Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Star Trek Week: “Captain Benjamin Sisko”

Today’s featured Star Trek character is Avery Brooks AKA Captain Benjamin Lafayette Sisko.  He served a Star Fleet Commander in Deep Space 9 station in the Bajor Sector.


Avery Franklin Brooks (born October 2, 1948) is an American actor. Brooks is perhaps best known for his television roles as Benjamin Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as Hawk on Spenser: For Hire and its spinoff A Man Called Hawk, and as Dr. Robert Sweeney in the Academy Award-nominated film American History X.

Star Trek: Benjamin Sisko[edit source]

Brooks is best known in popular culture for his role as Commander—and later Captain—Benjamin Sisko on the science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which ran for seven seasons from 1993 to 1999.

Brooks won the role of Commander Benjamin Sisko by beating 100 other actors from all racial backgrounds to become the first African-American captain to lead a Star Trek series. What appealed to Brooks about the role was the opportunity to give hope to young people. “Today, many of our children, especially black males, do not project that they will live past the age of 19 or 20,”[citation needed] he told Michael Logan of TV Guide. “Star Trek allows our children the chance to see something they might never otherwise imagine.”

He directed nine episodes of the series, including “Far Beyond the Stars”, an episode focusing on racial injustice.

Series producer Ronald D. Moore said of Brooks: “Avery, like his character (Sisko), is a very complex man. He is not a demanding or ego-driven actor, rather he is a thoughtful and intelligent man who sometimes has insights into the character that no one else has thought about. He has also been unfailingly polite and a classy guy in all my dealings with him.”[4]

Brooks was born in Evansville, Indiana, the son of Eva Lydia (née Crawford), a chorale conductor and music instructor, and Samuel Brooks, a union official and tool and die worker.[1] His maternal grandfather, Samuel Travis Crawford, was also a singer.[1] When he was aged eight, his family later moved to Gary, Indiana, when Samuel Brooks was laid off from International Harvester. Of Gary, Brooks has said: “I was born in Evansville… but it was Gary, Indiana that made me.” The Brooks household was filled with music. His mother, who was among the first African-American women to earn a master’s degree in music at Northwestern University, taught music wherever the family lived.[2] His father was in the choir Wings Over Jordan on CBS radio from 1937 to 1947, and his maternal uncle Samuel Travis Crawford was a member of the Delta Rhythm Boys. “Music is all around me and in me, as I am in it,” Brooks has said.[2]

Brooks attended Indiana University and Oberlin College, and later completed his B.A., plus an M.F.A. from Rutgers University in 1976, becoming the first African American to receive an MFA in acting and directing from Rutgers.[3]

What I really loved about character Captain Benjamin Sisko is that besides commanding Star Fleet, he portrayed a devoted and loving father to his son Jake played by Cirroc Lofton.

Cirroc lofton-untitled jake-sisko

Check out these episodes:

The Emmissary

***Deep Space 9 takes on racism***

Far Beyond the Stars


Star Trek: DS9 Sisko’s Problem

Penny Johnson Jerald played Kasidy Yates, Sisko’s love interest.

kassidy yates-untitled


Penny Johnson Jerald (born March 14, 1961) is an American actress. She played Beverly Barnes on the HBO comedy series The Larry Sanders Show, Kasidy Yates on the syndicated science fiction series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Sherry Palmer on the Fox action/drama series 24 and Captain Victoria “Iron” Gates on the ABC comedy-drama series Castle.
Jerald appeared in the 1997 film Absolute Power and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine playing freighter captain Kasidy Yates, the love interest for the series’ main character Benjamin Sisko, a recurring role which she played from 1995 to the show’s end in 1999. She also had a recurring guest role on ER as Lynette Evans from 1998 to 1999. She then appeared as Roscoe Dellums in the Emmy Award winning TV movie The Color of Friendship. Jerald also guest starred on Frasier, The Practice, Touched by an Angel and The X-Files.

Homefront Part 1-Season 4 where Brock Peters plays Captain Sisko’s father Father, son, and grandson.

THE VISITOR– Though a powerful episode, it just broke my heart.

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71 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Star Trek Week: “Captain Benjamin Sisko”

  1. rikyrah says:

    A tale of two black hairstyles
    By Michaela Angela Davis, Special to CNN
    updated 1:32 PM EDT, Mon September 16, 2013

    Hair in the black community is like a religion, resplendent with ritual, devotion, mythology, metaphor, plenty of pomp and circumstance.

    Black hair arguably is one of the quickest indicators of ethnicity, ethos and sometimes, politics. This past week, two very different children found their very different “ethnic” hairstyles in the spotlight on two very different political stages.

    Dante de Blasio, the son of New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, is a typical nerdy, smart, shy 16-year-old Brooklyn boy. He has delighted New Yorkers, late-night satirists and America with his charm and awesome afro.

    When the Big Apple’s primary election was held, it garnered national attention at first largely because of the high-profile and high-drama candidate Anthony Weiner. Yet, when it came to the TV campaign ads, liberal Bill de Blasio stole the show.

    But it’s mostly not because of his anti-Bloomberg or I’m-for-the-small-man messages (although that matters). It was because of his son Dante, who starred in a brilliant 30-second straight no chaser ad. Displaying a fluffy ‘fro, he became a symbol for progress, acceptance, diversity and freedom.

    Dante and his gravity-defying, nonconformist hairstyle helped signal to New Yorkers that his father, Bill de Blasio, understands equality, empathizes with the victims of systemic bigotry and is more than qualified to lead the most diverse metropolis in America. De Blasio finished first in the primary, though it is not clear whether he will have to face a runoff against Bill Thompson for the Democratic nomination.


    To some black voters, Dante’s afro reflected that this boy and by association his father, respected the civil rights struggle, since the afro is considered an icon for black pride and progress. In other words — you can trust de Blasio to be sensitive to issues of race that affect New York City, most notably the controversial stop-and-frisk policy. And to white voters and others, Dante’s afro was just cool.

    But while Dante’s afro is being celebrated, in a different part of America last week a little girl in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was reprimanded because her hairstyle violated the policy of her charter school.

    Tiana Parker, a pretty, sweet, shy 7-year-old Midwest girl with a big bow over her dreadlocks was criticized because at the Deborah Brown Community School where she is a student, “hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, Mohawks and other faddish styles” were not permitted.

    When the tearful Tiana hit the TV news cycle, many people were heartbroken watching her. According to news reports, she was told that her perfectly neat little locks “didn’t look presentable.”

    This is certainly not the first time that dreadlocks have been banned from schools but it was one of the most emotional instances.

    So much so that more than 20,000 people signed a petition demanding that Deborah Brown Community School publicly apologizes to Tiana Parker and her family. Parker’s parents pulled her out of the charter school and placed her in a new school where hopefully she can lead a hair hassle-free childhood. (Deborah Brown Community School has since apologized and removed the language about African-American hairstyles from its dress code.)

    Tiana’s experience, for many, is a symbol that ignorance and bias still pervades American life. The fact that in her natural state, her hair was viewed as rebellious, signals that there is a lot of misperception that we must correct. One way to fix this is for mainstream media to champion more diverse images of black beauty.

    Black hair is a repository for America’s painful past and promising future. The endless style possibilities of black hair represent America’s creative genius, yet its “otherness” is a constant reminder of unresolved inequalities and subtle prejudices.

    Let’s hope that one day, hairstyles from the black community will no longer trigger powerful emotions or suspicions.

  2. The 911 call that led to Jonathan Ferrell’s death

    It was about 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning when Sarah McCartney heard a banging at her front door. The young mother, alone with her 1-year-old son, rushed to the door thinking that something might have happened to her husband. But the man standing there wasn’t her husband, but a young black man.

    McCartney quickly shut the door and called 911 to report an attempted robbery.

    “I need help. There’s a guy breaking into my front door, he’s trying to kick it down,” McCartney is heard pleading through tears on a recording of the 911 call released by, an NBC affiliate in Charlotte, N.C. on Tuesday. She told the dispatcher that her husband works nights and that he has guns at home but that she couldn’t find any.

    “Oh my God,” McCartney says over and over. “He’s in the front yard yelling.”

    “I need help,” she said, crying.

    When McCartney saw the police outside of her home, she’s heard on the 911 tape saying, “Oh, please let them get him.”

    They did.

    They got him, Sarah McCartney. Cop fired 12 bullets and 10 hit him. I hope you NEVER need help from anyone as long as you live and breathe air.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Rev. Al did a fantastic segment with a teabagger on defunding Obamacare today.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Harborview residents have until Aug. 30 to move out of senior housing facility

    The owners of Harborview Towers say they will shut down the senior housing facility by Aug. 30 and force the two-dozen residents to move out by that date.


    Tower residents and their families have expressed anger and concern about the decision and representatives of a number of current and former residents of Harborview Towers have filed legal actions in civil court in Beaufort against the company for breach of contract, seeking a combined total of more than $550,000 in damages.


    Several families impacted by the decision have recently contacted the News-Times regarding concerns that Harborview Towers owners, John, James, Linda Jernigan and Kay Michael, are withholding money owed to former residents and threatening residents with eviction.

    Resident Clarence “Slim” Hensley is one of about 24 current residents affected by the planned closure. About 40 total current and former residents or their representatives are affected.

    Mr. Hensley said earlier this week he also stands to lose $122,000 as a result. Some residents will lose more.

    “They wanted us to relinquish our rights to our payback agreement and hold it until it (Harborview Towers) was sold. It’s an affront to me and a lot of people are going to get hurt,” Mr. Hensley said Tuesday.

    Occupancy fees paid range from about $150,000 to $220,000, depending on the size of the unit. In addition, residents pay a monthly fee of about $1,300 for services provided.

  5. rikyrah says:

    a commercial doesn’t need to be in English to touch your heart and make you cry:

  6. rikyrah says:

    Viola Davis on the October 2013 Cover for Essence:

    viola davis essence cover

  7. rikyrah says:

    Wall Street Journal To Obamacare Defunders: Give It Up
    Tom Kludt – 9:47 AM EDT, Tuesday September 17, 2013

    The conservative editorial page of The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday called on Republican “backbenchers” in the House of Representatives to abandon their pipe dream of defunding or delaying Obamacare.

    While it seems obvious that President Barack Obama will not sign a continuing resolution that guts his signature legislative achievement, leaders of the defunding movement like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint have assured their supporters that they aren’t chasing a quixotic goal. That pursuit is raising the risk of a government shutdown, and the Journal made a point to emphasize the dim likelihood that Obama would ever sign such a bill.

    Their demand is that the House pair the “must pass” CR or the debt limit with defunding the health-care bill. Kamikaze missions rarely turn out well, least of all for the pilots.

    The problem is that Mr. Obama is never, ever going to unwind his signature legacy project of national health care. Ideology aside, it would end his Presidency politically. And if Republicans insist that any spending bill must defund ObamaCare, then a showdown is inevitable that shuts down much of the government. Republicans will claim that Democrats are the ones shutting it down to preserve ObamaCare. Voters may see it differently given the media’s liberal sympathies and because the repeal-or-bust crowd provoked the confrontation.

    The Journal indicated that while it’s supported tea party members on Capitol Hill in the past, the conservative contingent is waging a losing battle this time around.

    “We’ve often supported backbenchers who want to push GOP leaders in a better policy direction, most recently on the farm bill,” the editorial read. “But it’s something else entirely to sabotage any plan with a chance of succeeding and pretend to have “leverage” that exists only in the world of townhall applause lines and fundraising letters.”

    • Ametia says:

      “Voters may see it differently given the media’s liberal sympathies and because the repeal-or-bust crowd provoked the confrontation.”

      “media liberal sympathies” is BULLSHIT.

  8. Ametia says:

    Monday, September 16, 2013 -WARN
    The White Gaze Quite Literally Shot and Killed Jonathan Ferrell

    On Saturday, a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man. Jonathan Ferrell was in a horrific car accident and ran towards three police officers seeking help, just like any reasonable person in a crisis would do.

    Again, a black man in America who is interacting with the police is not given the presumption of being a full citizen, innocent until proven guilty, and perhaps in need of assistance.

    For the White Gaze, ”

    This is part of a historic pattern of stereotyping and threat in the United States, one which still looms over the popular imagination in the present. There, Jonathan Ferrell, we, those of us black and male, are “giant negroes” possessed of natural ill will, malevolence, and a proclivity to kill and rape as “black brutes” who must be shot dead whenever possible

  9. Ametia says:

    Embracing a “messy” foreign policy
    Tuesday, September 17, 2013

    I’ve had few reasons to be proud of this country’s foreign policy in my lifetime. I was born just as we were intervening in Iran to install the Shah and came of age during the Vietnam War. Due to my family’s involvement in South America, I paid a bit more attention than most Americans to our sponsorship of coups that installed dictators and supported repressive regimes all over that continent in the name of fighting the “Cold War.” And then came the Bush/Cheney neocon-inspired fiascos in the Middle East.

    Knowing the involvement of our national security apparatus in clandestine activities such as coups and disappearances and torture and surveillance, the only thing that surprised me about Bush/Cheney is that they weren’t trying to hide it anymore…they were doing it right out in the open. The whole idea that American foreign policy EVER followed the rule of international law is naive at best.

    When I evaluate President Obama’s foreign policy, I always remember that this was the state of things he walked into. Not only that – he was dealing with a global recession and three wars (I include the war on al Qaeda). My first thought when he nominated Leon Panetta (the ultimate bureaucratic manager) to be the Director of the CIA and then Secretary of Defense was that he needed to find out where all the “bodies were buried” in those systems to find the leverage he’d need to turn that giant ship around

  10. Ametia says:

    It’s BLATANTLY obvious the MEALY-MOUTHED MEDIA have been given their BASH OBAMA scripts. Not one word about the RACISTS, OBSTRUCTIONIST, TEABAGGING GOP.

    I LOATHE these folks.

  11. Ametia says:

    I’m going to give this another shot next week. No pun intended.

    In case you missed last night’s “sleepy Hollow” pilot.

    Preview of next Monday’s show:

  12. rikyrah says:

    Rip off the Band-Aid, John Boehner

    By Greg Sargent, Updated: September 17, 2013

    Jonathan Strong, who is well connected among Republicans, has published a remarkable account of House GOP machinations over the coming government shutdown confrontation.

    The most telling tidbit: John Boehner and GOP leaders and their aides took active steps to avoid taking a public position on the defund-Obamacare movement, apparently for fear of antagonizing the base. This, Strong reports, is turning out to have been a serious mistake, with potentially grave consequences:

    [A]s they tried to gingerly tamp down enthusiasm at the end of July before lawmakers left for the August recess, they refused to take a public position on the matter, repeatedly telling members and the press that “no decisions have been made.” Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, currently facing a primary challenger, also did not take a position, and still hasn’t.

    Aides to both Boehner and McConnell actually intervened to ensure that comments both of their bosses made did not actually amount to taking a position. In the resulting vacuum, the push to defund Obamacare continued to gain momentum. And when Cantor finally revealed the House leadership’s plan last week, it was too late — the seeds of dissent had already been planted.

    Simply amazing. As some of us on the left have been arguing for awhile now, the refusal of GOP leaders to level with the base, and admit that this fall’s confrontations don’t give Republicans leverage to block Obaamcare, has only made things worse by feeding the sense that a defund-Obamacare stand is possible, thus allowing defund mania to gain ground among conservatives. It’s good to have this confirmed by a reporter who’s well sourced among Republicans.

    That aside, this has major ramifications for what’s coming this fall. Strong further reports that at this point, Republicans simply have no idea how they are going to bridge the “distrust between leadership and the right flank,” which “has been steadily growing over time.”

  13. Ametia says:

    Media Narratives Fall Apart: 67% of Americans Back Obama on Syria by Spandan @TPV

    Tuesday, September 17, 2013 |

    When we found out last Tuesday that a mere 60% of Americans who saw the president’s speech on Syria last Tuesday agreed with his approach, it turns out that it was a rather conservative estimate. A new poll out from Pew today shows that 67% of Americans approve of the president’s decision to put military action on pause while he hangs it over Syria and gets Russia and Syria to acquiesce to every single one of his demands.

  14. rikyrah says:

    House Dems push Boehner from the other direction
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:45 PM EDT

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) thought he’d put together a bill that could prevent a government shutdown: the right would get to keep in place the sequestration cuts they sometimes pretend not to like, but they’d get only a symbolic vote to defund the Affordable Care Act. House Republicans quickly responded that this isn’t nearly good enough for them.

    Indeed, in recent days, it’s quickly become apparent that nothing will satisfy the nihilist wing of the House GOP — short of literally everything they want, when they want it — which leaves Republican leaders in the untenable position of looking across the aisle.

    They’re virtually an afterthought in the battle to keep the government open into October, but House Democrats are more than willing to work with Republicans to cut a deal.

    As long as it costs the GOP something.

    House GOP leadership’s decision last week to back away from a continuing resolution from the floor amid Republican opposition raises the possibility that Speaker John Boehner might ultimately have to call on Democrats to avoid a government shutdown. He has relied on the minority before, most notably during the fiscal cliff deal that raised taxes on top earners earlier this year.

    But Democrats aren’t willing to just go along.


    GOP leaders would likely balk, but there’s a more straightforward Democratic alternative.

    Democrats will be pushing an alternative Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) filed last week. His bill would undo the sequester and set spending at $1.058 billion. It does so by eliminating a number of unpopular tax credits, a rallying cry Democrats feel is a winner compared with Republican calls for cuts.

    House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is pushing a hard line: Democrats won’t back any form of a CR that keeps spending at sequester levels.

  15. rikyrah says:

    A very different kind of ‘sticker shock’

    By Steve Benen
    Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:39 AM EDT

    At the height of the crisis over U.S. policy in Syria, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) delivered the Republican Party’s weekly address on how much the GOP hates the Affordable Care Act. “Many families are going to have real sticker shock when they see their new insurance rates — even families who get government subsidies,” he said.

    I’m beginning to think Barrasso may have been more correct than he realized. Many families may indeed have sticker shock when they realize how affordable access to coverage can be under the Affordable Care Act.

    About 6.4 million Americans eligible to buy insurance through the new health exchanges will pay $100 or less a month in premiums because of tax subsidies, according to a Department of Health and Human Services report to be released today and obtained by USA TODAY.

    The report by the HHS office for planning and evaluation said the lower premiums would primarily apply to insurance customers who buy what are called “silver” plans on the exchanges that open Oct. 1.

    “The health care law is making health insurance more affordable,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “With more than half of all uninsured Americans able to get coverage at $100 or less, the health care law is delivering the quality, affordable coverage people are looking for.”

  16. rikyrah says:

    ‘You’re not dealing in reality’
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:11 AM EDT

    As if Republican government-shutdown threats weren’t in enough trouble, the looming crisis appears to be tearing the GOP apart.

    When a congressional delegation tries to pull off a scheme of this magnitude, they generally need two related dynamics to exist. First, a party needs to be unanimous — when Republicans shut down the government in 1996 and when Republicans launched the first-ever debt-ceiling crisis in 2011, there was practically zero intra-party dissent. Second, a party needs leaders who command the fealty of rank-and-file members.

    This year, neither dynamic exists. National Review published an interesting report on the Republican Study Committee’s weekly staff meeting yesterday.

    Max Pappas, an aide to Texas senator Ted Cruz who was on hand, rose to argue that in the event the House and President Obama were at odds when government funding expired, Republicans could pass a bill to fund the troops and other core priorities.

    At that point, a woman rose, identifying herself as a staffer to a Texas Republican. Pappas, she said, was “not dealing in reality” and making everyone else’s life difficult. The staffer, whom two GOP sources identified as working for Representative John Culberson of Texas, went on to decry Cruz for holding events in Culberson’s district and telling his constituents that defunding Obamacare would be “easy.”

    A significant number in the room of about one hundred people applauded the woman’s remarks, but several GOP aides said it was not a standing ovation or an overwhelmingly positive response.

  17. Yahtc says:

    With rapper Nas, hip-hop is alive at Harvard
    ‘Knowledge is power’ rapper helps raise archive’s profile

  18. Yahtc says:

    Rand Paul Backs Restoring Felons’ Voting Rights


    Paul linked felon voting rights to the problem of disenfranchisement in African-American communities.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Before ‘The Butler’ There Was ‘Backstairs At The White House’ And ‘1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’

    Now that Lee Daniels’ The Butler is off and away, it shouldn’t be surprising that this is not the first project to deal with the work and the private lives of black servants in the White House.

    I’m sure some of our “boomer” readers might recall the 1979 NBC 8 hour mini-series Backstairs at the White House, which chronicled the lives of black servants who worked at the White house, from the administration of William Howard Taft through the Eisenhower years, which is just around the around the time when The Butter’s Cecil Gaines starts working at the White House in the film.

    The mini-series was based on a memoir by a former White House maid Lillian Rogers Parks, who is played in the program by Lesile Uggams, while Olivia Cole played her mother Maggie, who, in real life, was actually only one year older than Uggams.

    The program itself was a huge ratings smash and was nominated for a ton of Emmy awards.

    As I recall, the series, not surprisingly, plays rather fast and loose with historical accuracy. I do recall one moment in which president Woodrow Wilson is shown as a benevolent and considerate person towards his servants, when, in fact, he was a dyed-in-the-wool, hard core, Southern racist. But we’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead are we?

    The only other thing I recall is the series was also one of the grungiest, dark-looking TV programs ever. The whole thing looked like it was shot in a dimly lit basement.

    Though the series has been available on DVD for a some time on Acorn Media, I wouldn’t be surprised if the success of The Butler, convinces Acorn to re-release Backstairs in a sparkling, digitally-restored blu-ray DVD to capitalize on Daniels’ film. At least it’ll look better.

    However, Backstairs wasn’t the only project based on the lives of black White House servants.

    Three years earlier, in 1976, the legendary conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, along with lyricist and librettist Alan Jay Lerner (My Fair Lady, Camelot) together created a Broadway musical called 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, which dealt with the lives and relationships between White House black slaves and servants, and the U.S. Presidents they worked for, from 1800 to 1900.

    Well some of them were more than servants. In fact, the musical began with Thomas Jefferson and his relationship with his black slave mistress Sally Hemmings. Needless to say, that didn’t go over too well with audiences back then.

    Unfortunately, the play ran into serious problems during the out of town tryouts. The original storyline, which used a play within a play concept, was considered too convoluted and confusing and was simplified.

    Then the original director, choreographer and costume designer were replaced with the black director Gilbert Moses (who later directed a lot of episodic TV in the 1980’s and 1990’s until his death in 1995), and choreographer George Faison.

    However when it opened on Broadway, it went on to become one of the most infamous disasters in the history of the Broadway theater, running for only 7 performances. Critics completely trashed the play, though some had nothing but high praise for Bernstein’s music; some even saying that it even surpassed his music for West Side Story.

    Bernstein was reportedly so upset that his music was shorted and altered during the tryouts, that he forbade any Broadcast cast recording from the show to be made, which was regularly done back then for any Broadway show flop or hit. This is the main reason why no one really knows what his music for the play sounded like.

    Later, Bernstein did recycle some of his music for later symphonic concert music pieces.

    However, once again, because of the success of The Butler, one wonders if someone might try to resuscitate the musical, so we can finally hear what Bernstein wrote.

    Why & How ‘The Long Ships’ w/ Sidney Poitier Should Be Remade. What Old Films Would You Remake?

    I asked this question before, over two years ago, and I thought once more unto the breach (to quote Shakespeare’s Henry V), and ask it again, to see what kind of responses we get from our readers this time around.

    So let’s say you’re a filmmaker who has gotten the funding to make a film, along with final cut and total control, except you have to remake a previous film – what film would you remake? I’ve asked that question myself, to friends and now to you readers out there.

    There are so many films I could name, but I assume, like me, you would want to try your hand at redoing some guilty pleasure that just missed the mark. Not a great film by any means, but one with a great premise that you enjoy and in your heart just know you could have done a better job.

    My first choice back then, and now, STILL would be the 1964 chintzy, not-quite-epic adventure movie The Long Ships with Sidney Poitier and Richard Widmark.

    Perhaps some of you have seen it before. Not even remotely within 50 miles of being a great film as you will agree, but a terrific premise full of possibilities (which are never fulfilled) nonetheless.

    For those who have never seen it, it’s about a band of renegade Vikings, led by Widmark, and a Moor (Poitier), both of whom are after this giant golden bell for… well, we are not really sure why. Maybe because it‘s there and it’s made of a gold.

    The film was made to cash in on the success of The Vikings (in fact, the cinematographer for The Vikings, Jack Cardiff was the director of The Long Ships), and the Charleston-Heston-defeats-the-evil-Moors-out-of-Spain 1961 epic El Cid, but on a fraction of the budget.

    While El Cid and Vikings were shot in breathtakingly beautiful and exotic locations like Spain, Norway, Germany and France, The Long Ships was mainly shot in what was then the much cheaper and grungier Yugoslavia – and it looks it.

  20. Ametia says:


  21. rikyrah says:

    Lifetime Greenlights Gabby Douglas Biopic. Regina King, S. Epatha Merkerson Attached

    Lifetime (maybe the only TV network to greenlight more original movies in the last 3 years about black people, than any other TV network – even the black TV networks) has greenlit a biopic on the life of two-time Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas, tentatively titled The Gabby Douglas Story.

    The movie will follow Douglas from childhood, when she began formal gymnastics as a 6-year-old, to the present; and so 2 actresses will play her – Sydney Mikayla will be Gabby Douglas as a child, and Imani Hakim will be Gabby Douglas in her teens, eventually becoming a member of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team at the 2012 Summer Olympics, where she won gold medals in both the individual and team all-around competitions.

    Regina King will play her mother, and S. Epatha Merkerson will be her grandmother.

    Douglas will also appear in the film herself, which is produced by Sony Pictures TV.

  22. Cop fired 12 shots, hit unarmed man 10 times, Charlotte police say

    (CNN) — Jonathan Ferrell, a 24-year-old North Carolina man, suffered a severe late-night car crash. His car slipped into a ravine. He had to kick his way out the back windshield.

    He managed to get out of the car and go to a nearby home, where he knocked on the door repeatedly for help.

    When police arrived, he approached them — and one shot him repeatedly, killing him on the spot.

    Now the officer is charged with manslaughter. Police say he had no cause to shoot Ferrell.

    Monday afternoon, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said in a news release that its investigation determined the officer “fired his weapon 12 times and struck Mr. Ferrell 10 times resulting in his death.”

    Got damn! 3 shots and the man is down. 12 fking times? Did he empty his clip?

    A hunter doesn’t shoot a lion 10 times.

    • Ametia says:

      This act of viciousness is UNCONSCIENABLE!

      What possessed Officer Randall Kerrick to declare open season and riddle Jonathan’s boddy full of bullets and MURDERING him?

      I’ll bet if they dig into Randall Kerrick’s policing tack record, it’s not PRETTY.

      SG2; wait for the media to dig into Jonathan Ferrell’s history, Despite what his mother says about her son. They will try and paint him as a thug that deserved to be gunned down like an animal.

  23. Ametia says:

    Ya know what/z FUCK THE MEDIA. If they had reported on GEORGE ZIMMERMAN’S vile history of ‘RUN-INS with the PO PO, and his out of control anger, his HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, and guns, Trayvon Maartin might be alive today.

    I get a migrane everytime, knowing that Judge Nelson did not allow Zimmerman’s history with the law be admissable in that court, how the system TURNED A DEAD TRAYVON MARTIN INTO A FUCKING THUG.


    • Yahtc says:


      • Yahtc says:

        Just as the character trait of stubbornness can be converted into perservance, so the emotion of anger can be converted into constructive fuel to keep us from becoming weary in our march to DEMAND equal justice, fairness, and equality for ALL.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Symbols vs. Substance

    by BooMan
    Tue Sep 17th, 2013 at 08:36:53 AM EST

    I won’t bullshit you. I have stayed out of all the lobbying over who should be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve because I don’t know that much about fiscal policy and I don’t know much about the candidates. While I was willing to advise against the appointment of Larry Summers, that was based on my political judgment and on the fact that I don’t particularly like what I know about Mr. Summers’ personality. As to his record during the Clinton administration, I think it is a disastrous record, but I also think some people on the left have made opposition to Summers into a symbolic fight. If I believed that defeating Summers would be a great victory for stronger regulation of the markets, I might have been on board the campaign, but I think there is a great deal more to consider than that. The markets moved up sharply yesterday in response to Summers’ withdrawal because they think Yellin is more likely to keep the cheap money flowing to the bankers.


    Another symbolic victory could be at hand if Summers is set aside in favor of a woman. While president of Harvard, Mr. Summers said that women may have less intrinsic aptitude for science and engineering.

    Symbolic victories can be very overrated, but sometime they’re important. It’s just that I think people can be led astray when they invest too much in these battles. For one thing, you can mis- or over-interpret the ideological component of something if you totally dismiss the personal element. I think too many people thought the president was trying to send an ideological message when he chose Rahm Emanuel as his first chief of staff, when it was far more likely that he was chosen because of a combination of a close personal friendship between Emanuel, Obama, and Axelrod, and Emanuel’s immense influence over the House after having successfully run the campaign to retake control of it in 2006. Likewise, I have gotten the sense that Obama wanted Summers at the Fed because the two of them had forged a close personal bond during the height of the financial crisis, not because the president is ideologically inclined toward deregulation of the financial markets. He wanted Summers because Summers had earned his trust.

  25. rikyrah says:

    At last: Maya Angelou to receive National Book Award

    By Associated Press,
    September 05, 2013

    The book world is finally honoring Maya Angelou.

    The poet and author of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” will be this year’s recipient of the Literarian Award, an honorary National Book Award for contributions to the literary community, the National Book Foundation announced Thursday. It is the first major literary prize for the 85-year-old Angelou, who has been celebrated everywhere from the Grammy Awards to the White House. She has received three Grammys for best spoken word album, a National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

    Speaking by telephone with The Associated Press on Thursday, Angelou said she couldn’t wait to be in the same room as “some very big names in the literary world” and that the Literarian prize made her feel that she was “picking in high cotton.”

    “Dr. Angelou’s body of work transcends the words on the page,” the book foundation’s executive director, Harold Augenbraum, said in a statement. “She has been on the front lines of history and the fight for social justice and decade after decade remains a symbol of the redemptive power of literature in the contemporary world.”

  26. rikyrah says:

    Under Obamacare, Millions Of Americans Will Pay Less Than $100 Per Month For Health Insurance

    By Tara Culp-Ressler on September 17, 2013 at 8:58 am

    About 6.4 million Americans will be able to purchase insurance for less than $100 each month on Obamacare’s new state-level marketplaces, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services. That’s because those people will be eligible for federal subsidies that will reduce the price of purchasing a plan under the health reform law.

    The Obama administration calculated the expected premiums for people buying “silver” plans, which are the second-cheapest option on the new insurance marketplaces. Even though not every marketplace has announced its premium rates yet, researchers were still able to estimate those payments based on the health law’s rule for determining subsidies.

    Americans who make up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level — which works out to be $94,200 for a family of four — are eligible for subsidies that ensure they’ll only pay a certain percentage of their income for a health plan. Using census data on Americans’ income levels, researchers were able to extrapolate how many of them would be paying less than $100 for monthly premiums for silver plans.

  27. rikyrah says:

    How common are African-American mass shooters?

    by theGrio | September 17, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    The deadly shooting spree by a 34-year-old Texas man, Aaron Alexis, on Monday, shook Washington D.C. The African-American civilian contractor to the U.S. Navy killed 12 people before being shot to death by police. And while the focus of the investigation shifts to the question of “why,” how common are African-American mass shooters in the U.S

    Of the approximately 62 mass shootings (in which four or more people were killed) in the U.S. since 1982, including 25 since 2006 (and seven in 2012 alone), according to figures compiled by Mother Jones, “more than half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings (12 and 20, respectively); the other 30 cases took place in locations including shopping malls, restaurants, and religious and government buildings. Forty four of the killers were white males. Only one of them was a woman.”

    The percentage of black assailants who kill on a scale such as Monday’s Navy Yard shootings is about equal to the percentage of black Americans, says former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt.

    “African-American shooters tend to at least represent their statistical portion of the U.S. population and include past killers like like Omar S. Thornton, Maurice Clemmons, Charles Lee Thornton, William D. Baker, Arthur Wise, Clifton McCree, Nathan Dunlap, Colin Ferguson, and the DC Snipers, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo,” Van Zandt told theGrio.

  28. rikyrah says:

    This time, it’s Boehner, not Obama, who needs to avoid a government shutdown

    By Jonathan Bernstein, Published: September 16 at 5:35 pm

    Barack Obama pledged again today that he “will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States” — that is, over the debt limit. Remember that until Republicans took control of the House in 2011, the debt limit had never been used to force significant substantive changes — because, after all, both sides ultimately support raising the debt limit, so it’s a lousy negotiating chip. On the other hand, it’s long been accepted that the debt limit vote is one that Members of Congress don’t like to take, and so finding some symbolic fig leaf (or bundling it with other legislation) does have a long history.

    However, Noam Scheiber makes the case, in a piece generating some chatter today, for why there will be a government shutdown this time. His basic take is that Obama has every incentive to hold the line even if it results in a shutdown, because he no longer has to worry about reelection and the hit to the economy a shutdown it would entail. Scheiber also says John Boehner might have an incentive to allow a shutdown — in order to jar conservative Republicans to their senses and force them to accept the reality of their own limited negotiating leverage.

    But make no mistake, the incentives are still heavily for Boehner to cut a deal and avoid a shutdown at all costs.

  29. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: On Syria, Beltway elites blow it with paint-by-numbers punditry
    By Greg Sargent, Published: September 17 at 9:14 am

    There’s a lot to criticize about President Obama’s handling of Syria. He failed to make a strong case for military action and probably should never have entertained bombing without Congress’ support. That said, much Beltway elite criticism, which has focused largely on process and theatrics, is deeply misguided and disconnected from how Americans view the situation. A new Post/ABC News poll illustrates this clearly.

    The poll finds an overwhelming 79 percent of Americans support the proposed deal for international control over Syria’s chemical weapons Obama has embraced. There’s continued public opposition to strikes, with only 30 percent in support. The public gives Obama’s overall handling of the situation low marks.

    At the same time, the poll finds a leading elite criticism of Obama’s handling of the crisis — that his changing of mind along with shifting circumstances showed a vacillation that risks projecting wavering intent — isn’t shared by the public. Sixty percent say he “sticks with his principles,” roughly unchanged since January 2012. A plurality thinks the initial threat of missile strikes helped the situation by pressuring Syria to give up its chemical weapons — meaning Americans accept Obama’s argument about the impact of the threat (even if they oppose action) and don’t see his change of course as somehow diminishing it. A plurality also says Obama made a good case in his speech the other night — despite widespread pundit derision.

    It’s true Obama’s “commander in chief” qualities have slipped. But even here they remain in solid majority territory. Fifty two percent say he’s a “good commander in chief of the military,” which is down a few points but only within the margin of error. Fifty four percent say he’s a strong leader — down from 61 percent in January, but the drop could reflect any number of things (such as the economy), and indeed, it’s now higher than it was at other points in Obama’s presidency. These variations just don’t mean much in the real world. They certainly don’t confirm elite pundit conclusions.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Crusade against Texas clinics based on bogus claims
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:18 AM EDT

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and his Republican allies in the state legislature launched an aggressive legislative campaign against reproductive rights over the summer, including measures intended to close the vast majority of clinics where reproductive services are provided.

    Proponents of the policies said the measures were necessary in order to protect public safety. Becca Aaronson reports in the Texas Tribune this week that the arguments are plainly contradicted by the facts.

    [A] Texas Tribune review of state inspection records for 36 abortion clinics from the year preceding the lawmakers’ vote turned up little evidence to suggest the facilities were putting patients in imminent danger. State auditors identified 19 regulatory violations that they said presented a risk to patient safety at six abortion clinics that are not ambulatory surgical centers in Texas. None was severe enough to warrant financial penalties, according to the Department of State Health Services, which deemed the facilities’ corrective action plans sufficient to protect patients.

    And between 2008 and 2013, the Texas Medical Board, which regulates the state’s physicians, took action against just three doctors who performed abortions — all of them for administrative infractions that did not involve criminal practices or late-term abortions.

    Republican officials swore up and down this was about “safety” concerns at health clinics. The evidence clearly suggests otherwise.

    Amy Hagstrom Miller, chief executive officer of Whole Woman’s Health, which operates five abortion facilities in Texas, told Aaronson, “The point of this legislation was to make abortion inaccessible. It wasn’t about safety, because there is no safety problem around abortion in Texas.”

  31. rikyrah says:

    Obamacare isn’t popular, but GOP sabotage fares worse
    By Steve Benen

    Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:47 AM EDT

    A few weeks ago, Jason Cherkis reported a fascinating anecdote from the Kentucky State Fair a few weeks ago, noting a “middle-aged man in a red golf shirt” who shuffled up to a small folding table to hear about state’s health benefit exchange established by the Affordable Care Act. The man was impressed with what he heard, telling one of the workers behind the table, “This beats Obamacare I hope.”

    The man likes the Affordable Care Act. He just didn’t know it.

    The story came to mind yesterday looking over the new Obamacare polls from NBC/Wall Street Journal and the Pew Research Center, both of which reinforced the larger trends — the health care reform law remains largely unpopular, even as implementation continues apace. The reason everyone should take the results with a grain of salt, though, has to do with the middle-aged man in a red golf shirt — most Americans still have no idea what Obamacare is.

    The public does, however, know what sabotage is, and in this case, it’s far more unpopular than the law itself.

    The Pew poll, for example, asked Americans whether they approve or disapprove of the Affordable Care Act. A 42% minority supports the law. But respondents opposed to Obamacare were pressed further and Pew found that only 23% of the public believes officials “should do what they can to make the law fail.”

  32. rikyrah says:

    Infrastructure Deficit

    Posted on September 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm by JM Ashby

    As you’re likely aware the state of Colorado has been battered by record-breaking floods that are now being called a 1 in 1,000 year event, and this event has exposed what has previously been described as an infrastructure deficit. That is the cost of disaster, repair, and loss of productivity being greater than the cost of reinvesting in our infrastructure. Infrastructure which is, to say the least, vulnerable and ill-equipped to cope with climate change.

    Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has announced that at least 30 bridges in the area have been disabled while as many as 150 miles of roads will need to be repaired. But according to a new report from the Associated Press, this doesn’t even begin to convey the severity of our infrastructure deficit.

    An Associated Press analysis of 607,380 bridges in the most recent federal National Bridge Inventory showed that 65,605 were classified as “structurally deficient” and 20,808 as “fracture critical.” Of those, 7,795 were both — a combination of red flags that experts say indicate significant disrepair and similar risk of collapse.

    A bridge is deemed fracture critical when it doesn’t have redundant protections and is at risk of collapse if a single, vital component fails. A bridge is structurally deficient when it is in need of rehabilitation or replacement because at least one major component of the span has advanced deterioration or other problems that lead inspectors to deem its condition poor or worse.


    Many fracture critical bridges were erected in the 1950s to 1970s during construction of the interstate highway system because they were relatively cheap and easy to build. Now they have exceeded their designed life expectancy but are still carrying traffic — often more cars and trucks than they were originally expected to handle. The Interstate 5 bridge in Washington state that collapsed in May was fracture critical.

    Losing 30 bridges and 150 miles of roadways sounds like the damage that you would usually associate with a major Hurricane, but what hit Colorado over the past week was a series of heavy rainstorms that could happen anywhere. And how can we be sure that what was previously a 100 or 1,000 year even won’t become a 10 year event because of climate change?

  33. rikyrah says:

    Most Awful Farm Bill Ever Moving Forward

    Posted on September 16, 2013 at 3:55 pm by JM Ashby

    On Wednesday of this week House Republicans will vote on the misleadingly-named Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act, which gives you the opportunity to be kicked off food stamps if you can’t find a job in three months.

    From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

    The proposal incorporates all of the SNAP cuts and other nutrition provisions of the farm bill that House leaders sought unsuccessfully to pass in June, which would cut $20.5 billion from SNAP over ten years. It also adds new provisions designed to cut at least another $20 billion in benefits, primarily by eliminating states’ ability to secure waivers for high-unemployment areas from SNAP’s austere rule that limits benefits for jobless adults without children to just three months out of every three years.

    The new House proposal is harsh. It would deny SNAP to at least 4 million to 6 million low-income people — including some of the nation’s most destitute adults — as well as to many low-income children, seniors, and families that work for low wages

    Here’s more. And this part really ticks me off.

    The House leadership proposal would allow states to cut off SNAP benefits to most adults who are receiving or applying for SNAP, including parents with children as young as 1 year old, if they are not working or participating in a work or training program for at least 20 hours a week. This provision, based on an amendment to the original House farm bill offered by Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL), authorizes states to cut off an entire family’s food assistance benefits, including their children’s — and for an unlimited time — if the parents do not find a job or job training slot.

    The provision gives states a strong financial incentive to take up this option. First, they could keep half of the federal savings from cutting people off SNAP and use the funds for any purpose, including tax cuts and special-interest subsidies or plugging holes in state budgets. Second, states that decline the option and maintain their current approach to SNAP work requirements and job training would face a significant fiscal penalty. States that do not elect the option would lose all federal matching funds for their SNAP employment and job training programs (which all states now operate).

    The bill does not simply eliminate provisions that grant states the ability to cope with persistent high unemployment, it actively encourages them not to. It gives states financial incentives to NOT feed people, including adults with infant children.

    I really don’t know how to describe this other than to say it’s a giant Fuck You to poor people. Because the money that’s currently being used to feed some of them would alternatively be used to fund tax breaks for the rich under the House Republican bill.

    • Ametia says:

      Cutting funding for SNAP has to be the most EVIL thing the Teabagging GOP/RETHUG/REPUB Party can do.

      • Yahtc says:

        The racists and haters in the Repub, the Teabaggers, the white supremacists, the states’-rights pushers, the voter suppressionists seem to have all come together and put together a very sophisticated “timed” arsenal to unleashed against our democracy. They are torpedoing anything and EVERYTHING that is meant to safeguard the health and equality of our diverse citizenry.

        It is like they have their stealth already-planned-out strategy and are lurking unseen beneath the surface in their deranged submarine until it is time for the next attack on our democratic ship of state. Then they raise the periscope, aim at the next democratic safeguard, and fire their topedo. This year it has happened multiple times….fire one, fire two, fire three………

  34. rikyrah says:


    Posted on September 16, 2013 at 5:25 pm by JM Ashby

    Depending on who you ask, President Obama is either brilliant or “lucky” in regards to how the situation is Syria played out, but a new Pew poll shows that a plurality of Americans believe the president displayed leadership by not rushing into war.

    Overall, more Americans (49%) say that in handling the situation in Syria, Obama has shown leadership and a willingness to adapt to changing circumstances. Fewer (35%) say he’s shown weakness and inconsistency. Far more Democrats (72%) than Republicans (26%) or independents (46%) say Obama has shown leadership in dealing with Syria.

    For a frame of reference, the 35 percent who believe the president has shown weakness or inconsistency is also roughly the same number of people who believe George W. Bush was a great president. It’s also 2 percent lower than the number of people who believe global warming is a hoax.

    If it wasn’t already clear, I believe the president’s threat of force was the right move in a situation where simply asking nicely wasn’t going to cut it. I also believe saying that the president was just “lucky” is offensive and ignorant and smacks of Beltway punditry.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Public, politicians, pundits differ on ‘leadership’
    By Steve Benen

    Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:00 AM EDT.

    By late Sunday, the disconnect was striking. Diplomatic progress on the crisis in Syria seemed so encouraging — the Obama administration had secured unexpected victories without firing a shot — but the airwaves were filled with disappointed pundits and politicians, and the commentary out of the Beltway was dour. Don’t believe your lying eyes, the political establishment said, President Obama’s failures are only masquerading as successes.

    The latest Pew Research Center poll, however, suggests the punditocracy has not yet persuaded the American mainstream.

    Though widespread skepticism remains on whether the diplomatic course will succeed, by a better than two-to-one margin, Americans support the president’s decision to delay military strikes and pursue the diplomatic alternative. For all the complaints out of the Beltway about “weakness” — the establishment seems to think “strength” and “launching dangerous missile strikes” are synonymous — 67% of Americans endorse the White House’s current policy.

    Also note how broad the consensus is on the policy — a majority of self-identified Democrats, Independents, and Republicans all agree on the merits of Obama’s approach.

    What’s more, note this rebuke of the conventional wisdom: “Overall, more Americans (49%) say that in handling the situation in Syria, Obama has shown leadership and a willingness to adapt to changing circumstances. Fewer (35%) say he’s shown weakness and inconsistency.”

    It’s almost as if the American public refuses to believe what the Sunday shows and op-ed pages tell them to believe about military intervention in the Middle East.


    This is obviously just one poll, of course, and other results will vary. In fact, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll was also released this morning, and the president fared far worse on questions of U.S. global leadership. That said, even here, a whopping 79% endorse the policy Obama is pursuing with regard to Syria.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  37. rikyrah says:

    Avery Brooks is one of my all-time favorite actors.

    HAWK is one of my favorite characters.

    Loving this series.

  38. Yahtc says:

    Good Morning!

    Great article, Ametia.

    I look forward to watching the videos you have posted!

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