Harry Belafonte warns Florida capitol protest could become ‘ungovernable’!/Dreamdefenders/status/360101453362233344

Singer Harry Belafonte today joined protesters who have been occupying the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee for more than a week to demand a special legislative session to address racial profiling and the state’s “stand your ground” law. Gov. Rick Scott met with representatives of a group called the Dream Defenders a week ago and stood by the legislation, prompting the protesters to double down and vow not to leave until their demands were met.

According to the Associated Press, Belafonte said that Gov. Scott still had the opportunity to act before protests intensified and the situation in the capitol became “ungovernable.” The crowd has grown from around 20 to as many as 250.!/CharleneCac/status/360865775487156225!/AVAETC/status/360852912253054977’s Lee Stranahan was at the capitol and spoke briefly with Belafonte, who pinned the blame for the nation’s racial division squarely on the shoulders of the Tea Party, “but cited no specific examples.”!/Stranahan/status/360829767282462721!/Stranahan/status/360836805127454722

In the meantime, more than 150 Dream Defenders are preparing to be locked in for another weekend. Protesters have been allowed to stay in the building over the weekend but are not allowed re-entry if they leave.!/Dreamdefenders/status/360886141248995329

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Samantha Power takes 17 UN ambassadors to LGBT musical

It took both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton several years and just as many attempts to properly and fully evolve on gay rights, but now that they have, it’s time for the United States to lead the way for other nations which might not be as enlightened. Enter U.N. Ambassador Susan Power, who took 17 of her colleagues to the Broadway musical “Fun Home,”centered on a young womanwho has recently come out as a lesbian and discovers that her closeted father is also gay.

After the show, the ambassadors and cast membersdiscussed LGBTI issues in a talk hosted by actress Cynthia Nixon, best known to many from the hit series “Sex and the City.”

The Independent reports that ambassadors representing Russia, Gabon and Namibia attended, along with envoys fromthe European Union, Australia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Uruguay and Vietnam.

“Thank you for bringing this all home in a way that resolutions and statements never can,” Power reportedly told the cast following a Q&A session.

It’s nice to see a Broadway musical being employed as a tool of cultural diplomacy for a change. Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry did the predictable thing and met with the usual Hollywood suspects including executives from NBCUniversal, Warner Bros., DreamWorks Animation, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures Entertainment and the Walt Disney Co. for advice on countering ISIS propaganda.

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Ha! Sen. Mike Lee zings older Senate colleagues, gets standing ovation at #CPACSTL!/eyokley/status/383959307252822017

Stalwart Obamacare opponent Sen. Mike Lee spent the night on the Senate floor with Sen. Ted Cruz during his 21-hour speech and he was one of just 19 Republicans with enough backbone to vote against cloture.

There’s already plenty to thank Lee for, and now there’s this from his address at CPAC St. Louis Saturday morning:!/christoferguson/status/383958138996551680

Lee’s intro music got the Dana Loesch stamp of approval.!/DLoesch/status/383962140765212672

And he received a well-deserved standing ovation for his stand against Obamacare.!/eyokley/status/383959307252822017!/DLoesch/status/383959357307625472

The fight continues.!/Isabella1776_OR/status/383960104069898240!/CPACnews/status/383960740312272896


Editor’s note: This post has been updated with video of the senator’s speech.

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18 Things To See And Do In Cuba

What to see, where to go, and what to know.

Cuba is already a big destination for tourists from all over the world.

According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization, 2.9 million people visited last year, and more people went to Cuba in the first nine months of 2014 than any Caribbean island except the Dominican Republic. While recent steps by the U.S. government to open relations with Cuba aren’t providing carte blanche for tourism, it’s likely that, for the first time in five decades, it will soon be easier for Americans to go and legally spend money there.

But the political and ethical considerations of traveling to Cuba are complicated and personal. If you choose to visit, it’s important to be informed about the country’s history, respectful of the people who live there, and aware of how you spend your money. What follows is a list of things to see and do.

1. Stay up all night on The Malecón.

The Malecón is to Havana what the strip is to Vegas, the place to be from sunset to sunrise. For five miles, the Malecón seawall runs along Havana’s Atlantic-facing coast. At night, musicians, gallivanting teenagers, lovers, and street vendors take to the Malecón for a chill hang or to drink rum and party to a mashup of breaking waves and eclectic beats.

2. Visit University of Havana.

Founded in 1728, University of Havana and its 60,000 students occupy a good chunk of central Havana. In the 1950s, the university, which is the Castro brothers’ alma mater, was the site of major anti-government protests. It remains a site of political and social organization and the city’s nexus of contemporary youth culture today.

3. See live music — everywhere.

Ask any Cuban which countries contributed most to the democratization of music and they’ll tell you, “the United States, Brazil, and Cuba.” Visit the famous club La Zorra y El Cuervo, or just stop into the Association of Cuban Writers and Artists, and you might find a Grammy winner on the sax. Beyond jazz, there’s also amazing son music (think Buena Vista Social Club), trova (nuevo trova Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez is the Bob Dylan of every Latin American lefty’s heart), danzón, and more. Ask a local where you can find those styles of music and GO.

4. Feast on delicious street food.


Small businesses are cropping up all over Cuba’s streets and many new entrepreneurs are focusing on street food. Try pork hamburgers, fruit milkshakes, and coconut pies, to name a few. Here are five street foods you should try in Havana.

5. Wander and admire the architecture in Vedado.

Vedado, the residential area to the west of Central Havana, is home to early 20-century mansions that were once stunning family estates and are now crumbling palatial structures. Habana Vieja, the downtown city center, is also full of amazing colonial-era buildings, and other parts of town are full of brutalist 1960s and ’70s architecture that are interesting in their own right.

6. See Interactivo perform.

With famed jazz pianist Roberto Carcasses at its helm, the collaborative group Interactivo sells out shows wherever it performs. On Wednesdays, catch them at Berto Brecht theater in Vedado and prepare to be blown away.

7. Learn to salsa at 1830.

To many Cubans, salsa moves seem to come as natural as walking. But don’t let their professional-level skills deter you — the dance culture in Cuba is all about doing it together. For a crash course, hang out during salsa night at the outdoor club 1830 and fall into step with a local.

8. Hang out in Plaza Vieja.

From art galleries to a beer museum, Havana’s “Old Plaza” has tons of culture going on. The outdoor cafes are a great place to spend an afternoon (though this is definitely one of the more touristy activities on this list) sipping from three-foot-high beer towers — or only slightly smaller mojitos.

9. Take a bus to Baracoa.


Baracoa sits on the opposite side of the island from Havana. This is part of Guantanamo province, and where Columbus first landed in Cuba. Chocolate and cacao are an important part of Baracoa’s economy, so munch on some while you take in the the view of El Yunque, a 575-meter-high table mountain, across Baracoa Bay. To get there, you can fly to Gustavo Rizo Airport from Havana, but flights are infrequent. Most people take a bus, which leave from Havana on alternate days. (Note that this, like all public transport schedules, is worth double-checking before you go.)

10. See a dance show at Teatro Nacional.

Even if your trip doesn’t line up with Havana’s annual ballet festival, you should see a dance show anyway. The National Theatre houses many of the island’s preeminent performers, but a stroll down Linea Avenue will provide you with a host of theatrical options. For non-Spanish speakers, dance is a great place to start.

11. Take in the sunset from El Morro.


El Morro — a 16th-century fortress that was also used as a prison for many years — now serves as an excellent vantage point where you can catch beautiful Atlantic sunsets. Every night at 9 p.m., a ceremonial canon is fired from the fortress walls.

12. Hike the highest point on the island of Cuba: Pico Turquino.

At 1,974 meters, Pico Turquino provides a very challenging hike for outdoor adventurers and those whose salsa legs can stand a little more heat.

13. Head to Varadero and hit the beach.

Varadero is Cuba’s most illustrious resort town, and with over 3,000 miles of coastline, you can have your pick of beach spot, from bustling locales near Havana to hidden gems on the island’s less-frequented stretches. The beaches near Havana are a more affordable day trip, as are the beaches in all the provinces. Varadero is like Cuba’s South Beach — more of a destination.

14. Eat dinner at La Guarida.


First, some homework: See Fresa y Chocolate (Strawberry and Chocolate, 1994), the Academy Award-nominated period piece and darling of Cuban cinema. Then, make a reservation at La Guarida, the Central Havana haunt with excellent fare that serves as the stage for most of the film.

15. Spend a day in Trinidad.

Stop into the colonial beach town on the island’s south side, where the crystalline waters are turquoise and there’s an active nightlife.

16. Visit Ernest Hemingway’s house, Finca Vigía.


Hemingway lived in the house — which is now a museum — from 1939 to 1960, and wrote most of For Whom The Bell Tolls there.

17. Go to a baseball game at Estadio Latinoamericano.

Home to two Cuban pro-league teams, the stadium is as big or larger than most MLB stadiums in the U.S. Grab a strong Cuban coffee from one of the vendors, and enjoy the nation’s favorite sport.

18. Visit the Museo de la Revolución.

Housed in a former presidential palace, The Museum of the Revolution is one of Havana’s most popular attractions, and features a fascinating (albeit partisan) look into Cuba’s political past.


An earlier version of this post misidentified the stadium pictured in #17. The image has been updated. Play ball! BF_STATIC.timequeue.push(function () { document.getElementById(“update_article_correction_time_4812673”).innerHTML = UI.dateFormat.get_formatted_date(‘2015-01-31 17:56:40 -0500’, ‘update’); });

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