Friday Open Thread | Aretha Franklin Week

More from The Queen of Soul:


Aretha Franklin

Music style and image

Franklin has often been described as a great singer and musician due to “vocal flexibility, interpretive intelligence, skillful piano-playing, her ear, her experience.”[29] Franklin’s voice has been described as being a “powerful mezzo-soprano voice” and has been praised for her arrangements and interpretations of other artists’ hit songs.[30] Of describing Franklin’s voice as a youngster on her first album, Songs of Faith, released when she was just fourteen, Jerry Wexler explained that Franklin’s voice “was not that of a child but rather of an ecstatic hierophant.”[31] Franklin’s image went through rapid changes throughout her career. During the 1960s, Franklin was known for wearing bouffant hairdos and extravagant dresses that were sometimes surrounded enveloped in either mink fur or feathers. In the 1970s, embracing her roots, Franklin briefly wore the Afro hairdo and wore Afrocentric styled clothing admired by her peers. In the mid-1970s, after dropping weight, Franklin began wearing slinkier attire. By the 1980s, she had settled on wearing nightgowns and extravagant dresses.



In 1987, Franklin was the first female performer inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[61] Two years earlier, the Michigan government labeled her voice as a “natural resource”.[62] Franklin received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1979. In 1994, she received a medal from the Kennedy Center Honors and that year won the NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award. She won the NARAS Grammy Legend award four years prior. In 1999, she earned the National Medal of Arts. In 2005, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Franklin was inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005, becoming the second female performer to be honored after Madonna. In 2008, she received the MusiCares Person of the Year prior to performing at that year’s Grammys. That same year, she was listed in the top 20 of artists on the Billboard Hot 100 all-time top artists list.[63] In 2012, she was inducted to the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Franklin has been described as “the voice of the civil rights movement, the voice of black America” and a “symbol of black equality”.[64][65] She was also listed as number 1 on Rolling Stone’s list of the Greatest Singers of All Time.[66] In February 2011, following news of her surgery and recovery, the Grammy Awards paid tribute to the singer with a medley of her classics by singers such as Christina Aguilera, Florence Welch, Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride and Yolanda Adams.[67]





Following Luciano Pavarotti’s last-minute cancellation due to illness, with barely 20 minutes’ notice, Aretha Franklin stuns Grammy audience with soulful interpretation of Puccini’s aria from “Turandot”.

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30 Responses to Friday Open Thread | Aretha Franklin Week

  1. Uncle Sugar!

    Said I like that, baby
    Uh, uh, pure love
    Said I need that, sugar…

  2. Romney: “Putin has outperformed our president time and time again on the world stage.”

    In an interview with NBC News’ Peter Alexander, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney shares his thoughts on how the president has handled his interactions with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
    Please! Mitt is still ticked he wasn’t given a chance to perform on the world stage. The people said NO!!!

  3. rikyrah says:

    The elusive Steve Stockman
    01/24/14 10:30 AM—Updated 01/24/14 01:46 PM
    By Steve Benen

    In early December, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas), one of Congress’ more colorful characters, announced unexpectedly that he’s running for the U.S. Senate. Shortly before the filing deadline, the right-wing lawmaker said he would take on incumbent Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R), one of the Senate’s most conservative members, in a Texas Republican primary.

    As a rule, candidates for statewide office try to maintain a fairly high profile in order to connect with voters. But Stockman, for reasons that are unclear, appears to have gone missing. Indeed, no one, including his aides, is willing to say where the congressman is.

    Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas is missing. He hasn’t been seen in public since January 14. Reports that he traveled to Egypt couldn’t be confirmed by another congressman on the trip – or by Stockman’s own office, where the person who answered the phone simply said, “That’s the first that I’ve heard of that.”

    It was probably the Daily Beast’s Ben Jacobs who first realized that Stockman had vanished. On Tuesday, Jacobs pointed out that Stockman … had been missing votes on Capitol Hill and campaign events back in Texas. Stockman hadn’t shown up for a vote since January 9, Jacobs wrote, noting that Stockman didn’t even vote against the budget bill he pledged to oppose.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Voting reforms off to a slow start
    01/24/14 11:47 AM
    By Steve Benen

    At a certain level, proponents of expanding voting rights have had reason to cheer the start of 2014. Just over the last two weeks, a bipartisan group of lawmakers have unveiled legislation to help repair the Voting Rights Act, and a nonpartisan group of election lawyers have presented recommendations to improve voter access. After relative inaction throughout 2013, all of a sudden, the issue is on the front-burner again.

    But the developments, while heartening, come with a caveat: they’ll still need support from conservative policymakers who have an incentive to ignore the proposals.

    On the VRA, for example, lawmakers recently unveiled the “Voting Rights Amendment Act,” a reform bill intended to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court, which gutted the Voting Rights Act last summer. Since its introduction, the House version has picked up only eight co-sponsors, while the Senate version has only two. That’s a pretty slow start given the Voting Rights Act passed with near-unanimous, bipartisan support as recently as 2006.

    And what about the systemic reforms recommended in a new commission report, coauthored by the lawyers from the Obama and Romney campaigns? As Zachary Roth reports, Republicans aren’t exactly rushing to embrace these ideas, either.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Check out the beautiful pics from this South African ‘ Gatsby ‘ -themed wedding.

    Simply gorgeous.

  6. Obamacare Delivers Knockout Blow To GOP As Majority Of States Have Expanded Medicaid

    The further we go along into the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and more people see what it offers them, the less likely the GOP is going to be able to do anything about the law and will have to accept it. A new CBS Poll released on Thursday shows that the majority of people like what the ACA provides them, and only a small minority want the law to be repealed.

    While the approval ratings for the law are still in the net negative (-9%), when asked if they liked aspects of the law or wanted it repealed altogether, 56% of people stated they liked provisions in the law and would just like to see it improved, while only 34% wanted it repealed. That is a reduction of 9% from November’s poll. Basically, people are coming around on the law and seeing the benefits it offers, which is a bad thing for Republicans who have touted its complete repeal from day one.

    It appears that the GOP is slowly coming to the realization that their Obamacare repeal fantasy is now a thing of the past and that they need to start embracing it before it is too late. On Thursday, Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced that he will allow the state to expand Medicaid, which will cover an additional 60,000 residents of the state. This now means that the majority of US states have now expanded Medicaid coverage to its residents and will accept the additional federal funds.

  7. Eric Holder Prepares to Make a Move on Racial Profiling

    There are many people who continue to spew ignorant statements like, “Barack Obama and Eric Holder ain’t did shit for black people.” Sadly, many who are of this opinion that I’ve encountered, are black.

    Never mind all the lawsuits brought by the DOJ against states who have sought to make it harder for minorities to vote. Yes, never mind the recent policy shift as it applies to federal mandatory sentencing in non-violent drug crimes. Oh, and never mind the announcement of new guidelines given by Holder in conjunction with the Department Of Education that’s aimed at the decriminalization of children in public schools. These are children who end up with criminal records for infractions like truancy, failure to do homework, and wearing saggy pants while at school.

    Yep, those “zero tolerance” policies in schools have been feeding the school-to-prison pipeline that has had a negative effect on minorities. Yes, let’s forget about all those positive policy changes while we continue to espouse dumb shit, just to be doing it. Now, according to NPR’s Code Switch, Holder is about to announce more of that nothing in a few weeks:

  8. rikyrah says:

    A key milestone: about 3 million Americans have now enrolled in a private Marketplace plan. RT to share the good news!

  9. Icy weather causes more than 100 crashes around Austin

    TRAVIS COUNTY — Austin-Travis County EMS officials say they have responded to more than 100 wrecks since Thurday due to icy road conditions in the area.

    Those wrecks include several multiple-car pileups. EMS responded to a 20-car pileup at Highway 290 and MoPac Expressway, and another multiple-car pileup at southbound U.S. 183 near Anderson Mill Thursday evening.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

    Last Call For Cincinnati’s Shame

    Posted by Zandar

    And Ohio’s ridiculous abortion law leaves the Queen City one step closer to being the largest American metropolitan area with no abortion access whatsoever.

    A women’s clinic in Cincinnati, Ohio has lost its bid for a reprieve from new, restrictive anti-choice laws in the state and may be forced to close. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, this leaves the city one step closer to being the largest in the U.S. without any local abortion provider.

    The state moved to revoke Women’s Med Center of Sharonville’s license to practice in the state based on its inability to comply with Republican-sponsored laws aimed at gutting women’s health options in Ohio. State health officials appointed by Gov. John Kasich (R) say that they are acting to protect women’s safety, but Kellie Copeland of the Ohio chapter of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) told the Enquirer that the state’s motivations are ideological.

    “Governor Kasich and his political appointees at the Ohio Department of Health are abusing their regulatory authority by moving to close an abortion clinic without any medical justification,” charged Copeland.

    At issue are so-called transfer agreements with local hospitals. Clinics that provide abortions are required to partner with a local hospital. While most abortions are simple outpatient procedures, sometimes there are complications and a patient must be transferred to a hospital.
    Republican lawmakers made it illegal for women’s clinics to partner with hospitals that receive state money. Private hospitals, on the other hand, are reluctant to partner with women’s clinics, creating a Catch-22 in which clinics must meet requirements that they are unable to fulfill. This is one of the many ways in which state-level Republicans are attempting to make abortion illegal in the U.S. by default.

    Women’s Med has been operating under a variance request as it searches for a partner hospital. On Friday, Health Department Director Theodore Wymyslo — a Kasich appointee — denied the clinic’s request to renew the variance.

    There are a grand total of two abortion clinics in Cincinnati. One is about to close. The other, the Planned Parenthood clinic in Mt. Auburn, is about to run out of time on its own transfer agreement on October 1. If that happens and this clinic closes as well, by the end of the year, you will not be able to get an abortion in Cincinnati, period.

    Or at least, a safe and legal one. I’m betting you’ll be able to get an unsafe and illegal one still.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, January 23, 2014

    Last Call For The Paranoia Bubble

    Posted by Zandar

    Just a reminder that in the FOX News/AM Talk Radio alternate reality, the real (and only) racism in America is against white people, the poor dears. Raw Story:

    A Christian radio host insisted last week that white people were no longer racist, and even if they were, it’s the fault of racist black people.

    Sandy Rios, of American Family Radio, was offended when a listener suggested she was racist toward black people, who she blamed for inciting white racism.

    “I think the racist garbage coming from the — uh, a lot of blacks right now who are just filled with bitterness and rage is just amazing to me,” Rios said. “It is racism, I am seeing it constantly here in D.C., you know, I think — and it’s causing white citizens to become more racist than they ever were.”

    She continued, referring to white people using the term for Germanic tribes that once dominated England and is now generally associated with British-American Protestants and white supremacists.

    “I think for the most part, the American Anglo-Saxon crew really has moved past racism, they did it quite a long time ago,” she said.

    And Sandy’s living proof of that, right?

    To recap her worldview:

    1.Black people are all angry bitter racists.
    2.White people aren’t racist at all.
    3….Except for the white people who are.
    4.But that’s okay because it’s caused by the fact that…
    5.Black people are all angry bitter racists.

    The fact I’m pointing this out is proof of this, right?

  12. rikyrah says:

    To Roger Stone, Bridgegate ‘Coverup’ Is Another Watergate — And He Would Know
    By Joe Conason

    Very few Republican operatives knew the Nixon gang as intimately as Roger Stone, the legendary trickster whose back is adorned with an enormous Tricky Dick tattoo. And very few know New Jersey politics as well as Stone, who toiled among the party faithful in many campaigns since 1980, when he first ran the Garden State for Ronald Reagan.

    So when he suggests that “Bridgegate” is Watergate – from the imponderable stupidity of the original crime to the profound peril of the ongoing cover-up – attention should be paid. Especially on the day when the US Attorney’s office investigating the Port Authority’s decision to close three lanes of traffic on the world’s busiest bridge issues subpoenas to the Christie campaign and the New Jersey Republican Party.

    Speaking with The National Memo on Thursday afternoon, Stone said: “This is about hubris, this is about an arrogance and right out of the dark side of Nixon’s playbook. It’s what ultimately brought Nixon down. There was no reason to break into the Watergate, there was no reason to spy on your enemies. His foreign policy was popular, the economy was good, and he was getting reelected. Just like there was no reason to close these lanes on the George Washington Bridge – although just like with the break-in of Watergate, we still don’t really know why they did that.” He doesn’t buy the theory that the Christie aides were punishing the mayor of Fort Lee for refusing to endorse the Republican governor — and thinks it more likely that they were trying to harm State Senator Loretta Weinberg, a determined Christie antagonist whose district includes Fort Lee.

    To Stone, the governor’s explanations rang false from the beginning – and reminded him of the verbal traps Nixon set for himself. He simply doesn’t believe that Bridget Kelly, the deputy chief of staff fired by Christie for “lying” to him, took the initiative to close the bridge lanes.

    “The mentality that existed around Nixon – that Teutonic, buttoned-down, we-give-you-orders, you-carry-them-out – that mentality exists inside this administration…It just doesn’t seem plausible to me that this Kelly woman, who seems perfectly pleasant, stepped up to her computer and said, ‘Time for traffic problems in Fort Lee.’ Someone told her to do that.” Stone says the dubious effort to blame her and a few others is the telltale sign of “a cover-up.”

  13. rikyrah says:

    January 24, 2014

    McDonnell Rejected Plea Offer to Spare Wife Charges
    “Maureen McDonnell relayed to federal prosecutors last summer that she felt responsible for the relationship with a wealthy businessman who had drawn legal scrutiny to Virginia’s first family, and her attorney asked whether the case could be resolved without charges for her husband,” the Washington Post reports.

    “But prosecutors showed no interest, according to people familiar with the conversation. Instead, months later, authorities proposed that then-Gov. Robert F. McDonnell plead guilty to one felony fraud charge that had nothing to do with corruption in office and his wife would avoid charges altogether. The governor rejected the offer, the people with knowledge of the conversations said.”

  14. rikyrah says:

    Huckabee vs. Huckabee
    01/24/14 08:40 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Republican politician/preacher/media-personality Mike Huckabee caused quite a stir yesterday, speaking at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting and sharing some unusual thoughts on contraception access, libidos, and “Uncle Sugar.” The remarks were plainly offensive, but in an interesting twist, they were also ironic.

    Huckabee’s argument was an extended rant against contraception access through the Affordable Care Act. The Arkansan believes Democrats are “insulting” women by making birth control and other preventive health care services accessible without a co-pay. Democrats, Huckabee insisted, want women to believe “they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government.”

    On a substantive level, this is obviously quite silly. But Bill Scher took this one step further: if Democrats are insulting women by expanding access to contraception, then Mike Huckabee is guilty of the same offense.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Menendez draws federal scrutiny in N.J.
    01/24/14 08:00 AM—Updated 01/24/14 08:03 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Ordinarily, a phrase such “controversy rattles New Jersey politics” would be rather straightforward. Given recent developments, however, there are a few too many controversies to choose from, so it’s necessary to be more specific.

    Indeed, late yesterday, we learned that federal enforcement is reportedly taking a closer look at a prominent statewide official in the Garden State, suspected of wrongdoing. No, not that one. No, not that one, either. This one.

    The federal criminal investigation into New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez is broader than previously known, NBC 4 New York has learned.

    The Department of Justice is investigating Menendez’s efforts on behalf of two fugitive bankers from Ecuador, multiple current and former U.S. officials tell NBC 4 New York. The probe into Menendez’s dealing with the bankers comes as federal authorities are also investigating his relationship to a big campaign donor from Florida.

    The criminal investigation is focusing in part on the senator’s ties to William and Roberto Isaias, and whether the senator crossed a line in trying to help the two brothers stay in the United States

    • TyrenM says:

      Are there anymore ratfuck bills he’d like to sponsor? Get him!
      Now I know why Cory been so quiet lately.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Could Bloomberg Rescue the GOP?

    by BooMan
    Thu Jan 23rd, 2014 at 11:21:30 PM EST

    I wonder what would happen if Michael Bloomberg decided to seriously contend for the Republican nomination in 2016. I doubt he would consider taking on Hillary Clinton, but bear with me. If Bloomberg put his billions to work on a serious presidential campaign as a Republican, he could probably grab a lot of delegates to the convention. Remember how successful Ron Paul was in grabbing delegates and even taking over the party leadership in some states. You can be unorthodox, lose badly, and still gain some real influence.

    The idea would be multifaceted. Obviously, there are some ideas, like gun control and health (anti-smoking, anti-sugary drinks, anti-trans fats) that motivate Bloomberg. I think he’d like to push back against the homophobia, sexism, racism, and xenophobia that are so ascendant in the Republican Party. I think he wants to do something about climate change. Bloomberg is certainly not a down-the-line progressive by any means, but that’s precisely why it makes sense for him to try to reinvigorate a Rockefeller Republican wing of the GOP that can compete in the Northeast and on the left coast.

    It would probably make sense for Bloomberg to recruit candidates to run in California’s jungle primaries, too. The GOP, as a conservative party, is pretty much dead. Why leave it to the libertarians to pick over the bones?

  17. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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