Monday Open Thread | The Films of Spike Lee

This week, we’ll be exploring the films of Spike Lee.

spike lee-1

Shelton Jackson “Spike” Lee (born March 20, 1957) is an American film director, producer, writer, and actor. His production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, has produced over 35 films since 1983.

Lee’s movies have examined race relations, colorism in the black community, the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime and poverty, and other political issues. Lee has won numerous awards, including an Emmy Award. He has also received two Academy Award nominations.

Early life

Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Jacqueline Carroll (née Shelton), a teacher of arts and black literature, and William James Edward Lee III, a jazz musician and composer.[1][2] Lee also had three younger siblings Joie, David, and Cinqué, who all worked in many different positions in Lee’s films. When he was a child, the family moved to Brooklyn, New York. During his childhood, his mother nicknamed him “Spike”. In Brooklyn, he attended John Dewey High School.

Lee enrolled in Morehouse College, a historically black college, where he made his first student film, Last Hustle in Brooklyn. He took film courses at Clark Atlanta University and graduated with a B.A. in Mass Communication from Morehouse. He did graduate work at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts in Film & Television.[3]
Personal life

Lee and his wife, attorney Tonya Lewis, had their first child, daughter Satchel, in December 1994.[4] They also have a son, Jackson, born in 1997.[5] Spike Lee is a fan of the American baseball team the New York Yankees, basketball team the New York Knicks, and the English football team Arsenal.[6] One of the documentaries in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks, focuses partly on Lee’s interaction with Miller at Knicks games in Madison Square Garden.

Film career
Main article: Spike Lee filmography
Lee in 2007

Lee’s thesis film, Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, was the first student film to be showcased in Lincoln Center’s New Directors New Films Festival.

spike lee-2

In 1985, Lee began work on his first feature film, She’s Gotta Have It. With a budget of $175,000, he shot the film in two weeks. When the film was released in 1986, it grossed over $7,000,000 at the U.S. box office.[7]

In mid-1990, Levi’s began producing a series of TV commercials directed by Lee for their 501 button fly jeans.[8]

Marketing executives from Nike[dead link][9] offered Lee a job directing commercials for the company. They wanted to pair Lee’s character, the Michael Jordan-loving Mars Blackmon, and Jordan in a marketing campaign for the Air Jordan line. Later, Lee was called on to comment on the controversy surrounding the inner-city rash of violence involving youths trying to steal Air Jordans from other kids.[10] He said that, rather than blaming manufacturers of apparel that gained popularity, “deal with the conditions that make a kid put so much importance on a pair of sneakers, a jacket and gold”. Through the marketing wing of 40 Acres and a Mule, Lee has directed commercials for Converse, Jaguar, Taco Bell and Ben & Jerry’s.



spike lee-3

Spike Lee is an Emmy Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated American film director, producer, writer, and actor, noted for his films that deal with controversial social and political issues. Lee’s films are typically referred to as “Spike Lee Joints” and the closing credits always end with the phrases “By Any Means Necessary”, “Ya Dig” and “Sho Nuff”.[1]

Lee received a Master of Fine Arts from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, which culminated in his thesis film Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, the first student film to be showcased in Lincoln Center’s New Directors New Films Festival.[2] Lee’s first feature-film She’s Gotta Have It was released three years later in 1986. Lee directed, produced, wrote, and acted in his first three feature-films: She’s Gotta Have It, School Daze, and Do the Right Thing. Lee has starred or acted in many of his own films, including the role of Mars Blackmon, which he reprised for a series of Nike commercials that also starred Michael Jordan.[3] He has also been interviewed in and contributed to many documentaries.

In addition to his feature-film credits, Lee has directed a number of music videos by artists such as Prince, Michael Jackson, and Anita Baker. He has also directed music videos for songs featured in films he has directed, including “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy, which was featured heavily in the 1989 film Do the Right Thing.[4]


Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads is a 1983 independent film by Spike Lee. Lee submitted the film as his master’s degree thesis at the Tisch School of the Arts.


Lee’s classmates Ang Lee and Ernest R. Dickerson worked on the film as assistant director and cinematographer, respectively. The film was the first student film to be showcased in Lincoln Center’s New Directors New Films Festival. Lee’s father, Bill Lee, composed the score. The film won a Student Academy Award.

The film is set in a Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn barbershop[1] where customers come to hang out, discuss various issues, and get a haircut. The manager, Zack, took over after Joe was killed by a gangster who used the shop as a front for a numbers racket. Zack wants to keep the shop legitimate but the gangster wants to continue the deal he had with Joe.



She’s Gotta Have It is a 1986 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Spike Lee. It is Lee’s first feature-length film.

The film stars Tracy Camilla Johns, Tommy Redmond Hicks and John Canada Terrell. Also appearing are cinematographer Ernest Dickerson as a Queens resident and, in an early appearance, S. Epatha Merkerson as a doctor.


Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns) is a young, attractive, sexually independent Brooklynite who juggles three suitors: the polite and well-meaning Jamie Overstreet (Tommy Redmond Hicks); the self-obsessed model Greer Childs (John Canada Terrell); and the immature, motor-mouthed Mars Blackmon (Spike Lee). Nola is attracted to the best in each of them, but refuses to commit to any of them, cherishing her personal freedom instead, while each man wants her for himself.

Nola idealizes having what men in society have—multiple sex partners—which symbolizes her as an individual struggling against the group. “A woman (or, at least Nola) can be a sexual being, doesn’t have to belong to a man, and perhaps shouldn’t even wish for such a thing.”[2] Above all, Nola’s voice is the most revolutionary element in the film, a representation of African American women’s struggle in society at the time.[3]

She’s Gotta Have It was Lee’s first feature-length motion picture as a writer/director and a landmark independent film of American cinema.

The New York Times wrote that the film “ushered in (along with Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise) the American independent film movement of the 1980s. It was also a groundbreaking film for African-American filmmakers and a welcome change in the representation of blacks in American cinema, depicting men and women of color not as pimps and whores, but as intelligent, upscale urbanites.”[4]

The film was shot in twelve days during the summer of 1985 on a budget of $175,000 and grossed $7,137,502 at the U.S. box office.[2]

The film served as a turning point for the Brooklyn neighborhood where it was filmed. Lee portrayed the neighborhood as a vibrant cosmopolitan community where successful African Americans thrived, focusing not only on Nola and her struggles, but also on local children, residents and graffiti, revealing the struggles of the neighborhood and the people in it to the world. A public park was used for the setting of much of the movie. This public space is made to feel like a comfortable place for the characters, serving to encourage others to investigate public spaces in the area and creating a link with viewers in other places who had similar thriving public spaces of community importance.[5] After the movie was released media attention was drawn to Brooklyn, from which a flood of artists and musicians began emerging.[6]


1983 Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads
1986 She’s Gotta Have It
1988 School Daze
1989 Do the Right Thing
1990 Mo’ Better Blues
1991 Jungle Fever
Lonely in America
1992 Malcolm X
1994 Crooklyn
D.R.O.P. Squad
Ghostwriter: Into the Comics
1995 Clockers
Lumière and Company
New Jersey Drive
Tales from the Hood
1996 Get on the Bus
Girl 6
1997 4 Little Girls
1998 He Got Game
Pavarotti and Friends for the Children of Liberia
1999 Summer of Sam
Pavarotti and Friends for the Guatemala and Kosovo
The Best Man
2000 The Original Kings of Comedy
Lisa Picard is Famous
Love & Basketball
2001 A Huey P. Newton Story
The Concert for New York City
3 A.M.
2002 25th Hour
Jim Brown: All-American
Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet
2003 Good Fences
2004 She Hate Me
Sucker Free City
2005 Dream Street
Miracle’s Boys
All the Invisible Children
2006 Inside Man
When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
Shark (pilot)
2008 Miracle at St. Anna
Passing Strange
2009 Kobe Doin’ Work
2010 If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise
2011 You’re Nobody Till Somebody Kills You
2012 Red Hook Summer
Bad 25
2013 Oldboy
2013 Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth

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57 Responses to Monday Open Thread | The Films of Spike Lee

  1. Yahtc says:

  2. Yahtc says:

    Big insurers avoid many state health exchanges

    Jayne O’Donnell and Annika McGinnis
    USA TODAY – October 21, 2013

  3. Yahtc says:

    La June Montgomery Tabron Named President and CEO of W.K. Kellogg Foundation
    By W.K. Kellogg Foundation
    Published: Monday, Oct. 21, 2013

  4. Yahtc says:

    Former waitress alleges blond highlights not allowed for African-Americans at Hooters

    Outside the Hooters restaurant near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, you can see images of the pretty waitresses, which have become the chain’s trademark, but behind closed doors, one former waitress alleges that their beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    “I actually started noticing there was an issue when other African-American employees … tried to come in to work wearing their hair curly, and they would get in trouble by management and they would tell them, ‘You can’t come back to work unless you straighten out your hair,'” said 25-year old Farryn Johnson who ran into some trouble of her own when she showed up one day with blond highlights in her hair.

    She claims her managers told her to change it or else.

    “I didn’t see that it would be a big issue just because there were a lot of other employees working at the restaurant of other races with color in their hair. For instance, there were Asian girls with red hair and Caucasian girls with black hair and blond streaks so I didn’t think it would be an issue for the little piece of blond highlight in my hair.”

    Balancing school with her work on a limited budget, Johnson says she could ill afford to return to the hair salon to change it, and a few months later she was fired for what the company deemed as her ‘improper image’.

    She has since filed a charge of discrimination.

    “The law is clear that employers can’t have two separate unequal sets of rules — one for African-Americans employees and one for everybody else, and yet that’s exactly what Hooters did here in firing Miss Johnson, an African-American employee solely because she’s African-American. They targeted her because of her hair solely because of her race,” said Johnson’s attorney, Jessie Weber.

    We asked the parent company about this case, and Hooters of America responded by saying it will not comment on the pending litigation at this time.

    The link above has a newscast video.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Ohio State band moonwalks giant Michael Jackson formation across football field

    Randee Dawn TODAY contributor

    Michael Jackson was the King of Pop; Ohio State University’s marching band is the king of in-formation moves. So when the two collided over the weekend, the video of OSU’s performance quickly went viral

    During the halftime of the university’s football game versus Iowa, the marching band fanned out and launched into a Jackson tribute, playing parts of songs like “Thriller” and “Bad.” But that was just a warm-up: Next, they created a field-wide outline of Jackson’s profile, complete with over-sized white glove.

    And as they blasted through Jackson’s hit “The Way You Make Me Feel,” the marchers made Jackson dance in a way no one had ever seen before, including taking him through his classic moonwalk dance, and even making him do a split. The video has so far racked up over 80,000 views.

  6. rikyrah says:

    The Reasons Why Ted Cruz Dreams of Economic Armageddon

    By: Adalia Woodbury
    Monday, October 21st, 2013, 8:51 am

    Ted Cruz and the sedition caucus never intended to raise the debt ceiling. The 144 Republican House members and 18 Republican Senators voted against reopening the government and raising the debt ceiling because default was their goal. Sure, they wanted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. However, that was an added sugar coating to their objective of destroying our credit rating and ultimately, repudiating our debt.

    Debt repudiation originated with Confederates who resented taxation to repay the Union’s war debt, while the Confederate debt was repudiated. That resentment is why section 4 was added to the 14th Amendment of the Constitution that the Tea Party always says it loves, but prefers to ignore.

    Bruce Barlett explains the connection between the post-war South and today’s debt repudiators.


    Cancelling the debt was always popular among far right wing economists and members of the fringe. Default enjoys support from 69% of the Tea Party.


    The idea of debt repudiation enjoyed a dramatic increase in popularity when Barack Obama won the presidential election in 2008. Aside from achieving economic Armageddon, the debt repudiators fantasized about history blaming the black guy.

    In fact, Donald Trump said it during a 2011 interview on Fox and Friends.

    When it comes time to default, they’re not going to remember any of the Republicans’ names. They are going to remember in history books one name, and that’s Obama.

    The idea gained legitimacy within the Tea Party because, according t0 Bartlett, it was espoused by Nobel Prize winning economist James Buchanan. Buchanan asserted that much debt based government financing and taxing people to pay for it is immoral. The Tea Party got its argument that default would force the government to balance the budget from Buchanan.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Steve Weinstein @steveweinstein

    Pres Obama did a good job selling Obamacare today. That is why MSM is pissy.
    5:50 PM – 21 Oct 2013

  8. rikyrah says:

    john miller @deaconmill

    From what I understand, it looks like @chucktodd is applying for job with “Geek Squad”. Appears he has same qualifications as for journalist
    3:53 PM – 21 Oct 2013

  9. rikyrah says:

    here is an excellent diary about applying for Obamacare:

    20 Oct 13

    Options For Enrolling And Questions Regarding The ACA
    By lovelyplains

    NOTE:This is one person’s experience (who is on a November 6 deadline). It is not an independent analysis. Your experience may be different. Do not skip any steps if it will be disadvantageous for your health insurance enrollment process or if it will negatively affect the subsidy that you may qualify for (which will lead to lower premiums) and the health insurance plans that you may be eligible for. Follow the proper instructions so that you will receive affordable, quality, and comprehensive health coverage.


    A lot of TOD’ers have been questioning‘s functionality….I want to share my experience to date, and for the many asking there is a paper application available contrary to reports

  10. rikyrah says:

    The GOP Hates Its Best Strategist

    Oct 21 2013 @ 2:38pm

    The Fix considers whether the GOP will heed Mitch McConnell’s advice:

    McConnell’s advocacy for a sort of Republican realpolitik is, quite clearly, the right approach for his party in Congress. The shutdown was, by any measure, a political disaster for Republicans and one that they simply cannot afford to repeat again. (We mean that literally. If Republicans forced another government shutdown over President Obama’s health-care law, it would almost certainly negate their chances of winning the Senate back in 2014 and might also jeopardize their chances of holding the House next November.) At some point, principle must give way to practicality, and now is that time for Republicans.


    The GOP is full of cowards – congressmen scared of primaries, leaders scared of Ted Cruz, everyone scared of Rush Limbaugh. It’s a party riven by fear, exploiting fear, and creating fear.

    And McConnell is absolutely a part of that. Which is perhaps why Pareene supports the Tea Party’s efforts to oust McConnell – to heighten the contradictions and bring on the nadir we need:

  11. rikyrah says:

    Reality-Based is Better

    by BooMan
    Mon Oct 21st, 2013 at 11:36:50 AM EST

    Back in the spring, Markos Moulitsas penned a column for The Hill that explained the difference between our civil war with the Democratic Party (2002-2006) and the Tea Party civil war (2011-) that the Republicans are experiencing now. I think it’s fair to say that both movements sought to get their respective parties to better live out the meaning of their creed. Progressive online Democrats wanted the party to oppose stupid wars, defend the social safety net, stay strong on reproductive choice, and promote gay rights. Those were not new ideas. For the most part, those were ideas that the Democrats had traditionally supported but were getting squishy on in the face of concerted, aggressive attacks from the right. The Tea Party is a disparate movement that is hard to precisely describe, but their main concerns are government spending and the resulting debt. They want a smaller government, lower taxes, and less regulation. These are also not new ideas. They are principles that the Republican Party has claimed to stand for for a very long time.
    The difference between online progressives and the Tea Party is, as Moulitsas points out, that we were driven by ideology but not controlled by it. We used data to support our positions when the data supported our positions, and we were willing to be patient when the data did not support our positions. We helped build campaigns against policies and candidates, but we were strategic about it. There were mistakes, as when overreached in attacking General Petraeus, but they were few and far between.

    We said that our positions would strengthen the party, and they did. The Tea Party doesn’t care about the Republican Party. All they care about is ideology. They don’t like the browning of America so they oppose immigration reform even though GOP strategists are telling them that opposing immigration reform will keep them locked out of the White House in perpetuity. They want huge budget cuts that Republican lawmakers are afraid to adopt because they are too unpopular.

    Online progressives had the advantage that the policies we were promoting were more broadly popular than what the Tea Party is promoting, but we never pretended that Democratic politicians could advance our agenda by committing career suicide.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Thanks, Morons

    by BooMan
    Mon Oct 21st, 2013 at 09:41:00 AM EST

    Alberto Gonzales lackey Rep. Tim Griffin (AR-2) will not seek reelection. Perhaps former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter or former North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays, will run for the seat. Also, in Arkansas:

    James Lee Witt, who was director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency under former President Bill Clinton, says he’s looking at running for the seat [in the 4th district] being vacated by Republican Rep. Tom Cotton.

    Rep. Tom Cotton is running for U.S. Senate against Mark Pryor. It would be very difficult to think of a stronger recruit for Cotton’s seat than James Lee Witt.

    DCCC chairman Steve Israel is beginning to fill out the 2014 midterm roster. His recruitment has been greatly aided by the government shutdown which resulted in a complete collapse in the Republicans’ standing in the polls. It has allowed him not only to convince people to run who had already turned him down, but it created recruits in districts that no one was talking about as competitive just a month ago. If the Democrats are going to retake the House, they are going to have to win seats in states like Arkansas. Suddenly, that actually seems possible.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Koch brothers eye states, not Congress, for health care goals

    10/21/13 12:40 PM

    By Steve Benen

    About two weeks ago, with the government shutdown still going strong, the Koch brothers’ company sent a letter to Congress, making clear that Koch Industries is not on board with the idea of tying the Affordable Care Act to the government shutdown. It was, at the time, evidence of a Republican operation losing friends in a hurry.

    It was not, however, proof of the Charles and David Koch losing their appetite for undermining “Obamacare.” On the contrary, there’s ample evidence that the Kochs are financing the very organizations waging a crusade against the health care law and demanding Republican policymakers keep up the fight.

    What’s more, let’s also not forget that Koch brothers’ attention is not limited to Congress. Sheryl Gay Stolberg reported over the weekend from Richmond, Virginia:

    The federal government is again open for business, and Republicans in Washington are licking their wounds from the failed Tea Party attempt to derail President Obama’s health care overhaul. But here in Virginia’s capital, conservative activists are pursuing a hardball campaign as they chart an alternative path to undoing “Obamacare” – through the states.

    One leading target is Emmett W. Hanger Jr., a Republican state senator from the deeply conservative Shenandoah Valley, who prides himself on “going against the grain.” As chairman of a commission weighing one of the thorniest issues in Virginia politics, whether to expand Medicaid under Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act, he is feeling heat from the Republican right.

    His openness to expansion has aroused the ire of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative advocacy group backed by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch. Dressed in emerald green T-shirts bearing the slogan “Economic Freedom in Action!” its members are waging what the senator calls “an attempt to intimidate me” in Richmond and at home. They have phoned his constituents, distributed leaflets and knocked on 2,000 doors in his rural district. When the Republican town committee met Monday night in Mr. Hanger’s home county, Augusta, Americans for Prosperity was there.

    AFP’s president boasted about his group’s “trench warfare” against the health care law, which in this case means pushing Virginia to reject Medicaid expansion, which in turn would keep 400,000 Virginians from having access to basic care.

    In other words, the Kochs can tell Congress about their indifference to the Republican “defund” strategy, perhaps because they considered it a poor plan, but also because the conservative billionaires can focus their energies on state capitols, where it’s easier to stop struggling families from having health care coverage.

  14. rikyrah says:

    What Inhofe doesn’t understand about Obamacare

    10/21/13 10:47 AM

    By Steve Benen

    When the U.S. Senate voted last week to resolve the recent crises, one member missed all the drama: Sen. James Inhofe. In this case, however, the Oklahoma Republican had an excellent excuse: Inhofe recently had quadruple bypass surgery, and is still recovering.

    In fact, as the senator moves closer to returning to Capitol Hill, he’s using his heart surgery to condemn the Affordable Care Act in an especially creative way.

    After going in for a routine colonoscopy, doctors found Inhofe’s arteries were so clogged he barely made it onto the operating table, he said in comments airing on journalist Aaron Klein’s WABC radio show tonight.

    The 79-year-old suggested that if he had been in a part of the world with “socialized medicine like Obama is trying to impose upon America,” the operation never would have happened.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Obamacare horror stories aren’t so horrible

    10/21/13 10:12 AM

    By Steve Benen

    There are real and substantial problems with the Affordable Care Act’s website, serious enough to warrant remarks this morning from President Obama and “tech surge” at HHS. But for the law’s critics, there’s still an underlying problem: websites can be fixed. The merits of “Obamacare” are unaffected by online snafus, however irritating they may be.

    And with this in mind, the right realizes it can’t just jump up and down about a website that will get better; conservatives still need to go after the health care system itself.

    That’s proving to be difficult. We talked last week about a recent Fox News segment, hosted by Sean Hannity, featuring three real-world couples who presented themselves as victims of the Affordable Care Act. As Eric Stern reported in Salon, the problem with the segment was that none of the claims made by the couples stood up to any scrutiny. One of the horror stories was apparently entirely fictitious.

    As it happens, this larger public-relations scheme is quickly shaping up to be an unsettling pattern. Robin Abcarian reported on a similar problem in the L.A. Times.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Jesse Lee ‏@jesseclee442h
    GOP went from “shut down govt to deny access to affordable care” to “we demand immediate glitch-free access to affordable care” pretty fast

  17. President Obama Speaks on the Affordable Care Act

  18. TyrenM says:

    Good morning 3Chics,
    I look forward to the Spike posts. Also, thanks for pointing me to Blacknbougie. Not trying to join or hate, just maybe learn something I don’t know. Have a good week all.

  19. rikyrah says:

    First AME’s former pastor is troubled by church upheaval

    The Rev. Cecil Murray built the South L.A. congregation into a community force. But in the nine years since he retired, Murray has watched his hard work crumble under the leadership of his successor.

    By Angel Jennings
    October 19, 2013, 9:16 p.m.

    In his final days as pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Rev. Cecil L. “Chip” Murray compiled, copied and buried piles of records amassed over the 27 years he led the congregation.

    The time capsule, he believed, would preserve his legacy and document the church’s role as a force for positive change in South L.A.

    But in the nine years since he retired, Murray has watched his hard work crumble under the leadership of his successor, the Rev. John J. Hunter, and his wife.

    Allegations of financial mismanagement and sexual improprieties tarnished the church under the new minister. But it wasn’t until Hunter was removed from the pulpit last year that the full scope of the church’s troubles became clear.

    A $13.5-million reserve was depleted and debts totaled more than $500,000. And some of the nine rental properties acquired as part of Murray’s efforts to serve thousands of low-income residents now sit in disrepair, some infested with termites and mold.

    The biggest blow to the congregation may be that the church no longer legally owns FAME Assistance Corp., the nonprofits established by Murray to help bring jobs, housing and corporate investment into riot-torn South Los Angeles.

    Hunter’s wife, Denise, quietly severed the relationship between the church and the nonprofits by filing corporate paperwork under her name. Under the church’s constitution, oversight should have been transferred to the pastor who replaced Hunter, the Rev. J. Edgar Boyd.

    “To see this even now just blows me away,” Murray said. “How could you literally deprive ownership and put it in under your care?”,0,7676794.story

  20. rikyrah says:

    Beverly Hills Tennis Club adopts a hard-up South L.A. squad

    South L.A.’s Jefferson High tennis teams had almost no gear – until an invitation to lunch at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club.

    By Kurt Streeter
    October 20, 2013, 8:13 p.m.

    Tennis isn’t much of a big deal at South L.A.’s struggling Jefferson High.

    The two dozen kids who play on the boys’ and girls’ teams practice on a pair of beaten courts at a gang-riddled, graffiti-tagged park.

    It wasn’t long ago that both squads — stacked with teens still learning basic tennis rules — shared six beaten rackets and sometimes played in jeans.

    “Shoes?” said David Herrera, who coaches the girls’ team. “A lot of my players didn’t even know there was such a thing as shoes made just for tennis. They played in skateboard sneakers. One girl showed up in boots. They just didn’t know.”

    They do now, thanks to the venerable, 84-year-old Beverly Hills Tennis Club.

    This past weekend marked the beginning of an uncommon bond between Jefferson and the club — storied in Southern California tennis circles, with a wealthy membership that once included Groucho Marx and Charlie Chaplin. On Saturday, Jefferson’s tennis players boarded a bus in their neighborhood and went on a 12-mile journey to a corner of the city far different from their own.

    They ended up at the leafy club — as honored guests.

    “Most of us, we’ve never really been to Beverly Hills before, even though it’s not that far from home,” said Alma Roque, a 17-year-old senior who stood back for a moment, tentative as she surveyed her teammates.

    They sat near the pool, next to club members who made polite small talk in an effort to make nervous youngsters comfortable. They dined on an all-you-can-eat lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers that one of the players called “the fanciest meal I have ever had in my entire life.”,0,5729297.story

  21. rikyrah says:

    Gabriel Debenedetti ‏@GDebenedetti15m
    When bank CEOs met with Obama during the shutdown, Jamie Dimon had to sit in the corner.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Richmond Times-Dispatch refuses to endorse for Virginia governor
    By KATIE GLUECK | 10/20/13 9:53 PM EDT

    A major Virginia newspaper announced on Sunday that it “cannot in good conscience” endorse Terry McAuliffe or Ken Cuccinelli in the state’s gubernatorial race, which has shaped up to be a deeply negative contest.

    “We find it impossible to endorse any of the 2013 candidates with even minimal zeal,” opined the Richmond Times-Dispatch in a lengthy opinion article.

    The newspaper, which endorsed Mitt Romney for president and has a history of endorsing Republicans for governor, blasts GOP candidate Cuccinelli for the way he clinched the nomination. He “rigged the process,” the article charges. It also challenges his approach to hot-button social issues, as well as to subjects like transportation funding.

    Read more:

  23. rikyrah says:

    Fugitive UBS executive Raoul Weil held in Italy
    OCTOBER 21, 2013 8:41AM

    Former Zurich-based UBS’ head of global wealth management Raoul Weil, pictured in 2005, has been arrested in Italy for allegedly hiding $20 billion from the taxman for wealthy Americans. Source: Supplied

    A FORMER top executive at Swiss banking giant UBS wanted in the United States for allegedly helping wealthy Americans hide $20 billion from the taxman has been arrested in Italy, police say.

    Raoul Weil, 54, had been staying in a luxury hotel in the city of Bologna where he checked in under his real name, triggering a police check because he is on an international fugitive list.

    “He was arrested at the hotel and he is now being held in prison. He did not explain why he was in Italy,” a spokeswoman for Bologna police told AFP.

    The officer said the arrest took place on Friday but explained that details of the case were only being released on Sunday because of police policy.- See more at:

  24. rikyrah says:

    Coast Guard Discovers A 4,000-Pound Mat Of Tar In The Gulf

    [….] Petty Officer First Class Michael Anderson tells the Times-Picayune that the tar mat is a mixture of “80 percent to 90 percent sand, shell and water and 10 percent to 20 percent oil.” Crews are now working on cleaning up the mess, and will search nearby waters for any additional pollution.

    Mats and balls of tar have continued to wash up on gulf shores, despite the more than three years that have passed since a rig explosion left oil spewing into the gulf’s waters[….] But despite the lasting impact that BP’s oil spill has had on the region, the company discontinued its regular searches for remaining oil earlier this year.[…]

  25. rikyrah says:

    David Axelrod ✔ @davidaxelrod

    Isn’t it ironic that the most ardent opponents of the Affordable Care Act are now complaining that people can’t sign up fast enough?

    8:44 AM – 20 Oct 2013

  26. rikyrah says:

    A confederacy of hate

    David Corn and Sam Stein join Chris Matthews to discuss what is becoming of the Republican Party under the influence of the far right.

  27. rikyrah says:

    That’s not what ‘ransom’ means

    10/21/13 08:40 AM

    By Steve Benen

    During the most recent Republican debt-ceiling crisis, the White House used a provocative word grounded in fact: the GOP was demanding a “ransom” before they’d allow the federal government to pay its bills. In an odd twist, now it’s Republicans trying to flip the script.

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sat down with National Review’s Robert Costa last week, and condemned Democratic demands as part of a “grand bargain.” In recent years, the Obama White House has told Republicans that he’d consider entitlement “reforms” if they’d consider new tax revenue as part of a broader compromise. McConnell told Costa, “[W]e don’t think we should have to pay a ransom to do what the country needs.”

    Yesterday, McConnell used the same line.

    President Barack Obama was holding up a bipartisan fiscal deal by demanding a “ransom” of $1 trillion in new tax revenues, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell charged on Sunday.

    “Unfortunately, every discussion we’ve had about this in the past has had what I would call a ransom attached to it: $1 trillion in new tax revenues,” the Kentucky Republican said on CBS’s “Face The Nation.”

    This reinforces fears that Republican leaders quite literally don’t understand what a compromise is.

    If I go to my favorite sandwich shop for lunch, and then try to take the sandwich without paying, the guy behind the counter wouldn’t be too happy. “Let’s complete our transaction,” he’d say. “I’ll give you your lunch and you give me $5.” It’d be kind of odd if I replied, “Why are you demanding a ransom for my sandwich?”

    But that’s effectively McConnell’s argument. Obama is prepared to complete the transaction: Democrats will make a concession on entitlements if Republicans make a comparable concession on revenue. The Senate Minority Leader’s argument is that the president is being unreasonable – to insist on a compromise is to insist on a “ransom.”

  28. rikyrah says:

    Rubio: House GOP likely to kill immigration reform

    10/21/13 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    With Washington’s crises having subsided, at least temporarily, attention now turns to what, if anything, Congress can accomplish in the coming months. For Democrats, it’s an easy call: the Senate has already approved comprehensive immigration reform bill, which now enjoys the support of the American mainstream, business leaders, religious leaders, GOP strategists, and leaders from the Latino community.

    For Republicans, it’s far less clear. Last week, some notable GOP lawmakers said their government shutdown effectively killed the immigration bill’s prospects. Yesterday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) echoed their arguments.

    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) said that President Obama’s handling of the 16-day government shutdown has made the path to reforming the country’s immigration system more difficult.

    Republicans’ lack of trust for the president, Rubio said on “Fox News Sunday,” makes the prospect of a final bill bleaker than ever.

    “The president has undermined this effort,” he said. “I certainly think that immigration reform is a lot harder to achieve today than it was just three weeks ago,” he added.

    What’s harder to understand is the assertion that the president has imperiled the legislation by hurting Republicans’ feelings when they shut down the government.

    What is it, specifically, that Obama did over the last three weeks that left the GOP even more obstinate than before? Republicans demanded the president undermine the health care system, and he declined. They demanded concessions in exchange for a debt-ceiling increase, and he didn’t go for that, either. So Republicans have decided to kill immigration reform? That makes sense, how?

  29. rikyrah says:

    Freedom Isn’t Free

    Posted by dpm (dread pirate mistermix) at 8:49 am .


    Blake Farenthold, TX-27:

    We asked him about the people who say he’s lost their vote; people like retired veterans who were on the verge of losing their disability checks next month.

    He said the stalemate in Washington was necessary to achieve party goals.

    “I feel like my mandate when I was elected was to go reduce the size of government, lower taxes, and increase freedom, and freedom isn’t free, and sometimes you have to make a small sacrifice to move forward with what you’re after,” Congressman Farenthold said.

    In 2010, Farenthold won an 799 vote squeaker over long-time Democratic Rep Solomon Ortiz in a district that stretched from Corpus Christi to Brownsville and was 70% Hispanic. In 2012, re-districting moved Brownsville and other southern counties out of the district and added in some rural northern counties to make TX-27 a R+13 safe seat, and Farenthold won 57-39. His new district is just under 50% Hispanic and majority minority (55%), so pissing off veterans is probably not in Blake’s best interests, but he’ll probably survive the next election if he learns to shut his fucking mouth. That said, this should be an interesting district to watch for voter suppression, and the effect of doing nothing on immigration reform.

    It’s easy to say “50 state strategy” and talk about fighting in districts like TX-27 but think about the task of recruiting and fundraising. If you’re running for this seat, you’re essentially waiting for lightning to strike. In a target-rich environment like 2014, the DCCC isn’t going to put money into a R+13 when there are so many swing districts up for grabs. Farenthold can raise a couple million bucks by virtue of being a Member of Congress. Your job is going to involve a year of begging for money to raise probably 1/3 of what Farenthold can. As you raise that pittance, which is just enough to hire a couple of staff and get some ads on the air, you’ll have to put thousands of miles on your car traveling the district to address whatever social clubs and party gatherings will hear you. It’s a year or 18 months of hard labor, bad food, little sleep, taking shit from mouthy Republicans, kissing babies and kissing ass, all with the almost certain reward of being crushed in November.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Friday, October 04, 2013

    How #Scandal reveals the Bougie Black Experience (Finally!)

    Yeah uh so… if you haven’t watched last night’s #Scandal, just stop reading. Seriously. I don’t need ya’ll up in arms telling me I spoiled it for you. Back away from the blog and come back when you’ve watched television responsibly. ;-)

    We were able to spend a little more time with Super Spy Rowan Pope, the leader of B613. And while he is still ruthless as all the damns, he also made some good sense. He was wildly derisive of Olivia’s dream to become First Lady. “Were you not raised for better?” Um. Good point. Olivia need not stand in anyone’s shadow so why is she so busy orbiting the sun? In fact, as much as my father wanted me to marry a doctor or a lawyer (bless his heart) he wanted me to become one even more.

    My favorite line (and one I’d heard often growing up) came when Papa Pope reminded Daughter Dearest that to survive and succeed in this world, she had to be “twice as good to get half as far.” Now this was so damn real, my older brother (who I hoodwinked into watching with me) and I had to fist bump each other. This is why we need a Shonda Rhimes writing and a Kerry Washington acting in prime time TV. That line is so deeply embedded in the black upwardly mobile experience that we could recite the end of line before she formulated it.

    My father drilled this into us from day one and my mother repeated it in case we forgot. It’s why they sent us to private school and forced us to go to cotillion dance classes and charm school. It’s why they took us to the opera and theater and played Pavarotti with as much volume as Gladys and the Pips. It’s why my sister took horseback riding, my older brother played the cello, I learned tennis and my younger brother had a clarinet. They wanted us well-rounded and able to hold our own in any situation this country threw at us.

    We don’t see enough of that (for lack of a better term) Huxtablism on TV or in movies or if we do, it’s shown with a sneer as if all folks with a little bit of bouge are snobby and too busy looking down on everybody else to remember that they are black too. Trust, we remember. I’m so over the stereotype. But let’s move on…

    So as we watched them detail Liv’s life in boarding school, on ski slopes and onto Princeton, we cheered. Not because her life was perfect (whose is?) or because she has overcome a “turbulent” family life (more to be explored there no doubt). I love Olivia Pope because she is bringing a multi-faceted view of the black experience to a wide audience.

    It’s not just the steamy cocoa with Fitz or the brilliant dialogue with OPA or the droolworthy wardrobe. It’s that she’s allowed to be excellent and flawed, educated and silly, superb and sinful, paid and played. Her life may be going to hell in a hand basket but she’s going to keep the ratchet in the closet and go down looking and sounding classy as hell. Even more importantly, she has the brain power, the upbringing and the education to put the basket back together and keep it moving. Olivia Pope is black ‘n bougie, ya’ll. Amen.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Obama hosts White House wedding for presidential photographer Pete Souza
    By Associated Press,
    Published: October 20

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has hosted a wedding at the White House this weekend for presidential photographer Pete Souza.

    The White House says the wedding ceremony for Souza and Patti
    Lease was held Saturday in the Rose Garden. About 35 friends and family attended.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 04:04 AM PDT.

    The Magical Thinking Behind Thinking a Grand Bargain Changes Everything
    by LeftHandedMan

    Senator Dick Durbin said some really dumb and unhelpful things on Sunday.
    Sadly, he has been saying some really dumb and unhelpful things for years.

    Thankfully, with Sen. Bernie Sanders sitting on board, and Sen. Dick Durbin sitting on the sidelines, and in this exciting time where Sen. Elizabeth Warren has joined the Senate and Rep. Alan Grayson has re-joined the House, it’s going to be even harder than it was before to end up with Simpson and Bowles greatest dream as our new nightmare. The wretched Grand Bargain. (Not that this means we should let down our guard. Or stay silent about how we feel about Social Security and Medicare when we call our Senators and Representatives offices in the coming weeks and months ahead.) We have options we didn’t have in the past to say “Hell no!” and I have seen no evidence that rank and file Democrats are willing to trade anything related to the social safety net because of some ‘they stood firm’ fantasy mojo that only a Chuck Todd could believe in. So. Dick Durbin pissed me off, but I didn’t lose any sleep over it.

    What, exactly, does make me lose sleep at night these days, after the shutdown?

    The derpishly daft logic that is the wet sand foundation beneath the Grand Bargain Theory.

    Or, why I think a Senator Dick Durbin said some really dumb and unhelpful things on Sunday.

    He thinks, in the end, the Grand Bargain will be such a good thing it will justify saying things like this on a conservative propaganda channel that helped shutdown the government that the Democrats just fought tooth and nail to re-open.

    “Social Security is gonna run out of money in 20 years,” Durbin said. “The Baby Boom generation is gonna blow away our future. We don’t wanna see that happen.”

    He knows this isn’t true. He knows it. But he went on television and said it anyway.
    Why? He sees passing a Grand Bargain as a noble act. A restorative act. His belief?

    The idea that, once such a deal is agreed to and done, everything changes in US governance.

  33. rikyrah says:

    A new CNN/ORC poll finds that 54% of Americans say it’s a bad thing that the Republican party controls the House of Representatives, up 11 points from last December, soon after the 2012 elections when the Republicans kept control of the chamber. Only 38% say it’s a good thing the GOP controls the House, a 13-point dive from the end of last year.

    “This is the first time since the Republicans won back control of the House in the 2010 elections that a majority say their control of the chamber is bad for the country.”

    Overall, just 12% of those questioned say they approve of the job Congress is doing.

    From PoliticalWire

  34. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

    Hope you enjoy this week’s topic :)

  35. Yahtc says:

    Good Morning Ametia and everyone,

    I appreciate your bringing Spike Lee to us, Ametia. What a great week this will be.

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