Saturday Open Thread | Aretha Franklin Week

More from The Queen of Soul: Aretha Franklin.




aretha franklin at mlk statue

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49 Responses to Saturday Open Thread | Aretha Franklin Week

  1. Etta James was born on this date in 1938. Thank you for the music, Ms Etta James!

  2. rikyrah says:

    Black is Not Beautiful: African Singer Dencia Criticized for Skin Lightening Cream, ‘Whitenicious’
    January 25, 2014

    Nigerian-Cameroonian singer Dencia has been promoting skin lightening, and to let potential loss souls know the product works, she’s been testing it on herself as can be seen above.

    Major difference between the two photos, huh?

    Her new product “Whitenicious” is causing much controversy — critics are calling it a product of self-hate and white washing. But the singer stands by her choice to use it, promote it and get paid for it … all to help get rid of “dark spots.”

    Many of the critics took to Twitter to express the disgust for the product.

  3. rikyrah says:

    ‘The Haves and The Have Nots’ Continue Ratings Dominance
    January 24, 2014 reports the Tyler Perry drama set a series record this past Tuesday night (1/21/13) by drawing in 2.84 million total viewers with its latest episode.

    The ratings achievement is the latest in an ongoing surge for ‘The Haves and the Have Nots,” which has seen a +2% increase in total viewers over the season premiere (1/7/14), and posted double-digit growth compared to last week’s episode, which rose +11% in total viewers (1/14/14).

    Among Women ages 25-54, Tuesday’s episode of “The Haves and the Have Nots,” was the #1 cable telecast in its time period (9:30 p.m.) and the #3 cable telecast for the night.

  4. rikyrah says:

    First Look: ‘The Gabby Douglas Story’ on Lifetime
    by Chris Witherspoon | January 24, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    Lifetime is kicking off Black History Month with the premiere of The Gabby Douglas Story, the biopic about two-time Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas.

    Produced by Sony Pictures Television, the movie details the inspiring true story of the international gymnastics phenomenon, who overcame overwhelming odds to become the first African-American ever to be named individual all-round champion in artistic gymnastics at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

    Imani Hakim (Everybody Hates Chris) and Sydney Mikayla (Whitney) share the role of playing Douglas.

    Mikayla will portray Douglas during her childhood while Hakim will play the gold medalist as a teenager and young adult.

    The real-life Gabby Douglas will appear in the film, which also stars Regina King and S. Epatha Merkerson.

    The Gabby Douglas Story premieres Saturday, February 1 on Lifetime at 8/7c.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Uncle Sugar Needs To Meet Aunt Flo

    From Helen:

    Margaret, as sure as the sun is going to come up tomorrow, some Republican peckerwood is going to say something stupid about a woman’s baby maker. I’d say “uterus” but that just confuses them even more. In this case, it’s Mike Huckabee attempting to redefine the war on women. Of course, with a name like Huckabee, need I really say more? (My sincere apology to any Huckabee’s out there who can walk without dragging their knuckles across the floor.)

  6. rikyrah says:

    The author of the racist cartoon tried coming to Chauncey’s website to ‘educate’ Chauncey, but of course, Chauncey wasn’t having any of this racist’s bullshyt.


    Friday, January 24, 2014
    The Ugly Lie of Glenn Foden’s ‘It’s Not My Fault That Gravity is Racist’ Editorial Cartoon

    I am curious as to your reactions and thoughts about this editorial cartoon by Glenn Foden.

    Its narrative is obvious: the country’s first president who happens to be black uses false claims of racism to deflect responsibility for his failures. Such claims are part of a broader “colorblind” white racist narrative that people of color–blacks in particular–are a group of ingrate lying complainers who use false charges of racist, accusations which are de facto slurs against good white people, to somehow get over in America.

    Foden is not indicting Obama; he is indicting black and brown Americans as somehow being dishonest liars, and whose experiences are vetoed by the ability of white folks, working through white privilege, to publicly invalidate what they have experienced and know.

    In the Age of Obama, “colorblind” white racism has succeeded in advancing one of the most noxious and bizarre claims in recent memory: a recent public opinion survey highlights how 44 percent of respondents actually believe that “racism” against white people is as significant a social problem as racial discrimination against people of color.

    Such a data point speaks to a type of white backlash and rage that is being actively deployed to advance the plutocrats’ and the 1 percent’s agenda of using racial anxiety and hatred to further legitimate the evisceration of the public commons and the social safety net. Glenn Foden’s cartoon is a visual embodiment of a process through which white elites have been able to manipulate the white working class and poor into supporting policies that actually hurt them economically.

    However, I am trying to reconcile why I feel unsettled by the semiotics of such an obvious cartoon.

    Could it be that I am offended intellectually, and my sense of reason is disturbed, by how any thinking person could believe that Barack Obama, who rarely if ever talks about race (except to scold black people), is somehow able to deploy his “blackness” as political capital in an effective manner on a national level?

    Maybe this editorial cartoon bothers me because I am instinctively repelled by intellectual dishonesty, especially as it serves white supremacy.

  7. rikyrah says:

    How Obamacare Critics Are Scaring The Poor Out Of Signing Up For Health Insurance

    By Igor Volsky on January 24, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Critics of the Affordable Care Act are seizing on a decades-old provision in Medicaid law to scare lower-income Americans from signing up for health care insurance, warning newly eligible enrollees that the federal government could take their house and other assets once they die.

    “I was leaning toward not getting Medicaid, because there is somewhat of a stigma,” Steve Olin, 60, told the Washington Post. “Then, when I heard about the estate recovery, I was really sure.” The paper describes this “little-known aspect of Medicaid” as “the latest anxiety to spring from the health-care law” that is “causing fear.”

    But the provision has little to do with reform. In 1965, the federal government permitted states to “recover from the estates of deceased Medicaid recipients who were over age 65 when they received benefits.” The provision was grounded in the rather conservative theory that wealthier individuals should take responsibility for their health care costs and pay back taxpayers for hundreds of thousands of dollars of care. As Washington & Lee law professor Tim Jost put it, “it’s only fair that the state can recover for long-term care if there are significant assets left behind.”

    Congress agreed and in 1993, went a step further, requiring states to implement a Medicaid estate recovery program for “deceased recipients who were 55 or older” in cases of nursing home or other long-term institutional services. It also gave states the flexibility to recover assets for other health care services covered by Medicaid. When health care reform passed in 2010, it did nothing to change the law.

    Fast forward to 2013. Millions of individuals with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty line are applying for Medicaid under the expansion provided in the Affordable Care Act and are now theoretically subject to the recovery measure. “State can seize your assets to pay for care after you’re forced into Medicaid by Obamacare,” warned. Another conservative blog,, termed the provision, a “Medicaid asset-seizure bonanza.”

  8. rikyrah says:

    60% Of KY GOPers Buck McConnell, Support Medicaid Expansion

    Dylan Scott – January 24, 2014, 5:11 PM EST8710

    A solid majority of Kentucky Republicans support the state’s decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, according to a new poll, standing in stark contrast to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s opposition to the provision.

    The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky poll, reported by NPR-affiliated WFPL, found that 60 percent of self-identified Republicans said they support expansion. In total, 79 percent of Kentuckians agree with Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear’s decision to expand coverage to low-income people under the health care reform law.

    In a statement to WFPL, McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer dismissed the findings.

    “Most new Obamacare enrollees are not on private plans, but are added to the state’s struggling Medicaid program,” he said, “where one hundred percent of these costs will be picked up by taxpayers and where there is already a shortage of physicians accepting Medicaid patients.”

    More than 120,000 Kentuckians have enrolled in Medicaid through the state’s Obamacare website since it launched in October, according to Beshear’s office, though that number includes some people who were previously eligible for the program.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Paul Waldman: Why Republicans Keep Calling Women Sluts

    The simple answer is that they can’t help themselves, but more specifically, it’s a combination of ignorance, contempt, and Puritan morality that inevitably leads to these eruptions. And it’s going to keep happening. Let’s look at the particulars: Ignorance: These kinds of statements tend to come from older conservative men who have no idea how ladyparts work, and really don’t want to know. That extends to contraception, which as far as they’re concerned is something that is women’s responsibility and therefore there’s no need to understand it.

    Beliefs about sin: The conception of sex as inherently sinful drives pretty much every conservative policy position that touches on sex, perhaps most notably the support for abstinence-only sex education. The fact that abstinence-only sex education has been shown over and over to fail is of only passing concern to them, because what they want out of sex education isn’t so much practical things like a reduction in teen pregnancy and the spread of STDs, but a moral statement: sex is bad.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Venture Capitalist Compares Liberal Fight Against Gross Inequality To Kristallnacht

    Daniel Strauss – January 25, 2014, 11:44 AM EST7342

    Venture capitalist Tom Perkins compared liberals’ push to reduce inequality in the United States to Nazi Germany’s war on Jews.

    In a letter to the editor published in The Wall Street Journal
    Perkins, a founding member of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers,
    asks whether a “progressive Kristallnacht” is coming. Perkins’s letter
    is in response to an editorial on speech codes at American colleges.

    “Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I
    would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war
    on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the
    American one percent, namely the “rich,” Perkins wrote in the letter to
    the editor.

    He continued that he perceives a “a rising tide of hatred of the
    successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google
    buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula
    high-tech companies which employ them.”

    Perkins cites outrage over real-estate prices as an example of overblown liberal outrage.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Iowa GOP Posts ‘Is Someone A Racist?’ Flowchart Then Deletes It

    Daniel Strauss – January 25, 2014, 9:17 AM EST19313

    Someone at the Iowa Republican Party thought it would be funny to post a flowchart explaining how to spot a racist.

    The flowchart (pictured above), posted on the Iowa GOP’s Facebook
    page on Friday night, starts by asking “are they white?” If not, the
    chart then says they are not a racist. If “yes” the next question is
    “do you like them?” If not, then “they are racist.” If yes, “they are
    not racist.” At the bottom of the flowchart a note read “Note: if you
    think this flowchart isn’t funny, then this flowchart is racist.”

    The flowchart was quickly taken down but not before The Daily Beast was able to get a screenshot of it.

    Shortly after it was posted Iowa GOP Party Chairman A.J. Spiker posted a new message apologizing for the flowchart

  12. rikyrah says:

    Eric Lach: Port Authority Refuses To Pay Christie Pal’s Legal Bills

    The Port Authority of New York and New
    Jersey will not pay the legal bills for the former agency executive at
    the center of the George Washington Bridge lane closings scandal, The
    Bergen Record reported on Friday. The notification to Wildstein
    reportedly said his request to have his legal bill picked up “would not
    be warranted” under the agency’s bylaws. Those bylaws state that current
    and former employees will be provided with legal representation if the
    action in question fell within their job duties, but not if there was
    fraud, malice, misconduct, or intentional wrongdoing

    • vitaminlover says:

      We used to live in Columbia. it was/is basically a large suburban city. The mall itself was huge. It’s been years though.

  13. rikyrah says:

    RNC eyes major calendar changes
    01/24/14 05:15 PM
    By Steve Benen

    The race for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 wasn’t pretty. The interminable, mind-numbing process dragged on endlessly, alienated the American mainstream, and generally made the candidates look ridiculous. Party officials couldn’t be sure who’d run in 2016, but they were determined to create a less destructive process.

    The Republican National Committee took a step in that direction at their winter meeting. Aaron Blake reported:

    While the old calendar stretched six months from early January to late June – and was competitive for about half that span – the new one is intended to be as much as three months shorter – from early February to April or May.

    In advance of every cycle, there’s some chatter about the early-nominating states losing their exalted role, but as has always been the case, the discussions didn’t amount to much. The Iowa caucuses will still go first, followed by the New Hampshire primary. The Nevada caucuses and South Carolina primary will follow soon after. Those four contests will be held in February 2016.

    What about states that intend to test the status quo by moving their nominating race earlier? According to the new RNC plan, if you’re not one of the first four, you can’t vote earlier than March 1. States that try will face stiff penalties, including the forfeiture of most of their delegates to the convention.

    But perhaps the biggest news is the convention schedule.

    A shorter nominating process means a longer general-election process, which necessarily means an earlier convention. The late-August/early-September convention is out; the late-June/early-July convention is in. That means an early choice of running mates, but also earlier legal access to funds raised specifically for the post-primary, general election phase.

  14. Yahtc says:

    To Preserve ‘America’s Gift to the World,’ A Jazz elder Becomes UCLA Professor

  15. rikyrah says:

    Friday, Jan 24, 2014 06:44 AM CST
    The right’s fantasy is shattered: Why Obamacare has already succeeded
    Conservatives want you to believe that Obamacare is “beyond rescue” — but the data tells a very different story
    Brian Beutler

    Last week, conservative Bloomberg columnist Megan McArdle and American Enterprise Institute fellow Scott Gottlieb debated New York magazine’s liberal columnist Jonathan Chait and former Assistant Surgeon General Douglas Kamerow over the proposition that Obamacare is “beyond rescue.”

    If you have an hour and a half of free time and a nearby brick wall to repeatedly smash your head into, you can watch the whole debate here. In the event that you’re unfamiliar with Salon dot com, suffice to say, I stand with Chait and Kamerow.

    I didn’t write about this earlier because, even though McArdle and Gottleib won the debate in the eyes of those in attendance, I thought the proposition (which presumably they didn’t pick) was almost impossibly unfair to them. They had to convincingly argue that Obamacare had fallen into a persistent vegetative state; Chait and Kamerow could win simply by convincing people that it might come out of its coma at some point.

    But then on Tuesday, McArdle imported many of the comments and arguments she used on the debate stage into a column called “Resolved: Obamacare Is Now Beyond Rescue,” so if she at any point believed the burdens of proof were stacked unevenly against her, I think it’s fair to assume that like so many conservatives she’s now completely certain that her position is correct and her arguments unassailable. Obamacare is beyond rescue.

    I think this is almost definitionally wrong for two reasons, one technical and one philosophical.

  16. Yahtc says:

    Congressional Black Caucus Faces Tough Battles in 113th Congress

  17. rikyrah says:

    Friday, Jan 24, 2014 06:43 AM CST
    GOP’s plot against democracy: Why it really wants to depress the vote
    Bipartisan reforms to our embarrassing voting system have been proposed. Here’s what’s holding up their passage
    Alex Pareene

    The Presidential Commission on Election Administration has released its report and recommendations, and reasonable people everywhere rejoice. The bipartisan commission was formed by Barack Obama following the 2012 election, which was a bit of an embarrassment for a nation that considers itself something of a model democracy. Across the country (but mainly in urban areas and black and Latino neighborhoods), Election Day featured hours-long lines, broken voting machines, inaccurate voter rolls and confusing ballots.

    “The Editors” of Bloomberg View declare the report “so resolutely practical that it’s hard to imagine its recommendations stirring much debate, much less controversy.” (They acknowledge that “not all politicians want to make it easier for Americans to vote,” but they fail to specify that that’s more or less part of the Republican Party platform.) Jeffrey Toobin calls it “an unexpectedly bold document.”

    The commission’s key recommendations are eminently reasonable: Expand online voter registration, expand early voting, improve and modernize voting machines, and improve efficiency and alleviate wait times at polling places with better training and techniques that have been proven to work elsewhere. Everyone should be able to support all of this, and, best of all, the commission’s recommendations don’t require any federal action at all. They just need to be voluntarily implemented by state and local officials. And how hard could it be to convince state and local officials to make voting easier?

    Here’s the first problem with the commission’s report: We already know what’s wrong with American elections and we already know how we should fix those problems. The last bipartisan commission on American elections released its report and recommendations less than a decade ago. That report followed up a major piece of federal election reform, the Help America Vote Act, which was the bipartisan response to the travesty that was the 2000 election. The Help America Vote Act created another bipartisan commission dedicated to making voting easier, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. That commission is supposed to have two commissioners from each party. Republicans in Congress have effectively killed that commission by refusing to appoint or approve any commissioners at all.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Friday, Jan 24, 2014 07:30 AM CST
    Chris Christie’s Texas horror: Meet the scandalous prison company he’s long promoted
    A corporation Christie’s lobbied for and long pushed runs notorious detention center with a slew of vocal opponents

    A controversial company promoted by Chris Christie runs an immigrant detention center in Texas slammed by advocates as one of the nation’s worst. The facility is used by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to house immigrant detainees who are seeking asylum in the United States.

    And, noting Christie’s “long and very close relationship with Community Education Centers,” the private company running the facility for ICE, one critic told Salon, “I think it’s time people start asking questions, because this company’s practices are not confined to New Jersey.”

    “I’ve visited a bunch of detention facilities in Texas, and that’s by far the worst,” said the opponent, Bob Libal, who directs the prison reform group Grassroots Leadership and visited the Polk County Adult Detention Center with other activists in 2012 and 2013. His allegations echo a 2012 report from the Detention Watch Network, a coalition including the ACLU and the American Immigration Lawyers Association as well as Libal’s group: “Inadequate medical care, poor nutrition, lack of access to legal services, absence of meaningful programming, and a willful neglect of those who are imprisoned there plague the Polk detention center.”

    Spokespeople for Christie and for CEC did not provide comment in response to Thursday inquiries.

  19. Yahtc says:

    Genealogy study rises in Augusta County
    African-American family research follows many paths

  20. Yahtc says:

    “Solomon Northup’s story is largely unknown in his New York hometown”

    A Saratoga Springs museum features no exhibit on Solomon Northup, nor is his memoir, ’12 Years a Slave,’ taught in local schools. And an annual commemoration has been the focus of a partisan dispute.,0,7428949.story#axzz2rQLLvSRq

  21. rikyrah says:

    Fox News Host Somehow Connects Justin Bieber’s Arrest to Obama

    Greg Gutfeld, one of the hosts on Fox’s The Five, admittedly “shoehorned” the president into the topic of Bieber’s arres

    By: Breanna Edwards
    Posted: Jan. 24 2014 12:13 PM

    Co-host Greg Gutfeld of Fox’s The Five found an interesting way to link pop star Justin Bieber’s recent arrest to President Obama.

    Gutfeld admitted that he had “shoehorned” the president into the issue by linking teenage-girl fanaticism over the star to the way the president is treated by the press.

    “The real culprit: the mindset of the teenage girl … that suspends critical thinking, replacing it with mindless euphoria driven by hormones and a desire for acceptance. But enough about Obama,” Gutfeld quipped. “True, his poll numbers have a Bieber-esque quality, adored by people who pay more attention to dimples than direction. It’s a direction we can predict, for, like Bieber, Obama has no friendly speed bumps, no trusted critical eye to stop the decline with helpful advice. They’re too scared to hurt the pinup’s feelings, which is why there’s really nothing to see here, ’cause we’ve all seen it before.”

    Indeed, there’s nothing to see here.

    After Gutfeld finished his self-diagnosed shoehorning, co-host Bob Beckel remarked that it was “an interesting connection, to say the least.”

    As for Gutfeld, he smiled and said he was “kind of proud of it.”

  22. rikyrah says:

    New Investigation Demanded in Mysterious Death of Alfred Wright

    Thanks to a three-part report on the facts surrounding the disappearance and death of the Texas father, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee met with Wright’s family and has asked the Department of Justice to launch an investigation.

    By: Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
    Posted: Jan. 24 2014 4:17 PM

    The Department of Justice is being asked to join a family’s fight for truth regarding the mysterious disappearance and death of Alfred Wright, CNN reports.

    The 28-year-old Jasper, Texas, father disappeared last November. After the police called off their search, Wright’s family took up the cause, launching their own search team.

    His family found his remains a few miles from where they reported him missing. The local sheriff has stated that there was no foul play involved in Wright’s death, but Wright’s family believes that he was murdered.

    Last week, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 launched an in-depth three-part report that had investigative reporter Deborah Feyerick shining a national spotlight on the facts surrounding the case. Feyerick reported Thursday night that Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee met with Wright’s family Wednesday for several hours after seeing the show.

    Now the Texas congresswoman’s chief of staff says they’re drafting a letter to the Justice Department, Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. attorney in Beaumont, Texas.

    “We have no specifics just yet on the kind of investigation or assistance they’re going to ask for from the Justice Department,” Feyerick reports, “but it would include things, for example, like civil rights violations, hate crimes, public corruption—for example, corruption within law enforcement.”

    According to KLTV News 7, the East Texas News obtained a copy of the first page of an autopsy report performed on Nov. 26, 2013, and prepared by Dr. John W. Ralston, a forensic pathologist with Forensic Medical Management Services of Texas’ Beaumont office. The pathologist listed “combined drug intoxication, including cocaine, methamphetamine, and amphetamine.” Ralston’s report also stated that Wright’s body had shallow puncture wounds to the abdomen, left thigh, left lower leg and palm of the left hand, KLTV News 7 reports.

    The report also stated that there was no evidence of severe trauma.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Once Financially Secure, a Mother Is Fighting a Life of Poverty

    A former airline worker finds herself in a cycle of poverty from which there is little chance of escape.

    By: Leila McDowell
    Posted: Jan. 24 2014 5:00 AM

    Josephine Wiles Warner’s cozy town house in Herndon, Va., is filled with the laughter of her four children—children she brought into her home when their natural parents could no longer care for them. And Warner became their mom, but not through foster care, so she receives no aid.

    Now the lights and water are off and she is being threatened with eviction. The cold caused the children to get bronchitis and pneumonia.

    “It’s a nightmare,” Warner says.

    Warner is one of millions of people who discovered that it often costs more to be poor than rich.

    She used to own the townhome. For 20 years she worked as an airline customer-service agent but left to care for her terminally ill mother in 2010. “I had no idea that it would mean a spiral into poverty,” Warner says. Even with three college degrees, she is unable to find work in her field.

  24. Rikyrah

    Aretha singing at the Inauguration is the bestest. I will never forget it. I was filled with so much joy. Aretha opened up the floodgates.

  25. How self-preservation factors into NJ plot

    Rachel Maddow points out how the blame and legal representation in the New Jersey scandals change the dynamics of the investigation.

  26. Yahtc says:

    Minority kids disproportionately impacted by zero-tolerance laws

  27. Christie Scandal Grows As a Second Mayor Accuses Gov. of Hurting Citizens for Revenge

    Things are getting worse for Chris Christie by the day, as the mayor of Elizabeth, NJ has come forward to accuse the governor of closing down the state’s 4th largest DMV as an act of political revenge.

    According to the Daily Mail,

    Governor Chris Christie has been accused of exacting still more political revenge after his administration shut down the DMV office in a large New Jersey city three years ago – and Democratic politicians say it was because they opposed his tax policies and worked for his Election Day opponent.
    ‘He shut it down, plain and simple, and of course this was political,’ New Jersey state Assemblyman Joe Cryan told MailOnline of the Motor Vehicle Commission office in Elizabeth, the fourth-largest city in New Jersey. ‘This was complete retribution. … There was no other possible explanation for it.’

  28. Good morning, everyone!

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