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Pres. Obama and Trump let their guards down at White House

buzzz worthy. . . By Mona Austin President Obama and Donald Trump met for the first time on Thursday to begin talks about the official...


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Saturday, January 23, 2016

EXPLORATIONS IN LIVING WINE TASTING

buzzz worthy. . .

You don't have to be a sommelier to enjoy wine.
•Located 20 miles north of dc the winery at olney wine bar is the most popular spot in the area. it is friendlyfor BEGINNERs TO TEST THEIR PALETTE WITH GLOBAL selections. Try 5 wines and take home a wine glass for $15. click the video to go inside the wine bar with me.
 
 
 
 
     
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IT'S HERE: Regina Belle releases 'The Day Life Began' after 15 years (LISTEN)

buzzz worthy. . .




Regina Belle has released her first mainstream album in 15 years, "The Day Life Began."  The legendary vocalist was so excited about the release she could not sleep last night and posted a video announcement on Facebook asking for her fan's support. During her break from recording R&B, the pastor's wife released a gospel album titled  “God Is Good,” that expanded her fan base and recovered from a brain tumor.  She returns full of life and inspiration.

The album compiles 10 songs that represent the Oscar and Grammy winner's "deepest feelings and and strongest beliefs," covering a broad range of styles and subjects.  Over nearly three decades Belle has successfully navigated the genres of gospel, jazz and R&B.  Highlights include the dramatic gospel single “The Day Life Began,” the inspirational ballad “You Saw The Good In Me,” the moving parent to child message song “Be Careful Out There.” In the spirit of "If I Could"  the latter cut expresses the desire to protect a child's innocence as they leave the nest. The caress of a mother's heart cry can't help but be a stand out on the album of originals.  "Go on and fly, but be careful out there," she admonishes. 

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Statement by National Security Council Spokesperson Ned Price on Escalating Violence in Yemen


 

We are deeply concerned about recent reports of escalating violence in Yemen and resulting deaths of civilians – including the attacks that killed an ambulance driver associated with Medecins Sans Frontieres in Dahyan, a freelance journalist near Sana’a, and civilians in Sana’a and at the Ras Isa oil terminal.  The United States takes all credible accounts of civilian deaths seriously and we again call on all sides of the conflict in Yemen to do their utmost to avoid harm to civilians and to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law. 

 

The United States also underscores the importance of promoting the safety, security, and freedom of movement of humanitarian personnel in Yemen.  We express continuing concern about the terrible violence impacting civilians in Taiz and the need to allow the delivery of full and unimpeded assistance, including food, medical supplies, and fuel to all Yemenis in need.  Recent progress in improving humanitarian access in parts of Taiz needs to be replicated across the entire city.  It is vital that all attacks on Yemen’s Red Sea ports come to an immediate end to enable food, medical supplies, fuel, and other essential to reach Yemenis in all parts of the country.

 
We urge all parties to cooperate with the United Nations in reaching a cease-fire and resuming the peace talks so that a durable solution to the crisis in Yemen can be reached as soon as possible.
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PRESIDENT OBAMA PROCLAIMS JAN. 23, 2016 RELIGIOUS FREEDOM DAY, 2016



BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
 
 
Since our country's founding, religious freedom has been
heralded as one of our most cherished ideals. The right to
practice religion freely has brought immigrants from all over
the world to our shores, often in the face of great adversity,
so they could live their lives in accordance with the dictates
of their consciences. Some of America's earliest settlers, the
Pilgrims, arrived at our shores in search of a more tolerant
society, free from religious persecution. Since that time,
people of many religious traditions have added their own threads
to the fabric of our Nation, helping advance a profound and
continuous vindication of the idea of America.
 
 
When the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was adopted
on January 16, 1786, it formed a blueprint for what would become
the basis for the protection of religious liberty enshrined in
our Constitution. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the statute
proclaims that "all men shall be free to profess, and by
argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion,
and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect
their civil capacities." The First Amendment prohibits
Government from establishing religion, and it protects the free
exercise of every faith. Our Government does not sponsor a
religion, nor does it pressure anyone to practice a particular
faith, or any faith at all. The United States stands for the
protection of equal rights for all people to practice their
faith freely, without fear or coercion, and as Americans, we
understand that when people of all religions are accepted and
are full and equal members of our society, we are all stronger
and freer.
 
 
Our commitment to religious freedom has fostered
unprecedented religious diversity and freedom of religious
practice. But these ideals are not self-executing. Rather,
they require a sustained commitment by each generation to uphold
and preserve them. Here at home, my Administration is working
to preserve religious liberty and enforce civil rights laws
that protect religious freedom -- including laws that protect
employees from religious discrimination and require reasonable
accommodation of religious practices on the job. We will keep
upholding the right of religious communities to establish places
of worship and protecting the religious rights of those so
often forgotten by society, such as incarcerated persons and
individuals confined to institutions. We will also continue to
protect students from discrimination and harassment that is
based on their faith, and we will continue to enforce hate crime
laws, including those perpetrated based on a person's actual or
perceived religion. This work is crucial, particularly given
the recent spike in reports of threats and violence against
houses of worship, children, and adults simply because of their
religious affiliation.
 
 
As we strive to uphold religious freedom at home, we
recognize that this basic element of human dignity does not
stop at our shores, and we work to promote religious freedom
around the globe. We are working with a broad coalition against
those who have subjected religious minorities to unspeakable
violence and persecution, and we are mobilizing religious and
civic leaders to defend vulnerable religious communities.
In addition, we are calling for the elimination of improper
restrictions that suppress religious practice, coordinating with
governments around the world to promote religious freedom for
citizens of every faith, and expanding training for our
diplomats on how to monitor and advocate for this freedom.
All people deserve the fundamental dignity of practicing their
faith free from fear, intimidation, and violence.
 
On Religious Freedom Day, let us recommit ourselves to
protecting religious minorities here at home and around the
world. May we remember those who have been persecuted,
tortured, or murdered for their faith and reject any politics
that targets people because of their religion, including any
suggestion that our laws, policies, or practices should single
out certain faiths for disfavored treatment. And as one Nation,
let us state clearly and without equivocation that an attack on
any faith is an attack on every faith and come together to
promote religious freedom for all.
 
 
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the
United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in
me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do
hereby proclaim January 16, 2016 as Religious Freedom Day.
I call on all Americans to commemorate this day with events and
activities that teach us about this critical foundation of our
Nation's liberty, and that show us how we can protect it for
future generations at home and around the world.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
fifteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord
two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the
United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
 
BARACK OBAMA

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Surface returns with 'Resurface'

buzzz worthy. . .



There is a whole generation that grew up off love songs wafting from the smooth R&B vocals of 90's groups such as Surface, whose memorable tracks include "Happy" (1987), "Closer Than Friends" (1988), "Shower Me With Your Love" (1989)among others.With an album aptly entitled "ReSurface, Where Have You Been?"-ReSurface - comprised of David 'Pic' Conley and John Feva - are aimed at reasserting their vocals and rhythmic sounds among old fans, as well as a new generation of R&B lovers.

Released on June 1, 2015, the CD "ReSurface Where Have You Been?" was produced by David Pic Conley. Fans of the old sound can expect that plus some freshly flavored stylings by the team which consists of; Gene Lennon, Gene Lake, Jam Benton, Derrick 'Derky' Culler and the newest talents to join the team, Martin Blockson and Mjestie Brooks. Both a part of the group and the production ensemble, Conley has remained at the helm by co-producing all of the songs in conjunction with the team, additionally co-writing all of the tracks them alongside John Feva.

The first release, "We Can Fly", produced by Conley with Gene Lake, has already started generating a buzz with its video on YouTube. Showing off his co-writing skills on the song is W. Orange New Jersey based John Feva (formerly managed by Russell Simmons).

Now based in Aurora, Colorado, Conley is gearing up to follow the release with the June 1st full album launch. He states, "Because of my past music I still wanted to keep things pretty much close to the Surface in doing this record. So that's kind of what you should be expecting...  Not a lot is new under the sun but I just took the old and blended it with the new to bring you what we have."Having also produced and written for major artists such as Aretha Franklin, Stanley Jordon, George Benson, and other notables like Victoria Beckham and  Damon Dash, Conley reenters the R&B world as an industry veteran ready to connect with fresh listeners-worldwide.
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V. BOZEMAN, LEON BRIDGES, FANTASIA, LEDISI, JUSSIE SMOLLET AND THE DEELE ANNOUNCED AS PERFORMERS AT "THE BET HONORS"

buzzz worthy. . .


MARY J. BLIGE AND TARAJI P. HENSON SCHEDULED TO PRESENT
---------------
HOSTED BY ARSENIO HALL
---------------
"THE BET HONORS" PREMIERES MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23, AT 8:00 PM*
#BETHONORS
NEW YORK, NY- January 21, 2016 – BET Networks announced today that performers V. Bozeman, Leon Bridges, Fantasia, Ledisi, Jussie Smollet and The Deele will pay tribute to this year’s honorees at "THE BET HONORS." Joining the star-studded lineup includes presenters Mary J. Blige  and Taraji P. Henson.

Celebrating the outstanding achievements of extraordinary leaders, "THE BET HONORS"  recognizes trailblazers in art, music, theater, education, technology and business. Hosted by comedian and actor, Arsenio Hall, this year’s distinguished honorees are Lee Daniels (Television and Film Award), Mellody Hobson (Corporate Citizen Award), Eric H. Holder, Jr. (Public Service Award), Patti Labelle (Musical Arts Awards) and L.A. Reid (The Business of Entertainment Award).
"THE BET HONORS"  will tape at the historic Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, January 23, 2016 and will premiere on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 8:00 pm* during Black History Month on BET Networks in the USA, and around the world on BET’s international network from Saturday, February 27, 2016 (check local listings).

As part of BET’s commitment to the community, the Network has made a limited number of tickets to "THE BET HONORS" available for purchase with all proceeds benefiting My Brother's Keeper Alliance. Launched in 2015, My Brother's Keeper Alliance was created to help eliminate gaps in opportunity and achievement for boys and young men of color. BET has also partnered with My Brother's Keeper Alliance to host several community events for young men and boys in Washington D.C. in the days leading up to "THE BET HONORS"  including an educational panel at The White House and the Lights.Camera.Action Rehearsal Visit program which provides selected students with "behind the scenes" access to "THE BET HONORS"  show production.

“As a start-up with an ambitious agenda, this generous gift will help My Brother’s Keeper Alliance build a foundation in communities across the country to help empower more of our country’s boys and young men of color,” said Joe Echevarria, CEO of My Brother's Keeper Alliance. "We are so grateful to Debra Lee and the BET Networks family, and look forward to our continued work."
Executive Producers of the network telecast are as follows: Stephen Hill, Connie Orlando and Lynne Harris Taylor from BET; and Jesse Collins from Jesse Collins Entertainment.

For more information on "THE BET HONORS" visit http://www.bet.com/bethonors . Join the conversation about the special on Twitter by using hashtags: #BETHonors; follow the show for all updates & special surprises @BET.

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"Greenleaf," Featuring Oprah's Return to Acting on TV, Set for Two-Night Premiere May 24/25

buzzz worthy. . .

Grace Greenleaf (Merle Dandridge) and her father Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David) 
Photo by Eli Ade; Courtesy of OWN 


(LOS ANGELES, CA) - JANUARY 22, 2016 - The new original series "Greenleaf," featuring Oprah Winfrey's first recurring scripted television role in two decades, will launch with a two-night premiere on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network on Tuesday, May 24 at 10 p.m. ET/PT and Wednesday, May 25 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The megachurch drama from Emmy nominated writer/producer Craig Wright ("Lost," "Six Feet Under") and Lionsgate Television will regularly air on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT for the remainder of its 13-episode first season.
 
"Greenleaf" centers on the journey of estranged daughter and disillusioned preacher Grace Greenleaf (Merle Dandridge, "The Night Shift") who has returned home after 20 years on the occasion of the mysterious death of her sister, Faith.  As she reenters the world of Calvary Fellowship World Ministries, the Memphis megachurch run by her powerful parents Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David, "Enlisted" and "Community") and Lady Mae Greenleaf (Lynn Whitfield, "The Josephine Baker Story"), it becomes evident that things are not as virtuous as they seem and that the family's outward display of faith hides sin and misdeeds.     
 
In the season premiere, directed by Clement Virgo ("Book of Negroes"), Grace and her teenage daughter Sophia (Desiree Ross, "Falling Skies") are warmly welcomed home by Grace's father, Bishop James Greenleaf, but tensions quickly rise soon thereafter at a family dinner in the Greenleaf mansion.  Grace's mother is cold and hostile; her sister-in-law Kerissa (Kim Hawthorne, "Rake") questions her about her faith; and sister Charity (Deborah Joy Winans, "Whitney") erupts with jealousy at the suggestion that Grace might preach at Calvary.
 
Later, blues club owner and Grace's aunt Mavis (Oprah Winfrey, "Selma") discuss the circumstances of Faith's death and Mavis reveals some shocking information about Grace's uncle "Mac" (Gregory Alan Williams, "Terminator Genisys"). Mavis is still estranged from the Greenleaf family and it starts to become evident that she intends to use Grace to sow the seeds of its destruction.
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Statement by the President on the 43rd Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

buzzz worthy. . .



Today, we mark the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which affirmed a woman’s freedom to make her own choices about her body and her health. The decision supports the broader principle that the government should not intrude on private decisions made between a woman and her doctor. As we commemorate this day, we also redouble our commitment to protecting these constitutional rights, including protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her right to reproductive freedom from efforts to undermine or overturn them. In America, every single one of us deserves the rights, freedoms, and opportunities to fulfill our dreams.
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2016 GRAMMY® NOMINEES ALBUM AVAILABLE NOW Features Hits From Music's Biggest Acts Gives Fans A Chance To Win A Trip To Music's Biggest Night®

buzzz worthy. . .


SANTA MONICA, Calif.  (Jan. 22, 2016)  — The Recording Academy®'s GRAMMY Recordings® and Republic Records announce the release of the 2016 GRAMMY® Nominees album — which is available in stores and via all digital retailers today.
 
The 22nd installment of the best-selling series features 21 GRAMMY-nominated artists and hit songs from the world’s biggest superstars and hottest emerging talent, including Album Of The Year nominees Alabama Shakes, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Stapleton, Taylor Swift, and The Weeknd, as well as Best New Artist nominees Courtney Barnett, James Bay, Sam Hunt, Tori Kelly, and Meghan Trainor.

Each 2016 GRAMMY Nominees album purchased in stores will include a special game piece featuring a unique code for a chance to play the GRAMMY Ticket Game. To participate, the code must be used at 2016GRAMMYAlbum.com for the opportunity to win a trip for two to the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards® in 2017 or a second-place prize of an official GRAMMY Awards T-shirt.*

A portion of the proceeds from album sales will benefit the year-round efforts of the GRAMMY Foundation® and MusiCares Foundation® — two Recording Academy-affiliated charitable organizations.

The 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held on Monday, Feb. 15 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, and will be broadcast live on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

*Visit 2016GRAMMYAlbum.com or www.CBS.com for details and eligibility requirements.

PURCHASE LINKS:
iTunes: http://republicrec.co/2016GrammyNominees
Apple: http://republicrec.co/2016GrammyNomineesAM
Amazon: http://republicrec.co/GrammyNomineesDigAZ
Google Play: http://republicrec.co/2016GrammyNomineesGP
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Deception on tap?: Dirty water in Flint Michigan

buzzz worthy. . .

By Mona Austin

 
Residents of Flint, MI have been subject to drinking water of third world quality. Over 500 residents claim they are suffering health issues from consuming contaminated water. Pollution from the Flint River, the source of the city's water supply has corroded pipes and causing lead and poisonous metals to leak into the tap water throughout the predominantly Black, low income  city.  There have been protests, law suits and plenty of press attention about the unsafe water conditions, yet The pressure of national public outcry seems to be the only thing that caused action the various levels of the government to work towards a swift remedy to the problem.  Local and state government officials shifted responsibility over the water crisis  before national media attention forced the city to clean up its act.



How did Flint get here?


No one wants to accept the blame for this extreme example of "passing the buck," which could potentially  cost millions of people their lives. Ten deaths have been linked to poisoned water. The lead levels in the bloodstreams primarily of black children has increased to  4%.  The National Guard has set up stations to issue cases of bottled water and filters. In addition to contamination concerns, many residents are refusing to pay their water bill.


Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday in a State of the State address  apologized to residents and accepted some accountability for not responding more quickly.  Snyder said in the interest of being "transparent" he would release over 200 pages of back logged email complaints, some of which were apparently not taken seriously before this public health threat. The internal communications serve as proof that state and local officials were aware of the severity of the problem or several years. Protestors have called for Snyder's resignation.

The Flint water crisis is  an issue that should not go unpunished, but pinpointing who is to blame won't be clear cut.

So far, federal funds have been approved to help accelerate getting to the bottom of the cause of the contamination and correct it.


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Thursday, January 21, 2016

LISTEN: MAROON 5’S PJ MORTON SPOTLIGHTS NEW URBAN POP SISTER ACT JCKSN AVE

buzzz worthy. . .



Debut Digital Single “All These Dreams” Hits iTunes 1/22
 
New Orleans, LA: Maroon 5’s PJ Morton is on a mission to influence the urban musical landscape with inspiring new music such as the velvet-smooth sounds of the captivating Urban Pop sister act Jcksn Ave. Their debut digital single “All These Dreams,” a coolly catchy affirmation and triumph over trepidation, releases on iTunes and all other major digital download providers on Friday, January 22nd.
 
Morton first spotted the group at one of his concerts. “I was performing and they were dancing and having a good time in the audience,” he recalls. “I noticed their energy and they looked cool! They introduced themselves after the show and the rest is history.” He liked their vibe and now they are making good vibrations on Morton Records. These five blood sisters (Madison, Jessica, Moriah, Kristian and Hannah) have been singing, writing, arranging and producing their own music since 2001. They hail from Memphis, TN where they first sang in church before graduating to high school shows and singing around The Bluff city. Now, Jcksn Ave’s goal is to just make great inspirational music that uplifts the spirit, entertains the mind and blurs cultural barriers.



 
About Morton Records


Morton Records is the brainchild of the Crescent City’s native son, PJ Morton. The firm has a musical gumbo of releases it is introducing in the coming months including works by Urban Inspirational artist JoJo Martin and PJ Morton's mix tape "Bounce & Soul Volume I" featuring Lil Wayne, Stevie Wonder, Juvenile and Trombone Shorty.
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SNEAK PEEK: Tyrese and Rev. Run premiere in 'It's Not You, It's Men' on OWN this Jan. 23

buzzz worthy. . .


LOS ANGELES -OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network's newest primetime series takes Saturday nights by storm beginning January 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.  "It's Not You, It's Men," featuring international movie star, author and platinum recording artist Tyrese Gibson and hip-hop icon, author and reality star Rev Run, will bring viewers insight on everything from men and love to relationships and marriage.
Friends for over seven years, Tyrese and Rev Run pride themselves on their varying points of view when it comes to relationships and marriage.  Tyrese is a single father in search of his dream woman and Rev Run has been happily married for more than 20 years and is a father of six.  Their ideas and opinions on love and commitment often clash, demonstrating the unique chemistry the longtime friends share, and resulting in passionate conversation and humorous banter.
Each week, the series will feature celebrity guests offering unique points of view on topics such as monogamy, modern romance, sex, marriage and dating.  Featured celebrity guests include international film star Vin Diesel ("Fast and the Furious"), Rev Run's wife and reality star Justine Simmons, recording artist Jordin Sparks, comedian Marlon Wayans ("Scary Movie" and the upcoming "Fifty Shades of Black"), spiritual life coach and award-winning host Iyanla Vanzant ("Iyanla: Fix My Life"), comedienne and talk show host Loni Love ("The Real") and comedienne Jessimae Peluso ("Girl Code").
Additionally, the series will feature relationship experts to offer guidance and understanding as it relates to the weekly show topics.  Experts include Tracy McMillian, author of the popular Huffington Post article "Why You're Not Married," Sean Rad, Creator and CEO of Tinder, and Dr. Helen Fischer, a biological anthropologist with a background in human sex, love, marriage and gender differences.
"It's Not You, It's Men" is produced for OWN by CBS Television Distribution in association with Voltron Pictures and Simmons/Lehman Productions. Eric Pankowski created the show in collaboration with Tyrese and Rev Run. Pankowski is the showrunner/executive producer. Joining him as executive producers are Tyrese Gibson, Joseph Simmons, Jerome Martin, Isabella Castro and Michael Lehman.

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FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANNOUNCES CRITERIA FOR UPCOMING REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY DEBATE

buzzz worthy. . .

FOX News Channel (FNC) announced today that it will present two Republican presidential primary debates on Thursday, January 28th live from the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa.
The criteria for inclusion in the debates will factor in both national polls, as well as those based in Iowa and New Hampshire conducted and released prior to Tuesday, January 26th at 5PM/ET. The primetime debate will feature candidates that place in the top six spots nationally, or place within the top five in Iowa or New Hampshire.

The earlier debate will be presented at 7PM/ET and will be moderated by America’s Newsroom co-anchors Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum. The primetime debate will begin at 9PM/ET, moderated by Special Report anchor Bret Baier, The Kelly File anchor Megyn Kelly and FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace.

FOX News announced the entry criteria as follows:
  • In order to qualify for the primetime debate, candidates must place in the top six spots nationally in an average of the five most recent national polls, or place within the top five in Iowa or New Hampshire in an average of the five most recent Iowa or New Hampshire polls recognized by FOX News.
  • In order to qualify for the early debate, candidates must register at least one percent in ONE of the five most recent national polls recognized by FOX News.
Such polling must be conducted by major nationally and state recognized organizations that use standard methodological techniques (i.e., live interviewers, include both landlines and cellphones, and employ either random digit-dial or registration-based sampling methodologies).
FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service dedicated to delivering breaking news as well as political and business news. A top five cable network, FNC has been the most-watched news channel in the country for 14 years and according to a Suffolk University/USA Today poll, is the most trusted television news source in the country. Owned by 21st Century Fox, FNC is available in more than 90 million homes and dominates the cable news landscape, routinely notching the top ten programs in the genre.
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The New York Times and Sundance Institute Announce Joint Projects at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival

buzzz worthy. . .



NEW YORK, Jan. 21, 2016 – The New York Times and Sundance Institute today announced several collaborations at the start of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. The projects, both new and ongoing, include:

New Frontier Films on NYT VR
The NYT VR app will showcase virtual reality films from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier program, which highlights the work of artists and technologists who are pushing the boundaries of storytelling. Films featured in the app are selected by New York Times Opinion editors from among a wide range of virtual reality films premiering at the Festival. The films are “Kiya” by Nonny de la Peña, a film about a true story of domestic violence, “American Bison” by Danfung Dennis and Condition One, an experiential film with endangered animals, and “Waves of Grace” by UN advisor Gabo Arora and Vrse and Vrse.works co-founder Chris Milk, about a Liberian woman who survived Ebola and used her immunity to take care of orphans. Films from the Festival are published with Opinion essays on virtual reality, available on NYTimes.com/SundanceVR.

The NYT VR app is free and available for download in the Google Play and iOS App Stores. The Google Cardboard viewer offers the most immersive experience but users without Cardboard viewers are also encouraged to download the NYT VR app for an enhanced video experience.

Op-Docs at 2016 Sundance Film Festival Series
The New York Times’s Op-Docs will publish its fifth consecutive series of short films from the Festival. This series, part of an ongoing collaboration with Sundance Institute, will feature short documentaries by filmmakers who are showing work in the Festival.  The series includes “Verbatim: Ferguson” by Brett Weiner, and the premiere of an original short film by “Bad Kids” directors Lou Pepe and Keith Fulton, among others.

Launched in the fall of 2011, Op-Docs is The New York Times’s editorial department’s Emmy-winning forum for short, opinionated documentaries, produced with wide creative latitude and a range of artistic styles, covering current affairs, contemporary life and historical subjects. All Op-Docs can be seen at NYTimes.com/OpDocs.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Short Documentary Fund at Sundance Open
The New York Times Op-Docs is collaborating with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Short Documentary Fund at Sundance Institute to fund independent filmmakers and artists to create new short form documentaries. The fund is open to alumni of Sundance Institute, Firelight Media, TriBeCa, ITVS/Independent Lens, and POV.  To submit a proposal, visit NYTimes.com/video/opdocs/pitch.

TimesTalks at 2016 Sundance Film Festival
For the sixth year in a row, the 2016 Sundance Film Festival program will include five TimesTalks at the Cinema Café in Filmmaker Lodge on Main Street in Park City, Friday January 22 through Tuesday, January 26. These events are available to Festival passholders.

The guest panelists include Lena Dunham and Norman Lear; Chelsea Handler and Morgan Spurlock; John Krasinski and Thomas Middleditch; Werner Herzog and Joshua Oppenheimer; and Rebecca Hall and Michael Shannon. The interviewers include NYT culture reporter and "The Carpetbagger" Cara Buckley, NYT Op-Docs series producer and curator Kathleen Lingo and frequent NYT contributor and TimesTalks moderator Logan Hill.

For the full schedule or to watch livestreams of the events, visit TimesTalks.com or Sundance.org.
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Actress Jill St. John to Be Honored at Sinatra Center Champion Honors Luncheon

buzzz worthy. . .


RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif., Jan. 21, 2016  -- American actress Jill St. John whose career started as a nine-year-old in Hollywood and is best known as one the "Bond Girls" for her role in the James Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever will be honored at the annual Champion Honors Luncheon benefitting the Barbara Sinatra Center for Abused Children. The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa on Friday, February 12, 2016.


Jill St. John is married to actor Robert J. Wagner and the couple has been very committed to helping the Children's Center since it was founded by Barbara and Frank Sinatra 28 years ago. "Both Jill and RJ have been staunch supporters of the Children's Center and close friends with Barbara," said Children's Center Director and Executive Officer, John Thoresen. "We have a group of annual donors called the Aunts Club which provides needed funds to help the children and the families we serve. Jill St. John was the impetus for the group and our first Aunt. We can think of no more deserving person to honor," Thoresen added. 

"Nothing is more important on our planet than helping children, especially children faced with the challenges of those who are benefited by the help they receive from the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center," said Jill St. John. "They can lead happy, successful and purposeful lives thanks to the Center. This is all due to the herculean efforts of Barbara Sinatra, who knows that the children are our future. She has made their happiness possible."

Previous Champion Honors Luncheon honorees have included philanthropist Jackie Autry, who together with her late husband Gene Autry were also instrumental in the development and continued support of the Children's Center. Champion Honors Co-chair, Helene Galen will introduce Jill St. John at the event.

The luncheon will feature an intimate and unforgettable on-stage conversation between the legendary baseball icon Hank Aaron and former Commissioner of Baseball, Mr. Bud Selig. Commissioner Selig and Hank Aaron are looking forward to this first-ever, candid, free-wheeling conversation about baseball and the respective roles they both played.

About The Barbara Sinatra Center for Abused ChildrenFounded in 1986 by Barbara and Frank Sinatra, the mission of the Barbara Sinatra Center for Abused Children is to counsel children suffering the effects of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, and to focus on prevention, community education and breaking the cycle of generational abuse. No child is ever turned away due to a family's ability to pay. Since 1986 over 20,000 children have been served. The Children's Center is located on the campus of the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California. www.barbarasinatrachildrenscenter.org
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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sarah Palin endorses Trump

buzzz worthy. . .


By Mona Austin 

The chance of seeing less of Donald Trump in the media dropped this week with the announcement of a huge supporter. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and GOP Vice President pick endorsed the billionaire businessman for president in Iowa on Tuesday. She immediately latched on to some of the sentiments that Trump has expressed to appeal to Americans frustrated with liberal sensitivities.  Palin stated she agrees with Trump that Americans' anger is justifiable and being PC has gone too far.  Her conservative stamp  of approval may be just what Trump, a former Democrat needs to silence charges he's a flip flopper.  Trump said on Wednesday morning on NBC News that he would not rule out having Palin as a potential running mate. A Trump/Palin ticket would attract women and more mainline Republicans.

New York papers, The Post and The Daily News must have had a field day  coming up with their clever headlines.  The front page of The Daily News pictured Trump and Palin in an older photo pointing at each other with the headline, "I'm With Stupid."  The New York Post used the photo from the Iowa campaign event with the headline "Lady and the Trump."

Their partnership has already become a spectacle and gotten somewhat messy.

The backing comes as GOP contender Ted Cruz and  Trump are in a dead heat in Iowa just two weeks before the Iowa Caucus. In Trump's statement about the endorsement he stated Palin knows how to select a winner, an undercutting reference to Palin not endorsing his opponent, Cruz as expected.   The Texas Senator took the high road saying he is still a big Palin fan since she supported him in his 2012 senatorial race. 

As Iowa is a highly coveted swing state, the support of Palin could help Trump win more women voters and non-traditional Conservatives there.


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LOOKING BACK: The first inauguration of President Barack Obama

buzzz worthy. . .


Seven years ago today the history and trajectory of American politics changed forever with the inauguration of President Barack Obama​.  People from all walks of life packed the National Mall on that blisteringly cold 20th day of January in 2009 to serve as eyewitness to what many thought was impossible.  Obama, the son of a White mother and African father officially became the leader of the free world a day after the national celebration of slain Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, symbolizing the fulfillment of Dr. King's dream for racial justice.

After taking a victory stroll down Pennsylania Ave. With his wife Michelle, Obama laid his hand on the loaner Bible from the family of  MLK Bible which the First Lady held and pledged to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."  In pursuit of this obligation, opposition to his authority has grayed the very hairs on Obama's head. "In the words of  scripture," observed Obama during his first formal address to the nation, "The time has come to set aside childish things.  The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit." He spoke of his vision for economic growth and racial equality, which are both areas that required attention under his watch. 

Faith leaders had gathered at a prayer service to invite God's covering over the new leader and his administration.  Bishop Charles E. Blake prayed for two terms, understanding that four years later he did it again the American people gave him a second opportunity to finish the work he started and he was re-elected.  

Coming full circle, in his final State of the Union Address, the president said he had hoped the partisan rancor would cease, but the division had only worsened under his watch. Racism worsened under his watch too.  Repairing the discrimination n the justice system became apriority in the final stretch of his stay in office.  The work of the first Black POTUS, who was often criticized for not doing enough for Black people and given a pass by others who were simply pleased to have him in office, is nearly done.
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Close friends of George Jones pen tell-all, 'The Legend of George Jones: His Life and Death'

buzzz worthy. . .



You might need a smooth shot of "Tennessee whiskey" to wash down the intimate details in the tell all on the life of country music legend, George Jones. The Country Music Hall of Famer died in 2013 and two of his closest friends have released a book on  want to set the record straight about his truth in and outside fo the limelight, such as "the real reason" Jones and "Stand by Your Man" singer the late Tammy Wynette divorced.  Originally released in hardcover in 2014, "The Legend of George Jones: His Life and Death" is now available in paperback wherever books are sold.

(NASHVILLE, Tennessee) -- Charlene and Earl Peanutt Montgomery remember Country Music icon George Jones - their best friend of thirty years in their tell-all memoir, The Legend of George Jones: His Life and Death (Heritage Builders Publishing).

With "The Legend of George Jones", Charlene and Peanutt wanted to set the record straight about their friend who died in 2013. Throughout Jones life, the tabloids chronicled his struggle with personal demons and often painted a less-than-flattering picture. In the book, which is endorsed by all of George Jones children, Charlene and Peanutt tell it like it is and make no excuses, but they document the real heart and soul of their friend.

The Legend of George Jones is a collection of stories spanning many decades, five marriages and a marvelous career unequaled in the genre of Country Music. From humble beginnings playing the guitar and singing on the streets of Beaumont, Texas, George Jones became one of the most important and influential singers in music history. The Grammy Award-winning Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member was the voice behind many of Country musics most enduring hits, such as "White Lightning," "She Thinks I Still Care," "Walk Through This World With Me," "The Door," "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today," which is widely regarded as one of the greatest country music singles of all time.

Peanutt wrote seventy-three songs for George Jones including some of his best-loved number one hits. Charlene, Peanutts wife and partner, is a prolific songwriter in her own right, and she had a personal relationship with Jones that spanned decades, and she remains today a revered and beloved friend of all the Jones children.

Among the books highlights: 


  • The real reason George Jones and Tammy Wynette divorced.

  • The night George Jones tried to kill Peanutt Montgomery in a drunken rage.

  • The culprits who brought George Jones to bankruptcy and his knees are revealed.
  • The betrayal of George Jones children by fifth wife Nancy Jones.

Visit Heritage Builders Publishing online at www.heritagebuilderspublishing.com.
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