Monday Open Thread | Diana Ross Week

Good Morning. We’re going to have some fun this week with a music legend: Diana Ross

diana ross and the supremes

Diana Ross (born March 26, 1944[1]) is an American vocalist, recording artist and actress. Ross has a soprano vocal range.[2]

Ross first rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer of the Motown group The Supremes during the 1960s. After leaving the group in 1970, Ross began a solo career that has included successful ventures into film and Broadway. She received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her role as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues (1972), for which she won a Golden Globe award. She has won seven American Music Awards, and won a Tony Award for her one-woman show, An Evening with Diana Ross, back in 1977.[3]

In 1976, Billboard magazine named her the “Female Entertainer of the Century.”[4] In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Diana Ross the most successful female music artist in history due to her success in the United States and United Kingdom for having more hits than any female artist in the charts with a career total of 70 hit singles.[5] Diana Ross has sold more than 100 million records worldwide.[6] In 1988, Ross was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as member of the Supremes alongside Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson.

Ross is one of the few recording artists to have two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—one as a solo artist and the other as a member of The Supremes. In December 2007, she received the Kennedy Center Honors. In 2012, Diana was finally honored by NARAS with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in her 50th year in the music business.


Early life

Diana Ross was born at Hutzel Women’s Hospital in Detroit, Michigan on March 26, 1944.[7] The second-eldest child of Ernestine (née Moten) (January 27, 1916 – October 9, 1984), a schoolteacher, and Fred Ross, Sr. (July 4, 1920 – November 21, 2007), a former United States Army soldier, Ross would later say that she didn’t see much of her father until he had returned from service following World War II. Much has been made of whether her first name ends in an “a” or an “e”. According to Ross, her mother actually named her “Diane” but a clerical error resulted in her name being recorded as “Diana” on her birth certificate. She always went by “Diane” at home and at school. Her high school yearbook listed her as “Diana” and as early as 1963, when The Supremes released their first album, she was listed in the liner notes as “Diana”. At The Supremes’ first Copacabana engagement in 1965, she introduced herself to the audience as “Diane”, but later that year she started introducing herself as “Diana”,but all her intimates still call her “Diane”.[8][9]

The Supremes: 1959–1970

Main article: The Supremes

At fifteen, Ross was brought to the attention of music impresario Milton Jenkins, manager of the local doo-wop group the Primes, by Mary Wilson. Paul Williams, then member of The Primes, convinced Jenkins to include Ross in the Primettes, considered a “sister group” of the Primes. Ross was part of a lineup that included Wilson, Florence Ballard and Betty McGlown, who completed the lineup. In 1960, following their win at a singing contest in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, the group auditioned for a spot on Motown Records after Smokey Robinson introduced the young group to Berry Gordy. Upon learning of their ages, Gordy advised them to come back after graduation. Undeterred, the quartet stayed around Motown’s Hitsville U.S.A. headquarters, offering to provide extra help for Motown’s recordings, often including hand-claps and background vocals. That same year, the Primettes made their first recordings for Lu Pine Records, with Ross singing lead on her and Ballard’s composition, “Tears of Sorrow”. During the group’s early years, Ross served as the group’s main hair stylist, make-up artist, seamstress and costume designer during this period.

In January 1961, after having replaced McGlown with Barbara Martin, Berry Gordy agreed to sign the young act under the condition they change their name. Each member picked out various names from friends. Eventually they settled on The Supremes, though Ross initially had apprehensions toward the name – she felt the name would mistake them for a male vocal group. But Gordy agreed with the new name and signed them on January 15 of that year. Following Martin’s exit in 1962, the group remained a trio. During the group’s early years, there was no designated lead vocalist for the group as they had agreed to split lead vocals between their choice of song material; Ross favoring the uptempo pop songs. That changed in 1963 when Gordy assigned Ross, who had already sung lead on the majority of their early singles, as the main lead vocalist, considering that her vocals had potential to reach Gordy’s dreams of crossover success. Following this, they recorded their first hit single, “When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes”, later that year, where it peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100. Before this song, the Supremes were unfavorably pinned as the “no-hit Supremes”. Following this, the group reached number-one with “Where Did Our Love Go” and reached unprecedented success: between August 1964 and May 1967, Ross, Wilson and Ballard sang on ten number-one hit singles, all of which also made the UK top forty. The group had also become a hit with audiences both domestically and abroad, going on to become Motown’s most successful vocal act throughout the sixties.

After a period of tension, Florence Ballard was removed from the Supremes by Gordy in July 1967 and he chose Cindy Birdsong to take her place. Gordy’s decision to rename the group, Diana Ross & The Supremes, hinted that he had plans on making Ross a future solo star. Gordy initially thought of Ross leaving the Supremes for a solo career in 1966 but changed his mind when he figured the group’s success was still too massive for Ross to pursue solo obligations. Ross would remain with the group until early 1970. Between their early 1968 single “Forever Came Today” and their final single, “Someday We’ll Be Together”, Ross would be the only Supremes member to be prominently featured on the recordings, further dissolving the group’s former rapport. Gordy worked Ross diligently throughout this period and Ross chose to not eat much as the group went on countless rehearsals and recording sessions. By the time the group performed at places like The Copacabana and Coconut Grove, there were rumors that Ross had been suffering from anorexia nervosa due to her extremely skinny frame. After some performances, Ross would collapse from exhaustion, forcing Gordy to cancel or postpone several concerts until Ross felt well enough to perform again.

diana ross and the supremes-2

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58 Responses to Monday Open Thread | Diana Ross Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    From The People’s View:

    Twilight of the Liberal Elite: Smearing Jack Lew and Barack Obama for Deregulation that Began with Jimmy Carter

    Monday, January 14, 2013 |
    Posted by Deaniac83 at 2:19 PM

    For every so-called progressive out there running around with their hair on fire about the president’s nomination of Jack Lew to succeed Timothy Geithner as Secretary of Treasury, I want you to carefully watch this interview Martin Bashir did with Jon Alter and Jared Bernstein about the nomination:

    The rap from the Right on Jack Lew is twofold – that he runs circles around Republicans during negotiations, and that he is too kind to poor people to be able to close the budget deficit effectively. The rub from the Left, lead by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Robert Scheer is that he is a child of Wall Street and an advocate of deregulation, and since Obama is appointing him, he’s supposedly slipped into the dark side for deregulation as well. All of this, regardless of the fact that Lew, like his predecessor Geithner is a career public servant, and has never had anything to do with deregulation. He did serve as a chief operating officer – an operational management position, not an investment decision making vehicle. Blaming him for Citigroup’s follies during the financial meltdown is like blaming FAA officials for the catastrophic intelligence failure on 9/11.

    The truth about Jack Lew is simple: he is a career, consummate budget professional who scares the pants off of Republicans because he’s a tough negotiator and an unapologetic liberal. That’s right, a liberal. Robert Scheer is so blinded by his hatred for Bob Rubin that he forgets Jack Lew is the product of liberal lions like Paul Welstone and Tim O’Neill.

    A staunch liberal, he started his political career canvassing for anti-war hero Eugene McCarthy in 1968 (he was 12); his adviser at Carleton College was Paul Wellstone, later an iconic liberal senator; and one of his first jobs in Washington was working for Democratic lion and former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill.
    Subsequently, of course, Lew held the distinction of being the only head of the Office of Management and budget under whom the federal budget ran a surplus since Eisenhower.

    But I can understand the liberal elite’s problem with Jack Lew. You see, I don’t think it has much to do with policy. I think it has much more to do with him embarrassing them. When every liberal elite political rookie – including Paul Krugman – in the country was howling about the president’s “weak” negotiating performance during the 2011 debt limit deal, it turns out that the president and his team completely floored John Boehner, without Boehner even realizing it. A key member of that team that did it to them? Jack Lew. Not to mention how that deal shaped the complete Republican surrender in the recent fiscal cliff deal. If I didn’t know that the howling Left is incapable of feeling embarrassed, I would contend they are opposing Jack Lew because of that embarrassment.

  2. rikyrah says:

    The Tea Party’s last stand?

    Posted by Greg Sargent on January 14, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    So the big story of the day is that House Tea Partyers are vowing up and down that they may be willing to allow the country to default on its obligations to prove to Obama how serious they are about cutting spending.

    Today, at his presser, Obama reiterated that there will be no negotiating over the debt ceiling — no concessions will be granted in exchange for the debt ceiling hike, period, full stop. And he explicitly said that “Congressional Republicans” will bear responsibility when Social Security checks, veterans benefits, and paychecks to food inspectors and air traffic controllers stop going out, and if and when the markets go haywire.

    This signals a tough line ahead. Though the key question will be whether it holds, current indications are that it will. Jonathan Chait is encouraged, and sees a day of reckoning of sorts looming for the Tea Party:

    Many of us have questioned whether Obama will actually follow through on his stated intention. In these games of chicken, he always seems ready to swerve at the last moment. What’s different here is that Obama seems so determined and explicit not to pay a ransom that he is leaving himself no room to backslide. If he pays the ransom, he’ll leave himself humiliated and exposed in a way he never has.

    So the two years Obama and Boehner have spent trying to deflect, delay, and placate the mania of the tea party seem to have finally come to an end point.

  3. rikyrah says:

    charles pierce in his glory:

    ‘ The voices inside the head of Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin are unanimous in their dislike for Chuck Hagel, the former Republican senator from Nebraska who is the president’s nominee for Secretary Of Defense. I think this is an unusual display of harmony for the voices inside Jennifer Rubin’s head since, during the presidential campaign just past, all the voices in Jennifer Rubin’s head had different opinions regarding Willard Romney. Was he merely awesome? Super awesome? Super-duper awesome? Super-duper-infinity awesome? Or was he a steaming super-duper-infinity awesome hunk of brilliantly coiffed man-meat who could make the bobsleds run on time while hitting Lady Liberty’s G-spot until she crooned “Columbia, The Gem Of The Ocean.” Now, though, all the voices hate Chuck Hagel. It must be a lot quieter around Rubin’s ears these days.

  4. rikyrah says:

    The Right Never Stops

    by BooMan
    Mon Jan 14th, 2013 at 06:20:38 PM EST

    George Packer’s article in The New Yorker about the increasing isolation of the South is interesting, but I wonder why I never see anyone mention how the GOP is just a constant annoying source of unnecessary stress for everyone. I mean it is completely unceasing. In Obama’s term it has been unrelenting obstruction, hallucinatory insults, and manufactured crises. But it was even worse under George W. Bush, where it was color-coded terror alerts and duct tape and WMD’s and terror terror terror and OMG GAYS and the War on Christmas and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m only scratching the surface here, but the right/south/GOP never ever lets the left get a moment’s rest. We are never allowed to get to a point where we can say, ‘Okay, that’s settled, now we can relax for a few weeks.’ The newest proposal is to have a fight over the debt ceiling every two months. I mean, what the fuck. Seriously?
    I woke up when they impeached Bill Clinton. And I don’t think I’ve felt a moment’s peace since then. Not one single goddamn day has gone by since 1998 when the right wasn’t doing or saying something that I found stressful.

    I may be an extreme case…a political junkie who is addicted to my own pain. But, it’s getting to everyone. It has to.

    For the love of God, please, give us some rest already.

  5. Colin Powell’s notable quote:

    Colin Powell

  6. rikyrah says:

    Dems hold a trump card in debt limit showdown
    Posted by Greg Sargent on January 14, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Some Republicans seem to believe they have a clever endgame in the debt ceiling fight: The House GOP passes a bill that includes a debt limit hike and deep cuts to entitlements, and then goes home, challenging Senate Dems and the White House not to pass it, which would stick them with blame for default. Karl Rove floated a variation of this recently, as have some left leaning writers such as Brian Beutler.

    But Dems have a response: Senate Democrats can simply amend such a bill, turning it into a clean debt ceiling hike. “They could simply strip out the spending cuts and increase the debt limit, and kick it back to the House,” Congressional expert Norm Ornstein told me. This would renew pressure on House Republicans to allow a vote on passing the debt ceiling hike on its own.

    You might expect that if Senate Dems did this, Senate Republicans would filibuster it. But Ornstein, for one, says it’s quite possible they wouldn’t. Remember, Senate Republicans have been more reluctant than House Republicans to use the debt limit as leverage. You could see a situation similar to the fiscal cliff fight, in which Mitch McConnell, unlike the House, recognized political reality and entered into genuine negotiations with the White House. “There’s a strong possibility that Senate Republicans would not filibuster this and that would put the onus back on the House,” Ornstein says. “McConnell’s statements not withstanding, I don’t think Senate Republicans are all that eager to use the debt limit as a hostage this time.”

    It’s true that a single Senate conservative could filibuster the bill. But it’s possible Dems could get 60 votes to overcome that. If the debt ceiling deadline looms, and if the business community bears down hard, demanding the GOP avert the destruction of the economy, you could see moderate Republicans, such as Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Bob Corker, support a hike. “You could imagine even people like Tom Coburn saying, `This is not the way to go,’ particularly if McConnell doesn’t stage a party-wide filibuster,” Ornstein says.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Ending Republican Nihilism, Ctd

    On using the debt ceiling as ransom, it’s hard to put it better than our newly re-elected president:

    To even entertain the idea of this happening, of the United States of America not paying its bills, is irresponsible. It’s absurd. As the speaker said two years ago, it would be — and I’m quoting Speaker Boehner now — “a financial disaster not only for us but for the worldwide economy.” So we got to pay our bills. And Republicans in Congress have two choices here: They can act responsibly and pay America’s bills or they can act irresponsibly and put America through another economic crisis.
    But they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The financial well-being of the American people is not leverage to be used. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.

    And they’d better choose quickly because time is running short. The last time Republicans in Congress even flirted with this idea, our triple-A credit rating was downgraded for the first time in our history, our businesses created the fewest jobs of any month in nearly the past three years, and ironically, the whole fiasco actually added to the deficit.

    I like this new forcefulness, don’t you? He’s not uncompromising on new deficit reduction measures – just on refusing to pay the bills Congress has already incurred. And he’s right to take the fight to them – because the GOP is the single greatest threat not just to the American economy right now but to the global one as well. There is no party in the democratic West that comes close to their extremism: the British Tories have spent the last years doing all they can to avoid a credit downgrade; ditto the French right. But these fanatics want to save this country’s fiscal standing by destroying it. They must be stopped – and the president is not the one who can really do it. Only we can. Public opinion must rally like never before to expose and defang the lunatics running the GOP asylum. And fast.

  8. rikyrah says:

    The Chances for Immigration Reform

    by BooMan
    Mon Jan 14th, 2013 at 02:20:49 PM EST

    Benjy Sarlin has a very interesting piece up at Talking Points Memo about how unions evolved from seeing undocumented workers as scabs during the era of Cesar Chavez to seeing them, in more recent years, as an exploited workforce deserving of representation and protection. Part of the article is about the prospects that Congress will be able to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill, and that is what I want to talk about. As the article (and people cited in the article) points out, there is a new optimism in the aftermath of the 2012 election, primarily because it is so clear that Latinos made a decisive difference in the outcome:

    While victory in 2013 is far from certain, labor leaders believe conditions have improved significantly since their disappointing 2007 effort.
    For one thing, Republicans acknowledge they’re on defense this time around in a way that was not true during past reform efforts. It was easier for GOP lawmakers to minimize the role of Latino voters in their 2006 midterm losses, which most blamed on Iraq, and their role in Obama’s 2008 blowout, which many dismissed as Bush fatigue. But the 2012 results, in which Obama racked up record margins and turnout among Latinos around the country despite a sagging economy and mediocre approval ratings, are much harder to ignore.

    “I think many of the politicians were saying, ‘You know, we keep hearing about this Latino giant and it’s sort of a myth,’” Medina said. “But the reality finally hit home on November 6.”

    The article also points out that agricultural interests have been stung by recent anti-immigrant laws in states like Alabama that have scared away temporary farm workers. Those interests are likely to apply significantly more pressure on the GOP this time around.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Executive action on gun policy

    By Steve Benen

    Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:31 PM EST

    Though much of the right has been unhappy with Vice President Biden’s task force on gun violence, an unscripted comment Biden made last week caused conservatives to ring the alarm even more aggressively.

    Talking to reporters about possible policy changes, Biden said, “The president is going to act. There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken. We haven’t decided what that is yet, but we’re compiling it all … as well as legislative action, we believe, is required.”

    The use of possible “executive orders” was not well received — the right, without having seen the still-unwritten orders, accused President Obama of taking dictatorial actions on guns without congressional approval. ABC’s Jonathan Karl raised the issue at this morning’s White House press conference, asking, “[G]iven how difficult it will be, some would say impossible, to get any gun control measure passed through this Congress, what are you willing or able to do using the powers of your presidency to act without Congress?”

  10. rikyrah says: ‏@TheObamaDiary

    Lots of WH press corps diversity on view, up to seven different shades of pearly white.

  11. rikyrah says:



    Anti-Choice Group Hosts Training Program To Teach Republicans How To Talk About Rape

    By Ian Millhiser on Jan 14, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Last year, Republicans likely lost two U.S. Senate seats because their candidates claimed “legitimate rape” is a form of contraception and that pregnancies resulting from rape are a “gift from God.” Last week, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) again demonstrated the GOP’s frequent willingness to belittle rape by claiming that former Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) legitimate rape comments were “partly right.”

    In the wake of these toxic statements about a horrific crime, a leading anti-abortion group is now leaping to the Republican Party’s rescue with a training program to teach GOP lawmakers how to speak about this subject:

    Gingrey’s lengthy explanation of what Akin meant was quickly circulated by Democrats, repudiated by medical groups, and had some Republicans smacking their heads in frustration.

    And it may have added new urgency to a training program that’s already being launched by an anti-abortion group — the Susan B. Anthony list — to keep candidates and lawmakers from continually making the same kind of comments that may have helped ruin Republicans’ chances of winning the Senate.

    It’s amazing that anyone would need a training program to figure out how to talk about rape. In the words of former Romney adviser Kevin Madden, “[t]his is actually pretty simple. If you’re about to talk about rape as anything other than a brutal and horrible crime, stop.”

  12. rikyrah says:

    Causing a crisis ‘for member-management purposes’

    By Steve Benen

    Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:42 AM EST

    With the various alternative schemes no longer under consideration, House Republicans are having to come to terms with two difficult questions: just how far are they prepared to take their hostage strategy and how prepared are they to shoot the hostage and deal with the consequences?

    Politico has a lengthy piece today, reporting, “House Republicans are seriously entertaining dramatic steps, including default or shutting down the government, to force President Barack Obama to finally cut spending by the end of March.” That Obama has already cut spending isn’t mentioned, but the point of the article is that the House GOP is every bit as crazy as it seems.

    The idea of allowing the country to default by refusing to increase the debt limit is getting more widespread and serious traction among House Republicans than people realize, though GOP leaders think shutting down the government is the much more likely outcome of the spending fights this winter.

    “I think it is possible that we would shut down the government to make sure President Obama understands that we’re serious,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state told us.

  13. Ametia says:


  14. Secret Service Arrests Man Who Says He Will “Hang Obama From A Tree!”

    A registered sex offender threatened to hang President Barack Obama because he was outraged by the “filthy sex and perversion” that is allowed on television.

    James Allen Myers, 37, was arrested by Secret Service agents after he called the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the offices of National Geographic and allegedly made the racist threat.

    He allegedly called Obama a racial slur and said: “I’m gonna hang our… president from a tree outside the White House with a burning cross and a swastika on the lawn.”

    Agents were able to use the FCC’s caller ID to trace the phone calls back to his home in Detroit. When they showed up at the home that he shares with his father, the elder Myers asked if his son “had been making phone calls again,” suggesting that this was not the first time that he made such threats.


    Lock his ass up and medicate him.

  15. Black Canseco‏@BlackCanseco

    “Y’all whitefolk in the media helped slander/run out every Black/Brown person I pick. Now you askin about diversity? Kiss my….”

  16. Ametia says:

    I’m missing the presser. Are the jackals spewing their nonsense?

  17. President Obama: “We are not a deadbeat nation”.

  18. President Obama: “Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending. It simply means congress pays for the bills its already racked up.”

  19. rikyrah says:

    Dear Lena Dunham: I Exist

    By Guest Contributor On April 19, 2012

    The advertisements for the new HBO series Girls presented us with main character Hannah referring to herself (while on drugs) as “The Voice of a Generation.” Salon calls the show a “generational event,” and other reviewers rave over the series’ realism and call it “spot on,” and the characters’ feature by Emily Nassbaum in New York Magazine refers to it as “FUBU: For Us, By Us.”


    But which “us” are you talking about? And how is this a realistic? I asked myself, as I struggled to figure out exactly what I had in common with these four white girls.


    I only became more confused when I remembered what Dunham and I actually do share.

    We’re both the products of independent high schools. She went to St Ann’s in Brooklyn Heights, while I boarded at The Taft School in Connecticut. We’re both graduates of Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH, where we were separated by two years. Dunham majored in creative writing, while I majored in cinema studies and anthropology. We weren’t friends at Oberlin, and we weren’t acquaintances, but it’s a tiny school; I could have picked her out of a crowd by her tattoos alone. Like the character Dunham plays on Girls, Hannah, I spent almost two years after graduating toiling in a thankless, underpaid internship in my desired industry.


    Here came the confusion: If Lena Dunham and I come from similar educational backgrounds, honed our writing and narrative skills at the same school (and likely with some of the same professors), and grew up spending time in the same city (she’s from Tribeca, and I was a bridge-and-tunnel kid from a nice New Jersey suburb about 30 minutes away), then how could we conceive such radically different images of New York City? Why would I feel so ill-at-ease with her critics essentially declaring her as my voice?


    We have our differences. She has famous parents, and sure, there’s race. She’s white. I’m Black. But Oberlin’s a fairly diverse campus and, despite ridiculous tuition costs, those independent high schools are becoming a lot less white than they were. At Oberlin you could try and make your life and circle of friends look like the Girls poster or a scene from Friends or Sex and the City, but you’d have to make a concentrated effort. (And if you did that, then…well. We have other issues to discuss.)


    Curricula, on the other hand, are distinctively less diverse.


    Of the 20 or so courses offered within the Cinema department (not including private readings and one-on-one seminars), there are zero offered on African-American film, Latino film, LGBTQ Film, African film, and East Asian film. There are, however, seven classes you can take on the European film tradition, and one on framing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict via film. To find classes on African-American, Japanese, and Chinese film tradition you have to leave the department. The classes count towards a Cinema Studies major, but fall under East Asian or African American studies, as if they somehow don’t fully qualify in their otherness. Most importantly, students are not required to take any of these classes that deviate from the White Hollywood arc.

    Nevermind the fact that the Nigerian and Indian Film Industries have both at times surpassed Hollywood in output and returns in revenue. The same goes for the Creative Writing department: while classes from the English department count towards a Creative Writing major, students aren’t required to take classes that focus on non-white or European writers and narratives. “There was no non-European requirement, and it was so white,” said a Korean-American friend who happened to be a creative writing major along with Dunham (and also attended an NYC independent school). “I would have to stop in the middle of class readings to explain to everyone what things like kimchi were.”


    There’s something to be said about Girls and the state of diversity in education. Dunham is a recent college graduate; one of the first in a new generation of young writer/directors who will–whether we like it or not–be helping to shape the pop culture we’re going to consume over the next decade. If these course requirements represent the average college graduate requirements, then pop culture might be in trouble. I don’t claim to know what Dunham’s course schedule was while she attended Oberlin, but the fact that there’s a chance that she–and the other writers and directors who will come after her–has never had to read a Langston Hughes play, watch anything by Chen Kaige or Oscar Micheaux, or study any type of non-white/European media narrative is troubling, and it’s unsurprising that it would lead to the creation of a show that highlights (I would even go so far as to say rehashes) the lives of four white girls in New York City.


    Despite our similarities in background, our views of life in New York city seem to be radically different. An article in The New Yorker tells me that our circles of friends come from the same pools: Oberlin Students and high school friends that more often than not come from the same group of New York City day schools and New England boarding schools. Not only do I work with a WOC who attended high school with her, I have friends who went to high school with both her and her younger sister and, because my friends consist of Latin@s, Asians, Blacks, and whites, I know her life couldn’t possibly have looked as white as the posters for Girls (which is semi-true to life; she calls her character Hannah “another version of herself”) would have you believe.


    Yet Girls, set in Brooklyn, where only one-third of the population is white, somehow exists in a New York where minorities are only called to cast for one liners and nanny roles. “Pleasantly plump” Latinas may also inquire within.

  20. President Obama: “I’ve also said that we need more revenue through tax reform by closing loopholes in our tax code for the wealthiest.”

  21. White House Live‏@WHLive

    President Obama: “The fact is, though, we can’t finish the job of deficit reduction through spending cuts alone.”

  22. President Obama: For nearly 2 years now, I’ve been fighting for a plan that would reduce our deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Lena Dunham Gets It Wrong…Again

    By Arturo On August 14, 2012 · 16 Comments and 0 Reactions

    By Arturo R. García

    Image via

    In case you were wondering, nope, it doesn’t seem like Lena Dunham’s listened to the critiques from earlier this year.

    As Jessica Wakeman at The Frisky reports, Dunham’s non-apology for this picture didn’t help any:

    A rare genuine one–been in production and completely not reading the news. Didn’t realize what a bad time it was to make a joke like that. Not a good excuse you guys, but an excuse nonetheless. I’m glad you keep me informed and I’m deleting those tweets. Will spend tonight reading my pile of old NY Times, contemplating the boundaries of humor. I try and learn something new every day. xxLena

    By “bad time,” she referred to the assault on the gurudwara in Oak Creek last week. So it only took people getting shot and killed by an apparent white supremacist–and using a pretext similar to Ashton Kutcher’s defense for those pro-Penn State tweets, if you’ll recall–for her to issue a non-apology. It wasn’t that the joke itself was lazy; it’s that she didn’t pick the right day to foist it upon us.

    As for the rest of her argument, if she hasn’t learned about “boundaries” after being critiqued regarding her show’s casting calls–what, Donald Glover is supposed to be a salve?–or her staff’s stabs at hipster racism, then it’s not hard to imagine anybody holding their breath to start showing more sensitivity now

  24. Update: The White House has moved the start time of President Obama’s news conference to 11:30am ET. Watch live on

  25. Right Wing Watch‏@RightWingWatch

    Unable to defeat Obama in November, right-wing activists now calling for armed revolt and civil war

  26. O. M. G.

    One Month After Newtown Shooting, NRA Releases Shooting Game App With Coffin-Shaped Targets

    When 20 children and 6 adults were gunned down in Sandy Hook Elementary School exactly one month ago today, the National Rifle Association rushed to blame video games, not guns, for inspiring such mass murders. But the gun lobby seemingly lost sight of its target in the past weeks, and over the weekend released a shooting app, called “NRA: Practice Range.”

    The app bills itself as a “network of news, laws, facts, knowledge, safety tips, educational materials and online resource.” The NRA reports that it “[i]nstills safe and responsible ownership through fun challenges and realistic simulations.”

    But it isn’t all about hunting. It allows players practice shooting at targets — coffin-shaped targets, with red bullseyes at head- and heart-level:


  27. President Obama to hold news conference at 11:15am ET

  28. Supreme Court turns down Republican bid to end order aimed at preventing voter intimidation: -SS

  29. Loving Diana this morning! I can’t decide which song is my favorite. I love them all. You’re bringing back such good memories.

  30. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: The debt ceiling is the GOP’s problem. Lather, rinse, repeat.
    Posted by Greg Sargent on January 14, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Over the weekend, the White House took the “platinum coin” off the table, effectively removing the last remaining escape hatch to avoid default without Congressional approval. The White House hopes this will increase pressure on Republicans by depriving them of the option of holding out for more spending cuts and daring Obama to take unilateral action. The idea is that this will leave the GOP with a stark choice between reaching a balanced deal and being seen as willing to destroy the economy to get its way.

    Today we have the GOP response. Via Politico, GOP leaders are leaking word that their Tea Party members really are serious — really, they are! — about going into default if necessary, to force the White House to cut spending once and for all:

    Republican leadership officials, in a series of private meetings and conversations this past week, warned that the White House, much less the broader public, doesn’t understand how hard it will be to talk restive conservatives off the fiscal ledge. To the vast majority of House Republicans, it is far riskier long term to pile up new debt than it is to test the market and economic reaction of default or closing down the government.

    GOP officials said more than half of their members are prepared to allow default unless Obama agrees to dramatic cuts he has repeatedly said he opposes. Many more members, including some party leaders, are prepared to shut down the government to make their point.

    Yeah, okay. The game here is: “Hey, we can’t control our crazies!!! Better give us what we want before they destroy us all!!!”

  31. rikyrah says:

    because of the free weekend from Showtime and Encore, I got to finally see ‘ TOO BIG TO FAIL.’

    I would want everyone to watch it, and then tell me that this President didn’t save the GLOBAL ECONOMY.


  32. rikyrah says:

    With coin gambit off the table, GOP faces stark choice
    By Steve Benen

    Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:15 AM EST

    Over the weekend, the Treasury Department officially took the $1 trillion platinum coin idea off the table. It was a fun thought experiment, and I continue to believe it was a public debate worth having, but when it comes to resolving the Republicans’ looming debt-ceiling crisis, it’s apparently time to move on from the coin gambit.

    Now, there are a few other exotic schemes out there, but all available evidence suggests there will be no workaround. As White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Thursday, “[T]here is no plan B. There is no backup plan. There is Congress’s responsibility to pay the bills of the United States.”

    In other words, either congressional Republicans do their duty and meet their obligations or they don’t. Those are the options.


    1. Obama disarmed a month before a critical standoff: By ruling out the escape hatch, President Obama and his administration have shifted the leverage in the GOP’s favor. Even if the White House never intended to actually mint the coin, leaving open that possibility made Republicans nervous, and told GOP leaders that the president had the option of acting unilaterally if they pushed the fight too far. Now, that’s no longer possible, and the result is more power in Republican hands.

    2. Obama has ratcheted up the pressure on the GOP: By rejecting the coin stunt early on, the president has actually strengthened the White House’s negotiating position. The coin idea wasn’t Obama’s escape hatch; it was the Republicans’ — it meant they could screw around endlessly, knowing that, when push came to shove, Obama would act and save the nation from default without Congress having to be responsible in the slightest.

    Since these two contradict each other, they can’t both be right. And though I was initially inclined to believe the former over the latter, I’m beginning to change my mind.


    We talked last week about a House Republican pushing a proposal to rule out the coin option, but did you notice how many GOP leaders endorsed his bill? The answer is zero — they ignored it. And it’s worth appreciating why

  33. rikyrah says:

    Downton Abbey Fans…..

    My poor Edith :(

    My poor Edith :(

    And Carson so loves Ms. Hughes.

    • Ametia says:

      Dang, Edith, I felt for her, being jilted. And Carson, what a MAN. I went through a similar situation with the breast lump. Nothing like having a friend and confidant. I <3 Downton Abbey!

  34. rikyrah says:

    Powell laments GOP’s ‘dark vein of intolerance’

    By Steve Benen

    Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:00 AM EST.


    Former Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday, primarily to speak up in support of former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s (R) nomination to be Secretary of Defense. And sure enough, the former general presented a spirited defense of Hagel.

    But towards the end of the interview, David Gregory asked Powell about his party affiliation, and if you missed it, the response is worth watching.

    The host noted that Powell sometimes refers to Republicans as “they,” and asked, “[O]n what basis are you still a Republican? Do you feel like this Republican Party has left you or have you left it?” Though Powell said he remains a Republican, he conceded, “I think the Republican Party right now is having an identity problem.”

    “[I]n recent years, there’s been a significant shift to the right and we have seen what that shift has produced, two losing presidential campaigns. I think what the Republican Party needs to do now is take a very hard look at itself and understand that the country has changed. The country is changing demographically. And if the Republican Party does not change along with that demographic, they’re going to be in trouble.”

    The lengthy, off-the-cuff answer suggested this is an issue Powell has thought about quite a bit. Whether his party cares about the critique, however, is far less clear.


    Powell criticized the GOP on immigration policy and systemic voter-suppression tactics used in 2012 to “make it hard for these minorities to vote.” He lamented Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” rhetoric and the racially-charged attacks made against President Obama by Sarah Palin and John Sununu.

    Powell specifically said there’s “a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party,” featuring GOP voices who “still sort of look down on minorities.” As proof, he added, “The whole ‘Birther’ movement — why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the party?”

  35. rikyrah says:

    January 13, 2013 3:26 PM
    The Hagel Wars

    By Adele Stan

    When President Barack Obama began floating the name of Republican Chuck Hagel, the former U.S. senator from Nebraska, to replace Leon Panetta as secretary of defense, the Washington punditocracy scratched its collective head, asking why would Obama pick a fight with Republicans over SecDef, when he had more important fights looming over the sequester and the debt ceiling?

    But, really, isn’t that just the point of the Hagel nomination?

    In nominating the iconoclastic Republican, loathed as he is by the Republican right and the Iraq-warmongers known as neocons, Obama guaranteed an unseemly drama that will unfold before the American people, just as machinations get underway on the nation’s fiscal future.

    Republicans will be seen attacking one of their own, one whose name was put forward by the president, bless his soul, as a gesture of bipartisanship. And the beauty of it is that Hagel is a war hero, wounded in Viet Nam, who still has shrapnel in his chest from an attack that earned him one of his two purple hearts.

    The Hagel wars increased in intensity today on the Sunday morning talk shows, where former Secretary of State Colin Powell issued a spirited defense of the Nebraskan on NBC’s Meet the Press, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., himself a former prisoner of war, took to the airwaves of CBS, to argue against his former Senate colleague on Face the Nation.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Cracks in the wall on opposition to gun safety

    By Steve Benen
    Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:33 AM EST

    Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) appeared on “Fox News Sunday” yesterday and was asked about gun policy. The Republican senator has boasted of her “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, so it was easy to assume that Ayotte would simply reject any and all changes to the status quo.

    But the New Hampshire senator, at least at a superficial level, suggested she has an open mind in some areas of the larger policy debate.


    Though that’s hardly an iron-clad commitment, in this environment, “willing to listen” is a major step away from “no.”

    Indeed, it hasn’t generated much attention, but a variety of cracks have quietly appeared in the GOP’s wall of opposition to any restrictions on firearm ownership. On Friday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) reiterated his opposition to an assault weapons ban, but said he’s open to an expanded FBI database to prevent illegal gun sales and possible limits on high-capacity magazines.

  37. rikyrah says:

    January/ February 2013
    Introduction: Race, History, and Obama’s Second Term

    By Paul Glastris

    In the summer of 2011, under siege from both the left and the right for his efforts to broker a budget deal to avoid a debt default, Barack Obama defended his leadership with a telling historical analogy. He noted that the Emancipation Proclamation, a copy of which hangs on his Oval Office wall, outlawed slavery only in rebel states while allowing the practice to continue elsewhere in the country. This compromise, Obama noted, was necessary to keep Union-allied slave states like Kentucky and Missouri behind the war effort—and it was the Union’s military superiority that ultimately enabled the freeing of all the slaves. Yet had partisan media outlets like the Huffington Post been around when Lincoln signed the Proclamation, Obama joked, the headline would have read: “Lincoln Sells Out Slaves.”

    Obama was making a fair point about the wisdom and necessity of compromise—a point later reflected in a memorable scene in the Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln, when the president, accused by abolitionist Congressman Thaddeus Stevens of lacking a moral compass, responds that knowledge of true north is not enough to navigate past the swamps that stand between you and your destination.

    Yet if compromise was a vital component of the Proclamation, it is worth remembering who precisely was asked to sacrifice. It wasn’t the abolitionists, whose only real stake in the outcome was their moral convictions. It was African Americans, whose day of liberation was deferred. And the waiting, of course, would continue. For after the glory of emancipation and the Thirteenth Amendment came the failure of Reconstruction and, with it, the stripping of black political and economic rights. The brutal reimposition of a white supremacist system under Jim Crow would survive another century and affect the trajectory of black America far beyond that.

    On the eve of Obama’s second inauguration, a day that falls almost exactly 150 years after the Proclamation went into effect, we thought it appropriate to devote this issue of the magazine to the subjects of race, history, and the condition of minorities in America today. For while it is true that Obama, as measured by his November vote totals, retains the overwhelming support of Americans of color, that support was accompanied by yet another political compromise. America, it seemed, would reelect its first black president, but only if he didn’t talk about race.

    Obama mentioned race fewer times in his first two years in office than any Democratic president since 1961, according to a study by University of Pennsylvania political scientist Daniel Gillon. When he has talked about it, it often has not gone well. When he said last year that if he had a son, “he would look like Trayvon” Martin, the young man who was killed tragically in Florida, he provoked a fierce backlash, not only from the predictable sources—Rush Limbaugh and the National Review—but also from more moderate groups that had previously condemned Martin’s killing. Obama’s simple expression of sympathy became instantaneously polarizing, a political liability both to himself and to those who would advocate for black issues. Perhaps chastened by the experience, Obama has since returned to his tried-and-true strategy of assiduously avoiding the topic of race.

  38. rikyrah says:

    The Party of Hotheads Cheney and McCain is Concerned About Hagel’s Temperament

    By: Sarah JonesJan. 13th, 2013

    On ABC’s This Week, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) concern trolled about the ‘temperament’ of Republican former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NB), whom Obama has nominated as Secretary of Defense. To back up his concern, Corker referenced possible issues with staffers, “I think there are numbers of staffers who are coming forth now just talking about the way he has dealt with them.”

    Corker suggested that areas of concern are Hagel’s positions, “… especially some of the positions he’s taken generally speaking about our nuclear posture.” Translation: Hagel is against war-first bravado and won’t push a Republican agenda to go to war with Iran. But then, the Defense Secretary doesn’t make policy; he/she carries out the President’s policies. The President got re-elected by a wide margin, which means that the public voted for the President’s policies, so why does it matter how Republicans want to handle Iran?

    Not satisified with the mushroom cloud fear-mongering, Corker poisoned the well with this, “Just his overall temperament and is he suited to run a department or a big agency or a big entity like the Pentagon. I think there are numbers of staffers who are coming forth now just talking about the way he has dealt with them.”


    What staffers? Can he name one of them? Does Corker “think” they are coming forth or have they come forth? And since Hagel’s staffers would have most likely been Republican, it’s possible that such a desperate move might stink to high heaven of a Republican Party agenda, if in fact they ever do “come forth.” But really, since when do staffers weigh in on nominations?

  39. rikyrah says:

    Even Frank Luntz Can’t Put the Broken Republican Message Machine Back Together Again

    By: Sarah JonesJan. 14th, 2013

    Remember when Republicans had a messaging machine that Democrats could only dream of? Those days are over. But they’re not over because Republicans lack discipline on messaging, as Republican spin master Frank Luntz posited in a New York Times column and they’re not over just because Obama uses better language.

    Those days are over because the GOP’s extremism gave the public a peek behind the curtain, and because the Obama Democrats finally found a way to impart their values in simple phrases.

    After wisfully suggesting that Republicans won’t take his advice and instead will try to rebrand the same angry sneer they’ve been so unsucessfully selling as if they were selling soap and not “trust”, Luntz bemoans the President’s messaging machine:

    Never mind that the fiscal cliff legislation Obama just signed has more than $40 in tax increases for every $1 in cuts or that Social Security and Medicare are hurtling toward insolvency. And it doesn’t matter that the president says he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling; thanks to his effective messaging, it is Republicans who are being blamed for intransigence.

    Notice how Luntz never admits that balanced cuts would cut into defense spending? This is one reason Republicans are failing — even their pollsters and spin masters exist in a bubble that they can’t seem to get out of. Luntz blames Republicans for not being disciplined with their “message” (you can “message” “trust”, eh? So 2002) and says Obama is winning the debt ceiling debate even though Obama refuses to negotiate with Republicans.

  40. rikyrah says:

    reference for this comment by Camille – Chris Hayes had one a bullshyt panel about President Obama’s ‘ diversity problem’…..



    I just finished watching the MSNBC video of the Chris Hayes show.

    I’ll start by confessing that I’ve never watched his show and have only seen Hayes in the old days as fill in for Maddow and I dislike him so intensely for the narcissistic, dishonest, try too hard, faux-intellectual blow hard he is. And no, Cher declaring that she’s got a crush (eeeew) on him makes Hayes not even the slightest bit more attractive or palatable.

    Watching this clip shows that things haven’t changed any. And not much is helped by cynically placing Joy Ann Reid beside him on the panel and interrupting her mid sentence every time she starts to offer a cogent response to contradict the lie-filled rantings of his hero and fellow dishonest purveyor of contrived phony “progressive” anti-President Obama outrage de jour, the completely racist and repulsive Amy Goodman.

    Someone ought to tell Amy Goodman that reeling off the Arabic names of supposed victims of drone strikes in Afghanistan to bolster support and provide validation for her unfounded hate, disdain and resentment of the black President – a hate, disdain and contempt that ironically pre-dates the drone strikes she tries to use as the basis of her permanent dissatisfaction and rejection of President Obama, fools nobody besides those of her ilk already determined to hate the man.

    What baffles me is how this extremely hostile woman so determinedly closed off, rabidly consumed and dismissive of and so full of palpable hate and contempt for President Obama, it practically oozes from every pore–

    A woman who has manufactured and traded on a phony reputation as some sort of credible voice grounded in some moral imperative dealing with human rights issues, yet who has absolutely no qualms exaggerating, deliberately misleading and outrightly lying to make her stories fit the anti-President Obama narratives she desperately hopes will stick and wields as a weapon and on which she thrives and profits off–

    How is it that Amy Goodman who so contemptuously and persistently insists to just about anyone willing to listen, that President Obama is all types of rotten. An irreversibly hardened and unapologetic coldblooded murderer, human rights abuser and hater of all that’s good, just, upright and moral–

    How is it that this woman Amy Goodman completely lacking in self awareness, somehow misses the fact that she looks and sounds as insane and perfectly stupid going about making all these weird demands of a man she says can’t be helped, will not change and for whom she clearly has no respect for, faith or trust in-

    The way I see it, when you’ve very repeatedly, loudly and completely rejected, degraded, mocked and dismissed somebody –made it crystal clear that you’ll never be convinced of their sincerity and efforts, and essentially pegged said person as useless, incorrigible, damaged and corrupt beyond redemption-

    How is it that Amy Goodman still thinks she gets to run around with a list of demands, instructions and a plan for the no good President she insists deliberately does nothing right and has no intentions of ever doing anything right?

    It’s called a hustle in perpetual motion, my friends – and Amy Goodman has perfected the art form.

    Only this time around she serves it up with palpable racist condescension for the black guy in the White House whose most grievious crime was that he did not sufficiently worship at the altar of Amy Goodman, refusing to periodically commune with her or seek out her bony, self-aggrandizing arse and completely passed on consistently stroking or pacifying her massive ego.

    And hell hath no fury like Amy Goodman scorned!

    For that unforgivable crime alone, Amy Goodman is going to make sure President Obama pays – and dearly too, starting with the perpetual slander courtesy of her and her fellow cult of fringe wingnuts on the left. And it’s always going to be slander President Obama time for poor overlooked Amy!

  41. Ametia says:

    Golden Globes 2013

    ‘Les Miz,’ ‘Argo’ win Golden Globes; Jodie Foster is talk of show

    By Susan King and Rene Lynch
    January 13, 2013, 9:08 p.m.

    The epic musical “Les Miserables” dominated the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night with three trophies, including one for best musical or comedy. But the evening belonged to Ben Affleck.

    Affleck’s political thriller “Argo,” about a CIA plot to rescue Americans trapped in Iran in 1979-80, won for best dramatic film and director for Affleck. It was a bit of vindication, perhaps, for the filmmaker, who was surprisingly absent last week when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its Oscar nominations for director.
    Since the Oscar snub Thursday, Affleck has not only won a Golden Globe but he also received a Critics’ Choice Movie Award for directing as well.,0,4015142.story

  42. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! ;-) Happy MUN-dane.

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