Sunday Open Thread

Today’s trailblazer is Mahalia Jackson.

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A Childhood in New Orleans

Born in New Orleans in 1911, Mahalia Jackson grew up in a shotgun home shared by 13 people. Raised by her Aunt Duke after her mother died in 1917, economic circumstances forced Jackson to quit school and work at home when she was in fourth grade. Her earliest influences were the sights and sounds of Uptown New Orleans: banana steamships on the Mississippi River, acorns roasting in Audubon Park, hot jazz bands, the beat-driven music of the Sanctified Church, and Bessie Smith’s bluesy voice wafting from her cousin Fred’s record player. But Jackson found her greatest inspiration at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, where she sang on Wednesday, Friday, and four times on Sunday. Even at age 12, her powerful voice could be heard all the way to the end of the block. “You going to be famous in this world and walk with kings and queens,” said her Aunt Bell, predicting an illustrious future for a voice that would change the face of American music, empower the Civil Rights movement, and bring Mahalia Jackson worldwide renown.

In Chicago

Jackson was 16 when she joined her Aunt Hannah on board the Illinois Central Railroad. Like many African Americans in the South, she moved to Chicago for better opportunities, but she found only low-paying domestic work during her first several years there. Ever lifting her spirit through church and its music, Jackson joined the Greater Salem Baptist Church and began touring with the Johnson Brothers, Chicago’s first professional gospel group. As a “fish and bread” singer, Jackson performed for donations in storefront churches, basement halls, and other makeshift venues. Later, she made tickets for her appearances — ten cents each — and found work singing at funerals and revivals. During this period, Jackson made a vow that she would live a pure life, free of secular entertainment. She promised to use her voice for spiritual song — a promise that she kept.

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Seeds of Success

By 1937, Jackson had made her first set of recordings with Decca Records. Her first side, “God’s Gonna Separate the Wheat from the Tares,” only saw moderate commercial success. Despite her A&R representative’s suggestions, she refused to make a blues record, remembering her pledge to sing only gospel music. As a result, she lost her contract with Decca. Then married to her first husband, Ike, Jackson decided to buy real estate and invest in her own business, a beauty shop. High-paying offers for work in the theater rolled in, and though Ike protested, Jackson kept her vow. Gospel music was becoming popular in Chicago churches, and Jackson was building a community of gospel musicians. Among these was Thomas Dorsey, a talented Atlanta-born African American composer and pianist who had migrated north with a vision for gospel music. He chose Jackson out of all the singers in Chicago to be his partner, and, as a traveling act, the two ushered in the Golden Age of Gospel.




Radio, Touring, and Television

In 1948, Mahalia Jackson recorded “Move On Up a Little Higher” for Apollo Records, selling one million copies in the United States. A white radio DJ, Studs Terkel, helped to popularize the recording, playing it alongside the hit rhythm and blues records of the day. With her riveting contralto, Jackson was as captivating as popular blues singers, and gospel’s bouncing beat proved just as danceable, even to those who didn’t go to church. Jackson began to tour extensively. And though she battled racism and segregation, especially in the South, she could collect hundreds of dollars for a single concert. In 1950, she was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall as the headlining act at the First Negro Gospel Music Festival, a monumental event in the history of gospel music.

Radio, Touring, and Television

In 1954, Jackson signed with Columbia Records and recorded Bless This House. The first of her 30 albums for the label, it included traditional numbers such as “Down By the Riverside,” two compositions by her old friend Thomas Dorsey, and a spiritual version of Gershwin’s “Summertime.” Jackson’s Colombia deal included a national radio show out of Chicago, The Mahalia Jackson Show, the first all-gospel radio hour. The show drew a tremendous positive response, but when Jackson suggested a television series to CBS-TV, executives explained that national sponsors would not take a chance on a “Negro show,” fearing that their sales would drop in Southern markets. After twenty weeks, CBS cancelled Jackson’s radio show because it failed to secure a national sponsor.

The Queen of Gospel Song

Jackson found wild mainstream success in the late ’50s, touring the world and recording several successful albums for Columbia. Though she could not convince a television network to grant her a show of her own, Jackson did appear as a guest on many “white” variety shows including those hosted by Dinah Shore, Steve Allen, and Ed Sullivan. She also performed at dozens of monumental events, including her first European tour and an appearance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, which yielded the classic album Live at Newport 1958. In the same year, Jackson collaborated with popular orchestral arranger Percy Faith to record the hit album The Power and the Glory, and contributed vocals to Duke Ellington’s suite, Black, Brown, and Beige. By 1960, Jackson was an international star. Her congregational call-and-response style, combined with her soulful, voluminous voice, made gospel music popular all over the world. But back home, Jackson’s financial success brought racist backlash. She received violent threats from neighbors who did not want an African American woman to live on the quiet street in the Chicago suburbs where she had purchased a home.

Civil Rights

Mahalia Jackson’s struggle with racism had urged her to get involved in the Civil Rights movement at its onset. With the Montgomery bus boycott, the movement had begun to unfold quickly. As early as 1956, Civil Rights leaders called on Jackson to lend both her powerful voice and financial support to the rallies, marches, and demonstrations. Boycott leader Reverend Ralph Abernathy invited Jackson to Montgomery to sing at the first anniversary of Rosa Parks’ historic act. Braving hecklers, Klansmen, and widespread violence, Jackson rolled into Montgomery on a train. At the station, Abernathy greeted her with another young preacher named Martin Luther King. Though she was afraid for her safety, King’s speeches inspired her, and the two became friends.

By the early 1960s, gospel music and spirituals had become the inseparable soundtrack to the Civil Rights movement. Their greatest performer, Mahalia Jackson, had empowered the downtrodden masses with songs of strength and solidarity, inciting real change in America’s social and political structure. At the second March on Washington in 1963, the largest demonstration in the history of the nation, Jackson opened her set with “I’ve Been ‘Buked,” at King’s request. When it was King’s turn to speak, some witnesses say, Jackson leaned forward and whispered, “Tell them about the dream, Martin,” urging him to deliver the most famous speech of the Civil Rights movement. Throughout the era, Jackson sang at monumental events such as President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration and funeral. She also sang at King’s funeral in 1968, and recorded an album of his favorite songs, The Best Loved Hymns of Dr. M. L. King.

Final Years

By 1969, with Kennedy, King, and many of her other beneficiaries deceased, Jackson had retired from the political front. She had battled illness for years. Still touring almost to the end, she visited Africa, the Caribbean, Japan, and India, where she met Indira Ghandi, an instant fan. Jackson’s final performance was in Germany in 1971. Soon after an operation on her pained abdomen, she died of heart failure in January 1972, at the age of 60. Hundreds of musicians and politicians attended Jackson’s two funerals. In Chicago, Aretha Franklin performed “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” and Coretta King praised Jackson for being “black and proud and beautiful.” Mourning continued at a second funeral in New Orleans, where thousands of hometown admirers gathered to honor the greatest gospel singer of all time, a woman who had conquered poverty, racism, and hardship to win fans and friends all over the world.

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34 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Downton Abbey’s 2 hours tonight.

  2. Ametia says:

    Anyonen watching the Grammys? Taylor Swift opened the show.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Graham Threatens Holds On Hagel, Brennan Nominations
    Pema Levy – 2:19 PM EST, Sunday February 10, 2013

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Sunday threatened to place holds on the nominations of Chuck Hagel for defense secretary and John Brennan for director of the CIA until the White House details President Obama’s actions on the night of the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

    “No confirmation without information,” Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

    “We know nothing about what the president did on the night of September 11, during a time of national crisis, and the American people need to know what their commander-in-chief did, if anything, during this eight-hour attack,” Graham said.

    Graham continued: “I don’t know if he ever called anyone. I know he never talked to the secretary of defense. I know that he never talked to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. And they never talked to anyone at the White House. I know the secretary of state never talked to the secretary of defense. This was incredibly mismanaged. And what we know now, it seems to be a very disengaged president.”

    Graham said he would not filibuster the nominations, which Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has advised repeatedly against.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Don’t Believe the Hype

    Josh Marshall-February 10, 2013, 1:39 PM
    Let’s just say it: Marco Rubio is the Wes Clark of 2013. Only with many fewer accomplishments.

    It pains me to say this because I’m an admirer of Gen. Wesley Clark. I think he would have made a good president. He was an extremely accomplished career military officer. He was also a West Point valedictorian and Rhodes Scholar, so you might say a Democrat’s vision of what a warrior-scholar should be.

    But there’s a difference between a person’s innate qualities and accomplishments and the reason they become the person of the moment or get seized upon for some special role by a political party. And there’s no question Democrats seized on Clark in 2003/2004 because his credentials as a retired 4 star general and a combat vet promised to serve as a heat shield to protect them from charges of weakness in an era in which an aggressive national security posture was the sine qua non of national elections.

    Nor was Clark the only example. Finding the retired General or combat vet to carry the Democratic banner was a thing for a couple decades — and for obvious reasons: the public consistently rated Republicans better on national security issues.

    But nominating a general doesn’t solve the political problem. Ask President Kerry. And neither will nominating Marco Rubio or putting him at the party’s helm.

    We hear today that not only is he young and ‘on social media’, he also “knows who Tupac is.” And of course this week he will deliver the Republican response to the President’s State of the Union address.

    Supporters can note that if Rubio ran for president in 2016 his time on the national stage would be precisely the same as Barack Obama’s was in 2008. And they’d be right. But Rubio isn’t a rising political star. The mechanics are different. It’s more like the party’s lack of traction with youth and minority voters is creating a vast zone of negative pressure, sucking him up to the heights of the party structure in Washington.

    The Rubio phenomenon is more than anything an advertisement for Republican denial. Saying he’s happening because he can identify a rapper who’s been dead for going on 20 years just brings it to the level of self-parody.

    So is Rubio the new face of the GOP? Doubtful. He’s for immigration reform. But the only Republicans currently holding power in Washington say they’re against it. So his big sell immediately puts him at odds with the heart of his party.

    This doesn’t mean Rubio will crash and burn or fall short of his party’s high hopes for him. As I noted a few days ago, sometimes a politician can be hoisted to the heights for reasons that have little to do with who they really are but end up having a level of innate political skill that they can grab that opportunity and ride it to the top. So it’s possible. But very doubtful. The Wes Clark boomlet is a much better predictor

  5. rikyrah says:

    Officials To Offer $1 Million Reward In Hunt For Ex-Cop
    Pema Levy – 2:02 PM EST, Sunday February 10, 2013

    Officials on Sunday will announce a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest and capture of Christopher Dorner, the ex-cop suspected of killing three people in Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reports. A massive manhunt has been tracking Dorner since last week.

    The city of Los Angeles, law enforcement organizations, private groups and anonymous donors have all contributed to the reward fund, according to law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation. Authorities have already raised $500,000 with a goal of $1 million or more.

    The reward announcement is expected at Sunday’s 1 p.m. news conference at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters.

  6. rikyrah says:

    This Week in God
    By Steve Benen
    Sat Feb 9, 2013 10:07 AM EST.

    First up from the God Machine this week is a look at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, which was held this week, and which welcomed President Obama for the fifth time

    Obama’s annual participation in the event has become a point of consternation for some on the right, though for contradictory reasons. Some conservatives choose to pretend the president refuses to show up, despite the evidence to the contrary, while other conservatives acknowledge Obama’s appearances, but condemn his remarks.

    Indeed, last year, Obama explained how his faith influences his views on public policy, including asking the very wealthy to sacrifice just a little in order to help the rest of American society. “[A]s a Christian,” the president said, his approach “coincides with Jesus’s teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.'” Republicans were outraged — Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) condemned the speech on the Senate floor; Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) left the breakfast in protest, and scandal-plagued lobbyist Ralph Reed said Obama went “over the line.”

    Obama’s remarks this week, which focused on the need for humility, drew fewer far-right complaints, but the president was preceded by Dr. Benjamin Carson, a conservative physician, who used his time at the microphone to complain about “fiscal irresponsibly” and the national debt, before insisting that God wants a 10 percent flat tax.

    Though conservatives were outraged that Obama tried to “politicize” the prayer breakfast in 2012, the right quickly celebrated Carson’s remarks this week.

    It’s funny how that works out, isn’t it?

  7. rikyrah says:

    Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 11:10 AM PST.

    Virginia Democrats showing how to negotiate on Medicaid

    by Joan McCarter

    Democrats in the Virginia state Senate are making the best use of the fact that they have half the seats in the chamber, even though they’re in the minority in full legislature. They’re hanging tough on approving Gov. Bob McDonnell’s budget in return for Medicaid expansion.

    Democrats were emboldened in this effort after a controversial attempt by Senate Republicans to jam a mid-decade gerrymandering plan through the state legislature on the day of President Obama’s second inauguration. That effort failed in the House earlier this week, but only after Democrats had coalesced around a plan to use the state budget as leverage to expedite the Medicaid expansion.

    So far that plan has proved effective. On Thursday, the Virginia Senate amended its budget to include a provision green lighting the expansion, while the state simultaneously works to implement federally-approved cost control measures for the program. The budget passed overwhelmingly.
    That vote approving the budget was 36-4. Now the Democrats have to be able to repeat that in the House, where their budget proposal would eventually expand Medicaid, conditional on getting federal approval to make program changes, something that the Department of Health and Human Services isn’t providing much leeway for.

    So here’s a case of Democrats taking a policy hostage, and doing it for good policy. U.S. House Democrats could take a lesson or two from them, now that they’ll be critical for passing any legislation in that dysfunctional body.

  8. rikyrah says:

    MARY MITCHELL: Michelle Obama’s return for Hadiya’s funeral fulfills her destiny as Mom-in-Chief

    BY MARY MITCHELL February 7, 2013 6:50PM

    When first lady Michelle Obama comes home Saturday to attend Hadiya Pendleton’s funeral, she will be standing for herself as well as for her powerful husband.

    Since Hadiya’s tragic death, there’s been a drumbeat for President Barack Obama to come to Chicago to address urban violence.

    The 15-year-old girl was killed by gun violence a little more than a week ago in a park only a short distance from the Obama’s Kenwood home.

    But the first lady’s decision to come here is likely her own.

    Before moving to Pennsylvania Avenue, Michelle Obama was very much the kind of person who would be there for a neighbor in crisis.

    The first time I met her was at a casual brunch organized by one of her friends for someone who became discouraged after she was abruptly let go from her high-profile job.

    At the time, Barack Obama was a state senator. Michelle Obama showed up bearing a covered dish like all the other guests and left quietly after sharing words of encouragement.

    That was sometime in 2004, and, of course, a lot has happened to her family and to the families she left behind.

    The first lady’s return home to attend the funeral of yet another of the city’s promising youth also will have a political downside because it will further thrust Chicago’s epic battle against urban gun violence into the national spotlight.

    That she will be accompanied by Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the president, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, both of whom were heavily involved in Chicago’s governance, also will make this very much a uniquely Chicago story.

    That can’t be helped.

    This show of respect by the White House for the Pendletons’ loss will do more to get the message across that this tragedy is no different from the school shooting tragedies in Newtown and in Columbine than a speech ever could.

    Hadiya was gunned down in the middle of the afternoon, believed by police to be an unintended target . One week earlier, the King College Prep student had performed with members of the school’s band at inaugural events.

    Understandably, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has tried to downplay the ongoing street violence. Each new tragedy has been met with the unveiling of a new round of stats and policing strategies designed to show that the mayor is taking aggressive steps to stem the bloodshed.

    But 2013 got off to a particularly bloody start, with Hadiya becoming the 42nd murder victim.

    Michelle Obama’s return to Chicago to pay the first family’s respects has the potential for political fallout not just for the city, but also for the White House.

    After all, it is one thing for the first lady to return to her hometown to encourage other mayors to adopt the city’s plan to address food deserts as she did in 2011, and quite another to show up when the city is grappling with 42 murders in a single month.

    Just as her support of the mayor’s food desert symposium triggered criticism that her endorsement did little to improve the situation, some will dismiss her decision to attend Hadiya’s funeral as mere symbolism.

    But there are no quick fixes when it comes to urban violence, just as there are no quick fixes when it comes to mass shootings.

    Nothing the first lady does will ever be seen through the same lens as her show of support for a neighbor that day nearly a decade ago.

    Still, when Michelle Obama comes home to comfort this grieving family, she will not only be putting the spotlight on urban violence.

    She will be fulfilling her destiny as Mom-in-Chief.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Droning On And On

    By Zandar February 10th, 2013

    Joan Walsh on droooooooones and wrestling with her unbearable guilt of being Joan Walsh:

    There are (at least) two issues here: The use of drones generally, and their use to kill American citizens. Some values should apply to both. No doubt drone warfare is sometimes preferable to traditional combat – but can’t we debate when, and why? Isn’t it possible that removing the risk of losing American lives by using unmanned predators will make it easier for decision-makers to risk the lives of those who aren’t Americans? Shouldn’t we know more about when and why drone strikes are launched, as well as who’s been killed, at the cost of how much collateral damage, most important, the number of “non-combatants” — innocent people – who are killed

    Did I miss the part where American military action only started killing non-combatants on January 21, 2009? Did I also miss the part where IEDs keep blowing off arms and legs and shearing off chunks of our soldiers’ skulls, creating a huge number of folks coming back home with truly awful injuries? We’ve had this debate about people being killed in military action since this whole American experiment began, folks. Here’s the thing, if we’re going to be over there doing this kind of thing, and right now that’s the policy, I’d rather see drones than boots on the ground. You can go on and on about targeted killings of US citizens at a coldly impersonal distance without due process, and yet we’ve got 300 million devices in the country called “firearms” that quite often end up doing just that. Due process is not always exercised in those situations either, guys. People where you live can get killed guns without warning. Maybe there’s an investigation, maybe there’s even a trial. But there are plenty of times where who pulled the trigger is never found, and the killer never brought to justice.

    Where’s your outrage over that? Did I miss the part where Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was the only US teenager ever killed for bullshit reasons? You know what else is a “targeted killing of American citizen?” Any cops who draw their weapon on someone and pull the trigger, and guess what, they don’t always shoot the right person. There’s oversight in those situations, but not always. I’m a hell of a lot more worried about that than I am what’s going on in Waziristan, people. If you’re going to perpetually scream “DROOOOOOOOONES YOU OBOT” at me, go to the nearest large metropolitan police department and make sure you personally solve every homicide that comes in the door.

    Otherwise, have a darkened Superdome full of seats.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS; Any cops who draw their weapon on someone and pull the trigger, and guess what, they don’t always shoot the right person. There’s oversight in those situations, but not always. I’m a hell of a lot more worried about that than I am what’s going on in Waziristan, people. If you’re going to perpetually scream “DROOOOOOOOONES YOU OBOT” at me, go to the nearest large metropolitan police department and make sure you personally solve every homicide that comes in the door.

      Otherwise, have a darkened Superdome full of seats. (with a hot poker in every seat)

  10. rikyrah says:

    Friday, February 08, 2013
    Korea Is Thrilled With First Lady’s White House Recipe For ‘Simple Kimchi’

    Michelle Obama is a lover of Kimchi,” notes headline in the Korea Times…
    Kimchi is the national dish of Korea, and First Lady Michelle Obama is getting props in the country’s media after the White House on Wednesday night released a recipe for housemade “Simple Kimchi.” The recipe was posted to Mrs. Obama’s @FLOTUS Twitter account, and after Obama Foodorama noted that it is the first new recipe release of President Obama’s second term, Korea’s SBS television and radio network linked to the post and reported that the recipe “has become a hot topic” and “netizens have shown great interest.” Above, a screengrab of the SBS story, which features a photo of Mrs. Obama and a headline that seems to read “Michelle Obama soaked in Kimchi,” according to Google translate.

    “Michelle Obama is a lover of Kimchi,” was the headline for a story published about the recipe in English in the Korea Times. Kimchi is typically a vibrant red in Korea, and the outlet reported that the bottles of Kimchi in the White House photo (l) included with the recipe do “not look as red as the Korean traditional variety,” and that “the ingredients and preparation were also modified slightly for Western tastes.”

    Noting that the Napa cabbage used in the recipe was harvested from Mrs. Obama’s Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn, SBS mentioned Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign: “Mrs. Obama has been spreading the news about her childhood obesity campaign and a healthy diet, with a vegetable garden at the White House.”

  11. rikyrah says:

    Found at TOD;

    201 Don
    February 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm
    Drones aren’t the problem; the problem is that President Obama is killing every motherfucker in sight that fucks with this country. President Obama has effectively out “patriotic” those that claim to be patriotic, and in doing so he has presented America with her greatest fear, a black man with a gun, or a drone.

    • Ametia says:

      Yes; all of a sudden folks are all teary-eyed over TERRORIST’s rights, GTFOH.

      I’s also why the LAPD’s got that $million bounty on Chris Dorner too. A crazy black man with ammo. they don’t want NONE of that.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Tea Party: Too Stupid to Learn

    by BooMan
    Sun Feb 10th, 2013 at 10:38:39 AM EST

    The federal budget is a massive undertaking, and if you go through it you will find projects that were completed using less money than was allocated, projects that were cancelled, projects that were created by typos and that never really existed. Another way of looking at this is that the government isn’t going to spend all the money that it says it is going to spend. The budget deficit isn’t as big as the government says it is. Obviously, some projects run over budget, but the cost of those projects isn’t on the books until additional money is appropriated for them.
    Back in 2011, a lot of the spending cuts that were announced were not really cuts in money that was going to be spent but the identification of money that was not going to be spent. Most of this was honest accounting. Money had been appropriated, adding to the deficit on paper but not in fact. There were some gimmicks, too. It made no sense to pretend that we were going to carry out the U.S. Census in 2011 until Congress intervened. We do the Census every ten years, and having done it in 2010, there were no savings from not doing it again the next year. Census spending went down, but not because of any deal made between the president and Congress. Still, if the game is to live within our means, discovering that we owe less money is just as good as spending less money. Put it this way. Would you rather spend $1,000 less on yourself or get a letter in the mail from VISA telling you that due to an computer glitch it turns out that you owe them $1,000 less than you thought you owed them? Regardless of your answer, you are $1,000 less in debt.

    Nevertheless, the Tea Party feels like they got conned back in 2011. They feel like the administration and their own leadership conspired to pull the wool over their eyes. And so, now, they like the idea of the Sequester because it represents real cuts, not accounting tricks. This is in part because they actually did get schooled in 2011, but mostly because their goal is not economic health but ideological triumph. They want to shrink the government down to the point that it is small enough to drown in a bathtub. That’s what they want. Everyone else just wants a good economy and a healthy jobs market.

    The administration says that they identified all the “low-hanging fruit” in the budget back in 2011 and that they won’t be able to cut funding as painlessly this time around. Unfortunately, the Tea Party folks are stupid and they don’t learn the correct lessons. They didn’t learn that we were less broke than they thought. They learned that the administration and their own leadership would deceive them about the nature of the cuts if they tried to negotiate line-by-line through the budget. They are so dumb that they prefer dumb cuts like the across-the-board cuts in the Sequester because they can trust and understand them.

    So, now, everything is more difficult.

  13. Ametia says:

    Obama coming to Chicago to ‘talk about the gun violence’

    By Christi Parsons and Jennifer DelgadoTribune reporters
    3:00 p.m. CST, February 10, 2013

    President Barack Obama will visit Chicago this week, following his wife here as the city finds itself in the national spotlight after the slaying of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton.

    The White House said the visit Friday will be among three trips Obama will make to press issues raised in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday.

    “The president will travel to Chicago for an event amplifying some of the policy proposals included in the State of the Union that focus on strengthening the economy for the middle class and the Americans striving to get there,” a White House official said.

    “He’ll of course also talk about the gun violence that has tragically affected too many families in communities across Chicago and across the country,” the official added.,0,964750.story

  14. rikyrah says:

    Original Sin Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people


    With Barack Obama sworn in for a second term—the first president in either party since Ronald Reagan to be elected twice with popular majorities—the GOP is in jeopardy, the gravest since 1964, of ceasing to be a national party. The civil rights pageantry of the inauguration—Abraham Lincoln’s Bible and Martin Luther King’s, Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s swearing in of Joe Biden, Beyoncé’s slinky glamor, the verses read by the gay Cuban poet Richard Blanco—seemed not just an assertion of Democratic solidarity, but also a reminder of the GOP’s ever-narrowing identity and of how long it has been in the making.

    “Who needs Manhattan when we can get the electoral votes of eleven Southern states?” Kevin Phillips, the prophet of “the emerging Republican majority,” asked in 1968, when he was piecing together Richard Nixon’s electoral map. The eleven states, he meant, of the Old Confederacy. “Put those together with the Farm Belt and the Rocky Mountains, and we don’t need the big cities. We don’t even want them. Sure, Hubert [Humphrey] will carry Riverside Drive in November. La-de-dah. What will he do in Oklahoma?”

    Forty-five years later, the GOP safely has Oklahoma, and Dixie, too. But Phillips’s Sunbelt strategy was built for a different time, and a different America. Many have noted Mitt Romney’s failure to collect a single vote in 91 precincts in New York City and 59 precincts in Philadelphia. More telling is his defeat in eleven more of the nation’s 15 largest cities. Not just Chicago and Columbus, but also Indianapolis, San Diego, Houston, even Dallas—this last a reason the GOP fears that, within a generation Texas will become a swing state. Remove Texas from the vast, lightly populated Republican expanse west of the Mississippi, and the remaining 13 states yield fewer electoral votes than the West Coast triad of California, Oregon, and Washington. If those trends continue, the GOP could find itself unable to count on a single state that has as many as 20 electoral votes.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Invisible Women: The Real History of Domestic Workers in America

    Forget Fran Drescher: Real-life nannies, housecleaners, and cooks have long struggled against sexism, racism, and exclusionary laws.

    —By Maggie Caldwell

    | Thu Feb. 7, 2013 3:06 AM PST

    As the push for immigration reform continues, the Senate Gang of Eight’s plan includes measures that would make it easier for farmworkers—who play a role of “utmost importance in our nation”—to gain citizenship. Meanwhile, another major immigrant labor group that bolsters the US economy by freeing up the time of millions of other workers gets no such special treatment. For the nation’s nannies, housekeepers, cooks, and companions to the elderly, this is just the latest slight in a long history of systematic exclusion from basic labor and human rights protections.

    Last November, the National Domestic Workers Alliance commissioned the first ever national survey of 2,000 workers to shed light on an industry that exists quietly behind closed doors. The domestic workforce is composed mainly of immigrant women of color who earn substandard pay, rarely receive benefits or health care, and have virtually no lobbying power (unlike farmworkers, who have de facto help from cheap-labor-loving Big Ag).

    In recent years, groups like the NDWA have made headway in the fight for worker protections, but they’re fighting an uphill battle against many outdated but entrenched laws, some of which are rooted in the legacy of slavery. This timeline explores a few of the milestones in the little-known history of the industry in America, showing where these workers came from and how far they still have to go.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Reelection is Literally Destroying Fox News

    By: Jason EasleyFeb. 9th, 2013

  17. rikyrah says:

    GOP’s SOTU Response: How to Say “F*ck You” to Americans in Spanish

    Thursday, February 07, 2013 | Posted by Deaniac83 at 3:09 PM

    We’ve got more news on the Republican path to political oblivion: Sen. Marco Rubio will deliver the response to President Obama’s State of the Union address next Tuesday, in both English and Spanish. Obviously a way to pander to Hispanic voters without actually doing anything for them, this reminds of the GOP’s Sarah Palin syndrome. People aren’t dumb – we don’t vote for chromosomal likeness, nor for linguistic commonality. We vote values. The Republican party’s current policy position on working people, people of color, minorities and women – F*ck you – sounds pretty bad regardless of the language used to say it.

    Republicans nominated a woman and lost the women’s vote in 2008. They nominated a Catholic and lost the Catholic vote majorly in 2012. I mean, sure, it’s impressive that the face of the GOP has gone from a winking moosehunter who had trouble with one language to a young “gun” who is fluent with two, but if the Republicans believe that Rubio’s fluency in Spanish can mask his affiliation with the crazy wing of the Republican party, he’s no less delusional than Sarah Palin.

  18. rikyrah says:

    GOP on Immigration: Brown People Should Work, Not Vote

    Wednesday, February 06, 2013 | Posted by Deaniac83 at 4:31 PM

    At yesterday’s House committee hearing on immigration reform, Republicans were desperate, looking for a way to avoid providing a path to citizenship to the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in this country. From the committee’s chairman branding a path to earned citizenship an “extreme” solution in the same league with mass deportation to its former chairman imploring a “compromise between the status quo and a path to citizenship”, the Republicans were trying to find a face-saver.

    Unfortunately for them, no such solution exists. The president has made it clear on multiple occasions that he will not accept anything less than a clear path to earned citizenship for those who have been in this country, have not committed crimes and are contributing to our economy and society. Immigration advocates have made clear much the same thing.

    But the Republican impetus to desperately search for a way to deny citizenship to these immigrants is more than just a policy blunder. It is an insult to say to those members of our society that they should never be able to earn their way to becoming an American. It is an insult to tell them that they are welcome to sacrifice for our country, to work hard to produce for our economy, to work every bit as hard as any American citizen, but not to become a part of our great democratic experiment. Make no mistake, that is what this is about. This is about denying the vote to as many brown people as possible, for as long as possible.

    They want the sweat and tear of immigrants for the benefit of big corporations and agribusiness, but they don’t want those immigrants to vote. It’s deliberate, it’s cynical, and it’s reprehensible. Republicans know that they are in a bind – that if they stand in the way of comprehensive immigration reform, a growing Latino and other minority populations will put the White House out of their reach for the foreseeable future

  19. rikyrah says:

    Anyone gonna order this?

  20. Mahalia Jackson is one of Americas’ real, forever treasures.

  21. Ametia says:

    The late GREAT Donald Byrd and the Blackbyrds.

  22. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, SG2 & Everyone! My SOUL looked back and wondered HOW I GOT OVER.

  23. Good morning, 3Chics!

    Psalm 32:8

    I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

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