Tuesday Open Thread | Aretha Franklin Week

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Aretha Franklin


Early life

Aretha Louise Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of Barbara (née) Siggers and Clarence LaVaughn Franklin. Her father, who went by the nickname, “C. L.”, was an itinerant preacher originally from Shelby, Mississippi, while her mother was an accomplished piano player and vocalist.[6] Alongside Aretha, her parents had three other children while both C. L. and Barbara had children from outside their marriage. The family relocated to Buffalo, New York when Aretha was two. Prior to her fifth birthday, C. L. Franklin permanently relocated the family to Detroit, Michigan where he founded the Baptist church, New Bethel. Franklin’s parents had a troubled marriage due to stories of C. L. Franklin’s philandering and in 1948, they separated, with Barbara relocating back to Buffalo with her son, Vaughn, from a previous affair.


Contrary to popular notion, Franklin’s mother didn’t abandon her children and Aretha would recall seeing her mother in Buffalo during summertime while Barbara also frequently visited her children in Detroit.[7] Franklin’s mother died on March 7, 1952, prior to Franklin’s tenth birthday. Several women, including Franklin’s grandmother Rachel, and Mahalia Jackson took turns helping with the children at the Franklin home.[8] During this time, Franklin learned how to play piano by ear.[9] Franklin’s father’s emotionally-driven sermons resulted in him being known as the man with the “million-dollar voice” and earning over thousands of dollars for sermons in various churches across the country.[10][11] Franklin’s celebrity led to his home being visited by various celebrities including gospel musicians Clara Ward, James Cleveland and early Caravans members Albertina Walker and Inez Andrews as well as Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke.[12][13]


Music career


Just after her mother’s death, Aretha began singing solos at New Bethel, debuting with the hymn, “Jesus, Be a Fence Around Me”.[8][14] Four years later, when Aretha was 14, her father began managing her, bringing her on the road with him during his so-called “gospel caravan” tours for her to perform in various churches.[15] He helped his daughter get signed to her first recording deal with J.V.B. Records, where her first album, Songs of Faith, was issued in 1956. Two singles were released to gospel radio stations including “Never Grow Old” and “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”. Franklin sometimes traveled with the Caravans and The Soul Stirrers during this time and developed a crush on Sam Cooke, who was then singing with the Soul Stirrers prior to his secular career.


After turning 18, Aretha confided to her father that she aspired to follow Sam Cooke to record pop music. Serving as her manager, C. L. agreed to the move and helped to produce a two-song demo that soon was brought to the attention of Columbia Records, who agreed to sign her in 1960. Franklin was signed as a “five-percent artist”.[16] During this period, Franklin would be coached by choreographer Cholly Atkins to prepare for her pop performances. Before signing with Columbia, Sam Cooke tried to persuade Aretha’s father to have his label, RCA sign Aretha. He had also been persuaded by local record label owner Berry Gordy to sign Aretha and her elder sister Erma to his Tamla label. Aretha’s father felt the label wasn’t established enough yet. Aretha’s first Columbia single, “Today I Sing the Blues”, was issued in September 1960 and later reached the top ten of the Hot Rhythm & Blues Sellers chart.


Initial success

In January 1961, Columbia issued Aretha’s debut album, Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo. The album featured her first single to chart the Billboard Hot 100, “Won’t Be Long”, which also peaked at number 7 on the R&B chart. Mostly produced by Clyde Otis, Franklin’s Columbia recordings saw her recording in diverse genres such as standards, vocal jazz, blues, doo-wop and rhythm and blues. Before the year was out, Franklin scored her first top 40 single with her rendition of the standard, “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody”, which also included the R&B hit, “Operation Heartbreak”, on its b-side. “Rock-a-Bye” became her first international hit, reaching the top 40 in Australia and Canada. By the end of 1961, Franklin was named as a “new-star female vocalist” in Down Beat magazine.[17] In 1962, Columbia issued two more albums, The Electrifying Aretha Franklin and The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin, the latter of which charted number 69 on the Billboard Pop LPs chart.


By 1964, Franklin began recording more pop music, reaching the top ten on the R&B chart with the ballad, “Runnin’ Out of Fools” in early 1965. She had two R&B charted singles in 1965 and 1966 with the songs “One Step Ahead” and “Cry Like a Baby” while also reaching the Easy Listening charts with the ballads “You Made Me Love You” and “(No, No) I’m Losing You”. By the mid-1960s, Aretha was netting $100,000 from countless performances in nightclubs and theaters.[17] Also during that period, Franklin appeared on rock and roll shows such as Hollywood A Go-Go and Shindig!. However, it was argued that Franklin’s potential was neglected at the label. Columbia executive John H. Hammond later said he felt Columbia didn’t understand Aretha’s early gospel background and failed to bring that aspect out further during her Columbia period.[18]



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82 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | Aretha Franklin Week

  1. Yahtc says:

    “Boycott threatened over fraternity’s MLK-themed party”

    Images are circulating on social media of partygoers wearing baggy basketball jerseys, gang-affiliated colored T-shirts and bandanas. The partygoers also appeared to flash gang signs in the photos and used hashtags such as ‘blackoutformlk’ and ‘ihaveadream.’

    The photos also show people at the party wearing saggy pants and posing with hollowed out watermelon cups.

  2. rikyrah says:

    ‘I have no control over your life’
    01/21/14 02:54 PM—Updated 01/21/14 07:25 PM
    By Steve Benen

    It’s been about three weeks since congressional Republicans allowed federal unemployment benefits to lapse, to the detriment of about 1.3 million Americans. The more time passes, the larger the number of families affected, and the greater the negative impact on the U.S. economy.

    Democrats, progressive activists, labor unions, and others haven’t quite given up on an extension. Late last week, as Jacob Fischler reported, “more than a dozen activists, organized by groups including the National Employment Law Project and AFL-CIO, carried two boxes filled with 60,000 petitions each, asking Congress to extend the benefits.” One box was for House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) office, the other for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) office.

    When they arrived at McConnell’s office, a few activists were permitted to enter and speak directly to the Minority Leader’s spokesperson, Don Stewart. A woman named Wessita McKinley spoke on behalf of the group.

    “I’ve served my country, honorable discharge. I’ve done my time. I’ve done everything right,” she said. “College, school, no crime, no record. Pay my taxes. Make sure my daughter went to school.”

    “Did the American dream. Got her in college,” McKinley added. “And I’m sitting here struggling. I’m now ready to take a street sweeper job if they would offer it to me. So I’m asking you the million dollar question. What am I supposed to do right now to keep a roof over my head, food in my stomach, clothes on my back, car insurance paid?”

    This seems like a pretty reasonable question given the circumstances. Unfortunately, McConnell’s spokesperson didn’t have a great answer.


  3. rikyrah says:

    Chris Christie met with VP of developer at center of Hoboken claims in September

    By Christopher Baxter/The Star-Ledger
    on January 21, 2014 at 4:19 PM, updated January 21, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    TRENTON — The head of a major development group at the center of allegations made by the mayor of Hoboken met with Gov. Chris Christie in September during a gala honoring the governor for his work on improving drug treatment.

    Christie and his wife, Mary Pat, posed for a photo at the event with
    Leslie Smith Jr., an executive vice president of the Rockefeller Group,
    the same firm that was seeking to develop three blocks of prime real
    estate in the densely populated city.

    …State campaign finance records show Smith gave $500 to Christie’s 2009 primary campaign, another $500 to his 2010 inaugural committee and $1,000 in April to his primary campaign for re-election.


  4. rikyrah says:

    Conservatives: Voting Rights Act fix discriminates against whites
    01/21/14 01:00 PM—Updated 01/21/14 06:25 PM
    By Zachary Roth

    Conservatives insist the congressional effort to strengthen the Voting Rights Act (VRA) unfairly discriminates against white voters. The claim rests on evidence that’s shaky at best—but could still make it harder for the bill to win the Republican support it needs.

    The Voting Rights Amendment Act, unveiled Thursday by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, aims to update the formula used to determine which areas of the country must get federal approval before making any changes to their voting rules—a system known as “pre-clearance.” In June, the Supreme Court struck down the law’s existing formula, under which almost all the southern states were covered, ruling that it was out of date.

    In an interview last week with msnbc, Center for Equal Opportunity president Roger Clegg argued that the VRA’s pre-clearance system unfairly advantages those claiming discrimination. Clegg’s organization has fought to narrow the application of civil rights laws.

    “They don’t like these laws, and so they’ve brought lawsuits, that’s fine,” Clegg said, referring to voting rights advocates. “If they can prove that there’s been racial discrimination they’ll win those lawsuits. Why would the deck be stacked further in their favor?”

    Writing last week in National Review, Clegg made an additional argument against the new legislation. Clegg called the bill “color-conscious,” charging that it “offers protections for ‘minority voters’ that it withholds from ‘nonminority’ voters.”

    Hans von Spakovsky, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation and a persistent critic of aggressive enforcement of civil rights laws, has gone further.

    “For the first time, [GOP Rep. James] Sensenbrenner’s bill actually says that the protections of this amendment will only apply to racial minority groups, and they defined them in the law, and it specifically excludes white voters,” von Spakovsky told the Washington Times.

    He added, “They’re basically giving a ‘get out of jail free’ card to black elected officials in the South, where they can discriminate all they want against white voters.”

    The notion that voting-rights advocates and their political supporters are opposed to applying civil rights laws to anti-white discrimination has become an article of faith among many on the right.

    In 2010, Christian Adams, a former voting rights lawyer in the Bush Justice Department, charged that the Obama Justice Department’s handling of the New Black Panther case showed that it does not “want whites and Asians, when they are the discriminated-against minority, to be protected under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.” (DoJ ultimately obtained a default judgment against the New Black Panther member seen brandishing a weapon outside a Philadelphia polling place in 2008.)

    The charge has as little merit in the case of the new VRA legislation as it did when applied to the Black Panther case. There’s a kernel of truth to the first part of von Spakovsky’s claim, but it’s deeply misleading. And the accusation that the bill would let blacks discriminate against whites with impunity is flat-out false.


  5. rikyrah says:

    Assembly, Senate merge panels investigating GWB scandal
    Tuesday, January 21, 2014 Last updated: Tuesday January 21, 2014, 11:38 AM


    The Senate and Assembly will merge the two panels now investigating the lane closures at the foot of the George Washington Bridge, Democrats announced this morning.

    …The new joint committee will retain the Assembly’s special counsel, Reid Schar, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The Senate committee last week did not name a special counsel of its own.

    …Each chamber will need to re-vote to give the new committee subpoena power. Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who will co-chair the panel, said subpoenasthe Assembly committee issues last week will remain valid.

    …Along with Wisniewski, D-Middlesex, the panel will be co-chaired by Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck.


  6. rikyrah says:

    Oprah To Produce MLK Movie “Selma” [VIDEO]
    Comments: 0 | Leave A Comment
    Jan 21, 2014
    By ReBecca Theodore-Vachon

    Ava DuVernay’s upcoming “Selma” just got some major star wattage. Oprah Winfrey has signed on as a producer alongside Brad Pitt and Christian Colson.

    “Selma” originally had Lee Daniels (“The Butler”) aboard to direct, but Daniels stepped away from the project and DuVernay was brought in. “Selma” will focus on the landmark 1965 march led by Martin Luther King Jr. to protest unjust voting registration regulations against black voters.

    On Oprah’s new producing dutes, DuVernay told The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s a subject matter close to her heart. “The producers are behind some of the most forward-thinking movies of last year, and they are all coming together.”


  7. ***********************


  8. Ametia says:


    Former Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and his wife were charged Tuesday with illegally accepting lavish gifts and large loans from a businessman who sought special treatment from state government. McDonnell has denied all wrongdoing.

    Read more at:

  9. This brown nosing mofo…

    GOP Florida House candidate on Obama: ‘It’s time to arrest and hang him high’


    Joshua Black, a candidate for Florida House District 68, said on Monday that the time had come to “hang” President Barack Obama.

    In a tweet on Monday afternoon, Black wrote that he was “past impeachment.”

    “It’s time to arrest and hang him high,” he added.

    Republican candidate for House District 67 Chris Latvala replied in shock.

    “You aren’t seriously calling for the killing of Obama are you?” he asked. “I know you are crazy but good heavens.U R an embarrassment.”

    “Execution is the appropriate punishment for traitors,” Black shot back in another tweet.

    At that point, Latvala recommended that the “tin foil hat crazy” candidate take his medication.

    “I don’t do drugs,” Black insisted. “Not intimidated by the secret service, or #criminalpoliticians like you.”

  10. rikyrah says:

    Russian oligarch’s girlfriend sparks MLK day firestorm after posing on naked ‘black woman’ chair for fashion blog

    Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s partner has sparked an internet firestorm after an online magazine published a photo of her sitting on a chair made to resemble a half-naked black woman – on Martin Luther King Day.

    Buro 24/7 used the horrendously offensive image of Dasha Zhukova Monday to illustrate an unrelated interview about the former model’s new magazine,Garage. Miroslava Duma, the blog’s editor, also posted the insensitive photo on Instagram.

    Both were met with an immediate barrage of disgusted comments, and Duma quickly deleted the picture from Instagram and cropped out the chair on Buro 24/7.


  11. rikyrah says:

    NAACP leader likens black GOP senator to ventriloquist’s dummy

    By Aaron Blake
    January 21 at 1:59 pm

    An influential leader of the NAACP in North Carolina recently compared Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the lone black Republican in Congress, to a ventriloquist’s dummy.

    “A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy,” the Rev. William Barber said about Scott during remarks in Columbia, S.C., on Sunday, according to The State.

    Barber added that “the extreme right wing down here (in South Carolina) finds a black guy to be senator and claims he’s the first
    black senator since Reconstruction, and then he goes to Washington,
    D.C., and articulates the agenda of the Tea Party.”


  12. Ametia says:

    Rikryah, I love all the videos you posted today. These songs didn’t get the air play like the others, but they still pack a punch!

  13. rikyrah says:

    How To Succeed In Journalism: Display ODS during #ObamaCare rollout, and a cash cow will fund your new venture.

    Exhibit A: Ezra Klein.

    8:55 AM – 21 Jan 2014

  14. rikyrah says:

    ThinkProgress: Medicaid Expansion Has Already Cut The Number Of Uninsured West Virginians By A Third

    West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s (D) decision to accept Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion last spring is already paying off in a big way for the large number of poor and uninsured people in the state.

    According to the New York Times, about 75,000 Wast Virginia residents have enrolled in Medicaid since Obamacare’s open enrollment season launched in October. While a portion of that consists of people who already had Medicaid benefits and are simply re-enrolling in the program, a sizable number of uninsured residents are gaining health benefits for the first time, thanks to the health law’s expanded eligibility threshold that allows anyone earning up 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to enroll in Medicaid. In fact, the number of uninsured people in the states has already been reduced by a third.

    An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) finds that the Medicaid expansion will eventually reduce West Virginia’s uninsurance rate by a staggering 67 percent.


  15. Ametia says:

    Obama To Discuss Inequality With Pope Francis In March

    President Barack Obama is expected to meet with Pope Francis in March, the White House announced Tuesday.

    The President looks forward to discussing his and the pontiff’s shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality, the White House said, adding that details of the meeting would come at a later date.


  16. rikyrah says:

    Sarah Palin whitesplains the meaning of MLK Day to that black guy in the White House
    By TBogg
    Monday, January 20, 2014 17:38 EST

    Word-twerking reality show spokesmodel Sarah Palin woke up this morning and discovered that it was Martin Luther King Day, which she thinks is like Christmas to black people, and, since she forgot to buy presents, she decided to give The Gift of Advice to President Barack Obama by explaining to him that the First Rule of MLK Day is that black people as a race don’t exist anymore so shut the hell up about them.

    This also may be why she never calls and never writes to Glen Rice.


    • @rikyrah:

      LOL! Your post had me LMAO! Sarah Palin is such a joke! She will make any statement to just stay relevant in the news! She is as dumb as a rock! You can hear the venom in her voice when she talks about The President. She is so envious of him and his wife! Can you imagine this dumb ass woman as the Vice President?? She didn’t even know that Africa was a continent, and not a country! Can you spell DUMB?

      On a lighter note. Now a woman who is not the least bit dumb, but was born with talent, class and dignity and that is Queen Aretha. The Undisputed Queen of Soul, now, today and forever! Aretha Franklin has been and still is my absolutely favorite female vocalist since I was a little kid in the late 60’s singing, “Respect, Since You’ve Gone, Dr. Feelgood”, and a whole slew of hits with Atlantic!” I became President of her Long Island fan club when I was in Junior High. It was a great gig for me, and I got to know her personally! She is wonderful woman and was very good to me. No one can sing like Aretha can! She does it all! I have seen her so many times here in concert in New York and her voice is just pure gold! I love her also because she is just plain down to earth. She gets annoyed like anyone else and she will tell you when she is angry, sad and happy! She is amazing!

  17. Happy Birthday, Billy Ocean!



  18. rikyrah says:

    Critic sees ACA as ‘a godsend’
    01/21/14 09:39 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Sean Recchi, a small-business owner in Lancaster, Ohio, was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. The business he and his wife ran wasn’t making a lot money; the family was forced to borrow heavily; and officials at the cancer center where he sought treatment said his insurance was effectively worthless.

    Despite these horrific circumstances, Sean’s wife, Stephanie Recchi, told Time’s Steven Brill last fall, “I don’t think Obamacare will help us. I don’t want anything to do with it.” She added, “I hear a lot of bad things about it – that it doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions and it’s too expensive.” Why did she believe this? Recchi said she’d seen “television ads and some politicians talking on the news.”

    Here’s a family facing a terrible ordeal, through no fault of their own, and clearly in need a hand. But they’d been misled by charlatans and cranks, feeding on public confusion, and leaving the Recchi family with a mistaken impression of reality.

    That was a few months ago. Brill published a follow-up report this week, noting that “what has happened to the Recchis and their health care options more recently might be emblematic of the law’s potential” (via Joan McCarter).

    “When they came to my office, Stephanie told me right up front, ‘I don’t want any part of Obamacare,’ ” recalls health-insurance agent Barry Cohen. “These were clearly people who don’t like the President. So I kind of let that slide and just asked them for basic information and told them we would go on the Ohio exchange” – which is actually the Ohio section of the federal Obamacare exchange – “and show them what’s available.”

    What Stephanie soon discovered, she told me in mid-November, “was a godsend.” The business that she and her husband had launched … had recently received investor interest after being featured on an episode of the television series CSI. So she estimated to Cohen that their income would be about $90,000 in 2014. But even at that level, her family of four would qualify for a subsidy under Obamacare.

    The Recchi family zeroed in on a plan with a $793 monthly premium, which would ultimately cost $566 a month thanks to the ACA subsidy. That was based on $90,000 income – if the family made $40,000, as it had last year, the premium would have cost them $17 a month.

    All of a sudden, Stephanie Recchi, who’d previously seen “television ads and some politicians talking on the news,” saw the benefits of health care reform up close. “This is wonderful,” she said.

    This is, in political terms, is exactly the kind of nightmare Republicans have feared.

    In fact, the story gets better for the Recchi family (and worse for the GOP). Because rates were based on the Recchis reported 2013 income, not their projected income, they actually qualified for coverage under Medicaid expansion.

    Their health care, in other words, is free.

    Because of “Obamacare” – the law Stephanie Recchi assumed she wanted no part of – this family doesn’t have to worry about being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Sean Recchi’s cancer is in remission, but he knows he can cover the costs of his medication.


    • TyrenM says:

      How many of these ignorami will remember who insured them come election time? Call it MNSure, Kynnect, Ohio Cares – Whatever, these fools need to recognize and vote accordingly.

  19. rikyrah says:

    BBC News (World) ‏@BBCWorld 8h
    Fascist farm: The Brazilian ranch where black orphans were enslavedhttp://bbc.in/1aFCq1D pic.twitter.com/8OkmHTch6u

  20. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: Obama, race, and the Affordable Care Act
    By Greg Sargent
    January 21 at 9:14 am

    President Obama gave a series of comments to the New Yorker’s David Remnick that, predictably, are attracting attention this morning because he said: “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President.” Obama also said there are blacks and whites who “give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President,” but this nuance isn’t making it into the headlines.

    Far more interesting than this, however, are Obama’s comments about race and the Affordable Care Act:

    “There is a historic connection between some of the arguments that we have politically and the history of race in our country, and sometimes it’s hard to disentangle those issues,” he went on. “You can be somebody who, for very legitimate reasons, worries about the power of the federal government — that it’s distant, that it’s bureaucratic, that it’s not accountable — and as a consequence you think that more power should reside in the hands of state governments. But what’s also true, obviously, is that philosophy is wrapped up in the history of states’ rights in the context of the civil-rights movement and the Civil War and Calhoun. There’s a pretty long history there. And so I think it’s important for progressives not to dismiss out of hand arguments against my Presidency or the Democratic Party or Bill Clinton or anybody just because there’s some overlap between those criticisms and the criticisms that traditionally were directed against those who were trying to bring about greater equality for African-Americans. The flip side is I think it’s important for conservatives to recognize and answer some of the problems that are posed by that history, so that they understand if I am concerned about leaving it up to states to expand Medicaid that it may not simply be because I am this power-hungry guy in Washington who wants to crush states’ rights but, rather, because we are one country and I think it is going to be important for the entire country to make sure that poor folks in Mississippi and not just Massachusetts are healthy.


    In one sense, there is a racial dimension to the debate over Obamacare and the Medicaid expansion. A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that “poor uninsured black adults residing in the south” are likely to be disproportionately impacted by the decision of many states not to opt in to the Medicaid expansion, likely leading to “widening” racial disparities in coverage and access to care.

    National Journal recently noted that GOP attacks on the Affordable Care Act, with their focus on those getting “free health care” thanks to the Medicaid expansion, are akin to the “welfare queen” attacks, and have taken on an element of “class warfare” and ”racial undertones.” Mitt Romney recently claimed he lost in part because he’d underestimated Obamacare’s appeal to “minority populations.” But if such language about the safety net is meant to rally downscale whites against Dems, it’s also worth noting that many poor whites benefit from things like food stamps and unemployment insurance — and, yes, the Medicaid expansion in states where it is being implemented. Even in southern states Kentucky and West Virginia.


  21. Ametia says:

    A federal appeals court just killed critically important government protections against discrimination online; the giant Internet service providers (ISPs) — Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable — now have total control over what information we can access on the web.

    It’s a nightmare scenario, and one the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has long seen coming. A self-imposed, Bush-era rule restricting the agency’s ability to regulate broadband foreshadowed the court’s finding this week that ISPs no longer have to treat all web users equally1 — they can block websites, slow down services, and double- and triple-dip in charging extra fees to restore access.2

    But we have the power to stop this. By raising our voices together, we can ensure the FCC has the political will to act on its authority to reverse a decade of failed Internet policy — and the courage to stand up to an industry that has pushed it around for too long.

    FCC chair Tom Wheeler says he supports a free and open Internet, but actions speak louder than words. Demand the FCC re-regulate broadband and save the Internet now.


  22. TyrenM says:

    Good Morning 3Chics,
    I’m digging the Aretha story. Who will star in her movie? Anybody out now or has she not been discovered yet?

  23. rikyrah says:

    uh huh

    uh huh

    amk4obama @amk4obama Follow

    A senior Italian cleric, already on trial over fraud claims, has also been charged with money laundering.

    9:23 AM – 21 Jan 2014

  24. rikyrah says:

    Rep. Gohmert drops health coverage, blames Obamacare.
    WASHINGTON — Lots of conservative lawmakers hate Obamacare. Rep. Louie Gohmert is putting his money where his mouth is.
    The Tyler Republican gave up his health insurance for 2014, asserting that the president’s signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act, has made coverage too expensive.

    “Other people are going to see what I did when I looked into health insurance for my wife and me: that the deductible rate, it doubled, about $3,000 to $6,000, and our policy was going to go from about $300 to about $1,500 a month,” he said during a recent radio interview with Trey Graham, a pastor at First Melissa Baptist Church in Collin County. “I actually don’t have insurance right now, so thank you very much, Obamacare.”

    Gohmert’s salary as a member of Congress is $174,000 a year. And his calculations ignore the hefty employer subsidy for which he is eligible — almost $950 per month. He says he will pay the tax that takes effect this year for those without insurance — 1 percent of his annual income.

    Health care experts say Gohmert is taking a big risk. He’s 60. His wife, Kathy Gohmert, is 59. At that stage of life, medical expenses are common and unpredictable.


  25. rikyrah says:

    Keith Boykin @keithboykin
    So Olympian Carl Lewis, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Ft. Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich & Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop are all lying about Christie?

    4:24 PM – 20 Jan 2014

  26. rikyrah says:

    The race card? Isn’t that what Republicans are demanding to stop people from voting? http://www.nationalmemo.com/sarah-palin-plays-the-race-card-on-martin-luther-king-day/

    9:48 PM – 20 Jan 2014

  27. rikyrah says:

    Bobfr @Our4thEstate
    “There’s never been a single thing wrong with black people, that the total destruction of white supremacy would not fix.” Ta-nehisi Coates

    9:45 PM – 20 Jan 2014

  28. rikyrah says:

    Bobfr @Our4thEstate
    Yo @ChuckTodd & all your #NEWSTAINER buddies: Mayor of #Hoboken has ZERO reasons to lie under oath. Your BFF @GovChristie? Hmmmmm cc @maddow

    8:44 PM – 20 Jan 2014

  29. rikyrah says:

    Russell Schaffer @RussOnPolitics
    Have to go to my doctor tomorrow. Thankful I have health insurance. I don’t need Web MD. Can see a human. #Obamacare

    9:14 PM – 20 Jan 2014

  30. rikyrah says:

    Alex Haley: Alex Haley’s 1965 Playboy Interview With Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

    Haley: As one who grew up in the economically comfortable, socially insulated environment of a middle-income home in Atlanta, can you recall when it was that you yourself first became painfully and personally aware of racial prejudice?

    King: Very clearly. When I was 14, I had traveled from Atlanta to Dublin, Georgia, with a dear teacher of mine, Mrs. Bradley; she’s dead now. I had participated there in an oratorical contest sponsored by the Negro Elks. It turned out to be a memorable day, for I had succeeded in winning the contest. My subject, I recall, ironically enough, was “The Negro and the Constitution.” Anyway, that night, Mrs. Bradley and I were on a bus returning to Atlanta, and at a small town along the way, some white passengers boarded the bus, and the white driver ordered us to get up and give the whites our seats. We didn’t move quickly enough to suit him, so he began cursing us, calling us “black sons of bitches.” I intended to stay right in that seat, but Mrs. Bradley finally urged me up, saying we had to obey the law. And so we stood up in the aisle for the 90 miles to Atlanta. That night will never leave my memory. It was the angriest I have ever been in my life.


  31. rikyrah says:

    Haven’t we all been told that the only thing Hollywood cares about is GREEN?

    Well, you and I know that’s BS.


    Tim Story: The Top-Grossing Black Director Many Apparently Still Aren’t Familiar With
    by Tambay A. Obenson
    January 19, 2014 5:25 PM

    That’s what the Los Angeles Times asked in a piece that was published 2 years ago, after that film shocked the industry with an impressive opening weekend, en route to a near-$100 million box office cume. His latest effort, Ride Along, opened this weekend to an impressive $41 million box office take, easily winning the number 1 slot of the weekend.

    The short answer to the question posed by the Los Angeles Times, two years later? Probably not.

    The long answer…

    Don’t get me wrong, my short answer isn’t a knock on the film or Tim Story’s abilities as a director.

    Investigate the system within which he works, and its history, and you’ll find all you need to know there.

    Consider this: the fact that the question was being asked in 2012, after Story had made 5 studio pictures, all of them relatively successful in the long run (compared to budget), is telling of how much work still needs to be done in terms of equal opportunities for black filmmakers compared to their white contemporaries.

    The 5 studio movies directed by story as of that LA Times 2012 piece, had then collectively grossed close to $900 million worldwide (around $1 billion if adjusted for inflation – although, the 5 studio pictures are now 6, including this weekend’s number 1 movie, Ride Along, which added an impressive $41 million to that growing tally). I’d say that there aren’t many directors of ANY COLOR working today who can boast those stats. And even still, he’s the only director of African descent working within the studio system that can claim to be a member of that elite club – his main competition being the prolific Tyler Perry, who’s made twice as many films (13) in about the same period of time, but yet lags behind Story in terms of total worldwide box office.


    I can’t help but feel that if Story was a white director, the question posed by the LA Times would not be a question at all.

    Ok, so maybe Story wouldn’t necessarily be an “A-lister” if he were white (we’ll never know obviously), BUT, at the very least, I think he’d have been given far more opportunities than he has been. The last time he’d been behind the camera to helm a project (prior to Think Like A Man) was in 2008, on the Forest Whitaker drama Hurricane Season, which The Weinstein Company pushed directly to DVD, skipping theaters. So, if you take that into consideration (that the film wasn’t released in theaters), it means that it had been 5 years since Story’s last big screen release, prior to Think Like A Man; 6 years if you’re counting from the year the film was actually shot.


    All gravy right? Not quite. After Think Like Man, he was offered another so-called “black character comedy” in Ride Along, despite all those meetings, because black filmmakers are apparently only *allowed* to direct “black films.” Not that there’s anything wrong with directing a “black film.”

    And then I read this part:

    But he’s still working at a disadvantage because he’s a black filmmaker at a time when the people who run today’s studios are overwhelmingly white and not especially well-versed or even particularly curious about African American culture. After “Think Like a Man” opened at No. 1, one studio president decided not to mention the film during the studio’s Monday morning production meeting, curious to see how long it would take to surface as a topic of conversation. Fifteen minutes into the meeting, no one had mentioned the film. When the studio boss finally brought it up, asking who had seen it over the weekend, the room was silent. None of the all-white staff had bothered to go see .


  32. rikyrah says:

    Federal judge strikes down NC’s ultrasound abortion law, citing free speech
    By Anne Blythe and Craig Jarvis
    January 17, 2014

    Doctors in North Carolina cannot be forced to show women ultrasound images and describe them in detail before performing an abortion, a federal judge ruled Friday. The decision was lauded by civil rights advocates and criticized by supporters of the law.

    U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles ruled Friday that the provision of a 2011 North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to display ultrasound images so women can see them and then describe the dimensions of an embryo or fetus and other particulars is overly broad and a free-speech violation.

    Eagles, who was nominated to the court by President Barack Obama, described the clause as a “one-size-fits-all provision” that is “an impermissible attempt to compel these providers to deliver the state’s message in favor of childbirth and against abortion.”

    “The Supreme Court has never held that a state has the power to compel a health care provider to speak, in his or her own voice, the state’s ideological message in favor of carrying a pregnancy to term, and this Court declines to do so today,” Eagles wrote in her ruling.

    Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/01/17/3542149/federal-judge-strikes-down-ncs.html#storylink=cpy

  33. rikyrah says:

    North Carolina Obamacare Enrollment One of Nation’s Highest

    January 20, 2014 by Editor in Featured, Health Reform, Medicaid, State Health Policy with 1 Comment

    North Carolina had one of the strongest enrollment numbers for the Affordable Care Act online insurance marketplace. How did that occur?

    By Rose Hoban
    Additional reporting by Andy Miller, Georgia Health News

    North Carolina’s enrollment in the Affordable Care Act federal insurance exchange reached a level in December that was surprising given the state’s prior poor performance in signing people up.

    According to federal statistics released last week, North Carolina had 107,778 people signed up by Dec. 28, up from a total of only 8,970 who had signed up by the end of November.

    That’s after North Carolina’s exchange became the object of national ridicule when the state had only a handful of signups for all of October.


  34. rikyrah says:

    Healthcare website ‘passed with flying colors’
    01/20/14 12:38 PM
    By Steve Benen

    Congressional Republicans have invested considerable energy of late in raising security fears over healthcare.gov, so it’s a shame this news didn’t generate more attention late last week.

    Nearly three months after its launch, HealthCare.gov underwent end-to-end security testing and passed with flying colors, the top cybersecurity official overseeing the website told Congress [Thursday].

    Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told the House Oversight Committee that results from the tests have alleviated her earlier concerns about risks of cyberattacks and theft of consumers’ personal information.

    “The protections that we have put in place have successfully prevented attacks,” Fryer told lawmakers on Thursday. “There have been no successful security attacks on the FFM [federal marketplace], and no person or group has maliciously accessed personally identifiable information.”

    Is that so.


  35. rikyrah says:

    Unemployment extension will need citizen action
    By George Zornick
    January 20 at 11:37 am

    The economic fortunes of nearly 5 million Americans will be determined in the next two weeks, as Congress moves to consider an extension of long-term jobless benefits for perhaps the last viable time. At this point, it appears only one thing can save those benefits: loud voices from constituents that wavering members are unable to ignore. And they have to arise immediately.

    Congress is home for one week and members will no doubt be pressing the flesh as the midterm elections approach. When senators return in two weeks, there is likely to be a vote on the Reed-Heller temporary extension of unemployment benefits, as Greg Sargent has reported.


  36. rikyrah says:

    Christie ally dismisses ‘lady mayor’

    By Steve Benen
    01/21/14 08:00AM

    As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) administration is confronted with a growing list of controversies, the governor’s Republican allies are starting to fan out to push back against the recent scandals and allegations. And as it happens, it’s not just Rudy Giuliani making odd arguments.

    Take former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), for example, who’s taken it upon himself to question the veracity of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer (D) following her accusations of Christie administration corruption.

    “This is a lady mayor who asked for $127 million of hazard mitigation money from the governor to give that to her from the federal money, when the state was receiving in its entirety only $300 million,” Barbour [told CNN yesterday]. “It is absurd to think that one town would get well more than an third of the total amount of money.”

    The former Mississippi governor went on to accuse Zimmer of fabricating her personal diary showing that Guadagno had tried to shake her down and then promised to deny it.”

    As defenses go, it’s not clear who this is supposed to persuade. Indeed, it’s almost as if Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, joined the Christie Defense Team without thinking his talking points through at all.

    It’s tough to know where to start, but let’s focus first on “lady mayor.”


  37. rikyrah says:

    January 18, 2014
    Newark school boss Anderson cracks down on critics, suspends five principals in one day

    At Newark’s Hawthorne Avenue School, the test scores are up, higher than state-imposed goals—and certainly better than those of the highly touted “Renew” schools favored by the administration. The hallways are quiet. Teachers and administrators get along. And this was all done despite central office’s stripping away of faculty resources and shameful neglect of the building. So, in the crazy, bullying logic of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration of city schools, it was time to suspend the school’s successful principal, H. Grady James. He was just too good to be allowed to stay.

    Time to suspend him—and to try to smear his reputation by saying he was involved in some sort of “incident” now under “investigation.” The “incident” was a community meeting at the Hopewell Baptist Church last Wednesday where he spoke, praising the efforts of his students, teachers and parents.

    James was one of five principals indefinitely suspended in one day by Cami Anderson, Christie’s agent in Newark. The others were Tony Motley, Bragaw Avenue School; Dorothy Handfield, Belmont-Runyon School; Deneen Washington, Maple Avenue School, and Lisa Brown, Ivy Hill School.

    Four of the principals—James, Motley, Handfield, and Washington—had spoken at the community meeting two days earlier. They tried to answer questions from local residents worried about what would happen to their children as Anderson moves toward a wholesale transfer of public school assets to the KIPP Schools, a charter organization that operates TEAM Academy Charter Schools. Questions Anderson wasn’t answering. See and hear what they said here.


  38. rikyrah says:

    Fans Help Pay Jamaican Bobsled Team’s Way to Sochi Olympics

    January 20, 2014

    In less than two days, a crowdfunding site has helped raise more than $25,000 for the Jamaican bobsled team headed to the Sochi Olympics, reports ESPN.

    Donations came pouring in to the website Crowdtilt after a collection page was set up following word the two-man team had qualified for the Olympics but needed $80,000 to get to the Games.

    The last time Jamaica sent a bobsled team to the Olympics was in 2002. Chris Stokes, general secretary of the Jamaican Bobsled Federation, said the idea that the team wouldn’t go was never the reality.

    The team, he said, pays for its way to Sochi while the local organization committee takes care of the athletes once in Russia. He did, however, say that the team still needs $80,000.

    Stokes said the team, which trained in Evanston, Wyo., wasn’t quite running on the shoestring budget memorialized in the movie “Cool Runnings,” the film loosely based on the exploits of the 1988 Jamaican bobsled team, but it surely hasn’t been working with all the essentials either.

    “We have not come close to covering our costs,” Stokes told ESPN.com on Monday. “We have many outstanding obligations, and we have to pay three more weeks of training. We’ve had very lonely days when we struggled to make ends meet by borrowing equipment. Our guys haven’t had the proper jackets.”

    Funding issues hampered the Jamaicans’ hopes of competing just four years earlier in Vancouver.


  39. rikyrah says:

    Hoboken mayor reveals new documents

    Anderson Cooper 360|Added on January 20, 2014Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer reveals to CNN new documents she says back up her case against the Christie administration.


  40. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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