Monday, August 18, 2014

Diane Sawyer: Black Students at Harvard Law School stand in solidarity with #MikeBrown and the #Ferguson community. #HandsUpDontShoot #HBLSA.

Every night World News with Diane Sawyer delivers news that matters. Today, this includes a powerful photo that was released by the President of the Harvard Black Law Students Association:

And in response to some of the obvious backlash to such a message, Katie Laurenson-Bowen wrote on the ABC World News with Diane Sawyer page: 

I always love the ignorant comments from white Americans whom think it isn't "fair" that blacks are able to form groups at colleges. As if whites don't have enough already? Join ANY other group on an average US college campus and you will be part of a majority "white group". Stop whining and set an example for a progressive society.
#HandsUpDontShootKatie has a good point. And to further understand why such groups exist, take a look at this history:

The Harvard Black Law Students Association (HBLSA) was founded in 1967. Today, HBLSA has grown to become the largest chapter in the National Black Law Students Association. Counting over 160 members annually, HBLSA reflects the strong Black community that is so integral to the diversity of Harvard Law School.

We, the Black Law Students Association of Harvard Law School , exist for the support, guidance and direction of Black students in academic, professional and social endeavors. Our main function is to assist members in the development of their legal careers and to provide opportunities for exposure to various areas and aspects of the legal profession. We recognize the need to act positively in the development of the Black community, to encourage cooperation and closer ties between members of the Law School’s Black community and to establish a vehicle through which our concerns are brought to bear on Harvard Law School policy and the community at large.
In the wake of the killing of Michael Brown, Harvard Black Law Students Association (“HBLSA”) students gathered on August 14th for a powerful visual statement – a photograph with their arms raised in front of Harvard Law School in the symbolic #HandsUpDontShoot pose, an official statement reads. 

 Combining photographs of Harvard Law School students and alumni from across the country, HBLSA formed a collage that the group released on Friday afternoon. It captures HBLSA’s national plea for justice for the victims of unwarranted police brutality. This effort marks the kickstart of HBLSA’s civil rights campaign aimed at changing the interactions of law enforcement with black Americans across the United States. This campaign is part of HBLSA’s new P.U.L.S.E. initiative (Powerfully Utilizing Law School Educations for Political and Social Justice), which seeks to track, report and respond to developing social issues affecting the black American community. After a summer highlighting unjust and inequitable treatment at the hands of law enforcement, which led to the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Ezell Ford, HBLSA begins the school year determined to raise social awareness and create policy changes related to the interactions of law enforcement with black Americans. The campaign includes visual media, an official statement and op-ed and various events throughout the school year regarding the criminal justice system as it affects black Americans.

Product DetailsWho is Diane Sawyer? I admire Lila Diane Sawyer (born December 22, 1945). She is an appropriate person to feature in this celebritiesandstars entry for many reasons, including the fact that she once said:

Personable and approachable, Sawyer is the current anchor of ABC News's nightly flagship program ABC World News. She is the type who thinks rapidly on her feet, and cares about her community.

Previously, Sawyer had been co-anchor of ABC News's morning news program Good Morning America and Primetime newsmagazine. Early in her career, was a member of U.S. President Richard Nixon's White House staff and closely associated with the president himself.

In the male-dominated world of television news, Sawyer earned her stripes with sheer talent and skill.

Former NBA Star Gilbert Arenas vs. Al Sharpton On The Riots in Ferguson

I pray for all who are affected by the riots following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. The mere mention of race, these days, can inflame people's passions.

But everything in the media is not always what it seems.

Addressing a congregation in Ferguson on Sunday,  Al Sharpton blasted the release by police of a video purportedly showing Brown robbing a store shortly before the unarmed Brown was shot and killed by a police officer, ABC news reported.

But there is opposition in all things,  and Sharpton has taken a lot of heat lately for showing up in Ferguson, according to the Conservative Tribune.
The mayor of Ferguson says Sharpton’s timing couldn’t be worse, showing up to “demand justice” just as the violence is calming–never mind the fact that there’s been no “injustice” yet proven. He was also met on the streets of Ferguson not only by supporters, but also by hecklers who asked about his career as a federal informant.
Now former NBA player Gilbert Arenas has weighed in on Sharpton and the riots in Ferguson. Arenas is a three-time NBA All-Star, three-time member of the All-NBA Teams, and was voted the NBA Most Improved Player in the 2002–03 season.  A fan favorite in the Washington area during his tenure,  he was considered the top player.

But his stellar play on the court was marred by trouble off of it. Arenas was suspended for most of the 2009–10 season because of handgun violations.  The NBA commissioner determined that the player's behavior made him "not currently fit to take the court." The gun incident was exacerbated by some of the players' actions that  appeared to make light of the problem.

The now-deleted Instagram photo caption reads:

“FAMILiES of the victims pleaseeeeee stop asking #alsharpton to speak or ur behalf,you have a better chance having #caesar the monkey from #planetoftheapes to get justice for you..the stats also show AL (expletive) sharpton has not helped one situation he has protested at,he actually made it worst and because of him the jury goes the other way..(think about it) Jena six,trayvon and the list goes back way back..#AL ur like a #THOT in the club,lookn for attention.”  

However, according to some critics, there is a a story behind the Sharpton/Arenas feud, and it's personal.

When Arenas was suspended,  Sharpton criticized him. This angered the hoops star, who thought Sharpton didn't have all of the facts. Thus,  some voices say, this is sort of a way of Arenas lashing back at the civil rights leader.

Critics of Arenas argue  that the former NBA star is very wrong ,  partly due to the fact that Sharpton was called by the family to help represent them.

For example, in  the clip below,  Sharpton calls for peace, not violence ...

A post on Facebook added:

Sharpton is a beloved figure to most Black people because he speaks out against injustices inflicted on Black people. There has NEVER been a Black person who spoke out loudly against the inequality and mistreatment against Blacks that was widely accepted by Whites.
I wish the best to all familuies, community members, leaders, and children in Ferguson. May peace come soon and end these divisions.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Batter Up: Baseball in American Culture Celebrated at the College of Idaho

by Michael Strickland

"We love baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet," went the jingle in a 1975 advertisement. Being so integral to our culture, it is not surprising that baseball heads the list. The sport boasts household names such as babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson to today's big money stars and is widely considered America's pastime.

That is why I am happy to blog about  "Batter Up: Baseball in American Culture," a week of free public programming thatheppened July 13-17 as part of the Idaho Humanities Council's Summer Institute for Idaho Teachers. It took place at The College of Idaho.
According to the school's website: the institute included four public events:
Keynote speaker Jane Leavy led things off July 13 with her presentation "The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood," which is based upon her New York Times bestselling book of the same name. 
"For some people baseball means a memory-of a certain dusty ball field on a certain summer day, or the first time they walked into a major league park and saw the perfect emerald playing field, writes Curt Smith, author of What Baseball Means to Me: A Celebration of Our National Pastime. "For some, baseball means one heartbreaking or heroic moment. And for others, it means a father, a friend, or an old flame who shared a game for a day or for a lifetime."
Such deeply held convictions made the speaker lineup at this event very special. It began on July 14, when nationally syndicated cartoonist Steve Moore presents Baseball in the Bleachers, a retrospective commentary on his favorite In the Bleachers baseball cartoons.
The next day, Award-winning poet and novelist Gary Gildner stepped to the plate with Getting Home: Baseball in Communist Poland, according to the College of Idaho. The discussion was about his book The Warsaw Sparks, which details his experience coaching a polish baseball team.
Batting cleanup was former Major League ballplayer Bill Buckner, who was interviewed on stage by Robert Santelli, executive director of The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles and author of The Baseball Fan's Bucket List."
"Batter Up: Baseball in American Culture" was funded in part by the Idaho Humanities Council, a nonprofit organization that serves as the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. 
Filled with insight, richness, wonder, poetry and glory, baseball yields a profound influence on our culture. This symposium offered a fascinating portrait of the sports beautiful nuances. I commend C of I for paying homage to the sport, and love to join other fans on their ball park journeys.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Idaho Falls Author Details Untold Valor: Forgotten Stories of American Bomber Crews over Europe in World War II

The majority of members of my family have served in the military. So when I see a book honoring our armed forces, it catches my eye.

For the men of the Army Air Corps in early World War II, the chance of surviving the obligatory twenty-five missions without death, injury, or imprisonment was one in three. In this groundbreaking book, Rob Morris has sought out remarkable but little-known stories of the air war from the men who lived and fought it.

Celebrities and Stars blog recommends Untold Valor: Forgotten Stories of American Bomber Crews over Europe in World War II. 

Rob Morris is a high school teacher and military historian who lives in Ammon, Idaho. His first book, 'Untold Valor: Forgotten Stories of American Bomber Crewmen over Europe in World War II' (Potomac, 2006), is now in its fifth printing and remains a popular book in the genre. Morris next co-wrote 'Combat Bombardier' with 95th Bomb Group bombardier Leonard Herman in 2007. In 2012, his seminal history of the WWII 95th Bomb Group, 'Wild Blue Yonder and Beyond' (Potomac 2012), commissioned by the Group, was published.

Based on hundreds of interviews with American veterans and their families, Untold Valor illuminates the courage of airmen whose exploits have until now remained untold. Read about Jewish aviators’ experiences as POWs in German camps. Learn about American airmen who were imprisoned, even killed, by the neutral Swiss and about two Air Corps enlisted men who changed U.S. policy toward liberated concentration camp survivors. Also discover the unusual story of Luftwaffe commander Herman Goering’s nephew, who flew B-17 missions against Germany. While some of the stories cover major events, most are about incidents and individuals misrepresented or overlooked by history books. Yet their efforts were vital, their lives forever changed.

A reviewer wrote: "This strong collection of tales of heroism is long overdue, for it salutes airmen who conducted Medal of Honor-worthy acts of courage, but whose stories were never told. Rob Morris does a terrific job of bringing these stories to life, and the variety of his subject matter is both intriguing and entrancing."

In 2013 Morris added to his writing credits, including 'Untold Valor: World War Two in the Pacific' (Fonthill); 'The Battle of Gettysburg' (Instinctive); 'Presidents of the United States' (Instinctive); and 'The Civil War Chronicles (Instinctive).

In 2014, Morris elected to attempt to publish as an Independent (or Indie) author as an experiment. His first offering was 'Marinell: The Story of a P-51' and the People Who Knew Her, published in June. His second, due in July, is a revised and expanded edition of Dan Culler's classic POW memoir 'Black Hole of Wauwilermoos'. Other 2014 projects include helping AFL/NFL legend Ron McDole write his memoir about the Golden Age of Football, finishing his bomber novel, and researching a book about the AC-47 Spooky Gunship in Vietnam.
Morris has also written numerous magazine articles for World War Two History Magazine, Idaho Falls Magazine, and Dispatches: The Magazine of the Military Writers of America. He is the Grand Prize winner of the 2013 'A Novel Approach' Writing Contest sponsored by the Military Writers of America and writer Jack Woodville London. Morris contributed to the book '501 Jazz Greats'. He is a pilot, has been married for nearly 30 years to the same girl (Geri), and together they have three children and five grandsons.

Rob is a 1981 graduate of the University of Montana, Missoula. He has taught school for 28 years in Medicine Bow, Wyoming and Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Detailed and moving, Untold Valor is certain to interest the serious air historian and the casual reader alike. The book includes a foreword by the editor of B–17s Over Berlin.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Experience the legendary Kenny Rogers at the Morrison Center for The Performing Arts

The legendary Kenny Rogers has enjoyed a 55-year-career as a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, distinctive vocalist, and consummate  entertainer. Amazingly, Rogers has charted a record within each of the last seven decades and scored a hit single in the past six.

Not many artists, if any at all, can lay claim to those extraordinary chart accomplishments. A trailblazer for Country Music, he was the first Country artist to consistently sell out arenas and quickly became a pop superstar as well – his 28 Billboard Adult Contemporary Top 10′s is fourth-best all time among men, trailing only Elton John, Neil Diamond, and Elvis Presley. With 24 No. 1 songs (such as “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “Lucille,” and “Islands In The Stream”) and 12 No. 1 albums to his credit, Rogers is the RIAA’s 8th best selling male artist of all time with sales of more than 120 million albums worldwide. He will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during a special Medallion
Ceremony in Nashville this October.

Please note new date. Concert, originally scheduled for Sunday, February 23, 2014, has been rescheduled to Sunday, June 8, 2014. Tickets issued for February concert will be honored at June show.

See Misc Event Info tab at if you are unable to attend rescheduled date.

Kenneth Ray "Kenny" Rogers (born August 21, 1938) is an American singer-songwriter, photographer, record producer, actor, entrepreneur and author, and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Though he has been most successful with country audiences, he has charted more than 120 hit singles across various music genres, topped the country and pop album charts for more than 200 individual weeks in the United States alone and has sold over 130 million records worldwide, making him one of the highest-selling artists of all time.

Two of his albums, The Gambler and Kenny, are featured in the poll of "The 200 Most Influential Country Albums Ever". He was voted the "Favorite Singer of All-Time" in a 1986 joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People. He has received numerous such awards as the AMAs, Grammys, ACMs and CMAs, as well as a lifetime achievement award for a career spanning six decades in 2003.

Later success includes the 2006 album release, Water & Bridges, an across the board hit, that hit the Top 5 in the Billboard Country Albums sales charts, also charting in the Top 15 of the Billboard 200. The first single from the album, "I Can't Unlove You," was also a sizable chart hit. Remaining a popular entertainer around the world, the following year he completed a tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland, telling BBC Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright his favourite hit was "The Gambler". He has also acted in a variety of movies and television shows, most notably the title roles in Kenny Rogers as The Gambler and the MacShayne series as well as his appearance on The Muppet Show.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Ballet Idaho Announces 2014/15 Performances

10296020_674594039269195_3078738912222795542_oExperience the creativity of the company dancers as they express themselves as choreographers. New choreography challenges dancers to regenerate themselves through new technical and expressive goals. Be a part of the audience in the intimate Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy’s performance studio and be prepared for the unexpected.  NEW DANCE is an experience that puts you so close to the action you can almost touch it. This new work is passed like a torch from the choreographer to dancers to audience and the new ballet of today becomes traditions of tomorrow.     – See more at:

The mission of Ballet Idaho is to enrich lives through a dynamic tradition of classic ballet, reaching out to all generations and social groups to instill a life-long appreciation of the arts.  Collectively, Ballet Idaho is building a strong cultural institution based on professional ballet performance and dance education serving Idaho and the Intermountain West.
A scene from Alice in Wonderland, April 2014
A scene from Alice in Wonderland, April 2014
Ballet Idaho has been performing in Idaho since 1972. Currently it has an artistic staff of 25 dancers, a professional teaching staff of ten, a professional costume designer and a production staff of three.  Up to 40 musicians from the Boise Philharmonic and two pianists provide musical accompaniment for Ballet Idaho’s performances, rehearsals and classes depending on the production or project.  Ballet Idaho offers a full season of 14 performances of four main stage ballets, a professional Academy of Dance, training students in classic ballet and extensive educational outreach programs for students in Boise, the Treasure Valley, and throughout Idaho.  As the only professional ballet company in Idaho, Montana or Wyoming, Ballet Idaho provides important artistic opportunities and experiences that greatly enrich the creative vitality of the Idaho community.  Ballet Idaho served a total audience of 23,871 this past year and its educational outreach programs served over 10,000 students during the 2011/2012 Academic Year with the vast majority being residents in the city of Boise and the Treasure Valley.
Friday, November 14 at 8pm
Saturday, November 15 at 8pm
Friday, November 21 at 8pm
Saturday, November 22 at 8pm</p>
Friday, March 6 at 8pm
Saturday, March 7 at 8pm
Friday, March 13 at 8pm
Saturday, march 14 at 8pm
Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy 501 South 8th Street, Boise
Principal dancer Angela Gibson as Dew Drop in the Nutcracker.
Principal dancer Angela Gibson as Dew Drop in the Nutcracker.
Programs and Services
Ballet Idaho Academy of Dance: offers professional training in ballet and other dance forms with year-round open enrollment. Classes are held in five state-of-the-art studios at Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy in Downtown Boise, and in our West Boise location near the West YMCA. Youth Ensemble School.
Performances: led by Ensemble Director, Sarah Morris, academy students tour local schools and community venues with a selection of dances and a lecture demonstration.  The production is designed with interactive elements and its aim is to engage and educate the audience on dance history and performance.
Academy Concerts:  upper and lower level classes present end-of-year performances in June 2014.
Learning Through Dance: A ten-week Artist-in-Residence outreach program for third-grade classrooms in Boise, and the Treasure Valley with unique curriculum developed by Ballet Idaho.
By Special Invitation:  Our program provides an opportunity for individuals represented by local organizations from a wide array of socio/economic/ethnic backgrounds to attend a full production of Ballet Idaho’s mainstage performances free of charge.
Summer Intensives, Summer Camps, Summer Classes in Ballet Idaho’s Academy.
Ballet Idaho and Ballet Idaho Academy
501 South 8th Street
Boise, ID 83702

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Win a Family Pack: 4 FREE Tickets to See Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good, Very Bad Day at Morrison Center

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good, Very Bad Day is coming to the Morrison Center Sunday, May 18, 2014 2:00pm

Virginia Treat, events and marketing manager for the Morrison Center, is giving away a Family Four pack of tickets.


Go to Michael Strickland's Facebook page and answer this question:

What was your favorite show from the Morrison Center (any year)? And tell us why you liked it so much.

The winner will be chosen from among the answers on the Facebook post.

Velma V. Morrison Family Theatre Series
Sponsored by Boise State University President’s Club

Ticket Prices (service fees not included):
$8.50 – ALL

Group discount: Save 10 percent off the ticket price for parties of 10 or more – contact the Morrison Center Box Office 208.426.1110.

Have you ever had a really rotten day? Alexander has… He wakes up with gum in his hair, he trips on a skateboard, and then he accidentally drops his sweater in the sink – all before breakfast! Alexander can already tell – it’s going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day!
Alexander’s day continues to go downhill as he gets smushed in the car on the way to school, his teacher doesn’t like his drawing of an invisible castle, and Paul doesn’t want to be his friend anymore. There’s no dessert for lunch, there’s lima beans for dinner, and even worse: there’s kissing on television! It’s enough to make you want to move to Australia!

Laugh and sing along with Alexander’s misadventures in this hilarious musical, featuring book and lyrics by Judith Viorst, author of the best-selling classic book. Discover along with Alexander that sometimes, everyone has a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. (One hour in length, recommended for grades K -3)

Everyone through the door, regardless of age, requires a ticket. Babes in arms are not free.

All seats are reserved. Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of Management.


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