Sunday Open Thread

Kirk Dwayne Franklin (born January 26, 1970(1970-01-26)) is an American Gospel music singer and author, and is most notably known as the leader of urban contemporary gospel choirs such as The Family, God’s Property and One Nation Crew (1NC).

A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Franklin was raised by his great aunt Gertrude, having been abandoned as a baby by his mother.[1] Gertrude collected and resold aluminum cans to raise money for Kirk to take piano lessons from the age of 4. Kirk excelled in music, able to read and write music by ear.

He received his first contract offer at the age of seven, which his aunt turned down.[1] He joined the church choir and became music director of the Mt. Rose Baptist Church adult choir at the age of eleven.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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42 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

  1. ‘One Of The Most Courageous Calls I’ve Ever Seen A President Make’

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates has told 60 Minutes that President Obama’s decision to launch a raid against Osama Bin Laden’s compound with ground troops was “one of the most courageous” decisions he has ever seen a president make.

    Gates adds “”Frankly, my heart was in my mouth… There was a lot of uncertainty about whether he was there. This was a very risky operation. So, I was very concerned. So was the President… I worked for a lot of these guys and this is one of the most courageous calls — decisions — that I think I’ve ever seen a president make.”

    Gates cites the uncertainty of the intelligence and the potential consequences if the mission failed as reinforcing his view of Obama’s courage in making the call.

    • Ametia says:

      Defense Secreatray Gates has a lot of respect for his Commander-in-Chief & President. Look at the photos and videos of them together. He has RESPECT for President Obama. I admire this in about Def. Secretary Gates.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Black women embrace First Lady’s evolved role
    The Associated Press

    First lady Michelle Obama was welcomed with thunderous cheers and told
    the 550 graduating from Spelman College, an historically black women’s
    school, that no matter where they go, they need to bring the school’s
    ideals to the world.

    The graduates welled with pride upon her arrival, even as she clapped
    enthusiastically for their achievements. In Obama, the young women see
    the essence of the successful, black career women many of them hope to
    become. But her message to the Class of 2011 of service to others and
    helping the underserved also reflected her roles as first lady and a
    major campaigner for her husband.

    Obama delivered four commencement addresses this season, and her
    choices were politically strategic as the president gears up for the
    2012 campaign for a second term. She was in Iowa last week and in coming
    weeks will speak to graduating seniors at Quantico Middle High School
    in Virginia, to graduates whose parents serve at the Quantico Marine

    “Find those folks who have so much potential but so little
    opportunity and do for them what Spelman has done for you,” Obama said.
    “No matter where you go in the world, you will find folks who have been
    discounted or dismissed, but who have every bit as much promise as you
    have. They just haven’t had the chance to fulfill it. It is your
    obligation to bring Spelman to those folks. Be as ambitious for them as
    Spelman has been for you.”

    Most of the crowd were predictably mothers, grandmothers, aunts,
    sisters, or female cousins — all filling the 10,000-seat exhibit hall to
    see the first lady.

    Her appearance at Spelman’s ceremony was a coup for the 130-year-old
    college, which competed with institutions across the country for her to
    appear as commencement speaker, lobbying her on YouTube, in petitions
    and letters. Spelman also conferred an honorary doctorate of laws degree
    on Obama, who earned her juris doctorate from Harvard Law School.

    Her popularity, which rivals her husband’s in the black community,
    was built on her image as a strong, supportive wife and mother
    accomplished in her own right as a lawyer and corporate professional.
    But on Sunday, Obama chose to highlight her work as a public servant,
    working to prepare young people for public service in Chicago after she
    left corporate America, as the footsteps she encouraged the graduates to

    Markieta Woods said Obama is more than just the president’s wife.

    “This role has in no way made her less significant,” said Woods, 21,
    of Los Angeles. “It’s one of the top positions in the world. The media
    has it wrong so much when it comes to who African-American women are.
    She does a good job of bringing a balance to those images. She really
    does break a lot of the stereotypes.”

    Those in the audience shared similar sentiments.

    “She definitely is a representation of what African-American women
    are about and what we are: believing in yourself and believing in your
    dreams, being proud of who you are,” said Terrolynn Perry-Ponder, who
    got a coveted graduation ticket from her sister-in-law. “We believe in
    giving back, making the world a better place, providing an opportunity
    for other people to achieve their dreams. Her role has changed, but she
    can empower more people.”


    Spelman President Beverly Tatum said that although Obama may have had to put her career on hold, she still represents a long tradition of African-American women multitasking.

    “If you look at the role black women have held historically in society, we have been very much in the workplace as well as caretakers,” Tatum said. “She’s making visible to the larger white community what we as African-American women have understood for generations. I would argue that she’s having a broader impact today because she has a much bigger platform.”

    Marian Mereba, who graduated with an English degree, said Obama is still a working mother who is using her position for the greater good.

    “She’s still a beacon of strength and intelligence,” said Mereba, 23, from Philadelphia. “She’s an amazing mother, which is also what a lot of us aspire to be. She shows that you can change the world and still raise a family.”

    In speaking at Spelman, Obama talked directly to the members of her husband’s most loyal electorate. Turnout at the polls among black women in 2008 was 69 percent — for the first time making the single largest voting bloc that helped Obama become the country’s first black president and a key demographic as he seeks re-election.


    In an era where having it all — husband, career, children — is a bigger challenge than ever before for black women, here comes Obama. That’s why she excited this generation of Spelman about their own possibilities, without even trying to.

    Perry-Ponder, who has heard Obama speak twice before and hopes to one day meet her to say thank you.

    “She has moved from a state, to the nation, to the world,” said Perry-Ponder. “I get goose bumps just saying that.”

  3. Ametia says:

    H/T BWD TOAITR-Thank you!


  4. Ametia says:

    Cover Story
    Flunking Civics: Why America’s Kids Know So Little
    Posted May 1, 2011 4:58 AM CDT
    By Mark Hansen

    Parents traditionally worry about what their children are learning in school, but it’s what those students are not learning that’s even more unsettling. Only one state deserved a rating of A when it came to teaching its students American history, according to a recent study. Most states fall in the category of “mediocre to awful.”

    The study ranked history standards in 49 states and the District of Columbia (Rhode Island has no mandatory history standards, only suggested guidelines) for “content and rigor” and “clarity and specificity” on a scale of A to F. Only South Carolina got straight A’s.

    Nine states’ standards earned a grade of A- or B. But a majority of states—28 in all—had standards ratings of D or F, the study found.

    The findings confirm what the study’s authors have long suspected, says Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, the Washington, D.C.-based educational think tank that conducted the study.

    “No wonder so many Americans know so little about our nation’s past,” he says.

  5. Michelle Obama to speak to Spelman grads today

    ATLANTA — First lady Michelle Obama will speak to more than 550 graduates during commencement activities at Spelman College on Sunday.

    The event is set for 3 p.m. at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park.

    Spelman officials said that Obama will also receive an honorary degree from the college.

    Spelman, a historically black liberal arts college for women, was founded in 1881.

    • Ametia says:

      I’m sooooo excited about Spelman’s commencement ceremony. 3 Chics will be live-blogging it! Thanks for posting it here, SG2. :-)

  6. Republicans Optimistic About Retaking Senate

    WASHINGTON — Just two years after watching Democrats claim a 60th seat in the Senate, Republicans are heading into the 2012 election season well positioned to challenge them for control of the chamber, giving the party reason for optimism even as it worries about the strength of its presidential field.

    With Democrats defending 23 seats to their 10, top Republicans believe they have a built-in advantage in their drive to pick up at least the four seats that would vault them into the majority even if President Obama wins a second term and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. remains able to break Senate ties. And they calculate that their chances are enhanced because important races will be in relatively conservative states like Montana, Nebraska and North Dakota.

    “With our encouragement, I do think people are focusing on the Senate and how that can be the place where we can pick up the most yardage in 2012,” said Senator John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

    Democrats are hardly conceding the Senate, and even though the election is 18 months off, campaigns are quickly moving into high gear and contenders are scurrying to raise the millions of dollars they will need.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Saw Crossing Delancy last night on PBS. just happened to come upon it. I always liked it; thought it was a sweet romantic comedy. Always rooted for Sam, the Pickle Man….and Bubbie cracked me up…

  8. creolechild says:

    “The main thing is the YOU beneath the clothes and skin–the ability to do, the will to conquer, the determination to understand and know this great, wonderful, curious world.”

    – W.E.B. Du Bois (1868 – 1963)

  9. creolechild says:

    In order to tackle some of the problems that this country is facing, we have to be able to examine our own biases, prejudices, and racist thinking. It’s not limited to one group of individuals–we all have some aspect of this type of mentality whether we want to admit it or not. Until we can be honest with ourselves and acknowledge that fact, then nothing will ever change. And if it does, it will be superficial and temporary because we haven’t made an effort to really examine why we have a tendency to think the way that we do.

    This is an interesting five-part video which discusses the issue of discrimination and how it affects everyone involved. Enjoy your Sunday!

    “This is one of the most requested programs in FRONTLINE’s history. It is about an Iowa schoolteacher who, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in 1968, gave her third-grade students a first-hand experience in the meaning of discrimination. This is the story of what she taught the children, and the impact that lesson had on their lives.”

    Read more:

  10. creolechild says:

    “On Wednesday, former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich kicked off his presidential exploratory committee with announcements on Twitter, Facebook, and Fox News….With his deep network of PACs and business ventures, the former Speaker has the resources to go along with the strong name recognition. But Gingrich still faces a serious adversary—his record….Take, for example, his campaign to weed out wasteful spending.”

    “In his 2009 book, Real Change, Gingrich singles out Lockheed Martin and NASA for squandering taxpayer dollars on faulty equipment for the agency’s Mars program. The ballooning costs and endless delays, he explained, were emblematic of the “kinds of waste and fraud that currently plague government programs….”
    “….He spent much of the 1980s lobbing rhetorical bombs about the existential threat posed by the Soviet Union and supported President Reagan’s escalations in defense spending even though they led to an ever-increasing deficit.”
    “One of his first orders of business was to appoint himself to the House intelligence committee. He filled the roster with up-and-coming GOPers who knew better than to cross him, and used his influence to ensure that none of Lockheed’s marquee projects were brought down in the budget-slashing crossfire.”
    “Gingrich made sure that Lockheed was in line for its usual fill of hefty defense contracts, and Lockheed made sure Gingrich always had support for his ventures, political and otherwise. The company donated the maximum $10,000 to Gingrich’s campaign in the lead-up to the 1994 Republican Revolution, and, just for good measure, shelled out another $10,000 in seed money for Gingrich’s weekly lecture series on American history, “Renewing American Civilization,” during which the Speaker dutifully talked up the company’s corporate virtues.”

    “Perhaps the most brazen instance of Gingrich’s Lockheed-lobbying came in 1998. The Pentagon requested $59 million to build a C-130J transport plane. But when it passed through Gingrich’s committee, that figure morphed to $503 million—an 850-percent jump. As an Air Force spokesman put it at the time, “We didn’t request them. They just gave them to us.” But at least the C-130Js work.”

    “Gingrich was also a leading proponent of the F-22, the perpetual military fighter jet of the future (think Dipping Dots, if Dipping Dots were prone to mechanical malfunction and cost $320 million per serving.)”

    “Oh, and about that NASA–Lockheed deal. When the space agency first floated a plan to commission reusable rockets in 1995, Gingrich was one of the leading supporters, suggesting that contractors could finish the project in a third of the time and less than half the cost it would take the government to do the job itself. Where did he get those figures? That’s just what the contractors told him, he explained.”

    Newt Gingrich certainly isn’t the only politician who’s guilty of double-talk when it comes to cutting the budget. But few politicians have talked louder for longer about slashing bureaucratic waste than Newt Gingrich.

  11. creolechild says:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — After weeks of pain at the gas pump and the grocery store, the worst appears to be over.

    Oil prices have fallen, with gas soon to follow. Demand for farm commodities, like the corn used in everything from cereal to soda, has dropped. And businesses remain slow to pass along higher costs because customers aren’t getting raises and might walk away.

    Inflation may be approaching its peak.

    “I think the bulk of the big price increases are over,” said Gus Faucher, an economist at Moody’s Analytics.

    Lower prices – or at least a break in their steady rise – will come as a big relief. Consumer prices rose 3.2 percent for the year ending in April, the most since October 2008. Higher food and gas prices drove the gains.

    Excluding those two categories, prices rose 0.2 percent in April. They rose 1.3 percent over the past year, below what the Federal Reserve considers healthy. Economists study this figure, known as core inflation, because food and energy prices are volatile.

    Some inflation can be healthy for the economy because it encourages people to spend and invest rather than sitting on their cash. More spending drives corporate growth, which makes businesses more likely to hire people.

  12. creolechild says:

    “The pay of Wisconsin’s top corporate executives rose an average of 27% in 2010, a year when unemployment hovered around 8% and pay to the average worker in the state fell.”

    “On average, total compensation for chief executive officers at 57 publicly traded companies increased by about $1 million last year, bringing the average CEO’s pay up to $3.89 million. The raise more than made up for two years of compensation declines, according to the annual Journal Sentinel review of executive pay.”

    “As a group, the 57 companies paid their chief executives more than $237 million combined last year – a sum that is greater than the 2011 general fund budget for the City of Madison.”

    “Topping the pay charts again was Johnson Controls Inc.’s Stephen Roell, who received a 53% pay increase, bringing his pay package to run the state’s largest public company up to $17.6 million.”

    “The average worker in Wisconsin made $39,104 as of last fall, down from $39,156 the previous year, according to the state Department of Workforce Development.”

    “So the average Wisconsin public company CEO made about 100 times more than the typical working person in 2010. Nationally, the differential is about twice that big.”

  13. creolechild says:

    “When Gov. Nathan Deal signed his state’s punitive HB 87 immigration law at noon today, Georgia took Arizona’s place on the nation’s fast track to penal profiteering from immigration crackdowns.”

    “All civil rights violations aside, Georgia’s Arizona copycat “show me your papers” law not only grants widely denounced authority for unprecedented police investigations, but also calls for unabashed long-term prison sentences for numerous violations.”

    For starters, read this section of HB 87:

    SECTION 5.
    Said article of said title is further amended by revising Code Section 16-9-126, relating to penalties for violations, as follows: “16-9-126.

    (a) A violation of this article, other than a violation of Code Section 16-9-121.1 or 16-9-122, shall be punishable by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years or a fine not to exceed $100,000.00, or both. Any person who commits such a violation for the second or any subsequent offense shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three nor more than 15 years, a fine not to exceed $250,000.00, or both.

    • Ametia says:

      Yes, these laws will benefit the prison industrial complex with increased PROFITS.

      • creolechild says:

        There’s HUGE PROFITS being made by stockholders who own shares in “privatized” prisons. Jane Brewer is associated with a person who specializes in the same. Hence, the harsh immigration laws…and facilities to put them in. Round and round we go…

  14. creolechild says:

    “Quick question: Do you think that tax subsidies for the “big five” oil companies — which earned $32 billion in profit during the first quarter of the year — are more important than the financial aid we give to low-income college students?”

    “My answer: Of course not. Investing in our young people is a far better use of taxpayer dollars than giving handouts to some of the world’s most profitable corporations. My guess is that you agree.”

    “How does the oil industry feel? Well, they aren’t sure. When asked this question by Senator Schumer at a congressional hearing yesterday, James Mulva, CEO of ConocoPhillips, uncomfortably refused to answer the question.”
    “I have news for oil companies: There are true injustices occurring on a daily basis in America. Eliminating your tax subsidies is not one them.”

    “It’s the truth plain and simple; and it’s time we called out these companies. For this opinion, Mr. Mulva would say that I, and the many others who share this view, are “un-American.” And, when asked about these comments at the hearing, he refused to apologize for his rhetoric.”

    “Again, really?”

    “‘During times of crisis, true Americans, especially those in positions of power, ask themselves, ‘What can I do to help?’ Instead, these executives ask themselves, ‘What can I do to ensure that government keeps helping me?'”

  15. creolechild says:

    “You hear it again and again, variation after variation on a core message: if you tax rich people it kills jobs. You hear about “job-killing tax hikes,” or that “taxing the rich hurts jobs,” “taxes kill jobs,” “taxes take money out of the economy, “if you tax the rich they won’t be able to provide jobs.” … on and on it goes. So do we really depend on “the rich” to “create” jobs? Or do jobs get created when they fill a need?”
    “‘Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner echoes this core philosophy of “producers” and “parasites,” saying yesterday, ‘I believe raising taxes on the very people that we expect to reinvest in our economy and to hire people is the wrong idea,’ he said. ‘For those people to give that money to the government…means it wont get reinvested in our economy at a time when we’re trying to create jobs.'”

    “The very people” who “hire people” shouldn’t have to pay taxes because that money is then taken out of the productive economy and just given to the parasites — “the help” — meaning you and me…”

    “If you ask around you will find that every business tries to employ the right number of people to meet the demand. Any business owner or manager will tell you that they hire based on need, not on how much they have in the bank. (Read more here, in last year’s Businesses Do Not Create Jobs.)”

    “Taxes make absolutely no difference in the hiring equation. In fact, paying taxes means you are already making money, which means you have already hired the right number of people. Taxes are based on subtracting your costs from your revenue, and if you have profits after you cover your costs, then you might be taxed. You don’t even calculate your taxes until well after the hiring decision has been made. You don;t lay people off to “cover” your taxes. And even if you did lay people off to “cover’ taxes it would lower your costs and you would have more profit, which means you would have more taxes… except that laying someone off when you had demand would cause you to have less revenue, … and you see how ridiculous it is to associate taxes with hiring at all!”

    “People coming in the door and buying things is what creates jobs.”–_we_do/#paragraph4

  16. creolechild says:

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant…

    “The backlash over the Koch intrusion into academic freedom at FSU is kicking into high gear. Not only is there a Facebook group calling on the University to back out of the agreement, Progress Florida has also gotten involved. From the in-box:

    “In exchange for accepting $1.5 million from billionaire Charles Koch, one of the notorious right-wing Koch Brothers, Florida State University gave Koch the unprecedented right to reject some professor candidates for the school’s economics department.1 Allowing one of Florida’s great public universities to be used as a front for the Koch’s corporate propaganda machine is unacceptable.”

    “Stop this unprecedented assault on academic freedom.”

    “Sign our petition to Florida State University President Eric Barron urging him to cancel this outrageous deal with the Kochs and protect academic freedom.”

    “Dean David Rasmussen, who was instrumental in cutting the deal with Koch, in a recent opinion piece, cited budget cuts to universities over the past five years as necessitating the trade-off. Rasmussen falsely claims that the university retains control over hiring practices, but already during the first round of hiring after the agreement, Koch’s advisory board rejected 60% of the faculty’s candidate suggestions. University budget cuts are no excuse to subvert academic freedom by giving wealthy benefactors influence over the hiring of professors.”

    “Sign our petition to FSU President Eric Barron. Tell him to protect academic freedom and cancel the deal with the Kochs.”

    “The Koch’s move to control a part of FSU’s economics department is bigger than FSU. For years, right wing billionaires like the Kochs have funded scores of front groups and think tanks to advance their radical agenda. Now they want to use the cover of a public university in an attempt to give their failed ideas more credibility with the public. They can’t win the battle of ideas in a fair fight, so they’re suppressing academic freedom to get their way. Florida State’s preposterous arrangement with Charles Koch opens the door to a slippery slope of pay-to-play control over our universities and should not go unchallenged.”

  17. creolechild says:

    Good morning, everyone! Just dropped by to disseminate some news I came across this morning. So much for being a “principled” whistleblower, eh Julian? (Thank you ReidReport.) This is sooooo rich….

    “If Wikileaks does turn itself into a for-profit entity, auctioning off state secrets to the highest bidder, their new corporate slogan could be ‘don’t leak on me.”

    From Wired:

    “WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange now makes his associates sign a draconian nondisclosure agreement that, among other things, asserts that the organization’s huge trove of leaked material is ‘solely the property of WikiLeaks,’ according to a report Wednesday.”

    “You accept and agree that the information disclosed, or to be disclosed to you pursuant to this agreement is, by its nature, valuable proprietary commercial information,” the agreement reads, “the misuse or unauthorized disclosure of which would be likely to cause us considerable damage.”

    “The confidentiality agreement (.pdf), revealed by the New Statesman, imposes a penalty of 12 million British pounds– nearly $20 million — on anyone responsible for a significant leak of the organization’s unpublished material. The figure is based on a ‘typical open-market valuation’ of WikiLeaks’ collection, the agreement claims.”

    “‘Interestingly, the agreement warns that any breach is likely to cause WikiLeaks to lose the ‘opportunity to sell the information to other news broadcasters and publishers.'”

    “So Wikileaks cares about protecting its proprietary information and intellectual property, but believes that governments have no right to protect their classified data. Well that’s not the least bit hypocritical …”

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