Saturday Open Thread | Blaxploitation Movies Week

This has been a fun week for me. Today, it’s just remembering films of the genre that we know. Looking back over this week, I hope you can see why I feel that Blaxploitation hasn’t gotten it’s due. The creativity in front and behind the camera where Black folks could be everything on film – hero and villain….I love these movies.

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song

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Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song is a 1971 American independent drama film, written, produced, scored, directed by, and starring Melvin Van Peebles, father of actor Mario Van Peebles (who was also in the movie). It tells the picaresque story of a poor African American man on his flight from the white authority. Van Peebles began to develop the film after being offered a three-picture contract for Columbia Pictures. No studio would finance the film, so Van Peebles funded the film himself, shooting it independently over a period of 19 days, performing all of his own stunts and appearing in several unsimulated sex scenes. He received a $50,000 loan from Bill Cosby to complete the project. The film’s fast-paced montages and jump-cuts were unique features in American cinema at the time. The picture was censored in some markets, and received mixed critical reviews.

The musical score of Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song was performed by Earth, Wind & Fire. Van Peebles did not have any money for traditional advertising methods, so he released the soundtrack album prior to the film’s release in order to generate publicity. Initially, the film was screened only in two theaters in the United States. It went on to gross $4.1 million at the box office. Huey P. Newton celebrated and welcomed the film’s revolutionary implications, and Sweetback became required viewing for members of the Black Panther Party. According to Variety, it demonstrated to Hollywood that films which portrayed “militant” blacks could be highly profitable, leading to the creation of the blaxploitation genre, although some do not consider this example of Van Peebles’ work to be an exploitation film.

Plot

A young African American orphan (Mario Van Peebles) is taken in by the proprietor of a Los Angeles brothel in the 1940s. While working there as a towel boy, he loses his virginity at a young age to one of the prostitutes. The women name him “Sweet Sweetback” in honor of his sexual prowess and large penis. As an adult, Sweetback (Melvin Van Peebles) works as a performer in the whorehouse, entertaining customers by performing in a sex show. One night, a pair of LAPD officers come in to speak to Sweetback’s boss, Beetle (Simon Chuckster). A black man had been murdered, and there is pressure from the black community to bring in a suspect. The police ask permission to arrest Sweetback, blame him for the crime, and then release him a few days later for lack of evidence, in order to appease the black community. Beetle agrees, and the officers arrest Sweetback. On the way to the police station, the officers arrest a young Black Panther named Mu-Mu (Hubert Scales). They handcuff him to Sweetback, but when Mu-Mu insults the officers, they take both men out of the car, undo the handcuff from Mu-Mu’s wrist, and beat him. In response, Sweetback uses the handcuffs, still hanging from his wrist, to beat the officers into unconsciousness.

The remainder of the film chronicles Sweetback’s flight through South Central Los Angeles towards the United States–Mexico border. Sweetback is captured by the police and violently interrogated about his previous assault on the arresting officers, but he escapes when a riot breaks out. Sweetback goes to a woman who cuts his handcuffs off in exchange for sex. With his handcuffs off, Sweetback continues onward, only to be captured by a chapter of the Hells Angels. The female leader of the gang is impressed by the size of Sweetback’s penis, and agrees to help him and Mu-Mu escape from the police in exchange for sex. The police find Sweetback and Mu-Mu at the bikers’ hangout, but Sweetback escapes on foot while Mu-Mu goes away with the bikers. Mu-Mu and one of the bikers (John Amos) are killed. After his escape from the bikers’ hangout, a white man sympathetic to Sweetback’s cause agrees to switch clothes with him, allowing the usually velour-clad Sweetback to blend in. The police find Sweetback’s former foster mother, who reveals that Sweetback’s birth name is Leroy. The film concludes in the desert, where the L.A. police send several hunting dogs after Sweetback. He makes it into the Tijuana River, and escapes into Mexico, swearing to return to “collect dues”.

Blacula

BLACKULA POSTER

Blacula is a 1972 American horror film produced for American International Pictures. It was directed by William Crain and stars William Marshall in the title role about an 18th-century African prince named Mamuwalde, who is turned into a vampire by Count Dracula and later locked inside a coffin by the Count after a party at the latter’s castle in Transylvania that he attended with his wife Luva (Vonetta McGee). Two centuries later, the now-undead Mamuwalde rises from his coffin attacking various residents in modern day Los Angeles, the first two being the interior decorators who unknowingly release him after purchasing and bringing his coffin from Dracula’s castle in Transylvania. Mamuwalde later meets Tina (also played by Vonetta McGee), a woman he believes to be the reincarnation of his deceased wife Luva.

Blacula was released to mixed reviews in the United States, but was one of the top grossing films of the year. It was the first film to receive an award for Best Horror Film at the Saturn Awards. Blacula was followed by the sequel Scream, Blacula, Scream in 1973 and inspired a small wave of blaxploitation themed horror films.

Plot

In 1780, Prince Mamuwalde (William H. Marshall), the ruler of the Abani African nation, seeks the help of Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) in suppressing the slave trade. Dracula, refusing to help, transforms Mamuwalde into a vampire and imprisons him in a sealed coffin. Mamuwalde’s wife, Luva (Vonetta McGee), is also imprisoned and dies in captivity. In 1972, the coffin has been purchased as part of an estate by two interior decorators, Bobby McCoy (Ted Harris[disambiguation needed]) and Billy Schaffer (Rick Metzler) and shipped to Los Angeles. Bobby and Billy open the coffin and become Prince Mamuwalde’s first victims. At the funeral home where Bobby McCoy’s body is laid, Mamuwalde spies on mourning friends Tina Williams (Vonetta McGee), her sister Michelle (Denise Nicholas), and Michelle’s boyfriend, Dr. Gordon Thomas (Thalmus Rasulala), a pathologist for the Los Angeles Police Department. Mamuwalde believes Tina is the reincarnation of his deceased wife, Luva. On close investigation of the corpse at the funeral home, Dr. Thomas notices oddities with Bobby McCoy’s death that he later concludes to be consistent with vampire folklore.

Prince Mamuwalde continues to kill and transform various people he encounters into vampires as Tina begins to fall in love with him. Thomas, his colleague Lt. Peters (Gordon Pinsent), and Michelle follow the trail of murder victims and begin to believe a vampire is responsible. After Thomas digs up Billy’s coffin, Billy’s corpse rises as a vampire and attacks Thomas, who fends him off and drives a stake through his heart. After finding a photo taken of Mamuwalde and Tina in which Mamuwalde’s body is not visible, Thomas and Peters track Mamuwalde to his hideout, the warehouse where Billy McCoy and Billy Schaffer were first slain. They defeat several vampires, but Mamuwalde manages to escape. Later, Mamuwalde lures Tina to his new hideout at the nearby waterworks plant, while Thomas and a group of police officers pursue him. Mamuwalde dispatches several officers as one shoots Tina. To save Tina from death, Mamuwalde transforms her into a vampire. After Peters manages to kill the vampire Tina, Mamuwalde believes he can not live any longer after losing her twice. Mamuwalde leaves for the surface where the morning sunlight rots his flesh quickly and kills him.

The Spook Who Sat By The Door

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THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR (1973) – The title of this explosive film, based on the controversial novel by Sam Greenlee, plays on the old double meanings of the slang expression “spook”. While spook could be used as a derogatory term for a black person it could also refer to a secret agent.

The story’s hero, played by Lawrence Cook, is an African American working in the domestic offices of the Central Intelligence Agency. While outwardly an efficient and capable paper pusher he inwardly regards himself as an undercover operative for his own race, infiltrating the white intelligence establishment.

After five years of learning all he can via secretly reading CIA operations files our protagonist, significantly named Dan Freeman, decides to launch a covert operation of his own to destroy the white power structure and elevate his people to positions of authority.

Resigning from the CIA, he returns to his native Chicago and uses classic intelligence techniques to establish clandestine cells staffed by fellow African Americans. Over time his subversive campaign utilizes violence and infiltration of local government agencies in a spectacularly successful way. Freeman next extends his “cell” approach to other major cities with the same success.

Eventually the day arrives when his expanding organization is far- reaching enough that Freeman can abandon clandestine behavior and function more openly, launching coordinated armed uprisings that succeed in seizing entire portions of the United States as sovereign African American territory. These scattered territories proceed to wage a larger and larger war against the rest of the United States until Freeman gets what he wants.

This movie is very powerful and only its low budget prevents it from having the full impact it might have had. The film’s efforts at verisimilitude are so effective that for some audiences seeing it in 1973 it must have felt like a cinematic version of Orson Welles’ legendary War of the Worlds radio broadcast from the 1930′s. A particularly nice touch is the covert radio operator calling himself “Uncle Tom” with undisguised irony as he broadcasts propoganda and coded messages to Freeman’s operatives around the country.

Lawrence Cook turns in the performance of a lifetime as Freeman, playing things low- key and intense rather than affecting grandiose “man with a vision” posturing. Sam Greenlee wrote the screenplay, adapted from his 1969 novel and the director of this thought- provoking film was none other than Ivan Dixon, better known as Carter, the black GI on Hogan’s Heroes.

Darktown Strutters

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DARKTOWN STRUTTERS (1975) – This brilliant satirical action film is easily the most misunderstood movie on this list. It deserved, but never achieved, a Rocky Horror Picture Show- sized cult following.

Syreena (Trina Parks) is the leader of a foursome of black female bikers who return to Syreena’s inner-city Los Angeles home in search of her missing mother. It turns out that her old neighborhood is suffering a rash of disappearances and our heroines spend the rest of the film trying to get to the bottom of it all. Their adventure is punctuated with various romantic or purely sexual encounters as well as conflicts with a Los Angeles police force depicted as nasty racists who are even more inept than the Keystone Kops.

The main villain is a figure clearly based on Colonel Sanders, the well- known founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. That villain, called Colonel Cross (Cross. Get it?) is a similar Confederate colonel figure. Just as KFC’s slogan was “finger- lickin’ good” the slogan for Colonel Cross’ rib joints is that his product is “bone- suckin’ good”.

As an example of this film’s wry, daring sense of humor, it explores the deeper implications of what an advertising icon who looks like a Confederate colonel might mean to African American consumers by depicting Cross owning an actual southern plantation in the middle of Los Angeles. Cross is behind the epidemic of disappearances of black people in L.A. As you’ll figure out very early in the movie the ribs served in Colonel Cross’ restaurants are fatally extracted from the African Americans his white- robed minions abduct.

Colonel Sanders is not the only old advertising icon who gets slammed for their explicitly racist premise. Among the slaves serving on Cross’ Los Angeles plantation are sendups of Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemimah and the ugly stereotype who was the mascot of the old Sambo’s restaurant chain. (This chain eventually changed the name of their restaurants due to public pressure)

The wildly outrageous humor of this movie could be described as Richard Pryor meets South Park. Among the joyously (and intentionally) tasteless comedy set pieces interspersed with the action sequences and musical numbers are a dark parody of old Minstrel acts complete with an Interlocutor and Mr Bones, plus Cross’ elaborate scheme to create a “black baby machine” that will produce African Americans he can harvest for their ribs without the need for kidnapping.

In the end Colonel Cross is defeated and is reduced to a busboy in one of his own rib joints, where he will answer to the new African American owners of the business. All this plus the film features songs by the Dramatics, John Gary Williams and the Newcomers. If you have friends who are so simple- mindedly politically correct that they won’t get this film’s irreverent humor watch it with them just to see them turn purple with uncomprehending outrage.

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52 Responses to Saturday Open Thread | Blaxploitation Movies Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    Sharpton hosts de Blasio in Harlem, and declares a new ‘identity politics of policy’

    By Azi Paybarah

    12:17 pm Sep. 14, 2013

    On Saturday morning, the Rev. Al Sharpton welcomed Bill de Blasio to his weekly rally in Harlem, and did his best to explain de Blasio’s strong showing among black voters in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

    “What the election showed the other night is that a lot of identity politics of 20 years ago, 30 years ago has now become the identity politics of policy,” said Sharpton.

    “Bill Thompson did very well in some white areas,” he continued. “Bill de Blasio did well in some black areas. You can no longer take yesterday’s map for today’s politics.”

    According to exit polls, de Blasio tied Thompson, the only black candidate in the race, among black voters, with each receiving 42 percent support.

    http://capitalnewyork.com/article/politics/2013/09/8533784/sharpton-hosts-de-blasio-harlem-and-declares-new-identity-politics-

  2. Ametia says:

    Hubby & I saw the movie “20 Steps From Stardom” this evening. Must see!!!!

  3. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Thoughtful Diplomatic Triumph on Syria Leaves His Critics Speechless

    By: Jason Easley
    Sep. 14th, 2013

    President Obama’s critics on both the left and right were silenced today, as his thoughtful approach to Syria has led to a breakthrough diplomatic agreement on chemical weapons.

    Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have reached an agreement for the destruction of all of Syria’s chemical weapons. Syria’s failure to comply will not result in unilateral U.S. military action, but UN enforced sanctions. This is a complicated framework that expects Syria to submit a detailed list of their chemical weapons within a week, UN inspectors be allowed to complete their work/the destruction of Syria’s production and mixing/filling equipment in November, and it calls for all Syria’s chemical weapons materials and equipment to be destroyed or removed by early 2014.

    This is not the sort of agreement that comes together quickly. It is a complicated and detailed agreement that looks to have been in the works for a while. The structure of this agreement verifies the Obama’s administration’s claim that they have been working on this with the Russians for months, and it was first mentioned a year ago

    The idea that has been pushed by the Obama critics on the left that Putin rescued Obama on Syria is even more absurd and ridiculous when the details of this agreement are examined. The pressure is now on Russia to deliver Syria’s compliance. If this agreement falls through, it will be on the Russians. President Obama will get credit for the agreement and for not using the military to act unilaterally no matter what.

    Syria now becomes a test of Russian credibility. Russia’s reputation is on the line. If they fail to deliver Syrian compliance, their image as a global force will take a huge hit. If Putin was really the hero, he would have been able to negotiate from a position of strength and not take such a giant risk.

    http://www.politicususa.com/2013/09/14/obamas-thoughtful-diplomatic-truimph-syria-leaves-critics-speechless.html

    • Ametia says:

      I have thoroughly ENJOYED watching the haters spin their nonsense like a MAYTAG, while PBO stealthly worked his foreign policy magic.

      JEDI POTUS!

  4. rikyrah says:

    Saturday, September 14, 2013
    Reflections
    I was thrilled beyond words this morning, when I went online to Huffington Post and saw this:

    And we are completely immersed in the consciousness of scarcity, resource conflict, and fear of the other. Clearly, Gandhi, Mandela and King operated from a different level of consciousness, where abundance, peacemaking, and trust were the qualities seen first, and were part of each leader’s basic operating system. Developmental psychologists call this level of consciousness integral, and tell us that less than 5% of the world has attained this consciousness level. Obama, I believe, is part of this small percentage of people who see things whole; who trust the complexity of events to reveal deep structures and patterns, not single point answers or finite solutions; who know with absolute conviction that truth is found not in resolving paradox, but living in its tensions; that flow and generative action requires letting go of ego; and that all people, at every developmental level have something important to say, even your adversaries and enemies, because the brain is not capable of 100% error. In the precise sense that I believe Jesus meant it in the Beatitudes – “Blessed are the peacemakers…”, Obama is a peacemaker, while also remembering that Jesus told us to be “Gentle as a dove, and shrewd as a serpent.”

    We see with the consciousness we have. That is perhaps why most commentators simply cannot see what Obama’s up to. They are looking for the binary juxtapositions: winner or loser; strong or weak; enemy or friend. The idea of engaging your enemy as the one and only way to find a solution for the conflict you both share an interest in – simply doesn’t compute; you can’t see it. Running parallel and entirely oppositional strategies simultaneously can also be hard to detect, especially if it hasn’t been openly declared. Letting your opponent/adversary/enemy get all the credit for whatever breakthrough is achieved – even going so far as to “plan a gaffe” that your Secretary of State will offer as a seemingly offhanded proposal, which can be accepted by your opponent in such a way that he gets all the credit – none of this makes sense to our pundits – that operational mode doesn’t compute – power is everything; the powerful are always the winners; never let your guard down; he who has the gold rules, etc, – so folks just cannot see it when something like what has just happened, occurs. And central to this: Obama truly does not care. He is not attached to being the “last man standing”; he is attached only to the result, to the outcome, to the vision – the North Star he has been following. You may not believe me, or really understand what the hell I am talking about. But this is what has just gone down, and the actions, the patterns, the apparent sudden reversals, the willingness to look the fool – all these are products of an integral consciousness. Obama is an integral leader.

    http://jimstuartnewblog.blogspot.com/2013/09/reflections.html?spref=tw

    • Ametia says:

      I want to click a million LIKES for this piece. This speaks to the SOULFULLNESS of PBO. To work from that 360 degree viewpoint is being SOUL.

      It’s a spriitual exercise to be able to look around and see a thing in its entirety, to realize that you are a part of this whole, and that you only play a role and so do others.

      To step back and watch everyone play out their life scripts, gives one the insights on how to take their next steps. PBO’s always 3 steps ahead of folks who are stuck in their attempts to write his script.

  5. rikyrah says:

    How Putin “Outsmarted” Obama: By Completely Surrendering to All of His Demands
    Saturday, September 14, 2013 | Posted by Spandan C at 12:57 PM

    In certain parts of the world wide web – whether it be the “liberal” The Nation or any of the conservative outlets – the narrative is that Russian president Vladimir Putin “outsmarted” President Obama by coming up with a peaceful solution to Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Russia seemingly jumped on John Kerry’s suggestion that the way for Syria to avoid US military strikes would be to completely and immediately submit its chemical weapon stash to international inspection and destruction. Russia immediately suggested that idea to Syria, and Syria agreed in the blink of an eye. And thus began the media narrative of Vladimir Putin as savior of all things peaceful.

    President Obama of course revealed last week that he spoke with Putin about something exactly like this during the G-20, and I blogged a Haaretz report last Sunday – before the rest of the media got a clue and before John Kerry’s “off-hand” (ha, ha, ha) remarks the following morning – that Russia and Syria were poised to make this move thanks to President Obama’s threat of American missiles hanging over their heads.

    Today, the State Department released the full agreement between the United States and Russia for a full disarmament of Syria as Secretary Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a joint press conference. This agreement does things beyond the wildest imaginations of a military campaign that would merely be able to degrade Assad’s capabilities but not dismantle them completely. Secretary Kerry outlined the proposal in his remarks.

    http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2013/09/how-putin-outsmarted-obama-by.html

  6. rikyrah says:

    Boehner to Obama: Can I Please Take You Hostage?

    By Jonathan Chait

    House Republicans have spent weeks fending off right-wing demands that they shut down the government unless President Obama agrees to destroy his own health-care reform. They’re currently trying to wriggle out of this demand by promising instead to use the debt ceiling to force Obama to destroy his health-care reform, which is an even more dangerous threat. So how do House Republicans plan to wriggle out of that promise? By getting President Obama to help them. John Boehner is pleading with Obama to combine negotiations over the debt ceiling and the budget. There’s really only one answer Obama can give here: Boehner can go fuck himself.

    Boehner is desperately trying to combine two separate issues: negotiating over budget policy and negotiating over whether Congress should trigger a default on the national debt. Why negotiate the two together? Boehner argues:

    “I reminded them that for decades, the White House, the Congress, have used the debt limit to find bipartisan solutions on the deficit and the debt. The types of changes were signed into law by Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton and President Obama himself two years ago. So President Obama is going to have to deal with this, as well. It’s really no different. You can’t talk about increasing the debt limit unless you’re willing to make changes and reforms that begin to solve the spending problem that Washington has.”

    So we have two arguments here. The first one is that there have been times in the past when Congress has lifted the debt ceiling and also passed changes to fiscal policy. That is true. It can be convenient to wrap up the automatic step of lifting the debt ceiling into bills that change levels of taxes and spending, because a separate vote is unnecessary in the first place.

    But Boehner isn’t proposing to attach a perfunctory debt-ceiling hike to “bipartisan solutions,” as has happened in the past. He is proposing that the opposition party extract unacceptable conditions as the price of lifting the debt ceiling. That is an unprecedented demand. Under the Bush presidency, Democrats objected that tax cuts had created un unsustainable fiscal position for the government, but it never even occurred to them to threaten to trigger a debt default to force Bush to repeal his tax cuts. Before 2011, the debt ceiling was an occasion for posturing by the out-party and was sometimes raised in conjunction with mutually agreeable policy changes, but the opposition never used the threat of default as a hostage.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/09/boehner-to-obama-can-i-please-take-you-hostage.html

  7. rikyrah says:

    How “Obama Derangement Syndrome” is unlike that of Bush
    By Liberal Librarian

    When we accuse some right-winger of having “Obama Derangement Syndrome”, he will just scoff and point out that the Left was consumed with “Bush Derangement Syndrome” from 2001-2009. And to a certain extent, they’d be somewhat correct. For myself, I could only grudgingly applaud Mr. Bush for such things as AIDS initiatives for Africa, and his support for immigration reform.

    But here’s the difference: I could acknowledge his (few) successes. For a Republican, reaching out to Africa and immigrants were things which went against the base, and required a certain bravery. The thing is, however, that the rest of his policies were so disastrous for the country that his few successes were dwarfed by them. From squandering record surpluses to crashing the economy to getting us mired in two mismanaged wars, his administration was a catalog of failure. It was already heading toward failure before 9/11; there was no doubt that he’d be a one term president. When the attacks occurred, he was able to refashion himself as a “war president”—a war he proceeded to prosecute in the most incompetent manner, sullying the nation’s ideals and honor. There was “Bush Derangement Syndrome” because everything he touched turned to lead. He didn’t kill bin Laden; he trapped us in disastrous wars; he oversaw a mass transfer of wealth to the already wealthy. So, while I agree that in some things he did well, they were drowned by his cacophony of failure.

    Now let us turn to President Obama’s record. It began by him being the first African American elected president. He was able to pass a stimulus package which stanched the bleeding of the Great Recession. The US economy runs on two pillars: real estate and automobile manufacturing; real estate was on its knees; he saved the auto industry, without which the whole world would have sunk into a depression. He then fulfilled the great Democratic dream, passing comprehensive health reform, which would bring affordable health care to nearly every American. That achievement led to the GOP takeover of the House in 2010 in backlash, because some on the Left had a snit (more on that later). With the GOP in control of one house, he brilliantly conducted actions which stymied their most cherished goals, and preserved his priorities in the budget. Then against all the caterwauling of the media, he won a second term, in a convincing fashion. Then just this weekend, rattling a saber which opponents know he will use, he achieved a diplomatic resolution to Syria’s chemical weapon use, making the Autocrat of All the Russias climb down from his recalcitrant stance. And, of course, we can’t forget his other great triumph, along with Obamacare: healing that great wound in the American psyche by finally bringing Osama bin Laden to justice.

    If you stack Obama’s record against Bush’s, an impartial observer would agree that the current president’s is much more impressive and transformative than that of the previous one’s.

    But here is where ODS is markedly different that BDS: not one right winger will acknowledge that Obama has done anything correctly. They will either say that success is actually failure for the flag, mom, and apple pie; or, if it they admit that a particular action was successful, they will attribute that success to luck, or to the work of others under Obama, or, as in the case of Syria, to the peace-loving nature of a Russian strongman.

    Obama Derangement Syndrome is different because it’s all-consuming. Nothing that he does can be credited. Everything he does must be deligitimized. He has to be shown as an empty suit, a buffoon, a clown, an incompetent, someone good at entertaining with speeches but completely out of his depth at governing. The more success he racks up, the greater the volume of this banshee wailing. The Republican Party and the Right in general have ceased standing for anything positive; they merely exist to oppose Obama in everything, no matter the damage it will do to the state. The Right’s only purpose is to conduct a scorched-earth campaign against the president.

    http://theobamadiary.com/2013/09/14/how-obama-derangement-syndrome-is-unlike-that-of-bush/#comment-828225

  8. rikyrah says:

    From Desertflower at TOD:

    “Obama has once again triumphed at home and abroad.
    I dare say that this is why they hate this man so much. He always
    leaves them looking like the simple fools they are. They get out witted,
    out played and out lasted. PBO is a survivor and long term thinker.
    These morons STILL haven’t figured that out after 5 years. Fools, made to look more foolish every single day.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    For Hillary Clinton, past presents both pride and peril as she weighs 2016 presidential bid

    By Dan Balz, Saturday, September 14, 12:10 PM E-mail the writer

    Two worlds of Hillary Rodham Clinton intersected this past week. Together they underscored not only why the former secretary of state is seen as perhaps the dominant unelected politician in the country today, but also the concerns among some of her Democratic supporters as she considers a return to the political arena in 2016.

    As President Obama and Clinton’s successor at State, John F. Kerry, grappled with the how best to respond to Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons during a dizzying week of diplomacy and threats of military action, Clinton was enjoying a fresh round of accolades and honors. The contrast between her recent past life and her current life was striking.

    …………………………………………………………………

    Ghosts of 2008 campaign

    In between Clinton’s two public appearances this past week came unexpected news, which grew out of a long-standing federal investigation into political corruption in the capital city, particularly the activities of Washington businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson.

    As first reported in The Post this past week, investigators have been looking into Thompson’s role in financing a shadow campaign set up to aid Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid.

    At a moment in early 2008, when Clinton’s campaign was in trouble and in debt, her advisers were approached by Troy White, a New York marketing executive and music promoter, who wanted to set up “street teams” to help build support for Clinton in several states with upcoming primaries. According to court documents and subsequent reporting by Post reporters, the offer was rejected by Guy Cecil, the campaign’s national political director.

    Then, through the intercession of Minyon Moore, a senior adviser to Clinton, White’s services were enlisted, not under the Clinton campaign umbrella but for a separate and seemingly secret operation. Thompson, who is under investigation for allegedly financing a secret operation for D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), reportedly provided $600,000 in financing.

    Clinton campaign officials and Moore have been cooperating fully with federal prosecutors, who are believed to be focused on building a case against Thompson, not going after Clinton’s campaign. Moore is a veteran of Democratic politics and campaigns and well regarded in Democratic circles. She is not a target of prosecutors and her lawyers believe that if she made a mistake, it may have been in assuming that all of what White was doing was being handled properly.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/for-hillary-clinton-past-presents-both-pride-and-peril-as-she-weighs-2016-presidential-bid/2013/09/14/5bb576a2-1d4c-11e3-80ac-96205cacb45a_story_1.html

  10. rikyrah says:

    Black faces to expect on TV this fall and winter (SLIDESHOW)
    by Carrie Healey | September 13, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    As the fall television season kicks off, theGrio created a slideshow of the black stars you will see on the small screen this coming fall and winter.

    Some stars are returning to well-established roles, while others are starring in pilots for brand new shows.

    Click through the slideshow and let us know which show you are looking forward to watching.

    http://thegrio.com/2013/09/13/black-faces-to-expect-on-tv-this-fall-and-winter-slideshow/#s:brooklyn-nine-nine

  11. rikyrah says:

    It’s not just GOP that’s scared of Obamacare success
    I’ve mentioned before that, as someone who runs a small business (nonprofit), I’m really exited about the health care exchanges that are about to come online next month as part of Obamacare. In Minnesota they’re going to be called MNsure and we’re starting to get a peek at what they’ll look like. I just talked with my Board of Directors last week about getting ready to review our options and make a decision about whether or not to sign up.

    But this week we got a packet of information from our current health insurance provider. Our renewal with them is scheduled to happen March 2014. They are offering their current small business customers the opportunity to renew early at close to current rates with a warning that if we don’t, Obamacare will likely mean steep increases in our premiums.

    Here’s the catch…we have to renew by September 15, two weeks before we have the opportunity to compare the rates they’re offering to those on the exchanges. Fuckers!!!!!!

    Guess its full speed ahead on MNsure for this small business.

    http://immasmartypants.blogspot.com/2013/09/its-not-just-gop-that-scared-of.html

  12. Yahtc says:

    So sweet!

  13. Yahtc says:

    Newton’s death could slow new-constitution efforts
    September 14, 2013 12:01 CDT
    By BOB JOHNSON Associated Press

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — For years, Democratic Rep. Demetrius Newton pressed efforts in the Alabama Legislature for a rewriting of a state constitution he says was outdated and even racist in parts.

    The African-American civil rights attorney — who once represented Rosa Parks and the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — died Wednesday at 85. Now no one knows who will take up the effort he championed. Newton had long sought a rewriting of Alabama’s 1901 constitution, saying it was outdated, too long and included offensive language.

    Rep. Rod Scott of Birmingham is among those who say they hope someone will take up where Newton left off. But no one seems to know who might step forward, particularly since the Alabama Legislature has regularly rejected most efforts to rewrite the more than century-old constitution.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Trust vindicated
    I don’t mind being called an Obamabot that much. Just like the President decided to embrace the label “Obamacare” that was initially meant as a slam, I suspect history will vindicate that supporting this administration was the right call.

    What I’ve typically reacted to negatively is the idea that I blindly trust President Obama because the fact is – I have my eyes wide open and am watching a fascinating presidency unfold. Over time what has happened is that when I don’t see the whole picture yet, I’ve learned to slow down my reactions and wait until I get more information. I also remind myself of who this man is that we’ve elected twice and how he’s handled things in the past.

    All of this came into play when it became clear that President Obama was considering a military strike against Syria because the Assad regime had used chemical weapons against his own people. I knew from watching him closely that he had rather boldly stood up to his own national security team when they united last fall to propose that the US intervene in the Syrian civil war. And so I was pretty confident that he had come to this position both reluctantly and thoughtfully. As I’ve said previously, my concerns were more about the efficacy of strikes rather than the ridiculous notion that this man was some kind of warmonger. And so I reminded myself of the process President Obama used when he made the decision to intervene in Libya and assumed he’d done the same thing this time.

    I can’t say that I ever really embraced the idea of military strikes against Syria. But what I can say is that I figured that President Obama was telling the truth about his intentions and that he’d made the best decision he could with the information he had. Doing so doesn’t always mean success or landing on the perfect solution. No human is capable of always doing that. But its the best we can hope for from a president in an imperfect world.

    There is still a lot of work to be done on Syria, but this morning I can see demonstrated proof that my trust in President Obama is vindicated. SoS Kerry has brokered a deal with his Russian counterpart to identify and destroy Assad’s chemical weapons. What is specifically vindicated is not just that this administration had always been working behind the scenes on the “carrot” of diplomacy as an alternative to the “stick” of military intervention. If this deal goes through, it also proves that dealing with Assad’s chemical weapons was ALWAYS the President’s motivation in all this. That is a critical point because it shows that he is ushering in a new approach to US foreign policy.

    http://immasmartypants.blogspot.com/2013/09/trust-vindicated.html?spref=tw

  15. rikyrah says:

    @JBNARIZONA
    Obama’s Magnificent Stealth Negotiation with Putin http://onforb.es/17qCSOG via @forbes

  16. rikyrah says:

    Jeff Fecke ‏@jkfecke6m
    Boy, Obama sure got lucky with Syria. And health care reform. And DADT repeal. And Iraq. And beating Romney. And beating McCain. And…

  17. rikyrah says:

    TheObamaDiary.com ‏@TheObamaDiary5m
    Not a word yet from @chucktodd, @jaketapper etc on Syria deal, if talks had broken down they’d have been all over Twitter like a rash.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Obama aide Dan Pfeiffer hospitalized twice last week
    By Rebecca Shabad – 09/13/13 06:51 PM ET

    President Obama’s chief strategist, Dan Pfeiffer, was hospitalized twice last week due to “stroke-like symptoms,” the White House confirmed to The New York Times on Friday.

    “We are happy and relieved to have Dan back at work full-time,” White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage told The Times. “He’s feeling better, listening to his doctors and focused on helping implement the president’s very full domestic and foreign policy agenda.”

    Pfeiffer, 37, first became ill during a dinner on Sept. 4 at a restaurant in downtown Washington. He then checked into George Washington University hospital to undergo tests, and was monitored overnight, Brundage said.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/322249-obama-adviser-dan-pfeiffer-hospitalized-twice-last-week#ixzz2esFCOJyz

  19. rikyrah says:

    U.S., Russia reach deal on Syrian weapons
    GENEVA — U.S. and Russia announce agreement to secure, destroy Syrian chemical weapons as soon as safely possible; Syria must submit accounting of arsenal within a week.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/us-russia-reach-agreement-on-seizure-of-syrian-chemical-weapons-arsenal/2013/09/14/69e39b5c-1d36-11e3-8685-5021e0c41964_story.html

  20. rikyrah says:

    — —–☺@NerdyWonka
    Pres. Obama’s list:

    2008 and 2012 election ✔
    ObamaCare ✔
    DADT Repeal ✔
    Deficit Reduction ✔
    Bin Laden ✔
    Saved GM ✔
    Syria ✔

  21. rikyrah says:

    — – ☺ ‏@NerdyWonka
    Thank you POTUS. RT @hhassan140: Syria wanted 30 days to reveal details of its chemical weapons. The US insisted on one week. 7 days it is.

    —-☺ – ‏@GoodGirlRoxy
    @NerdyWonka POTUS once again positioned the US in alignment w/ who he is as a person; if not police of the world certainly its conscience.
    Retweeted by Nerdy Wonka

    – – –☺ ‏@NerdyWonka
    Thank you, President Obama. RT @MarthaRaddatz: It is a very good day when there is a deal to get rid of Syria’a chem weapons. What a week.

    — –☺@NerdyWonka
    Assad denies he has CW
    Putin denies Assad used CW
    POTUS puts military option on table, details CW plan
    Assad surrenders CW
    Thank you POTUS

    — – -☺@gregpinelo
    If only liberals fought the Republicans half as hard as they fight President Obama.
    Retweeted by Nerdy Wonka

  22. yahtc says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLQxIunQ8F4

    Uploaded on Mar 12, 2007 by hearvox
    Jack Chance’s images and sound from his trip to Easter Island to gather recordings of local musicians and theories on who made and moved the “moai,” the ilse’s famous stone heads. Broadcast: Nov 14 2004 on NPR Day to Day

  23. yahtc says:

    “We Can Be” by Chuks Tabe

    >Published on Jul 24, 2012 by Chuks Tabe
    Adapted for the London Olympics and Paralympics 2012 this song is about celebrating diversity and equality and giving us a chance to express and listen to people points of view without feeling scared and feeling reclusive.

  24. yahtc says:

    Sikora – Stop The Hate (In Memory Of Trayvon Martin)

  25. Ametia says:

    LOL Alex Twitt has a panel on rating/gradingPBO’s performance on Syria. This bullshit is so kindergarten. The POTUS is not a first grader, he doesn’t need to grades. I loathe this ignorant fools.

  26. Man chases black woman saying, “If I see you in my neighborhood again, I’m going to hang you from a tree”.

    http://freakoutnation.com/2013/09/11/man-chases-black-woman-saying-if-i-see-you-in-my-neighborhood-again-im-going-to-hang-you-from-a-tree/

    In Norwood Park, Chicago, a man has been charged with a hate crime after he jumped off his porch, and while chasing a woman who works at a nearby hospital, yelled racial slurs such as, ”Hey you stupid black n-gger b-tch, how does it feel to walk in an all-white neighborhood?”

    The woman was wearing a nurse’s uniform and had a stethoscope around her neck, obviously prepared to go to work. She said,”I’m not from around here” and said she worked at the Resurrection Medical Center.

    Tom Diamond, who is white, then got off the porch and ran after her, screaming, “If I see you in my neighborhood again, I’m going to rape you and hang you from a tree,” the police report said.

    At that point, 44 year-old Diamond, jumped off his porch and chased her and tried to grab her but somehow she was able to get away.

    The Chicago Tribune reports, “Tom Diamond was also charged with misdemeanor assault after the incident Saturday evening. In a Cook County Bond Court hearing today, he was ordered held in lieu of $150,000 bail, said Cook County state’s attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.”

    After the arrest, the woman said she had to stay at the police station until 4 a.m. while officers processed Diamond, but made it to her next her shift that started at 7:30 a.m.

    “I was exhausted. I was overwhelmed,” she explained. “I want people to know he didn’t just target anyone. I am black. I am dark-skinned.”

    Someone needs to explain to the lady that the Supreme Court said racism no longer exists in America. She’ll feel much better about this incident.

    Since he brought up the word ‘bitch’, I hope he ends up as someone’s bitch in prison.

    • yahtc says:

      My question is how many people escape arrest…..how many times a day is this done to other perpetrators who never face an arrest for their actions?!!

      This is so frightening to think about especially when we have a Supreme Court that closes its eyes to the rampant racism in this country without caring about the consequences to African Americans and their community.

      • This is some bold ISH! She had every right to shoot his ass dead.

      • yahtc says:

        “Stop the Hate” by twiceborn 2004

        <blockquoteI can't stand this hate, everybody cutting down one another
        Just because we're not the same race
        Doesn't mean we have to hate each other.

        This oppresion is driving me insane
        (Whoa, oh, oh) In your fight, there's nothing to gain
        Why can't we all just get along?
        You were raised to believe this way
        (Whoa, oh, oh) That doesn't make it okay
        Why can't we all just get along?

        Stop the hate!

        We all have a heart to break
        If we can just understand one another
        From the same God we're all made
        We're all people, we're all worth the same.

        Stop the hate!

      • yahtc says:

        That rabid man should have been CHAINED to his porch!

      • yahtc says:

    • rikyrah says:

      and Illinois just got conceal and carry?

      maybe this woman needed to be concealing and carrying

  27. Movie-Goers Find Violence in ‘12 Years a Slave’ Too Intense, Walk Out

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUQNjfhlREk

    http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/09/movie-goers_find_violence_in_12_years_a_slave_too_intense_walk_out.html

    Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” has been getting rave reviews for its realistic portrayal of the horror of slavery. But for fans in Toronto, where the film is screening at the city’s annual film festival, the violence was too much to take.

    From the International Business Times:

    The movie focuses on the story of Ejiofor, who plays Northup – a free musician living in Saratoga, New York, who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South.

    An early scene shows him being beaten 15 times with a bat and then whipped 14 times by his kidnappers.

    The director McQueen also shows slaves being hanged and killed. One scene, lasting 10 minutes, shows a plantation owner, played by Michael Fassbender, stringing up a slave to a post before ordering her beating. She is whipped at total of 41 times.

    The film eventually recieved a standing ovation, but not before several audience members walked out, according to the Business Times. So far, it’s drawing comparisons with “Schiendler’s List.”

    ******************

    And that’s just a glimpse of the violence AA suffered during slavery.

    • yahtc says:

      Yes, only a glimpse. The slaves could not leave “life’s theater” amidst the horrors as the white movie goers did.

  28. Hey, 3CP!

    This woman is a sister to my daughter’s co-worker. Valerie was shot and killed on Friday 9/13/13 by her ex-husband at a high school in Katy, Texas around 6am as she was reporting to work. The mean ass bastard fled to his home and then killed himself.

    Valerie Robinson fatally shot aT Katy high school by husband

    • yahtc says:

      Oh, SG2, this is so very sad. What a horrible tragedy. You can tell just by looking at Valerie was a warm, caring person she was. To have her life cut short by just a nightmare of and ending…..just fills you with tears.

      I send my loving thoughts and prayers to her sister and family. The horror of losing a sister that way is just too much for anyone to bear.

      May they feel His closeness and comfort.

    • rikyrah says:

      what a sad story.

      cowards just piss me off…you wanna kill someone, kill yourself. don’t take anyone else because you’re fucked up

  29. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

    Sweet Sweetback’s BADASSSSSSSSSSSS Song. Melvin Van Peebles is the MAN. i WAS 15 years when that movie came out. I remember my older siblings whispering about the sex scenes. They were raw & real.

    No wonder Hollywood doesn’t want to show black love scenes. Black love is just too much, it’s much too much for them. Audiences can’t handle all that

  30. yahtc says:

    Reflections Of A Black Deaf Women Interview with Michelle A. Banks.
    “Michelle Banks–Deaf African American Entertainer,is a busy young woman who has exhibited “outstanding leadership” in the arena of Black Deaf entertainment and culture. She was the first deaf student to study drama at the State University of New York. She established the first (and only!) Deaf theater of color: Onyx Theater. She is one of a “rare breed”: a Black Deaf actress featured in a Black television show on a cable network (“Soul Food” on Showtime). In addition, Michelle has toured several U. S. cities in her one-woman show, “Reflections of A Black Deaf Woman” and has appeared in movies and on stage (one role was in the recent revival of “Big River” featuring a unique cast with both hearing and deaf performers). Starting at age three, Michelle was schooled on the Gallaudet campus

  31. yahtc says:

    Good Morning!

    O greater Maker of this Thy great sun,
    Give me the strength this one day’s race to run,
    Fill me with light, fill me with sun-like strength,
    Fill me with joy to rob the day its length.
    Light from within, light that will outward shine,
    Strength to make strong some weaker heart than mine,
    Joy to make glad each soul that feels its touch;
    Great Father of the sun, I ask this much.

    Written by James Weldon Johnson

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