Jay-Z and Mr. Prez…

President Barack Obama even has Jay-Z fired up. Check it out..


Jay-Z My President is black Remix LIVE 1-18-09 from pleasedontstare.com on Vimeo.




Inauguration Day: The Wrap-Up

Here I am giving a fun and quick wrap-up of my Inauguration Day experience. I’ll let the video speak for itself.

Smooches,
The Caramel Bella

P.S. I’d love to hear how your Inauguration day experience went. Please post comments.




T Minus 10 hours & Counting until the Swearing-in Ceremony

U Street

Today, I spent the majority of the day walking around the “Inauguration Washington, D.C.” As a person who calls this place “home” (my folks still live here), the District has really transformed into this buzzing and alive place. Obama hasn’t taken office yet but my “home” has changed already.

From the Historic U Street area to Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurant to the Washington Monument and Mall, the streets were full of people. I couldn’t tell the tourists from the natives. And there were tons of street vendors. It appears as though hundreds of people have figured out how to make money in this troubling economy — sell anything with Barack or Michelle Obama on it. There were the standard souvenir fare like t-shirts, hats, buttons and posters. Yet, I also came across unique and somewhat strange items like Obama earrings and condoms. Yes, this city is alive with Obama-mania!

After walking around downtown and the Mall, I headed into the Smithsonian to warm up and re-familiar myself with my favorite museum. I then walked back to the U Street area to visit one of my favorite places: Busboys and Poets. It’s a unique spot that’s a restaurant, bookstore, bar and venue for artists. I love it. Following an hour long wait outside, I was able to enjoy a great dinner in one of the most eclectic places in town. (It is open 24/7 during the Inauguration festivities.)

My visit to D.C. (my home) has been almost magical. From getting tickets to the swearing-in ceremony to seeing my city with new eyes. I am hopeful that the “new” energy so easily seen in the nation’s capitol remains long after President-elect Obama has taken office tomorrow at 12 noon. Our new president has a tough road ahead to turn the state of the nation around (especially economically and in terms of international relations). Let’s all pledge to remember the excitement, hope and belief in the future of our country that we have right now. We’re going to need it.

Only a couple more hours until the ceremony….

signing off,

The Caramel Bella




Planes, Trains & Automobiles..But I’m Here for Inauguration 2009

snow-planeinauguration

Whew! I am finally here in Washington, DC for the Inaugural 2009. I almost cannot believe that I actually made it. My first flight out of Los Angeles (LAX) into Pittsburgh was rather uneventful. (Exception: USAirways has decided to charge you for everything such as bags, food, water, and drinks. Didn’t gas prices go down?) However, my connecting flight out of snowy P’burgh was delayed twice for a total of an hour and a half. I made it fun by chatting it up with my travel mates, and grabbing a cold one and a meal at the airport.

Although the trip to DC went much slower than I hoped, I learned a lot about some of the people I was traveling with. Being a journalist, I am naturally nosy and I occasionally listen to conversations around me.

And what I discovered is that the Inauguration activities for President-elect Barack Obama are akin to the biggest Superbowl win and New Year’s eve rolled up into one. People, especially a lot of black people, have traveled far and wide to witness and celebrate Obama becoming the 44th president and the 1st African American president of the United States. I overheard several folks say they decided at the last minute that they wanted to be here. They felt like they had to come. In particular, a black woman on my Pittsburgh flight said she decided just yesterday that she wanted to be in Washington, DC for the Inauguration and bought her ticket last night.

Another older white gentleman, who I will call Bill, told me that he had to be in DC at this time because he wanted to feel the energy of the city. Like most of the people I spoke with, Bill didn’t have a ticket to any of the events. He only held a desire to be a part of history. He said “I’m excited for us to get rid of the old and see the change come to Washington.” He spoke fondly of President-elect Obama’s ability to remain calm and even during times of great pressure and his message of hope. He joked that there were Obama supporters even in Orange County, Calif. Armed with new gloves, he was headed to The Mall to soak in as many Inaugural events as possible.

I also overheard a woman who is traveling to DC because she is responsible for an Inaugural party held by Occidental College (Obama’s first college). She couldn’t believe her good fortune when her boss asked her to go in his place. She felt like she’d hit the jackpot.

And I met another young lady who traveled here to meet up with family and friends to attend Inauguration parties, stand in line to see the parade and try to get as close as possible to see the swearing in. People are spending crazy money, braving the cold and bearing the big crowds just to get a glimpse of President-elect Barack Obama – and to say that they were here.

All of the people I talked to could not believe that I held a ticket to the Inauguration swearing-in ceremony. I actually think getting on the plane and witnessing the lengths to which some people have come (without credentials, passes or tickets) just to be a part of history has made me feel quite special to be here – with or without a ticket.

So, hopping on two planes, airport shuttles, and into my parents SUV was worth it because over the next few days, I get to witness history.

More to come…

The Caramel Bella




The Caramel Bella is Going to the Inauguration of Barack Obama

capitol-building-inauguration-bleachers

Yes, I am going to the Inauguration 2009. And I must confess. I am feeling a little under-excited. And I honestly don’t know why. (Maybe it is the cold weather, the large crowds, the tremendous logistics involved, the financial expense, etc.) This is probably THE most historic presidency of my lifetime – at least that is what I am being told by almost everyone around me. And a part of me believes this statement. Whenever people super-hype things, I always take a teeny step back. (Maybe it is because I personally believe I will witness tons of firsts – including a woman elected president, other people of color as president or global leaders in addition to the greatest thing of all – world peace and an end to terrorism.)

With that being said, I will probably become swept up in the moment once I arrive to DC (via two planes..sigh). The presidency of Barack Obama is something truly worthy of celebrating. The United States has a chance to change course.

So why the sense of trepidation about this fantastic moment? Well, I can’t help but think of the costs of this super Inauguration spent by myself, others and the United States government while this country is in a serious recession/depression. And I am trying to remember the thousands of people that are losing and have lost their jobs during the economic fallout.

But I guess I’m digressing from the beauty of the moment.The Obama electoral win shows that the United States has (at some level) shifted its consciousness to a place where people are being judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, which was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. There is no coincidence that Obama was elected during this time in history and will assume the presidency the day after MLK’s birthday. There are no coincidences.

This consciousness shift is the main reason I am getting excited. I am getting pumped up to witness this incredible moment in history.. IN PERSON. Yes, I will be there on the U.S. Capitol steps (I can’t believe I actually got a ticket!) watching the ONLY 2008 presidential candidate I believed in become the leader of our country.

Okay, I’m getting excited writing this post. Stay tuned on my adventures back to DC (my home) to participate and observe in this tremendous time in history. (I will be twittering it too. Follow me on Twitter.)

Yes, I’m tingling a little bit now. An intelligent, hopeful, trustworthy, compassionate man – who happens to be a man of color – will be our next president in three whole days!! Woo hoo!

Getting excited,
The Caramel Bella




Hush Beyoncé, You Spoiled the Secret

beyonce-singing

According to HollywoodLife.net, Superstar Beyoncé recently released a statement saying, “I am so honored that I will be performing for President Obama and the First Lady. To sing At Last while they have their first dance is a dream come true.”

This statement about her Inauguration 2009 performance is all good except for one thing – one big thing. It was supposed to be a secret. The site says the Presidential Inaugural Committee had hoped the song would remain “classified” until the President and his wife stepped on the floor for their first dance on inauguration night. Yikes, talk about letting the cat out of the bag.

Beyoncé’s inability to keep this bit of news hush-hush may be a surprise to her fans. After all, she kept her wedding plans to rapper Jay-Z a secret for months. Come on Beyoncé, where’s the tight-lipped Sasha Fierce when you need her?

Are you interested in hearing the original version of At Last by Etta James? Listen to the song at Last.fm. Eventhough Beyoncé has a golden voice, she has some legendary shoes to fill on this one.

xxoo, The Caramel Bella




What Has the Caramel Bella Been Up To?

It’s a New Year!! And it is time for a new look. CaramelBella.com needs a face lift. (Plus, I’m seeing this blog design every where I look. And a girl can’t have that!) So, I’ve been searching and searching for a new design to bring a fresh look for 2009! Expect big changes in 2009 in terms of content, design and interviews. There will be more videos and more photos. And if I don’t chicken out (LOL) – a podcast and video blog or two. 2008 was the big year for change. We will soon have a president (Barack Obama) who ran a platform on (much-needed) change. So, I’ve gotten in the spirit of change — out with the old and in with the new! Here’s to 2009!

More to come.. So stay tuned.

Smooches,

The Caramel Bella




CB’s Green Report: Penguins & Protest

Protection for some penguins but not “Happy Feet.” According to a recent AP story, the Bush Administration is proposing to add six penguin species to the endangered species list and one species, the African penguin, to the threatened species list. Yet, the stars of “Happy Feet” and “March of Penguins”, which are northern rockhopper and emperor penguins, have been denied protection by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These poor penguins  will not be listed under the 1973 Endangered Species Act. Although grateful for the seven penguin protections, environmentalists are unhappy with the decision to not protect more penguin species. The government claims there isn’t sufficient evidence to warrant protections for certain penguins. “‘Penguin populations are in jeopardy, and we can’t afford to further delay protections,’ said Brendan Cummings, the oceans program director for the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity, which requested in November 2006 that the administration protect a dozen penguin species.”

More greenies step up to Obama’s environmental challenge. President-elect Barack Obama is continuing to build his pro-environment team. He recently selected John Holdren, a Harvard University physicist, as his presidential science adviser. And Obama chose Jane Lubchenco, an Oregon State University marine biologist, as head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Both selections will be announced formally December 20. Political and environmental analysts think Obama’s recent choices, Holdren and Lubchenco, means he is likely to reverse Bush’s energy and global warming policies.

Let the protest begin. In Utah, the Bureau of Labor Management (BLM) has put up 132 parcels totaling about 164,000 acres for the auction of oil and gas drill leases. Environmentalists and concerned citizens are protesting the sale because “it threatens the state’s wild lands and will bring drilling rigs within view of some national parks.” These groups and even actor Robert Redford are also upset about the so-called “fire sale” because they claim the details were announced only two months ago and the process is too hasty. The auction is occurring only a month before Bush leaves the presidency. More than 100 protesters stood outside the auction with signs reading “Protect Wild Utah” and “Our Home Is Not for Sale.”

Are you still holiday shopping? Treehugger has a great list of gifts for greenies who are also health nuts. Some of the suggestions include Eco Mats, which are “free of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the unhealthy petroleum product linked to cancer and birth defects.” Or there is the green tea set for the friend or family member that’s into the health benefits of green tea or reducing their coffee intake. The site also features gift suggestions for almost anyone on your list. So, there’s still time to purchase gifts that are good for you and the environment.




CB’s Daily News Break: No Surprise It’s Barack Obama

And Time magazine’s Man of the Year is…(drum roll, please): President-elect, Barack Obama. As if there was any surprise that Obama would be selected. The general consensus in the media world (bloggers and mainstream) is that his choice is one big DUH.

Time magazine wrote, “Obama overcame a lack of experience, a funny name, two candidates who are political institutions, and the racial divide to become the 44th President of the United States.” America’s next president has dominated the headlines since his nomination for the presidency. It’s only fitting that he would take this coveted award too.

And did you check out Obama’s (dare I say hot) photos from his freshman year at Occidental College included in the Time magazine pictorial? A sneak peek is below but you should see them for yourself.

But what about Time magazine’s runner-ups? Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was on the short list to win Time’s Wo(man) of the Year. No. Really? Well, this soccer mom did take America by storm. Others under consideration included Secretary of State Henry Paulson, France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy, and creator of the opening ceremonies (The Birds Nest) at the Beijing Olympics, Zhang Yimou.

In other non-Obama related news….The United States’ first-ever complete (80%) face transplant was performed on a woman at The Cleveland Clinic. The woman, who was described as horribly disfigured, now has the face of a donated female cadaver. The patient only retained her own chin, lower lip, forehead and upper eyes. Before the operation, the patient couldn’t smile, taste or smell due to an accident. Since the surgeons also grafted facial nerves and muscles, the woman will be able to smile and perform normal face functions. “Our patient was called names and humiliated,” said Dr. Maria Siemionow, who led that team that performed the 22-hour operation two weeks ago. “You need the face to face the world.”

And on the allegedly corrupt Illinois Governor front. According to an ABC News report Wednesday, Blagojevich is going to break his silence and tell his side of the story in a press conference toward the end of the week. Although arrested over a week ago, Blago hasn’t responded to the charges that he tried to sell President-elect Obama’s former Senate seat. The governor said he couldn’t wait to address the people of Illinois.

And the sad, sad American dollar. The U.S. currency has “declined the most against the euro since the 15-nation currency’s 1999 debut.” And the dollar is at a new 13-year low versus the yen despite an almost zero percent interest rates. Perhaps, the dollar’s value has something to do with America’s increasing budget deficits, which isn’t actually prompting more global investors. Although, the dollar is $1.4437 per euro, the U.S. could be looking at a $1.50 exchange rate for 1 euro or more! Uh-oh, the current economic plans don’t appear to be working. Attention Bernanke: The dollar is sinking.




CB’s Green Report: Obama’s Greenies

Just what we need, a new energy and environmental team. According to Wednesday’s New York Times, Obama’s transition officials said he has selected several key members of this team. For the Secretary of Energy position, Obama has chosen Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Stephen Chu, who also serves as the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. And officials stated he will chose Los Angeles’ deputy mayor for energy and environment, Nancy Sutley, to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Obama’s officials sound as though his selections for head of the Environmental Protection Agency and climate czar are a bit less certain. He has supposedly selected Lisa P. Jackson, New Jersey’s former commissioner of Environmental Protection. If confirmed, Jackson would be the first African American to head the U.S. E.P.A.

And it appears as though Obama’s going to give the top White House position on climate and energy policy to President Bill Clinton’s E.P.A. administrator, Carol M. Browner. If Obama selects Browner, who was an Al Gore follower, she is assumed to have support from several key members of Congress like Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and Representative “Henry A. Waxman of California, who will be the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Senator Barbara Boxer of California, who is returning as chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.” Hopefully, Obama’s choices will work out well because he has a tough road ahead to meet his goal of reducing global warming emissions and creating more “green” jobs.

Can you believe there are E.P.A. fugitives? Well, believe it! The Environmental Protection Agency has a web site that list all of the fugitives sought by its Criminal Investigation Division. Are you wondering what gets you on the environmental bad guys list? The site gives a case summary and how to report information about them in case you see one. It’s like America’s Most Wanted for environmental criminals. (I can hear the theme song playing. “Whatcha gonna do when they come for you? Bad Boys. Bad Boys.”) Surprisingly, Bush and members of his administration are not listed.

This report wouldn’t be complete without green gifts for the holidays. CleanTechnica has a list of the 8 Best Green Gadget Gifts. Some of the items include a power strip that tells you the energy efficiency of your appliances with a numerical reading, and a wind-powered electronics charger. These are just a few of the gifts. Pretty cool stuff for the greenie in your life.

Note: Also featured on Pop + Politics




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My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.

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