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Maya Angelou walked into a meeting of civil rights leaders discussing affirmative action and said, according to Rev. Al Sharpton, “The first problem is you don't have women in here of equal status. We need to correct you before you can correct the country.'"
Angelou, who died May 28, 2014, at 86, made an impact on American culture in many ways. She was a wise woman, a poet sought out by presidents, a conscience in America whose death is a grief to political leaders, celebrities and ordinary people. “Above all, she was a storyteller - and her greatest stories were true,” President Barack Obama said.
Never hesitant to speak her mind, Angelou passionately defended the rights of women, young people and the ignored. She effortlessly traversed the worlds of literature and activism, becoming a confidante to the original civil rights leaders, their successors and the current generation.
“I’ve seen many things, I’ve learned many things,” Angelou told The Associated Press in 2013. “I’ve certainly been exposed to many things and I’ve learned something: I owe it to you to tell you.”
Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, remembered the “incredibly powerful experience” of being invited to Angelou’s home. They sat at her kitchen table for hours, Morial said, as Angelou told stories and talked about life, art, culture and humankind.
“With equal parts majesty and humility, she held court – and I listened intently, absorbing every word and meaning that she had to impart,” Morial said.
A former singer and dancer – as well as once being the first Black streetcar conductor in San Francisco – she mentored Oprah Winfrey, instructed Alicia Keys in “lining out,” a call-and-response form of singing popular in Southern Black churches, acting in a television sketch with Richard Pryor and inspiring singers, authors and actors of all races and genders.
Angelou was a “phenomenal woman (name of one of her magnificent poems) of insight, eloquence and artistry who gave voice to the rawness and loftiness of our history and our humanity,” said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the Nation’s first female House Speaker.
Maya Angelou’s talents and platforms were: Poetry, books, movies, the spoken word, television, a weekly SiriusXM satellite radio show and even Twitter and Facebook. At time of her passing, she was a college professor.
She collected accolades from a variety of sources: A Tony Award in 1973 for her appearance in the play "Look Away"; three Grammys for her spoken-word albums; an honorary National Book Award for her contributions to the literary community; a National Medal of Arts; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.
Whether talking about the scourge of discrimination or the evil of sexism, “she has much to teach this generation and generations unborn about what it means to be an authentic person, and the power of the genuine,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson said.
Before becoming a famed author, Angelou worked as a coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and lived for years in Egypt and Ghana, where she met Nelson Mandela, who became a longtime friend, and Malcolm X, to whom she remained close until his assassination in 1965.
Three years later, she was helping Martin Luther King Jr. organize the Poor People’s March in Memphis, Tennessee. King was shot and killed there, on Angelou’s 40th birthday. “Every year, on that day, Coretta and I would send each other flowers,” Angelou said of King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, who died in 2006.
The mother to a son, Angelou mentored many “daughters,” some through her work, others personally like Winfrey, who said Angelou “moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace.”
Maya Angelou took the designers of the national memorial in Dr. King’s honor to task for inscribing it with a ‘paraphrased’ version of King’s famous “drum major” quote. Doing so, Angelou said, the shortened version made King sound like an “arrogant twit.”
Two years later, workers sandblasted the quote away. But Maya Angelou declined credit for the change.
A group that includes billionaire media executive David Geffen, television icon Oprah Winfrey and Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison bid more than $1.5 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball team, according to a person familiar with the bid.
The bid was one of several for the franchise. Geffen’s group also includes Guggenheim Partners CEO Mark Walter and President Todd Boehly.
Another group, which includes former basketball player Grant Hill and financier Tony Ressler, is believed to have bid $1.2 billion. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer may have also bid around $1.8 billion, according to press reports.
The bids are being reviewed by co-owner Shelly Sterling, whose husband and co-owner Donald Sterling was banned from owning a team by the National Basketball Association for racist statements he made in a recorded conversation. The league has scheduled a June 3 hearing at which Donald Sterling can address the charges.
Sterling has pledged to fight the charges against him, and may file a lawsuit to stop the NBA from taking action, his lawyer Maxwell Blecher said in interview with the New York Times.
His wife needs his approval to sell the team, the lawyer also said. Sterling, controlling owner of the Clippers for 33 years, was banned from the NBA after an audio recording surfaced of him criticizing a female friend for publicly associating with black people.
Ballmer’s $1.8 billion bid for the Clippers would be the second-highest price ever paid for a U.S. sports team, according to Forbes, which cited a person familiar with Ballmer's interest in the club. Forbes did not make clear if the multi-billionaire, who stepped down as CEO but remains on the board and still owns about 4 percent of the Redmond, Washington-based software giant, is bidding on his own or as part of a larger group.
Edward Snowden says he repeatedly raised constitutional concerns about National Security Agency surveillance internally, but an NSA search turned up a single email in which Snowden gently asks for "clarification" on a technical legal question about training materials.
Snowden, a former NSA systems administrator whose leaks have exposed some of the agency's most sensitive spying operations, called himself a patriot in an interview with NBC News’ Brian Williams. He said he felt he had no choice but to expose what he considered illegal NSA surveillance by leaking secret details to journalists.
NSA officials have said he gained access to some 1.7 million classified documents, though it's not clear how many he removed from the Hawaii facility where he worked as a contractor. Asked by Williams whether he first raised his qualms with his bosses, he said, “I reported that there were real problems with the way the NSA was interpreting its legal authorities.”
The NSA released the email they said Snowden appeared to be referring to, which the agency says is the only communication from Snowden it could find raising any concerns. It was dated April 8, 2013, three months after Snowden first reached out to journalists anonymously.
Former NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander said the agency could find no one to whom Snowden voiced concerns verbally either.
In the email to NSA’s general counsel's office, Snowden questions an NSA document showing the hierarchy of governing authorities, which appeared to put executive orders on par with federal statutes.
“I’m not entirely certain, but this does not seem correct, as it seems to imply executive orders have the same precedence as law,” Snowden said in the email. “Could you please clarify?”
An unidentified NSA lawyer began his reply, “Hello, Ed,” and told Snowden he was correct: Executive orders cannot override federal law. The lawyer’s email to him concludes, “Please give me a call if you would like to discuss further.”
Even if Snowden had complained in detail about the programs he leaked, it’s far from clear that anything significant would have happened. The programs had been blessed by congressional oversight committees, deemed legal by executive branch lawyers and were widely supported in the NSA.
The Obama Administration changed them after public outcry as a result of the classified material Snowden took and gave to journalists.
But U.S. officials say Snowden’s assertions that he repeatedly tried to raise concerns internally before opting to leak are not accurate.
“There were and there are numerous avenues that Mr. Snowden could have used to raise other concerns or whistle-blower allegations,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. “The appropriate authorities have searched for additional indications of outreach from Mr. Snowden in those areas and to date have not found any engagements related to his claims.”
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin will have to pay the government more than $501,000 as a result of his conviction on bribery and other charges.
Nagin was convicted in February on 20 counts including bribery, fraud, money laundering and conspiracy during his two terms as mayor. The Democrat served from 2002 to 2010 and was known for his impassioned pleas for help for the city after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.
Prosecutors said Nagin received more than $501,000 in money, goods and services from businessmen in exchange for lucrative work early in his tenure as mayor, and as the city sought to rebuild in the aftermath of the catastrophic hurricane.
Nagin’s attorney, Robert Jenkins, said the amount should be less because Nagin shared liability with others, but U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan agreed with prosecutors in the forfeiture judgment.
The charges Nagin was convicted of carry a variety of maximum sentences ranging from three to 20 years. Nagin, 57, is set to be sentenced June 11, but he is seeking a delay. His lawyer said he needs more time to respond to a pre-sentence investigation.
In the corruption investigation of City Hall, a former city vendor was convicted and two businessmen pleaded guilty. Nagin's former technology chief also pleaded guilty and testified against Nagin.
Are there early signs that could alert you ahead of time that your heart was in trouble? Yes there are.
Researchers have done a lot of work in recent years looking at the signs and symptoms patients experienced in the months or even years leading up to a heart attack.
“The heart, together with the arteries that feed it, is one big muscle, and when it starts to fail the symptoms can show up in many parts of the body,” says cardiologist Jonathan Goldstein of Saint Michael's Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey. Here are surprising clues that your heart needs a check.
Something cardiologists know but the average guy doesn't: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the best early tip-offs to progressive heart disease.
"Today, any patient who comes in with ED should be considered a cardiovascular patient until proven otherwise," says Goldstein. In women, reduced blood flow to the genital area can impede arousal, make it harder to reach orgasm, or make orgasms less satisfying.
Researchers at the Mayo clinic followed men ages 40-49 with erectile dysfunction and found they were twice as likely to develop heart disease as those with no sexual health problems.
Another study looked backward and found that two out of three men being treated for cardiovascular disease had suffered from erectile dysfunction, often for years, before they were diagnosed with heart trouble.
Narrowing and hardening of the arteries restricts blood flow to the penis, which can give men trouble when it comes to getting or keeping an erection. And because those arteries are smaller than the ones leading to the heart, erectile dysfunction can occur before any other sign of artery stiffness.
Lack of oxygen can also lead to ongoing fatigue and weakness, which can sabotage libido, so lack of desire may accompany lack of success.
If you or your partner has difficulty getting or maintaining an erection or has problems with sexual satisfaction, that's reason enough to visit your doctor to investigate cardiovascular disease as an underlying cause. Get a full workup to assess possible causes of erectile dysfunction or difficulty with orgasm.
(Men, see your GP, not just a urologist; women, don't just see an ob/gyn.)
If your doctor doesn't mention heart tests, request them.
If you snore loudly enough to keep your sleeping partner awake or to force him or her to resort to earplugs, your heart may be at risk as well. Restricted breathing during sleep – the underlying cause of snoring – is linked with all types of cardiovascular disease.
Sleep apnea, in which breathing briefly stops during sleep, is linked with a higher risk of both cardiovascular disease and heart attack. Those with sleep apnea were found to have three times the normal risk of having a heart attack within five years.
Sleep-disordered breathing, which includes sleep apnea and a lesser condition known as UARS, lowers the blood oxygen that feeds the heart. Obstructive sleep apnea is thought to damage the right side of the heart, which has to pump harder to support the lungs, which are strained by trying to overcome the airway obstruction.
Any sleep-related breathing problem is a clue that something's wrong, so call the doctor. He/she may recommend a sleep study, but get your heart checked out too.