Thursday Open Thread | 60s Genre Music | The Fifth Dimension


Who can forget the Fifth Dimension? Not 3 CHICS!



The 5th Dimension is an American popular music vocal group, whose repertoire also includes pop, R&B, soul, and jazz.

Originally known as The Hi-Fi’s,[1] the group changed its name to The 5th Dimension in late 1966 and was best-known during the late 1960s and early 1970s for popularizing the hits “Up, Up and Away”, “Stoned Soul Picnic”, “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”, “Wedding Bell Blues”, “One Less Bell to Answer”, “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All”, and The Magic Garden LP.

The five original members were Billy Davis, Jr., Florence LaRue, Marilyn McCoo, Lamonte McLemore, and Ron Townson. They have recorded for several different labels over their long careers. Their first work appeared on the Soul City label, which was started by Imperial Records/United Artists Records recording artist Johnny Rivers. The group would later record for Bell/Arista Records, ABC Records, and Motown Records.

Some of the songwriters popularized by The 5th Dimension went on to careers of their own, especially Ashford & Simpson, who wrote “California Soul”. The group is also notable for having more success with the songs of Laura Nyro than Nyro did herself, particularly with “Stoned Soul Picnic”, “Sweet Blindness”, “Wedding Bell Blues”, “Blowin’ Away”, and “Save the Country”. The group also covered music by well known songwriters such as the song “One Less Bell to Answer”, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and the songs and music of Jimmy Webb, who penned their hit “Up, Up and Away”, including an entire recording of Webb songs called The Magic Garden.


One Less Bell to Answer

Stone Soul Picnic

Wedding Bell Blues


Up Up And Away

Working on a Groovy Thing

Sweet Blindness

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78 Responses to Thursday Open Thread | 60s Genre Music | The Fifth Dimension

  1. Ametia says:

    Bwa ha ha ha Cyrus, don’t fuck with James! He’ll fuck with Sally’s Hubby.

  2. Ametia says:

    Harrison told ms. Anne to color inside the lines. BWA HA HA

  3. Ametia says:

    LOL Cyrus is gone take down VP Sally, and he’s gone use JAMES to do it.

  4. rikyrah says:

    This is a hilarious picture…it is creepy


    Danish Royal Family Portrait Looks Like A Horror Movie Poster

    the Danish Royal Family starring in a sequel to The Omen? A portrait of the family has been going viral and it isn’t because of royal jealousy. It’s because the painting is seriously creepy.

    Prince Christian, the heir to the Danish throne, stands at the center of Thomas Kluge’s portrait. I’m sure that Christian is a very cute kid but there is something about the lighting, or maybe his vacant stare, or maybe the man hands that makes it seem like he is going to crawl out of my computer screen and kill me.


  5. Yahtc says:

    • Yahtc says:

      I cannot believe the great gymnastic tap dancing opening here.

      I have seen these three talented dancers before.

      Can someone help me with their names?

  6. rikyrah says:

    Sasha Obama Causes Nationwide Unicorn Sweater Shortage

    On Sunday, Sasha Obama wore a sweater with a unicorn on it to a basketball game. By Thursday, unicorn sweaters had gone extinct. (Is “extinct” the word for a sweater selling out?Maybe it should be.)

    According to the Huffington Post, as soon as Sasha took her courtside seat at the Maryland Terps women’s basketball game on Sunday, Twitter lit up with adoration of the younger Obama daughter’s chosen top. Where did she get it? WHERE CAN I GET ONE? Are those Obama girls the best or what?
    By the next day, sleuths had determined that the sweater was from Asos and was reduced in price from upwards of $60 to under $20. Unfortunately, by then, the item was OUT OF STOCK.

  7. rikyrah says:

    new gif for 3CHICS

    oprah_you mad

  8. rikyrah says:

    Yeah, I Watched Kanye West’s Bound 2 Video

    [ 57 ] November 21, 2013 | Luvvie

    So Kanye West and Kim Kardashian continue to make the world collectively side-eye their antics. I am impressed at their ability to do what they want with reckless (and I mean reckless) abandon. That’s ballsy. They have no fucks to give about what we think and that is commendable of them.

    I was basically forced to watch Kanye’s latest video “Bound 2.” I put it off for as long as I could. In fact, the only reason I’m even posting this is to let you know I watched. And yes. It’s horrific. Watch below”

    This video is so bad that the word “bad” wants to punch Kanye in the face and take his lunch money. The word “terrible” wants to break all his pencils and throw them at the back of his head during exams.

  9. Native American Code Talkers Get Congressional Gold Medal

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2013 – Native American “code talkers” who transmitted codes based on 33 tribal dialects during World Wars I and II so enemies could not decipher them were patriots with “unique capabilities and willingness to give their talents and lives” to the nation, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today at a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony to honor them.

    Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., joined in the U.S. Capitol’s Emancipation Hall by House and Senate leaders and other officials, recognized 216 code talkers and members of their families from those wars with the highest honor Congress can bestow.

    Winnefeld said, “During Native American Heritage Month, I have the great privilege of representing the finest military in the world in recognizing hundreds of Native Americans who wore the cloth of our nation in the distinctive way we celebrate today, and in such a courageous way, defending a country that did not always keep its word to their ancestors.”

    Conceived in 1918, the code talker program eventually comprised more than 400 Native Americans who volunteered to defend the nation, the vice chairman said.

    The role of the code talkers during the two world wars was kept a secret until 1968, officials said.

    “Throughout history, military leaders have sought the perfect code — signals the enemy cannot break, no matter how able the intelligence team,” the vice chairman said. “It was our code talkers who created voice codes that defied decoding.”

    Winnefeld said the codes were “doubly clever” by using words that were confusing to the enemy, such as “crazy white man” for Adolf Hitler and “tortoise” for tank.

    “Our code talkers’ role in combat required intelligence, adaptability, grace under pressure, and bravery — key attributes handed down by their ancestors,” the admiral said.

    Winnefeld said the code talkers endured some of the nation’s most dangerous battles and served proudly during critical combat operations, such as the Choctaws at the Meuse-Argonne, Comanches on Utah Beach on D-Day, Hopis in the Caroline Islands and the Cherokees at the Second Battle of the Somme.

    “These men were integral members of their teams — the 36th Infantry Division, the 4th Signals Company, the 81st Infantry Division, the 30th Infantry Division — learning Morse code and operating equipment to transmit messages quickly and accurately,” he added.

    Contributing even more than battle skills, the code talkers also “fundamentally contributed to our military intelligence community’s work” in cryptology, Winnefeld said.

    The National Security Agency Museum highlights the code talkers of World War I and World War II as pioneers of this specialty, he added.

    The code talkers are a national resource, a wellspring of intelligence, innovation, hard work and resilience, the vice chairman said.

    “We can best honor these great warriors among us not just with well-deserved and long overdue recognition,” the vice chairman said, “but also with our own efforts to continue leveraging our nation’s diversity and to forever honor our veterans.”

  10. LIVE: President Obama speaks at the White House Champions Of Change ConnectEd

  11. rikyrah says:

    Senator PittyPat gets dissed by the Nigra.



    Tim Scott Refuses To Endorse Fellow South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (VIDEO)
    TOM KLUDT – NOVEMBER 21, 2013, 6:47 AM EST

    Lindsey Graham didn’t get much love Wednesday night from his fellow South Carolina Republican in the Senate.

    During an appearance on CNN’s “Crossfire,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) was put on the spot and asked if he supports Graham for re-election in 2014.

    “You know, as you three have just heard recently, I am up for re-election next year myself,” Scott said. “I’m going to make sure that Tim Scott gets out…I’m gonna allow for all the other folks on the ballot to represent themselves very well. I’m gonna continue to work hard for my election.”

    “So no endorsement for Lindsey tonight?” host Van Jones asked.

    “I certainly am going to work really hard for Tim Scott,” the junior South Carolina senator said.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid)
    11/21/13, 11:52 AM
    I’m old enough to remember when Sen. McConnell insisted on up-or-down votes for judicial confirmations.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Alexis Levinson ‏@alexis_levinson7m
    Reid on Rs: “For the past 4.5 years they have done everything they can to deny that president Obama was elected.”

    Alexis Levinson ‏@alexis_levinson9m
    “Leader Reid, won’t this come back to bite you?” Reid: “No! This is the way it has to be. The senate has changed.”

  14. rikyrah says:

    The Nuclear Winter Has Begun

    by BooMan
    Thu Nov 21st, 2013 at 12:45:27 PM EST

    It took all morning and part of the afternoon, but the U.S. Senate has officially changed the rules so that nominations (not including to the Supreme Court) can get cloture with the support of 50 senators (with the vice-president breaking a tie) rather than the 60 senators that have been required previously. The final vote was 52-48, with Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Mark Pryor (D-AR), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) joining with a unanimous Republican opposition to the change.
    This was an unfortunate but necessary move by Harry Reid. If the filibuster has any legitimate purpose, it is for lifetime appointments. I think it is safe to say that women’s reproductive rights are less safe as a result of this change in the rules, but ultimately it probably won’t make much of a difference. The Democrats can now nominate and confirm more liberal judges, and the Republicans almost definitely would have changed the rules if they found one of their nominees blocked in the future.

    Our job just got a little more urgent. We cannot lose control of the Senate and we must win the next two presidential elections, at a minimum, or we will see women’s rights rolled back.

    Yet, I still applaud the Democrats for standing up for themselves and for the power of the Executive Branch to get votes on their nominees. Good for them. It was a long time coming.

    Comity is dead. Long live comity.

  15. Ametia says:

    rikyrah; where are you?!! We’re iin for a SCANDAL treat tonight

    Ava DuVernay On Directing “Scandal” And The Universality of Black Film

    Ava DuVernay dreams big and in color. After years of creating campaigns for big budget studio films, the former publicist took her life savings and in 2011, bankrolled her first feature film, “I Will Follow.” DuVernay’s career as a filmmaker has skyrocketed, making history as the first African-American woman to win the coveted Best Director Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her second feature “Middle of Nowhere.”

    Her penchant for telling complex female narratives has made her one of Hollywood’s most sought out talents, landing her gigs with the fashion house Miu Miu for the visually stunning film short “The Door” starring Gabrielle Union and the ESPN documentary “Venus vs.” highlighting Venus Williams’ fight for equal prize money. So it was only natural that DuVernay would partner up with Hollywood’s most powerful female showrunner, Shonda Rhimes, creator and executive producer of primetime’s smash hit, “Scandal.”

  16. Ametia says:

    The Senate on Thursday struck down the long-standing filibuster rules for most presidential nominations, voting along party lines to alter nearly 225 years of precedent. The so-called “nuclear option” allows for swift confirmation of executive branch nominees and most selections for the federal judiciary without having to clear a 60-vote hurdle.

    Read more at:

  17. Ametia says:

    Bracing myself for tonight’s episode of “SCANDAL.” LOL

  18. Yahtc says:

    Brown Sugar: Eighty Years of America’s Black Female Superstars (1 hour long videos)

    PLEASE SEE SEPERATE THREAD POST! Thank you, Yahtc. :-)

  19. Ametia says:

    Here’s How the Media Helps Republicans with Their Sabotage of ObamaCare

    The media follows Republican direction, even after they’ve been lied to repeatedly by Republicans (Benghazi emails, IRS Tea Party targeting, etc).
    A perfect example of just how closely they fall in line with GOP talking points can be seen in a Republican memo outlining their attacks on ObamaCare, via the New York Times.
    From providing sample op-eds (nothing says grassroots like a sample op-ed) to instructions to use social media to spread the message, the document lays out a shock and awe campaign against ObamaCare. The main messages are: “Because of Obamacare, I Lost My Insurance”, “Obamacare Increases Health Care Costs” and “The Exchanges May Not Be Secure, Putting Personal Information at Risk”.

  20. WATCH LIVE: Senate debating filibuster rules

  21. rikyrah says:

    On Trey Radel

    by BooMan
    Wed Nov 20th, 2013 at 11:39:13 AM EST

    Freshman Congressman Trey Radel (R-FL) was just convicted on a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession and received probation. He admits to suffering from alcoholism, which he blames for his poor choice to purchase cocaine. That may be a bit of a loose excuse since he was only set up for the sting because law enforcement had learned that he had made prior purchases of cocaine. In other words, he may be more than a recreational user of cocaine, and this was not a matter of a single slip-up that happened because he was drunk. Regardless, he says that he will now seek treatment for his alcoholism, and I wish him every success in his battle with addiction.
    What concerns me, however, is that he voted to deny nutritional assistance to anyone who fails a drug test. Voting to let drug addicts die of starvation isn’t a very nice thing to do, but it is particularly galling coming from someone who admittedly cannot control his alcohol consumption and who likes to use cocaine. In his mind, perhaps he cannot abide the idea of some crackhead getting some food stamps to help her feed her children, but he has no right to look down on people who are suffering from addiction. He is no better than them. As he winds his way through rehabilitation and the 12 Steps, I hope he pays close attention to how everything is paid for, how much it costs him out-of-pocket, and how adequate he finds his treatment. And, he should ask himself what the process would be like for someone lacking health insurance and the financial resources and free time to pursue treatment.

    Sometimes, conservatives lack the empathy to understand how most people live until something happens to them. Well, something just happened to Trey Radel. Let’s hope he learns from it.

  22. Ametia, I love the photos! Beautiful colors!

  23. rikyrah says:

    Valerie Jarrett dating Ahmad Rashad
    By Richard Johnson

    Ahmad Rashad, a Pro Bowl wide receiver, has made yet another great catch. The Minnesota Vikings legend has rebounded from his broken marriage to Sale Johnson — the ex-wife of Jets owner Woody Johnson — and is said to be dating Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s most trusted senior adviser.

    Rashad, a sportscaster and a close friend of Michael Jordan’s, is keeping the romance on the down low. “They haven’t gone out in public,” one source told me. “They are sneaking around.” (Rashad’s manager did not respond to questions about the relationship, and the White House declined to comment on Jarrett’s personal life.)

  24. rikyrah says:

    So Far, Obamacare Has Taken Only a Modest Hit in Polls
    —By Kevin Drum

    | Wed Nov. 20, 2013 12:06 PM PST

    Yesterday I misread a poll question about Obamacare, initially thinking it was about whether people wanted to make changes to the law. Today, though, CBS has a poll question that really does ask this. Here it is:

    This isn’t very different from Kaiser tracking polls in the past. In the most recent one, among people who expressed an opinion, 56 percent wanted the law kept as is or enhanced, while 44 percent wanted it repealed.

    So far, Obamacare hasn’t really taken that big a hit in public opinion, and as the website problems continue to get fixed I expect that public opinion will improve. It’s still early days.

  25. rikyrah says:

    David Axelrod ✔ @davidaxelrod
    Interesting CEA report on impact of ACA on curbing growth of health care inflation & spending, a key driver of debt.

    10:19 PM – 20 Nov 2013

  26. rikyrah says:

    G.O.P. Maps Out Waves of Attacks Over Health Law
    Published: November 20, 2013

    The memo distributed to House Republicans this week was concise and blunt, listing talking points and marching orders: “Because of Obamacare, I Lost My Insurance.” “Obamacare Increases Health Care Costs.” “The Exchanges May Not Be Secure, Putting Personal Information at Risk.” “Continue Collecting Constituent Stories.”

    The document, the product of a series of closed-door strategy sessions that began in mid-October, is part of an increasingly organized Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature legislative initiative. Republican strategists say that over the next several months, they intend to keep Democrats on their heels through a multilayered, sequenced assault.

    The idea is to gather stories of people affected by the health care law — through social media, letters from constituents, or meetings during visits back home — and use them to open a line of attack, keep it going until it enters the public discourse and forces a response, then quickly pivot to the next topic.

    For a House more used to disarray than methodical game plans, the success so far has been something of a surprise, even to the campaign’s organizers.

    “Yeah, there is a method being followed here,” said Representative Michael C. Burgess, a Texas Republican involved in the effort, “but, really, these stories are creating themselves.”

    First it was the malfunctioning website,, then millions of insurance policy cancellation notices sent to individuals with plans that did not meet the requirements of the health law. Earlier this week, the House aired allegations that personal data is insecure on the Internet-based insurance exchanges.

    At a congressional field hearing set for Friday in Gastonia, N.C., the line of attack will shift to rate shocks expected to jolt the insurance markets in the next two years. Coming soon: a push to highlight people losing access to their longtime physicians and changes in Medicare Advantage programs for older people.

    The effort has its roots in a strategy developed last spring, when House Republican leaders — plagued by party divisions that were thwarting legislative accomplishments — refocused the House’s committees on oversight rather than on the development of new policies.

  27. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: Draw a sharper contrast on Obamacare, Dems
    By Greg Sargent
    November 21 at 8:41 am

    Uh oh. Run for your lives, Democrats! Republicans are launching a major new attack on the Affordable Care Act!

    The New York Times goes big with a new report detailing that House Republicans are launching a “multi-layered, sequenced assault” on Obamacare. It includes highlighting the stories of people feeling adverse effects from the law. Right now Republicans are spotlighting those losing plans and seeing premiums go up, but there’s more coming, including ”a push to highlight people losing access to their longtime physicians and changes in Medicare Advantage programs for older people.”

    House GOP leaders have distributed a new memo urging GOP lawmakers to ask constituents to relay stories about their negative experiences with the law, apparently for use against the law later.

    What’s unclear is whether the new campaign will include a serious effort by Republicans to reach consensus on real alternative health reform proposals (such as ideas put forth by the Republican Study Committee, which aren’t a meaningful alternative to the law to begin with). I asked a House GOP aide if an alternative was forthcoming. Answer: “To be determined — of course, our ideas would be piecemeal.”

    Only a few months ago, when the government shutdown was looming, GOP elders were warning darkly that the GOP position on health reform was unsustainable — that Republicans simply had to offer their own such alternative. Now, however, it seems likely that Obamacare’s awful rollout problems are only deepening the conviction among many Republicans that the law’s doom is absolutely inevitable — further postponing any need to articulate a serious health reform vision of their own.

    Snark aside, Dems are obviously right to be worried about the law’s rollout problems. If the law fails over time, it will be a huge disaster for the party. In the short term, Republicans are doing a damn good job of highlighting individual tales that play against the law. Media coverage is giving more weight to these stories than to Obamacare’s successes. To be fair, successes are in shorter supply in part because the website failure is preventing many from accessing the law’s benefits. But even so, positive stories, such as those of people seeing their lives made better by the Medicaid expansion, are getting less attention. Exacerbating this problem, as Jonathan Cohn puts it, is that other Obamacare successes — such as the slowdown in rising health costs — are having an impact that is “largely invisible.”

  28. rikyrah says:

    Tomorrow is Nuclear Thursday

    by BooMan
    Wed Nov 20th, 2013 at 10:24:13 PM EST

    You might remember my piece from this morning in which I mused on the inner workings of Senator Chuck Grassley’s brain to try to suss out the thinking behind the Republicans’ serial obstruction of the president’s nominees to serve on the DC Circuit of Appeals. Well…I feel vindicated. Harry Reid is apparently going to go nuclear tomorrow, and Chuck Grassley isn’t happy.

    Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa took to the Senate floor and denounced Democrats, saying that if they changed the rules, Republicans would consider them applicable to all judicial nominees, including those for the Supreme Court. Mr. Reid has said he supports keeping intact the minority party’s ability to filibuster controversial Supreme Court nominees.
    “Apparently the other side wants to change the rules while still preserving the ability to block a Republican president’s ability to replace a liberal Supreme Court Justice with an originalist,” Mr. Grassley said.

    Does that sound like a man who secretly wants Harry Reid to go nuclear? To me, it sounds like a man who is desperately trying to dissuade Democrats from supporting the nuclear option by promising to confirm “originalists” (read: Scalia-types) to the Supreme Court, in retaliation, with simple-majority votes. It’s not much of a threat, as it tends to buttress the argument of the advocates of the nuclear option. Part of the argument is that the Republicans have become so radicalized and so vested in their strategy to legislate from the bench, that they will never honor the filibuster anyway if it means that they won’t get to put another Scalia on the Supreme Court. If the reason to show restraint now is to encourage the Republicans to show restraint later, well, Chuck is pretty much torpedoing that reason.

    No, sadly, Brian Beutler swung and missed on this one. The GOP simply couldn’t help themselves and they overplayed their hand. Even John McCain seems unable to rectify the situation.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Why the right hates Oprah right now

    What on earth could one of the most popular women in modern media do to upset so many conservatives? Rev. Sharpton explores the issue.

  30. rikyrah says:

    This a good clip keeping up on the Voter Suppression Efforts in Ohio. Would love to see it posted.

    OHI-NO you can’t easily vote

    Republican governors in key swing states are working to turn them red through selective voting ID laws. Ed Schultz and Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner discuss.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Tired of these adults trying to lock bathroom doors behind them. It’s the toilet not the pentagon LET ME IN.

    When I first met her we were inseparable for like 9 months now she’s always trying to create distance. #bathroom

    It’s like she’s never heard of the buddy system before.

    “There are starving kids who would love this meal.” Ok so how do we get it to them

  32. Yahtc says:

    Ask most people about our state’s African-American history and they’ll think of Milwaukee’s 1960s civil rights struggle. But black settlers had been living here for nearly two centuries by then, much longer than Yankee, German, or Polish families.

    The best-known early African-Americans in Wisconsin were fur traders in the Lake Superior region. Jean and Jeanne Bonga came to Mackinac before 1786 as slaves. Their son Pierre criss-crossed northern Wisconsin as a voyageur for fur companies. He settled among the Ojibwe near modern Superior before the close of the 18th century.

    “Three miles above the mouth of the St. Louis river,” an explorer wrote in 1820, “there is a village of Chippeway Indians … containing a population of about sixty souls. Among these we noticed a Negro who has been long in the service of the fur company (and) has four children (who) are as black as the father, and have the curled hair and glossy skin of the native African.”

    Pierre’s son Stephen followed in his father’s footsteps as a Great Lakes voyageur, guide and interpreter. He traveled all through northern Minnesota and western Ontario after 1827, interpreted for Gov. Henry Dodge during a 1837 treaty negotiation with the Ojibwe, and survived the notorious Sandy Lake death march of 1850.

    Stephen Bonga enjoyed making the paradoxical claim that he was “the first white child born at the Head of the Lakes” — meaning the first non-Indian child. Minnesota’s Bonga Lake, 75 miles north of Superior, is named for this family of African-American fur traders.

    — Wisconsin Historical Society

  33. Yahtc says:

    Duke Ellington School Celebrates Co-Founder

    “Mike Malone Remembered as Students, Staff Perform ‘Black Nativity’ ”

    Rory Pullens paused as he reflected on the coalescing of the many stage productions produced at the famed Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

    However, the reverence in the voice of the school’s CEO could easily be discerned when he talked about the late Mike Malone’s adaptation of the celebrated gospel play “Black Nativity” which opens at the Ellington Theatre on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m.

    “Ellington is known as a family and when family work together as a team to accomplish these kinds of goals and objectives, such as putting on ‘Black Nativity,’ there is such a larger satisfaction,” said Pullens, 56.

    The presentation of, “Black Nativity,” certainly counts as a special family affair, because it honors the work of Malone, who along with arts patron Peggy Cooper Cafritz, founded the school, located in Northwest, in 1974.

    “Mike Malone touched many lives and he is my mentor and we all thought it would be a good time to commemorate our founder with his play,” said Katherine Smith, the co-director of the school’s production of “Black Nativity,” and Ellington’s director of Vision Contemporary Dance Ensemble.

    Smith worked closely on several stage productions with Malone, a choreographer, director and teacher, who inspired a generation of artists and performers.

    “It’s been a challenge, a good challenge that has also provided our students a chance to be included in pre-production and pre-performance activities while giving them pre-professional training,” said Smith, who has worked with such noted choreographers as James Truitte, Talley Beatty, Donald McKayle, and Milton Myers.

    Malone, who died in 2006 at the age of 63, staged “Black Nativity,” in theaters around the world, including Paris, Hong Kong, New York, and Ohio. The production has become a holiday tradition in many locations, especially in Washington, D.C.

    The director proclaimed the play to be a testament to the power of gospel music which tells the story of the Nativity through a combination of African-American scripture, poetry, dance and song.

    Originally written by poet, playwright and social activist Langston Hughes, the play debuted on Broadway in 1961 as one of the first productions by a black playwright. “Black Nativity” opens with a cast member quoting the Bible and recounting the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, from the perspective of African Americans.

    Barefoot singers in white robes with candles in hand, take center stage, belting out, “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” a classic Negro spiritual.

    To emphasize Jesus’ mother Mary’s labor pains, musicians beat on African drums, which previous theater-goers to the show said resonated throughout the auditorium, making the experience authentic.

    “I’m extremely excited about this,” said Tracie Jenkins, the play’s co-director and a former Theater student of Malone’s who attended Duke Ellington, some 20 years ago.

    “It’s an honor to present the work of our mentor, the man who trained and molded us. You can see his influence when you’re in that room. You see it coming forward through the children,” Jenkins said.

    A former professor and coordinator of the Musical Theatre program at Howard University in Northwest, Malone also served as guest director for productions at the Karamu House Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio.

  34. Yahtc says:

    “NYC Sets Deadline for Stores in Profiling Probe”

    Probing allegations of racial profiling, New York City is giving 17 major retail stores until Friday to submit information on how they’ve dealt with shoppers suspected of stealing.

    The City Council tackled the emotional issue on Wednesday at a hearing that included statements from Macy’s and Barneys New York denying allegations by customers that they had been singled out and followed.

    City Council member Jumaane Williams calls the problem “staggering.”

    The stores did not send representatives to the session in the City Council’s main chamber.

    “I’m offended that Barneys New York and Macy’s is not here. I think it’s insulting, not just to the City Council, but to the City of New York and the people who shop there,” Williams said.

    The NYC Commission on Human Rights has sent letters to 17 retailers — including Macy’s and Barneys — requesting the following information: loss prevention policies; procedures for approaching and detaining individuals suspected of theft; records regarding all individuals accused of theft in the past two years; and what, if any presence, NYPD officers have in the retail locations.

    The stores are: Century 21, Loehmann’s, Sephora, Target, Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Sears, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, The Gap, CVS, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys, Macy’s, Bath & Body Works/Limited Brands/Victoria’s Secret.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Democrats Finally Getting Ready to Kill the Filibuster
    —By Kevin Drum

    | Tue Nov. 19, 2013 8:43 PM PST

    Republicans have now made clear that they’re willing to filibuster all of President Obama’s nominees to the DC circuit court. This is not because they have any specific objections to them, but simply because they want to preserve the court’s conservative majority even though they lost the election. Greg Sargent reports that this is such a sweeping position that Harry Reid no longer thinks there’s any chance of brokering a compromise on the matter. The only option left, according to a senior leadership aide, is to go nuclear and do away with the filibuster entirely:

    “Reid has become personally invested in the idea that Dems have no choice other than to change the rules if the Senate is going to remain a viable and functioning institution,” the aide says….Asked if Reid would drop the threat to go nuclear if Republicans green-lighted one or two of Obama’s judicial nominations, the aide said: “I don’t think that’s going to fly.”

    Reid has concluded Senate Republicans have no plausible way of retreating from the position they’ve adopted in this latest Senate rules standoff, the aide says. Republicans have argued that in pushing nominations, Obama is “packing” the court, and have insisted that Obama is trying to tilt the court’s ideological balance in a Democratic direction — which is to say that the Republican objection isn’t to the nominees Obama has chosen, but to the fact that he’s trying to nominate anyone at all.

    Reid believes that, having defined their position this way, Republicans have no plausible route out of the standoff other than total capitulation on the core principle they have articulated, which would be a “pretty dramatic reversal,” the aide continues.

    But does Reid have the votes? The New York Times reports that Republican obstruction has finally gotten so outrageous that even previously cautious Democrats are now supporting Reid’s position:

  36. rikyrah says:

    November 20, 2013, 11:02 am 80 Comments

    The State of Obamacare

    I haven’t been writing about the thing, for the simple reason that I have nothing to say. What’s going on isn’t a policy question: we know from the states with working exchanges (including California) that the underlying structure of the law is workable. Instead, it’s about an implementation botch, which is an incredible mess, and reflects very badly on Obama. But the future of the reform depends not on policy per se but on whether the IT issues can be fixed well enough soon enough, a subject on which I have zero expertise.

    Of course, that hasn’t stopped other people from breathlessly commenting on every twist and turn in the polls, every meaningless vote in the House, and so on. Hey, it’s a living.

    But at this point there’s enough information coming in to make semi-educated guesses — and it looks to me as if this thing is probably going to stumble through to the finish line. State-run enrollments are mostly going pretty well; Medicaid expansion is going very well (and it’s expanding even in states that have rejected the expansion, because more people are learning they’re eligible.) And, while still pretty bad, is starting to look as if it will be good enough in a few weeks for large numbers of people to sign up, either through the exchanges or directly with insurers.

    If all this is right, by the time open enrollment ends in March, millions of previously uninsured Americans will in fact have received coverage under the law, and reform will be irreversible. Obama personally may never recover his reputation; Democratic hopes of a wave election in 2014 are probably gone, although you never know. But anyone counting on Obamacare to collapse is probably making a very bad bet.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Steve Benen: ‘This is sabotage, plain and simple’

    Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who’s never been the Affordable Care Act’s biggest fan, appeared on MSNBC yesterday to join the critical chorus. In reference to the Obama administration, the conservative Democrat said, “The bottom line is that they messed up, they messed up royally. There’s no excuse for this.”

    The administration’s missteps have been well documented, and officials have earned much of the criticism they’ve received. But to say there’ “no excuse” is to overlook Republican sabotage efforts that have made a real difference.

    Todd Purdum recently made the case, for example, that “calculated sabotage by Republicans at every step” is a “less acknowledged cause” of the rollout’s troubles. Jamelle Bouie added this week, “If Republicans have shown anything over the last four years, it’s that they’ll do anything to stop the Affordable Care Act, even if it amounts to legislative sabotage.”

  38. rikyrah says:

    The next conservative litmus test: Opposition to Medicaid expansion
    By Greg Sargent
    November 20 at 4:42 pm

    The other day, Republican businessman Vance McAllister defeated a fellow GOPer in a Louisiana House special election, even though he supports the Medicaid expansion, which is of course a feature of the hated Obamacare. While there’s some argument as to how much the expansion meant to the outcome, McAllister’s willingness to embrace the idea of accommodating a part of the health law to bring in federal money suggests something of a schism between pragmatic and ideological Republicans over the issue.

    Now the Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis reports that opposition to the Medicaid expansion is set to become a major litmus test issue in GOP primaries:

    The issue is now making its way into Idaho’s Second Congressional District — in what is shaping up to be a brutal primary between Rep. Mike Simpson and a conservative challenger named Bryan Smith.

    In a press release earlier today, The Club for Growth, a powerful fiscally conservative group, pointed out that a Super Pac backing Simpson has also endorsed expansion. (It’s not clear where Simpson stands on the issue, and that’s sort of the point.)

    “Does Mike Simpson support or oppose expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare in Idaho, just as his supporters in the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry do?” asked Club for Growth Spokesman Barney Keller in the release. “Medicaid expansion will cost taxpayers billions and stick future generations with the bill. Conservatives across the country are rejecting ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, and Mike Simpson should have to answer if he joins with the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry in supporting ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion in Idaho.”

    If Idaho is a harbinger of things to come, expect Medicaid expansion to be a huge issue in Republican primaries — a sort of litmus test for true conservatives.

    Meanwhile, House conservatives are beginning to hatch a new strategy for the coming budget talks that would involve pushing for a defunding of the law’s Medicaid expansion, and using the money to offset the sequester’s defense cuts. Though this idea seems to have very little support, it’s not impossible it could gain some momentum.

  39. rikyrah says:

    The ‘economic justice’ wing of the Democratic Party: A monetary policy menu
    By Ryan Cooper
    November 20 at 2:42 pm

    For weeks now, a debate has unfolded among Democrats over just how economically populist a posture the party should strike going forward. The unofficial spokesperson for what you might call the “economic justice” wing of the Democratic Party has been Elizabeth Warren, whose signature issues are at the center of this debate: Wall Street accountability, financial reform, stagnating middle class wages, the need for an end to austerity, and now, the push to increase Social Security benefits.

    But this debate has been mostly silent on another key area that should be central to any serious new economically progressive agenda: Monetary policy.

    This is important, because as Ben Bernanke explained in an important new speech, there is nothing that has more influence over the state of the labor market than monetary policy, and current policy has proven sadly inadequate to our ongoing unemployment crisis. During normal times, the Federal Reserve uses the control of interest rates to adjust the economy. If unemployment is too high, then it lowers rates to spark additional loans and spending. If inflation is too high, it raises rates to slow loaning and spending. But in 2008, the Fed lowered rates all the way to zero — the dread “zero lower bound” — and has been stuck there for five years. Their replacement unconventional policies, while preventing outright depression, haven’t sparked a return to full employment.

    The problem, stated in its simplest form, is not enough spending in the economy. Here’s a brief menu of policies that might be considered for Democrats from the “economic justice” wing:

  40. rikyrah says:

    Dems try going on offense: It’s Obamacare versus ‘Cruz Care’
    By Greg Sargent
    November 20 at 12:04 pm

    In 2012, the meta-pundit narrative turned on whether the election would be a choice between two visions for the future (as Dems hoped) or a referendum on the anemic Obama status quo (as Republicans predicted). The outcome surprised observers who thought the weight of the bad economy made the latter inevitable.

    Now Democrats are going to attempt a repeat performance around Obamacare, at a time when the law’s travails have triggered widespread predictions that it, too, will serve as the focus of a referendum, just as the Obama economy was supposed to last year.

    I’m told the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is set to launch a new campaign designed to refocus the debate on the Republican position on health care, which Dems will widely label as ”Cruz Care.”

    With Ted Cruz set to roll out his own health plan — one that will probably look like the usual grab bag of GOP reform ideas, which just aren’t a reform alternative to Obamacare – Dems plan to tar GOP Senate candidates across the country with it, by hitting them as proponents of “Cruz Care.” Many GOP candidates also embraced Cruz’s Obamacare-driven government shutdown.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Harry Reid is set to go nuclear
    By Greg Sargent
    November 19 at 4:10 pm

    Senator Harry Reid appears set to go nuclear — before Thanksgiving.

    With Senate Republicans blocking a third Obama nomination to the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, a senior Senate Democratic leadership aide tells me Reid is now all but certain to move to change the Senate rules by simple majority — doing away with the filibuster on executive and judicial nominations, with the exception of the Supreme Court – as early as this week.

    At a presser today, Reid told reporters he was taking another look at rules reform, but didn’t give a timeline. The senior leadership aide goes further, saying it’s hard to envision circumstances under which Reid doesn’t act.

    “Reid has become personally invested in the idea that Dems have no choice other than to change the rules if the Senate is going to remain a viable and functioning institution,” the aide says. That’s a long journey from where Reid was only 10 months ago, when he agreed to a toothless filibuster reform deal out of a real reluctance to change the rules by simple majority. Asked to explain the evolution, the aide said: “It’s been a long process. But this is the only thing we can do to keep the Senate performing its basic duties.”

  42. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: On Obamacare, a stark racial divide
    By Greg Sargent
    November 20 at 9:18 am

    The current battle over Obamacare — particularly its focus on those losing plans or seeing higher premiums — goes right to the heart of a political problem the law’s proponents have had since the beginning: Many perceive the law as an expansion of the safety net for other people, i.e,, poor people, not something that will help them or the middle class.

    A new National Journal poll illustrates that this dynamic is very much alive — but it also explains why Democrats are still better off sticking with the law, and even why the GOP position of full repeal may not be a winner over the long term.

    The poll finds solid majorities of Americans still believe the law will help the poor (59 percent) and people without insurance (63), but minorities of Americans think the law will help the whole country (42-51) and middle class (39-53).

    But, crucially, there is a divide on this question that breaks down on racial and class lines, with core Dem groups continuing to believe the law will benefit the whole country, while core GOP groups think it will only help others. Ron Brownstein digs into the numbers:

    On this question, Obama continues to face enormous skepticism from groups traditionally critical of him (about two-thirds of noncollege whites, just over three-fifths of rural residents, and nearly three-fifths of whites above 50 thought it would make things worse for the country). But, compared with the question about the law’s personal impact, the president rallied more support from groups favorable to him, with nearly three-fifths of minorities and almost exactly half of college whites saying the law would do more to make things better than worse for the country overall.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Voter suppression the new GOP strategy

    By Harold Meyerson, Published: November 19 E-mail the writer

    Better bring some identification — and not just any identification, official though it may be — if you plan to vote in Republican-controlled states. However, if you contribute tens of millions of dollars to sway an election on Republicans’ behalf, the party will fight to keep your identity a secret.

    Consider, for instance, what happened to some attempting to participate in this month’s elections in Texas. The New York Times reported that “Judge Sandra Watts was stopped while trying to vote because the name on her photo ID, the same one she had used for voter registration and identification of 52 years, did not exactly match her name in the official voter rolls.” Both Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis and Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott — the front-runners in next year’s gubernatorial contest — encountered the same obstacle. As did Jim Wright, the 90-year-old former speaker of the U.S. House. Wright, who represented his Fort Worth district in Congress for 34 years, told the local paper that he had voted in every election since 1944 and that he had realized shortly before Election Day that his identification — a driver’s license that expired in 2010 and a university faculty ID — would not suffice under the state’s 2011 voter ID law. Indeed, officials required Wright to produce a certified copy of his birth certificate to procure a personal identification card that would allow him to vote.

    Fortunately, no issues of cosmic importance appeared on this year’s Texas ballots. Next year, however, congressional seats and control of the statehouse will be up for grabs, and voter turnout probably will be much higher. The purpose of these and other vote-deterring measures, adopted in Texas and a slew of other GOP-controlled states, is to make sure turnout is not too much higher by reducing voter participation, particularly among the young (student IDs often don’t suffice), the poor (no driver’s license? Sorry.) and racial minorities. That is, groups that tend to vote Democratic.

    Voter suppression has become the linchpin of Republican strategy. After Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012, the GOP was briefly abuzz with talk of expanding the party’s appeal to young and Latino voters. Instead, the party doubled down on its opposition to immigration reform and its support for cultural conservatism — positions tantamount to electoral suicide unless the youth and minority vote can be suppressed.

  44. rikyrah says:

    November 19, 2013

    Americans Like Obamacare Where They Can Get It

    Posted by John Cassidy

    As the Washington press corps reports that the Obama Administration is failing—and threatening to take down with it the entire philosophy of liberalism—a funny thing is happening out there across the country. In a number of states that have working online health-care exchanges, more and more people are signing up for the insurance coverage that is available under the Affordable Care Act.

    In California, where local officials have launched a campaign to remind residents that the state’s new Web site, Covered California, is separate from the troubled federal site, enrollment is rising fast. During the first two weeks of November, almost sixty thousand people signed up for private insurance policies or for Medi-Cal, the local version of Medicaid. That’s more than twice the figure for all of October. “What we are seeing is incredible momentum,” Peter Lee, the director of Covered California, said at a press conference on Monday.

    Similar things are happening in other states across the country. An article in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times cites Connecticut, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Washington as on track to exceed their enrollment targets. Here in New York, too, there are positive signs. Last week, officials reported that close to fifty thousand people had signed up for health insurance through the state’s new Web site, NY State of Health, with about half of them taking out private plans and half enrolling in Medicaid. “I would say we are seeing great interest in New York, and we are very pleased with our enrollment numbers,” Danielle Holahan, the deputy director for NY State of Health, said.

    What these states have in common are state-run Web sites that are working pretty well; they are also all controlled by Democrats who are pushing the new reform. This progress points to something that has been absent in much of the reporting about the troubled rollout of and the cancellation of individual policies: in places where Americans know about the comprehensive and heavily subsidized health coverage available under the Affordable Care Act and can easily access it, they are doing so in substantial numbers.

    That’s hardly surprising. Prior to the reform, close to fifty million Americans didn’t have any health-care coverage, and many others were stuck with policies that had large gaps. The online insurance exchanges and the effort to make more people eligible for Medicaid were designed to remedy this situation, and in some places that strategy is working more or less as planned.

  45. rikyrah says:

    I love the Fifth Dimension!!

  46. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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