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Morgan Freeman: Mandela was tougher than playing God The San Diego Monitor

By Mairi Mackay, CNN He's played the president of the United States and he's played God twice, b ut that was nothing compared with the challenge of becoming Nelson Mandela, says actor Morgan Freeman. "Mandela, you really ha ve to kno w him," Freeman told CNN of his new role in Clint Eastwood's latest film "Invictus." Freeman plays South Africa's first black president in the f ilm and w as recently nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal. "When you meet Mandela, you kno w you are in the presence of greatness. It is something that just emanates from him," he has said of the former South African leader. The Oscar winner has lent his quiet authority to a number of acclaimed movies o ver the years, "Million Dollar Baby" and "The Shawshank Redemption" among them. Video: Mor gan Freeman on playing Mandela In "In victus" he brings that screen presence to the start of Mandela's presidency, as he attempts to unite a bitterly divided post-apartheid South Africa in the run-up to the 1995 Rugby World Cup.


Morgan Freeman stars as Nelson Mandela “Invictus" which tells the story of the 1995 World Rugby Cup. Capturing Mandela w asn't easy , Freeman told CNN: "Y ou ha ve to ha ve watched him -- closely . W alk, talk, nuances of character, things like that," he explained. Freeman researched his role by watching videotapes of the leader greeting people, talking to his staf f, seeing ho w he dealt with dif ferent parts of his life, both public and personal. As f ar as those close to Mandela are concerned, Freeman's hard w ork has paid off: "Everybody was over the moon about

This Week in US Politics: Obama’s Approval Rating Rises, McCain Appears to Flip-Flop on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ President Obama’s approval rating rises following State of the Union address

According to the Rasmussen Reports Daily Presidential T racking Poll for Monday, 32% of the nation’ s v oters strongly appro ve of the w ay that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. That is the highest le vel of strong approval for the President in more than seven months and shows a signif icant bounce follo wing the State of the Union address. Prior to the address 27% gave the President a strong approval rating. Overall, 50% of voters say they at least somewhat appro ve of the President’ s performance. While 49% disapprove. The report goes on to highlight a decline in the number of people who strongly disappro ve of the w ay President Obama is performing his job as President. The number currently stands at 37%, down from 42% prior to the State of the Union address. The combination gives Obama his best Presidential appro val inde x rating in months. According to the report he has only earned a better rating on tw o days in the last six months. Rasmussen’s Daily Tracking Poll results are collected through nightly telephone surveys of 500 lik ely voters. They are reported on a three day “rolling a verage” basis. The margin of error for the full 1,500 lik ely v oters is +/- 3 percentage points. McCain Flip-Flops on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’? Senator John McCain, the top ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee and former Presidential nominee, has appeared to flip-flop on a stance he took on the “Don’ t Ask, Don’ t T ell” policy in 2006. In 2006 McCain told an audience of Iowa State Uni versity Students, “I listen to people lik e General Colin Po well, for mer chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staf f, and literally e very military leader that I know, and the y testif ied before Congress that the y felt that the “Don’ t Ask, Don’ t Tell” policy was the most appropriate w ay

to conduct ourselv es in the military ... But the day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, ‘Senator , we ought to change the policy,’ then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it, because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to.” This “day” arrived Tuesday at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee when Defense Secretary Robert Gates aligned with President Obama’ s call to repeal the ‘Don’ t Ask, Don’ t Tell’ policy, saying, “I fully support the President’ s decision.” During that same meeting the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staf f, Mike Mullen testif ied that it w as his personal belief that, “allo wing g ays and lesbians to serv e openly w ould be the right thing to do.” Following Gates remarks, McCain appeared to backtrack on his 2006 stance, saying “I hope you’ ll pay attention to the views of o ver a thousand flag and general officers.” Highlighting an opposition he referred to earlier in the hearings when he said, “We should not seek to o verturn the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’ t T ell’ polic y… I think that we all in Congress should pay attention and benef it from the e xperience of over a thousand general of ficers and flag officers and they say that we firmly believe that this la w, which w as passed to bring good order... deserves continued support.” Wednesday former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staf f and former secretary of state Colin Powell, who McCain cited in his 2006 remarks on ‘Don’ t Ask, Don’ t Tell’, made it clear that he also feels now is the time to repeal the polic y, saying in a statement, “In the almost se venteen years since the ‘don’ t ask, don’ t tell’ le gislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed.” Powell continued, “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is a polic y that was enacted in 1993 by the Clinton Administration and pre vents openly g ay and lesbian people from serving in the US military.

it -- his personal secretary , his wife [Graca Michel], his ex-wife [Winnie], his daughter, Zindzi, his grandson. The y all said, 'You did it. That was wonderful,'" he said. Even so, Freeman said he w as "concerned" as he sat with the iconic leader , now 91 years old, to w atch the film. "I w as sitting right ne xt to him. He pointed at the screen and said 'I know that fella.' So, yeah, I think he liked it." Freeman's relationship with Mandela goes back to 1994 when the leader named him as the actor he'd lik e to play him in a movie at a press conference for his memoir "Long Walk to Freedom." "It sounds arrog ant, b ut my thinking was, "Of course. Who else?" and I can do it. I know I can do it," Freeman told CNN. With this in mind, he bought the film rights to Mandela's memoir. Freeman told Mandela that in order to do the part justice, the y w ould ha ve to spend time together. Since then, the pair ha ve met up in dif ferent parts of the w orld o ver the years, Freeman said. Meanwhile, along with producing partner Lori McCreery , Freeman spent years unsuccessfully trying to w ork Mandela's long memoir into a f ilm.When journalist John Carlin sent him a proposal based on his book, "Playing the Enemy ," Freeman immediately saw it was the story that could

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distill Mandela's quiet genius and achievement and communicate it to an audience. Clint Eastwood came on board as director of the f ilm (made by W arner Bros. Pictures, which, lik e CNN, is a unit of Time Warner) shortly after. "It was very, very, very serendipitous," Freeman said. "Ev erything just came together in a v ery short time. In a heartbeat, by Hollywood standards." Mandela's risk y dream w as to unite South Africa behind the national rugby team, the Springboks, who he w anted to win the World Cup. In 1994, man y black South Africans wanted to abolish the green and gold of the Afrikaners' beloved team, which the y saw as a symbol of oppression Mandela realized that he must inspire the Springboks -- underdogs after not playing international rugby for many years -- to greatness beyond what the y believed they could achieve. He enlisted the help of Springboks team captain, Francois Pienaar (played by Matt Damon), and, for inspiration, shared with him the words of a William Ernest Henley poem, "In victus," which ends with the words, "I am the master of my f ate: I am the captain of my soul." They were w ords Mandela recited to himself during the 27 years he spent in jail, imprisoned by a white go vernment for fighting ag ainst apartheid. February 11 marks the 20th anni versary of the leader's release. In June 1995, when the Springboks took the cup for real, the story of Mandela's inspired mo ve made headlines across the world. It is this Mandela -- the iron-willed risktaker who united a nation and cemented his name as one of the great political leaders of the 20th century -- that Freeman captures. After all, he said: "Playing God is not a challenge at all ... And playing the president, who's the president? He's just a guy . Mandela's not just a guy." "Invictus" comes out in UK theaters on Friday 5 February.


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The San Diego Monitor

Why Does The Black Man Hate The Man He Sees In the Mirror? Who is this man? He has black skin. He has matted curly hair. He has a courage that has endured over 400 years of sla very. He has dug up the stumps of America. He has harv ested the crops of America, a labor for which he has never been paid. Ev en the suggestion or mere mention of the w ord “reparations” for these 400 years of free labor turns the stomach of America. A colle ge professor by the name of Dr . Charles Thomas once said to me, “The black man can’ t hate his brothers and sisters without f irst hating himself.” On this Labor Day week end, I want to remind my brothers and sisters of the deep hatred that runs through some of us. The hatred I make reference to is first a hatred of the indi vidual self that blossoms

into a hatred for our neighbor. Hatred even according to the Bible is one of the w orst deficiencies an indi vidual can ha ve; it is a poison to the mind. This poison spreads from one black brother and sister to another. One may call it “black-on-black hatred.” Self-hatred is combined with the hatred that we e xperience from one another, but those hatreds are then compounded with the hatred of the w orld for the black man. Why are we so disliked? Why are we cut off, cut down, shut off, and denied? As a black man myself, e ven I ha ve to stop sometimes and ask myself why is it that the world of various nationalities fears even the presence of black skin, curly hair , big lips and a wide nose. May I tak e this time to share with you

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the self-hatred I once e xperienced from one black to another? About 25 years ago, my business owed approximately $50,000 in taxes. At that time I emplo yed approximately 100 indi viduals, a mixture of all nationalities, but primarily black. My staff included a CP A and a fe w other accoun tants that k ept the compan y records. The CPA w as a colle ge graduate, white, and Mormon. W e had man y con versations from time to time discussing the relation ship between blacks and whites, and it was a known fact throughout the company that Mormons and blacks were lik e water and oil. Yet there we were, peaceably working together. One day, the company received a letter requesting that the corporation pay $50,000 within ten days. The CP A suggested that I go down to the tax office and make payment immediately or discuss a future payment date. He and I then went to the of fice together , b ut the agent that handled my corporate account w as not present. A black man came out to assist us saying, “What do you w ant?” I be gan to speak, but the tone of the question w as so harsh that the CPA spoke up loudly about wanting to see our agent. The black agent said that we were just going to ha ve to come back later because “I’m not dealing with it.” The CP A e xplained that all we wanted to do is report what day we were going to send the money. The black agent would hear nothing of it, but instead made negative remarks about me and the accountant saying that he was not going to deal with us no matter what. As I stood there f acing the situation, I realized that I had the ability to run a business, pay my tax es, and hire my CPA, yet I was demoted and ostracized by another black man. Notice that the CP A took a


position of superiority o ver both of us. I found myself feeling like a foot stool even though I wrote the CPA’s check and signed it every Friday. My CPA said that he w as going across the street. He walked out the door in disgust and within 20 minutes came back with a check for $50,000 saying to the black agent, “What I ha ve seen is something I thought I w ould never see. You ha ve tak en hatred to another le vel.” So who w as it that this black man really hated? I ha ve called a meeting for Saturday morning at my Lemon Gro ve office for black b usinessmen to ask and answer this question. Wh y do we hate people we don’t know? Why do we w ant our brothers and sisters to f ail? Wh y are we not helping each other to succeed? Why aren’ t we sharing opportunities? Why do I hate you? Wh y do I hate myself? Until next week, Willie Morrow


The San Diego Monitor

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Southeastern Economic Development Corporation

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS A DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY IN THE ENCANTO NEIGHBORHOOD The Southeastern Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), on behalf of the Rede velopment Agency of the City of San Diego (Rede velopment Agency), is seeking proposals from qualified de velopers or de velopment teams for the sale and de velopment of the Valencia Business Park in southeastern San Diego , which total 4.33 acres . The Site is located in the City of San Diego , in the Centr al Imper ial Rede velopment Project Area, a state Enterprise Zone. It is served by the Trolley Line, with a Park and Ride Station at 62nd Street and Imper ial Avenue which is approximately three blocks east of the Site and within 1.5 miles from Interstate 805 at the Imperial Avenue exit and 1.9 miles from the M.L. King, Jr., Freeway (Highway 94) via the Euclid Avenue exit. The Site is approximately 5 miles from downtown San Diego. The land use is currently z oned industr ial. SEDC will consider industr ial and/or commercial/retail proposals excluding residential. The primary goal is to pro vide quality employment opportunities for the residents of southeastern San Diego and to attr act businesses that will enhance the economic development of the entire comm unity. There will be a mandatory presubmittal meeting on Wednesday, March 3 at 9:00 a.m. (PST) at the SEDC office located at 4393 Imperial Avenue, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92113. Deadline to submit a response is Frida y, April 02, 2010 at 4:30 p.m. (PST). To obtain a copy of the RFP, go to: Questions may be directed to Jill Sabo or Dar in Neufeld at (619) 527-7345 or

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The San Diego Monitor

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