BBETTERDAILY: Nas- A Success Story

20 years since his debut album “Illmatic”, Nas is still relevant, controversial, revered and adored by fans all over the world.

In this video, Nas & other Hip Hop heads talk about the lasting impact of “Illmatic.”

This is a short video of Nas on Bill Maher.

In this in depth but lighthearted interview, Nas discusses Illmatic and life after the Illmatic dropped. Enjoy!

BBETTERDAILY- R.A.K.

Sir Nicholas Winton: 105th birthday party for man who saved 669 children from the Nazis

100 guests gather to celebrate birthday of Sir Nicholas Winton, who helped evacuate children before second world war.

Sir Nicholas Winton with some of the people, then children, who he saved from the Nazis in 1939

Sir Nicholas Winton with some of the people, then children, whom he saved from the Nazis in 1939. Photograph: Dana Psenicova

It could almost be a normal birthday party, with music, presents and a cake. But the cake has 105 candles and many of the 100 or so guests who are here to celebrate the birthday of Sir Nicholas Winton owe him their life.

Winton’s 105th birthday party is at the Czech embassy in London, and the guests here are the offspring of 669 children – mostly Jewish – rescued by Winton from almost certain death in the months before the second world war broke out in 1939. Most of their families ended up interned and murdered in Nazi concentration camps. Today they call themselves “Nicky’s children”.

There are around 6,000 people around the world today who owe Winton their lives. It was late in December 1938 when the stockbroker from Hampstead cancelled a holiday to go to Prague to see what was happening to refugees there. Winton spent only three weeks in the city – the most leave he could get from his job at home – but it was enough time for him to recognise the impending threat facing the refugees who had arrived following the Nazi invasion of the Czech Sudentenland in October 1938.

He immediately set about organising eight evacuations of the children on the Czech Kindertransport train. He advertised in newspapers for foster homes, got the necessary permits from the immigration office in the UK, and persuaded the Germans to let the children leave the country. When Winton returned to his job in London on 21 January 1939 he continued the rescue mission, working in the evenings until the last train was cancelled when war broke out in September 1939.

Ruth Hálová is 88 and has flown over for the party from South Bohemia in the Czech Republic. Others have come from as far as New Zealand and the USA. Hálová was one of the children who came over on one of the Kindertransport journeys and she stayed with a British family throughout the war while her mother was in the concentration camp at Terezín, Czechoslovakia.

“I first met Nicky when he came to visit Yad Vashem in Jerusalem,” Hálová told the Guardian. “I was there just visiting family and they phoned me at 10 o’clock at night and said: ‘Nicholas Winton is here!’ It was just amazing to meet him and to see him again today. It is never too long or too far to come and see Nicky.”

But Hálová would never have met Winton had his scrapbook of the rescue not been passed to the BBC in 1988. Having kept quiet about the story for 50 years, when it emerged it did so in spectacular fashion on the programme That’s Life. Sitting in the audience, Winton was astonished when Esther Rantzen announced live on air that the woman sitting next to him, and much of the rest of the audience, were people that he had saved.

The programme reunited Winton with one of his party guests, Lord (Alfred) Dubs, a Labour politician. Dubs’s father fled Prague in March 1939 for England and they were reunited when Dubs arrived on the Kindertransport at Liverpool Street station. Dubs has become firm friends with Winton since. He says: “It’s not often you can say to somebody: it’s thanks to you that I am here at all. I make more speeches because I know Nicky than because of everything else I know.”

Sir Nicholas Winton with Lord Alfred Dubs

Sir Nicholas Winton with Lord Alfred Dubs, who escaped on the Kindertransport and his daughter, Barbara Winton who has written a book about him. Photograph: Dana Psenicova

Guests have brought presents and gifts but one in particular stands out: a book from his daughter, Barbara Winton. The party also serves as the launch of the biography she has written about him, its title paying tribute to one of his many catchphrases, humble and pragmatic in equal measure: “If it’s not impossible, then it can be done.”

There are birthday cards and letters too – from the prime minister and the president of the Czech Republic. Michael Zantovsky, the country’s ambassador, announces that in October this year Winton will be awarded the Order of the White Lion, the highest order in the Czech Republic.

Sir Nicholas Winton with ambassador of the Czech Republic, Mr Michael Zantovsky. Winton will be awarded the Order of the White Lion, the highest state decoration in the Czech Republic.

Sir Nicholas Winton with ambassador of the Czech Republic, Mr Michael Zantovsky. Winton will be awarded the Order of the White Lion, the highest state decoration in the Czech Republic. Photograph: Dana Psenicova

“Nicky is a national hero in the Czech Republic,” says Vera Egermayer, a holocaust survivor who was interned at Terezín transit camp. “In England, you don’t know about him but everywhere else we do. He did a kind act and never told anybody.” Born in 1940 in Czechoslovakia, Egermayer has long known the story of Winton, who was knighted in 2002. Egermayer now lives in New Zealand where she has founded the New Zealand Children’s Holocaust Memorial Project.

When the man himself arrives, he is quiet but alert and clearly delighted. Still living at his home in Berkshire, with only a day carer, Winton lived almost independently until last year and only gave up his driving licence – much to the relief of his family – at the age of 99.

He speaks softly and the whole room goes silent in a moment: “I am always surprised every time I come here to see all kinds of people who have come really very great distances to say hello,” Winton says. “As far as I am concerned, it is only Anno Domini that I am fighting – I am not ill, I am just old and doddery.”

• This article was amended on 21 May 2014. An earlier version used interred when interned was meant. It was also amended to remove an incorrect reference to Nicholas Winton’s scrapbook being found in a loft.

BBETTERDAILY: Kathy Kolbe

Kathy Kolbe was born dyslexic. She says, “My disability is one of the greatest advantages I have. It helped me become a student of the thinking process.”

One day she used her savings of $500 and launched a firm called Resources for the Gifted. She compiled a catalogue of available resources for intellectually gifted children and sent it out to 3500 teachers. At first, orders only trickled in, and even when they began to flow, the first years were hard. She bought a warehouse, and the building caught fire. An employee embezzled money. Kolbe divorced her husband. In spite of everything, she never lost sight of her belief that there are no such things as problems, there are only opportunities. Today she grosses $3.5 million a year and Resources for the Gifted continues to grow.

BBETTERDAILY: What are you reading?

 7 Books Oprah Couldn’t Live Without

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By Oprah Winfrey

For as long as I can remember, reading has been among my greatest passions. I love novels, poetry, memoirs, history; for me, one of life’s most profound joys is to open a book and learn from its pages, to be astonished, to empathize, and to grow. But there’s another category of book, the super-soulful variety, that I turn to again and again for inspiration, companionship, or help moving from the darkness to the light. Here are my seven favorites, by authors who have been trusted guides on my daily spiritual adventures.

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The Power of Now
By Eckhart Tolle
236 pages; New World Library

Meg Ryan and Ellen DeGeneres gave me copies of this book, and it’s gotten me through more crises than I can count. It truly helped me discover how to live in the now—to not linger on past mistakes, but to learn from them and then let them go. For me, this is the Mama Jama of super-soulful books. At every moment, it keeps me in a state of awe and amazement.

2014-04-28-earth.jpg A New Earth
By Eckhart Tolle
336 pages; Penguin

Eckhart Tolle believes that we as a people are ready to undergo a profound transformation—to transcend ego in favor of a higher form of consciousness. His work draws on ancient wisdom and his own personal insights to create an entirely new way of experiencing the world and our future. It’s a humanist manifesto that’s become a touchstone for me.

2014-04-28-nepo.jpg The Book of Awakening
By Mark Nepo
436 pages; Conari Press

One of my all-time Favorite Things! Mark Nepo’s collection of reflections is a year’s supply of gentle daily wake-up calls. Like most of us, he has thought a lot about the meaning of life, but because he is a poet, a philosopher, and a cancer survivor, his insights are special—and beautifully expressed. A book to be kept on the nightstand at all times.

2014-04-28-lesser.jpg The Seeker’s Guide
By Elizabeth Lesser
464 pages; Villard

How do we open ourselves up to life’s joy and the heart’s peace? Elizabeth Lesser has been helping me answer this question since I first encountered her book. Her message is simple and profound: “When we slow down, quiet the mind, and allow ourselves to feel hungry for something that we do not understand, we are dipping into the abundant well of spiritual longing.” That’s the starting point for growth.

2014-04-28-love.jpg A Return to Love
By Marianne Williamson
336 pages; HarperOne

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” Reading those two sentences sparked a series of aha moments for me. What Marianne Williamson is getting at here is that fear hides our inner light, but that when we embrace love—which is how she defines God—we connect with who we are really meant to be. I have never been more moved by a book than I am by this one.

2014-04-28-soul.jpg The Seat of the Soul
By Gary Zukav
384 pages; Simon & Schuster

Have you ever had one of those moments when you just had to stop and go, “Wow”? That’s how I felt the first time I read this book in 1989 and how I feel each time I reread it. It helped cure me of the disease to please—and steered me in the direction of my own true north. My favorite insight? “When the personality comes fully to serve the energy of its soul, that is authentic empowerment.”

2014-04-28-soul2.jpg The Untethered Soul
By Michael A. Singer
200 pages; New Harbinger Publications

I was having a birthday party last year, and a friend handed me this. I was so riveted that I asked the author, who almost never gives interviews, to talk with me on OWN. Here’s one of my favorite observations in this essential work: “To attain true inner freedom, you must be able to objectively watch your problems instead of being lost in them…. Once you’ve made the commitment to free yourself of that scared person inside, you will notice that there is a clear decision point at which your growth takes place.”