Sunday Open Thread

Richard Smallwood (born 30 November 1948 in Atlanta, Georgia) is an American Gospel musicartist who formed The Richard Smallwood Singers in 1977 in Washington, DC.

Richard graduated cum laude from Howard University with degrees in both vocal performance and piano, in addition to graduate work in the field of ethnomusicology. Smallwood was a member of The Celestials, the first gospel group on Howard University’s campus. That group was the first gospel act to appear at Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival. Richard was also a founding member of Howard’s first gospel choir.

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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19 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    April 30, 2012
    Obama’s Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy
    Could Imperil Reelection Hopes, Experts Say

    WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – In the first term in office, President Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the previous eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

    New polls indicate that millions of Americans are put off by the President’s unorthodox verbal tic, which has Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opens his mouth.

    Mr. Obama’s decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements, as well as his insistence on the correct pronunciation of the word “nuclear,” has harmed his reelection hopes among millions of voters who find his unusual speaking style unfamiliar and bizarre.

    According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, after eight years of George W. Bush many Americans find it “alienating” to have a President who speaks English as if it were his first language.

    “Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement,” says Mr. Logsdon. “If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist.”

    The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, on Election Day the public may find itself saying, “Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate – we get it, stop showing off.”

    Elsewhere, consumers who believed that Nutella was nutritious have won a $3.05 million lawsuit, the highest award ever paid to morons. Get a free subscription to the Borowitz Report here.

  2. rikyrah says:

    just finished watching Scandal and I’m gonna say something harsh:

    glad Amanda has met her demise. unless you are mentally challenged, don’t go fucking the President of the United States and then try and claim to be a victim. she shoulda taken the 10 million and went away.

  3. rikyrah says:

    If anyone is around the tv, Henry Louis Gates is doing the family profiles on Condi Rice, Sam Jackson and Ruth Simmons…on PBS.

  4. rikyrah says:

    whole lotta folks going ‘ HUH?’ reading this story.


    ‘Think Like a Man’ Tops Quiet Weekend Box Office With $18M

    Sony Screen Gems’ “Think Like a Man” is the repeat box office champ.

    It was relatively quiet weekend, the last before next week’s arrival of Disney and Marvel’s “The Avengers,” the first in what is expected to be a string of summer blockbusters.

    The African-American ensemble film, based on an advice book by comedian Steve Harvey, took in $18 million from 2,015 locations, lifting its overall gross to $60.8 million, according to Rentrak.

    Surprising in the No. 2 spot was Sony’s animated family film “Pirates! Band of Misfits,” propelled by a strong Saturday showing with a projected $11.5 million from 3,358 locations. The film, from Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman, was made for roughly $50 million, a figure it has surpassed in foreign box office receipts already.

    It just beat out last week’s No. 2 film “The Lucky One.” The Warner Bros. movie, based on a Nicholas Spark romance novel and starring Zac Ephron, took in $11.3 million from 3,175 locations. That brings the overall domestic gross for the film to nearly $40 million.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Memoirs of a Black Soap Star
    In the ’60s, Ellen Holly broke ground on-screen, but behind the scenes life was less glamorous.

    By: Cynthia Gordy | Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:28 AM

    In 1988 the Museum of Broadcasting held an event celebrating the career of Agnes Nixon, the pioneering writer and producer known as the queen of the modern soap opera. During remarks that the creator of One Life to Live and All My Children delivered that evening, she showered praise on two actresses whom she considered to be her most treasured stars: the mega-famous Susan Lucci, of All My Children fame, and Ellen Holly, who for 17 years played the role of Carla Benari on One Life to Live.

    After explaining that ABC had wiped out episodes from her show’s first 10 years in order to reuse the tapes, Nixon said:

    Of all the tapes ABC didn’t have, the ones I most regret are of the Carla Benari story — a story I had begun to fear might not be told because I would not do it unless we could get the right black actress to play the part. We were only a few weeks away from the casting deadline, and I was getting worried. Then on Sunday I opened the Times to the Arts and Leisure section, and saw a beautiful face looking at me … I knew at once Ellen was our Carla if she’d agree to play the part, which she did. And the rest, as they say, is history.

    Holly, who had been dropped from One Life to Live in 1985, did not attend that night’s celebration but received a 30-page transcript of the speech afterward in the mail.

    “What she did not tell the museum audience, of course, is that I had been made to work 17 years for what Susan made in three months,” she dryly told The Root from her condo in Westchester, N.Y. Today Holly, 81, the first African American to play a central role in the history of daytime television, claims that there were frequent slights surrounding her experience, though at the time she kept her head down.

    “I was like an experiment in a petri dish, and I knew that the future of other black people finding roles on the soaps would depend, to a degree, on how my situation seemed to be working out,” she said. “On the face of things it looked like I was a huge star having a grand old time. I didn’t argue with that public image because I knew it would be helpful to people who, hopefully, would come after me.”

    Nearly three decades later, however, Holly wants to tell the rest of her story. With her 1996 book, One Life: The Autobiography of an African-American Actress, now out of print, this year she launched the website to expose the trials of being a television “first.” In an interview with The Root, she shared her behind-the-scenes stories, what happened after life on the small screen and her thoughts on the current state of black women in Hollywood.

    • Ametia says:

      I was 13 years old when I first watched OLTL, AMC, and GH. the was 1969. I remember Ellen Holly and her role of Carla very well, about her dark-skinned mother and how she passed for white. “t was very “IMITATION OF LIFE-LKE” Not surprised at what I’ve read thus far. Looking forward to reading her story.

  6. rikyrah says:

    How Samuel L. Jackson Became His Own Genre
    Published: April 26, 2012

    Before “The Mountaintop” opened on Broadway last fall, there were rumors that this fictional account of Martin Luther King Jr.’s last night before his assassination would present him as a flawed man, one who drinks and flirts with a motel maid. Kenny Leon, the director, told me recently, however, that he never would have had anything to do with something “that destroyed the iconic nature of Dr. King.” In fact, he said, when he first read the play, he realized that its innocently childlike King could be played only by “a sensitive actor bigger than life” — his friend Sam Jackson.

    Samuel L. Jackson, who is 63, has appeared in more than 100 films since 1972, and moviegoers would be hard-pressed to find in any of his roles someone who was innocently childlike. For the first part of his film career, his characters tended to appear in scripts as Gang Member, Drug Addict, Hold-Up Man. Even after his work in “Jungle Fever” earned Jackson a best supporting actor award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991 (an honor created for that performance) and his work as Jules Winnfield in “Pulp Fiction” three years later made him world-famous, at 46, Jackson’s roles, no matter how fleshed-out or nuanced, have been far from innocent. Still, even as Jules tossed off vulgarities and obscenities as offhandedly as he shot people, like so many benign terms of endearment, he displayed the greater part of Jackson’s success as an actor — his ability to imbue even his vilest characters, spouting the vilest words, with a touch of humor, intelligence and humanity.

    Jules was the moral center of “Pulp Fiction,” Jackson told me recently, “because he carried himself like a professional.” The same can be said of Jackson as an actor. “Before Jules,” he went on, “my characters were just ‘The Negro’ who died on Page 30. Every script I read, ‘The Negro’ died on Page 30.” He thundered in character as Jules for a moment, repeating his point in saltier language, then returned to himself and said: “After Jules, I became the coolest [expletive] on the planet. Why? I have no clue. I’m not like Jules. It’s called being an actor.”

    Since “Pulp Fiction,” it seems safe to argue, Jackson has been the busiest actor on the planet too. This year he has four movies — his annual average since 1994 — coming out, including “The Avengers” next month, based on the Marvel comic book. (Jackson has a nine-picture deal with Marvel Studios.) He’s been in big-budget films like “Jurassic Park”; low-budget movies like “Black Snake Moan”; blockbusters like “Star Wars” and bombs like “The Long Kiss Goodnight.” He’s been the star, played the sidekick, filled bit parts (“A Time to Kill,” “Patriot Games” and “Iron Man,” respectively). His acting has been critically acclaimed (“Jungle Fever,” “Pulp Fiction”) and panned as “lackluster” (“Twisted”). But one thing remains constant: Samuel L. Jackson works. It’s all but impossible to turn on a TV set any night of the week without happening on one of his movies (and sometimes two or three). Hence his anointment by Guinness World Records as “the highest-grossing film actor” of all time. His movies have taken in more than $7.4 billion, most of which, he pointed out, “didn’t end up in my pocket.” Maybe not, but the residuals alone earn him about $300,000 a year. “I get paid all day, every day,” he said — “which is almost too much for a sensitive artist.”

    Renny Harlin, the director of “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” told me that the secret to Jackson’s success is simple: “He’s the ultimate pro. He’s on time, knows his lines, hits his mark with no drama. He makes the other actors want to rise to his professional level.” And not only do other actors love Jackson, Harlin noted, but so do moviegoers. When Jackson’s character was killed off in a version of “The Long Kiss Goodnight” that was previewed before a test audience, at least one member in the audience yelled out, “You can’t kill Sam Jackson!” Harlin said he learned his lesson. In the released version of the movie, Jackson’s character survives.

    William Friedkin, who directed Jackson in “Rules of Engagement,” told me: “Sam is a director’s dream. Some actors hope to find their character during shooting. He knows his character before shooting. Sam’s old-school. I just got out of his way. I never did more than two takes with Sam.” Friedkin said that some people say Jackson works too much, but he dismissed actors who wait around for “Hamlet.” “You take what you can get,” he said, “to keep your engine tuned. An artist doesn’t burn out with age because he works too much. Working hones his craft.”

    Earlier this year, before “The Mountaintop” closed, I spent several evenings at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater. One night, I spoke to Angela Bassett, who played the motel maid. Bassett has known Jackson since she was a young intern out of Yale and he was an established theater actor on bus-and-truck tours. He called her “rack queen,” because she was always sleeping, or in the “rack.” “Yes,” she confirmed, “because he made me do all these errands for him.” Bassett didn’t think Jackson was particularly cool then — her expression suggested he was a pain instead, a demanding teacher more than the laid-back dude of popular perception — and she doesn’t think he’s particularly cool now. But then she conceded: “I suppose he might be a little cool. He does listen to that gangsta rap.” She looked up toward the ceiling. “There’s always a party going on up there.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    The Next Thing Republicans Will Oppose
    Posted on 04/29/2012 at 1:46 pm by Bob Cesca

    Greg Sargent reports:

    It’s official: Senate Democrats will soon hold a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a senior Democratic Senate aide confirms to me.

    “This vote is going to happen,” the aide says.

    And the Republicans will crap their cages and oppose it. How do we know?

    Two years ago Senate Republicans opposed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which had strong support from Obama, and it’s likely they will do so again.

    How do they sleep at night?

  8. rikyrah says:

    Rope-a-dope: How Obama is Racking up Legislative Victories in an Election Year
    Wednesday, April 25, 2012 |
    Posted by Deaniac83 at 12:48 PM

    This week, the Senate will take up the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act – and with more than 60 cosponsors, passage in that body seems a foregone conclusion, although the House Republicans are still dragging their feet (on the account of teh gays and teh brown people). If past is prologue, Republicans might just ultimately back off and pass this, fearing the wrath of women at the polls in November.

    Right now, the President is out pushing Congress to prevent interest rates from going up on student loans, and the nominee apparent of the GOP is running like the wind away from his previous positions to endorse the president’s. That will likely get done, too.

    The conventional wisdom on legislative achievements in an election year is that it doesn’t happen. Except for a few appropriation bills that it takes to keep the government running, amidst all the election year stuff, members of Congress are really just too busy to do their job. But remember that President Obama’s two biggest reforms (health reform and Wall Street reform) were passed through Congress in an election year – namely, 2010. What about 2012? We keep hearing nothing is going to get things done this year, but conspicuously enough, the president keeps getting substantive legislative accomplishment in the middle of an election year – perhaps a few even because of this being an election year.

    Don’t believe me? Here’s a short, quick-and-dirty, far-from-comprehensive list of what’s already passed and been signed into law year:

    Legislation passed and signed to help startups.
    Legislation passed and signed to ban insider trading in Congress.
    Extension (and reforming) of unemployment benefits, as well as payroll tax cuts – the first tax cuts for the working poor in recent memory.
    Breaking stalemate in FAA funding.

    We are not even past the first trimester of 2012 yet. And the president has already racked up a list of significant legislative accomplishments, and is likely to get at least a couple more before too long. What in the world is going on that’s beating the skin off of conventional wisdom? And how is Barack Obama doing this?

    It’s strategic, but a big part of the credit belongs to the mind-numbing dumbness of the national Republican party. Had they resolved the payroll tax cut and unemployment extension fight last year, instead of handing President Obama and the Democrats a present in the form of a two-month extension which meant that they would be having a debate Democrats clearly won and Republicans clearly lost once again in the middle of the Republican primary, Boehner’s capitulation wouldn’t have been so embarrassing. Had they worked with Harry Reid to solve FAA’s funding issues last year, again, there would have been no need to re-argue it this year.

    The GOP’s strategic failures are directly related to their seething anger at the black man in the White House (and yes, it’s in huge part about race). President Obama recognized something most pols usually miss: you never make a good decision when you’re angry. And Republicans are angry at the president for beating them, for pursuing policies contrary to their corporate agenda and playing them for complete idiots. In their anger, their goal in everything they do is to beat or embarrass the president – rather than to make America a better place – and the president is taking full advantage of it. Here’s a look at how:

  9. rikyrah says:

    Brennan: Obama Made ‘Gutsy Decision’ On Bin Laden Raid

    White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan said Sunday that President Obama made a “gutsy” call in ordering the raid that killed Osama bin Laden one year ago.

    Brennan, trying hard not to get into the politics of the issue, affirmed that the decision was hardly a no-brainer as there were many differences of opinion among top-level officials.

    Here’s his exchange with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week:

    BRENNAN: I don’t do politics. I don’t do the campaign. I am not a Democrat or Republican. I’m a counter-terrorism adviser to the president. All that I know is that the president made the decision when he was given the opportunity to take a gutsy decision, to carry out that raid with our Special Forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The president made that decision. I think the American people are, you know, clearly very appreciative and supportive of that decision. We’re safer today as a result. And, therefore, all I know is that the president made the decision when he had to.

    STEPHANOPOULOS: You said it was a gutsy call. Mitt Romney has said that any president would have made the same decision. Do you agree with that?

    BRENNAN: All I know is that the president made the call when he needed to. And as people have said, it was a divided room as far as, you know, some of the principal sentiments on this issue were concerned.

    STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s been reported that the vice president, the secretary of defense, the secretary of state all against it, yet the president overrode them.

    BRENNAN: There was active discussion up until the last moment on this. And there were differences of view, clearly.

    BRENNAN: All I know is that the president made the call when he needed to. And as people have said, it was a divided room as far as, you know, some of the principal sentiments on this issue were concerned.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Obama Targets Romney And GOP On Fair Pay, Mandatory Ultrasounds
    Evan McMorris-Santoro April 27, 2012, 6:24 PM 15294

    President Obama didn’t call out Mitt Romney by name in a speech to a women group fundraiser in Washington Friday — but he brought back the Democratic “war on women” rhetoric in such a way that made the target clear.

    In stark and often direct terms, Obama painted the GOP as anti-women, and tied the party’s positions on women’s health across the country to its likely presidential nominee.

    “I’m always puzzled by this,” Obama said. “This is a party that says it prides itself on being rabidly anti-regulation. These are folks who claim to believe in freedom from government influence and meddling. But it doesn’t seem bother them when it comes to women’s health.”

    Pointing to GOP governors and legislatures across the country that have passed laws requiring ultrasounds before abortions, Obama said Republicans believe “women can’t be trusted to make their own decisions.”

    “It’s appalling,” Obama said, referring to a statement from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s (R), who defended his state’s mandatory ultrasound measure by suggesting women simply “close your eyes.” “It’s offensive and it’s out of touch,” Obama said.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Netanyahu’s Troubles

    by BooMan
    Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 01:59:00 PM EST

    Netanyahu is threatening to call early elections, which is something he would not do unless he expected to improve his position. But, I wonder if he’d actually improve his position. He’s certainly taking a ton of abuse lately, with the former heads of Shin Bet and the Mossad taking major shots at him this weekend. Not to mention, Egypt has reneged on their deal to provide natural gas. He can’t pass a budget and he seemingly cannot resolve an impasse over whether the ultra-orthodox should be compelled to serve in the military or do other national service. And then there is this:

    Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who heads Yisrael Beiteinu, Netanyahu’s biggest coalition partner, told Channel Two television over the weekend that his party will decide whether to go for early elections depending on the Knesset’s May 9 vote on legislation over drafting ultra-orthodox Jews

    . “Our obligation to the coalition is over. We have an obligation to the voters,” Lieberman said.

    A poll released Friday suggests that Netanyahu’s Likud Party would fare twice as well as any other party in new elections, but would still emerge with only 31 of the 120 seats in the Knesset. It doesn’t seem like that result would change much, although it appears that the Kadima Party is poised to take a major bath.

    The tally would be well ahead of Labour and the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu – a current coalition partner – which would have 15 each.

    The centrist opposition Kadima, currently the largest party by a hair, with 28 seats to Likud’s 27 would shrink to 13 in early elections, it said.

    It seems, for now, that Israel’s politics are hopelessly fractured. And, while Netanyahu is facing mounting skepticism, he does seem somewhat secure in his position.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Romney Campaign Takes Credit For Auto Bailout Success
    Pema Levy April 29, 2012, 3:08 PM 3481

    Vice President Biden reiterated the president’s bottom-line election-year pitch on Thursday: “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.” The opposite might be true, Biden said, if Mitt Romney had been president.

    But top Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom is also giving credit to his candidate for the auto industry’s success. At a Saturday forum hosted by the Washington Post, Fehrnstrom said that Obama’s auto industry rescue was successful because it was exactly what Romney himself proposed.

    “[Romney’s] position on the bailout was exactly what President Obama followed,” Fehrnstrom said. “He said, ‘If you want to save the auto industry, just don’t write them a check. That will seal their doom. What they need to do is go through a managed bankruptcy process.’”

    “Consider that the crown jewel,” Fehrnstrom said. “The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney’s advice.”

    Romney’s position on the auto industry bailout is notoriously vague. In 2008, he wrote a New York Times op-ed titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” in which he argued for a “managed bankruptcy” to help turn the industry around. “The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk,” he wrote. The question over government versus private financing is now at issue when weighing the difference between Romney and Obama’s preferred bailout measures.

    When the Obama administration did force a managed bankruptcy process, Romney praised the president, calling it the “course I recommended a number of months ago” in a 2009 speech.

    When the GOP presidential primary reached Michigan, the heart of the auto industry, Romney was stuck between a rock and a hard place. He had to distinguish himself from the president while persuading Michigan voters he wouldn’t have left the American auto industry — and their livelihoods — to fail. In February, he focused his criticism of the bailout on unions, penning a Detroit News op-ed in which he called the bailout “crony capitalism on a grand scale.” Romney was criticized by Michigan papers — including in editorials endorsing him — for his position on the bailout. The managed bankruptcy process would never have worked without government money behind it, the editorials reasoned.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Yes Virginia, Matt Taibbi is at best, stunningly ignorant

    Matt Taibbi, the prep-school boy wonder attacked the JOBS act and demonstrated, yet again, that he knows nothing about finance and everything about producing incoherent indignation that his dim fans can use to fuel their anger against that “Dreadful Black Man who Betrayed Progressivism” ® . The key point of the JOBS act is that it permits small and start-up business to raise money without paying Wall Street a big fat commission. When a business “goes public” and gets listed on a stock market, there is a process called the “initial public offering” or IPO. The “underwriters” are the Wall Street operators like Goldman-Sachs and JP Morgan that parcel out the initial sale to the wider market and they get a fee that is generally around 6% of the initial offering price. Generally underwriters can make money both on the fee and on their ability to direct hot new shares to their favored customers at the initial price and by trading themselves. The fees alone are worth billions of dollars a year. The JOBS act relaxes the regulations that forced companies to go public when they got too big or had over a few hundred shareholders. For a good summary, take a look at this blog. Basically Taibbi is complaining that the government is not going to force new companies to pay commissions to Wall Street. He’s complaining that the economy is going to decentralize and the Internet is going to be used to decrease the advantages of Wall Street insiders.

    Why is Taibbi complaining about fewer fees for Goldman-Sachs? Well, it’s partly that he doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about, partly that he has an act, and partly that he is a defender of The Good Old Days when WASP prep-school boys ran Wall Street in a gentile um, genteel way and we didn’t have all these scruffy new people stepping on our weejuns in the Street. Back in the good old days, when Rockefeller protegee and Taibbi hero Paul Volcker ran the Federal Reserve Bank, the government was committed to strong dollar and tight Wall Street management of the economy and everyone knew their place. Under Volcker, unemployment doubled, US manufacturing collapsed, debts of working Americans spiraled up, Union membership crashed, interest rates went past 20%, and the third world was forced into a massive debt crisis that literally killed millions of people. And yet, Taibbi is there in Rolling Stone, selling Volcker as the hero of progressive America against this Obama guy. We live in a world where “Christian” moralists defend pissing on the poor and “leftwing” journalists advocate Wall Street commissions. Both agree, however, that Obama is the bad guy.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :))

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