Saturday, February 6, 2010

LPP -Updated...

Epic Snowstorm Batters Mid-Atlantic Region

Forecasters expect snowfall rates to increase, up to 2 inches per hours through Saturday morning.

Jamie Nelson, Fox News

Feb. 6: A fallen tree blocks 6th Street NW at North Carolina Avenue in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON - A blizzard battered the Mid-Atlantic region on Saturday, quickly dumping large amounts of snow that piled up on roadways and toppled trees onto apartment buildings and cars.
Officials urged people to huddle at home for the weekend, out of the way of crews trying to keep up with a storm that forecasters said could be the biggest for the nation's capital in modern history. A father and son were killed in Virginia when a tractor-trailer struck and killed them after they stopped to help another driver.
WINTER TRAVEL CENTER: Information to know before braving the storm
A record 2 1/2 feet or more was predicted for Washington. As of early Saturday, 10 inches of snow was reported at the White House, while parts of Maryland and West Virginia were buried under more than 20 inches. Forecasters expected snowfall rates to increase, up to 2 inches per hours through Saturday morning.
Blizzard warnings were issued for the District of Columbia, Baltimore, parts of New Jersey and Delaware and some areas west of the Chesapeake Bay.

"Things are fairly manageable, but trees are starting to come down," said D.C. fire department spokesman Pete Piringer, whose agency responded to some of the falling trees. No injuries were reported.
Airlines canceled flights, churches called off weekend services and people wondered if they would be stuck at home for several days in a region ill-equipped to deal with so much snow.
"D.C. traditionally panics when it comes to snow. This time, it may be more justifiable than most times," said Becky Shipp, who was power-walking in Arlington, Va., Friday. "I am trying to get a walk in before I am stuck with just the exercise machine in my condo."
The region's second snowstorm in less than two months brought heavy, wet snow and strong winds.
Several thousand people in West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania had lost electricity and more outages were expected as the snow began to bring down power lines. A hospital fire in D.C. sent about three dozen patients scurrying from their rooms to safety in a basement. The blaze started when a snow plow truck caught fire near the building.
Authorities blamed the storm for hundreds of accidents. Some area hospitals asked people with four-wheel-drive vehicles to volunteer to pick up doctors and nurses to take them to work.
The country band Rascal Flats postponed a concert Saturday in Ohio, but the Atlanta Thrashers-Washington Capitals NHL game went on as planned, and the Capitals extended their team-record winning streak at 13.
In Dover, Del., Shanita Foster left a Dollar General store lugging three gallons of water.
"That's all we need right now; we've got everything else," said Foster, adding that she was ready with candles in case the power went out.
Shoppers jammed aisles and emptied stores of milk, bread, shovels, driveway salt and other supplies. Many scrambling for food and supplies were too late.
"Our shelves are bare," said Food Lion front-end manager Darlene Baboo in Dover. "This is just unreal."
Metro, the Washington-area transit system, closed all but the underground rail service and suspended buses in area that heavily relies on both.
Across the region, transportation officials deployed thousands of trucks and crews and had hundreds of thousands of tons of salt at the ready. Several states exhausted or expected to exhaust their snow removal budgets.
Maryland budgeted about $60 million, and had already spent about $50 million, Gov. Martin O'Malley said. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has been in office less than a month, declared his second snow emergency, authorizing state agencies to assist local governments. As of early Saturday, some parts of Virginia had already seen more than 18 inches of snow.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was dealing with the snowstorm on her first full day on the job. She was sworn in Thursday afternoon.
The snow comes less than two months after a Dec. 19 storm dumped more than 16 inches on Washington. Snowfalls of this magnitude -- let alone two in one season -- are rare in the area.
According to the National Weather Service, Washington has gotten more than a foot of snow only 13 times since 1870.
The heaviest on record was 28 inches in January 1922. The biggest snowfall for the Washington-Baltimore area is believed to have been in 1772, before official records were kept, when as much as 3 feet fell, which George Washington and Thomas Jefferson penned in their diaries.
In Washington, tourists made the best of it Friday, spending their days in museums or venturing out to see the monuments before the snow got too heavy.
A group of 13 high school students from Cincinnati was stranded in D.C. when a student government conference they planned to attend was canceled -- after they had already arrived. So they went sightseeing.
At the Smithsonian's Natural History museum, Caitlin Lavon, 18, and Hannah Koch, 17, took pictures of each other with the jaws of a great white shark in the Ocean Hall.
"Our parents are all freaking out, sending texts to be careful," Koch said. "Being from Ohio, I don't think I've ever seen that much snow at once."

The gates of Havana

El Morro

El Morro once housed a school for lighthouse keepers. There was actually a watchtower here until the British blew it up in their successful siege in 1762. The lighthouse was added in 1846.

Anti-Castro lawmakers: Don't stop now

Members of Cuba's political opposition include Las Damas de Blanco, or Ladies in White
U.S. lawmakers who want regime change in Cuba urged the Obama administration on Friday to keep pro-democracy funds flowing into the country.
This comes just three days after Obama asked for $20 million for pro-democracy and other work in Cuba.
It's clear there's no desire to stop spending money. But there's some uncertainty over just what to do with it, particularly since the Dec. 4 arrest of a U.S. subcontractor in Cuba.
Capital Hill Cubans posted the lawmakers' letter this morning. It is addressed to Secretary Hillary Clinton and reads:
We are greatly concerned about the manner in which the Administration is handling the arrest of Alan Gross, the American citizen who has been incarcerated in Cuba without charge since December 4th, and the consequences of his arrest on U.S. democracy assistance programs.

It appears that the Administration has opted to handle Mr. Gross’ arrest by trying to appease the Cuban dictatorship. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has gone so far as to discourage democracy assistance grantees from traveling to Cuba to provide aid to members of Cuba’s independent civil society and is surveying grantees about whether it is possible to provide assistance without having to travel to Cuba. Furthermore, USAID has yet to announce the solicitation for new grant proposals for the disbursement of FYs 2009 and 2010 democracy assistance funding, despite the requirement of the law. In fact, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been informed that the Administration is considering taking democracy assistance funding in a “new direction.”

Congress and previous Administrations have maintained a long-standing commitment to supporting Cuba’s internal pro-democracy movement and in recent years, pursuant to Congressional intent, the United States has significantly increased aid to the island’s growing independent civil society. On the island we have seen how diverse sectors of independent civil society have emerged to create new social, political and cultural spaces. The Cuban dictatorship is greatly threatened by the evident progress of the pro-democracy movement and is utilizing the arrest of Mr. Gross to force the United Sates to cease providing aid to Cuba’s independent civil society.

Just this week, we were informed that the State Department will proceed with the scheduled “migration talks” with the Cuban dictatorship on February 19th. It is unsettling for the State Department to be proceeding with “migration talks” and to have, in effect, suspended on-island assistance programs, while an American citizen continues to be under arrest in one of Castro’s prisons and human rights activists on the island are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. This policy of acquiescing to the wishes of the Cuban dictatorship emboldens and encourages it to prolong Mr. Gross’ incarceration in the hopes of obtaining further concessions from the United States.

We urge you to suspend all talks with the Cuban dictatorship until Mr. Gross is freed, and that you demand that he be immediately released. We also respectfully request that you call on USAID to proceed swiftly with the solicitation process, as called for by U.S. law, so that all interested non-governmental organizations may submit grant requests to provide needed assistance to Cuba’s pro-democracy movement.

Thank you for your attention. We look forward to your prompt response.
Signers include:
* Congressmen Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
* Mike Pence (R-IN)
* Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
* Dan Burton (R-IN)
* Connie Mack (R-FL)
* Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)
* Todd Tiahrt (R-KS)
* Connie Mack (R-FL)
* Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL).
Along the Malecon's U.S.-Cuba relations page

50 flights a week

ABC News has this report on Cuban American family visits, and the approximately 50 flights per week from Miami to Havana. These flights are filled with the constituents of the legislators who are fighting to prevent Americans in general from having the right that Cuban Americans now have, to travel without restriction to Cuba. God bless America.

Fania Records Presents "Joe Cuba: El Alcalde Del Barrio" (2xcd) out February 23

SOURCE: Press Junkie PR

Joe Cuba
  New York, NY -- Fania Records announcedthe release of a deluxe 2-disc, 34-track box set of the father of Latin Boogaloo, Joe Cuba. This release is scheduled for February 23, 2010 and commemorates one-year after the passing of this legend. Joe Cuba: A Man and His Music: El Alcalde Del Barrio is a truly exceptional two-disc compilation with an accurate assemblage of his recordings never previously compiled in album form. Featuring his international hits “Bang Bang" and “El Pito (I'll Never Go Back to Georgia)," and many other diverse numbers that spanned his illustrious career, carefully selected and researched by Latin music veteran and prominent producer Bobby Marn.
Joe Cuba's music embodied a perfect balance of sounds and lyrics (both in English and Spanish) that appealed to both Anglo listeners as well as his core Latin devotees. After listening to songs like “Swinging Mambo" you can hear how the “mayor of the barrio" infiltrated the Jewish and Italian markets in New York and eventually nationwide. As architect of the Joe Cuba sound, Joe was adept at creating pure excitement in all of his 240 recorded titles. Few entertainers can claim to have performed at Carnegie Hall, the Apollo Theater, Hollywood Palladium, Madison Square Garden, and the Caribbean Pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair, but Joe certainly could.
Joe Cuba (Gilberto Navarro) was born on April 22, 1931, in Spanish Harlem, New York City, where his Puerto Rican parents moved in the late '20s. Captivated by the conga playing of Sabu Martnez, Gilbert took the opportunity to learn the instrument while recovering from a broken leg suffered playing stickball. Gilbert jammed in the street until given the chance to replace Sabu for a few months as part of a local band, La Alfarona X, in 1950. Shortly after, he joined Spanish Harlem's Joe Panama Quintet, where Jimmy Sabater was a timbales player. After recruiting vibraphonist Tommy Berrios, Gilbert and the band had a falling out with Panama and formed the Cha Cha Boys with Gilbert Calderon as the bandleader. Much to his surprise, Gilbert would soon be billed as “Joe Cuba" by his promoter, Catalino Rolon, and the name would stick.
A generation of Latinos growing up in Spanish Harlem in the 1960's were influenced by their parents more traditional musical tastes, but adapted and combined it with the R&B and Bebop of the time to create their own unique style, which became known as Boogaloo. Joe Cuba was instrumental in the development of boogaloo and had the biggest hit of the '60s with “Bang Bang," which achieved unprecedented success for Latin music in the US in 1966 when it sold over one million copies. Joe's pivotal role in the boogaloo style had him nicknamed the “Father of Latin Boogaloo," and his leadership in the community had him coined (rightfully so), “the mayor of the barrio" ("El Alcalde Del Barrio").
Joe Cuba led an extraordinary life and left behind a legacy of wonderful music for us to take pleasure in, as you will discover upon listening to this album. His presence will be eternally missed, but his spirit remains with those fortunate to have known him.
These tracks have been digitally remastered from the original master tapes. The deluxe set includes a 32-page booklet with extensive liner notes in English and Spanish written by Bobby Marn, never-seen photos, and the album covers of Cuba's great recordings. The set joins The Man and His Music series that has featured such artists as Tito Rodrguez, Celia Cruz, Hector Lavoe, Willie Colon, and Ruben Blades, all on the Fania label, whose catalog Codigo Music recently acquired. Joe Cuba: The Man and His Music is the second release in this series from Codigo Music.
Special Joe Cuba record release parties featuring live acts and DJs will be held in New York (2/24), Los Angeles (2/12), and San Francisco (2/11) in February.

Cuban Stories: A billboard reads 'Socialism or death'
1 / 15
Siempre Fidel ... Claire Boobbyer recently travelled round Cuba capturing propagandist images and road signs across the cities and fields. Here, a billboard depicting Fidel Castro reads 'socialism or death'
Photograph: Claire Boobbyer
Claire Boobbyer, Angel Gil and Helena

Bolshoi Ballet dancers to perform in Cuba

Dancers of Russia's Bolshoi Ballet perform 'Espartaco' during a dress rehearsal at the Royal Theatre in Madrid Reuters – Dancers of Russia's Bolshoi Ballet perform 'Espartaco' during a dress rehearsal at the Royal … 
HAVANA (Reuters) – Members of Russia's Bolshoi Ballet will perform in Havana's Karl Marx theater next week in their first appearance on the island in 30 years, Cuba's state-run press said on Friday. The return of the Bolshoi comes as part of a renewal of relations between Cuba and Russia, who were Cold War allies for three decades before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Cuban press said dancers from the Bolshoi and the Cuban National Ballet will perform pieces from ballets such as "Giselle" and "The Nutcracker" on February 13 in conjunction with the annual Havana International Book Fair, which this year features Russian writers and artists. The reports did not say how many Bolshoi members would perform, but among those listed were principal dancers Anna Antonicheva, Dmitry Belogolovtsev and Galina Stepanenko. The company last performed in Cuba in 1980, they said. The Cuban National Ballet is led by 89-year-old ballet legend Alicia Alonso, who has helped popularize ballet in dance-mad Cuba and trained a number of Cuban dancers now performing in companies abroad. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will lead a delegation to the opening of the book festival during a three-day visit starting February 11, officials said this week. He is the latest in a series of Russian leaders to stop in Cuba, and Cuban President Raul Castro went to Russia last year. In recent years, the two countries have signed a range of economic and diplomatic accords, including an agreement by Russian state oil company Zarubezhneft in November to explore for oil along Cuba's northern coast. Russia was communist-run Cuba's biggest benefactor until their alliance ended with the Soviet Union's fall. Relations went cold for a time, but are warming again as part of a diplomatic offensive in Latin America by Russia, which wants more political and economic ties with the region. The Bolshoi's appearance follows performances in Havana last July by Britain's Royal Ballet. (Reporting by Jeff Franks; editing by Eric Beech)