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Westlake Legal Group > News Releases (Page 98)

MS-13 gang members indicted after 'medieval-style' killing spree in Los Angeles

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close MS-13 gang members indicted after 'medieval-style' killing spree in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – Federal racketeering, murder and other charges were filed against 22 suspected MS-13 gang members who law enforcement officials believe are linked to a series of grisly killings involving baseball bats, machetes and other tools of “medieval-style” violence, authorities said Tuesday.

Nineteen of those indicted are considered illegal immigrants, and most of the group’s members arrived in the U.S. in the past four years from Central America. All but two are under the age of 24, Nicola Hanna, the U.S. Attorney for Los Angeles, announced at a news conference. Most, he added, participated in the “killing spree.”

The arrests – the last came over the weekend – capped a two-year investigation. While President Donald Trump has singled out MS-13 as a threat to public safety in the making the case for tighter security along the Mexican border, Hanna said the defendants mostly preyed upon other recent immigrants who they believed were rivals.

MS-13 “has been named as one of the top five transnational threats to the U.S.,”  Hanna said. “MS-13 has spread like a cancer … throughout the U.S.”

Those arrested were all part of the so-called Fulton clique of MS-13, one of the most violent of about 20 factions of MS-13 operating in the Los Angeles area, Hanna said. The clique operated primarily in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley.

The indictment cites seven instances in which members abducted victims to kill them, in some cases beating them to death with baseball bats or stabbing them to death.

In one of the most horrific allegations, several are accused of luring a perceived rival gang member who they believed to have defaced MS-13 graffiti to the forest outside Los Angeles and killed him with a machete. They dismembered his body and cut out his heart before dumping the remains into a canyon, authorities said.

The case “centers on murders and medieval-style violence,” said Paul Delacourt, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office. Until the spree began, “we haven’t seen this level of violence associated with MS-13 in Southern California.”

The FBI conducted the investigation in conjunction with Los Angeles police, county sheriff’s department and the district attorney’s office. 

Hanna said this is only the latest action against MS-13, which engages in extortion and drug dealing, among other activities. He has said his office targeted 34 members of the group’s leadership for indictments.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/07/16/ms-13-gang-members-indicted-after-medieval-style-killing-spree-la/1746551001/

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Why Midsize Cities Struggle to Catch Up to Superstar Cities

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Within sight of a couple of huge brick smokestacks, looming witnesses to a past built on tobacco and powered by coal, there is something weirdly out of place about Wake Forest University’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

It is run by Dr. Anthony Atala, lured to town 15 years ago from his perch at Boston Children’s Hospital to oversee a group of scientists engineering lab-grown organs for human transplants. For the city, his institute represents an opportunity to leap from an industrial past into the future.

Dr. Atala comes up in conversation all the time: with the head of the Chamber of Commerce, with the mayor, with the executive director of the Venture Cafe, where entrepreneurs come to network. His institute was one of the early residents of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, a research-focused district in the downtown cigarette factories that R.J. Reynolds abandoned long ago.

And yet like a spaceship parked in a pasture, Dr. Atala’s institute underscores how far Winston-Salem has yet to go from its manufacturing past — as a thriving center of the tobacco, textile and furniture industries — to become a biotech center.

Dr. Anthony Atala in his lab at Wake Forest University.CreditCaitlin Penna for The New York Times An investigation of how ultraviolet light affects human skin cells at the Bioprinting Bench at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.CreditCaitlin Penna for The New York Times

For all the wonders in Dr. Atala’s lab, Winston-Salem is not keeping up with the nation’s larger cities. Even after adjusting for its lower living costs and subdued inflation, income per person declined to 90.9 percent of the average for metropolitan areas in 2017, from 93.7 percent in 2008, government statistics show.

“Desperation may be too strong a word,” said Nathan Hatch, the president of Wake Forest University, a focal point of Winston-Salem for more than half a century. “But this is not a self-generating place. We have to be very aggressive and creative.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00convergence10-articleLarge Why Midsize Cities Struggle to Catch Up to Superstar Cities Winston-Salem (NC) Wake Forest University Wages and Salaries Urban Areas Labor and Jobs Income Inequality Factories and Manufacturing Economic Conditions and Trends

Winston-Salem, N.C., in 1944.CreditGabriel Benzur/The Life Images Collection, via Getty Images

Winston-Salem’s predicament reflects a larger social and economic challenge: the widening gap between a limited set of successful cities — which draw both highly educated workers seeking well-paid jobs and high-tech companies that want to employ them — and pretty much everywhere else.

This new pattern of economic development amounts to a fundamental break from the decades after World War II, when poorer and generally smaller cities were catching up with richer, bigger places. In recent years, this convergence stopped. Many midsize cities and small towns that found manufacturing-based prosperity in the 20th century have lost their footing in the tech-heavy economy of the 21st.

The End of Convergence

From 1960 through 1980 less-affluent counties experienced faster economic growth than their richer peers. This process of convergence has stopped.

Westlake Legal Group 0715-biz-web-CONVERGENCE-Artboard_2 Why Midsize Cities Struggle to Catch Up to Superstar Cities Winston-Salem (NC) Wake Forest University Wages and Salaries Urban Areas Labor and Jobs Income Inequality Factories and Manufacturing Economic Conditions and Trends

Over 2 million

CIRCLES SIZED

BY COUNTY

POPULATION:

1 to 2 million

500,000 to 1 million

Annual growth in median household income

from 1960 to 1980

20,000 to 500,000

Under 20,000

Poorer, smaller

counties grew faster

Richer, bigger counties

grew more slowly

Median household income in 1960 (in thousands)

Annual growth in median household income

from 1980 to 2016

In recent decades, the income gains of larger and smaller places

have shown little difference.

Median household income in 1980 (in thousands)

Westlake Legal Group 0715-biz-web-CONVERGENCE-Artboard_3 Why Midsize Cities Struggle to Catch Up to Superstar Cities Winston-Salem (NC) Wake Forest University Wages and Salaries Urban Areas Labor and Jobs Income Inequality Factories and Manufacturing Economic Conditions and Trends

Over 2 mil.

CIRCLES SIZED

BY COUNTY

POPULATION:

1 to 2 mil.

500,000 to 1 mil.

20,000 to 500,000

Under 20,000

Annual growth in median household income

from 1960 to 1980

Poorer, smaller

counties grew faster

Richer, bigger

counties grew

more slowly

Median household income in 1960 (in thousands)

Annual growth in median household income

from 1980 to 2016

In recent decades, the income gains

of larger and smaller places

have shown little difference.

Median household income in 1980 (in thousands)

By The New York Times | Source: The Hamilton Project

What happened? The cheaper labor that smaller metropolitan areas offered, attracting investment when factories ruled, no longer has much pull. The companies now leading the economy gravitate toward big cities where they can find clusters of highly educated workers and attract more. Amenities — bars, yoga studios, restaurants — follow. So does venture capital. Housing costs rise, making it tougher for workers in lower-paying jobs to stay.

The shifting economic geography is also altering domestic migration, which once helped to close the economic gap between rich and poor places. Rich urban enclaves like New York and Silicon Valley are bringing in affluent, highly educated young people but pushing out many residents who are older, less educated and less well-to-do. On the other end, the populations of many smaller cities, including Winston-Salem, are growing even as incomes fall behind.

Many other small and midsize areas that were once gaining ground economically are similarly falling behind, including Bangor, Me.; Monroe, Mich.; and Greensboro, N.C. Even the Lexington-Fayette region in Kentucky, home to the largest Toyota plant in the world, is losing ground.

Falling Behind

Many small and middling metropolitan areas are not keeping up with their larger peers.

Westlake Legal Group 0715-biz-web-CONVERGENCE-PART-TWO-Artboard_2 Why Midsize Cities Struggle to Catch Up to Superstar Cities Winston-Salem (NC) Wake Forest University Wages and Salaries Urban Areas Labor and Jobs Income Inequality Factories and Manufacturing Economic Conditions and Trends

Average annual personal income per capita,

in thousands

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.

GREENSBORO, N.C.

LEXINGTON, KY.

U.S. metropolitan

area average

LOUISVILLE, KY.

MONROE, MI.

BANGOR, ME.

Westlake Legal Group 0715-biz-web-CONVERGENCE-PART-TWO-Artboard_3 Why Midsize Cities Struggle to Catch Up to Superstar Cities Winston-Salem (NC) Wake Forest University Wages and Salaries Urban Areas Labor and Jobs Income Inequality Factories and Manufacturing Economic Conditions and Trends

Average annual personal income per capita,

in thousands

Winston-Salem, N.C.

Greensboro, N.C.

U.S. metropolitan

area average

Louisville, Ky.

Lexington, Ky.

Monroe, Mi.

Bangor, Me.

Note: In current dollars

By The New York Times | Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Each place has its own story. Many of Bangor’s paper and lumber mills went out of business as Chinese imports surged and construction slowed. Monroe lost its Ford stamping plant and many of its auto suppliers. Greensboro, like Winston-Salem, declined along with employment in the tobacco industry.

The critical question is whether midsize cities are doomed to stagnation. Can Winston-Salem hitch its future to new engines of economic growth? With its Innovation Quarter and its Institute for Regenerative Medicine, it wants to say yes. But it doesn’t really know.

The metropolitan area’s population of 670,000 is growing. Some 45,000 jobs have been added since the trough of the Great Recession nine years ago. Zillow rates the housing market as pretty cheap, but “very hot.” At 3.8 percent, the unemployment rate is roughly in line with the national average.

The overall picture, however, suggests an uphill struggle. Private-sector employment is barely higher than it was in 1999. The median wage is $16.87 an hour, almost $2 below the national average. The poverty rate is higher.

Winston-Salem has been overshadowed within North Carolina by the Raleigh-Durham area, an early success in building a research-driven economy, and Charlotte, a financial hub. The last time that the Winston-Salem area had a higher income per person than Raleigh, 100 miles to the east, was in 1977. By 2017, Raleigh was ahead by 22 percent.

R.J. Reynolds, now a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, still has its headquarters in Winston-Salem, but automation has displaced most of the workers. The apparel giant HanesBrands sent most of its manufacturing work abroad long ago. The furniture industry has been hard hit by Chinese imports. All told, the metropolitan area has lost almost half its factory jobs since 1993.

A former R.J. Reynolds factory overlooks downtown Winston-Salem.CreditCaitlin Penna for The New York Times

High-profile efforts to bolster the city’s economy fell short. Dell, given a multimillion-dollar incentive package from state and local authorities, opened a plant in 2005 but closed it four years later, laying off more than 900 workers.

Then Caterpillar came, also lured by local incentives, but it has not met its original target of 510 full- and part-time jobs. Currently, it has around 160, down from a peak of more than 400. Bank headquarters have left: Wachovia in 2001, when it was bought by First Union; BB & T in 2019, when it merged with SunTrust. Krispy Kreme, the doughnut company, is moving corporate operations to Charlotte and food-production services to Concord.

The city made a bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. But though Amazon will build a fulfillment center in nearby Kernersville, where FedEx runs a distribution hub, Winston-Salem didn’t make the short list for HQ2. “If you go down the Amazon checklist, it requires all the things that we don’t have,” said Koleman Strumpf, a professor of economics at Wake Forest. “We don’t have mass transit. No Amtrak. No good airports. It’s not a walkable city. It doesn’t have great amenities.”

If any middling city can make a transition to a technology-centered future, however, Winston-Salem should. It is home to five universities, including Wake Forest, an institution that enrolls four out of its five students from out of state. Transplanted to Winston-Salem in the mid-1950s under the Reynolds family’s patronage from its original site near Raleigh, the university has a leading medical school, which it hopes will anchor a biotech ecosystem.

“The top talent is going to go to the coasts, no doubt about that,” said Graydon Pleasants, head of real estate development for the Innovation Quarter. “But there are plenty of smart people who will come here.”

Winston-Salem State University and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts jointly support a Center for Design Innovation, which has an advanced motion-detection studio for animation and virtual-reality productions.

Forsyth Tech, the local community college, also tries to draw companies to the area, promising to provide the skills they need. To entice Caterpillar, for instance, Forsyth bought sophisticated machinery to create the simulated working environment the company wanted.

Students practice threading at Forsyth Tech Community College.CreditCaitlin Penna for The New York Times From left, Robi Lambert, 40, program coordinator and instructor, shows student Matt Tucker, 31, how an ultrasound works for welding at Forsyth Tech Community College in Winston-Salem, N.C.CreditCaitlin Penna for The New York Times

“It was a big investment for the college,” said Alan Murdock, Forsyth’s vice president for economic and work force development. Another offering is a cybersecurity training program. And Forsyth is setting up a center at a small local airport to train workers in aerospace technologies, potentially seeding a drone industry.

While Winston-Salem lacks many of the amenities Amazon was seeking, city leaders claim it has plenty of selling points: a low cost of living, a lively downtown and uncongested streets among them. The sources of venture capital are more limited than in California, but the investment goes further. And there is a greater opportunity to stand out.

At the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, researchers have created skin and cartilage, urethras and bladders. I saw an artificial heart valve, opening and closing, made from human cells. Dr. Atala hopes one day to build complex, solid organs like kidneys or livers.

“One concern I had was whether we would be able to recruit talent as well here as we could in Boston,” he said. “Truth is we can recruit better.” Twenty people joined Dr. Atala in his move to Winston-Salem. Now his institute employs some 450, heavy on Ph.D.s.

Other tech entrepreneurs have settled in Winston-Salem. David Mounts considered Atlanta and Dallas before deciding to put the headquarters for his tech services company, Inmar, in the Innovation Quarter, where 900 of its 4,500 employees work. “It is easier to create innovation consortia between businesses, academia and government in a small city that understands innovation as a team sport,” he told me. In big cities, he said, there are simply too many parties with divergent interests.

But Mr. Mounts also recognizes the challenge. Everybody has to pull together. As Mayor Allen Joines said, “We have no choice.”

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‘Good,’ Says Elizabeth Warren, After Billionaire Right-Winger Peter Thiel Says She’s 2020 Democrat He Is ‘Most Scared By’

Westlake Legal Group iq0Z4nwxg_ocoFXky-Bzaks8rHM8Urp4hf1IBOKfbZ0 'Good,' Says Elizabeth Warren, After Billionaire Right-Winger Peter Thiel Says She's 2020 Democrat He Is 'Most Scared By' r/politics

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Man attacks dollar store manager with pizza bagels, then runs into Wendy’s and slaps worker

A seemingly intoxicated man went on a mini-rampage that included attacking a man with a box of pizza bagels and ended with him slapping a woman in a Wendy’s in Arkansas.

Roger Bridendolph is facing multiple charges after he allegedly had an altercation with dollar store employees in Springdale, Ark., and then ran into a nearby Wendy’s, where he slapped an employee.

Westlake Legal Group Roger-Bridendolph-mugshot Man attacks dollar store manager with pizza bagels, then runs into Wendy's and slaps worker Michael Hollan fox-news/food-drink/food/snack-foods fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 06a1c66f-79b0-52e1-baa4-4aced9f8eeb0

Roger Bridendolph is accused of assaulting a man with a box of pizza bagels and then slapping a woman in a Wendy’s. (Washington County Detention Center)

Bridendolph got into an argument with a cashier before attempting to steal the box of Bagel Bites, 5 News Online reports. When a manager got involved, Bridendolph reportedly pushed his way out the store; the manager followed him outside and Bridendolph allegedly struck him in the head with the box of pizza bagels.

POPULAR SUSHI ‘CRUNCH’ IS BLAMED FOR MULTIPLE KITCHEN FIRES, CAN ‘SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST,’ INVESTIGATORS SAY

The man then walked over to a nearby Wendy’s and slapped a woman inside the restaurant.

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According to witnesses, police struggled to detain Bridendolph when they arrived. It’s unclear what exactly sparked the various assaults.

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Bridendolph is facing charges of felony robbery, and misdemeanor second-degree assault, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest, according to the Washington County website. He’s also being held at the Washington County Detention Center and his bail was set at $3,500. The website also lists that he is homeless.

Westlake Legal Group Roger-Bridendolph-mugshot Man attacks dollar store manager with pizza bagels, then runs into Wendy's and slaps worker Michael Hollan fox-news/food-drink/food/snack-foods fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 06a1c66f-79b0-52e1-baa4-4aced9f8eeb0   Westlake Legal Group Roger-Bridendolph-mugshot Man attacks dollar store manager with pizza bagels, then runs into Wendy's and slaps worker Michael Hollan fox-news/food-drink/food/snack-foods fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 06a1c66f-79b0-52e1-baa4-4aced9f8eeb0

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Defense Secretary nominee Esper grilled over contractor ties in heated confirmation hearing

Westlake Legal Group esper Defense Secretary nominee Esper grilled over contractor ties in heated confirmation hearing Ronn Blitzer Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/politics/senate fox news fnc/politics fnc b863c4f0-3b83-5389-aa6c-8e09fa7a2bf4 article

Mark Esper, who took over the role of Acting Secretary of Defense after former Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan stepped down in June, faced tense moments in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday during his confirmation process for the permanent Secretary job.

Esper, a former Army veteran who served 10 years on active duty and 11 years in the National Guard and Army Reserve, was grilled by multiple senators over his history as a lobbyist for Raytheon, a defense contractor he left in 2017 before becoming Secretary of the Army. Esper insisted there is nothing to worry about.

BOLTON TOUTS NATO ALLIES’ $100B MILITARY SPENDING SPREE AFTER TRUMP PUSH: ‘UNEQUALED TRIUMPH’

“It’s my commitment to the nation’s security, it’s my commitment to the men and women in uniform that drives me,” Esper said when asked about Raytheon by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. “Not anything else.”

After he became Acting Defense Secretary, Esper said in a memo that he would limit his involvement in any matters related to Raytheon, and that his staff would “screen all matters” and consult with the Standards of Conduct Office where appropriate.

During the hearing, he stated that he will employ a “robust screening process” and “remain in constant contact with our ethics personnel.” When asked by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., if he would recuse himself from matters involving Raytheon, Esper asserted that he is ”fully committed to living up to my ethics commitments.”

That was not enough for 2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who claimed that because Esper qualified his recusal instead of committing to recuse himself from any and all matters related to his former employer, it was “a conflict of interest given that Raytheon does billions of dollars worth of business every year with the Defense Department.”

Esper responded by saying that ethics officials at the Pentagon recommended that he not recuse for all matters.

Warren then pointed to an exception to ethics obligations that she said Esper referred to in a memo, which would allow for a waiver that would permit him to get involved in matters that directly affect Raytheon’s financial interest if no other official can do the job.

“This smacks of corruption, plain and simple,” Warren said.

But in a letter to Esper from the Department of Defense’s Office of the General Counsel obtained by Fox News, Director Scott Thompson refuted Warren’s accusations, “At no time while serving as the Secretary of the Army or the Acting Secretary of Defense did you request, seek, or receive a waiver or authorization related to your Ethics Agreement and ethics obligations.”

Esper, who earlier in the hearing said he does not have any financial stake in Raytheon other than the deferred compensation, took issue with Warren’s implication that he is incapable of ethically performing the duties of the job.

“At the age of 18 I went to West Point and I swore an oath to defend this Constitution and I embraced the motto called Duty and Honor and Country and I’ve lived my life in accordance with those values ever since then,” Esper said. “I went to war for this country, I served overseas for this country, I’ve stepped down from jobs that paid me well more than what I was working anywhere else. And each time it was to serve the public good and to serve the young men and women of our armed services.”

According to the Fox News Research Dept. and Open Secrets.org, Warren received $31,919 in campaign donations from the defense industry for her 2020 campaign.  Raytheon gave her nearly $9,000 in 2018.  The company is headquartered in her home state.

Other issues that came up during the hearing included how the United States should deal with Iran.

Esper pointed to the need to focus on Iran and lingering threats from groups like al Qaeda, while building American military capabilities. At the same time, he made clear that “we do not want war with Iran.”

Regarding Russian efforts to interfere with American elections, Esper said the U.S. is in a better position than in the past, but there is still work to be done.

“We’ve been doing more but way short of what is necessary,” he said, adding “we need to be on guard and vigilant.”

In terms of new military technology, Esper said artificial intelligence is of the utmost importance.

“I think artificial intelligence will likely change the character of warfare, and I believe whoever masters it first will dominate on the battlefield for many, many, many years,” he said.

“We have to get there first. We have to.”

The testimony came as tech investor Peter Thiel called out Google for working with China, and not the U.S., on a massive artificial intelligence project. Thiel said the relationship could be “treasonous,” and President Trump said Tuesday morning that his administration would look into it.

TRUMP SUGGESTS GOOGLE COULD BE INVESTIGATED FOR ‘TREASON’

If confirmed, Esper would be the first permanent Defense Secretary since James Mattis stepped down at the end of 2018. Shanahan, who filled the role on an interim basis afterwards, had been considered for the permanent job, but reportedly withdrew due to a 2010 domestic incident that he did not want to be brought up during the confirmation process.

For the duration of Esper’s confirmation process, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer has assumed the role of Acting Defense Secretary, since federal law forbids people under consideration for a permanent secretary position to serve as acting secretary.

Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said that a final confirmation vote for Esper could take place as soon as later this week, but no later than next Tuesday.

Westlake Legal Group esper Defense Secretary nominee Esper grilled over contractor ties in heated confirmation hearing Ronn Blitzer Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/politics/senate fox news fnc/politics fnc b863c4f0-3b83-5389-aa6c-8e09fa7a2bf4 article   Westlake Legal Group esper Defense Secretary nominee Esper grilled over contractor ties in heated confirmation hearing Ronn Blitzer Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/politics/senate fox news fnc/politics fnc b863c4f0-3b83-5389-aa6c-8e09fa7a2bf4 article

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Barack Obama’s Life-Size Statue Featuring Sasha Unveiled In South Dakota

Westlake Legal Group 5d2df23f3b00004b00dac90a Barack Obama’s Life-Size Statue Featuring Sasha Unveiled In South Dakota

A bronze statue portraying former President Barack Obama has been erected in South Dakota’s “City of Presidents” with a notable addition: his 18-year-old daughter, Sasha Obama.

The statue, which was unveiled at the Elks Theatre in Rapid City on Saturday, depicts the former president waving one hand while holding hands with his younger daughter, who is also waving her other hand. The design was inspired by a photo of the former president with Sasha Obama at his first inauguration, the Rapid City Journal reported

Barack Obama joins other past U.S. presidents who were memorialized in the downtown area as part of the City of Presidents project that was launched in 2000 under the Rapid City Historic District Tour. The project aims to “honor the legacy of the American presidency” with sculptures positioned along the city’s streets and sidewalks, its website states. 

Painter and sculptor James Van Nuys, who created the Barack Obama statue, told the Journal he was happy the board chose the design with Barack Obama and Sasha Obama. Dallerie Davis, the project’s co-founder, said the group previously considered depicting Barack Obama waving by himself, before deciding on the final design.

“One of us said, ‘This is boring. This is not going to have the wow factor,’” Davis told CNN. “A man waving is not a showstopper.”

All of the sculptures are privately funded, the project’s website states. The Barack Obama sculpture has been designated to sit at the corner of Saint Joseph and 4th Streets in Rapid City, according to the project’s website. 

Van Nuys told the crowd at the unveiling ceremony at on Saturday that he felt a connection to the inauguration image of Barack Obama and Sasha Obama as a father himself, according to a live taping by the South Dakota Public Broadcasting radio station. 

He shared that his daughter was his best friend when she was growing up, so seeing Barack Obama as a “dad with his daughter” held a special meaning for him. 

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Johnny Clegg, A Uniting Voice Against Apartheid, Dies At 66

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-874487806-cc5214d38c0f7e671aae84ecab6c72bfe4e83cb0-s1100-c15 Johnny Clegg, A Uniting Voice Against Apartheid, Dies At 66

South African musician Johnny Clegg, right, with his longtime bandmate Sipho Mchunu, performing in New York City in 1996. Clegg died Tuesday at age 66. Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images hide caption

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Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Johnny Clegg, A Uniting Voice Against Apartheid, Dies At 66

South African musician Johnny Clegg, right, with his longtime bandmate Sipho Mchunu, performing in New York City in 1996. Clegg died Tuesday at age 66.

Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

One of the most celebrated voices in modern South African music has died. Singer, dancer and activist Johnny Clegg, who co-founded two groundbreaking, racially mixed bands during the apartheid era, died Tuesday in Johannesburg at age 66. He had battled pancreatic cancer since 2015.

His death was announced by his manager and family spokesperson, Roddy Quin.

Clegg wrote his 1987 song “Asimbonanga” for Nelson Mandela. It became an anthem for South Africa’s freedom fighters.

Johnny Clegg was born in England, but he became one of South Africa’s most creative and outspoken cultural figures. He moved around a lot, as a white child born to an English man and a female jazz singer from Zimbabwe (then known as Southern Rhodesia). His parents split up while he was still a baby; Clegg’s mother took him to Zimbabwe before she married again, this time to a South African crime reporter, when he was 7. The family moved north to Zambia for a couple of years, and then settled in Johannesburg.

He discovered South Africa’s music when he was a young teenager in Johannesburg. He had been studying classical guitar, but chafed under its strictness and formality. When he started hearing Zulu-style guitar, he was enchanted — and liberated.

“I stumbled on Zulu street guitar music being performed by Zulu migrant workers, traditional tribesmen from the rural areas,” he told NPR in a 2017 interview. “They had taken a Western instrument that had been developed over six, seven hundred years, and reconceptualized the tuning. They changed the strings around, they developed new styles of picking, they only use the first five frets of the guitar — they developed a totally unique genre of guitar music, indigenous to South Africa. I found it quite emancipating.”

He soon found a local, black teacher — who took him into neighborhoods where whites weren’t supposed to go. He went to the migrant workers’ hostels: difficult, dangerous places where a thousand or two young men at a time struggled to survive. But on the weekends, they kicked back, entertaining each other with Zulu songs and dances.

Because Clegg was so young, he was accepted in their communities, and in those neighborhoods, he discovered his other great passion: Zulu dance, which he described as a kind of “warrior theater” with its martial-style movements of high kicks, ground stamps and pretend blows.

“The body was coded and wired — hard-wired — to carry messages about masculinity which were pretty powerful for a young, 16-year-old adolescent boy,” he observed. “They knew something about being a man, which they could communicate physically in the way that they danced and carried themselves. And I wanted to be able to do the same thing. I fell in love with it. Basically, I wanted to become a Zulu warrior. And in a very deep sense, it offered me an African identity.”

And even though he was white, he was welcomed into their ranks, despite the dangers to both him and his mentors. He was arrested multiple times for breaking the segregation laws.

“I got into trouble with the authorities, I was arrested for trespassing and for breaking the Group Areas Act,” he told NPR. “The police said, ‘You’re too young to charge. We’re taking you back to your parents.'”

He persuaded his mother to let him go back. And it was through his dance team that he met one of his longest musical collaborators: Sipho Mchunu. As a duo, they played traditional maskanda guitar music for about six or seven years.

“We couldn’t play in public,” Clegg remembered, “so we played in private venues, schools, churches, university private halls. We played a lot of embassies. We played a lot of consulates.”

Over time, they started thinking bigger; Clegg wanted to try to meld Zulu music with rock and with Celtic folk.

“I was exposed to Celtic folk music early on,” he told NPR. “I never knew my dad, and music was one way which I can connect with that country. I liked Irish, Scottish and English folk music. I had a lot of tapes and recordings of them. And my stepfather was a great fan of pipe music. On Sundays, he would play an LP of the Edinburgh Police Pipe Band.”

Clegg was sure that he heard connetions between the rural music of South Africa’s Natal province (now known as KwaZulu-Natal) — the music that he was learning from his black friends and teachers — and the sounds of Britain. So Clegg and Mchunu founded a fusion band called Juluka — “Sweat” in Zulu.

At the time, Johnny was a professor of anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg; Sipho was working as a gardener. They dreamed of getting a record deal even though they knew they couldn’t get airplay, or perform publicly in South Africa.

It was a hard sell to labels. South African radio was strictly segregated, and record companies refused to believe that an album sung partly in Zulu and partly in English would find an audience in any case. Clegg told NPR that their songs’ primary subject material wasn’t setting off any sparks with record producers, either.

“You know, ‘Who really cares about cattle? You’re singing about cattle. You know we’re in Johannesburg, dude, get your subject matter right!’ Clegg recalled. “But I was shaped by cattle culture, because all the songs I learned were about cattle, and I was interested. I was saying, ‘There’s a hidden world. And I’d like to put it on the table.'”

They got a record deal with producer Hilton Rosenthal, who released Juluka’s debut album, Universal Men, on his own label, Rhythm Safari, in 1979. And the band managed to find an audience both at home and abroad. One of its songs, “Scatterlings of Africa,” became a chart hit in the U.K.

[embedded content]

YouTube

The band toured internationally for several years, and went. But eventually, Mchunu decided he’d had enough. He wanted to go home — not just to Johannesburg, but home to his native region of Zululand, in the KwaZulu-Natal province, to raise cattle.

“It was really hard for Sipho,” Clegg told NPR. “He was a traditional tribesman. To be in New York City, he couldn’t speak English that well — there were times when I think he felt he was on Mars. And after some grueling tours, he said to me, ‘I gave myself 15 years to make it or break it in Joburg, and then go home.’ So he resigned, and Juluka came to an end —and I was still full of the fire of music and dance.”

So Clegg founded a new group called Savuka — which means “We Have Risen” in Zulu. Savuka had ardent love songs, like the swooning “Dela,” but many of the band’s tunes, like “One (Hu)Man, One Vote” and “Warsaw 1943 (I Never Betrayed the Revolution),” were explicitly political.

“Savuka was launched basically in the state of emergency in South Africa, in 1986,” Clegg observed. “You could not ignore what was going on. The entire Savuka project was based in the South African experience and the fight for a better quality of life and freedom for all.”

Long after Nelson Mandela was freed from prison and had become president of South Africa, he danced onstage with Savuka to that song that Clegg had written for him.

[embedded content]

YouTube

Clegg went on to a solo career. But in 2017, he announced he’d been fighting cancer. And he made one last international tour that he called his “Final Journey.”

The following year, dozens of musician friends and admirers — including Dave Matthews, Vusi Mahlasela, Peter Gabriel, and Mike Rutherford of Genesis — put together a charity single to honor Clegg. It’s benefitted primary school education in South Africa.

[embedded content]

YouTube

Clegg never shied away from being described as a crossover artist. Instead, he embraced the concept.

“I love it,” he said. “I love the hybridization of culture, language, music, dance, choreography. If we look at the history of art, generally speaking, it is through the interaction of different communities, cultures, worldviews, ideas and concepts that invigorates styles and genres and gives them life and gives people a different angle on stuff that was really, just, you know, being passed down blindly from generation to generation.”

Johnny Clegg didn’t do anything blindly. Instead, he held a mirror up to his nation — and urged South Africa to redefine itself.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Johnny Clegg, A Uniting Voice Against Apartheid, Dies At 66

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-874487806-cc5214d38c0f7e671aae84ecab6c72bfe4e83cb0-s1100-c15 Johnny Clegg, A Uniting Voice Against Apartheid, Dies At 66

South African musician Johnny Clegg, right, with his longtime bandmate Sipho Mchunu, performing in New York City in 1996. Clegg died Tuesday at age 66. Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images hide caption

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Westlake Legal Group  Johnny Clegg, A Uniting Voice Against Apartheid, Dies At 66

South African musician Johnny Clegg, right, with his longtime bandmate Sipho Mchunu, performing in New York City in 1996. Clegg died Tuesday at age 66.

Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

One of the most celebrated voices in modern South African music has died. Singer, dancer and activist Johnny Clegg, who co-founded two groundbreaking, racially mixed bands during the apartheid era, died Tuesday in Johannesburg at age 66. He had battled pancreatic cancer since 2015.

His death was announced by his manager and family spokesperson, Roddy Quin.

Clegg wrote his 1987 song “Asimbonanga” for Nelson Mandela. It became an anthem for South Africa’s freedom fighters.

Johnny Clegg was born in England, but he became one of South Africa’s most creative and outspoken cultural figures. He moved around a lot, as a white child born to an English man and a female jazz singer from Zimbabwe (then known as Southern Rhodesia). His parents split up while he was still a baby; Clegg’s mother took him to Zimbabwe before she married again, this time to a South African crime reporter, when he was 7. The family moved north to Zambia for a couple of years, and then settled in Johannesburg.

He discovered South Africa’s music when he was a young teenager in Johannesburg. He had been studying classical guitar, but chafed under its strictness and formality. When he started hearing Zulu-style guitar, he was enchanted — and liberated.

“I stumbled on Zulu street guitar music being performed by Zulu migrant workers, traditional tribesmen from the rural areas,” he told NPR in a 2017 interview. “They had taken a Western instrument that had been developed over six, seven hundred years, and reconceptualized the tuning. They changed the strings around, they developed new styles of picking, they only use the first five frets of the guitar — they developed a totally unique genre of guitar music, indigenous to South Africa. I found it quite emancipating.”

He soon found a local, black teacher — who took him into neighborhoods where whites weren’t supposed to go. He went to the migrant workers’ hostels: difficult, dangerous places where a thousand or two young men at a time struggled to survive. But on the weekends, they kicked back, entertaining each other with Zulu songs and dances.

Because Clegg was so young, he was accepted in their communities, and in those neighborhoods, he discovered his other great passion: Zulu dance, which he described as a kind of “warrior theater” with its martial-style movements of high kicks, ground stamps and pretend blows.

“The body was coded and wired — hard-wired — to carry messages about masculinity which were pretty powerful for a young, 16-year-old adolescent boy,” he observed. “They knew something about being a man, which they could communicate physically in the way that they danced and carried themselves. And I wanted to be able to do the same thing. I fell in love with it. Basically, I wanted to become a Zulu warrior. And in a very deep sense, it offered me an African identity.”

And even though he was white, he was welcomed into their ranks, despite the dangers to both him and his mentors. He was arrested multiple times for breaking the segregation laws.

“I got into trouble with the authorities, I was arrested for trespassing and for breaking the Group Areas Act,” he told NPR. “The police said, ‘You’re too young to charge. We’re taking you back to your parents.'”

He persuaded his mother to let him go back. And it was through his dance team that he met one of his longest musical collaborators: Sipho Mchunu. As a duo, they played traditional maskanda guitar music for about six or seven years.

“We couldn’t play in public,” Clegg remembered, “so we played in private venues, schools, churches, university private halls. We played a lot of embassies. We played a lot of consulates.”

Over time, they started thinking bigger; Clegg wanted to try to meld Zulu music with rock and with Celtic folk.

“I was exposed to Celtic folk music early on,” he told NPR. “I never knew my dad, and music was one way which I can connect with that country. I liked Irish, Scottish and English folk music. I had a lot of tapes and recordings of them. And my stepfather was a great fan of pipe music. On Sundays, he would play an LP of the Edinburgh Police Pipe Band.”

Clegg was sure that he heard connetions between the rural music of South Africa’s Natal province (now known as KwaZulu-Natal) — the music that he was learning from his black friends and teachers — and the sounds of Britain. So Clegg and Mchunu founded a fusion band called Juluka — “Sweat” in Zulu.

At the time, Johnny was a professor of anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg; Sipho was working as a gardener. They dreamed of getting a record deal even though they knew they couldn’t get airplay, or perform publicly in South Africa.

It was a hard sell to labels. South African radio was strictly segregated, and record companies refused to believe that an album sung partly in Zulu and partly in English would find an audience in any case. Clegg told NPR that their songs’ primary subject material wasn’t setting off any sparks with record producers, either.

“You know, ‘Who really cares about cattle? You’re singing about cattle. You know we’re in Johannesburg, dude, get your subject matter right!’ Clegg recalled. “But I was shaped by cattle culture, because all the songs I learned were about cattle, and I was interested. I was saying, ‘There’s a hidden world. And I’d like to put it on the table.'”

They got a record deal with producer Hilton Rosenthal, who released Juluka’s debut album, Universal Men, on his own label, Rhythm Safari, in 1979. And the band managed to find an audience both at home and abroad. One of its songs, “Scatterlings of Africa,” became a chart hit in the U.K.

[embedded content]

YouTube

The band toured internationally for several years, and went. But eventually, Mchunu decided he’d had enough. He wanted to go home — not just to Johannesburg, but home to his native region of Zululand, in the KwaZulu-Natal province, to raise cattle.

“It was really hard for Sipho,” Clegg told NPR. “He was a traditional tribesman. To be in New York City, he couldn’t speak English that well — there were times when I think he felt he was on Mars. And after some grueling tours, he said to me, ‘I gave myself 15 years to make it or break it in Joburg, and then go home.’ So he resigned, and Juluka came to an end —and I was still full of the fire of music and dance.”

So Clegg founded a new group called Savuka — which means “We Have Risen” in Zulu. Savuka had ardent love songs, like the swooning “Dela,” but many of the band’s tunes, like “One (Hu)Man, One Vote” and “Warsaw 1943 (I Never Betrayed the Revolution),” were explicitly political.

“Savuka was launched basically in the state of emergency in South Africa, in 1986,” Clegg observed. “You could not ignore what was going on. The entire Savuka project was based in the South African experience and the fight for a better quality of life and freedom for all.”

Long after Nelson Mandela was freed from prison and had become president of South Africa, he danced onstage with Savuka to that song that Clegg had written for him.

[embedded content]

YouTube

Clegg went on to a solo career. But in 2017, he announced he’d been fighting cancer. And he made one last international tour that he called his “Final Journey.”

The following year, dozens of musician friends and admirers — including Dave Matthews, Vusi Mahlasela, Peter Gabriel, and Mike Rutherford of Genesis — put together a charity single to honor Clegg. It’s benefitted primary school education in South Africa.

[embedded content]

YouTube

Clegg never shied away from being described as a crossover artist. Instead, he embraced the concept.

“I love it,” he said. “I love the hybridization of culture, language, music, dance, choreography. If we look at the history of art, generally speaking, it is through the interaction of different communities, cultures, worldviews, ideas and concepts that invigorates styles and genres and gives them life and gives people a different angle on stuff that was really, just, you know, being passed down blindly from generation to generation.”

Johnny Clegg didn’t do anything blindly. Instead, he held a mirror up to his nation — and urged South Africa to redefine itself.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Bernie Sanders says he’d ‘absolutely’ try to break up Facebook, Google, Amazon

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Tuesday that he would “absolutely” look to break up Big Tech giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google on antitrust grounds.

Speaking at a Washington Post event, Sanders specifically singled out Facebook as having “incredible power over the economy, over the political life of this country in a very dangerous sense.”

He also stated that Amazon is “moving very rapidly to be a monopoly.”

Sanders’ comments come at a perilous time for Silicon Valley, which is facing increased scrutiny from lawmakers on Capitol Hill and the prospect of being broken up or subjected to stringent new regulations.

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Westlake Legal Group DOTCOM_1280X720_BIG_TECH_ON_THE_HOT_SEAT Bernie Sanders says he'd 'absolutely' try to break up Facebook, Google, Amazon fox-news/tech/topics/big-tech-backlash fox-news/tech/companies/google fox-news/tech/companies/facebook fox-news/tech/companies/amazon fox news fnc/tech fnc Christopher Carbone article 0f898962-518b-5efd-8190-fcd87d919df8

In recent weeks, Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra came under fire from lawmakers, the Federal Reserve and the Trump administration, while Republicans accused Google of being biased. The FTC has reportedly come to a settlement with Facebook, the details of which have not been made public, that includes a $5 billion fine.

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“And it’s not just Amazon,” Sanders said, according to Politico. “I think we need vigorous antitrust legislation in this country because you are seeing – you name the area, whether it’s pharmaceuticals, whether it is Wall Street, whether it is high tech – fewer and fewer gigantic corporations owning those sectors.” He would appoint an attorney general “who would break up these huge corporations,” he added.

Westlake Legal Group Bernie-Sanders-thumb Bernie Sanders says he'd 'absolutely' try to break up Facebook, Google, Amazon fox-news/tech/topics/big-tech-backlash fox-news/tech/companies/google fox-news/tech/companies/facebook fox-news/tech/companies/amazon fox news fnc/tech fnc Christopher Carbone article 0f898962-518b-5efd-8190-fcd87d919df8

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., pauses while speaking during a forum on Friday, June 21, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.,who is battling Sanders and almost two dozen other candidates for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination, called for the breakup of Amazon, Google and Facebook back in March.

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Westlake Legal Group DOTCOM_1280X720_BIG_TECH_ON_THE_HOT_SEAT Bernie Sanders says he'd 'absolutely' try to break up Facebook, Google, Amazon fox-news/tech/topics/big-tech-backlash fox-news/tech/companies/google fox-news/tech/companies/facebook fox-news/tech/companies/amazon fox news fnc/tech fnc Christopher Carbone article 0f898962-518b-5efd-8190-fcd87d919df8   Westlake Legal Group DOTCOM_1280X720_BIG_TECH_ON_THE_HOT_SEAT Bernie Sanders says he'd 'absolutely' try to break up Facebook, Google, Amazon fox-news/tech/topics/big-tech-backlash fox-news/tech/companies/google fox-news/tech/companies/facebook fox-news/tech/companies/amazon fox news fnc/tech fnc Christopher Carbone article 0f898962-518b-5efd-8190-fcd87d919df8

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Naomi Campbell reveals intense routine for airplane travel

This supermodel’s got a super-unusual travel routine.

Poser extraordinaire Naomi Campbell just revealed her airport routine in a YouTube video — and it’s as one-of-a-kind as she is.

After grabbing a fashion mag and, controversially, a bag of mini Twix bars at duty free (“You know what? I’m getting it … I’m getting it and I don’t care!”), Campbell proceeds to board a plane to Doha, Qatar.

As soon as she finds her seat, it’s showtime: Campbell breaks out a pair of disposable gloves (!) and gets to work, combatting the general grossness of airplanes and all the weird stuff air travel does to our bodies.

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In the video, Campbell first wipes down “anything that you could possibly touch,” and she means it: the tray, the TV, the remote, the headrest … even the back of the seat in front of her.

“I do not care what people think of me,” she says, bluntly. “It’s my health and it makes me feel better.”

(Actually, the strategy seems well-received by the woman standing behind her, who asks, “Can you do my seat next?” with a giggle.)

Westlake Legal Group ff9f3e90-naomi-campbell-AP Naomi Campbell reveals intense routine for airplane travel New York Post Johannah Masters fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox-news/lifestyle fnc/travel fnc article 7f11d25b-2c17-5205-85c6-582cc5f8193f

Naomi Campbell’s airport routine is apparently just as one-of-a-kind as she is. (AP)

But Campbell’s not done. Post-wipedown, she pulls out a pink, fabric cover for her seat. She has them in a bunch of colors and switches them out based on her mood. On land, she has them hand-washed at her hotel.

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Finally sheathed from the insult of the plane seat, Campbell moves onto her beauty routine.

Basically, it entails a whole lot of hydration: she has an entire plastic bag filled with beauty gear that she calls a “hydration pack,” and she’s also been chugging water throughout the video). Also: “masks, masks, masks.”

Westlake Legal Group airplane-seats Naomi Campbell reveals intense routine for airplane travel New York Post Johannah Masters fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox-news/lifestyle fnc/travel fnc article 7f11d25b-2c17-5205-85c6-582cc5f8193f

In the video, Naomi Campbell first wipes down “anything that you could possibly touch,” and she means it: the tray, the TV, the remote, the headrest … even the back of the seat in front of her. (iStock)

She means the beauty kind — but she also means the literal kind. Yep, the final step Campbell takes is putting on an actual face mask that she wears the entire flight.

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“No matter what plane you take, private or commercial, as the plane descends, people start coughing and sneezing,” Campbell says. “The coughing and sneezing makes me … I just can’t.”

This story originally appeared in the New York Post.

Westlake Legal Group ff9f3e90-naomi-campbell-AP Naomi Campbell reveals intense routine for airplane travel New York Post Johannah Masters fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox-news/lifestyle fnc/travel fnc article 7f11d25b-2c17-5205-85c6-582cc5f8193f   Westlake Legal Group ff9f3e90-naomi-campbell-AP Naomi Campbell reveals intense routine for airplane travel New York Post Johannah Masters fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox-news/lifestyle fnc/travel fnc article 7f11d25b-2c17-5205-85c6-582cc5f8193f

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