She turned her dad's 50-year-old FBI file into a stunning work of art.

Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover once said the most threatening thing about the Black Panthers was their free breakfast program for kids. Seriously.

That didn’t stop the FBI from keeping close tabs on people like Rodney Barnette, a founding member of the Compton chapter. A Vietnam veteran, he became disillusioned by the racism he experienced after returning home from the war. During his time organizing through the Panthers, he helped push the group's "radical" agenda that involved feeding hungry kids, protecting elderly in their neighborhoods, and providing black people easier access to health care and hospitals.

Eight different FBI agents followed Barnette for several years. They traded information with one another as they intimidated and gaslighted him, even going so far as to get him fired from his job at the post office. It was all in an attempt to demoralize and crush a movement they couldn’t control.


Rodney Barnette, circa 1968. All images by Sadie Barnette, used with permission.

The FBI had more than 500 pages of records on Barnette. Now, nearly five decades later, he and his family got to see those pages.

“We filed a request through the Freedom of Information Act, but it took about four years of back and forth writing letters before we actually got the file,” explains Sadie Barnette, Rodney’s daughter.

The loving father she’d known was a lifelong labor organizer with a passion for grassroots community building, a kindhearted man who built the first black-owned gay bar in San Francisco.  She’d heard stories growing up about his involvement with the Black Panthers, but even he still had questions about that period of his own life — until the day that massive PDF document finally arrived.

“We were really just blown away by how much attention they paid,” Sadie explains. “They interviewed all of my dad’s employers. They interviewed his high school teachers and even the little old lady next door to where he grew up ... just so many resources they put into not just my dad, but anyone who was organizing with the Black Panthers and other groups at the time.”

Rodney’s name was included on the FBI's Administrative Index, or ADEX, which was essentially a terrorist watchlist at the time — a fact that Sadie calls sobering and terrifying. The agency even kept a detailed tree of his extended family, all of whom had been interrogated too.

Sadie as a baby, with her dad.

Then Sadie took those pages of her father’s life and turned them into art.

Sadie is an acclaimed visual artist whose work has been seen across the world. While the FBI files were obviously an important artifact for their family, she also knew they would make great fodder for a new project.

With her father’s blessing, Sadie combed through the files to find the most striking pages, and she found different ways to repurpose them — and the discordant story they told. She tagged some pages with pink and black spray paint like graffiti, while others were combined with her original artwork.

“There’s also these rhinestones that adorn some of the pages," she explains. “That was an act of love and an act of trying to to heal this really intense and violent surveillance that people were going through and also to memorialize some of the people who lost their lives during that time.”

Sadie didn’t just assert her family’s ownership and recontextualize the FBI records. She also juxtaposed them with her father’s own photographs of himself and of her as a child. “It’s really a chance to reclaim the narrative and paint a more real picture of my father,” she says.

The artwork become a physical exhibition called “Do Not Destroy” that was displayed at galleries in Oakland and New York, with another exhibit scheduled at University of California, Davis.

According to Sadie, nearly 400 people turned out at the opening in Oakland, which was part of a larger celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers.

“It was a really intergenerational crowd,” she says. “People were there with their families, really reading through all the pages and investigating everything. I think because the Panthers were founded in Oakland, it’s a really personal history to so many people there. The courthouse where many Panthers had their trials was just two blocks from the museum, so it really felt like what our town is about.”

Some visitors even confessed to her in private about their own families' secret or shunned connections to the area’s history of black liberation and social progress. They said the artwork was inspiring them to find out if there were records on their parents too.

Sadie, at the exhibition's opening.

Sadie's artwork has also helped people realize this 50-year-old history is still frighteningly relevant.

“If you read the Ten-Point Program of the Black Panthers, it could’ve been written today. Nothing else is checked off the list, so to speak,” she says. “They were talking about systemic change."

The fact that the group is still remembered more as armed extremists than as community activists shows just how successful the FBI was in their campaign against people like Rodney.

Sadie also explains how the law used to fire her father from the post office — President Truman’s Executive Order 10450 — was originally put in place to keep LGBTQ people out of government work, not against black civil rights activists. “We have laws now, and people say, ‘Oh, that doesn’t affect me.’ But the same law can be used against you whenever the government decides that you’re the enemy.”

“With Donald Trump coming into office, a lot of people who may not have thought about it in this way before are realizing — hey, the government might not always be trying to protect the interests of the majority of the people,” she adds.

Rodney was in attendance at the opening of his daughter’s exhibition in Oakland.

He mingled with the other guests there, and stood and watched as they absorbed two contradicting accounts of his life from 50 years ago — and of course, admired his daughter’s beautiful handiwork. “It gave me a sense of freedom,” he said that night.

“I felt like, ‘Wow, I’m free now.’”

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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