Tuesday Open Thread | Luther Vandross Week

LutherBorn on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City in the NYCHA Alfred E. Smith Houses public housing development, Vandross began playing the piano at the age of three. He grew up in a musical family that moved to the Bronx when he was thirteen. His sister, Patricia, sang with the vocal group The Crests, who had a number two hit in 1958 with “16 Candles“, though she left the group before the recording. Vandross’s father died of diabetes when Vandross was eight years old. Luther Vandross was in a high school group, Shades of Jade, that once played at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. He was also a member of a theater workshop, “Listen My Brother” who released the singles “Only Love Can Make a Better World” and “Listen My Brother”, and appeared on the second and fifth episodes of Sesame Street in November 1969.

Vandross attended Western Michigan University for a year before dropping out to continue pursuing a career in music.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
This entry was posted in Current Events, Music, News, Open Thread, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | Luther Vandross Week

  1. New Video Chicas!

    President Barack Obama-True Colors

  2. rikyrah says:

    pardon my French…



    you know, there are some actors that you just love, and you can’t explain why?

    I’ve loved John Barrowman ever since Central Park West…yes, I was among the 100 people in America that watched that show…LOL


    John Barrowman is here working at @ScandalABC today. Life is good. #torchwood #captainjack #iamanerd

  3. rikyrah says:

    It’s crazy, but I got so addicted to this last year.

    The Cornell Lab Bird Cams

    A co-worker of mine started watching this last year, and before I knew it, I was hooked, asking about the birds everyday. It’s something else to watch.


  4. rikyrah says:

    Tech Companies Just Aren’t That Into Black People
    March 19, 2013 | Filed under: This and That | Posted by: yvette

    If you follow tech, then you are familiar with the parade of pictures tech companies post online. Most are snapshots of a new product, service, or just a fun Instagram of the company’s team, and by team, I mean young enthusiastic white men.

    A probe of companies — including such high profile names Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Microsoft –seemingly sought to actively conceal their diversity numbers from CNN. The only diversity data provided was from five companies: Cisco, Dell, eBay, Ingram Micro, and Intel.

    CNN still found that minorities and women were underrepresented in management roles at tech companies.
    “Our investigation demonstrated how difficult — and sometimes impossible — gaining any insight into Silicon Valley’s employee diversity can be,” CNN’s Julianne Pepitone writes. “It shows a general lack of transparency in an industry known for its openness.”
    There is only an incentive to provide diversity data if you’re proud of your diversity record.
    CNN even reached out to the Equal Opportunity Commission for help in forcing the tech companies to come forward, but quickly learned this was a dead end since the only private companies the EEOC oversees are federal contractors.
    In the end, most of the tech companies kept their data private, and that was probably for a good reason


  5. rikyrah says:

    Bravo’s ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ Posts Double-Digit Ratings Growth in Last Night’s Finale
    Categories: Network TV Press Releases

    Written By Sara Bibel

    April 1st, 2013

    Next Week, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” Kicks Off a Juicy Three-Part Reunion and “Secrets Revealed” Special on Sunday, April 7 at 8pm ET/PT

    NEW YORK – April 1, 2013 – Bravo Media’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” breaks ratings records as season five delivers its most-watched season, up seven percent from prior season – and remains the most-watched series on the network, averaging over three million total viewers an episode. Additionally, last night’s season finale posted double-digit ratings growth, up 31 percent in total viewers (over 3 million total viewers) compared to last season’s finale. Featuring another heated face-off between Kenya and Porsha, the episode was up 45 percent among A25-54 (over 2 million viewers) and 33 percent in A18-49 (over 1.9 million viewers), according to Nielsen.

    Coming off of a highly-watched season finale, Bravo Media is offering a triple dose of drama when it kicks off a three-part reunion and “Secrets Revealed” special of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” on Sunday, April 7 at 8pm ET/PT. Host Andy Cohen looks back at some of the season’s most memorable moments with the fabulous Southern ladies Cynthia Bailey, Kandi Burruss, NeNe Leakes, Kenya Moore, Phaedra Parks and Porsha Stewart.


  6. Ametia says:

    Someone Inside The Vatican Really Likes Illegally Downloading Porn Movies
    by Andrew Kirell | 12:45 pm, April 9th, 2013

    Among the 800 or so residents in Vatican City, there apparently lives at least one soul who enjoys illegally downloading heterosexual and transsexual pornography.

    File sharing blog TorrentFreak.com used an anti-piracy service to find out that people within the confines of the Catholic Church’s headquarters have downloaded a number of pornographic films starring transgender star Tiffany Starr and female performers Krissy Lynn, Lea Lexis, and Sheena Shaw.

    Downloaded titles apparently include some… collaborations… from the aforementioned XXX performers:


  7. Ametia says:

    April 9, 2013 @ 7:30 PM: The President and the First Lady host a concert celebrating Memphis Soul music as part of their “In Performance at the White House” series.

  8. rikyrah says:

    From The Maddow Blog:

    Those who wait the longest to vote
    By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 9, 2013 10:11 AM EDT.

    The fact that voting lines were disgraceful in many parts of the country is not new, but there’s a growing body of evidence that some Americans wait much longer than others. Taegan Goddard at Political Wire had this item yesterday.

    A new paper from MIT professor Charles Stewart finds that African Americans waited an average of 23 minutes to vote in the last presidential election, Hispanics waited 19 minutes and whites waited just 12 minutes.

    “While there are other individual-level demographic difference present in the responses, none stands out as much as race. For instance, the average wait time among those with household incomes less than $30,000 was 12 minutes, compared to 14 minutes for those in households with incomes greater than $100,000. Strong Democrats waited an average of 16 minutes, compared to an average of 11 minutes for strong Republicans. Respondents who reported they had an interest in news and public affairs ‘most of the time’ waited an average of 13.2 minutes, compared to 12.8 minutes among those who had ‘hardly any’ interest.”

    Charles Stewart’s findings are online here. They help bolster some preliminary findings that my colleague Laura Conaway highlighted in February.

    In the larger context, there are a few things to keep in mind.


    First, Bob Bauer talked to Rachel last night about the new presidential commission on improving voter access, and he sees the possibility for bipartisan progress on addressing problems like these: “I honestly believe that there is room here within the confines of the commission’s mandate as set out by the president to address these issues on behalf of the voters. And on these particular issues, not on all issues, but on these particular issues we ought to be able to set aside partisan conflict.” Here’s hoping he’s correct.

    Second, if the Republican appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court strike down the Voting Rights Act, I hope federal lawmakers will remember charts like these when weighing a new legislative remedy to voting restrictions.

    And third, to reiterate a recent point from Jamelle Bouie, if GOP leaders are sincere about minority outreach, they can start by demanding equal voting access for all. How about it, Reince?

    • rikyrah says:

      Black Conservatives In Explosive Hannity Townhall: ‘Liberals Believe They Own Black America’

      On Monday night’s Hannity show, over two dozen black conservatives participated in a townhall discussion, addressing what it is like to be a black conservative in America.

      The show kicked off with Sean Hannity interviewing Dr. Ben Carson. Hannity asked Dr. Carson what kind of insults he has received since coming out publicly as a conservative. Carson noted:

      Some of the words cannot be used. It’s really kind of sad. I feel more sorrowful for the people who do that, than I feel angry for them. I represent something that they just can’t quite get their heads around: ‘How can you be black and not march lock-step behind the [airquote] leaders?’ ‘How can you think for yourself?’ ‘And how can you actually have some ideals that actually make sense that don’t agree with their leaders?’ I am very hopeful that this a trend that will be broken. I’m going to continue to speak out. Of course, there is an old trick that you ostracize, you ridicule, you isolate, and you keep repeating…. I’m not sure it’s going to work quite frankly because I don’t plan on going anywhere.

      In a gripping moment, when Hannity asked the townhall participants how many have been “called horrible names because of [their] conservatism,” every participant’s hand shot up.

      Dr. Carson noted that this demonstrates to him that “the very people who love to talk about tolerance are some of the least tolerant people there are.”

      Hannity and Dr. Carson then discussed Hannity’s recent remarks that black conservatives have no freedom of speech, with Dr. Carson agreeing and expanding on Hannity’s point:

      One of the founding principles of our nation is freedom of speech and freedom of expression. And yet they are so many people who are afraid to talk. I’ve gotten so many emails and letters from people who say ‘I support you 100% but please let this remain anonymous.’ Why? Because they don’t want to have the fiery darts thrown at them.

      Following the brief interview, Hannity opened up the discussion to the townhall participants, consisting of an array of black conservative ‘all-stars,’ such as Star Parker, David Webb, Ron Christie, Jesse Petterson, Kevin Jackson, Deneen Borelli, Crystal Wright, and Reginald Jones, among others.





  9. Ametia says:

    Defense Secretary Hagel to visit Israel this month: official

    JERUSALEM | Tue Apr 9, 2013 1:18am EDT
    (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will pay a first visit to Israel since taking office later this month to bolster the allies’ cooperation in the Middle East, an Israeli official told Reuters on Tuesday.

    Hagel and his counterpart, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon who is also newly appointed, discussed the visit by phone last month, the Israeli Defence Ministry said. The official said Hagel would visit between April 21-23.

    Hagel’s visit will follow a trip by Secretary of State John Kerry who is currently visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories to try to restart long-stalled peace talks and after a visit last month by President Barack Obama.

    Iran’s perceived nuclear threat, an issue that is regularly on the agenda between the two allies, is certain to feature highly in discussions.

    The United States heavily funds Israeli missile defence systems that protect against short-range rockets and missiles that militants in the Gaza Strip launch at Israel, as well as the threat of long-range missiles.

    (Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)


  10. rikyrah says:

    The name that should not be spoken
    By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 9, 2013 8:59 AM EDT.

    We talked recently about the National Republican Congressional Committee’s new plan for its online presence, which apparently means emulating BuzzFeed. And sure enough, the NRCC has launched its new site, including a BuzzFeed-esque story near the top of the page: “13 Animals That Are Really Bummed on ObamaCare’s Third Birthday.”

    But Alex Seitz-Wald noticed something missing from the revamped site: “The buzzy new website from House Republicans doesn’t mention the fact that they’re Republicans.” Jed Lewison highlighted the homepage masthead before…

    Sure, for folks more familiar with politics, it’s hardly a mystery what the “R” in “NRCC” stands for, but I imagine plenty of people who might stumble upon the website, perhaps through social media, would have no idea what the NRCC is.

    Also, I should note in fairness that the site does include a disclaimer about being “paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee,” but it’s literally the only use of the word Republicans and it appears at the very bottom of a long homepage. It is, in other words, easy to miss.

    And so the question is, how deliberate was the omission? We know Republicans are admittedly worried about their brand and the perception that they’re not “cool,” which is no doubt one of the reasons the NRCC decided to emulate BuzzFeed in the first place. So how concerned were party leaders that casual visitors might be turned off if they saw the word “Republican”?


  11. rikyrah says:

    Obama: Newtown deserves a vote; McConnell: No
    By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 9, 2013 8:00 AM EDT.

    Following up on last night’s coverage, President Obama delivered a fiery address in Hartford late yesterday afternoon, making the case for his proposals to reduce gun violence. Referencing congressional skeptics, the president said, “If they’re not part of the 90 percent of Americans who agree on background checks, then ask them, why not? Why wouldn’t you want to make it easier for law enforcement to do their job? Why wouldn’t you want to make it harder for a dangerous person to get his or her hands on a gun? What’s more important to you: our children, or an A-grade from the gun lobby?”

    The assembled crowd, featuring many families who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, chanted more than once, “We want a vote.”

    Congressional Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), aren’t inclined to give them one.

    As Obama was speaking — and the crowd was chanting, “we want a vote” — the Senate’s top Republican announced he would join a GOP filibuster of gun control legislation and oppose allowing a Democratic gun control bill to come to the Senate floor for debate.

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did leave the door open to allowing a gun control compromise bill to come to the floor, but his office said in a statement that he will oppose the version of the legislation that Reid outlined before the Senate’s just-concluded two week recess.


    • Ametia says:

      Of Course McTurtle is smelling himself, since Judd’s not running for KY Senate. He was planning on going after her mental health records, but doesn’t want to go after background checks for gun ownership and crazy, white, angry males who buy them.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Media Matters @mmfa 10m
    On Hannity last night, a Fox contributor compared the Congressional Black Caucus to slave masters: http://mm4a.org/10OA9bz

  13. rikyrah says:

    Rubio Wants To Know Why U.S. Approved Jay-Z, Beyonce Cuba Trip

    In the wake of a recent trip to Cuba by Jay-Z and Beyonce, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Monday said the Obama administration should explain why it licensed the trip to the island and reveal how many trips have been approved.

    Rubio said in a written statement:

    “U.S. law clearly bans tourism to Cuba by American citizens because it provides money to a cruel, repressive and murderous regime. Since their inception, the Obama Administration’s ‘people to people’ cultural exchange programs have been abused by tourists who have no interest in the Cuban people’s freedom and either don’t realize or don’t care that they’re essentially funding the regime’s systematic trampling of people’s human rights.

    “According to recent news reports, Jay-Z and Beyonce’s Cuba trip, which the regime seized on for propaganda purposes, was fully licensed by the Treasury Department. If true, the Obama Administration should explain exactly how trips like these comply with U.S. law and regulations governing travel to Cuba and it should disclose how many more of these trips they have licensed.”


  14. rikyrah says:

    AUDIO: McConnell Aide Discusses Using Judd’s Mental Health As Campaign Issue

    A February meeting between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and aides eventually touched on Ashley Judd’s history with depression and how it might play in the GOP leader’s re-election campaign next year, according to an audio tape obtained by David Corn of Mother Jones.

    The meeting, which took place on February 2, was led by an unidentified aide, who unveiled some of the oppo research the McConnell team had dug up on Judd. Judd announced last month that she will not challenge McConnell next year.

    After highlighting the Hollywood star’s support of President Barack Obama and her positions on social issues such as abortion rights, the aide addressed her mental health. The actress and activist has spoken openly about her history with depression, even admitting to bouts with suicidal thoughts as a sixth grade student — an area of Judd’s biography that the aide seemed willing to broach.

    “She’s clearly, this sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced. I mean it’s been documented,” the aide said. “Jesse can go in chapter and verse from her autobiography about, you know, she’s suffered some suicidal tendencies. She was hospitalized for 42 days when she had a mental breakdown in the ’90s.”



  15. rikyrah says:

    How Obama’s Latest Bid For A Grand Bargain Could Fall Apart
    Brian Beutler- April 9, 2013, 6:00 AM

    We now know that President Obama’s budget will include a provision that cuts Social Security and veterans benefits, and raises middle class taxes.

    If you’ve been following the budget contretemps for the past couple years you know that the provision is called Chained CPI, and you may even know how it works.

    What’s less widely understood is that measure itself has fluctuating budgetary effects — ones that could mitigate its consequences for seniors and middle class workers, but make rank and file Republicans less receptive to treating it as a concession significant enough to win their support for a “grand bargain” that includes higher taxes on wealthy Americans.

    “What neither side seems to have noticed,” writes Obama’s former budget chief Peter Orszag in a Bloomberg op-ed, “is that the difference between the chained CPI and the standard CPI has been diminishing. That means the impact of switching indexes may not be as great as many assume. … A decent guess is that, over the next decade, the effect on the deficit of adopting the chained index would be less than $150 billion. Social Security benefits even 20 years after retirement would be reduced by less than 2 percent.”

    That’s less than half of the more than $300 billion in total deficit reduction the Congressional Budget Office projected earlier this year.

    Chained CPI differs from traditional measures of inflation by reflecting an assumption that people will react to rising prices by substituting cheaper products for more expensive ones. If the assumption is correct — and many economists dispute that it’s an appropriate assumption for goods and services seniors disproportionately consume — then the index the government currently uses to calculate benefit growth is too generous.

    In its estimates, CBO assumes that the chained index grows about a quarter of a percentage point more slowly than the standard indices. But in recent years that’s ceased to be true, and for the past two years that difference has shrunk to just over one tenth of one percent.


  16. rikyrah says:

    Did Obama Lose Votes Because of His Race?

    Most observers, with the exception of those who fervently believe in a “colorblind” America, accept the role race plays in perceptions of Barack Obama. His blackness influences supporters—generating enthusiasm for his candidacy—and detractors, from right-wing provocateurs like Rush Limbaugh. to left-wing critics like Cornel West.

    If there’s still an open question, it’s to what extent has Obama’s race played a part in his vote share. Presidential voting is influenced by a wide range of factors, from partisanship and economic conditions, to ideology and wealth. And since Obama won a majority of the vote in both of his elections, it seems like a stretch to say he somehow lost votes as a result of his race—he’s the first Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt to win two terms with a majority of the popular vote. Who else could he have lost?

    Two years ago, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz—a Harvard economist—tried to answer this question. Of course, quantifying racial bias—to say nothing of its effects—is incredibly difficult. In general, people just aren’t willing to express explicit prejudice in surveys, in large part because most people don’t like to think of themselves as prejudiced, even if they hold bigoted views (there aren’t many Bull Connors in the world). With that in mind, Davidowitz used a different approach—Google. As he noted last year, “Google, aggregating information from billions of searches, has an uncanny ability to reveal meaningful social patterns.” Moreover, “The conditions under which people use Google — online, most likely alone, not participating in an official survey — are ideal for capturing what they are really thinking and feeling.” And most importantly, people use Google to find “racially-charged material.”

    What he found was that Obama underperformed the most in those areas of the country where racially-charged searches were most prevalent:

    Advertisement Consider two media markets, Denver and Wheeling (which is a market evenly split between Ohio and West Virginia). Mr. Kerry received roughly 50 percent of the votes in both markets. Based on the large gains for Democrats in 2008, Mr. Obama should have received about 57 percent of votes in both Denver and Wheeling. Denver and Wheeling, though, exhibit different racial attitudes. Denver had the fourth lowest racially charged search rate in the country. Mr. Obama won 57 percent of the vote there, just as predicted. Wheeling had the seventh highest racially charged search rate in the country. Mr. Obama won less than 48 percent of the Wheeling vote.

    Overall, in the 2008 presidential election, racial animus cost Obama between three and five percentage points, the equivalent of giving John McCain a home-state advantage nationwide.

    For 2012, Stephens-Davidowitz reran the experiment, to see if the results would differ now that the public is familiar with Barack Obama as a political figure. Nope. At the low end, Obama’s race cost him 3.2 percentage points in last year’s presidential election. At the high end, it cost him six full points. Nationally, Davidowitz estimates that Obama lost four points from his total as a result of racial animus. Again, giving Mitt Romney the equivalent of a home-state advantage throughout the country.

    There a lot of things to take away from this, but here are two. First, this should throw (some) water on the view—held by many, including myself—that the economy is all that matters in presidential elections. Economics is an important factor in predicting elections, but it’s not the only one. Racism is just one of many variables that has a huge effect on the outcome of presidential contests.

    And second? If this is correct, and Obama underperformed by roughly four points in 2008 and 2012, then there’s a chance that the Democratic brand is stronger than we think. We’ll see in 2016, but a “threepeat” for the Democratic Party might be more likely than we think, given the potentially wider support for a white Democratic nominee for president.


  17. rikyrah says:

    Second Thoughts on the Future
    Josh Marshall- April 7, 2013, 6:32 PM 4378

    Are Republicans deciding they don’t want to do immigration reform after all?

    Party elites speak through the traditional media while party bases register their opinions through voting and giving. This applies equally on both sides of the partisan divide. And I should add that I use ‘elite’ in this case not in a pejorative but purely in a prescriptive sense. That’s made it difficult to get a proper read on just where we are on the immigration reform debate and a host of other issues on which Republicans seemed inclined to move on after the November defeat.

    But I’m sensing a shift.

    For months, the key fact for understanding the immigration debate has been that if it doesn’t happen it’s a catastrophe for the GOP. So Republican demands or threats to shut the whole thing down have all the political force of someone putting a gun to their own head and threatening to shoot. Despite the occasional claims from the right that the President wants a campaign issue in 2014 rather than a bill, I have not spoken to anyone in a position to act or know who thinks this is true. The Democrats and the White House really, really want a bill passed. The truth is they get the political bump regardless.

    But it’s only in the last couple weeks that I’ve heard Republicans doubting the premise that they need immigration reform to pass. And it’s mainly come in the form of something like this. ‘They’ll vote for the Democrats by big margins regardless. So blocking reform or letting it die is no big loss, especially when pushing it will turn off our most loyal voters.’

    Others point to Republican Senators from states with sizable Hispanic populations who weren’t hurt very badly when immigration reform went down during the Bush years.

    There is some truth to the first point. But it’s still amazingly delusional thinking.


  18. rikyrah says:

    Underemployment Is Also the Right Target (Not Just Unemployment)
    Apr 08, 2013

    If we wanted to target the persistent slack in the labor market, though I can’t see any signs that we do, we shouldn’t just target the unemployment rate; we should also go after the underemployment rate. Since it captures the important dimension of not just do you have a job, but are you getting the hours of work you want, it’s a more comprehensive measure of the extent to which workers are underutilized–i.e., slack–in the labor market.

    The difference is pretty well known by now: the underemployment rate includes various groups of underutilized workers or job seekers who are left out of the official rate. The largest difference is the inclusion of part-time workers who would rather have full-time jobs. Most recently, there were about eight million such folks, elevating this measure of underutilization to around 14% compared to about 8% for unemployment (2013Q1). Other components of this rate include discouraged workers who’ve recently looked for work but given up, and some other smaller groups that are neither working nor looking for work but remain marginally attached to the job market.


  19. rikyrah says:

    Voter registration could be automatic
    Posted by Jonathan Bernstein on April 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    The Oregonian editorialized over the weekend about voting in that state (via Hasen):

    Secretary of State Kate Brown has a proposal, based on what Oregon has learned over two decades’ experience with the mail ballot: Getting to vote should be easy, not hard.

    Brown has introduced House Bill 2198, which would allow the state to automatically register any Oregonian when a state agency already has their name, age, address and digital signature. Right now that means Driver and Motor Vehicle Services, but it could extend to other agencies. Following this system in other places achieves registration of more than 90 percent of eligible voters.

    Just using DMV records, Brown estimates that another 500,000 Oregonians would get the power to decide, at the end of October or the beginning of November, that a candidate has finally inspired or annoyed them enough to make them decide to vote.

    It’s a right they should have.


  20. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

Leave a Reply