Monday Open Thread | Male Groups of the 60’s – The Spinners

For this week, we’ll enjoy fabulous music of some male groups of the 1960’s. Today’s group is The Spinners.


The Spinners are an American soul music vocal group, active for over 50 years, and with a long run of classic hits especially during the 1970s. The group, originating from Detroit, still tours regularly as of 2014 although Henry Fambrough is the only original member.

The group is also listed as the Detroit Spinners, and the Motown Spinners (for their 1960s recordings with the Detroit label). These group names were used in the UK to avoid confusion with a British folk group also called The Spinners.



In 1954, a group of friends who grew up together in Ferndale, Michigan, a northern suburb bordering Detroit, came together to make music. For a time, several of the band members resided in Detroit’s Herman Gardens public housing projects. Billy Henderson, Henry Fambrough, Pervis Jackson, C. P. Spencer, and James Edwards[disambiguation needed] called themselves The Domingoes. However James Edwards lasted only a few weeks. He was replaced by Bobby Smith, who sang lead on most of the Spinners’ early records (and many of their biggest Atlantic hits). C. P. Spencer left the group shortly afterwards, and later went on to be a member of the Voice Masters and The Originals. He was replaced by George Dixon. The group renamed themselves The Spinners in 1961. This name was chosen after looking at popular car hubcaps and noting how they spun around on a car’s wheel.

The hit years with Philippé Wynne

When The Spinners signed to Atlantic in 1972, they were a respected but commercially unremarkable singing group who had never had a top-ten pop hit — despite having been a recording act for over a decade. However, under the helm of producer and songwriter Thom Bell, The Spinners charted five top 100 singles (and two top tens) from their first post-Motown album, Spinners (1972), and went on to become one of the biggest soul groups of the 1970s.

The Bobby Smith-led “I’ll Be Around”, their first top ten hit, was actually the B-side of their first Atlantic single, “How Could I Let You Get Away”. Radio airplay for the B-side led Atlantic to flip the single over, with “I’ll Be Around” hitting #3 and “How Could I Let You Get Away” reaching #77. “I’ll Be Around” was also The Spinners’ first million-selling hit single.[2]

The 1973 follow-up singles “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” (led by Smith), “One of a Kind (Love Affair)” (led by Wynne), and “Ghetto Child” (led by Wynne) cemented the group’s reputation, as well as further that of Bell, a noted Philly soul producer.

Following their Atlantic successes, Motown also issued a “Best of the Spinners” LP which featured selections from their Motown/V.I.P. recordings. They also remixed and reissued the 1970 B-side “Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music” as a 1973 A-side. In the midst of their Atlantic hits, it crawled to number #91 US.

The group’s 1974 follow-up album, Mighty Love, featured three Top 20 hits, “I’m Coming Home,” “Love Don’t Love Nobody,” and the title track. Their biggest hit of the year, however, was a collaboration with Dionne Warwick, “Then Came You” (led by Smith and Warwick), which hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming each act’s first chart-topping ‘Pop’ hit. The song also reached the Top 3 of Billboard’s R&B and Easy Listening charts.

The Spinners hit the Top 10 twice in the next two years with the Smith-led “They Just Can’t Stop It the (Games People Play)” (Billboard #5) and the Wynne-led “The Rubberband Man” (Billboard #2). “Games People Play” featured guest vocalist Barbara Ingram (though producer Bell disputed this in a UK based interview, claiming Barbara’s line was actually group member Henry Fambrough – his voice sped up[3]) and led to a nickname of “12:45” for bass singer Jackson, after his signature vocal line on the song.


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81 Responses to Monday Open Thread | Male Groups of the 60’s – The Spinners

  1. Thom Hickey says:

    Thanks. Really pleased to have found your diverse blog and delighted to see the Spinners celebrated! I’ll be back to explore more. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (plugged in to play now).

  2. rikyrah says:

    Lachlan Murdoch’s Ascent to the News Corp Throne
    In 2005, Lachlan Murdoch walked away from a worldwide media empire that could have been his. Now, after nearly a decade of exile, power struggles, and near-catastrophic scandals, the firstborn son of Rupert is on the verge of claiming the News Corp. throne.
    By Michael Wolff March 27, 2014

    For almost 10 years Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s 42-year-old son, has been the wayfarer child, searching for his place in the world and turning a cold shoulder to his father’s beseeching that he return home.

    Father and son, locked in a war of wills and ego and pride, have suffered greatly in the standoff. The son was hurt by his father’s business slight; the father was deeply pained when his son turned his back on his dynastic place. Of the many, many rifts in the Murdoch family, this has been the epic one: The designated heir, with all the entitlement and inevitability surrounding a first son, went stubbornly missing, creating a power vacuum in which much went awry.

    But give credit to a father’s persistence. At 83, playing a long game, Rupert Murdoch is close to bringing his son back to where he wants him—no matter that his son’s pride is still wounded and his feelings are tangled.

    Dynasties are hard to maintain, but they are not so casually destroyed.

    The first time I saw father and son together was in 2004, a year or so before their near-mortal breakup. I had been invited for the first of many interview sessions I would ultimately have with Rupert Murdoch. Lunch was served in his cramped office dining room at News Corporation headquarters in Manhattan. Gary Ginsberg, the mogul’s ever-present PR lieutenant, was there. Murdoch maintained the remote gruffness that would seldom, in the years of our acquaintance, relent.

    This grumpy-old-man persona seemed in peculiar contrast to the extraordinarily good-looking doe-eyed young man who silently appeared without introduction behind him, as though awaiting orders or instructions. Curious, I thought: The ever-unfashionable Murdoch has gotten himself, in the fashion of all Hollywood moguls, a gay assistant. But then, in what seemed like a sight gag, the gay assistant began to stroke his boss’s shoulder, an open caress of obvious care and affection.

    It could not have been long—though in hindsight it feels like very slow motion—before I understood that this must be Lachlan, the then-32-year-old prince of the realm.


    From the beginning Rupert waged a campaign to bring Lachlan back into the company. The father held a particular trump card: None of the Murdoch offspring really had any money to speak of. They may have been the children of a billionaire, but they were among the world’s most cash-poor children of a billionaire. Nearly every penny they had was tied up in company shares controlled by the Murdoch Family Trust, which left them with no authority to sell. The Murdoch children were hopelessly dependent on their father—just the way he liked it.

    But fate—and family—intervened. Lachlan was not Rupert’s only personal crisis. In 1999 he had divorced his wife of 32 years, Anna Murdoch, and married Wendi Deng, 38 years his junior, engendering the lasting resentment of his children. But as part of the divorce settlement, a canny Anna had agreed to $100 million—not, as California property law entitled her to, half of Murdoch’s then-$8billion fortune. This on-the-cheap divorce was in exchange for Murdoch’s agreement to make the terms of the Murdoch Family Trust unbreakable. Her three children and Murdoch’s oldest daughter, by his first wife, would remain his only heirs.

    Then Murdoch had two more children with Deng, who began her own campaign to secure a place for her officially disenfranchised offspring. Caught between a rock and a hard place, Murdoch negotiated.

    He needed the agreement of a majority of his four adult children to change the terms of the trust. More than a year of bargaining, and some cold cash, got him part of what he wanted. While his two children with Deng would never become voting participants in the trust, his four older children agreed to share with their new siblings an equal, one-sixth economic interest in it. In return, each of the four was given an immediate $150 million in cash and in company shares that they could sell—enough to buy quite a bit of independence.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Detectives: Mother killed her own 11-month-old boy because she “didn’t want him anymore”
    Posted 4:52 pm, July 9, 2014, by Katie DeLong,

    MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Detectives say a Queens mother killed her own baby boy because she “didn’t want him anymore.”

    FOX6′s sister station, PIX11 says Nicole “Nikki” Kelly is in police custody — charged with the second degree murder of her 11-month-old son, Kiam Felix, Jr.

    Kelly was arrested on Monday, July 7th — her 22nd birthday. She is accused of killing her son the day before.

    Kiam Felix Jr. was pronounced dead at the hospital after Kelly brought him into the emergency room with the child’s father — according to PIX11.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Kimberly Elise, Loretta Devine, Garcelle Beauvais are Shooting ‘Back to School Mom’ in South Africa
    by Tambay A. Obenson
    July 10, 2014 10:33 AM

    Currently filming in Cape Town, South Africa is a feature drama titled “Back to School Mom,” which is being directed by Christopher Erskine, and produced by Milan Selassie.

    he film stars Kimberly Elise, Loretta Devine, and Garcelle Beauvais, and tells the story of a 41-year-old woman who goes back to college to finish her last year of school. While there, she becomes good friends with a classmate, who turns out to be the son she gave up 20 years earlier.

    Joining the above trio of actresses are Harry Lennix, Denzel Whitaker and Rick Fox rounding out the cast of a film, whose soundtrack will be composed by Grammy Award Winner Robert Glasper and Derrick Hodge.

    The project calls Intelligent Media Productions LLC home.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Republican Attacks on a CFPB Office Renovation Don’t Add Up
    By Karen Weise July 10, 2014

    When the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opened in 2011, the best available government office space large enough to accommodate its thousand-plus employees was a run-down concrete building on G Street near the White House that once housed the now-defunct Office of Thrift Supervision. The bureau’s director, Richard Cordray, has called the dark, musty structure a “dump.” The U.S. Department of the Treasury said the building, erected in 1976, was in need of “major renovations,” which the low rent reflected.

    Three years later, the CFPB’s plans to fix up the place are under attack by Republicans who fought to block the agency’s creation and have tried since to weaken or kill it. Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, decries the renovation as a “blatant waste” of public money. The CFPB says it will cost about $140 million; Republicans predict it will come to much more.

    The U.S. General Services Administration is managing the project and intends to update the interior, fix the leaky roof, and upgrade the building to LEED Gold environmental standards. Hensarling and other opponents have latched onto a planned glass staircase, and a granite fountain, benches, and trees in the building’s public outdoor plaza as evidence of opulent excess. “It has become abundantly clear that it’s not 1700 G Street that needs an overhaul, but rather the entire structure of the CFPB,” Representative Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, chairman of the committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, said in a July 2 press release.

    The GOP members say their calculations show the renovation will cost $215.8 million, or $590 per square foot—more than double the CFPB estimate, and more than it cost per square foot to construct the lavish Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. These figures were picked up by newspapers and conservative websites, which ran them under headlines like “Elizabeth Warren’s Brainchild Builds HQ Costlier Than Trump Tower.” There’s just one hitch: Their numbers don’t add up

  6. rikyrah says:

    BET Responds to Outrage Over Snubbing Photographer Bill Jones

    Jul 14, 14 by EURPublisher01

    Tanya Young Williams has written a follow-up to her piece about legendary photographer Bill Jones being snubbed at the recent BET Awards red carpet. It includes a lengthy response by the network’s Senior Vice President of Communications, Tracy McGraw.

    Williams writes:

    It appears that many journalists and publicists were angered, but NOT surprised by the snubbing of legendary photographer Bill Jones at the recent record-breaking BET Awards show. Since the posting of my Huffington Post piece, with an exclusive statement from Jones detailing his disappointment in being denied credentials for the BET Awards show, I have been inundated with calls, emails and messages from journalists, photographers and publicists characterizing BET’s Communication’s department as; “arrogant,” “incompetent,” “dismissive” and “disorganized.”

    In fact, 25-year public relations maven, Lynn Jeter wrote in an email to scores of her public relations colleagues, “…this year’s red carpet was an absolute disaster.” Jeter’s email’s subject line was: “BET RED CARPET DISASTERS AND WITH WHITE PR FIRM SLATE PR.”

    Jeter’s letter continued:

    The photo pool was at the end of the red carpet, which was ludicrous. The celebrities were looking their worst due to the photo pool being at the very end causing celebrities to walk more than a block to take photos, which means they were not looking their best! The publicity check in and communication was a nightmare and not organized. The publicist holding area did not have shade or water until after 2:30pm. The red carpet started over 30 minutes late.

    Many recognizable celebrities, and even talent associated with BET programming, were clamoring to attend the show but were denied seats. However, some publicists wish to steer their clients away from the event.

    “When the BET Awards first came to Los Angeles, it was an exciting time, and I cut my teeth on its red carpet under the tutelage of veteran celebrity publicists Lynn Jeter and the late Pat Tobin,” said Wyllisa Bennett, celebrity publicist and blogger. “The awards show was accessible and inclusive to all talent and publicists in Black Hollywood, working in TV, film and music. Something has certainly changed, and now many publicists wonder if it’s worth the headache and heartache for their clients to participate at all.”

    Many publicists and journalists have stated, under the condition of anonymity, that they believe the snubbing of veteran journalists and the “chaos” on the red-carpet was due to BET’s hiring a white owned PR firm, Slate PR, as referenced in Jeter’s email. According to some, there is tremendous significance in Slate PR being a white owned PR firm with little experience with Black journalists, photographers and in representing African-American talent. I repeatedly heard that Slate PR is ignorant to the smaller, black media outlets and their importance in African-American celebrities garnering coverage.

    I was provided a heated email exchange between Jeter and Tracy McGraw, BET’s Senior Vice President of Communications, regarding BET’s choice in hiring Slate PR and the alleged mistreatment of talent, publicists and journalists.

    In response to Jeter’s email, McGraw wrote:

    The BET Networks Communications department reserves the right to arrange our red carpet(s) in whatever way we see fit …. In fact, we opted to mirror the layout for the VMAS, Oscars and Grammys – which eliminated bottlenecking at the top of the carpet, allowing for our talent to smoothly progress down the carpet. Additionally, I was horrified with the reference made in your subject line about the PR firm we hired (“WHITE PR FIRM SLATE PR”) … BET Networks embraces global diversity in all its forms and seeks to maintain an inclusive workforce and a culture that values all perspectives and backgrounds.

    In a telephone interview with me, McGraw discussed the new direction BET chose in hiring the white owned public relations firm, Slate PR, and confirmed that legendary photographer Bill Jones had been denied credentials to work the red carpet at the record-breaking event.

    To explain BET’s hiring of Slate PR, McGraw stated that BET had numerous pitch meetings with various PR firms for this year’s BET Award show, and Slate PR came out on top. McGraw was sure to explain that all decisions regarding who would receive credentials and access to the red carpet, the media room, the BET Experience and other BET Award show events, came directly from her office and not Slate PR. The fact that very few smaller, Black media outlets received red carpet credentials was solely her department’s call and thus the finger pointing at Slate PR is misdirected.

    McGraw stated that BET reduced its issued red carpet credentials by 50 percent, yet, as a means to give the media access to dozens of celebrities, her department issued over 500 media credentials for the BET Experience events (the BET Experience is a 3-day entertainment festival at L.A. Convention Center or L.A. LIVE). The BET Experience featured celebrity-driven events like: a concert by Mary J Blidge, Trey Songz and Jennifer Hudson; a celebrity basketball game with troubled singers, Justin Beiber and Chris Brown; and intimate discussions with Nikki Giovanni, Bill Withers and Floyd Mayweather.

    McGraw did not offer an explanation as to why Jones was rejected, however, she stated that due to the extreme reduction of red carpet credentials, the BET communications department had to make some “hard decisions”. However, in retrospect, and possibly due to the outrage incited by my article about Jones’ snub, BET contacted Jones and promised that he would be appropriately credentialed at future events. According to McGraw, BET will make accommodations for the 83 year old photographer, including a designated shooting area in the shade, as well as, standing room for his assistant.


  7. rikyrah says:

    EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Photographer Bill Jones’ Says BET Awards Denied His Credentials

    The BET Awards show held on June 29, 2014, was a record-breaking event. The event was cable’s number one award show this season, drawing 7.9 million viewers and dominating Twitter with 11 million tweets. It was the most tweeted about “BET Awards” ever; outperforming the “Billboard Music Awards,” “Golden Globes,” “People’s Choice Awards,” “Game 5 of the NBA Finals” and the “World Cup USA vs. Portugal.”

    Debra Lee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BET, should be wonderfully proud of her network’s record-breaking accomplishment, nevertheless, she should be equally embarrassed by BET’s treatment of legendary photographer, 83 year old, Bill Jones. It was terribly disappointing to learn that BET snubbed one of the most respected photographers in the business, and quite possibly the oldest Black photographer still working Hollywood’s red carpets. Jones has snapped some of the most recognized and celebrated entertainers of our time including one of the “100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment,” Debra Lee.

    Jones snapped his first celebrity photo of Muhammad Ali in the early 1960s while on duty as a technical sergeant with the Air Force. Over the next 50 years he would capture historical photos of Bill Cosby, Quincy Jones and Whitney Houston during their time as rising stars. Many of these photographs are part of Jones’ book, Hollywood in Black: 40 years of Photographs by Bill Jones.

    Jones’ work has been placed prominently in prestigious national magazines such as Ebony and Jet and Los Angeles newspapers. Jones photographed and befriened many A-list celebrities like Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby, Magic Johnson, Berry Gordy and Quincy Jones, who credit Jones with photographing career-defining moments in their lives which helped them elevate their careers and public images. Of Berry, Jones said, “Halle was [one of] my first clients,” he recalled. “I used to take her round to the park and shoot her.” Asked if he knew she had star potential, he replied: “No doubt about it.”

    In an exclusive statement provided to me for my weekly talk show, Etc. Etc. Etc, broadcast on Spreecast, Jones had this to say about the BET snub:

    As a photojournalist, I’ve always felt that it’s important to document the important moments in Black America from the Civil Rights Movement to a post-Obama Era. I think there’s a problem when one of the largest networks, catering to African Americans, doesn’t show Black press the respect and dignity it deserves in doing its job effectively. From a professional standpoint, it was truly disappointing and disgraceful that members of press were treated like second-class citizens for an awards show, honoring Black Music Month.


    Many other veteran journalists were also denied credentials to the BET Awards event for the very first time. Tanya Hart, whose resume includes setting up BET’s West Coast production operations and launching its first show out of their Burbank Studios in 1992 called, Live from LA with Tanya Hart, was also denied credentials. Hart spoke candidly me on Etc. Etc. Etc. about Jones’ snub and about the negative changes in BET’s culture since it was purchased by Viacom in 2001, and thus, was no longer a Black owned network.

  8. Ametia says:

    Here we go again folks! Get it done POTUS

    President Obama to push road and bridge repair
    Source: McClatchy

    With a trust fund for highway repair about to sputter out, President Obama will spend the week pushing for increased investment in infrastructure, the White House said.

    Obama, who has used his executive authority to speed up permitting for priority projects, will announce further executive actions on infrastructure this week, the White House said.

    Congress this week will consider a way to avoid a lapse in funding of the Highway Trust Fund, which is now scheduled to go insolvent as early as August, and the White House said Obama “will continue to urge Republican lawmakers to not block it.”

    House and Senate committees last week approved plans to shore up the foundering highway trust fund through next May, though several business groups have told lawmakers they want a longer-term solution by the end of this year.

    Read more:

  9. Ametia says:

    Dick Cheney interview drowned out by hecklers Monday in D.C.

    The former vice president, his wife Lynne and their daughter Liz were in Washington on Monday to answer question from Politico’s Mike Allen — but the family faced an audience angry over Iraq, waterboarding and alleged torture.

  10. rikyrah says:

    The History, Significance & Changing Landscape of an African American Resort Community in Stanley Nelson’s ‘A Place Of Our Own’

    A Place of Our Own,” by Stanley Nelson, is a film which some of you may already be familiar with as it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2004.

    For those of you who are not familiar with it, the description reads:

    “In this cinematic love song to place and identity, director Stanley Nelson explores the rarely seen world of the black middle class and the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, where African Americans have vacationed for generations. Using wonderfully evocative photography and landscape cinematography, Nelson lets us into a side of black identity rarely incorporated into the larger lore of Americana. Through intimate interviews in gloriously manicured surroundings, Nelson relives his family’s ties to the Vineyard, taking us along for a very satisfying trip down memory lane.”

    But, having watched the film, it is so much more than stated above and much more than I expected.

    Interweaving the history of Oak Bluffs with the contemplation of the pain and breakup of his family, the death of Nelson’s mother, Liel, marks the beginning of the film and the death of a family that managed to hold on to a house but lose touch with each other; a house that was once full of laughter and love, now cold, empty and full of silence. As the film navigates the issues of race, class, sense of community and identity, we see Nelson’s touching effort to restore a convivial relationship with his estranged father.

    In looking at the importance of a place like Oak Bluffs, initially the black section of segregated Martha’s Vineyard, in the history of America, the following quote from the film sums it up quite nicely:

    “Part of what racism does in the US is deny black folk notions of celebration, of leisure, of creative cultural space to do your own thing. I think what black folk, for several generations, have tried to do is to carve out those niches where they can find their own voice, where they can celebrate with their friends and you don’t have to explain a damn thing.”

    Nelson observes in one segment how, secretly watching his parents and their friends party, it seemed that all they ever talked about was white folks and how crazy they are, and Negroes and how crazy white folks make them. Oak Bluffs wasn’t just a place to hang out during the summer, be seen and boast about how much money you’d made; it was a community in which to restore sanity.

  11. vitaminlover says:

    Love the Spinners. They were a class act!

  12. rikyrah says:

    Black Power in the Global Film Industry
    by Andre Seewood
    June 2, 2014 12:38 PM

    The following is yet another exploration of the well known challenges and obstacles faced by Black filmmakers around the globe. Although this exploration may not add anything new to this much discussed dilemma, I feel that it is an exploration worth pursuing as often as possible since the American Entertainment Complex as we know it is constantly changing and modifying its delivery systems, its dependence on foreign earnings and its cultural impact with various buyouts, mergers, and favorable legislative decisions that allow it to consolidate and increase its power unchecked.(1) If the rules and the technology are constantly changing it also means that our concept of the challenges and obstacles we face, as well as, our strategies of attack must be adjusted so that we don’t find ourselves holding bows and arrows trying to fight an opponent armed with plasma rifles, so to speak.

    So knowing that a majority of Black filmmakers don’t have equal access to foreign markets, production budgets, marketing budgets, development deals, advanced technology, executive power brokering, executive decision making (e.g. greenlighting studio films), final cut and screen ratios as do White filmmakers, let us begin.

    In a recent reaction published through social media against the uproar caused by Zoe Saldana’s casting as jazz singer Nina Simone in a troubled bio-pic of her life Floyd Webb a respected Black veteran film producer and programmer for the Blacklight Film Festival and Black World Cinema in Chicago with over 30 years of experience furiously asserted that:

    ”All this yak about Zoe Saldana and her role in the Nina Simone story needs to come to an end. I am back to this. Don’t like it??? Support black independent filmmakers who you think can deliver the kind of work you want to see. It is easy enough to bitch and moan. Why depend on others to do what we don’t support in the first damn place? […] Until ya’ll committed to supporting black independent cinema or whatever indie filmmaker you think can deliver the kind of images you want to see, I don’t wanna hear it… Time to put up or shut up as far as I am concerned. Stop complaining, start helping to build a new independent film movement. We can use,, whatever…”(2)

    The naked simplicity of his assertion is at once true and problematic; that is to say, we’ve always known that the surest answer to our long complaint against the White controlled American Entertainment Complex is to begin financing, producing, distributing and seeing our own films. The problem is not whether this can be done, but rather how long can such a self determined Black independent cinema be sustained before it is co-opted and/or diffused by the American Entertainment Complex? This is not a rhetorical question, for if we look at all four components necessary to bring a film to the screen: finance, production, distribution (including marketing) and exhibition the problem reveals itself in between those components. If agents of the American Entertainment Complex are needed, used or buy their way in at any point in the four constituent components, then the long term ability to sustain a self determined Black independent cinema is compromised.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Black Liberation via White Privilege: A Reappraisal of Michael Mann’s ‘Collateral’

    by Andre Seewood
    June 9, 2014 6:11 PM

    Sometimes the work of a great filmmaker can hit all the right notes but not strike the right chord in audiences, critics or both at the time of the film’s initial release. Such was the case with Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” (1941), Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” (1958), Francois Truffaut’s “Shoot The Piano Player” (“Tirez sur le pianiste” – 1960) and of course most famously with Frank Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946).(1)

    Although many films miss their commercial and/or critical marks, some films gain in reputation and commercial success only after repeated viewings, revivals and reappraisals by audiences and critics. I am not above such critical hubris as was the case when I first saw Michael Mann’s 2004 film, “Collateral” in the theatre. At that time, I was unable to get past the fact that I thought that Jamie Foxx had been miscast as a milquetoast cab driver opposite a silver haired Tom Cruise as a hit man fulfilling multiple contract killings throughout a single night in Los Angeles. Fortunately, following my instincts that there is always something to admire even in the lesser works of great auteurs I purchased a DVD copy of the film when it was first released a decade ago, but I never found an occasion to watch it. Although “Collateral” can hardly be considered a critical or commercial disappointment at the time of its release, it is a film whose success is built in no small part upon the popularity of both Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx as its stars and Michael Mann’s well known visual panache in shooting Los Angeles at night rather than for the depth of its story and themes. Hearing through social media about the film recently playing on cable and other secondary networks, I found myself watching my DVD and being astonished by my own obtuseness with regard to the utter brilliance of this film.

    What struck me immediately about the work a decade after its release was how the circumstances and the relationship between the White hit man, Vincent (Tom Cruise) and the Black cab driver, Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx) could easily be interpreted as an action packed philosophical parable that attempts to transfer the morally suspect power of White privilege from a White character to a Black character. This interpretation, which I will explore here, first strikes the mind in an early fascinating scene between Vincent and Max in the cab after Vincent has committed his first murder and after he forces Max into a form of indentured servitude which will last for most of the film’s story.

    When Max’s boss calls him to complain about the damaged cab and levies serious garnishments to Max’s wages, Vincent commandeers the cab’s radio microphone and instructs Max on what to say back to his boss to stop this unjust treatment. When Max protests that he cannot speak back to his boss so disrespectfully, Vincent abruptly speaks directly to Max’s boss with an authority based on phony government credentials, a detailed knowledge of insurance liability policies, and a sense of White privilege that trumps the expected subordination inherent in White employer/Black employee relations. Vincent, playing the role of an aggressive take no bullshit Cyrano de Bergerac, instructs Max to call his boss an “asshole” and to say that,” the next time you pull any shit I’m gonna have to stick this yellow cab up your fat ass.” This is the first of many scenes where Vincent allows Max to borrow his White privilege as a form of collateral to insure his continued servitude throughout this intense night journey. The fact that Vincent has zip tied Max’s hands to the steering wheel only adds to the interpretation that Vincent is both demonstrating and transferring to Max the very machinations of White privilege in circumstances where a Black male is unable or unwilling to exert resistance against the oppressor.

    That Max is being oppressed by Vincent in this process is but a sweeter irony of our interpretation.

  14. rikyrah says:

    The Devil’s Eye Syndrome: Creative Jealousy Against the Black Independent Filmmaker

    by Andre Seewood
    July 14, 2014 2:50 PM

    The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist.” –Charles Baudelaire

    It is something peculiar that I had noticed decades ago from the first time I screened one of my own short films and began writing film criticism: many of us as Black people spew our most harsh and bitter criticism towards Black Independent films and yet rush to see White studio films without so much as raising a question concerning the plausibility of the content (or lack thereof) nor an objection to the lack of diversity in casting and/or the continuation of stigmatizing racial tropes and stereotypes. As long as there is action, explosions and state-of-the-art CGI any negative criticism of White studio films is suspended. And if by chance such negative criticism is raised against a White studio film it is summarily disbelieved in the face of astronomical weekend unadjusted box office grosses. I mean I have witnessed some very intelligent Black people rip a Black independent film to shreds as if they were the sole surviving authenticators of Shakespeare’s lost plays, but then turn around and pay extra money to see Michael Bay’s TRANSFORMERS (1, 2, 3 and 4) without ever saying anything negative about a White studio film that would approach the severity and bitterness of the negative criticism they would level at a Black independent film.

    It reminds me of that punch line to the comedian’s old joke about what the Black servant says to the coughing White man: “What’s the matter boss, WE sick?”

    What used to cause me a mild form of bemusement, I am now beginning to understand as a peculiar form of creative jealousy expressed towards Black independent film and/or filmmakers by others of their own race that can ultimately have devastating consequences for the development of all up and coming Black filmmakers and for the preservation and continuation of Black film in general.

    In this article I would like to examine in detail this peculiar phenomenon of critical hypocrisy that I will define here as The Devil’s Eye Syndrome. The Devil’s Eye Syndrome is the deliberate critical rejection of Black independent film by Black spectators which manifests itself as a severe and bitter criticism of a Black independent film to the degree that no other commercial White studio film would be able to withstand nor would these Black spectators dare apply such “high standards” to a White film. I would like to explore how this critical hypocrisy is expressed and maintained often by those closest to us as filmmakers: family, friends and loved ones. Most importantly I would like to offer suggestions concerning how developing Black filmmakers can protect themselves from this vicious form of self-hatred and creative jealousy disguised as criticism.

  15. rikyrah says:

    ‘Muted’ Filmmakers Discuss The Film With Joy-Ann Reid On MSNBC

    Let’s be honest, for the most part, unless the film stars Kevin Hart or deals with slavery, the mainstream media, and in particular television, doesn’t focus much on black films, except for those predictable “The Year of Black Cinema” type articles which appear every few years or so.

    And it’s even rarer for short black films. Which is why it was unusual and refreshing to see that MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid, on her network program, “The Reid Report,” actually took the time out to profile “Muted” with the filmmakers – director Rachel Goldberg, producer Tara Tomicevic and writer/actress Brandi Ford.

    The powerful film, which was fully funded through a very successful Kickstarter campaign, stars Chandra Wilson of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Daniele Watts and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. It tells the story of a black mother whose young daughter is missing, as she struggles, not only with the anguishing search for her daughter, but also with the media’s indifference to her situation – a plight that I don’t need to tell you has been shared by many black parents.

    The film recently had its world premiere at the American Black Film Festival in the HBO Short Film Competition, which has a broadcasting deal with HBO that will start in February 2015.

  16. rikyrah says:

    TV News Round-up: Lorraine Toussaint, Maya Rudolph, Bill Cosby, ‘Unsung’ & Michael Jackson’s Extended family

    Some television-related news you can use…

    First, Lorraine Toussaint (“Orange is the New Black) has landed a series-regular role on ABC’s upcoming fall drama “Forever,” playing a Lt. Joanna Reece, who’s described as a “weathered,” 50-something police vet who’s “seen it all,” and who’s also Alana de la Garza’s Det. Jo Martinez. “Forever” stars Ioan Gruffudd as a New York City medical examiner who studies the dead, because he is secretly immortal. “Forever” will air Tuesdays at 10/9c on ABC.
    Second, the success of Maya Rudolph’s one-off variety show which aired in May, has made NBC consider bringing it back for another run, the network said over the weekend, at the Television Critics Association event in Los Angeles

  17. rikyrah says:

    Meet a mother in D.C. who risked having her kids smuggled to her from Honduras

    By Pamela Constable July 13 at 9:19 PM 

    From the moment she fled poverty-stricken Honduras a decade ago, Allis Godoy knew she would find a way to be reunited with the children she left behind. She was desperate enough to have them smuggled across Mexico to the U.S. border, spending thousands of dollars and risking their lives so they could join her in Northwest Washington.

    Four years ago, her teenage son David made the hazardous trip. Two and a half months ago, her youngest daughter, Madison, finally reached her side. By then, the pixie-like 10-year-old had endured two failed smuggling attempts and a third that landed her in the custody of U.S. immigration agents in Texas on April 14. Two weeks later, she was flown to Washington by the federal government and greeted by the mother who had last seen her when she was 6 months old.

    It was the crowning achievement of Godoy’s life.

    “If people call this a crime, why is it a crime to want to give your children a better future?” asked Godoy, 39, who makes salads in a restaurant kitchen and lives in a tiny apartment in Columbia Heights. “I have only one goal in life,” she said. “To make sure my children never have to endure what I did as a child.”

  18. rikyrah says:

    Morning Plum: When GOP anti-government sentiment collides with reality

    By Greg Sargent
    July 14 at 9:31 AM

    The big news of the morning is that the White House plans to dramatically ramp up pressure on Congress to invest in the future of the nation’s infrastructure. The new push will include the release of a report documenting how infrastructure spending would boost long-term economic growth. And today the White House will publish “an interactive transportation map” that is designed to allow people to track the conditions of roads and bridges where they live.

    The looming battle over infrastructure — particularly in the short term, over the fate of the Highway Trust Fund — could provide a particularly stark example of GOP anti-government sentiment colliding with reality.

    The Highway Trust Fund is expected to go insolvent later this summer, and the White House has warned that such an outcome could stall countless infrastructure projects across the country and cause the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

    In general, infrastructure spending is broadly popular, even among Republican voters. But GOP lawmakers have managed to oppose various White House infrastructure spending initiatives by tying them up in disputes over how to pay for them. Yet that could prove tougher to pull off in the case of the Highway Trust Fund, because there could be numerous examples of projects grinding to a halt in GOP districts.

    Currently, a short term fix that would fund the HTF is working its way through the House and Senate, though disputes over how to pay for it continue. Democrats are actually optimistic about the emerging solution. In their view, Republicans are embracing short-term pay-fors (such as pension smoothing) that play on Dem turf, suggesting to them that pressure from the business community (which badly wants the HTF replenished) and Dem Senators like Patty Murray may be working.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Memo to Congress: Please don’t scuttle the recovery. Thanks.

    By Greg Sargent
    July 14 at 1:37 PM

    In recent days there’s been a bit of a debate in Beltway circles over whether Dems should refrain from talking about the recovery, because touting it too aggressively could backfire, given that widespread economic suffering continues.

    That may or may not be true. But here’s one way you probably will increasingly hear Dems talking about the economy. They will argue that one reason the recovery is gaining momentum is that destructive Republican fiscal brinksmanship has been vanquished, at least temporarily, and that this further underscores the folly of any future GOP-manufactured crises, which could imperil the recovery right when it appears poised to accelerate.

    This line of argument could take on particular urgency in the debate over the Highway Trust Fund. If it goes insolvent later this summer, the White House has warned, it could halt untold numbers of state infrastructure projects across the country and cause the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

    The argument that failure to act on the Highway Trust Fund could scuttle the recovery is now getting a boost from independent economists.

    Daniel White, a senior economist with Moody’s Analytics, tells me that the current recovery is partly the result of the fact that we’ve had no debt ceiling or government shutdown brinksmanship this year, and that a Congressional showdown over the Highway Trust Fund could hurt the recovery. Indeed, White says the current uncertainty over the HTF may already be preventing the recovery from gaining the steam it otherwise might. White emails:

  20. rikyrah says:

    Care about minors crossing border? Then pass immigration reform now!

    By Greg SargentJune 23

    Amid all the noise over the crisis of minors crossing the border into South Texas, a basic fact about this debate has gotten lost: The humanitarian disaster we’re now seeing is actually an argument in favor of immigration reform, not against it.

    Republicans have suggested the crisis proves they are right about Obama’s lawlessness (he cannot be trusted to enforce the law or secure the border, so they shouldn’t make a deal with him) and that the general promise of reform, or “amnesty,” is acting as a magnet for kids. All of this makes it more certain they will not embrace reform this year. But this has it exactly backwards. The crisis underscores the need for reform.

    In the days ahead, you may see Dems amplify this case. Simon Rosenberg of the New Democrat Network, who has been working on this issue for a decade, offers this simple explanation for why the crisis is an argument for action:

    “If Congress wants to help solve the border migrants crisis, the single most consequential thing it could do would be to pass the Senate immigration bill or something similar in the House. Nothing else would do as much to clear up the confusion in Central America about how our system works or do as much to make clear that recent arrivals will not be able to stay under some form of future legalization. Congress will have spoken with a loud and clear voice, making it near impossible for criminal elements south of the border to exploit our current inadequate system for their own ends.”

  21. Ametia says:

    Full Show: Is the Supreme Court Out of Order? HELL YES!

    July 11, 2014

    Following several high-profile, controversial decisions, Bill speaks to NY Times columnist Linda Greenhouse and Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick about the agenda of the Roberts court.

  22. rikyrah says:


    Full Show: Is the Supreme Court Out of Order?

    By Bill Moyers – (Speaks to NY Times columnist Linda Greenhouse and Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick)


    The latest session of the US Supreme Court was especially contentious, with important decisions on the separation of church and state, organized labor, campaign finance reform, birth control and women’s health, among others, splitting the court along its 5-4 conservative-liberal divide.
    “You can’t look at the Roberts court and say that they’ve done anything other than systematically unravel voting rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights [and] environmental progress,” Lithwick tells Moyers.

    Greenhouse adds: “I think it’s hard for anybody looking at this court objectively to come away not thinking that it’s a court in pursuit of an agenda.”


  23. rikyrah says:

    Monday, Jul 14, 2014 06:45 AM CDT
    Scalia’s major screw-up: How SCOTUS just gave liberals a huge gift

    With an otherwise awful Hobby Lobby ruling, right-wing judges just said I don’t have to pay for warfare! Here’s why
    Sarah Ruden

    Before a recent visit by Justice Scalia to Wesleyan University, I (a lowly research fellow) gained an invitation to a banquet in his honor by employing a typical Quaker mix of idealism, stubbornness and low cunning. Once there, I thanked the eminent jurist for his liberal ruling in Crawford v. Washington, concerning the right to confront witnesses in criminal proceedings. This remark drew from him the quip that he ought to be a pinup in every public defender’s office in the nation, because sometimes he was forced by clearly established constitutional principles to rule in favor of people he couldn’t stand.

    With this in mind, I’m celebrating him for yet another socio-political gift to progressives and suggesting that he doesn’t need to wear a thong — a modest bathing costume of 1910 vintage will do — in the poster religious pacifists like myself will want now that he and his brethren have ruled for Hobby Lobby et al., to the effect that private persons/corporations do not have to fund activities that violate their faith — such as the use of an IUD by an employee who may not even share that faith.

    The upshot of the ruling is that Hobby Lobby and other businesses with conservative religious owners do not need to pay for what the Affordable Care Act mandates as full coverage for family planning. The public interest in affordable and accessible healthcare is not compelling enough to override the private belief that contraceptive methods including (but apparently not limited to) the IUD and the morning-after pill are murder. Well, I’m a pacifist, and I say that warfare is murder, and I don’t want to pay for it; and in recent decades the public interest in my paying for it hardly looks compelling.

    Let’s go back to 2012, when the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for the purchase of insurance was constitutional as a tax, to fund the public good of healthcare. The issue necessarily now shifts to whether an individual or a privately held company has to pay a tax for anything religiously abhorrent that is less essential, or only as essential, to the common good as women’s ability to avoid unwanted pregnancies, including from rape.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Scalia may have opened path for Quakers to abstain from taxes
    Cory Doctorow at 6:23 am Mon, Jul 14, 2014

    The controversial Hobby Lobby decision elevated religious belief over legal compliance — this may be good news for Quakers, Amish, Mennonites and others who’ve historically faced punishing reprisals for withholding some of their tax to avoid funding the military.

    In particular, Justice Scalia’s dicta sets out a logic for conscientious objection to compliance with US law where the issue is related to religious faith. Sarah Ruden, a Quaker, writes in Salon about her belief that she will now be able to field a legal challenge to full tax-payments on the basis of Scalia’s argument.

    There’s nothing remotely like this basis in conservative Christians’ pleas that they have a religious objection to voluntary abortion (or birth control somehow resembling it) — an issue never even mentioned in the Bible, and manifesting during recent years mainly (it could be argued) as a political wedge and the cat-o’-nine-tails of anti-feminist backlash.

    I look forward with mirth to the Supreme Court’s deliberations on whether the portion of military spending funded by the taxes of religious pacifists represents a compelling public interest. Historians of our era — Justice Scalia is especially keen to consult history when backing up his rulings — must already be revving up to declare that it would have benefited our nation hugely had there not been as many military resources available for our government to splash out with. Even more to Scalia’s taste as evidence, a delegate at the 1787 Constitutional Convention declared that a standing army was like an erect penis, “a dangerous temptation to foreign adventure.” Crude analogy, but it’s turned out to be no joke.

  25. rikyrah says:

    ABC News ✔ @ABC
    JUST IN: Church of England votes to allow women to become bishops, @BBCBreaking reports.
    10:43 AM – 14 Jul 2014

  26. Ametia says:

    The GOP self-destruction is complete: millennials officially hate conservatives

    The backlash machine has finally backfired with a generation that cringes at old people yelling at gay clouds


    THIS: “But liberals can’t be complacent about their demographic advantage. Their challenge is to resist the impulse to copycat the hysteria that has worked so well for the right historically. “No drama Obama” was the millennials’ spirit animal – his popularity has sunk with the economy, but also with the administration’s escalating rhetoric. Today, under-30 voters show a distinct preference for Hillary Clinton (39% according to Reason, 53% according to the Wall Street Journal), and no wonder: she’s as bloodless as Bill was lusty, as analytical as Bill was emotional. The professorial Elizabeth Warren is the logical (very logical) backup.”

  27. rikyrah says:

    Parts of Yellowstone National Park closed after massive supervolcano beneath it melts roads

    By Scott Kaufman
    Monday, July 14, 2014 9:50 EDT

    Tourists at Yellowstone National Park are being barred from areas of the park because the massive underground supervolcano beneath it is melting the asphalt roads.

    “It basically turned the asphalt into soup. It turned the gravel road into oatmeal,” Yellowstone spokesman Dan Hottle said. In particular, Hottle said that the road between the park’s most popular attraction, Old Faithful, and Madison Junction has been dangerously compromised.

    Park officials also asked tourists not to hike into the affected areas, as the danger of stepping through what appears to be solid soil into boiling-hot water was “high.”

    There are plenty of other great places to see thermal features in the park,” park spokesman Al Nash told The Weather Channel. “I wouldn’t risk personal injury to see these during this temporary closure.”

    It is not known when the road, which services the three million people who visit the park every year, will be reopened.

    The last time the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone actually erupted was 640,000 years ago, U.S. Geological Survey records show.

    Late last year, geologists discovered that the supervolcano was more than twice as large as previously thought.

  28. rikyrah says:

    AZ charter school’s ‘Tea Party’ history book claims whites envied the ‘freedom’ of slaves

    By Scott Kaufman
    Monday, July 14, 2014 11:10 EDT

    One of Arizona’s oldest public charter schools is under fire from the Americans United for Separation of Church and State for using textbooks that actively promote religious interpretations of American history.

    According to the group, Heritage Academy uses two books by controversial anti-communist author Cleon Skousen — The 5,000 Year Leap and The Making of America — that “push ‘Christian nation’ propaganda and other religious teachings on impressionable, young students,” according to Alex Luchenitser, the associate legal director for Americans United.

    “Our purpose is not to convert students to different religious views,” Heritage founder and Principal Earl Taylor told The Arizona Republic. “It is to show them that religion influenced what the Founders did.”


    The use of the Skousen books is particularly disturbing because of their affiliation with politically motivated religious movements. Glenn Beck touted The 5,000 Year Leap as a “divinely inspired” interpretation of early American history, and following his endorsement, it became a regular presence at Tea Party events.

    Christina Botteri, a spokeswoman for the California-based National Tea Party Federation, told The Arizona Republic that The 5,000 Year Leap is “a handbook of tea-party ideals…Early on in the movement, people would carry it around and talk about it.”

    In an email interview with The Arizona Republic, legal scholar Garrett Epps wrote that “Skousen’s account of the growth and meaning of the Constitution is quite inaccurate.”

    Moreover, he noted that “parts of his major textbook, The Making of America, present a systematically racist view of the Civil War,” adding that a “long description of slavery in the book claims that the state [of slavery] was beneficial to African Americans and that Southern racism was caused by the ‘intrusion’ of northern abolitionists and advocates of equality for the freed slaves.”

    In The Making of America, Skousen included an essay by Fred Albert Shannon, in which he argued that “if [black children] ran naked it was generally from choice, and when the white boys had to put on shoes and go away to school they were likely to envy the freedom of their colored playmates.”

  29. rikyrah says:

    Romney For POTUS? Dead Weight Finds New Life in GOP’s Desperate Scramble For A Leader

    By: Eric Shapiro
    Saturday, July, 12th, 2014, 7:28 pm

    On November 6, 2012, Willard Mitt Romney lost what many Republicans had considered a winnable election to President Barack Obama with 47.2% of the electoral vote to the incumbent’s 51.1%. Even after Romney lurching right in a divisive Republican race, the Tea Party never embraced their party’s “severe conservative” standard bearer. He didn’t have much better luck with the general electorate; despite a few spikes in popularity, he never caught on with an American public that could not get past his stiffness and perceived lack of empathy for the 99%.

    And so, despite the disbelief of conservatives up until the very end (Karl Rove furnishing a particularly memorable example) that their candidate could lose resoundingly to a President who had been struggling mightily in the polls leading up to the election, Romney went down hard.

    One would think that after such a devastating electoral drubbing, the GOP would want America’s least favorite vulture capitalist to keep his head down and his mouth shut. Not so. Owing to the lack of a credible frontrunner in the 2016 GOP presidential crop, a small but vocal minority from the GOP’s business and “moderate” wings are calling for Romney to run again. Case in point: a WMUR poll released on Friday places Mitt Romney at 39% in New Hampshire, 22 points ahead of all other GOP presidential contenders. Yes, that Mitt Romney. The one who badly lost a presidential primary in 2008 and a presidential race in 2012. The one whom few Republicans could bring themselves to like in 2011-12. The one who tarnished the GOP brand by telling the truth about conservative ideology with his 47% remarks. The one who was unable to carry Massachusetts after serving as its governor for a full term. And perhaps worst of all, the cruel pet owner who trapped his poor dog to the roof of a car for a long road trip.

  30. rikyrah says:

    John Oliver: The rich keep the game rigged while Americans cling to false optimism

    By Tom Boggioni
    Monday, July 14, 2014 9:16 EDT

    In an extended segment on HBO’s Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver turned his gaze on income inequality, noting that Americans overwhelmingly believe that the system favors the rich while, at the same time, accepting it, believing they too will somehow be rich someday.

    “Our main story tonight, is income inequality.” Oliver began. “A good way to figure out which side of it you’re on, is whether you are currently paying for HBO, or stealing it.”

    Noting that President Obama recently delivered a speech where he used the expression ‘income inequality,’ twenty-six times, calling it “the defining issue of our times,” Oliver pointed out that Democrats immediately retreated on the issue in the face of accusations of class warfare.

    “So basically, income inequality has become just another topic of conversation we prefer to avoid in America, like Japanese internment camps or that time we gave Roberto Bengini an Academy Award. National tragedies, equally wrong,” he said.

    Pointing out that income inequality is not exclusive to America, Oliver explained that it “rising faster here,” with the average income of the richest ten percent now sixteen times as large as the poorest ten percent.

    “At this point, the rich are just running up the score,” Oliver said. “If our economy was a Little League game, someone would have called it by now.”

    Noting that economic policies that benefit the few at the expense of the many shouldn’t be acceptable to Americans, Oliver attributed acceptance to “America’s greatest quality — optimism.”

    “Here’s the key. Sixty percent believe that most people who work hard enough, can make it,” Oliver explained. “Or, in other words, ‘Yup, I can plainly see this game is rigged which is what is going to make so sweet when I win this thing.’”

    He continued, “America now has a system where wealth is essentially dispersed as a lottery of birth and maybe the reason we seem to accept that is that, even though we know the odds are stacked against us, we all think we’re going to win the lottery.”

  31. rikyrah says:

    Durham police chief tells officers to stop lying about nonexistent 911 calls to search houses

    [….] Officer A.B. Beck admitted on the witness stand to making up a 911 call in February to gain entry to a woman’s home, where he found two marijuana blunts and a marijuana grinder. Beck testified that he intended to serve a warrant at the house, although he never showed the warrant in court. The officer testified that the 911 tactic was permitted under department policy when domestic violence was alleged. The woman’s attorney made a motion to suppress the marijuana evidence, saying the defendant’s consent to a search was made under false pretenses.

    The judge granted her motion, and prosecutors dropped the charges against the woman. “You cannot enter someone’s house based on a lie,” said Durham County Chief District Judge Marcia Morey. Lopez issued a memo 10 days after the case was dropped to all department personnel banning the 911 tactic.[….]

  32. rikyrah says:

    Pro-Republican Bias Causes Meet The Press Ratings To Crumble To Lowest Level Since 1992

    By: Jason Easley
    Saturday, July, 12th, 2014, 5:53 pm

    The ratings for Meet The Press continue to crumble as the American people continue to show no interest in the pro-Republican Sunday morning show format.

    Last week Meet The Press finished third in Sunday show viewership with just over two million viewers. The program trailed both CBS’ Face The Nation, and ABC’s This Week in viewership. Meet The Press has struggled with David Gregory as host, and nothing they are doing to revive the show is working. NBC has contemplated dumping host David Gregory, but the rumored swap of Gregory for Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough could take a bad situation and make it exponentially worse.

    There have been reports of conflicts among the Meet The Press staff with David Gregory over the style and substance of the show. NBC has tried to reinvent Meet The Press by doing more taped segments outside of their Washington, D.C. studio, but viewership isn’t turning around. The problems surrounding David Gregory’s disconnect with the audience and issues with guests are well known. A deeper issue the fact that the guest structure of Meet The Press is turning off a large segment of the political audience.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Democratic Congressman Totally Exposes GOP’s Racism Regarding Border Crisis
    By: Justin Baragona
    Sunday, July, 13th, 2014, 6:42 pm

    During an interview on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) lit into Republicans regarding their words and actions surrounding the crisis at the border involving migrant children from Central America. The Congressman tore apart Texas Governor Rick Perry’s rationale for wanting the National Guard called to the border as Gutierrez stated that the border is more secure than it has ever been. He pointed out to host Bob Schieffer that the number of deportations has increased under President Obama while the number of illegal crossings has decreased.

    Below is from the show’s transcript:

    BOB SCHIEFFER: We’re back now with Congressman Luis Gutierrez, whose district is in Chicago, O’Hare Airport, Midway Airport, kind of the northwest and–

    REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ: Northwest, southwest side.

    BOB SCHIEFFER: –side of it, and we thank you for coming back to Washington to join us this morning. You just heard Rick Perry, some really strong words about the President. He said basically he’s just not interested in solving this problem on the border.

    REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ: Well, Governor Perry’s just wrong on that issue. Let’s first go, he kept repeating “the border, the border, the border,” and he wants to put more National Guardsmen in and if he put more National Guardsman in, the children wouldn’t come. The children come, Bob, fleeing violence and torture, murder and rape.

    And so, they’re going to continue to come as long as those conditions exist and we don’t fix our broken immigration system. Let’s just put in context what the governor just said. So at the height of George Bush’s President in 2002, I’m sorry, not the height, during George Bush’s Presidency, 1,600,000 people apprehended crossing the border between Mexico and the United States.

    Today it’s under 400,000. But George Bush, average of about 200,000 people deported a year, average over his eight years. Over six years of President Barack Obama, 400,000. Over two million deported under already. So (unintelligible) border and border, in terms of deportation, there has been enforcement

  34. rikyrah says:

    Bordering on heartless

    By E.J. Dionne Jr.July 13 at 7:40 PM

    Glenn Beck says he has come under fierce attack from some of his fellow conservatives for a grave transgression.

    His crime? He announced plans to bring food, water, teddy bears and soccer balls to at least some of the tens of thousands of Central American children who have crossed the border into the United States.

    “Through no fault of their own, they are caught in political crossfire,” Beck said. “Anyone, left or right, seeking political gain at the expense of these desperate, vulnerable, poor and suffering people are reprehensible.”

    Beck, not averse to a certain grandiosity, let us know that “I’ve never taken a position more deadly to my career than this.” But assume he’s right — and he may well be. It’s one more sign of how the crisis at our border has brought out the very worst in our political system and a degree of plain nastiness that we should not be proud of as a nation.

    Let’s stipulate: This is a difficult problem. Unless the United States is willing to open its borders to all comers — a goal of only the purest libertarians and a very few liberals — we will face agonizing choices about whom to let in and whom to turn away.

    Moreover, it’s clearly true, as The Post editorialized, that “there is nothing humanitarian in tacitly encouraging tens of thousands of children to risk their lives, often at the hands of cutthroat smugglers, to enter this country illegally.”

    But instead of dealing with this problem in a thoughtful way reflecting shared responsibility across party lines, President Obama’s critics quickly turned to the business of — if I may quote Beck — seeking political gain. Last week, the only issue that seemed to matter was whether Obama visited the border.

  35. rikyrah says:

    This Photographer Wants To Shatter the Stereotype of the Absent Black Father

    by Clutch — Jul 14, 2014

    10 yeas ago, Zun Lee, a photographer based out of Toronto, Canada, discovered that his father biological father was a black man whom his mother had a short relationship with. Lee was raised in Germany by his Korean mother, and an abusive man Lee assumed was his biological father. After learning about his true lineage, Lee wrote on his blog that he felt pain and rejection from the man he never met, and that pain reinforced the stereotype of the absent black father.

    From Lee’s site:

    For a long time, holding on to the pain of that discovery was easier than dealing with it: As long as I was able to project my misgivings onto a negative stereotype, I could justify my anger and hurt. But I also realized that a huge part of me was curious to know more about my Black father, wanting to understand, get to a place of forgiveness. And that longing had informed my creative process all along. Without any information about my father’s identity or whereabouts, the only way to come to terms with my feelings was to examine them through photography.

    Over the past two and a half years, I’ve developed relationships with several Black fathers from different walks of life and in different cities in the US and Canada. Every father I met spoke with his own voice. They expressed their swagger, life rhythm, and ways of relating with their kids and partners in very unique ways. And perhaps more importantly, as I observed these families, another truth manifested loud and clear: Contrary to the prevalent media caricature of Black men as aggressive, violent, and irresponsible, the fathers I met were loving, affectionate, and dependable. They readily shared their feelings and emotions, their concerns and fears. They were vulnerable enough to allow me to photograph them in moments of joy and times of frustration. They were by no means perfect, but unsung everyday heroes nonetheless, committed to being present one fatherly act at a time.

  36. rikyrah says:

    White Guy Joe Scarborough Wants AG Eric Holder To Stop Talking About Race

    By: Justin Baragonamore from Justin Baragona

    Monday, July, 14th, 2014, 10:19 am

    On Monday’s episode of Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough criticized Attorney General Eric Holder over Holder’s statements that race is a component that is driving some of the opposition to President Obama in Washington. Scarborough went out of his way to condemn Holder regarding the comments he made on Sunday during his interview on ABC’s This Week. Ironically, Scarborough injected the subject of race during a conversation on a somewhat separate topic, as the panel discussion was about Holder’s comments on former Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin.


    As you can see, co-host Mika Brzezinski started the segment on Palin and Holder’s dismissal of her calls for impeachment during his ABC interview. However, when Mika threw it to Joe for his opinion, he decided to focus on another topic that Holder discussed during that interview. In Scarborough’s mind, Holder needs to realize that the amount of criticism that the President and Holder are receiving on Capitol Hill is just par for the course, and race has absolutely nothing to do with anything. He made it seem like Holder said all of the disparagement aimed at the President and AG in Washington is due to racism. Scarbrough also made a huge false equivalency by mentioning Democratic criticism during George W. Bush’s time in the White House, stating that Bush received as much criticism as President Obama, if not more.

    Thankfully, The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson was on hand to refute Scarborough’s ignorance and misinformation. Robinson rightly pointed out that Holder was very measured in his response on race during the interview, saying it was a component but not the main driver. In fact, Holder’s quote from the interview is below:

  37. rikyrah says:

    More Bad News For GOP: Gov. John Kasich Is Tied With Democratic Challenger In Ohio

    By: Jason Easley
    Monday, July, 14th, 2014, 9:19 am

    A new PPP poll confirms that the race for governor in Ohio is a dead heat. Republican Gov. John Kasich leads Democrat Ed FitzGerald by a single point 45%-44%.

    The PPP poll shows why Ohio is so close. Kasich has a four point lead with men (46%-42%) but trails with women (44%-45). The contest in the Buckeye State looks like a microcosm of the presidential election. Kasich has big leads with white voters (50%-38%), and voters over age 65 (60%-32%). FitzGerald leads with African-Americans (77%-14%), and younger voters (55%-17%).

    Ohio’s next governor will likely be determined by who turns out to vote. If the electorate looks a little more like the one that voted for President Obama twice, Kasich will lose. If the electorate looks the same one that elected the governor in 2010, he will win a second term.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Prison food supplier has Michigan officials at wit’s end

    July 13, 2014

    LANSING — Maggots in the kitchen and on the chow line. Workers caught smuggling contraband or engaging in sex acts with inmates. Food shortages and angry prisoners.

    Those are among the problems that have plagued Michigan prisons since December when the state — in a move aimed at saving more than $12 million a year — switched from using state workers to feed prisoners to a private contractor, Aramark Correctional Services of Philadelphia.

    Ongoing turmoil with the 7-month-old contract — including many instances never previously disclosed — is detailed in more than 3,000 pages of state records obtained by the Free Press under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act: One Aramark food service director showed up drunk and failed a Breathalyzer. Another worker was caught trying to smuggle marijuana. Others have failed drug tests, kissed prisoners, threatened to assault inmates, or announced intentions to “go postal” inside a facility, records show.

    I’m at my wit’s end,” Kevin Weissenborn, the Michigan Department of Corrections manager in charge of policing the Aramark contract, e-mailed one Michigan warden in March, records show.

    “I know how you feel,” replied Warden Heidi Washington of the Charles E. Egeler Reception & Guidance Center in Jackson. “At first I felt like Lansing thought I was just being too difficult and too demanding because I was always complaining. However, I think everyone knows that’s not the case.

    “Bottom line is lay down with dogs, get up with fleas.”

    Though Aramark’s total workforce in Michigan prisons numbers just over 300, some 74 Aramark workers had been banned from prison property for various infractions as of the end of June.

  39. rikyrah says:

    Corporate Tax Behavior So Bad Even Fortune Magazine Can’t Stomach It
    Isaiah J. Poole

    July 8, 2014

    These are companies that even a top cheerleader for the corporate class can’t bring itself to defend.

    Fortune magazine is out with its list of “Top American corporate tax avoiders,” members of the S&P 500 that “sure seem American—except when it comes to paying taxes.”

    These are companies that even a top cheerleader for the corporate class can’t bring itself to defend. What’s more, the list is accompanied by a blistering article by columnist Allan Sloan that makes the progressive case against corporate tax evasion as forcefully as anything Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren might say on the Senate floor.

    There is “a new kind of American corporate exceptionalism,” he writes: “companies that have decided to desert our country to avoid paying taxes but expect to keep receiving the full array of benefits that being American confers, and that everyone else is paying for.”

    Fortune includes on the list Eaton PLC, which produces a range of mechanical and electrical components, which has its U.S. headquarters in Cleveland but its “tax residence” in Ireland. Its CEO, Alexander Cutler, Fortune helpfully notes, “also happens to be a member of the Campaign to Fix the Debt, a nonpartisan organization that advocates cutting government spending and increasing tax revenue. He wants to close tax loopholes—but he sure isn’t proposing to return his corporation to full U.S. taxpaying status.”

    The company that makes Trane air conditioners, Ingersoll Rand, is now domiciled for tax purposes in Ireland. So is “the world’s largest manufacturer of over-the-counter drugs,” Perrigo, which Fortune reports is suing the Food and Drug Administration “(for which the company doesn’t pay its fair share) for allegedly not moving quickly enough to allow its testosterone gel to be sold without a prescription.”

    There are a total of 28 companies on the list, including companies that have been “inverted”—they combined with a foreign-owned company so that they could declare their corporate tax home to be other than the United States—or they were originally incorporated outside the United States to begin with. And that’s just the corporations that are members of the S&P 500.

  40. Ametia says:

    Opinions- This is from the WaPo

    Needed: A new team of rivals

    Maybe it is time for a shake-up.

    Loved this comment in the comment section. MAYBE IT’S TIME FOR A SHAKEUP AT THE WASHINGTON POST.

    President Obama’s second-term staffing was always going to be a risk. He abandoned his first term’s team of rivals for a closer-knit team of loyalists. The bet was that he was assured enough in the job to no longer need the in-house challenge — and that smooth-running consensus would compensate for the loss.
    The bet isn’t paying off. Overseas and at home, the administration seems besieged and befuddled. Obama is in danger of cementing an image of haplessness that would be hard to undo.

  41. Ametia says:

    Senate Democrat’s reelection pitch to Alaskans: I’m a thorn in Obama’s side
    Sen. Mark Begich takes pride in ability to badger White House for things that benefit his state

    By David A. Fahrenthold July 13 at 6:24 PM

    BARROW, Alaska — When Sen. Mark Begich talks about his role in American politics, he describes himself as a sharp object, sent to Washington to jab at President Obama.
    “I’ll be a thorn in his [posterior],” Begich (D-Alaska) said in an interview. “There’s times when I’m a total thorn, you know, and he doesn’t appreciate it.”

  42. rikyrah says:

    NC Man Sits in Hot Car to End Hot-Car Deaths

    Terry Williams posted a video of himself sitting in a hot car with the windows up and the engine off to protest deaths in hot cars.
    By: Stephen A. Crockett Jr.

    Posted: July 10 2014 12:32 PM

    Terry Williams is tired of hearing that children have died after being left in a hot car, so he has taken his fight, and a challenge, to social media.

    “I’m sitting in the car with the windows rolled up ’cause I want to know how it feels to be left in the car,” the Greensboro, N.C., man explained in a YouTube video.

    Williams posted the video and challenged others to sit in a hot car with the windows up so that they can feel what it’s like to be left alone in a hot automobile.

    “As you can see, I’m sweating—like, I can barely breathe out here—but my system is stronger than these little kids’ systems,” a sweaty Williams says in the video.

    The day Williams started his challenge, it was 86 degrees outside. According to USA Today, the inside car temperature can “rise as much as 20 degrees in 10 minutes.” A child’s body temperature rises much faster, meaning that a few minutes in a hot car can be fatal.

    Since the video was posted sometime last month, it has received nearly 8,000 views—and people have been responding to the challenge and helping Williams spread the word. Several viewers have posted their own videos with personal messages.

    “I feel sick and nauseous, and I can’t wait to get out of this car,” said one Portland, Ore., woman who took the challenge. “It is easily over 100 degrees in the car, but all I can say is, mothers and fathers, I urge you … please don’t leave your children in the car.”

  43. rikyrah says:

    Chicago Teen Killed Two Days Before College Orientation

    Marcel Pearson was getting ready to start school when he was shot over the weekend by a gunman in his South Side neighborhood

    There were 82 people shot in Chicago over the weekend. One of them was 17-year-old Marcel Pearson, who was set to begin his freshman year at Western Illinois University. Instead he was shot down by a gunman in his South Side neighborhood.

    The shooting happened around 10 p.m. as Marcel walked around his neighborhood park, according to the Chicago Tribune. A gunman in a white van pulled up to the park and began shooting. Marcel was shot in the back and chest and died instantly. Other victims included a 15-year-old boy, who was shot in the leg and survived.

    Marcel’s friends described him as “humble” and said that he was excited to begin college. “That’s all he was talking about. He was ready to go off to school,” a close friend told the Tribune.

    His mentor, Jillian Carew, was ready to take Marcel to his freshman orientation at Western Illinois on Thursday. She told the Tribune that she urged her students to avoid the violence in their neighborhoods. Marcel was a kid who did just that, Carew said

  44. rikyrah says:

    From Benghazi to the Boardroom: The Road to the $7 Billion Citigroup Settlement
    July 14, 2014 6:09 am

    The Justice Department flew in a prosecutor from Colorado and planned for a news conference in Washington to announce a lawsuit against Citigroup over mortgage securities that had imploded during the financial crisis.

    But an event a world away unexpectedly changed the Justice Department’s plans that day in June. The capture of a suspect in the deadly attack on the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya, led federal prosecutors to conclude that those headlines would overshadow the Citigroup case. The prosecutors, knowing that the Citigroup case represented one of their last chances to send a public message that the government was holding Wall Street accountable for the crisis, were loath to squander that opportunity.

    “We’ve got a lot going on right now, so we’re putting the lawsuit temporarily on hold,” Tony West, the government’s lead negotiator and the Justice Department’s No. 3 official, said to the bank’s lawyers in a phone call just hours after he told them that a lawsuit was coming, according to people briefed on the matter.

    That twist of fate — which some bank officials viewed as the Justice Department looking to escape its own costly legal battle — opened the door to last-minute negotiations that have now culminated in a $7 billion settlement the government expects to announce on Monday, the people briefed on the matter said.

  45. rikyrah says:

    How Madigan Built His Patronage Army

    No government job too small for House speaker to exert his considerable influence

    By David Kidwell, John Chase and Alex Richards, Tribune reporters

    January 5, 2014
    When House Speaker Michael Madigan accidentally triggered a patronage scandal at the Metra commuter rail agency, it was the result of two extraordinary events.

    First his request to boost the Metra salary of a longtime political worker was refused. Then it became public.

    The ensuing uproar has cost taxpayers a fortune, prompted a shake-up at Metra and spawned ongoing investigations into political favoritism, insider dealing and a lack of transparency. Yet none of those inquiries is likely to illuminate the extent of Madigan’s far-reaching patronage operation or his efforts to sustain his legion of loyalists.

    Tribune investigation sought to do just that, documenting employees at every level of state and local government who work elections for Madigan, donate regularly to his campaign funds, register voters for him or circulate candidate petitions on his behalf.

    By that conservative measure, the newspaper found more than 400 current or retired government employees with strong political ties to Madigan. It also found repeated instances in which Madigan took personal action to get them jobs, promotions or raises, just as he did for the Metra employee.

    From the ranks of those workers Madigan has built the most potent ground game in Illinois politics, which he uses to influence elections in every corner of the state, from suburban mayor to governor, from county board to Congress.

    Political foot soldiers often bounced between city, county and state payrolls — including nearly two dozen who collected pensions from one government job while getting a paycheck at another.

    Top political performers advanced in public careers despite questionable qualifications or troubled work histories. And they frequently got better jobs and pay.

    One precinct captain went from being a city truck driver to overseeing hundreds of employees in the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in less than three years. Another political soldier got a management position with the county despite a federal conviction as a ghost payroller. And a former top vote-getter for Madigan who rose from streetlight repair worker for the city to the No. 2 spot in the Transportation Department is now at the center of the $2 million federal bribery investigation into Chicago’s red light camera program.,0,3701165.story

  46. rikyrah says:

    Michael Madigan’s influence on behalf of Metra

    Secret analysis reveals speaker’s efforts on behalf of allies

    By Ray Long, Tribune reporter

    12:00 a.m. CDT, July 8, 2014
    A secret report put together by the legislature’s watchdog in the wake of last summer’s Metra scandal offers new insight into how Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan navigates the intersection of public business and ward-style patronage through his Southwest Side office and Illinois Capitol suite.

    The analysis by then-Inspector General Thomas Homer — based on interviews with Madigan’s political allies, government officials and the speaker himself — presents those methods in an unflattering fashion.

    The report contains an account of Metra’s chairwoman entering Madigan’s Capitol office to talk about state issues and leaving with a yellow Post-it note bearing names of two workers the speaker wanted to see promoted. In another meeting, a Metra lobbyist who was a longtime Madigan aide was spotted leaving the speaker’s office with two resumes. Another time, Madigan simply called the cellphone of one of his “better” precinct captains to tell him about a state job, according to the report.

    A copy of the unreleased report, obtained by the Tribune, also gives a rare glimpse into Madigan’s thoughts on getting people government jobs and raises. In an interview with Homer, Madigan is quoted as speaking highly of both the work-related credentials and the political experience of one 13th Ward operative the speaker backed for a raise.

    “You can understand that there are many people that are involved with me and campaigns and community service,” Madigan said, according to the report. “Among these many people, some are better than others. (He) happens to be one of those who is better than others.”

    The report is the product of an investigation Madigan requested a year ago as a scandal unfolded surrounding the ouster of then-Metra CEO Alex Clifford and the severance package he took with him that was worth up to $871,000. The legislative inspector general was tasked with looking into whether Madigan’s actions in the high-profile scandal created pressure that contributed to Clifford’s departure — a notion Madigan denied through an attorney, according to the report.,0,4916151.story

  47. rikyrah says:

    First on CNN: Republicans try to expand the midterm map, in new push

    Posted by
    CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser
    Washington (CNN) – With the midterm elections less than four months away and closing, the Republican National Committee is launching a new messaging campaign to highlight what it considers the GOP’s favorable political landscape, as the party tries to expand the campaign map.

    “With just over 100 days to go until the November midterm elections, the momentum is on the Republican side,” declares the RNC, in a messaging email obtained by CNN.

    As part of its efforts to expand the map, the RNC is announcing that its putting additional staff in Hawaii and Oregon, two blue states the GOP hopes to put in play this November. If the midterms turn into a wave election for the Republican party, similar to the 2010 contests, the RNC believes it has a shot at defeating Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and thanks to a divisive Democratic gubernatorial primary in Hawaii, the party committee thinks that seat may now be in play.

    Each day this week, RNC will be putting out research narratives to tout what it describes as its “winning” messaging, and how that messaging is being implemented on the campaign trail. Monday’s narrative is Obamacare, followed by Energy, the Economy, and Government mismanagement. Friday the RNC will look at what it calls “Obama is a drag on candidates,” which looks at the President’s poll numbers and policies.

    “Ultimately, the Democrats’ biggest liability is their leader. President Obama’s popularity seems to hit new lows every week. The Democrats running for office-especially those running for re-election-are rubber stamps for his unpopular policies,” says the RNC statement.

  48. rikyrah says:

    The Buck Stops With Me’

    Boehner’s Empty Charge Against Obama

    In trying to lay the blame for the border crisis on the White House’s doorstep, House Speaker John Boehner exploded at a press conference on Thursday, saying of the president:

    “He’s been president for five and a half years! When is he going to take responsibility for something?”

    The suggestion in the question — that the president doesn’t take responsibility for anything — is so outrageously untrue that it demands strong rebuttal.

    President Obama hasn’t taken all the blame Republicans have ascribed to him, nor should he have. But he has often been quick to take responsibility.

    In 2009, after the administration came under fire for A.I.G. executives’ receiving bonuses after the bailout, Obama said on the lawn of the White House:

    “Ultimately I’m responsible. I’m the president of the United States. We’ve got a big mess that we’re having to clean up. Nobody here drafted those contracts. Nobody here was responsible for supervising A.I.G. and allowing themselves to put the economy at risk by some of the outrageous behavior that they were engaged in. We are responsible, though. The buck stops with me.”

    After the failed bombing plot on Christmas Day in 2009 by a young Nigerian man with plastic explosives sewn into his underwear, the president took responsibility for intelligence lapses, saying the next month:

    “Moreover, I am less interested in passing out blame than I am in learning from and correcting these mistakes to make us safer. For ultimately, the buck stops with me.”

    In a 2011 interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, the president took responsibility for the economy and the rate at which it was being repaired, saying:

    “Well, here’s what I remember, is that when I came into office, I knew I was going to have a big mess to clean up and, frankly, the mess has been bigger than I think a lot of people anticipated at the time. We have made steady progress on these fronts, but we’re not making progress fast enough.

    “And what I continue to believe is that ultimately the buck stops with me. I’m going to be accountable. I think people understand that a lot of these problems were decades in the making. People understand that this financial crisis was the worst since the Great Depression. But, ultimately, they say, look, he’s the president, we think he has good intentions, but we’re impatient and we want to see things move faster.”

  49. rikyrah says:

    Mystery Loan lets Jacksons keep both homes

    By Katherine Skiba, Tribune reporter

    12:05 a.m. CDT, July 11, 2014
    WASHINGTON— year ago, former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s attorneys said his family was in “significant financial peril” as he and his wife, Sandi, awaited sentencing for looting $750,000 from his campaign coffers.

    Jackson had to come up with that amount to pay a court judgment. Prosecutors wanted to seize the equity in the couple’s two homes if he didn’t.

    The Chicago Democrat ponied up $200,000 before he entered prison last fall. Then he paid off the balance with a $550,000 wire transfer in late May, while keeping both his houses.

    The Jacksons aren’t saying where the $550,000 came from, but a Tribune investigation points to a mysterious lending company created at a law firm used by Michael Milken, the convicted “junk bond king” of the 1980s who is a longtime friend of the Jackson family.

    The mystery company, LS Financial LLC, was formed April 23 in Delaware, a state known for easy-to-create companies that must disclose little about themselves. LS Financial’s registered agent is The Corporation Trust Co., which is the agent for more than 290,000 other businesses at a single address in Wilmington, Del.

    About a month after LS Financial was formed, it gave the Jacksons a promissory note for up to $567,549.47. That represents a second mortgage on the Jacksons’ red-brick row house in Washington’s upscale Dupont Circle area. The couple also have a less expensive home in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood.

    Mortgage underwriters and real estate professionals consulted by the Tribune said the Jacksons — one in federal custody, the other headed to prison next year — were unlikely candidates for a second mortgage from a traditional lender, especially after the collapse of the housing market triggered stricter regulations to qualify for such a loan.

    But a private lender — such as a friend or relative — isn’t bound by the tighter rules, they said. And one expert said the apparent equity in the Jacksons’ Dupont Circle home made the second mortgage a reasonable risk, because if the loan isn’t repaid, a foreclosure sale is an option.,0,1138271.story

  50. rikyrah says:

    Now let this have been Rainbow Beach (on the South Side).

    They would have pulled their guns and shot someone.


    Four Offices injured in Montrose Beach melee

    By Peter Nickeas

    Tribune reporter

    7:58 a.m. CDT, July 14, 2014
    Four Chicago police officers were injured and a squad car was damaged when a fight broke out among a large crowd that had gathered for a concert near Montrose Beach, officials said.

    At least 10 people were arrested as police worked for 90 minutes Sunday night to bring the crowd under control and close the park, which was strewn with broken glass, officials said.

    Two of the officers were hit with bottles. One of them suffered a cut and was treated at Weiss Memorial Hospital, officials said. The other complained of pain and dizziness and was treated at the scene. Two others were hit by debris but refused treatment, police said.

    The crowd had gathered Sunday evening for a concert but the bands didn’t have permits to perform in the park, police said. Word of the concert had spread through social media, police said.

    The melee started about 7:30 p.m. when six officers on bicycles waded into the crowd to break up a fight, police said. A call soon went out about a “man with a gun” and officers began searching for the man who matched the description on the police radios, officials said.,0,3748178.story

  51. rikyrah says:

    Lucille B. Smith blazed trail as a culinary entrepreneur
    Texas businesswoman, educator and chef famous for her biscuit mix and many other projects

    By Bill Daley, Tribune Newspapers

    July 12, 2014
    Lucille Bishop Smith was a chef, educator, entrepreneur and food corporation president who has been called the first African-American businesswoman in Texas. She is credited with inventing the first commercially marketed hot roll mix and establishing one of the nation’s first college-level commercial foods and technology departments.

    “She’s an example of an educated, professional cook who understood her environment and was able to translate her skills to create the generation after that, and the generation after that, and the generation after that of like-minded and competent workers,” says Toni Tipton-Martin, the author, community activist and creator of “The Jemima Code,” a pop-up exhibit, blog and upcoming book exploring the legacies of African-American cooks.

    Tipton-Martin, a resident of Austin, Texas, says Smith was one of a number of African-American women who began to get a foothold in the food industry in the 1940s and 1950s, a time of Jim Crow segregation and the birth of the modern civil rights movement.

    “They worked on uplift,” she says. “They took aspiring cooks under their wing and taught them professional and organizational standards so their work would be respected as more than scrubbing floors. She was a leader who understood the importance of professionalism in upgrading the profession.”

    Born in Texas in 1892, Lucille Bishop graduated from what is now known as Huston-Tillotson University in Austin and married Ulysses Samuel Smith, who would later be dubbed the “Barbecue King of the Southwest.” A seamstress and cook, she became, in 1927, a teacher-coordinator for a vocational education program for the Fort Worth, Texas, school system that trained African-American students for domestic service jobs, according to the Texas State Historical Association’s Handbook of Texas Online.

    In 1937, Smith was hired to create what the handbook describes as a “domestic service training program” at what is now called Prairie View A&M University.

    “She recognized women of color didn’t have many opportunities. She forged a pathway for them,” says Carol Roark, an archivist and historian in Fort Worth, who wrote about Smith in two books about the women of Forth Worth. “She gave them the skills to make a good living and lift themselves out of poverty.”

    “She led the way, she certainly did,” recalled Gladys Hogan, Smith’s 98-year-old daughter and resident of Brenham, Texas. “She touched so many young people and gave them work. She knew everybody in Texas. She recommended young people go into jobs never open to them before.”

    In 1941, Smith first published her recipes as a boxed set of cards called “Lucille’s Treasure Chest of Fine Foods.” Roark wrote in “Grace & Gumption: The Cookbook” that Smith noted in the 1945 edition that the recipes “were once private records for personal gain” but were being published “with the hope that they will aid persons interested in lifting Culinary art from the commonplace.”

    Lucille’s All Purpose Hot Roll Mix was introduced in the mid-1940s as a fundraiser for Smith’s church. It was an immediate hit; Smith donated $800 in profit to the church the very first month, according to Handbook.

    “Her climb to cooking fame has not been easy,” wrote Freda DeKnight, Ebony’s first food editor, in introducing Smith to readers of her 1948 cookbook, “A Date with a Dish.” DeKnight didn’t elaborate, preferring instead to focus on Smith’s achievements — and her cooking. ” ‘A Date with a Dish’ is very proud of this Culinary Queen…you will be hearing more about Lucille Smith.”

    Smith was the first African-American woman to join the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, the handbook reports. In 1965, during the Vietnam War, she baked a fruitcake for each of the 330 residents from her local Tarrant County serving in the military; the next year, Fort Worth proclaimed a Lucille B. Smith Day in gratitude. She was named to the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women in 1969. In 1974, at age 82, she founded and became president of her family-owned corporation, Lucille B. Smith’s Fine Foods. Smith died in 1985, age 92, at her daughter’s home.

    Smith’s legacy — and a number of her dishes — lives on at a Houston restaurant named for her. Lucille’s is owned by a great-grandson, chef Chris Williams. He was 6 when Lucille Smith died, but he remembers sitting in her bedroom talking “for hours about nothing and everything.” Later, he discovered his great-grandmother’s culinary legacy and found his culinary focus.

    “And everyday since, the more I discover about this amazing woman,” Williams declares on his restaurant’s website,, “the more determined I become to honor her legacy.”,0,3330793.story

  52. rikyrah says:

    Woman sued by Tyler Perry says he’s a fake Christian: “I felt bullied”

    July 11,

    Tyler Perry has been involved in a lawsuit over the use of the term, “What would Jesus Do?” The phrase has been put into use for a show that Perry apparently has in the works. But Kim Kearney (aka Poprah) says that she filed for the trademark before Perry did and has paperwork to prove it.

    Kearney also says that she took the idea to Perry, only to have his people say they weren’t interested in the project. During the interview below, she says that she felt that Perry was a man she could trust and one that she admired, but now her opinion has changed.

    Kearney says that, to her surprise, she later found out that Perry’s legal team had filed suit to take the trademark away from her. She says that she fought diligently for a number of years, but eventually found herself exhausted and out of money. She couldn’t afford legal representation and says that she was the victim of money and power as it overwhelmed her ability to fight back.

    In the first case, Kearney says she was able to defend her trademark and thought the battle was over. But then, after receiving a large pile of legal paperwork from Perry and his team, she then found out that the trademark had been taken away.

  53. rikyrah says:

    Pope says about two percent of priests are pedophiles: paper

    7 hr ago | By Reuters

    ROME (Reuters) – About two percent of Roman Catholic clerics are sexual abusers, an Italian newspaper on Sunday quoted Pope Francis as saying, adding that the pontiff considered the crime “a leprosy in our house”.

    But the Vatican issued a statement saying some parts of a long article in the left-leaning La Repubblica were not accurate, including one that quoted the pope as saying that there were cardinals among the abusers.

    The article was a reconstruction of an hour-long conversation between the pope and the newspaper’s founder, Eugenio Scalfari, an atheist who has written about several past encounters with the pope.

    “Many of my collaborators who fight with me (against paedophilia) reassure me with reliable statistics that say that the level of paedophilia in the Church is at about two percent,” Francis was quoted as saying.

    “This data should hearten me but I have to tell you that it does not hearten me at all. In fact, I think that it is very grave,” he was quoted as saying.

    The pope was quoted as saying that, while most paedophilia took place in family situations, “even we have this leprosy in our house”.

    According to Church statistics for 2012, the latest available, there are about 414,000 Roman Catholic priests in the world.

    The Vatican issued a statement noting Scalfari’s tradition of having long conversations with public figures without taking notes or taping them, and then reconstructing them from memory. Scalfari, 90, is one of Italy’s best known journalists.

    While acknowledging that the conversation had taken place, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi issued a statement saying that not all the phrases could be attributed “with certainty” to the pope.

    Lombardi said that, in particular, a quote attributed to the pope saying cardinals were among the sex abusers was not accurate and accused the paper of trying to “manipulate naive readers”.

    Last week, the Argentine pope held his first meeting with victims of sexual abuse by priests.

    He told them the Church should “weep and make reparation” for crimes that he said had taken on the dimensions of a sacrilegious cult. He vowed zero tolerance for abusers and said bishops would be held accountable if they covered up crimes by priests in their diocese.

  54. rikyrah says:

    You Won’t Believe What’s Dragging Down Howard University’s Credit

    Added by yvette on July 11, 2014.

    Over the past few years we’ve seen several HBCUs struggle and Howard University isn’t an exception. But even though observers tend to point to lack of alumni support and changes by the Department of Education when discussing the university’s money problems, there’s another money drain which hasn’t been discussed nearly as much. It seems that Howard University’s hospital has become a financial burden for the school.

    Howard University again received a credit downgrade from Moody’s Investors Service last week but this time, Howard says it has a plan to deal with the problem.

    The issue is Howard University’s hospital and university officials say they are looking at a partnership that could improve the hospital’s financial health.

    “Management reports having received one proposal and expects to receive a second one from two possible joint venture partners,” according to Moody’s report. “The contemplated joint venture is expected to preserve most hospital services and to be accompanied by capital infusion.”

    The university began searching for a buyer or partner for the hospital last year and has now made significant progress in that area.

    “We are actively charting a viable and sustainable course for the hospital that will allow us to continue to serve the most vulnerable citizens of the District of Columbia,” Wayne A.I. Frederick said in a statement. “We are approaching this endeavor with great urgency.”

  55. rikyrah says:

    Mayor: Cop killer said he was ‘going to be famous’

    Jul 13th 2014 6:19PM

    JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) – A gunman who killed a rookie officer responding to a report of an armed robbery at a drugstore early Sunday never tried to rob the store and instead lay in wait for police, telling a witness to watch the news because he was “going to be famous,” authorities said.

    Lawrence Campbell shot Officer Melvin Santiago in the head shortly after he and his partner arrived at the 24-hour Walgreens at around 4 a.m., Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said. Other officers returned fire at Campbell, killing him.

    Campbell, 27, of Jersey City, was one of three suspects wanted by police for a prior homicide, Fulop said.

    Fulop said Campbell was carrying a knife when he walked into Walgreens and asked for directions to the greeting card aisle. He assaulted an armed security guard at the store and snatched his gun, Fulop said.

    According to Fulop, Campbell approached a witness and apologized for his conduct, then said to watch the news later because he was “going to be famous,” then waited for officers to arrive and shot Santiago with what police believe was the guard’s weapon.

  56. rikyrah says:

    FUN FAX: Child refugees from Central America are far more likely to be vaccinated than kids in Texas.
    9:06 PM – 11 Jul 2014

  57. rikyrah says:

    New Cosby show could debut as soon as next summer
    July 13, 2014, 2:01 PM EST
    By FRAZIER MOORE , AP Television Writer
    BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Bill Cosby could be returning to the network with a new comedy as soon as next summer.

    The series, described as a “classic, extended-family sitcom” with Cosby as the patriarch, is currently in the writing stage, NBC executives said at Sunday’s session of the summer TV critics’ tour. It was first announced in January.

    Cosby, 77, has a long history with NBC, including his seminal “The Cosby Show,” which became a smash hit 30 years ago and helped rescue a network then at the bottom of the ratings. It ran for eight seasons.

    After that, Cosby headlined a sitcom at CBS, among other series.

    If the new Cosby project isn’t ready for next summer, it could be a contender for fall 2015.

    Another veteran NBC star, Michael J. Fox, returned to the fold last fall. But despite his breakout success in 1982 on “Family Ties,” ”The Michael J. Fox Show” proved to be a flop and was cancelled this spring.

    NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt acknowledged his disappointment that the show didn’t click with viewers.

    “We struggled and worked really hard to figure out how to bring an audience to that show,” he said. “We just found it very difficult to grow that show over all those months.”

    Unlike the flamed-out Fox show, the upcoming Cosby venture will use multi-cameras and be filmed in front of a studio audience, a format that has lost ground at NBC, where single-camera comedies like “30 Rock,” ”The Office” and ‘Parks and Recreation” have thrived. Greenblatt said the network is trying to bring back this classic “multi” form, which goes back to “I Love Lucy” and the earliest days of network television (and which is going strong at CBS with shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mike & Molly.”)

    • Ametia says:

      I’m not feeling another “Cosby” show. Time to bring on fresh faces, instead of retreading the old.

      I would love to see some of the FIONE brothers and sisters from the “Best Man”- Holiday movies with a weekly tv series. How about a series with a sister playing the first Black woman POTUS?

      Tea’ Leone can get a show title “Madame Secretary.” Come on folks, let’s enter the 21st century. Until then, I’m heading for my DVD library.

  58. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

    • Ametia says:

      Good Morning, Rikyrah & Everyone! Looking forward to the Spinners and remaining groups this week.

      “It takes a fool to learn that love don’t love nobody.”

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