikey Prizmich
Edited by: Chaz Hubbard, Luis Flores, Denise Tejada
Audio Mixed by: Luis Flores

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Richard Sherman Writes About Why It Was Wrong for the Eagles to Release DeSean Jackson

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Even though DeSean Jackson signed a new deal with the Washington Redskins last night,Richard Sherman is not ready to move on and forget the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles released him late last week because of his alleged “gang ties.” Early this morning, Sherman published a new column for The MMQB that offers his take on the Eagles parting ways with D-Jax. And because the Seattle Seahawks cornerback actually grew up with the speedy wide receiver and understands what it’s like to grow up in a rough neighborhood, he was able to offer a pretty unique perspective on why the Eagles shouldn’t have cut Jackson.

“I look at those words—gang ties—and I think about all the players I’ve met in the NFL and all of us who come from inner-city neighborhoods like mine in Los Angeles, and I wonder how many of us could honestly say we’re not friends with guys doing the wrong things,” he writes. “I can’t.”

Sherman also says that if Jackson had been playing for, say, the Seahawks instead of the Eagles, he wouldn’t have been released last week because of his “gang ties.”

“Sorry, but I was born in this dirt,” he writes. “NFL teams understand that. The Seattle Seahawks get it. The Philadelphia Eagles apparently do not.”

To read what else Sherman had to say, go here. Now that Jackson is with a new team, the whole “Is DeSean Jackson really in a gang?!” story is likely going to fade. But it’s important to hear what a guy like Sherman has to say about it. Because it won’t be the last time that a pro athlete is accused of having ties to a gang.

RELATED: Twitter Can’t Believe the Eagles Signed Riley Cooper to a New Contract This Offseason But Released DeSean Jackson Today

Latino, African-American Applicants Unfairly Denied Sandy Relief Funds?

hurricane-sandy-update-620x405Reconstruction, Rehabilitation Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program were rejected by the state; while 13-percent of Caucasian applicants were denied from the same program. Similarly, FSHC says 38-percent of African Americans and 20-percent of Latinos that applied to the Resettlement Grant Program had their applications rejected; while 14-percent of Caucasians were rejected from the same program. President of the Latino Action Network (LAN) Frank Argote-Freyre and members of the New Jersey chapter of the NAACP reviewed the data along with FSHC and noticed inequities in both the amount of Latino and African Americans that applied for the programs, and the amount of Latino and African American residents that were approved to receive relief funds. Argote-Freyre says he wants to know how the Christie Administration plans to correct the error. “Given the misinformation presented to the Spanish-reading community by the Governor’s relief website, I think Governor Christie should explain what he intends to do to help those who were unfairly rejected or who missed deadlines due to the administration’s neglect,” Argote-Freyre stated in a press release.

“We hope that these data, supplied by the Christie Administration itself, will help to shed light on why these programs are not working.”LAN is currently in litigation with the Christie Administration. The group claims that information provided on the English version of New Jersey’s Sandy recovery web site was omitted from the Spanish version of the web site, and left many Spanish speaking Sandy victims unable to take advantage of grant program benefits.READ MORE: http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2013/12/latino-african-american-applicants-unfairly-denied-sandy-relief-funds/

8 Reasons Why Black Friday and Cyber Monday Are Overrated

ImageIt’d be fine if the unbridled enthusiasm for Black Friday and Cyber Monday remained safely on its side of the mall—along with Spencer’s Gifts, Orange Julius, and the hordes of red-and-green-sweater-clad holiday-sale worshipers. But noooo. What we have instead is a world in which everyone keeps asking everyone else, “What are you buying, where are you going, and who’s got the best deals?” This year, don’t be at a loss for words: We’ve assembled eight reasons to avoid Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and even Green Tuesday. Feel free to bust out these logic bombs any time a crazed mall shopper pesters you about your holiday-spending plans.

1. Black Friday isn’t the biggest shopping day of the year—it’s just the most crowded.
Traditionally, the biggest retail shopping day of the year is the weekend before Christmas. What Black Friday may actually be is the busiest retail day for window shopping. “People just want to get out and do something on that day,” a director of U.S. retail and consumer products for Ernst & Young admits. So go ahead and battle demophobia (fear of crowds) while tussling for subpar sales. We’ll be elsewhere, not getting elbows thrown in our face.

2. Savings occur only in specific product categories
Whether or not Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the best days for sales depends on what you’re buying. The Wall Street Journal tracked several popular gift items over the year and found that Black Friday is only the best bet if you’re buying certain Apple products, Xboxes, and items that retailers overestimated demand for and now have a surplus of. If Santa isn’t putting iPads or gaming consoles in people’s stockings this year, Black Friday may not be the sales day for you—er, Santa.

3. Buying gifts earlier in the year may actually save you more money.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are bad bets if you want your loved ones to find Ugg boots, watches, or jewelry under the tree, as these items went up in price as the year wore on. In one case last year, the average price of a 46-inch Samsung flat-screen TV went up a whopping $200 between October and Black Friday.

Read More http://www.details.com/blogs/daily-details/2013/11/9-reasons-why-black-friday-and-cyber-monday-are-overrated.html#ixzz2lCVfUlfn