Friday Open Thread |Blaxploitation Movies Week

Today’s Movies:

Cooley High

cooley high poster 2

Cooley High is a 1975 American film based upon the real high school located on the near north side of Chicago produced and released by American International Pictures and written by Eric Monte (co-creator of Good Times). The film, set in 1964 Chicago, Illinois, stars Glynn Turman and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, and features a soundtrack made up primarily of 1960s Motown hits.

The film is considered a classic of black cinema, and its soundtrack featured a new Motown recording, G.C. Cameron’s hit single “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday”. That song was covered in 1991 by Motown act Boyz II Men on the group’s first LP, named Cooleyhighharmony in honor of this film.


The story explores the adventures and relationships of Leroy “Preach” Jackson (Turman) and Richard “Cochise” Morris (Hilton-Jacobs), two black high school students at Edwin G. Cooley High School, in Chicago, during the 1960s whose carefree lives take a turn for the worse through several twists of fate, including violent carjacking friends, drugs, failing grades, and girls.

Preach and Cochise, two best friends, decide to cut class and go to the zoo, despite the fact that Preach has missed an entire week of school, much to the chagrin of his history teacher, Mr. Mason (Garrett Morris). Nevertheless, they gather their other friends, Pooter and Tyrone, and play hookey. On their way back, Pooter is hit with gorilla feces, Cochise teaches some young new “turkeys” how to shoot a basketball, and they meet their friend Dorothy at a diner called Martha’s, where she invites them to a quarter party, while Preach slips inside to gamble with his other friends, Stone and Robert. Cochise, knowing that Martha will throw him out for gambling, warns him, just as cute girl Brenda (Cynthia Davis) tries to get past them to get to the washroom. After she leaves to get Martha, Leroy makes a dollar bet with Richard that he will sleep with Brenda before they break up. Martha then comes with a large butcher knife, threatening Jackson and throwing him out of her shop.

At Dorothy’s quarter party, Tyrone flirts with Dorothy to grant the guys access to the quarter party without paying her. At the party, Pooter tries to flirt with some other girls, but they all flock to Richard instead, leaving him alone. Leroy finds and tries to serenade Brenda with poetry. Outside, Cochise flirts with and kisses a girl during a slow dance in the dark. However, hotheaded Damon, a classmate, sees him kissing the girl, who turns out to be Loretta Brown, Damon’s girlfriend.

Later, Preach, Pooter, Tyrone, and Morris are singing and drinking wine on a street corner.

Stone and Robert pull up in a Cadillac, and Preach and Cochise go along with them for a ride as they are eager to smoke with them. Preach claims to have excellent driving experience, and the others allow him to take the wheel. At an intersection, the group gets scared next to a police car, and they pull away, causing the squad car to give chase. The chase ends when they evade the police in a mostly empty warehouse, and then gently crash into the back of another vehicle. Everyone runs away from the car.

At school the next day, before their important history test, Preach and Cochise are taken out of Mr. Mason’s class on a warrant for their arrest relating to grand theft, auto.

Mr. Mason talks to the police, convincing them to go easier on his students, while Stone and Robert who have worse criminal records are not spared. When they eventually get out of jail, they seek vengeance on Preach and Cochise, perceiving them to be snitches.

When Stone and Robert get released, they go searching for Preach and Cochise and end up beating Cochise to death. Preach visits his grave after the ceremony once everyone has left and pours some wine on his grave and reads one of his poems out loud. After that Preach says good-bye and heads off to Hollywood and becomes a screenwriter.



Superfly Poster

SUPERFLY (1972) – While unfairly pigeonholed as a blaxploitation movie Superfly is in reality a monumentally overlooked classic of American gangster films.

Some of the blame for the lack of respect accorded this cinematic masterpiece comes from the outrageous movie posters that make it look like standard blaxploitation fare to modern film viewers. In reality Superfly pioneered some of the story elements that other blaxploitation flicks would turn into laughable cliches with their incessant repetition.

Another obstacle to celluloid respectability is the title, which became synonymous with the lead character, played masterfully by Ron O’Neal. Actually, O’Neal’s character is named Youngblood Priest. “Superfly” was the adjective used to describe the high quality of the cocaine Priest pushed to his customers, as in the line of dialogue “Priest, you sell some superfly shit!”

And yes, cocaine is indeed the drug our protagonist deals in his New York ghetto territory, even though it wasn’t until the 1980′s that this particular drug became a media darling. Superfly gained notoriety even before its release because of the NAACP pressuring the studio to change the ending to have Youngblood Priest get killed. The organization did not want a cocaine pusher to emerge triumphant at movie’s end, fearing that would send the wrong message. (I’m really tired of political and religious organizations getting in the way of art by obsessing over how people may view it)

The NAACP proved it hadn’t really understood the script. Ron O’Neal’s character was not a one- dimensional figure like the “heroic” pimps of other early blaxploitation films. His Youngblood Priest is a complex, talented man whom the viewer can easily believe would have gravitated to a much more constructive life if not for the wretched poverty and merciless violence of the ghetto environment he was born into. Priest himself clearly finds no romance in his gangster lifestyle. O’Neal’s portrayal convinces us that it was purely a matter of survival for Priest in the usual “eat or be eaten” scenario.

The audience therefore sympathizes with Priest in his obsessive quest for one really big score so he can afford to escape the life he clearly loathes. Significantly, his white girlfriend wants him to continue his criminal ways. She doesn’t really love him, but just gets vicarious thrills from sharing his outlaw lifestyle. His black girlfriend, played by Shiela Frazier, does love him and encourages him to find a way out of the ghetto for both of them, though neither of them delude themselves about the nature of Priest’s business.

Frazier and O’Neal share a wordless scene that will haunt you forever after you see it. Director Gordon Parks frames a shot with the two African Americans’ faces staring longingly at the camera while pressed up against iron bars, invoking images of both slavery and prison, but as the camera pulls back we see that the two aren’t incarcerated. Instead the bars are part of a gate surrounding an expensive house, and in this case the figurative “bars” are blocking the young couple from the finer things in life. I literally cried the first time I saw that scene. It is perfectly rendered and is despairingly beautiful.

Throw in as much action as The Godfather featured and the iconic soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield and I rest my case that Superfly belongs alongside the greatest American gangster films ever made.

The Mack


The Mack is a 1973 blaxploitation film starring Max Julien and Richard Pryor.[2] Although the movie was produced during the era of such blaxploitation movies as Dolemite, its producers do not label it a true blaxploitation picture. They believe it to be a social commentary, according to Mackin’ Ain’t Easy, a documentary about the making of the film, which can be found on the DVD edition. The movie is set in Oakland, California and was the biggest-grossing blaxploitation film of its time. Its soundtrack was recorded by Motown artist Willie Hutch.


Oakland, California 1967: John “Goldie” Mickens, (Max Julien) a small-time black drug dealer and his friend Slim (Richard Pryor) are in the middle of a shootout in a salvage yard after being set up during a botched drug deal. Realizing that they’re outgunned, Goldie orders Slim to flee the salvage yard. Goldie crashes his car as he attempts to escape and is apprehended by Hank (Don Gordon) and Jed (William Watson), two corrupt, racist white police detectives. Goldie is tried in court and sentenced to five years in the California State Penitentiary. In prison Goldie almost becomes stir crazy and struggles to maintain his sanity.

Five years later, in 1972 Goldie is released from prison and returns to Oakland on a charter bus. He immediately goes into a pool hall where he’s reunited with his mentor The Blind Man (Paul Harris),[disambiguation needed] an aging street hustler and pimp. The Blind Man decides to help Goldie get back on his feet by turning him on to pimping and gives him his first lessons on being a successful pimp: “A pimp is only as good as his product, and his product is women. Now you’ve got to go out there and get the best ones you can find. And you’ve got to work them broads like nobody’s ever worked them before. And never forget: anybody can control a woman’s body, you see, but the key is to control her mind.”

After meeting with the Blind Man, Goldie goes to a nightclub where he bumps into Lulu (Carol Speed), a childhood girlfriend who is now a prostitute. Lulu tells Goldie that, because she’s an “outlaw” (a prostitute who doesn’t have a pimp), that she is constantly antagonized by pimps who are trying to force her to “choose” (choose a pimp to run her). Lulu pleads with Goldie to become her pimp and, although initially hesitant, he accepts. As Goldie leaves the bar he’s met by Hank and Jed, who harass and intimidate him. Goldie then goes to the apartment of his humble and deeply religious mother (Juanita Moore) who pleads with Goldie to go to church with her and to abandon his criminal ways. In their conversation it’s revealed that the Mickens family relocated to California from Alabama after Goldie’s father was murdered. Goldie rejects his mother’s pleas, reasoning that he has to face “the man” the only way that he knows how to. Goldie then heads to a meeting where his younger brother Olinga (Roger E. Mosley), a Black Nationalist, is giving a speech about creating a “Black America Within But Without White America”. The two brothers reunite and Goldie informs Olinga that he’s going to get his life together, not disclosing to Olinga that he’s decided to become a pimp, something that he knows Olinga strongly disapproves of.

As Goldie sits in a barber shop he overhears the conversations of several pimps, including the cocky and boisterous Pretty Tony (Dick Anthony Williams) and Frank Ward, the real-life pimp who the film is based on. Goldie begins soaking up the attitude and mentality of a pimp and immediately develops a cold-hearted attitude. This is displayed in the following scene in Lulu’s apartment where, after having sex with Lulu and reminiscing on their difficult childhoods, Goldie coldy moves Lulu’s arm off of him and struts to a mirror to look at himself.

After being fronted money by the Blind Man in order to get started out Goldie begins pimping, with Lulu as his “bottom bitch” (a pimp’s #1 prostitute who is also put in charge of other prostitutes in a pimp’s stable) and Slim as his partner in crime . A montage set to the film’s theme song show Goldie’s rapid success as a pimp, recruiting several prostitutes including Chico (Kai Hernandez), a loud and sassy prostitute, and Diane (Sandra Brown) a young white woman from a wealthy family who becomes Goldie’s favorite hooker. Goldie moves his mother out of her tenement apartment and into an upscale condominium. Goldie teaches his prostitutes how to rob clients and shoplift from expensive department stores. Goldie maintains his sway over the young women by brainwashing them, giving them speeches at a makeshift theater where he tells them what he requires of them as they watch an eleborate film display.

As Goldie’s rise to success becomes evident he’s confronted with several antagonists. The first is a black gambler who intends to rob Goldie. Goldie and Slim accost the man at gunpoint, lock him in the trunk of Goldie’s 1971 Cadillac Eldorado, filling the trunk with rats and drive around Oakland with the man screaming in the trunk as the rodents eat away at him before finally dropping him off in front of a hospital. The second antagonist is the Fat Man (George Murdock), a white heroin kingpin who Goldie worked for before going to prison. The Fat Man is jealous of Goldie’s success and wants Goldie to return to work for him in order to control him. Additionally The Fat Man is angered because Olinga and his group have abducted several black drug dealers under the Fat Man’s employ in order to turn them into Black Nationalists and to stop them from selling drugs in the black community. Hank and Jed are also angered by Olinga’s interferrence with their drug racket and routinely brutalize and harass Goldie in an attempt to get Olinga to stop.

Goldie and Olinga argue with one another about their activities. Olinga tries to get Goldie to see that pimping black women is no better than drug dealing, as both crimes involve exploiting black people. Goldie tells Olinga that he’ll support him in ridding the ghetto of the drug dealers, but tells Olinga not to send his group after Goldie. Olinga asserts that, in order to fix the ghetto, they have to get rid of the drug dealers and the pimps at the same time. After Hank and Jed murder Sgt. Duncan (Lee Duncan), a black police detective who confronted the pair about their illegal activities, they unsuccessfully try to pin the murder on Goldie and Slim, even going so far as trying to force Goldie and Slim to run away from them at gunpoint so that the detectives can shoot them and claim that they attempted to evade arrest. It is at this point that Goldie begins to contemplate his lifestyle and it’s inevitable consequences.

Goldie, along with Slim, Lulu and Diane, attend the Players Ball, an annual gala event highlighting Bay Area pimps. During the festivities the Fat Man once again attempts to force Goldie into working for him. Goldie once again refuses and lambasts the Fat Man for being so greedy that he’s even willing to sell drugs to children. Goldie celebrates with Slim, Lulu and Diane and is awarded “Mack of the Year” at the Player’s Ball. The scene then cuts to several days later as Goldie finds Diane dead in a hotel room. When Goldie examines her corpse he notices needle marks on her arm and realizes that she’s been killed by the Fat Man as a way to get back at Goldie. Goldie meets with the Fat Man in a vacant lot. The Fat Man intends to have his henchman kill Goldie, however the attempt on Goldie’s life is thwarted when Slim, disguised as a homeless man playing an accordion, kills the Fat Man’s bodyguards. Goldie, Slim and several of their associates then subdue the Fat Man and kill him by injecting him with battery acid.

While gambling at an after hours spot, Goldie and Pretty Tony get into an argument after Pretty Tony’s top hooker, China Doll (Annazette Chase), humiliates Pretty Tony by leaving him and “choosing” Goldie in front of the other hustlers at the crap table. Pretty Tony threatens Goldie, telling him “You’re gonna wish you was never born, nigga!” and leaves. Later an unidentified man knocks on Goldie’s mother’s door, announcing himself as “A friend of Goldie’s”. When Goldie’s mother answers the door the man points a gun at her. Goldie visits his mother at the hospital. She has been severely beaten by the assailant and is unconscious. She awakens to find Goldie at her bedside, who lies to her and tells her that the doctor says she will be alright. Broken-hearted and disappointed, she looks away from Goldie and slips into death.

Goldie and Slim track down Pretty Tony. After a brief shootout they chase Pretty Tony into an abandoned warehouse. Pretty Tony stabs Slim with his cane sword, but only causes a minor injury. Goldie and Slim hold Pretty Tony at gunpoint while Goldie forces Pretty Tony to stab himself in the buttocks repeatedly with the sword as payback for stabbing Slim. Goldie and Slim then bind Pretty Tony to a chair and gag him with a stick of dynamite, then leave as a helpless Pretty Tony is blown through a warehouse window when the explosives detonate. Hank and Jed arrive to investigate the murder.

At their mother’s funeral Olinga tells a grief-stricken Goldie that he’s “brought death to their house” because of his criminal activities and that, because of this, he’s going to help Goldie get revenge against the people responsible for their mother’s murder. Outside of the funeral home the Blind Man informs Goldie that someone’s put a contract out on his life. Slim and several of their friends help Goldie evade the would-be hitmen by disguising themselves as movers and getting Goldie out of his condominium as the hitmen arrive to kill him. Goldie and Slim split up to meet at a rendezvous point. When Goldie arrives at the rendezvous point he finds an accordion with Slim’s blood on it. Hank and Jed appear with their guns drawn on Goldie and confirm that they’ve killed Slim. The detectives then reveal that they, not Pretty Tony, killed his mother. As they do so Olinga appears from the inside of a vacant building and strangles Jed to death as Goldie disarms a distracted Hank. Hank attempts to plead for his life by claiming that he and Goldie are the same and that Goldie would have done the same thing to Hank. Goldie kills Hank execution-style as Olinga watches. Goldie walks over to Hank and Jed’s car and finds Chico sitting in the backseat. Chico, resentful of Goldie’s favorable treatment of Diane over her, revealed to the corrupt cops the addresses of Goldie and his mother. Goldie contemplates shooting Chico, but relents. He throws some pocket change at her and walks away. Realizing that Oakland is now too dangerous for him to remain there, Goldie hugs Olinga goodbye and boards a charter bus leaving the city the same way he came.

Willie Dynamite


Willie Dynamite is a 1974 blaxploitation film starring Roscoe Orman, Diana Sands, Thalmus Rasulala, and Joyce Walker. The eponymous Willie Dynamite is a pimp in NYC who strives to be number one in the city. As he is trying to become the top pimp, a social worker is trying to change his ways for the better.


Willie Dynamite is a fancy pimp that has his girls working in business conventions attracting the many businessmen that need a break from work. The film starts with the girls walking into the Business International Association convention where all eyes are turned on to the girls. Willie has seven women working the night, all dressed up with vibrant outfits. Many men take the girls to their hotel rooms and even the police are paying to have fun. Willie is first seen driving his “pimped” purple Cadillac on the streets of New York. The front license plate engraves the first part of his nickname, “Willie”, while the back license plate engraves the second part, “Dynamite”. Willie goes to the hotel to collect payment from his girls.

Pashen is the newest hooker in the line of Willie. He gets mad at her for producing less than expected. Willie compares his business of hookers to that of a production line: “Seven girls out there, every ten minutes, one comes off the production line, like that…This is a business baby, a production line, and just like GM, Ford, Chrysler, Willie’s comin’ through.” He then explains his dreams of being number one, the top pimp in the city of New York. Bell, the current number one pimp, holds a pimp counsel, and explains that the heat is rising on them, meaning the police are cracking down on prostitution activities within the city. Bell proposes an idea that each pimp get his own turf to run instead of the pimps competing for territory. Everyone is for the idea except Willie. He argues that the new idea would hurt his business. He compares his women to the animals of the jungle, having the need to roam free and conquer all that can be controlled.

Later, Willie soon learns that Pashen, the new girl, has been sent to jail. Cora, a social worker, comes and visits Pashen in jail. She tries to educate Pashen on the dangers of being a prostitute. Cora encourages Pashen to change her life, to become a model and get paid for it. Pashen, naïve, dislikes the idea and believes she can make more money as a hooker for Willie. Willie then comes to post bail and rescue Pashen. Cora makes an unexpected visit to Willie’s while he is away and tells the girls they are being ripped off from Willie. They ponder the thought as she leaves the room. When Willie comes back, he learns that Pashen has gone to jail again and the girls are reluctant to work. Willie threatens to put them in shape if they decide to not work. Cora visits the jail and tries to persuade Pashen to change again. Pashen argues that she makes a lot of money and she feels like she is somebody important when she is working. Cora then reveals that she was once a prostitute on the streets. She then sneaks in to Willie’s place to find evidence of bank accounts that can prove his dirty doings. The evidence she took would not be able to hold in court.

Pashen finally decides to pursue modeling. She takes a photo opportunity and gets paid. She tries to tell Willie that she wants out, but he tells her of dreams and hopes that she can’t refuse. Willie goes to the hotel convention, finding that his territory has been compromised and that his head hooker, Honey, has been killed after a territorial battle. His life is spiraling down as he finds all his bank accounts have been frozen and are under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service. Two detectives chase down Willie through New York. Willie’s seven hookers are sent to jail after the hotel riot and they cannot post bail. They are sent to a women’s detention center for holding. While in the detention center, Pashen’s face gets cut, and she gets traumatized by her loss of beauty. When Willie returns home, he is met by Bell and his men, and things get out of hand when Bell wishes for Willie to quit the game. Later Willie is caught by the two detectives for possession of narcotics. Willie is let off for evidence without a warrant. In the end, Willie thinks back on past events after his mother dies, leaves his car for good, and is seen walking happily on the streets.

Three the Hard Way


THREE THE HARD WAY (1974) – This movie is sometimes confused with Five The Hard Way, the bad biker film that was also released under the title Sidehackers. Three The Hard Way, directed by Superfly‘s Gordon Parks, features the Holy Trinity of blaxploitation action – Fred Williamson, Jim Brown and Jim Kelly, as no-nonsense heroes battling Neo- Nazis intent on exterminating all black people in the United States.

The bit of pseudo- science the movie uses to provide credibility for that ambitious scheme is that the Neo- Nazis have perfected a poison that functions in a similar manner to sickle- cell anemia. The poison can be planted in the drinking water of major cities but only black people will fall victim to it. Members of other races drinking the poisoned water will be just fine. The hatemongers have designated Washington DC, Los Angeles and Detroit as their first targets.

The villains perfected their poison via a Dr Mengele- style mad scientist who used African Americans as human guinea pigs. Those experiments took place in a Georgia compound the filmmakers specifically designed to be a haunting combo of a southern plantation and a Nazi death camp. Chillingly effective visuals.

One of the unfortunate black men being experimented on by the Neo- Nazis escapes the concentration camp at the beginning of the film and gets word to Jim Brown’s character, who rounds up our other two stars and takes action. A nice bit of trivia is that one of the necking teenagers the escapee stumbles upon is played by a young Corbin Bernsen, who was related to the producer of this flick.

The only thing keeping this film from absolute pulp action perfection is the absence of Pam Grier. She’d have been perfect in the role played by Jeanne Bell (of TNT Jackson fame), the leader of the three female bikers (shades of Darktown Strutters) who aid our heroes at a crucial point in the film.

The Black Godfather


The Black Godfather is a blaxploitation film released in 1974. It was written and directed by John Evans, and stars Rod Perry, Don Chastain, Diane Sommerfield and Jimmy Witherspoon.


J.J. (Rod Perry), a rising star in the black crime scene, is in the process of consolidating his power over the neighborhood. One of the only remaining obstacles is the white heroin cartel that is understandably reluctant to abandon such a lucrative market. Tensions rise, and an explosive confrontation is the result.

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68 Responses to Friday Open Thread |Blaxploitation Movies Week

  1. rikyrah says:



    In other words, it went down like this:

    PUTIN: What’s up?

    OBAMA: Look man, let’s keep it real. Syria’s got the gas. You know it, I know it.

    PUTIN: And?

    OBAMA: And…we can’t be having that. Now look, Vlad, I know you support Syria and all.

    PUTIN: Yes I do. So?

    OBAMA: Look: I got about 30 countries ready to sign on and join with me in calling out Syria. I’m not talking just France & Britain & those type countries. We got other countries having our back. We’re ready to blast that ass.

    PUTIN: I’m listening.

    OBAMA: So join with us in shutting off Syria’s gas.

    PUTIN: Oh, so YOU can take the credit?

    OBAMA: I don’t give a shit who takes the credit. In fact, YOU can take the credit.

    PUTIN: Keep talking.

    OBAMA: That’s right. I don’t need the credit. You take the credit. You can come out and say that you came up with the plan and Syria can say they listened to you. All I want is the gas to be shut off.

    PUTIN: But won’t the people in your country think you’re weak?

    OBAMA: Please. They think I’m wrong whatever I do. Look, me & Michelle are gonna play a joke on them. She’s going to come out in favor of drinking water. We both know all of a sudden people will come out AGAINST drinking water.

    PUTIN: These Americans, they are crazy.

    OBAMA: Here’s the thing, Vlad: If *I* come out in favor of this plan, half of the country will oppose the plan just cuz it came from me. So, you take the credit for the plan. Russia will look good for coming up with the plan. All I want is for the gas to be shut off.

    PUTIN: Well, ok. You got it.

    OBAMA: And next time you’re in DC, I’ll take ya to Ben’s Chili Bowl. We’ll ride over in The Beast. My treat.

    PUTIN: I’mma hold ya to that.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Social Media is a game changer.


    Locs of Love: Black Women Uplift Girl Barred From Tulsa School For Wearing Natural Hair
    by Denene Millner — Sep 9, 2013

    It was a simple call. Drexel University Professor Dr. Yaba Blay, an outspoken advocate who uses her platform to break down the binds of colorism and to help uplift the self-esteem of dark-skinned Black folk, saw that awful story about little Tiana Parker being sent home from her Tulsa charter school for wearing locs and she decided to do something about it: Blay asked her network of friends with locs and natural hair to send her pictures and uplifting words for a message book meant to make Tiana feel better about her hair. Within 24 hours, 111 women answered Blay’s call, which she quickly turned into “ Locs of Love: A Care Package For Tiana,” a virtual love fest for Tiana and brown girls everywhere.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Inside the Obama campaign: A plot against Stephanie Cutter
    Richard Wolffe
    12:00 AM on 09/13/2013

    The Obama campaign looked in the mirror and saw a political problem.

    It had researched every piece of its own message machine and found one area that required urgent fixing. Focus group data suggested that the campaign needed more women on television. Women voters would be a dominant part of any victory in a tough political year for the president.

    But Obama’s surrogates on TV were mainly men like David Axelrod, the campaign’s senior strategist. So when a request landed from CBS, a young staffer passed on the booking to the highest-profile woman at campaign headquarters in Chicago: Stephanie Cutter.
    The Message cover – Richard Wolffe – 09/12/2013

    Cover of “THE MESSAGE: The Reselling of President Obama” by Richard Wolffe (Courtesy of Twelve Books)

    Cutter was deputy campaign manager. But she had long fretted about her status within Obama’s tight circle, not least after failing to get the job and power she wanted in the West Wing. Her comfort lay in maintaining the tightest grip on the campaign’s communications, including the kind of TV punditry she also found flattering.


    The concerns only intensified in July when Cutter turned up the message on Romney’s record at Bain Capital.

    Amid press question about when Romney actually left the firm, the campaign’s communications team staged a conference call with reporters. Cutter hosted the call, but the lead was Bob Bauer, Obama’s former White House counsel and trusted friend, and now his top campaign lawyer. Bauer was an election law expert who maintained a low profile and an understated tone. His answers to any question—about Guantanamo Bay detainees or campaign finance abuses—were almost always precise and fully conceived.

    Bauer told reporters that the situation was “serious.” The Boston Globe had reported that Romney’s timeline of departure from Bain did not mesh with his public statements.

    Cutter took the argument to its logical conclusion. “Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony,” she began. “Or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments.”

    Among those consequences were the layoffs and outsourcing that his campaign denied with righteous indignation. But the one word that captured the most attention was: felony.

    Cutter’s accusation prompted something that was rare from Boston: a same-day response by a senior Romney aide. Campaign manager Matt Rhoades seized on Cutter’s comments to argue that Obama’s team was not conducting itself in a presidential manner.

    “President Obama’s campaign hit a new low today when one of its senior advisers made a reckless and unsubstantiated charge to reporters about Mitt Romney that was so over the top that it calls into question the integrity of their entire campaign,” he said. “President Obama ought to apologize for the out-of-control behavior of his staff, which demeans the office he holds. Campaigns are supposed to be hard fought, but statements like those made by Stephanie Cutter belittle the process and the candidate on whose behalf she works.”

    Rhoades was working the refs: the media liked to rule whether certain plays were in or out of bounds. He was also trying to undermine the reformist brand that Barack Obama had fashioned from his first campaign. In 2008, Obama had prided himself on his refusal of dollars from lobbyists and political action committees. At one point he had scolded his own staff for suggesting that Hillary Clinton was so close to Indian-American donors that she was a senator representing the Indian state of Punjab. He claimed that politics did not have to be a case of tearing down the other side.

    And he promised to unite red and blue America through compromise and common sense. If the focus groups blamed Obama for anything—beyond his inability to fix the economy—it was his failure to unite the country and shift the political dynamic of partisan trench warfare. Now his own campaign was escalating the political attacks by accusing his opponent of not just bending the truth, but breaking the law.

    The Romney campaign had turned an attack on Romney’s character into a challenge to Obama’s reputation.

    For Stephanie Cutter, the felony remark was a point of pride. Yes, she took some heat from conservatives and pundits. But who cared? Nobody on her side had the guts to tell her—to her face—that she had stepped out of line. She left the call predicting that the Romney campaign would respond, and they did. It was their move now, and she ordered all Obama surrogates off the air.

    When Romney went on TV to talk about Cutter’s felony accusation, the deputy campaign manager felt vindicated. She was a soldier on her tour of duty and she had just completed her mission: to sustain a story that most reporters found complicated to cover. The structure of private equity deals and the nature of SEC filings were all hard to follow. But an angry exchange about credibility and values between a presidential candidate and a deputy campaign manager? Now that was easy to enjoy. Cutter’s work was done.


    Cutter was not shy about responding to his suggestions in similarly frank ways. She had no respect for Messina, for what she saw as his spinelessness and indecision. She had been on the losing side of an election in 2004, and the losing side of the internal debate inside the campaign. She was determined not to lose either contest this time around.

    Frustrated, some inside Obama’s inner circle hatched a plan to push Cutter out of the picture. Messina gathered a small group together at a White Sox baseball game, where Larry Grisolano, Axelrod and Plouffe spent half the game talking about the Cutter question. They needed Pfeiffer to take over the communications staff after the convention in September. Then Cutter’s role would be confined to TV. The only remaining challenge was: who would tell Cutter of her effective demotion? Messina offered, but that was rejected as an impractical move that would rupture Chicago. Plouffe wanted to keep his distance. There had already been several stories about how few women there were in Obama’s inner circle, and nobody wanted to be involved in a story that could leak about the demotion of the only high-profile woman inside campaign headquarters.

    When they consulted the president, he made it clear that he wanted Cutter to stay in some role. “Do what you want,” he said, “but she better not quit.”

    Cutter’s guarantor was, in fact, the most high-profile woman of all in Obama’s inner circle: his wife. “Given Michelle Obama, she’s not going anywhere,” said one of the plotters. “The First Family feels very strongly that Stephanie is an asset. When things have gotten bad especially for Michelle, people go to who they trust. When anything goes bad in the East Wing world, she looks at all of her staff and says, “Go get me Cutter.”

  4. rikyrah says:

    Will Boehner Call Off the Attack?

    by BooMan
    Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 11:10:27 AM EST
    It looks increasingly like the House Republicans are on a suicide mission. It’s like they are hell-bent on making an amphibious landing on some beachhead against entrenched machine gun nests and heavy artillery fire without the benefit of any air cover. They are going to get cut to ribbons.

    Speaker Boehner admits that he cannot come up with a plan to finance the government and pay its debts that won’t be shot down by friendly-fire from his own caucus. That means that he will need to either consent to a government shutdown or go hat-in-hand to Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer and ask for their support in avoiding a catastrophe. But he doesn’t seem to want to do that preemptively, so he is still floundering around trying to appease his own Teahadist base.

    A lot of people say that he will lose his speakership if he goes to the Democrats, but I don’t know that he would lose it immediately. If the Democrats wanted to, they could preserve Boehner’s speakership by voting for him if he is challenged by a substantial rump of the Republican caucus. I am unaware of an example of a Speaker being voted out of his position in the middle of a session of Congress, or even what the rules are for such a challenge. I know that Gingrich resigned, but I don’t know what would have happened if he had tried to stay on a fight for his gavel. I do know that the Speaker is elected by a vote of the entire House, and if the Democrats agreed to vote for Boehner, he couldn’t be ousted unless nearly the entire Republican caucus voted against him.

    It seems like the House GOP is about to crack up on the shoals without even making a beach-landing.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Bill Thompson took black voters for granted and it cost him
    by Perry Bacon Jr. | September 12, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    Former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson could have easily run as the anti-Bloomberg, anti-”stop-and-frisk” candidate in this year’s mayor’s race.

    He had the resume: the only minority candidate in a race in which police tactics that disproportionately affect blacks and Latinos were sure to be a major issue, a strong base of support among African-Americans activists and stop-and-frisk opponents that included previous endorsements from figures like Rev. Al Sharpton and a surprisingly strong showing against Bloomberg in the mayor’s race in 2009, in which Thompson narrowly lost and carried 76 percent of the black vote and 55 percent among Hispanics.

    But instead of criticizing police tactics that angered the minority voters who were his natural base, Thompson ran to the right on law enforcement issues. He opposed modest measures to increase the accountability of New York’s police, such as the creation of an inspector general’s office that would operate outside the NYDP and a city council bill that would make it easier to file suit against police for racial profiling. Thompson memorably told the New York Times earlier this year that there had been an “overreaction to stop-and-frisk” by its critics. He won endorsements from many of the city’s police unions based on these positions.

    And yet throughout the campaign, Thompson confidently predicted minority voters would come around to him in the end.

    He was wrong. Thompson’s approach annoyed some of his longtime supporters. Sharpton and some other black leaders refused to endorse him. Bill de Blasio emerged as the vocal opponent of stop-and-frisk that many black, white and Hispanic Democratic voters wanted. And on Election Day, instead of dominating among black voters as he needed to do to win, Thompson effectively tied with de Blasio among African-Americans, both carrying about 42 percent, according to exit polls. De Blasio won Latinos and also dominated among the majority of the city’s Democratic voters who consider stop-and-frisk tactics “excessive.”

  6. rikyrah says:

    Michelle Obama to hit West Coast for fundraising swing
    By Emily Goodin – 09/13/13 03:12 PM ET

    Michelle Obama will head to the West Coast next month on a high-profile fundraising swing.

    Her first stop will be in Los Angeles on Oct. 11, where she’ll hold a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at the home of “Everybody Loves Raymond” creator Philip Rosenthal and his wife, Monica, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

  7. rikyrah says:

    André Leon Talley slams Russell Simmons: ‘He should not be front row at fashion week’
    by Chris Witherspoon | September 11, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    According to Vogue, “André Leon Talley doesn’t have fashion. André himself is fashion.” This week the fashion warlord took a break from his work as editor-in-chief of Russian style magazine Numéro Russia, to celebrate fashion week in New York City.
    Over the past decade, hip-hop heavyweights like Jay Z, Kanye West, and Russell Simmons have graced the front row of fashion shows around the world. However, Talley says Simmons should be banned from front rows of fashion shows this season.

    “I think anyone that is a person of achievement on the front row that has achieved a great deal be they black or white is a good thing,” the former Vogue editor at large said.

    “I don’t think Russell Simmons should be seated on anybody’s front row this week after having done that disgusting Harriet Tubman sex tape. He is a man of great achievement. He is a great philanthropist….why would he think it would be an honorable thing to do? He said he thought it was funny. That is not funny it is outrageously disrespectful to the legacy and history of Harriet Tubman and to the struggle.

  8. Yahtc says:

    “State of the Art: African American Poetry Today Poetry Reading”

    Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center and the Poetry Society of America team up to celebrate the rich, wide-ranging voice of African-American poetry with an evenings of readings. Introduced by Boston’s inaugural poet laureate Sam Cornish, poets include a Pulitzer prize winner and several nominees and the founders of the poetry group Cave Canem, among many others. Cosponsored by the Boston Review and Cave Canem, the event honors the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59) on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his assassination.

    Hosted by Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center and the Poetry Society of America on April 2, 2008.

  9. Ametia says:

    ‘Things Never Said’ movie review
    By Stephanie Merry, Published: September 12

    Television writer Charles Murray makes a promising feature film debut with “Things Never Said.” He wrote and directed the movie about a Los Angeles woman with big dreams and a talent for spoken-word poetry, if only she could extricate herself from a dead-end abusive relationship.

    Shanola Hampton plays Kalindra, a waitress who married her high school sweetheart, Ronnie (Elimu Nelson). Once a rising basketball star, Ronnie’s promising career was quashed by an injury. He’s since taken a job as a cashier at a gas station, but he’s hardly content, and his victim complex coupled with a volatile temper make for a nasty combination. Kalindra, in a bid to escape the doldrums of her marriage and also to overcome a devastating miscarriage, turns to spoken-word poetry. She has never left California but plans to one day perform at New York’s spoken word mecca, Nuyorican Poets Cafe

    • Yahtc says:

      The students forget that Petraeus was only following orders from President George W. Bush who was being guided by Cheney and Rumsfeld.

    • Ametia says:

      I’m sure the students would and some already have given Bush/Cheny a mouthful too, but not this up close and personal.

      There’s still alot of angst about that administration. Not sure how emotionally charged I’d be had I come face-face with Patreaus, for now, I don’t think I’d shout vulgarities at him. Maybe aske him his thoughts on what went down with Benghazi, before his affair and his resigning.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Florida bars Obamacare aides at public health centers
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:04 AM EDT

    We’ve been keeping an eye on Republican efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, including the recent focus on “navigators.” Leave it to Florida to take this to a new level.

    To briefly recap, the Obama administration has partnered with organizations nationwide to hire navigators who’ve been tasked with helping American consumers navigate the new system and sign up for benefits they’re legally entitled to. Unsure if you’re eligible for your state’s exchange marketplace? A navigator can help. Confused about how to choose the coverage plan that’s best for you? A navigator can guide you through it.

    Republican officials have determined that cracking down on navigators may help keep the uninsured from signing up for coverage. But Florida is taking this to levels unseen elsewhere.

    Florida has issued an order that will prevent residents from finding out how they can sign up for expanded subsidized health insurance at county health departments.

    The directive bans the outreach activities of “navigators,” or counselors hired under the Affordable Care Act to help low-income, uninsured residents sign up for the state’s expanded insurance program.

    “This is another blatant and shameful attempt to intimidate groups who will be working to inform Americans about their new health insurance options and help them enroll in coverage, just like Medicare counselors have been doing for years,” said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Fabien Levy.

    Yes, actually, it is blatant and shameful, though Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) administration doesn’t seem to care

  11. Yahtc says:

    Jerry Pinkney is one of my FAVORITE illustrators of children’s books. Below is a list of children’s books in my library that are illustrated by him:

    *Adoff, Arnold. In for Winter, Out for Spring. New York. Harcourt Brace, 1991.
    *Flournoy, Valerie. The Patchwork Quilt. New York: Dial, 1985.
    *Greenfield, Eloise. Mary McLeod Bethune. New York: Crowell, 1985.
    *Grifalconi, Ann. Ain’t Nobody a Stranger to Me. New York: Hyperion, 2007.
    *Hamilton, Virginia. Drysolong. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1992.
    *Holiday, Billie & Herzog, Arthur. God Bless the Child. NewYork: Harper Collins, 2004.
    *Lester, Julius. The Tales of Uncle Remus. New York: Dial, 1987
    *Lester, Julius. John Henry. New York: Dial, 1994.
    *Lester, Julius. Sam and the Tigers. New York: Dial, 1996.
    *Lester, Julius. Black Cowboy, Wild Horses. New York: Dial, 1998.
    *Lester, Julius. Little Red Hen. New York: Dial, 2006.
    *Lester, Julius. The Old African. New York: Dial, 2005.

    *McKissick, Patricia C. Mirandy and Brother Wind. New York: Knopf, 1988.
    *Mckissick, Patricia C. Goin’ Someplace Special. New York: Atheneum, 2001.
    *Moss, Thylias. I Want to Be. New York: Dial, 1993.
    *Pinkney, Gloria. Back Home. New York: Dial, 1992
    *Pinkney, Gloria. Sunday Outing. New York: Dial, 1994.
    *Pinkney, Jerry. Aesops Fables. New York: SeaStar, 2000.
    *Pinkney, Jerry. The Lion & the Mouse. New York: Little, Brown & Co. 2009.
    *Schroeder, Alan. Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman. New York: Dial, 1996.
    *Tayler, Mildred. Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. New York: Dial, 1977.

    All of these books are great. One of my favorites is “I Want to Be” by Thylias Moss.

    You can see his artwork by clicking this link:

      • Yahtc says:

        “I Want to Be” by Thylias Moss (illustrated by Jerry Pinkney)

        Thylias Moss paints an uplifting storyline with her poetic words. The story follows a young girl for a day in her quest to answer the eternal question: “What do I want to be?” The girl leads her readers on a journey through nature and imagination as only a child can do.

        Thylias Moss’s incredible talent for making words come alive are displayed in this fanciful children’s book. Moss takes an age-old question (“What do you want to be when you grow up?”) and puts her own spin on a child’s response. Her attention to the child’s interest in nature encourages kids in this technological age to appreciate the natural world around them, and her poetic language attracts even an older audience.

        There is a great universality to this book. The worldly question of what to be when one gets older is complemented by the narrator’s final lines: “I want to be life doing, doing everything. That’s all.” It’s a simple wish, but one that many people strive for, and many don’t achieve.

        Within the subtext of the story lie a few hints of diversity. The girl’s statement, “I want to be green but not so green that I can’t also be purple,” is an obvious metaphor for doing everything, and everything in moderation. However, the underlying reference to color cannot be overlooked. With this statement, Moss is indicating that the colors green and purple can exist mutually, just as can all the colors of human skin. This sentiment is followed a few pages later when the girl proclaims: “I want to be all…people.”

        Another indication of the importance of accepting all cultures is in the narrator’s decision that she’d like to be a language. The differences in her family alone demonstrate that diversity in even the most fundamental trait of humans – language – can exist peacefully: one of her grandmothers speaks in tongues, and the other uses sign language, and neither is better or worse than the other: just different.

    • Yahtc says:

      “The Old African” by Julius Lester (illustrated by Jerry Pinkney)

      Based on legend, this story by frequent collaborators Lester and Pinkney moves gracefully and affectingly from darkness into light. As the tale opens, a plantation master whips a young slave who has attempted to escape. Yet the slaves witnessing this do not see the blood glistening on the boy’s back; instead they see in their minds a picture of water “as blue as freedom.” This vision is provided by the Old African, once called Jaja, a wise slave with a unique power to speak to his fellow captives in their minds and “[pull] the pain from the channels of their souls as if it were a worm in the earth.” The narrative then returns to the time of Jaja’s capture from his African village and the Middle Passage (across the “Water-That-Stretched-Forever”) to be sold into slavery. Like Tom Feelings’s The Middle Passage , author and artist do not spare readers the horrors that occurred. Lester describes the stripping down of captives and liberties taken with the women; in wordless spreads, Pinkney shows Jaja chained to a man who was just fatally shot. On the journey, Jaja’s wife throws herself overboard and his mentor is beaten to death. Back in the present, the Old African learns that his master wants him dead, and believes “it is time to go home.” Two stunning wordless spreads depict the triumphant, uplifting finale, in which the sage leads the captives along the ocean floor to their homeland. By not shying away from the realities of these characters’ daily life, Lester and Pinkney make their victory all the greater. Ages 9-up.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Victory has a thousand parents, but defeat is an orphan

    By Steve Benen
    Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:38 AM EDT.

    It’s obviously too soon to say with any confidence whether the diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria will prevail, but unlike a week ago, it exists. In fact, the current plan offers enough promise — Syria filed the paperwork yesterday on formal membership in the chemical weapons treaty — that there’s been a debate of sorts over the last few days about who can rightly take credit for it.

    Syria credits Russia, a claim the Putin government clearly likes. Conservatives in the U.S. hope the Obama administration isn’t able to claim this as a foreign policy victory, while the White House is eager to do exactly that. Indeed, Rachel asked Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes last night about the timing of how the plan came together, and he noted that President Obama first engaged President Putin about this last June at a G-20 summit in Mexico. An NPR report this week raised the same point. Obama himself took some credit on Monday, saying he initiated the process with Putin last week in St. Petersburg.

    Opinions may vary, though I tend to think this is a relevant question to the extent that accountability and responsibility matter. Last week, we were on the brink of military intervention in the Middle East, which would carry untold consequences, and this week, Syria is joining the chemical weapons convention. History will document who gets the game balls if the plan holds together, and it stands to reason that all the relevant players will want one.

    But there’s also a bigger picture here. Whether or not the president gets credit for the possible diplomatic solution, Kevin Drum argues persuasively, “If you want to give Obama credit, give him credit for something he deserves: being willing to recognize an opportunity when he sees it

  13. rikyrah says:

    Corbett sees the light on Medicaid

    By Steve Benen
    Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:37 AM EDT

    The issue of Medicaid expansion has divided Republican governors in a fascinating way. On the one hand we have eight GOP state chief executives who’ve run the numbers, listened to state health experts, looked at their state budgets, and accepted the fact that the policy is a no-brainer.

    On the other hand, we have the other 22 Republican governors. Some seem to be bad at math, some want to run for national office and don’t want to be seen adopting a major provision of the Affordable Care Act, and some are a willing to undermine their states to spite President Obama.

    Earlier this year, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) was in this second group. Though Medicaid expansion would bring coverage to about a half-million uninsured people in the state, the governor announced in February he would reject the policy.

    That was seven months ago. Corbett has apparently reconsidered.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Man loses 245 pounds with the three P’s

    By Jen Christensen, CNN

    updated 7:30 AM EDT, Mon September 9, 2013

    In the third grade, Marlon Gibson was so overweight his mom had to take him to the men’s store to buy his Easter suit.

    “Even back then, I absolutely loved clothes,” Gibson said. “That’s what really keeps me honest with all this weight loss. I want to go to the mall to buy more than socks.”

    At his heaviest he weighed 405 pounds. Now the 5-foot-11-inch associate director of student conduct at Emory University in Atlanta weighs 160 pounds. Since January 2011, he’s lost 245 pounds, or the equivalent of a gas stove.

    He says anyone can do it his way: without surgery or a special diet program

    “I always tell people it’s the three p’s: persistence, passion and perseverance,” Gibson said.

    The turning point came when the 34-year-old watched his wife tear up during “The Biggest Loser.”

    “She told me she loved me, but she worried that I wasn’t going to be around long because of my weight,” Gibson said. “I had to do something.”


    I loved fried chicken, so I decided I would eat six pieces instead of eight,” Gibson said. “Then I’d reduce it further to four pieces, and then eventually dropped fried chicken all together. I ate meat more like it was a protein condiment. Now I don’t eat any meat at all. I’m a dedicated vegan.”

    Gibson said he is “hyper vigilant” about what he eats now. He’ll start the day with a protein shake before he heads off to the gym in the morning. After he works out, he eats oatmeal with apple slices. Lunch is vegetarian chili with a salad and more vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli or corn on the cob. Dinner is often popcorn, with an occasional smoothie for dessert.

    By now this kind of eating is a habit — so much so that when I went to visit a friend in Iowa, I packed my popcorn and chili and ate it on my layover in Chicago,” Gibson said.

    He breaks from routine every once in awhile, though.

    “In May I turned 34 and decided to splurge,” Gibson said. “We went to a vegan bakery and got a slice of the hummingbird cake, which we split. I hadn’t had cake since 2010.”

    Gibson also exercises daily. “Spinning is my favorite. I like to do two 70-minute spin classes back-to-back,” Gibson said. He also runs at least 3 miles in the evening and does crunches and push-ups before bed.

    Gibson stays focused with the help of a coach, Ryan Blanck, CEO of Blanck lives in North Carolina, so all their sessions are virtual. Gibson finds their sessions particularly effective.

    “He gives me positive encouragement and tough love. I remember one time he said, ‘Your motivation isn’t where it once was.’ That’s all I needed to hear. When I went to the gym that day I told my wife drop me off further away — I need the walk.”

    This healthy living has paid off. In addition to the weight loss, Gibson no longer needs high blood pressure medicine. He says he’s “got energy for days.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    How Obamacare Could Revolutionize Addiction Treatment

    Obamacare’s treatment of alcoholism and other drug addiction as
    chronic diseases that must be covered by insurance plans could lead to as many as 40 million Americans entering rehabilitation programs, according to California Health Report.

    Government data shows that about 24 million Americans aged 12 and older require treatment for a substance abuse issue — but only 11 percent of them received it at a specialty facility. These facilities charge an average of $4,000 for admission, and even outpatient facilities cost an average of $1,500 per course of treatment.[….]

    The health law puts special emphasis on both treatment and prevention by forcing insurers to cover rehab and encouraging doctors to screen for potential addictions.[….]

  16. rikyrah says:

    Harlem’s Fashion Row brings black designers to the forefront

    by Alexis Garrett Stodghill | September 12, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Style is made of so many delicate things.

    The drape of a dress, the perfect trinket dangling from the wrist, makes the difference between being perfectly dressed, and just wearing clothes.

    Black people have always been known for exhibiting impeccable style, regardless of their resources.

    These minute choices leaning towards perfection permeated the crowd gathered in the vaulted entry of Jazz at Lincoln Center on a recent Friday in New York City.

    All were waiting to enter the performance space and enjoy a creative medley of hair, make-up, lighting and clothes presented in the Harlem’s Fashion Row Spring 2014 fashion presentation.

    “Harlem’s Fashion Row always does a fantastic job of highlighting all of the underrepresented designers, so I’m really excited to see what’s new tonight,” Leslie Waller of Jersey City, New Jersey told theGrio. ”I just come to support the idea of making sure that we have a platform for people of color to show their artistic visions to our community.”

  17. rikyrah says:

    Neo-Con Nonsense

    by BooMan
    Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 09:29:57 AM EST

    Remember when I said that President Obama was going to receive severe criticism for standing up to his own foreign policy establishment? The neo-cons are honing their critiques. William Kristol was on CSPAN this morning blasting the president, and Charles Krauthammer is using the same arguments in this morning’s Washington Post. Let’s take a look at part of Krauthammer’s argument:

    Putin doesn’t care one way or the other about chemical weapons. Nor about dead Syrian children. Nor about international norms, parchment treaties and the other niceties of the liberal imagination.
    He cares about power and he cares about keeping Bashar al-Assad in power. Assad is the key link in the anti-Western Shiite crescent stretching from Tehran through Damascus and Beirut to the Mediterranean — on which sits Tartus, Russia’s only military base outside the former Soviet Union. This axis frontally challenges the pro-American Sunni Arab Middle East (Jordan, Yemen, the Gulf Arabs, even the North African states), already terrified at the imminent emergence of a nuclear Iran.

    At which point the Iran axis and its Russian patron would achieve dominance over the moderate Arab states, allowing Russia to supplant America as regional hegemon for the first time since Egypt switched to our side in the Cold War in 1972.

    The hinge of the entire Russian strategy is saving the Assad regime. That’s the very purpose of the “Russian proposal.”

    That’s one way of looking at the world, but it’s a deeply delusional one. I don’t think Vladimir Putin is a humanitarian, but he isn’t totally indifferent to the site of gassed children. But let’s stipulate that Putin is primarily concerned with Russian equities in Syria. He’s also concerned with Islamic extremism on his southern border. What he’s not interested in is supporting radical Islamists in Iran. He isn’t pro-Shiite or anti-Sunni.

    And we shouldn’t be either. In fact, this idea that the Sunnis are pro-western or pro-American is completely inaccurate. It’s true that we have longstanding working relationships with Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and some of the emirates in the Gulf. But we didn’t establish those relationships because we have some kind of preference for Sunnis over Shiites. In fact, the anchor of our Middle Eastern policy in the post-war era was Iran under the Shah. Because the Shah was a thug, we’ve suffered an enduring backlash from Shiites, but that doesn’t mean that the Sunnis like us much better. Certainly the al-Qaeda-aligned rebels in Syria have no love for America, but Arab public opinion is anti-American regardless of sectarian affiliation. Even the Christians are anti-American.

  18. Yahtc says:

  19. Yahtc says:

    It is that time of year again for the Monarch butterfly:

  20. CarolMae

    Did you hear from your son?

  21. Ametia says:

    Cooley High & Willie Hutch’s music in the same thread. I’m in HEAVEN!

  22. Ametia says:

    Rep. Keith Ellison ✔ @keithellison

    They say Obamacare doesn’t work, but working Minnesotans will be able to get basic coverage for $91 starting Oct. 1
    9:42 AM – 12 Sep 2013

  23. Ametia says:

    The National Guard will begin evacuating the entire town of Lyons, Colorado, at daybreak, according to the Boulder County sheriff’s office.

    The Colorado National Guard will use its high-mobility vehicle to transport the approximately 2,000 residents of the small town.

    Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said the “devastating storm” that started on Tuesday dumped more than a half a foot of rain on the region during a 19-hour period. The rain and runoff pushed into Friday morning.

    • Yahtc says:

      I am praying for all the families.

      CarolMae, have you heard from your son yet?

      from CNN:

      Lyons, a small town of 2,000 near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, was cut off by what city officials described as a 500-year flood.
      People were using the city’s Facebook page to search for loved ones, hunt for medicine and even ask for pet food.>

  24. Yahtc says:

    Nature Invented Inter-meshing Gears On Legs of Insects

    This article is so neat!

  25. rikyrah says:

    Tavis had a dream

    Posted by Keith Owens

    A little over a week ago Tavis Smiley suggested that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be very upset with President Barack Obama for championing the idea of a limited missile strike against Syria as a warning against the usage of chemical weapons, which the President and his advisers are convinced the Syrian government used against its own citizens as punishment for anti-government protests. Tavis was one of many who suggested the President was a war-monger whose bloodthirsty appetites needed to be curbed. Only now it is coming to light that perhaps what Obama was doing was part of a strategy to essentially scare Syria to the table, with the prodding of Syria’s good buddy Russia. War might not be right around the corner for us after all, especially if Syria agrees with the proposal put forward by Russian President Vladimir Putin to turn over its chemical weapons to the international community.

    So I’m wondering if Tavis still feels like he has also been to the mountaintop and can speak on Dr. King’s behalf. Smiley has made a conscious decision to publicly contradict President Obama every chance he gets, and his disdainful ”critiques” of the nation’s first black president have more or less made him persona non grata on most major black talk shows, which of course means he is more than welcome on shows such as “This Week” on ABC where he said:

  26. rikyrah says:

    House GOP like a jukebox that only plays one song
    By Steve Benen

    Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:00 AM EDT

    The congressional to-do list is daunting. There’s a very real possibility of a government shutdown in two weeks, and a debt-ceiling deadline looms a few weeks after that. As if that weren’t enough, lawmakers need to tackle a farm bill, immigration reform, and a fix to the Voting Rights Act, all while a national security crisis in Syria lingers.

    Complicating matters, the House is only scheduled to be in session five times between now and the end of the month.

    So how did the Republican-led chamber spend their afternoon yesterday — the last work day before another four-day weekend they scheduled for themselves? As Rachel noted on the show last night, GOP lawmakers voted for the 41st time to gut the Affordable Care Act.

    Joan McCarter summarized the proposal nicely

    In case you care what this one would do, it would stop people from getting subsidies on the health insurance exchanges until the income verification process that is already in the law is replaced with some other income verification process that probably involves elves doing the work in the dead of night. Or maybe unicorns.

    But hey, it’s a vote that House Speaker John Boehner could be assured of “winning,” so there’s that.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!

    • Good morning, everyone!

      Rikyrah, I love Cooley High. I cried when Cochise died. It was so sad. I still get choked up at the funeral scene. :(

      • Ametia says:

        Me too, SG2 And Willie Hutch music. Can we just say, HOLLA!

      • Yahtc says:

        Good Morning, SG2.

        That was such a moving scene. I will have to find the whole movie on internet.

        It is so nice to be able to find movies on Youtube to watch or watch again.

        Yesterday, I watched “A Raisin in the Sun” because of one of the episodes in CM.

        This morning I started watching “Their Eyes Were Watching God”. I will be watching it off and on today.

  28. Yahtc says:


    Thank you so much for your fabulous presentation this week of blaxploitation movies!

    I still need to catch up on some of them.

    Great job!

  29. Yahtc says:

    Good Morning to all of you!

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