Saturday Open Thread

Little Sister was an American all-female vocal harmony group, which served primarily as the background vocalists for the influential rock/funk band Sly & the Family Stone in concert and on record. Originally a gospel music group called The Heavenly Tones, Little Sister was composed of Vet Stewart (Family Stone frontman Sly Stone‘s “little sister“), Mary McCreary, and Elva Mouton, and became a recording act of its own for a brief period in 1970-1971.

While still in high school, Vaetta Stewart and her friends Mary McCreary, Elva Mouton and Tramaine Hawkins had a gospel group called The Heavenly Tones and performed at various venues around the Oakland/San Francisco area. In 1966 they recorded the album “I love The Lord” for the Gopsel label and a 45 for the Music City label called “He’s Alright” When Vaetta’s older brother Sylvester aka Sly Stone formed Sly & the Family Stone with their brother Freddie, and friends Larry Graham, Cynthia Robinson, Jerry Martini, and Greg Errico, The Heavenly Tones were recruited directly out of high school to become Little Sister, Sly & the Family Stone’s background vocalists for their recording. Tramaine Hawkins left the group and started a very successful solo career.

The group performed background vocals on a number of the Family Stone’s biggest early hits, including “Everyday People” and “Stand!” Besides Little Sister’s background vocals, Sly, Freddie, Larry Graham, and middle sister Rose Stone were heard singing backgrounds on the tracks as well.

Can you shimmy, watusi, do the jerk, tighten up, mashed potatoes, twist, funky chicken, hustle, cabbabe patch, running man, electric slide, Texas two step? Want to learn a few steps of the oldies but goodies? Stay with 3 Chics this week, as we get down with it. don’t hurt yourselves, now!

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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35 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. Pingback: Happenings in the Midwest – the GOP and their dirty tricks - Jack & Jill Politics

  2. rikyrah says:

    MOODY’S ANALYST BREAKS SILENCE: Says Ratings Agency Rotten To Core With Conflicts

    A former senior analyst at Moody’s has gone public with his story of how one of the country’s most important rating agencies is corrupted to the core.

    The analyst, William J. Harrington, worked for Moody’s for 11 years, from 1999 until his resignation last year.

    From 2006 to 2010, Harrington was a Senior Vice President in the derivative products group, which was responsible for producing many of the disastrous ratings Moody’s issued during the housing bubble.

    Harrington has made his story public in the form of a 78-page “comment” to the SEC’s proposed rules about rating agency reform, which he submitted to the agency on August 8th. The comment is a scathing indictment of Moody’s processes, conflicts of interests, and management, and it will likely make Harrington a star witness at any future litigation or hearings on this topic.

    The primary conflict of interest at Moody’s is well known: The company is paid by the same “issuers” (banks and companies) whose securities it is supposed to objectively rate. This conflict pervades every aspect of Moody’s operations, Harrington says. It incentivizes everyone at the company, including analysts, to give Moody’s clients the ratings they want, lest the clients fire Moody’s and take their business to other ratings agencies.

    Moody’s analysts whose conclusions prevent Moody’s clients from getting what they want, Harrington says, are viewed as “impeding deals” and, thus, harming Moody’s business. These analysts are often transferred, disciplined, “harassed,” or fired.

    In short, Harrington describes a culture of conflict that is so pervasive that it often renders Moody’s ratings useless at best and harmful at worst.

    Harrington believes the SEC’s proposed rules will make the integrity of Moody’s ratings worse, not better. He also believes that Moody’s recent attempts to reform itself are nothing more than a pretty-looking PR campaign.

    We’ve included highlights of Harrington’s story below. Here are some key points:

    Moody’s ratings often do not reflect its analysts’ private conclusions. Instead, rating committees privately conclude that certain securities deserve certain ratings–but then vote with management to give the securities the higher ratings that issuer clients want.

    Moody’s management and “compliance” officers do everything possible to make issuer clients happy–and they view analysts who do not do the same as “troublesome.” Management employs a variety of tactics to transform these troublesome analysts into “pliant corporate citizens” who have Moody’s best interests at heart.

    Moody’s product managers participate in–and vote on–ratings decisions. These product managers are the same people who are directly responsible for keeping clients happy and growing Moody’s business.

    At least one senior executive lied under oath at the hearings into rating agency conduct. Another executive, who Harrington says exemplified management’s emphasis on giving issuers what they wanted, skipped the hearings altogether.

    Harrington’s story at times reads like score-settling: The constant conflicts and pressures at Moody’s clearly grated on him, especially as it became ever clearer that his only incentive not to “cave” to an issuer’s every demand was his own self-respect.

    But Harrington’s story also makes clear just how imperative it is that the ratings-agency problem be addressed and fixed. The current system, in which the government blesses organizations as deeply conflicted as Moody’s with the power to determine sanctioned bond ratings is untenable. And the SEC’s proposed rule changes won’t fix a thing.

    Harrington’s story is startling, both in its allegations and specificity. (He names many Moody’s executives and describes many instances that regulators and plaintiffs will probably want to take a closer look at.)

    Given this, we expected Moody’s might want to say it has full confidence in its processes or denounce Harrington as a disgruntled ex-employee or something. Instead, Moody’s did not return multiple calls seeking comment.

    Read more:

  3. rikyrah says:

    Marine Brig. Gen. L.E. Reynolds is Parris Island’s first female commander

    By Craig Whitlock, Published: August 19

    PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. — There’s a new commander on this sandy, swampy spit of land that has transformed rawboned recruits into macho Marines for nearly a century. Brig. Gen. L.E. Reynolds, a 6-foot-tall Baltimore native and a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, is the latest in a long line of no-nonsense leaders to take charge here.

    But she’s the first woman

    And for the tradition-bound Marine Corps, which endlessly promotes a tough-guy image and built its recruiting on the search for “a few good men,” the idea of all those ruthless Parris Island drill instructors having to salute a leatherneck named Loretta could take some getting used to.

    “I am sure that some Marines, especially those who served many years ago, were disconcerted that a female Marine general would take over Parris Island,” said Maj. Jim Franks, who served under Reynolds as her executive officer when they were deployed to Afghanistan. “But if they had the opportunity to meet her, they would quickly see that she’s eminently qualified to do that job. . . . Take the female part out of it. She’s an outstanding officer.”

    The granddaughter of a Marine and daughter of a steelworker, Reynolds, 46, lacks the high-and-tight buzz cut that is a Corps trademark but otherwise comes across as a typical Marine commander: confident and blunt.

    “I am not here by mistake, because it was time to put a girl here,” she told local reporters after she arrived in June. “I was the right person for the job.”

    Reynolds’s command of what is considered hallowed ground for Marines is the latest example of how the remaining job barriers for women in the military are gradually falling by the wayside.

    Last year, the Navy announced that it will permit women to serve on submarines for the first time. Last month, the head of the military’s Special Operations Command said he favors allowing women to join the elite Navy SEALs, the epitome of highly trained warriors.

    In March, a congressional commission recommended that a long-standing ban on women serving in ground-combat units be overturned as part of a broader effort to bring greater diversity to the armed forces, particularly in the officer ranks.

    Separately, Congress has directed the Pentagon to review its 1994 policy that prohibits women from serving in units whose primary mission is “direct” ground combat, such as artillery, infantry and tank companies. The Defense Department was originally scheduled to respond with a report in April but has pushed back the delivery date to October.

    Part of the reason for the delay is that the military is simultaneously girding for another big social change: the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that prevents gay troops from serving openly. That ban will lapse on Sept. 20.

    The restrictions on women in combat units will take longer to fade, but some defense officials say it is just a matter of time, despite continued resistance in some corners of Congress and the military. A Washington Post-ABC News poll in March found that more than seven in 10 Americans support allowing women to engage in direct combat.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Champions of Racism
    by BooMan
    Sat Aug 20th, 2011 at 10:16:57 AM EST

    Some conservative commentator whose forebears were from Bangladesh is asking me not to call racism ‘racism.’

    One thing that is undeniably true is that American conservatives are overwhelmingly white in a country that is increasingly less so. As the number of Latinos and Asian-Americans has increased in coastal states like California, New York and New Jersey, many white Americans from these regions have moved inland or to the South. For at least some whites, particularly those over the age of 50, there is a sense that the country they grew up in is fading away, and that Americans with ancestors from Mexico or, as in my case, Bangladesh don’t share their religious, cultural and economic values. These white voters are looking for champions, for people who are unafraid to fight for the America they remember and love. It’s unfair to call this sentiment racist. But it does help explain at least some of our political divide.

    Last night I was watching superhero movies on TNT and I started playing a little game. I watched every commercial to see if it had people of more than one race. All night long, in commercial after commercial, I was presented with an ideal of coolness and happiness that involved young men and women of all races (but mainly white, black, and Asian) having fun at Burger King, or buying car insurance, or wearing fancy jeans, or whatever. The advertisers are just trying to sell a product, but the truth is that young people are receiving a non-stop deluge of subconscious programming that race (and to a large degree, gender) doesn’t matter. That’s an ideal. It’s largely aspirational. Every big city and most college towns have examples of these kinds of seemless cross-racial cultures. I’ve lived in those cultures in both Los Angeles and Philadelphia. But Los Angeles and Philadelphia also have far larger areas where race is the most important thing and where blacks and whites do not mingle easily, if at all. Even in the suburbs where you see increasing diversity, all you have to do is go to your local mall to see racial divides and mistrust. There is a ton of bad racial feeling still alive and well even among our young. And economic conditions for blacks and Latinos are shockingly worse than they are for whites. We have not yet come close to erasing our race-related issues.

    It’s understandable that some whites want to live among other whites and feel uncomfortable about the increasing racial (and even religious) diversity of their communities. But when someone comes along to play the role of champion for those sentiments, that’s an appeal to racism. When economic times are hard and people are having trouble paying the bills, the temptation to steal is greater. That’s natural and understandable, but you don’t praise someone who taps into those sentiments and encourages people to go on a looting spree. What we’re talking about is whether a leader appeals to peoples’ better or worse angels. It’s always possible to stir up resentment and ride people’s hatred to a position of power and influence. That’s doesn’t make it right.

    When you go around asking where the president’s birth certificate is, you are nothing better than a champion of racism.

    As for the post-racial Eden that the advertisers are selling us? The counterprogramming is available 24 hours a day on talk radio and Fox News. That’s all racist, too.

  5. rikyrah says:

    August 20, 2011 11:30 AM

    The relative power of fringe players

    By Steve Benen

    Kurt Andersen has a guest column in the New York Times today, and about four-fifths of it is terrific. There’s just one thing missing.

    Andersen argues persuasively that there’s an “epidemic in mainstream politics,” driven by those who “inhabit their own Manichaean make-believe worlds.” People like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, he added, “totally believe their vivid fictions.” I couldn’t agree more.

    The column goes on to diagnose what Andersen sees as a national disease: “[T]he American body politic suffers from autoimmune disorders.”

    At some point, our bodies’ own immune systems went nuts, mistaking healthy pieces of our anatomies — a pancreas, a thyroid, a joint — for foreign tissue, dangerous enemies within, and proceeded to attack and try to destroy them. It’s as close to tragedy as biology gets.

    Which is pretty much exactly what’s been happening the last decade in our politics. The Truthers decided the U.S. government was behind 9/11. Others decided our black president is definitely foreign-born and Muslim. Tea Party Republicans are convinced his administration is crypto-socialist and/or proto-fascist. The anti-Shariah people are terrified of the nonexistent threat of Islamic law infecting American jurisprudence. It’s now considered reasonable to regard organs and limbs of the federal government — the E.P.A., the education department, the Federal Reserve — as tumors that must be removed. Taxation itself is now considered a parasitic pathogen rather than a crucial part of our social organism.

    Many autoimmune diseases of the literal kind, such as Type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, are apparently triggered by stress. For the sociopolitical autoimmune epidemic, there are plenty of plausibly precipitating mega-stresses: the 9/11 attacks and the resulting wars, a decade of stagnant incomes, chronic job insecurity, hyper-connected digitalism, real estate wipeout, teetering financial system, take your pick.

    The larger point, and the metaphor itself, strikes me as entirely compelling. There is a deep strain of madness that’s come to dominate much of our discourse and the political world, and the way in which facts, reason, and evidence are constantly under attack does look quite a bit like an autoimmune disorder.

    At the risk of sounding picky, my nagging concern is over the false equivalency. Truthers, racists, Tea Partiers, and the anti-Shariah crowd all believe and are driven by nonsense, but they’re not relative equals in size, scope, power, or influence.

    On the contrary, on the left, there is a liberal fringe, but it’s ignored and kept at arm’s length by the progressive mainstream and the Democratic Party. On the right, radical conspiracy theorists don’t just have a prominent voice; they wield enormous influence in the Republican Party and occasionally get elected to powerful public offices. Indeed, in the case of the Republican presidential field, Perry and Bachmann routinely spout surreal gibberish, and they’re two-thirds of the GOP’s top tier.

    To my mind, one of the fundamental problems with American politics isn’t the existence of a right-wing fringe, it’s the fact that the line between the fringe and the GOP mainstream has been blurred. Both sides have nutjobs; only one side thinks their nutjobs are sane.

    To use Andersen’s metaphor, it’s the difference between an autoimmune disorder that’s temporary and inconsequential, and one that’s life-threatening. It’s a difference worth appreciating.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Is The Left Failing Obama?

    Well, they’re certainly critical. The healthcare reform is a classic example. Its unpopularity is a function of both right and left dissatisfaction. And that can be self-reinforcing. It seems to me that until the Democrats and Obama peeps start touting what they did as a positive, until they remind people that its repeal means a return to the days when a pre-existing condition barred you from insurance, or when you had no chance to buy insurance at all, they will continue to flounder. You cannot run for re-election while running away from the signature legislative achievement of your first term.

    Liel Leibovitz, meanwhile, thinks the left’s “ontological” inability to understand the nature of successful movements is what is kneecapping the President:

    When we march under a banner, when we identify the group’s interests with our own, when we belong to a movement, we do so, often, just because. And by we, alas, I don’t mean liberals. They—we—demand explanations. We’re willing to get behind Obama, but only for short bursts at a time, and only provided that he act in a way we perceive of as befitting the image we have of him, that of our knight and savior. That’s no way to build a movement. When he faces the Republicans, the president knows that his is a battle of one against many … A president is still a politician, and a politician whose voters show up once every four years finds himself, in the remaining 1,459 days, forced to bend before his better-organized, more numerous foes.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Obama accuses Congress of holding back recovery

    A vacationing President Barack Obama accused Congress on Saturday of holding back the economic recovery by blocking “common sense” measures he said would create jobs and help growth.

    In remarks recorded on Wednesday on his campaign-style bus tour in Illinois and aired during his holiday in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, Obama said the stalled construction, trade and payroll tax bills could give a boost to the economy.

    “The only thing preventing us from passing these bills is the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party. That’s the problem right now. That’s what’s holding this country back,” the president said in his weekly radio address, which is also transmitted on the Internet.

    Wall Street stocks have suffered four weeks of losses because of investor jitters, partly over concerns that the United States may be headed for another recession after barely growing in the first half of 2011.

    With the national unemployment rate stuck above 9 percent, Obama’s re-election hopes may hinge on his ability to convince voters he is steering the U.S. economy the right way.

    He has been criticized for taking off to Martha’s Vineyard, a wealthy island retreat near Boston, at a time when some 14 million Americans are out of work. Such breaks are typical for U.S. presidents, and the Obamas also took vacations in Martha’s Vineyard in August of 2010 and 2009.

    The White House has said the president would spend much of his nine-day absence from Washington working on the job and growth package he will unveil in an early September speech.

    In his Saturday remarks, Obama acknowledged the country remained far from full health.

    “We’re going through a tough time right now. We’re coming through a terrible recession,” he said. “So we need folks in Washington — the people whose job it is to deal with the country’s problems, the people who you elected to serve — we need them to put aside their differences to get things done.”

    • Ametia says:

      Well congress is holding back America’s recovery, and Americans KNOW IT.

    • I am so damn sick and tired of PBO being criticized for taking vacations and breaks. Like no other President ever took some time off. Yeah, Texas Shrub, I’m thinking of your sorry ass that was in bed every night by 9PM and how much time you spent brush hogging at your ranch.

      Also what’s the big hooha over Martha’s Vineyard? I visited there and I ain’t rich. You could take the ferry which didn’t cost all that much. There are some big fancy houses there but also ordinary people who live and visit there. This is also probably a much safer place than some for the Prez and family to vacation because it would be easier for the Secret Service to protect him.

  8. Ametia says:

    GO OHIO!

  9. Ametia says:

    Ohio union reps are a no show for meeting with Gov. Kasich
    By: Elizabeth Misson,
    COLUMBUS, Ohio – On Thursday, Ohio union leaders represented by the group We Are Ohio said they would refuse to sit down and talk with Gov. John Kasich about Ohio’s new collective bargaining law (commonly referred to as Senate Bill 5) until the law was repealed.

    On Friday morning, their words held true as union reps were a no show at the governor’s meeting in the Riffe Center in downtown Columbus.

    Reporters gathered in a meeting room awaiting a possible discussion between the two sides which have been at odds since Senate Bill 5 passed legislation and was signed into law in March. They waited about 30 minutes before calling it quits.

    Kasich told NewsChannel5 he’s ready and willing to negotiate, but was disappointed no unions showed. He said unions don’t know how to negotiate, but that it’s never too late.

    We Are Ohio released the following statement Friday morning:

    “Today workers representing We Are Ohio and our 1.3 million supporters continued their call on Governor Kasich, Senate President Niehaus and Speaker Batchelder to repeal all of Senate Bill 5, the unfair and unsafe bill that hurts us all. We Are Ohio called on these leaders to first repeal all of Senate Bill 5 to ensure a fresh start to the process.”

    The group Building a Better Ohio, which represents Ohioans in support of Issue 2 and Senate Bill 5 was quick to respond:

  10. Shady_Grady says:

    I always liked Tramaine Hawkins.

    • Ametia says:

      Hi ya, Shady Grady! SG2 did a great job with the dance series this week.

      Just wanted to let you know that SG2’s house burned down last Friday night. She and her family are safe, but she lost everything. Please lift her up in prayer, if you are a praying man. Thank you.

      • Oh bless her and her family and thank God they are all safe! I have been sending her healing thought but I didn’t know exactly what was wrong. Fire is such a devastating thing. We had a fire once. It was arson. We weren’t home and the firemen saved our dogs and cats and some of the house but it was just awful. Especially when the detectives investigating asked us who were our enemies, who hated us enough to burn our house? They did eventually catch the person responsible but not before he set other fires in the neighborhood. It was a terrible, terrible time.

        My heart to her and her family. If there is anything I can do. Please let me know. Dang! This is just so sad.

      • Ametia says:

        Hi AG. thanks so much for your words of support for SG2. I’ll pass them on to her.

  11. Ametia says:

    Two U.S. hikers detained in Iran on espionage charges have been sentenced to eight years in prison, state-run TV reported Saturday. Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were charged with illegal entry and spying.

    They and another person, Sarah Shourd, were seized two years ago when they were hiking in the Iraqi Kurdish region near Iran. Shourd was released last year because of medical reasons, but Fattal and Bauer have remained imprisoned in Iran.
    Iranian police said the Americans illegally entered Iran. The Tehran Prosecutor’s office has “compelling evidence” that the three were cooperating with U.S. intelligence agencies, Press TV has reported.

    Shourd has said the hikers did not know they had crossed the border while hiking. Fattal and Bauer pleaded not guilty to the charges.
    The United States has repeatedly called for their release.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Open Thread: Yep, Still Crazy
    by Anne Laurie

    Since this was once a political blog, here’s a couple laffers to help us Democrats start off the weekend in a good mood.

    Ed Kilgore, at the New Republic, (rhetorically) wonders “Are Republicans Out of Their Minds?“:

    Democrats (especially those in Congress) have been plotting for months to make Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, and particularly its radical treatment of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, the centerpiece of their 2012 campaign. After all, the proposal drew the support of nearly every Republican in Congress, despite abundant public opinion research (and at least one special election) showing the potential for a strong public backlash against its specific provisions. A Ryan candidacy, in other words, would rigidly align the GOP with its least popular ideas at the very moment that all Democrats, from the president to the lowliest House candidate, are desperate to make this a “comparative” election instead of a temperature reading on life in the Obama era. So why would prominent Republicans be interested in making Democrats so very happy?

    One explanation is that Paul Ryan may be simply too emblematic of contemporary Republican thinking to be resisted by his own party… Aside from the laurels he has won by putting together a budget proposal that reflects the long-frustrated conservative goal of demolishing the New Deal/Great Society safety net once and for all, Ryan is also beloved of neoconservatives struggling to rebuff resurgent neo-isolationism in the GOP, and he is a faithful ally of social conservatives as well. And what libertarian can’t help but feel good about a congressman who reportedly has made Atlas Shrugged required reading for his staff?…

    But my hunch is that the main motivation behind the growing Ryan boom in elite circles is that Republicans have more or less decided they cannot lose the presidential race in 2012 unless their candidate has big personal flaws or comes off as legitimately crazy. As a result, they are beginning to assess the field in terms of capacity to serve as president rather than mere electability. And they don’t like what they see.

    Which is why Dave Weigel at Slate cheerfully suggests that it’s never too early to hope for a brokered convention!:

    Karl Rove says “we are likely to see several other candidates think seriously about getting in” on the GOP primary. His intentions are clear: He’s making life unpleasant for Rick Perry. He’s also telling the truth. Perry just entered the race after weeks and weeks of hype, and he hasn’t settled anything. The din of the draft campaigns—Ryan! Christie! Rudy! Palin! hell, even Pataki!—rings just as loud and fills just as many midday Fox News segments.

    Democrats, who have so little to be cheery about, are cheery about this. Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky sort of likes the idea of a bone-crunching, time-sucking Republican primary.

    “It’s an internal family discussion that plays out in public,” Dvorsky says. “While they’re doing that, we’re able to take our messaging, take our field organization, and begin it. We’ve had months of a jump on this, and we’re going to get months more. It’s a historical change for them. Gone are the days when it’s ‘Bob Dole’s turn,’ and they have their next guy up.”…

  13. rikyrah says:

    The Help
    By Adam Serwer | Posted 08/18/2011 at 10:35 AM
    John McWhorter offers a contrarian take on the civil rights era drama The Help, arguing that its critics are overreacting. Not content simply to make the case that the film is compelling, he goes onto argue that its critics are actually racist:

    This is a “feel-good movie for a cowardly nation”? How could it be that this film, hardly The Sorrow and the Pity but honest and thoroughly affecting, is being treated like a remake of Imitation of Life?

    We must dismiss out of hand a discomfort with this sad period being “packaged” by Hollywood at all. The Help certainly includes swelling strings on the soundtrack, what Nelson George terms its “candy-coated cinematography,” and neatly intertwining stories with beginnings, middles, and ends. Some might prefer a visually peculiar, spiritually ambiguous, narratively desultory art-house opus. But that film would be seen by only a few, which would contravene the imperative that America as a whole needs to see it to learn about its racist past.

    Consider for a moment the opposite case: Say that Hollywood, with its fundamentally commercial orientation, decided not to touch topics as sensitive as the Civil Rights story. The very same critics would no doubt despair that, “Hollywood doesn’t want to address America’s racist past.” The critics who inveigh against The Help for its mass market appeal are being duplicitous. Long ago, black film and television historian Donald Bogle counseled that “black films can liberate audiences from illusions, black and white, and in so freeing can give all of us vision and truth.” That’s a very debatable proposition—but, in any case, it would require that this “responsibility” be exercised within realistic commercial parameters. To be liberated, the audience has to show up.

    First of all, Imitation of Life is a great film. Second, while McWhorter’s argument about commercial viability is well-taken, it undermines his later argument that in fact no one’s in denial about racism and that the familiar structure of the film doesn’t reflect a larger trend about films on the civil rights era maximizing the heroism of their white characters. But I also bristle at the allegation that white people by definition cannot tell black people’s stories in a meaningful or effective way, and people making this argument either haven’t seen The Wire or don’t know it was written by a white guy named David Simon.

    Now I haven’t seen The Help, but I do get the sense that part of the reaction to it is less about the quality of the movie itself than the larger cultural context. What “commercial viability” means here is that, inevitably, successful films in this genre have to have a white hero to anchor the story around. The Help would not be so infuriating to its critics in a world where Hollywood showed more interest in telling stories about black people in which they are not vehicles of white redemption, where actresses of Viola Davis’ caliber aren’t competing with each other for a scant number of roles for black women. This isn’t so much about “an implacable pique at white America for never quite “owning” its racism” as it is a frustration that black people’s stories are a means to white self-congratulation.

    I suspect none of this would matter if Hollywood were interested enough in telling black people’s stories that there were more than one or two major studio releases a year with majority black casts. The problem isn’t so much that The Help is a bad movie–from what I hear it’s a pretty good one–but that it’s the only kind of story being told. But that in and of itself undermines McWhorter’s point–after all, if white people had “come to terms” with racism, you wouldn’t need benevolent white protagonists to anchor movies about black people for them to be commercially successful. That comes from the same frustrating dynamic as the geek uproar over Blatino Spider-Man: White audiences still have difficulty relating to black characters because they’re black. I don’t know if the resilience of this barrier reflects “cowardice,” but it does say something about the lines we draw internally, if not publicly.

  14. rikyrah says:

    August 20, 2011 8:00 AM

    Bank of America vows to ‘help out’ Perry

    By Steve Benen

    James Mahoney, Director of Public Policy for Bank of America, appears to have a certain fondness for Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry. In this clip, we see Mahoney introduce himself to the Texas governor at a New Hampshire campaign stop, telling Perry, “Bank of America. We’ll help you out.”

    In a statement, a Bank of America spokesperson said the comment was not political, and the offer to help Perry out referred to “policy issues.”

    And if you believe that, I have some bundled sub-prime mortgages I’d like to sell you.

    Marie Diamond added some helpful context regarding the bank and the GOP candidate:

    Over the years Gov. Perry has benefited greatly from Bank of America’s financial support, and it appears that largesse will continue as he seeks the presidency on a platform of — coincidentally enough — bank deregulation. His gubernatorial campaigns have received $125,900 from Bank of America’s PAC and executives since 2003. During the 2010 cycle alone, Perry’s campaign received $30,160 from the bank’s PAC and executives. According to Texans for Public Justice, Bank of America has also given generously Republican Governors Association, which Perry led until recently and just happens to be his largest donor, contributing $4 million between 2001 and 2010.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Palin Agrees With Perry About ‘Treasonous’ Fed Chair: ‘Perhaps I Would Have Used Similar Terms’
    By Pat Garofalo on Aug 19, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    ThinkProgress caught Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) this week saying that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s actions to stimulate the economy are “treasonous” and issuing a veiled threat of violence against the Fed chief. “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas,” Perry said.

    Several Republicans have called Perry out for using this sort of language. 2012 presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said that Perry’s remarks were “completely out of bounds.” “You can’t be calling Bernanke a traitor,” said Rep. Peter King (R-NY). “Intimating the Federal Reserve Chairman is guilty of treason is not going to create more confidence in voters about you,” added Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH).

    Former Reagan and George H.W. Bush economic adviser Bruce Bartlett labeled Perry “an idiot” for his remarks. However, one GOP’er doesn’t think that Perry went too far. During an interview with Lou Dobbs on Fox Business, former half-term governor Sarah Palin said that she might “have used similar terms” to describe Bernanke’s actions:

    PALIN: [Perry] called it like he saw it and I always respect people for doing so. What Governor Perry is voicing concern about is something I wrote about on Facebook pages about ten months ago, this quantitative easing or monetizing our debt, essentially printing money out of thin air, which will eventually devalue our dollar and, I think, lead to inflation, in order to make it look like our debt isn’t as bad as it really is, and Governor Perry was voicing great concerns that many of us share. He just used some more candid terms, I think, than some of us would have used.

    DOBBS: Even you?

    PALIN: Well, yeah, that’s a good point. Perhaps I would have used similar terms. But I do share his concern though.

    Watch it:

    Palin, of course, is no stranger to violent rhetoric of her own. Perry, for his part, is standing by his remarks, telling CNN, “I am just passionate about the issue and we stand by what we said.” “The governor is going to continue talking about getting America back to work in a tone that everyone understands,” added a campaign spokesperson. Not only were Perry’s remarks atrocious, but he also seemed to be admitting that the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing would be good for the economy.

  16. rikyrah says:

    CAUGHT ON TAPE: Bank Of America’s Director Of Public Policy Tells Rick Perry ‘We’ll Help You Out’

    A top Bank of America executive was caught on camera yesterday whispering to Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), “Bank of America. We’ll help you out,” as the GOP presidential candidate attended New Hampshire’s Politics and Eggs breakfast. The executive has been identified by the financial website Zero Hedge as James Mahoney, Director of Public Policy for the bank. Mahoney is on the board of directors for the New England Council, the sponsors of the Politics and Eggs breakfast. Watch it:

    But far from being just a regional banker, Mahoney is a key national executive. In a statement about the incident, bank spokesman Lawrence Di Rita told Politico the only “help” Mahoney was offering was nonpartisan policy expertise. Di Rita said Mahoney does policy and not lobbying for the bank. This unsolicited reassurance from a top Bank of America emissary comes just days after Perry appeared to publicly threaten the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke.

    Over the years Gov. Perry has benefited greatly from Bank of America’s financial support, and it appears that largesse will continue as he seeks the presidency on a platform of — coincidentally enough — bank deregulation. His gubernatorial campaigns have received $125,900 from Bank of America’s PAC and executives since 2003. During the 2010 cycle alone, Perry’s campaign received $30,160 from the bank’s PAC and executives. According to Texans for Public Justice, Bank of America has also given generously Republican Governors Association, which Perry led until recently and just happens to be his largest donor, contributing $4 million between 2001 and 2010.

    It’s no mystery why banking executives are rushing to give Perry their support. Of all the GOP candidates, Perry is the most fervently opposed to banking regulation. As Matt Yglesias pointed out, in his book Fed Up, Perry expresses the extreme view that all banking regulation and consumer financial protection is unconstitutional.

    Bank of America has been in a world of financial trouble recently, with its stock down more than 50 percent since January, as it faces a growing wave of mortgage litigation. In recent weeks it has been engaged “in the corporate version of a yard sale.” The bank announced today that it will be cutting at least 10,000 jobs, laying off 3,500 workers this quarter alone. As ThinkProgress has reported, until now Mitt Romney has been the candidate with the most backing from Wall Street.

  17. rikyrah says:

    New Mexico hero who saved girl says he’s illegal

    The man who chased down a suspected child abductor and saved a 6-year-old girl from what could have been a horrible fate was honored as a hero Friday. But he is also gaining a new kind of celebrity: as a poster child of sorts for immigration rights in state and national immigration debates.

    Antonio Diaz Chacon, 23, is married to an American and has been in the country for four years. But Chacon says he abandoned attempts to get legal residency because the process was difficult and expensive.

    Diaz Chacon revealed his immigration status to Univision this week and confirmed to The Associated Press that he is illegal, prompting chatter on the Internet and social networking sites that his case underscored immigrant rights positions in two ongoing political debates.

    Some argue he is an example of the kind of immigrant the federal government will now largely leave alone. The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that deportations would focus on criminals.

    “As exceptional as his story is,” said Christina Parker, a spokeswoman for Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso, Texas, “it points to the fact that most undocumented immigrants living in the United States are not criminals. He’s more than not a criminal now. He’s a hero.”

    Others used it to blast New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s ongoing attempts to repeal a state law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license. The governor has put the repeal, which was defeated in the regular session earlier this year, on the agenda for a September special session.

    “Most are just working to support their families and to take away their driver’s license would be detrimental to that,” Parker said.

    Diaz Chacon’s status didn’t play a role in Albuquerque’s decision to honor his bravery. Mayor Richard Berry declared Friday Antonio Diaz Chacon Day in Albuquerque and held an afternoon ceremony where he presented Diaz Chacon a Spanish language plaque recognizing his bravery in jumping in his pickup and chasing the suspect until he crashed into a light pole. Diaz Chacon then rescued the girl as the driver of the disabled van ran into the desert. The suspect was arrested later by police.

    Diaz Chacon, with his wife and two daughters, was all smiles at the ceremony, which was also attended by the officers who eventually arrested accused kidnapper Phillip Garcia, 29.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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