All Articles Tagged "washington dc"
Michelle Obama kicked off her Memorial Day weekend with soul. On Friday, while most of us were sitting at the desk, waiting for the clock to strike five, Mrs. Obama visited Mrs. Lyons Pre-K class, in Washington, DC, for a “funky good time.”
While she was there she played “Freeze Dance” with the students as they danced along to James Brown’s “Doing It To Death.” You would think the kids would be a little hesitant to dance in front of the First Lady of the United States, but these kids, from Savoy Elementary School, were ready to shake something. The kids were singing along, hopping around, looking at Mrs. Obama for approval and encouragement, and one student did his version of “The Jerk” the entire time. In between dance moves, they looked at their teacher to know when to freeze.
Savoy Elementary was one of the eight schools in DC that participated in the President’s Turnaround Arts Initiative. The goal was for these once underperforming schools to use the arts to transform the culture, climate and academic success. Savoy, which used to be the lowest performing school in the district, is now improving with rising test scores, increased enrollment and higher teacher-student attendance.
The students, along with their teacher explained that they play Freeze Dance because it allows them to exercise, focus and have fun. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Check out the video of the students getting down on the next page.
Were you ever one of those girls who wondered if you’d ever find your long lost sister at a random outing, like Tia and Tamera did in “Sister Sister”? Well, life imitated art back in January when 17 year old sisters Jordan and Robin Jeter met each other at a track meet.
In an interview with Washington D.C.’s CBS affiliate, WUSA9, the girls described their encounter.
“My team was like she looks just like you,” said Jordan. The two talked briefly at the meet and once Jordan found out Robin’s last name was Jeter she started crying.
Jordan, the girl on the right, was put up for adoption shortly after her birth while Robin stayed with her biological mother before being sent to foster care and then to a legal guardian. Jordan, is a junior and Robin is a senior. The girls attended schools just ten minutes away from one another and played the same sports but never crossed paths.
Their chance meeting almost didn’t happen. Jordan only joined the track team as a way to stay in shape.
Though they look and sound just alike, the two are not twins. They were born within 9 months of each other. Robin, the girl on the left, says initially she didn’t know she had siblings. As time went on she knew she had one but never knew she had a sister.
When the two met, they immediately started catching up on the last 17 years. In their first phone conversation, Robin asked Jordan all types of questions, trying to fill in the blanks.
“I asked her what’s your mother’s name on your birth certificate, what’s her birthday, what does your birth certificate say at the bottom,” says Robin.
Jordan laughed as she recounted that conversation.
“I was like what is this an interrogation?”
After 17 years, those questions were more than necessary. The two discovered that they wear the same show size, have the same double-jointed thumbs and sound very much alike on the phone.
While the two are having fun catching up, they recognize that they have more work to do to find their other siblings.
You already know a certain amount of risk goes along with online dating, but a new survey from Whatsyourprice.com may lower your risk just a bit. The online dating auction site just identified the cities where men and women have the most honest and dishonest dating profiles. So, even though you may have already reduced your search to a regional one, this might help you figure out whether you should keep it local or check out a new state altogether. See which cities had the most honest and dishonest men and what they lie about.
Washington DC’s Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray has committed $100 million to creating or maintaining affordable housing in his city that would benefit seniors, low-income earners, government workers, and others. The funding for this commitment comes from a $417 million surplus for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, according to The Washington Post. The housing pledge is one of a few that the Mayor made during his State of the District speech on Tuesday.
Housing advocates and others are cautiously optimistic about the pledge, warning that it will take a lot of money and continued diligence to make this happen. And the need is great.
“That’s going to take more than $100 million to accomplish. But $100 million is a good investment toward that goal,” the paper quotes Elizabeth Falcon from the Housing for All nonprofit.
Gray also talked about wage increases for city workers and a proposal for a $15 million fund for nonprofit organizations. The complete text of his speech is available here.
The Mayor held what he called a “citizens summit” last year, in which affordable housing was a huge concern. Housing advocates have said that $20 million, at least, would have to go back to a fund for affordable housing after having been previously diverted for rent supplements. A separate Washington Post story says there’s broad support for the Mayor’s focus on affordable housing.
DC readers: Is affordable housing on your list of top concerns?
I’m wondering who didn’t get the memo on Lupe Fiasco’s opinion of Barack Obama when they asked him to perform during inauguration events this weekend. It was literally only a little less than six months ago that he called President Obama a “baby killer” while speaking out against US drone attacks on Al Qaeda forces, which is why I don’t understand why he was invited to headline the StartUp RockOn concert in celebration of Obama’s reelection Sunday.
In true, Lupe fashion, the rapper accepted the invitation, but instead of using his platform to perform, he made some very strong political statements. According to the Huffington Post, when Lupe hit the stage at The Hamilton in Washington, he proudly announced that he didn’t even vote for the president in the 2012 election and then spent the next 30 minutes performing an anti-war song. Not exactly the type of performance one would expect at a celebration to commemorate four more years.
These antics quickly found Lupe a new soundstage outside of The Hamilton when, after he refused to move on to a new song, security took the stage and promptly escorted, i.e. kicked, him out of the place and moved on to the next one, meaning a new performer. A couple of media folks captured the odd scene and tweeted about the performance as it was happening, like Josh Rogin, staff writer for The Cable, who tweeted:
CNN’s senior director of public relations, Matt Dornic, had a similar account, saying:
I can respect Lupe exercising his right to speak out against social injustices, but he’s getting awfully close to that inappropriate Kanye West, I don’t know the time or the place for my rants line. He didn’t have to try to play the President like that during inaugural weekend. Next time he should probably just decline the invite, stay at home, and show his disapproval that way don’t you think?
The Small Business Administration, which talked up Small Business Saturday late last week, is putting its money where its mouth is with respect to black businesses.
During fiscal year 2012, black businesses were the only ones in the Washington DC area to see an increase in the number of loans they received from the government body, and the group to see the smallest decrease in the amount of money lent for the period.
According to the Washington Business Journal, African Americans got 14.5 percent of the loans administered for the year ending September 2012, an increase from the 10.4 percent the year before. (Black businesses had received 31.3 percent of the loans given in 2008 before taking a huge drop the following year to 17.6 percent.)
Moreover, the amount of money that was lent was up to 7.1 percent of the total given, up from 6.3 percent the two previous years.
The Washington Business Journal also lists the top lenders; the three biggest were M&T Bank (19 loans totaling about $1.8 million), BB&T (10 loans totaling $1.675 million), and Business Finance Group (five loans totaling $3.7 million).
Black businesses typically struggle for funding despite the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives in the African-American community. Let’s hope that other cities will see similar results.
Good news: This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day and we can eat, eat and eat some more turkey, cranberry sauce and pie.
More good news: ABC is airing a Spike Lee joint on Thanksgiving night – Bad 25, a look at the impact of Michael Jackson’s 1987 blockbuster album “Bad.” Take a moment to say it… “Who’s bad?!”
Bad news: We will be deprived of an episode of Scandal.
Thank goodness we have this interesting article from The Daily Beast to fill the void. The essay is focused on what Scandal says about women in power in Washington DC. To start, Alyssa Rosenberg points out that, in addition to the number of women who have served directly with President Obama, election night brought a few more women to Congress, adding to the number of powerful women in DC. IRL, women are making strides… even if their numbers still aren’t representative of the number of women in the American population. Not to mention how few women of color hold seats in government.
Still, women are making and influencing policy, meeting with world leaders, and having a say in the direction our country is headed. Good stuff.
On Scandal, however, according to the story, women play a much more stereotypical role. Whether it’s the socially conservative Veep who was basically pushed out of the show after she had a scandal of her own, to First Lady Mellie who’s big story line this season is her pregnancy with “America’s baby,” women are there to cause trouble. “In Olivia Pope’s Washington, the most potent power a woman has is to destroy men who believe in their own greatness,” Rosenberg writes. Even Olivia Pope herself is “curiously removed from the actual debates of the day” and could, through her clients or her own adulterous relationship with President Fitz, destroy the lives of a number of male Washingtonians.
Though Scandal deals with some hot topics in a modern and timely way, it’s still basically a soap opera. Soap operas largely revolve around the romantic goings-on between the characters. So the fact that there’s a lot of that happening on the show isn’t a surprise. Sandal is as much a show about the inner workings of Washington as Grey’s Anatomy is about medicine. A great show, not a documentary.
But it’s also important to note that Rosenberg doesn’t really dive into what it is the men are doing while the women are setting up their falls from grace. The men are running around with these ladies! They’re having affairs, talking about having babies (or not having babies, in the case of Cyrus Beene, the President’s right hand man), and talking about relationships. So while there is some talk about a war in South Sudan or other created policy issues, the men are just as involved in all the drama as the women.
Olivia Pope’s business revolves around knowing how to play the Washington game. When a situation goes down, she has a strategy to handle it immediately. She knows who to call, how to thoroughly assess the situation, and how to proceed once she’s got the details of the crisis at hand. She’s shed a few tears here and there and we’re learning more about her romantic past and present with Senator Edison Davis, but mostly, she’s a tough woman who knows how the game is played in that town.
And speaking of a tough woman who knows how the game in played, Mellie has made it clear that she’s setting herself up for a post-First Lady career. She’s quick to point out that she had a thriving professional life before she gave it up so her husband could become President. When the time calls for it, she steps up to keep her image and that of her husband on track, even if behind the scenes, there’s nothing but strife. In fact, it was President Grant who was sneaking off to the Oval Office to make secret phones to Olivia in the middle of the night.
We wouldn’t go so far to say that Scandal presents a perfect image of powerful Washington women. But, the women on this show hold their own. And, for what it is, the show does a pretty good job of portraying a smart, connected DC professional in Olivia Pope; a business owner who manages her staff, handles her clients, and has a Rolodex (not to mention a wardrobe) to die for.
Do you think the show’s portrayal of women in power is negative?
ICYMI, last week was Digital Capital Week, one of the most prominent new digital conferences, taking place annually in Washington, DC. Now, certainly Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley seem to get a bit more of the spotlight but don’t front on DC. The seat of where policy that affecting the tech world is played out, DC has a vibrant tech community that is energized and innovative. Only in its third year Digital Capital Week is making waves and attracting the digerati from a number of states. Presented by Ford, this year’s conference featured a mash up of events all providing education, networking opportunities and, of course, a few complimentary evening cocktails along the way.
A flurry of activity for a full-on week at locations all over our nation’s capital, I spoke this year about the trends I’m seeing as a “socio-economic digitalist.” (Among them a rise in a new movement I’m calling SmartPower — a new sentiment where people are looking to be more self-determinant, are more socially conscious and use tech platforms to change the cultural dynamics between us worldwide.) If you’re a frequent conference goer, this is one that should be on your radar. A quick look back should illustrate why.
For the second time, the event included a Hackathon, which awarded GoDC.me the top prize. When it’s fully up and running, this app will give users all sorts of DC information, including local transportation.
There was also an Africa Gathering panel, which sought to dispel images of Africa as simply conflict-ridden but rather as the emerging global center for tech entrepreneurship and innovation that it is.
Also on tap was the “Gaming and Mobile Tech in Developing Worlds” talk that centered around a project by Rachel Cook, who created a global exploration of the impact of microloans on women. Shot on four continents, the film premiered as the Feature Presentation at the Chicago International Film Festival.
As usual, there were not too many African Americans in attendance and certainly not many African-American women. There is a continuous discussion regarding how to diversify. It’s not for lack of trying from the DC Week organizers, who created panel topics of interest and included speakers of color. There could be some strategic partnerships in the future to help get the word out to digital entrepreneurial circles of color, and having a consultant on board to help with that would be beneficial. That’s a win for everyone.
For now, the takeaway is that there is much opportunity, many areas and many questions still remaining in the tech space. Coming together at these events, we are able to look up from our keypads and screens to share and inquire in real-time with new people and new solutions.
When people think of cities that spawn innovation, Silicon Valley, New York and Chicago might spring to mind. But according to a just released study by the not-for-profit Kauffman Foundation, more great entrepreneurs come from else where.
After analyzing 30 years’ worth of Inc 500 lists, the Kauffman Foundation found that the Washington, DC is actually the place most entrepreneurs come from. “The nation’s capital has been home to more Inc 500 companies than any other major metropolitan area. In the decade beginning in 2000, Washington, D.C. was home to 385 Inc 500 firms. By state, California and Texas rank highest in the number of Inc 500 firms they’ve produced,” reports Inc.com. The state of Virginia, which has only the 12th largest population, came in number three, followed by Massachusetts.
In terms of cities, tops for innovation included Indianapolis, Buffalo, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Louisville, KY.
Do you live in one of these entrepreneurial cities? Are you seeing a lot of innovative activity?
By now we all know that Madonna can be a bit out there. Especially when it comes to her stage performances. You know humping the stage in a tattered wedding dress, stripping, doing cartwheels with the likes of M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj. You never know quite what you’re going to get when you spend a night with Madge.
Last night, in Washington D.C. was no different.
In the middle of her concert, the pop icon endorsed President Obama, even writing “Obama” on her back. She told the crowd:
“Y’all better vote for f**king Obama, OK? For better or worse, all right? We have a black Muslim in the White House. Now that’s some amazing Shyte. It means there is hope in this country. And Obama is fighting for gay rights, so support the man, goddamnit.”
Maybe since Madonna had been overseas for so long she’s a bit out of touch with what’s going on stateside. While it would be great for this country to get to a point where we can elect a Muslim, President Obama is not that dude. In fact, the rumor that he ever was or is still a Muslim is one that many believe was another tactic his opponents (and the Tea Party) used in an attempt to discredit him.
Madge, have you been listening to the Tea Partiers?
If I were interested in developing some type of conspiracy theory, I could argue that Madonna was trying to underhandedly sabotage President Obama’s reelection campaign; but since I’m not (today), I just chalk it up to a huge, ignorant slip.
Are you surprised Madonna is lending her support to President Obama’s campaign? Do you think her slip will hurt him politically?
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