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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part I

In its heyday the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C., "the people's theatre", was a showcase for African American Artists, and the place to be to hear cutting edge big band, jazz, blues, rhythm and blues and Motown on the Potomac. The theatre first opened in 1910 and has had may great musicians perform there over the years including, Duke Ellington, The Supremes, The Temptations and Billie Holiday. The theater was the center of what was called "Black Broadway", a draw for Washington DC from the entire east coast and Midwest. the riots of the 1960's and 1970's, newer venues in New York and in the south and a shift to mainstream for African American artist ended the popularity of the aging theatre.   More than 30 years ago, the theatre went into disrepair and was forced to close. But now, money has been raised for its redevelopment and it will re-open this week. In a predominately African American City the reopening carries special meaning and significance. The exterior has been restored to it's 1910 glamour. Inside is a modern theater for modern audiences and technology.

Scott Walker
Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker speaks to an audience at a Waukesha County Republican dinner in Pewaukee, Wis., Saturday, March 31, 2012., Steven Senne / AP Photo
The presidential primary is over but there are plenty of hotly contested elections still to come in Wisconsin this year. Recall elections against Governor Scott Walker and those senators who voted to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees are in full swing. Not foreseen when the election process began over a year ago was the number of Wisconsin's who would join in due to other actions of the governor and state senator, including cutting medical benefits and cuts in programs needed by both farmers and industry in the state. is one of several sites which have published for the fist time records from the Negro Leagues of baseball. Rob Neyer, baseball editor at Baseball Nation spoke with NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday  about statistics from the Negro Leagues, recently made available for the first time. Most numbers are incomplete, but some records, including 92 wins in a much shorter season, home run records that exceed everyone but Babe Ruth, and how heated and close the games were.

In 1987's "Wall Street" Michael Douglas strolls the beach with his large cell phone. In "Lethal Weapon" Mel Gibson makes a call on a phone attached to a larger "portable" box.Early on, experts predicted about a million Americans would have cell phones by the turn of century. They were wrong. The actual number was more than one hundred times that estimate. Advances in micro-technology, decreases in size for the "bricks", shifts in what defines "self identity", lowering costs, massive marketing, texting and smart phones could not be predicted in the late 1980's and early 1990's. The rich man's mobile phone became the everyman's preferred form of communication for 300 million Americans by 2010. The concept goes back to the1940's, developed for World War II, but later released by AT&T as a car phone....with a larger box and antenna concealed in the trunk of the car. In 1983  Motorola demonstrated a prototype for the personal portable hand held cell phone, which would have cost four grand but faced regulatory obstacles. In

The Obama campaign is expected to start highlighting what they consider a long list of national security accomplishments, which includes ending the Iraq War, stepping up drone attacks against militants overseas, helping lead a successful NATO war that brought down the Ghaddafi regime in Libya - and the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The GOP is already going after Obama for the continuation of a very slow and painful recovery from the largest recession since the Great Depression, despite improving economic figures in every measured area.

Easter Sunday at the Vatican included a call for peace specifically for Syria and around the world.

A proposed law in Tennessee will require creationism be taught along with evolution in all schools and in all textbooks  used in the state. Passed by a Republican dominated legislature, the state which was home to the famous "Scopes" Trial, will see creationism signed into law later this week.e

Indian statisticians have begun deciphering the results of the 2011 census. It's revealing a picture of a country where millions have access to the latest technology, but where millions more also lack basic sanitation and other services. But even in slum areas, people say they are optimistic about their future and hope to better their lives, even as the government struggles to keep up with basic services. The census may help determine if India is the most highly populated nation in the world, or if the dubious honor falls with China.

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