Sunday Open Thread

Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer, actress, producer, and model. Houston was the most awarded female act of all time, according to Guinness World Records.[3] Her list of awards includes 2 Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. Houston was also one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide.[4][5] Inspired by prominent soul singers in her family, including her mother Cissy Houston, cousins Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick, and her godmother Aretha Franklin, Houston began singing with New Jersey church’s junior gospel choir at age 11.[6] After she began performing alongside her mother in night clubs in the New York City area, she was discovered by Arista Records label head Clive Davis. Houston released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification.

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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53 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

  1. Tyisha12 says:

    Hello there, just became aware of your forum through Google, and found that it’s truly interesting. I am gonna watch for more posts. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. Lots of people will enjoy this. Cheers!

  2. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney As Tarantino’s Superman
    February 7, 2008 | 10:31 pm

    I had one last thought about Mitt Romney that seemed worth sharing before the clock strikes twelve and he’s officially yesterday’s news.

    I was not a fan of the Kill Bill movies, but I did appreciate one scene, near the end of KB2, that displayed the genius for pop banter that had characterized Quentin Tarantino’s earlier films. In it, David Carradine explains (not entirely accurately) that Superman is unique in the comic-book universe: Whereas most superheroes’ secret identities (Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker) are their true identities–the people they were before their parents were murdered or they were bitten by radioactive spiders or exposed to gamma rays or what have you–Superman was born Superman. It’s Clark Kent that is the invented alias, the pose, the “costume.” And in the way Superman plays Kent–weak, self-doubting, cowardly–we see his critique of the human race.

    It occurred to me that the same is true of Romney’s desperate, if never terribly persuasive, impersonation of a conservative Republican. That persona–angry, simple-minded, xenophobic, jingoistic–is exactly what Romney (who is himself cultured, content, and cosmopolitan) imagines the average GOP voter to be.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Milestones of Whitney Houston in the NYTimes.

    a timeline, complete with videos.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Black Characters in Search of Reality
    Published: February 11, 2012

    Through most of the 20th century, images of African-Americans in advertising were mainly limited to servants like the pancake-mammy Aunt Jemima and Rastus, the chef on the Cream of Wheat box. Imagine a Rip Van Winkle who fell asleep during the era of the Negro as household retainer and woke up in 2012. He would be struck speechless by billboards and commercials featuring affluent black people advising consumers on pharmaceuticals, real estate, financial services and the virtues of owning expensive cars. This kind of transformation has yet to take hold in the dramatic arts.

    Advertisers, who must create the world anew every day, have to keep close tabs on changing social and cultural realities. The industry began to normalize images of black affluence in response to the civil rights revolution, and embraced those images as it became clear that they were good for selling breakfast cereal and mutual funds, too.

    The dramatic arts are less nimble, partly because they draw on material that is rarely written by people of color and often firmly rooted in a past that allowed for only a narrow, impoverished view of African-American life. The black middle and upper classes have long fumed that stage and film have rendered them largely invisible — and are hungry for serious works with rounded characterizations of themselves.

    This hunger was not satisfied by “The Help,” a movie about maids in the racist, early 1960s South that has been nominated in multiple categories for the Oscar. In addition to its best picture nomination, the film has produced a best actress nomination for the wonderful Viola Davis, who stars as the quietly volcanic Aibileen, and a best supporting actress nod for Octavia Spencer, who plays her voluble friend.

    The troubling thing is that the only two black actors in this year’s Oscar competition are cast as domestics, and would probably not have found meaty, starring roles in other films had they passed on “The Help.” This brings to mind the first black Oscar winner, Hattie McDaniel, who received the award in 1940 for her portrayal of the loyal maid in “Gone With the Wind.” When criticized for often playing a mammy on film, Ms. McDaniel famously said she would rather play a maid in the movies than be one.

    Black artists are often faced with the problem of having to elevate through sheer skill material that is stereotypical or even racist. The director Diane Paulus and her talented stars, Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis, undertake just such a renovation in the new Broadway production of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.” African-Americans have generally disliked this work, the story of a love affair between a crippled beggar and a drug-addicted woman.

    Sidney Poitier initially refused the role of Porgy in the 1959 film (calling it “not material complimentary to black people”), but later succumbed to Hollywood pressure. The New Yorker critic Hilton Als, who has praised the revised version, is no fan of the original either. The opera, he writes, is traditionally staged in a way that casts the love affair in the context of a poor black community’s “will to destruction.” There is “no uplift, just sweat, blood, carnality and resignation.”

    Some purists have condemned the new version as a betrayal of the creators’ intentions. But the show now fleshes out the lives of the lovers, excavating the humanity of characters long buried beneath early-20th-century preconceptions.

    In their vacation homes in Sag Harbor and Martha’s Vineyard, the black upper classes have complained about the white world’s tendency to equate blackness almost exclusively with poverty and deprivation. This grievance was in no way salved by late-20th-century sitcoms like “The Cosby Show” or “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” which were comedies, after all, and could be dismissed as imaginary.

    The hunger for textured depictions of black lives found an indulgence this season on Broadway. The Cort Theater in Manhattan was jumping during the two performances I attended of Lydia Diamond’s “Stick Fly.” This family drama is set in the Martha’s Vineyard vacation home of a black neurosurgeon and the blue-blooded wife he met at a “paper bag” party — so named because no African-American darker than the bag was supposed to be admitted.

    The play deals interestingly, if melodramatically, with that special class tension that has always existed between the black elites and the less well off, with whom they were often pushed into close proximity by segregation. The playwright makes a passing reference to Jack and Jill, a once quasi-secret black organization, scarcely heard of among whites, whose chapters met mainly at the homes of black elites and served to foster what often became lifelong alliances.

    At the performances I saw, the show unfolded with comfortable familiarity and knowing laughter from a largely black audience that was pleased to see itself credibly rendered onstage.

  5. Ametia says:

    THE BOSS is opening act for the Grammys!

  6. Ametia says:

    @ Jueseppi Cornbread is served.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Joan Walsh Re-defines the President’s Base … Again
    Posted on February 12, 2012 by Emilia1956
    This time his base is secular.

    OK, I’m not a believer at all, but in no way do I buy her assertion that the base is secular. I guess as well as African Americans, she resents people who practice a faith being part of the base as well.

    I thought we had the big tent.

  8. Please send up prayers for Bobbi Kristina Brown. Jesus, have mercy!

    Whitney Houston’s Daughter Bobbi Kristina Rushed to the Hospital

  9. rikyrah says:

    Andrew Sullivan: How Obama Set a Contraception Trap for the Right
    Feb 13, 2012 12:00 AM EST
    Conservatives gleefully revived the culture wars. But they’re not winning. How Obama set a trap for the right.

    Perhaps some helpful soul could inform the Catholic bishop of Pittsburgh, who last week calmly explained that “the Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, ‘To hell with you!’” A quiet word in the ear of the dogged opponent of gay marriage Maggie Gallagher might have helped too. Just after Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California, was struck down by a court on narrow grounds, she titled a blog post: “Ninth Circuit to 7 Million California Voters: You Are Irrational Bigots.”

    Not to be outdone, newly insurgent presidential candidate Rick Santorum described a secular society not based on religious principles as a renewal of the French Revolution and “the guillotine.” Evangelical voters lined up in Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado to vault him back into the front of the race. And when the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation withdrew support from Planned Parenthood, the reaction from the other side was almost as ferocious. “You don’t make good on a ‘promise’ to your dead sister by selling out women who need you most,” wrote Mary Elizabeth Williams on Salon. When Komen reversed its decision, the pro-life Republican who had been behind it, Karen Handel, resigned, complaining to Fox News about “the level of vicious attacks and coercion … by Planned Parenthood. It’s simply outrageous.”

    Who knew the sexual and religious politics of the 1990s were suddenly back, under the president who promised he’d try to end them? And who knew the president himself—who has made an elegant art form out of avoiding exactly these kinds of controversies in his first three years—would have made the final call on the one that suddenly united the entire Republican right in roiling rage? That decision was the now-infamous one to propose a new rule to mandate coverage of contraception, sterilization, and morning-after pills in all health-insurance plans, exempting purely religious institutions, but including Catholic-run hospitals, colleges, and charities who serve the general public and employ many non-Catholics. This, House Speaker John Boehner declared, was an unprecedented assault on the First Amendment by a president who Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently said was “at war against organized religion.”


    But the conflict-driven headlines and predictions of disaster for Obama are, in my view, deeply misleading. Right now, they are driven both by cable news’s love of a good fight and high ratings and by the Republican primary campaign, in which the candidates, especially Newt Gingrich and Santorum, are desperately battling to unify the evangelical base, which is convinced its faith is somehow under attack. In the longer run, however, I suspect this sudden confluence of kerfuffles will be seen as one of the last gasps of the culture war, not its reignition. That’s especially possible since Obama’s swift walk-back last Friday, when he proposed an utterly sensible compromise, which exempts both churches and other religious institutions that cater to the general public from directly covering or paying for birth control, shifting the coverage requirement to insurance companies. So Catholic organizations will be able to stay out of the contraception question entirely, while contraception for all women will be kept free of charge. Instead of being lose-lose for the president, it became win-win. Most Catholics will be fine with this compromise, as are the Catholic Health Association and Planned Parenthood. But the bishops? They’ve gone out on a very long limb. This could be the moment when the culture-war tide finally turns and the social wedge issues long deployed so effectively by the Republican right begin to come back and bite them.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Why Do Liberals Support Drone Strikes?
    12:42 pm EST February 8th, 2012

    There is a little bit of garment-rending in progress about a new Washington Post poll that shows liberals strongly supporting the government’s program of using drones to take out terrorist targets. I don’t quite understand the confusion.

    When it comes to taking out terrorists not on U.S. soil we have three options:

    1. Let them go free
    2. Use drones, incurring collateral damage
    3. Put troops on the ground, putting soldiers at risk along with incurring collateral damage

    The option of using international cooperation to round up these guys — the preferable option — is simply not viable in Pakistan, where much of this activity is taking place. As the Bin Laden operation showed us, terrorists are able to operate within a stone’s throw of Pakistan’s government without them lifting a finger to stop it. Their government is an impediment.

    So, faced with those three options, we’ve opted for the drones. They are not perfect by a long stretch, but after over a decade of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is the least bloody option that kills terrorists.

    I’m not surprised that even among liberals, this is a strategy that meets with approval.

    The numbers go down slightly if the target is a U.S. citizen, but again most of us view an American working with Al Qaeda on foreign soil as just another agent of that organization.

    (It’s worth pointing out that the usually deceptive Glenn Greenwald writes about drone strikes saying, “Obama has used drones to kill Muslim children and innocent adults by the hundreds.” I don’t deny that innocent people have been killed by drone strikes, but Greenwald writes it like these people are intentional targets. They aren’t. Those of us who support the drone strikes shouldn’t pretend as if they are clean weapons, but those opposed should be honest as well.)

    I totally understand the dangers in giving the president the sole power to designate terrorist targets. I’m not comfortable with that much power residing in the executive office. I would trust Barack Obama with that power, but not George Bush, so I don’t trust any president with it.

    But I think the view of many who have these positions opposed to drone strikes and the like take a dispassionate view of this conflict that most don’t have. While we shouldn’t let emotion cloud things, we also can’t discount the unique toll of Al Qaeda-based terrorism on America’s psyche.

    People want to get these guys, and it appears as if these drones are one of the best ways to get the job done, regardless of who the president is.

  11. rikyrah says:

    The Media Turns A Blind Eye As The GOP Rigs Maine For Mitt Romney
    February 11, 2012
    By Jason Easley

    The mainstream media has chosen to ignore it, but Mitt Romney’s win in Maine demonstrated again that there is something shady going on with the Republican primaries and caucuses.

    Despite the facts that not all of the state had caucused yet and the margin separating Mitt Romney and Ron Paul was less than 200 votes, state GOP Chairman Charie Webster told Washington County, who had to postpone their caucus today because of an expected snowstorm, and anyone else who didn’t caucus today that their votes will not count.

    Only in a Republican caucus/primary is candidate able to be handed the victory without all of the results being counted.

    The Paul campaign had been expecting something like this because the Romney campaign has been involved in dirty tricks,including getting the caucus in Washington County where Ron Paul was expected to do extremely well was canceled. In a statement the Paul campaign said, “Paul performed well throughout the state, although his campaign’s stronghold of Washington County did not report today for inexplicable reasons. Congressman Paul was barely bested by Gov. Romney by about 194 votes, a margin the campaign is confident it will make up with the 200 plus votes expected to come out of Washington County’s caucus.”


    The mainstream media has chosen to ignore it, but there is something really wrong going on in the Republican nominating process.

    If this whole situation is reminding anyone of Mitt Romney’s caucus night “win” in Iowa, it should. Just as Rick Santorum won Iowa, it is very possible that Ron Paul won Maine. The Republican establishment is so desperate to get Mitt Romney nominated as soon as possible that they have no qualms about rigging their own elections.

    The GOP establishment wanted Mitt Romney to win Maine. They needed Romney to win Maine, so they made sure that Mitt Romney won Maine.

    The Republican establishment is rigging their own primary process to get the nominee that they want.

  12. rikyrah says:

    February 12, 2012
    Santorum of Hippo

    St. Santorum was again making the rounds this morning, essentially arguing that the State should be subordinate to the Church, which it would be in Rick’s splendiferous City of Jerusalem, but of course never will be in the wicked Barack’s City of Babylon.

    It is a downright eerie experience to listen to Santorum’s fanatical contempt for America’s secular constitutionalism — the Founders’ hallmark separation from the world’s exceedingly troubled history of imposing competing versions of what are in reality the Unknown’s unknowable desires on mankind’s intimately knowable condition.

    The greatest irony of the ecclesiastically orthodox Santorum Mind? His, he would tell you, is vast and breathtakingly starry by virtue of its association with God’s vastness Itself; yet the small, secularly petty mind might ask what in God’s name the Supreme Court was thinking when, for example, in Reynolds v. United States (1878), it outlawed polygamy. To the narrow-minded(?), State interference into assorted marital arrangements — and this obviously goes for gays and lesbians, too; and perhaps less obviously for men and (i.e., on) dogs, if the two so freely choose — is the very species of earthly interference for which God created civil libertarianism.

    The irony, in short, is that the more expansively religious the mind, the smaller it usually is.

  13. rikyrah says:

    February 11, 2012
    Sour Krauthammer puckers up again

    Charles Krauthammer didn’t so much miss his calling — he is after all a superb spinner of petty propaganda and a supremely obnoxious obscurantist — as he did his ideal era, one perhaps Inquisition-related. Unlike the Grand Inquisitors, however, Charles is also quite flexible, meaning he could tolerate the pointed rot, the hazy corruption and the ideological wretchedness of the last Bush administration, while President Obama’s almost boy-scout professionalism and unimpeachably pragmatic relief have Charles in the clinically depressed dumps.

    This should not, however, be too surprising. It was Charles who coined “Bush Derangement Syndrome”; that is, it was Charles who cast the first boomerang, which in accord with psychic physics has turned on him like a buzzsaw, decapitating all of Charles’s intellectual decorum. The poor man, he is the perhaps this nation’s gravest sufferer of Obama Derangement Syndrome.

    And poor President Obama! He can’t even quote Scripture on behalf of the poor without Charles coming at him with a grim, wrathful scythe:

    His [tax] policy, he testified “as a Christian” [at the National Prayer Breakfast], “coincides with Jesus’s teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.’ ”

    Now, I’m no theologian, but I’m fairly certain that neither Jesus nor his rabbinic forebears, when speaking of giving, meant some obligation to the state. You tithe the priest, not the tax man.

    Well, Charles, I don’t know about his “rabinnic forebears,” but I’m pretty sure that either Jesus himself — or more likely his Church interpolators, centuries later, in search of temporal accommodations with State power — had something to say about Caesar and rendering and all that fiscal jazz.

    But, not to worry, Charles. This isn’t the place for a Biblical exegesis, which neither of us is qualified for anyway. No, what caught my secular eye was this dark epiphany of yours, regarding merely the most recent of greatly bugabooed hubbubs:

    This all would be merely the story of contradictory theologies, except for this: Sebelius is Obama’s appointee. She works for him. These regulations were his call.

    Now about that, Charles, I harbor deep, agnostic Doubt. Because, you see, I simply have a hard time Believing that President Obama sits in the Oval Office or in his private study, for hours on end, poring over HHS regulations. I’m not saying he wouldn’t, but here’s the thing, Charles: He can’t.

    Why? Because the principal object of “Bush Derangement Syndrome” bequeathed President Obama the godawfulest economy since FDR’s in 1933; because Obama’s predecessor stuck him with astronomic debts and deficits; because the vast indifference to working Americans paid by this particular president’s “forebear” left millions of them unemployed; and because the current commander in chief, a studied and dedicated proponent of soft power, got saddled with two unforgivably hard conflicts by that forerunning warmonger, not to mention war criminal, of neoconservative fatuity.

    You see, Charles, President Obama has been a trifle busy cleaning up the prodigiously clusterfucked headaches with which your idiot endowed this administration. And you know what, Charles? I do Believe Jesus would see it the same way; indeed, riffing on his celebrated Temple performance, he might, amen, even put it the same way.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Send Your Medical Bills to Rick Santorum
    Posted on 02/12/2012 at 9:16 am by Bob Cesca

    Rick Santorum thinks birth control is cheap.

    SANTORUM: [I]nterestingly enough, here is what they are forcing them to do — in an insurance policy, they or forcing them to pay for something that costs just a few dollars. Is that what insurance is for? The foundational idea that we have the government tells you that you have to pay for everything as a business. Things that are not really things you need insurance for, and still forcing on something that is not a critical economic need, when you have an economic distress, where you would need insurance. But forcing them even more to do it for minor expenses.

    ThinkProgress added up the reality of birth control expenses:

    In reality, oral contraceptives or “The Pill” range between $35 and $250 for the initial provider visit and the cost of a monthly supply of pills ranges between $15 and $50 a month, which amounts to between $180 and $600 a year depending on woman’s medical coverage. This means some women without insurance coverage for contraception may pay over $850 the first year of their prescription. Other forms of birth control are far more expensive. For instance, the cost for a monthly supply of birth control patches ranges from $15 to $80 dollars, or between $180 and $960 a year. Combined with the doctors visit, uninsured women could spend over $1,200 dollars in the first year.

    But since Santorum thinks this is “just a few dollars” I think women should send their birth control receipts to Rick Santorum. Maybe he’ll pick up the tab.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s underwhelming win in Maine
    By Steve Benen

    Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:24 AM EST

    Associated Press

    Romney speaks at a Maine GOP caucus yesterday.

    After a surprisingly poor showing in Tuesday’s contests, and growing intra-party doubts about his candidacy, Mitt Romney needed a win to help change the larger conversation. Last night in Maine, he got one.

    Mitt Romney averted embarrassment on Saturday when he was declared the winner of a presidential straw poll in Maine’s nonbinding caucuses.

    He won 39 percent of the vote, barely edging out Representative Ron Paul of Texas, the only other Republican candidate to campaign actively in the state. Mr. Paul drew 36 percent. […]

    Mr. Romney scraped by Mr. Paul by just 194 votes. But fewer than 6,000 votes were cast — about 2 percent of registered Republicans.

    Given the week they’ve had, Romney and his team will no doubt take some solace in their Maine victory, but it is not without caveats. The ostensible frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination should arguably be able to muster more than a three-point win over Ron Paul — especially in light of Romney’s perceived regional advantage in New England.

    Indeed, Romney won Maine four years ago with nearly 52% of the vote. This year, he won with less than 40% support of Republican Mainers.

    After the former governor’s poor showing in Minnesota, Colorado, and Missouri, Romney backers effectively said those contests didn’t count because Romney wasn’t really trying to win in any of those states. That excuse doesn’t apply in Maine — fearing another embarrassment, Romney not only campaigned in the Pine Tree State, he also invested in radio and television advertising. He still only won by three points.

    Romney’s win, in other words, is pretty underwhelming, and hardly represents evidence of a political powerhouse.

    Let’s also note that Rick Santorum finished third with 18%, and Newt Gingrich was fourth with 6%. In all four of this week’s contests, the former Speaker finished last.

    Looking ahead, the GOP race now enters a lull of sorts. The next two contests — primaries in Arizona and Michigan — are more than two weeks away.

  16. rikyrah says:

    The Bishops make their move

    by Dennis G.

    So it looks like the Bishops have decided to double-down on their latest effort to have the Federal Government enforce Church Law.

    The President offered up a rhetorical solution in response to their rhetorical freak-out over language in a new health insurance rule and the fiction that their objection was about religious freedom was exposed as bullshit. They could walk away, but instead they are pumping up the volume to keep the issue alive. It is a political play that has more to do with Republican politics than almost anything else.

    The Bishops are demanding an end to any rule that requires any insurance company to cover any contraception or family planning as basic health issues for women. This is just the latest iteration of a centuries old objection to women having control of their bodies, their lives, their happiness and their liberty by the conservative power-focused elites running the Roman Catholic Church. This objection manifests itself in screeds against anything that treats sex as an activity separate from breeding and/or free from the dictates of Church Law.

    And yet, I don’t think this latest play is about sex or even the Church trying to control the lives of women—I think it is about power and that sex, women, gay marriage and a host of other culture warrior issues are the pathway that they see as the golden road.

    For anybody who has looked at the history of the Catholic Church (and any organized religion for that matter) a key part of their activities over time becomes how to maintain power, privilege and influence—and all the goodies that come with it. Eventually that is all that matters for the institution. The greatest success in this effort always comes when political leaders bow to the dictates of the Holy Roman Church and agree to make State Law subservient to Church Law. Back in the days of Kings and Queens you only had a handful of elites you had to work with and the mutual pursuit of power inspired many of them to treat Church Law as State Law. It worked for a long while and then came the Reformation, Protestantism, King Henry, the Enlightenment, Democracy and eventually a desire by more and more people to make their laws free of religion and the dictates of any Church.

    The United States of America was founded on the belief that Church and State are separate and that the Laws of this Nation trump the laws of any religion—including the Roman Catholic Church. As you can imagine, this has made the conservative wing of the Catholic Church quite sad. For over a century they have been on the losing end of many political fights—especially when it comes to women in America. The Church opposed suffrage for women and any effort over the years that might free women from the Church sanctioned role of breeder. The Church has fought every form of contraception and lost most battles. They also have lost the battle of finding any American politician who was willing to embrace the idea that US Law should be subservient to Church Law—until now.

    In the 2012 Republican race there are two Catholics running for the GOP Nomination and both have rejected the JFK formulation that US Laws and the Constitution trump the laws and dictates of the Catholic Church. Both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have signaled they will follow the orders they are given by the Bishops, but Santorum is the one the Bishops are fighting for and that is why they are doubling down on the Contraception flap.

    If the Republican Primary is a campaign over the economy or even hatred of President Obama, then the endpoint will be a Mitt Romney victory. The only way to shake things up is to have the Republican base focus on something else.

    Newt has placed his bet on neo-Confederate racist dog-whistling and an appeal to white-victimization. It is a smart play, especially with so many Southern primaries coming up and the 40-year old Dixiecrat takeover of the GOP. And while all Republican candidates are working hard to play this card, Newt is something of a Ninja master of the politics of resentment and race baiting. The downside for Newt is that Mitt proved in Florida that money and negative ads could block and distort Newt’s message. Barring a third rise from the ashes (which is still possible for Newt), Mittens has learned how to neutralize the Professor.

    Santorum is a different problem for Romney. His shtick is firmly rooted the Culture Wars of wingnutopia. If the conversation of the GOP Primary shifts to the Culture Wars Santorum will surge—especially if the focus of the culture wars is on sex and bodily functions. This is Rick’s sweet spot and the Bishops have decided to double down on their Grail to end the existence of contraception as a way to help move the Republican Primary to topics that will help Santorum win the nomination. If the main topic in the Michigan Primary is the Culture War and the Bishops are sending out Sunday letters, Santorum will surge all over that State. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is working to drive the GOP Primary debate to issues that will help Santorum beat Romney. And all they ask in return is that Rick agrees to bow to the dictates of the Holy Roman Church and place Church Law above US Federal Law and the Constitution. It is a request that Santorum will fulfill.

    Supporting a Santorum surge is an opportunity for power and that is why the Bishops are doubling down on opposing any insurance company offering any contraception or family planning services to anybody, anywhere. Ultimately the entire issue is about power and not about sex.

    I grew up Catholic. I went to Catholic schools from first grade through College. I worked at a church as a janitor for years while in school. I even seriously considered the Priesthood at one point. I love Liberation Theology, the Catholic Workers and the work they do and the work done by many others in the Church, but there has always been a part of the Church that puts the pursuit of power on this Earth ahead of all other concerns. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops speaks for those weasels in America. The pursuit of power is why pedophiles are still protected by the Church, why human rights for women, LBGT folks and members of other faiths are sometimes opposed by the Church and why a discussion about who gets to control the vaginas of America is more important to the Church than a focus on who will fight for the poor, the oppressed, the imprisoned and the neglected.

    The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is why I walked away from the Church of my upbringing and why my Baptism into the Catholic Church fills me with a bit of shame every time these weasels make another transparent grab for political power.


  17. rikyrah says:

    Whitney Houston’s isolated vocal track on “How Will I Know.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Patricia Stephens Due Dies at 72; Campaigned for Civil Rights
    Published: February 11, 2012

    Patricia Stephens Due, whose belief that, as she put it, “ordinary people can do extraordinary things” propelled her to leadership in the civil rights movement — but at a price, including 49 days in a stark Florida jail — died on Tuesday in Smyrna, Ga. She was 72.

    The cause was thyroid cancer, her daughter Johnita Due said. She had moved to Smyrna, an Atlanta suburb, to be near her family after living in Miami.

    At 13, Patricia Stephens challenged Jim Crow orthodoxy by trying to use the “whites only” window at a Dairy Queen. As a college student, she led demonstrations to integrate lunch counters, theaters and swimming pools and was repeatedly arrested.

    As a young mother, she pushed two children in a stroller while campaigning for the rights of poor people. As a veteran of integration and voting rights battles, she went on to fight for economic rights, once obstructing a garbage truck in support of striking workers. As an elder stateswoman of the movement, she wrote a memoir to honor “unsung foot soldiers.”

    She fought beside John D. Due Jr., a civil rights lawyer, whom she married in 1963. For their honeymoon, they rode the Freedom Train to Washington to hear the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. give his “I Have a Dream” speech.

    Mrs. Due paid a price for this devotion. She wore large, dark glasses day and night because her eyes were damaged when a hissing tear gas canister hit her in the face. She took a decade to graduate from Florida A&M University because of suspensions for her activism.

    Her F.B.I. file ran more than 400 pages. Her stepfather urged her to give up civil rights, to protect her and his own job. She was kicked and threatened with dogs, including a German shepherd whose police handlers gave it a racial slur for a name.

    Mrs. Due’s greatest prominence came after she and 10 other students were arrested for sitting at the “whites only” lunch counter at a Woolworth’s store in Tallahassee, Fla., on Feb. 20, 1960. It was 19 days after four black students in Greensboro, N.C., had made civil rights history by doing the same thing.

    Mrs. Due and seven others refused to pay $300 fines for violating laws they abhorred. Five served the full 49-day sentence.

    As leader of the sit-in, Mrs. Due became a national figure. Jackie Robinson sent her a diary for her jail-time thoughts. James Baldwin, Harry Belafonte and Eleanor Roosevelt endorsed her efforts. Dr. King sent a telegram saying, “Going to jail for a righteous cause is a badge of honor and a symbol of dignity.”

    It was not easy behind bars. She and her sister, Priscilla Stephens Kruize, her compatriot in many battles, had to share a narrow bed. They suspected that a mentally disturbed woman was placed in the cell to unnerve them. Food was awful; nights were cold.

    Thurgood Marshall, head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, questioned whether it was all worth it, given the deplorable state of Southern jails. But the drama of righteous incarceration seized the nation’s attention, a freed Mrs. Due went on a national fund-raising tour and the “jail-in” became a movement standard.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It

    Ki Gulbranson owns a logo apparel shop, deals in jewelry on the side and referees youth soccer games. He makes about $39,000 a year and wants you to know that he does not need any help from the federal government.

    He says that too many Americans lean on taxpayers rather than living within their means. He supports politicians who promise to cut government spending. In 2010, he printed T-shirts for the Tea Party campaign of a neighbor, Chip Cravaack, who ousted this region’s long-serving Democratic congressman.

    Yet this year, as in each of the past three years, Mr. Gulbranson, 57, is counting on a payment of several thousand dollars from the federal government, a subsidy for working families called the earned-income tax credit. He has signed up his three school-age children to eat free breakfast and lunch at federal expense. And Medicare paid for his mother, 88, to have hip surgery twice.

    There is little poverty here in Chisago County, northeast of Minneapolis, where cheap housing for commuters is gradually replacing farmland. But Mr. Gulbranson and many other residents who describe themselves as self-sufficient members of the American middle class and as opponents of government largess are drawing more deeply on that government with each passing year.

    Dozens of benefits programs provided an average of $6,583 for each man, woman and child in the county in 2009, a 69 percent increase from 2000 after adjusting for inflation. In Chisago, and across the nation, the government now provides almost $1 in benefits for every $4 in other income.

    Older people get most of the benefits, primarily through Social Security and Medicare, but aid for the rest of the population has increased about as quickly through programs for the disabled, the unemployed, veterans and children.

  20. rikyrah says:

    I know my Whitney. I don’t care listening to the ‘ pundits’. they don’t know how much she was loved.

    Just like their asses didn’t know what MICHAEL meant to the world.

  21. Ametia says:

    Op-Ed Columnist
    Beyond Pelvic PoliticsBy NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
    Published: February 11, 2012

    I MAY not be as theologically sophisticated as American bishops, but I had thought that Jesus talked more about helping the poor than about banning contraceptives.

    The debates about pelvic politics over the last week sometimes had a patronizing tone, as if birth control amounted to a chivalrous handout to women of dubious morals. On the contrary, few areas have more impact on more people than birth control — and few are more central to efforts to chip away at poverty.

    My well-heeled readers will be furrowing their brows at this point. Birth control is cheap, you’re thinking, and far less expensive than a baby (or an abortion). But for many Americans living on the edge, it’s a borderline luxury.

    A 2009 study looked at sexually active American women of modest means, ages 18 to 34, whose economic circumstances had deteriorated. Three-quarters said that they could not afford a baby then. Yet 30 percent had put off a gynecological or family-planning visit to save money. More horrifying, of those using the pill, one-quarter said that they economized by not taking it every day. (My data is from the Guttmacher Institute, a nonpartisan research organization on issues of sexual health.)

    One-third of women in another survey said they would switch birth control methods if not for the cost. Nearly half of those women were relying on condoms, and others on nothing more than withdrawal.

    The cost of birth control is one reason poor women are more than three times as likely to end up pregnant unintentionally as middle-class women.

  22. Ametia says:

    Coffee and donuts on the house!

  23. Ametia says:

    Two decades later, donors wondering what happened to plans for slavery museum
    By Susan Svrluga, Published: February 11

    Nearly 20 years ago, former Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder announced that he wanted to create a museum that would tell the story of slavery in the United States. He had the vision, the clout, the charm to make it seem attainable, and he had already made history: the grandson of slaves, he was the nation’s first elected African American governor.

    He assembled a high-profile board, hosted splashy galas with entertainer Bill Cosby promising at least $1 million in support, accepted a gift of some 38 acres of prime real estate smack along Interstate 95 in Fredericksburg and showed plans for a $100 million showstopper museum designed by an internationally renowned architect.

    • Ametia says:

      ….And then . . .

      “Governor Wilder disappeared,” said Rev. Lawrence Davies, the former longtime mayor of Fredericksburg who was a member of the board. Davies stopped getting notices about board meetings, and when he tried to reach Wilder, he never heard back.

  24. Ametia says:

    Good Morning,Everyone! :-)

  25. dannie22 says:

    Good morning all!!

  26. Hi Jueseppi!

    I had to mute CNN. I couldn’t take it any longer. Just couldn’t handle their reporting.

    • Ametia says:

      LOL Did Don have his lips all glossed up? I’m woking on several talks for a keynote speaking engagement next week. That was the best reason to turn off the chatter.

      You know I’d prefer to partake of and enjoy each Soul’s creativity vs. digging into their demons.

    • I was a basket case last night. So grateful to Rikyrah for making & publishing the thread post. I was so in shock until I didn’t know what I was doing. I was shocked, & crying and it seemed I couldn’t get it together. Thank you, Rikyrah!

    • Ametia says:

      Rikyrah did a righteous job on this thread. KUDOS! Go ahead and grieve, & celebrate Ms. Houston, SG2. It’s ALL good.

    • Ametia says:

      LOL And I loves me some Catfish too. Jueseppi, you’re someting else!

  27. RIP Whitney Houston!

    Love You!

  28. dadsdigest says:

    Reblogged this on New Tribune and commented:
    Bad company corrupts good character.

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