Calling All Single Ladies: Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s On The Run Tour Is This Summer

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The power couple of our generation, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, will be spending this summer on the road touring together. The On The Run Tour is already one of the biggest North American tours in years, with 16 stops planned. These include:

    June 25: Miami, Fla.
    June 28: Cincinnati, OH
    July 1: Foxborough, Mass.
    July 5: Philadelphia, Penn.
    July 7: Baltimore, MD
    July 9: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    July 11: East Rutherford, New Jersey
    July 15: Atlanta, Ga.
    July 18: Houston, Texas
    July 20: New Orleans, LA
    July 22: Dallas, Texas
    July 24: Chicago, Ill.
    July 27: Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    July 30: Seattle, WA
    Aug. 2: Los Angeles Calif.
    Aug. 5: San Francisco, Calif.

The Chase-sponsored tour is named for the collaboration the duo did for Jay-Z’s most recent album, “Magna Carta…Holy Grail”, “Part II (On The Run)”. Some reports say that classic collabs like “Crazy In Love”, “Upgrade U”, “Drunk in Love”, among others.

The tour comes as each have just recently ended solo tours. This will be Jay-Z’s second summer in a row touring, and happens after Beyoncé just recently ended her 132-stop “The Mrs. Carter World Tour”. Tickets are already selling up a storm, but a source to Us Magazine said that the first-hand tickets are going for a lower price of $150, “so Beyonce can make sure all of her fans can see the show… She takes care of all her fans so that every one of them can see her.” Second-hand tickets, however, are going for upwards of $350.

I am a huge fan of Beyoncé, and Jay-Z, as many people know. They are both my favorite artists of all time, owning many of each of their CD’s, and calendars, concert posters, and more. I am working to get a job by the beginning of June so that I can be lucky enough to see them when they come to Cincinnati on June 28th.

Visit Beyoncé’s Website.

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Ukrainian Crisis: Referendums In Eastern Ukraine

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The regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, in Ukraine, voted today on whether or not to become independent states. The results just came in, and they are: Surprise, independence.

The question on the ballot in Donetsk was: “”Do you support the self-rule of the Donetsk People’s Republic?” The “official” results from Donetsk are 89% yes, 10% no. The head of the election committee, Roman Lyagin, told reporters after the polls closed, “These can be considered the final results.” These numbers are much different than those which came out of a poll from the Institute of Social Research and Policy Analysis, which said that among those asked only 4.7% of Donetsk residents supported independence.

The results for independence in Luhansk were similar in percentages.

The West made sure to pronounce their opposition to the votes. The State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “This is the Crimea playbook all over again. No civilized nation will recognize the results. And if Russia takes the next step to re-enact its illegal Crimea annexation in eastern or southern Ukraine and sends more forces over the border, harsh US and EU sanctions will follow.” A spokesperson for the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, explained that, “Such a referendum, against the Ukrainian constitution, does not calm things down but escalates them.”

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The ballot question left it open to different interpretations, which may be one reason for the sky-high unification of the voters. The corruption is in the wording, which could be read as self-rule, autonomy, or independence, depending on the reader. It is also corrupt because of Vladimir Putin’s role in it. He called on the regions to postpone the votes, to begin, “direct, full-fledged dialogue between the Kiev authorities and representatives of southeast Ukraine.” He said this so that when the regions ask to join Russia he can say that, though he was not a part of it, he must listen to what the people want. This is the way he can get around the illegality of this vote.

These votes and their results are illegal and must not be recognized. It is another step in the wrong direction, and is another one in the path toward Putin’s dream of an Eurasian Union.

Daughter of The Gods Is A Long-Awaited Redemption of Hatshepsut and Her Legacy

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I am lucky enough to know the author of Daughter of The Gods, Stephanie Thornton, personally, so I was able to read the novel before release. I am so happy now everyone can read it, and be personally inspired by it.

Daughter of The Gods is the story of Pharaoh Hatshepsut, the fifth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt. She is forced for so long to do whatever people want her to do. Marry her half-brother Thut to secure his ascension to the Horus Throne, sit pretty for the people while the men plan battle (which she longs to do), and be forced to try to produce a male heir to the throne. When another of Thut’s wives, Aset, gives him a son, Hatshepsut begins to see a real life for herself. She is tired of being what everyone wants her to be, and when Thut abruptly dies, she becomes regent for her two-year-old nephew.

As she starts to realize what ruling is like, and as she develops a strong love connection to the brilliant Senenmut, Hatshepsut decides what she must do. She herself, unheard of previously, seizes the throne and becomes Pharaoh. She gives her all to Egypt, ruling effectively and putting the people first. But, as her heart aches, she must decide if she will rule or give in to what her heart desires. And when the people around her start to work against her, she must do what she feels right to lead Egypt to great things.

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Statue of Hatshepsut. Credit Here.

Ever since I read her debut novel, The Secret History, I have loved Thornton’s writing for many reasons. The books are so well-researched we feel we actually are smelling the incense, feeling the desert sun, just as Hatshepsut does. We feel the love Hatshepsut has, for Senenmut, for the people of Egypt. Thornton is able to display Hatshepsut’s achievements as the female Pharaoh would have seen them. The implementation of trade routes between Egypt and the rest of the civilized world, the construction of temples to last millennia, and the conquest of many Nubian towns.

The greatest thing I took away from Daughter of The Gods, just as I have from Thornton’s other course-of-history changing women, is the fact that you must give your all if you are to lead. I am going to be the leader of the free world (President of the United States), and so the lessons Hatshepsut’s life teaches I can apply to my own life. She worked her entire life for the best of Egypt, and that teaches me that if I am to be President I must work for the very best for the people of the US my whole life.

Stephanie Thornton adds another shining book to her powerful women in history series with Daughter of The Gods, and the restoration of Hatshepsut as one of the most powerful, influential, and important leaders in human history.

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Author Stephanie Thornton, Biography~

Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel. The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora is available from NAL/Penguin and Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt hit the shelves May 6, 2014. The Tiger Queens: A Novel of Genghis Khan will publish in Fall 2014. For more information, please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website

Praise For Daughter Of The Gods

“Daughter of the Gods is a wonderfully intimate and dramatic evocation of Ancient Egypt, where one headstrong young woman dares to become pharaoh. Stephanie Thornton vividly portrays the heat and the danger, the passion and the heartbreak of Hatshepsut’s struggle, as she defies even the gods to ensure success on the throne of Egypt. A touching love story combines with a thrilling tale of death, courage and political intrigue to produce a superbly researched and powerfully written novel. This is the kind of book that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. A remarkable story, remarkably told.” -Kate Furnivall, author of Shadows on the Nile

“Stephanie Thornton’s heroines are bold, brave, and powerful–they make me want to stand up and cheer!” -Kate Quinn, author of Lady of the Eternal City

“Daughter of the Gods is a full-out, total immersion experience of ancient Egypt. From her moving love affair with a commoner to her fierce and unwavering commitment to Egypt as a female Pharaoh, Hatshepsut crackles with fascinating complexity. Her ka must be grinning with pleasure at this richly textured account of her life, one that is worthy of the great queen herself. “ -Vicky Alvear Shecter, author of Cleopatra’s Moon

“An epic saga that brings ancient Egypt to life with vivid imagery and lovely prose. Stephanie Thornton is a rising star!” -Stephanie Dray, author of Lily of the Nile

Ukrainian Crisis: Why This Is An Urban War and How To Handle It

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Cossacks Discuss Upcoming Donetsk Referendum. Credit Here.

It is hard to believe that this is my 13th post on the Ukrainian crisis so far, spanning 3 months, reporting in the modern form of journalism. Hundreds of people from over 30 different nations, including the major players in this crisis: the United States, Britain, Germany, France, and Russia. So now, I would like to discuss something that must be understood for the general public to understand my solutions to the crisis.

Ukraine is fighting an urban war against Russia. To explain this, let us go back to a few months ago, in March, when the conflict in the Crimean peninsula began. We saw the invasion of sovereign Ukrainian lands by soldiers without any distinguishable markings. The international community was stunned and many of us who understand foreign affairs cautiously warned that it may be the work of the Russian Federation.

It then became obvious that these “Pro-Russian Demonstrators” were in fact Russian troops, possibly part of the FSB, and definitely the Russian Army. By the end of March, Crimea had joined Russia through a corrupt referendum.

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Pro-Russian Soldier Defending A Stronghold in east Ukraine. Credit Here.

The violence then moved to the east, where forces have been fighting for months in the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv. The fighting has been in the streets of urban cities, some using Molotov cocktails, guns, cobblestones, and other weapons. With this violence, along with the 40K Russian troops on the border armed for the invasion of Ukraine, it proves that it is Putin and his government causing this unrest.

The bulk of the violence has not been in rural areas, with large tanks and weapons of mass destructions as you would expect in an invasion. The violence has been in the cities, with Russian troops disguised as citizen protestors, and really the only typical large weapons of invasion involved are BTR quick-movement armored vehicles and fast-attack helicopters.

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A heavily armed pro-Russian soldier. Credit Here.

So how can we handle this violence? This is a new type of war, one where it is harder for the West to quell the violence peacefully. This is why I propose 3 actions that need to be taken by the US and UK governments now:

1) President Obama Needs To Garner Public Support For Future Actions By The US

    This needs to occur before #2 or #3 can occur. He needs to address the American people in the same way he did in the Syrian conflict, sitting down and talk out what has happened, and why we need to take action upon it to prevent future bloodshed. I fully support every action he has taken so far, and I believe that an informed public will also.

2) Reinstate Anti-Missile Defense Systems In Poland

      Ever since the first sparks of violence in Crimea, I have wholeheartedly advocated for the West to reinstate anti-missile defense systems in Poland, like they were in the Cold War. This will deter Mr. Putin from any movement west, toward the EU. Poland is one of our greatest allies around the world, and it is our obligation to protect them, and the rest of Europe.

3) Supply Non-Lethal Aid To Ukraine

    Ukraine is not a stable economic nation, especially as this crisis is tarnishing its land. It needs help to prevent Russia from taking any more of its land. The fact is, however, the American people are a war-weary nation. That is why I am advocating for body armor, fuel, and food to be sent to the Ukrainians, things that will not cause direct lethal consequences but will help the Ukrainian people survive. It may become necessary for the American government to send light arms to the Ukrainian army due to its lack of equipment but only if this crisis continues, which I unfortunately foresee. That would come if no progress in quelling the violence occurs by the end of May.

This is the time for the US to take real action in Ukraine. No boots on the ground, but continue to hold military exercises in Poland, as well as reinstate anti-missile systems in Poland and to supply non-lethal aid to Ukraine. We must end this now, before Putin’s dream of a Eurasian Union comes upon us.

Ukrainian Crisis: Death Toll Spikes As Ukraine Is On Verge Of War

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Protestors Tearing Up Cobblestones To Throw. Credit Here.

The crisis in Ukraine so far has been with casualties, but limited in death toll. But as May began, the toll soared as deadly gunfire a fire, and downed helicopters claimed the lives of at least 50 Pro-Russian demonstrators and Ukrainian soldiers.

Odessa, a city in Ukraine near the Black Sea, had been without heavy violence up until Friday. Police reported to the AP that 3 people had been killed and 15 wounded after Pro-Russian demonstrators and Ukrainian soldiers exchanged gunfire in the streets.

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Union Hall On Fire. Credit Here.

A trade union hall was later set on fire, presumed because of Molotov Cocktails, where over 40 people died and 174 were injured. The Ukrainian Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, said, “We’re ready to hold talks with protesters or their representatives.” Avakov also said yesterday on the government website as troops surrounded Slovyansk. “But terrorists and armed separatists will only get the inevitable payback.”

As the Ukrainian government recaptured checkpoints outside the separatist city of Slovyansk, 3 separatists were killed and 2 were injured. The Ukrainian government is trying to recapture Slovyansk, along with other eastern Ukrainian cities, as part of its “anti-terror” operation.

Finally, the pro-Western government in Kiev said that 2 Ukrainian Army helicopters were brought down by missiles, killing 2 airmen. This is seen as proof of Moscow being behind this entire crisis.

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Russia, after placing about 40000 troops along its eastern border with Ukraine, proclaimed one again its “right” to invade Ukraine to “protect” Russian speakers in the region. The Russian Ambassador to the United Nations said that Ukrainian authorities are using “heavy military force against peaceful protesters in a criminal misadventure,” while Russia is trying to wind down and end the crisis. He said the U.S. and the European Union should “stop toying with the destiny of the Ukrainian people.”

As Ukrainian elections are right around the corner on May 25th, President Obama warned Russia that if violence continues and the vote cannot be held, “we will not have a choice but to move forward,” with new sanctions. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the election “crucial” and said that she would support economic sanctions if the election is impeded by Russian-induced violence.