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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 37,849

Journal Archives

Billy Jones reflects on breaking ACC's color barrier in basketball

On occasion, Billy Jones' granddaughter reminds him of what he'd as soon forget.

"Pop-Pop, you are old," Cleo Pounds will say. That's Jones' cue to dig out his scrapbooks, curl up on the sofa and regale the 8-year-old with sporting tales of yore — from the time he led Towson High to a state basketball championship in 1963 to his college days at Maryland to his run as men's basketball coach at UMBC.

"Because I'm a senior, my grandchildren struggle imagining me to be very active," said Jones, 67, who lives in Orlando, Fla. "They love hearing stories, and I love sharing them. It's important that they know their history."

Grandpa wasn't just any player. When he signed with the Terps 50 years ago Monday, Jones became the first African-American to earn a basketball scholarship in the Atlantic Coast Conference. A year later, on Dec. 1, 1965, he broke the league's color barrier by playing in a game at Penn State. Three days after that, the 6-foot-1 Jones scored his first basket on a running layup in a victory over Wake Forest as 11,300 fans in Cole Field House — then the largest crowd ever for a Maryland home opener — saw history made.

Off the court, he faced blatant racism on trips down Tobacco Road. More than once, the Terps walked out of hotels and restaurants that refused Jones service.

"One night we were to take a late train home from Durham, , after a game at Duke," teammate Gary Williams remembered. "At the station, we all piled into the snack bar to eat before boarding. But when they wouldn't serve Billy, we all left."


African American Music Museum on track to be built in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Construction on the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville could start as early as next year.

Project leaders told The Tennessean the construction will be one component of a larger redevelopment on the site of the old Nashville Convention Center in downtown.

The wheels were put in motion to build a museum to honor African American culture in 2000 when the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce created a task force to study the issue.

Initially, the project had a fundraising goal of more than $43 million, but that was reduced after the city offered up the convention center. In 2006, the city committed $10 million toward the project, and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said the city's commitment still stands.

"I believe there is strong interest and demand for this type of museum, and the planned location is in a vibrant section of our downtown," he said.

Known best for country music, some say, Nashville's original "Music Row" was Jefferson Street, which until the 1970s was a vibrant corridor of live music venues where iconic musicians like Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix built their careers and where local legends like Frank Howard, Jimmy Church and Marion James earned a living.


"How DU still doesn't get it", episode number 36,328


Even after the post near the bottom explaining how this is standard procedure, and even after I called everyone out on their latent racial assumptions, the derpitude in that thread is boiling over...

Who knew we were such a violent people with such little regard for the rule of law?

I don't know who this "Deadmau5" character is, I just want him dead

Who turns a Ferrari 458 Italia into this?

The Most Powerful Piece of Film Criticism Ever Written

Who's the greatest American movie critic?

A lot of folks probably would say Pauline Kael or David Bordwell or Manny Farber; some might argue for more academic writers like Linda Williams, Stanley Cavell, or Carol Clover. For me, though, it's an easy question. The greatest film critic ever is James Baldwin.

Baldwin is generally celebrated for his novels and (as Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote recently) his personal essays. But he wrote criticism as well. Mostly this was in the form of short reviews. There is, though, a major exception: his book-length essay, The Devil Finds Work, one of the most powerful examples ever of how writing about art can, itself, be art.

Published in 1976, the piece can’t be categorized. It's a memoir of Baldwin's life watching, or influenced by, or next to cinema. It's a critique of the racial politics of American (and European) film. And it's a work of film theory, with Baldwin illuminating issues of gaze and identification in brief, lucid bursts. The dangerous appeal of cinema, he writes, can be to escape—"surrendering to the corroboration of one's fantasies as they are thrown back from the screen" And "no one,” he acidly adds, “makes his escape personality black."

The themes of race, film, and truth circle around one another throughout the essay's hundred pages, as Baldwin attempts to reconcile the cinema he loves, which represents the country he loves, with its duplicity and faithlessness. In one memorable description of the McCarthy era midway through the essay, he marvels at "the slimy depths to which the bulk of white Americans allowed themselves to sink: noisily, gracelessly, flatulent and foul with patriotism." It's clear Baldwin believes that description can often be applied to American cinema as well—whether it's the false self-congratulatory liberal Hollywood pap of The Heat of the Night or Guess Who's Coming to Dinner or the travesty made of Billie Holiday's life in Lady Sings the Blues, the script of which, Baldwin says, "Is as empty as a banana peel, and as treacherous."


What I Learned About Stop-and-Frisk From Watching My Black Son

When I heard that my 21-year-old son, a student at Harvard, had been stopped by New York City police on more than one occasion during the brief summer he spent as a Wall Street intern, I was angry. On one occasion, while wearing his best business suit, he was forced to lie face-down on a filthy sidewalk because—well, let’s be honest about it, because of the color of his skin. As an attorney and a college professor who teaches criminal justice classes, I knew that his constitutional rights had been violated. As a parent, I feared for his safety at the hands of the police—a fear that I feel every single day, whether he is in New York or elsewhere.

Moreover, as the white father of an African-American son, I am keenly aware that I never face the suspicion and indignities that my son continuously confronts. In fact, all of the men among my African-American in-laws—and I literally mean every single one of them—can tell multiple stories of unjustified investigatory police stops of the sort that not a single one of my white male relatives has ever experienced.

In The Atlantic’s April feature story “Is Stop-and-Frisk Worth It?” author Daniel Bergner cited Professor Frank Zimring’s notion that stop-and-frisk is “a special tax on minority males.” I cannot endorse the conclusion that this “special tax” actually helps make communities safer. As indicated by the competing perspectives in Atlantic essays by Donald Braman and Paul Larkin, scholars disagree on whether crime rate data actually substantiate the claims of stop-and-frisk advocates. Either way, I do believe that the concept of a “special tax” deserves closer examination.

Proponents of stop-and-frisk often suggest that the hardships suffered by young men of color might be tolerable if officers were trained to be polite rather than aggressive and authoritarian. We need to remember, however, that we are talking about imposing an additional burden on a demographic that already experiences a set of alienating “taxes” not shared by the rest of society.


Please, for the love of god, do *NOT* read the comments below...

U.S. Army’s New Hair Requirements Called ‘Racially Biased’

Around 6,000 people have signed a petition saying the Army's new appearance guidelines are 'racially biased' for not allowing women to wear their hair in twists or dreadlocks, among other styles.

The U.S. Army is under fire for new grooming regulations that scores of American soldiers say are “racially biased” against women with ethnically diverse hair.

Around 6,000 soldiers and civilians have signed a White House petition asking the Army to reconsider the appearance guidelines found in AR 670-1, which prohibit hairstyles including “twists, both flat twists as well as two strand twists; as well as dreadlocks, which are defined as ‘any matted or locked coils or ropes of hair.’” The petitioners have until April 19 to attract 100,000 signatures, if they want to receive a formal response from the White House.

Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs, who started the petition, told the Army Times that whereas she once wore her hair neatly in two unobtrusive twists, she is “kind of at a loss now with what to do with my hair.”

“Most black women, their hair doesn’t grow straight down, it grows out,” she said. “I’m disappointed to see the Army, rather than inform themselves on how black people wear their hair, they’ve white-washed it all.”

The military created a slideshow which offers photo examples of the unauthorized hairstyles, often modeled on racially diverse soldiers.


The Astronaut's Harley

Aficionados of fine timepieces and devotees of Harley-Davidson motorbikes do not, generally speaking, occupy the same social circles. But their planets collided on 28 March at the Baselworld 2014 watch and jewellry show in Basel, Switzerland. Bell & Ross, a French watchmaker, unveiled the mighty B-Rocket, a rumbling, log-slung hog that, to quote the company’s exuberant media release, “could have been ridden by a classic superhero, a NASA test pilot or a young gun thirsty for glory”.

Bell & Ross, known for its aircraft-inspired timepieces, spent more than a year collaborating with UK-based Shaw Harley-Davidson Speed & Custom to design and construct the B-Rocket. The bike’s swept style takes inspiration from 1960s experimental military aviation, so aerodynamic efficiency was the top priority in its creation. Domed aluminium covers conceal 10in disc brakes on the front and rear wheels, and a pair of adjustable winglets behind the front forks can be adjusted to increase front-wheel contact with the pavement. The large rear fender structure, hand-crafted of steel and complete with a flag-emblazoned fin, incorporates Plexiglass sections over the rear-wheel reveals. Alas, the nacelles below the Harley-Davidson V-twin engine do not contain jet turbines, but they are functional air intakes: the right side feeds the engine and the left cools the oil.

Like a vintage Bonneville speed-record bike, the B-Rocket features a chest-against-the-fuel-tank riding position for reduced drag, a posture eased by leather pads on the tank and turbine housings where knees rest. The rider hunkers behind a jet-like nosecone fairing, which contains only one gauge, a Bell & Ross-designed rev-counter – just enough to keep the pilot “attuned to his machine’s heartbeat”. (The B-Rocket also rolls without a headlamp, brakelamp, turn indicators or mirrors.)


"Black Jeopardy"...LOL

So, You Think You're Smarter Than A CIA Agent?

The morning I met Elaine Rich, she was sitting at the kitchen table of her small town home in suburban Maryland trying to estimate refugee flows in Syria. It wasn't the only question she was considering; there were others:

Will North Korea launch a new multistage missile before May 10, 2014? Will Russian armed forces enter Kharkiv, Ukraine, by May 10? Rich's answers to these questions would eventually be evaluated by the intelligence community, but she didn't feel much pressure because this wasn't her full-time gig.

"I'm just a pharmacist," she said. "Nobody cares about me, nobody knows my name, I don't have a professional reputation at stake. And it's this anonymity which actually gives me freedom to make true forecasts."

Rich does make true forecasts; she is curiously good at predicting future world events. For the past three years, Rich and 3,000 other average people have been quietly making probability estimates about everything from Venezuelan gas subsidies to North Korean politics as part of the Good Judgment Project, an experiment put together by three well-known psychologists and some people inside the intelligence community.

According to one report, the predictions made by the Good Judgment Project are often better even than intelligence analysts with access to classified information, and many of the people involved in the project have been astonished by its success at making accurate predictions.


I don't know whether to be impressed or frightened...
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