Wednesday Open Thread: Whitney Houston Week

More from Whitney.

Whitney Houston Wallpaper @

1987–91: Whitney, I’m Your Baby Tonight and “The Star Spangled Banner”

With many expectations, Houston’s second album, Whitney, was released in June 1987. The album again featured production from Masser, Kashif and Walden as well as Jellybean Benitez. Many critics complained that the material was too similar to her previous album. Rolling Stone said, “the narrow channel through which this talent has been directed is frustrating”.[58] Still, the album enjoyed commercial success. Houston became the first woman in music history to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and the first artist to enter the albums chart at number one in both the US and UK, while also hitting number one or top ten in dozens of other countries around the world. The album’s first single, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, was also a massive hit worldwide, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topping the singles chart in many countries such as Australia, Germany and the UK. The next three singles, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “So Emotional”, and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” all peaked at number one on the US Hot 100 chart, which gave her a total of seven consecutive number one hits, breaking the record of six previously shared by The Beatles and the Bee Gees.[59][60] Houston became the first woman to generate four number-one singles from one album. Whitney has been certified 9× Platinum in the US for shipments of over 9 million copies, and has sold a total of 20 million copies worldwide.[61]

At the 30th Grammy Awards in 1988, Houston was nominated for three awards, including Album of the Year, winning her second Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”.[62][63] Houston also won two American Music Awards in 1988 and 1989, respectively, and a Soul Train Music Award.[64][65][66] Following the release of the album, Houston embarked on the Moment of Truth World Tour, which was one of the ten highest grossing concert tours of 1987.[67] The success of the tours during 1986–87 and her two studio albums ranked Houston No. 8 for the highest earning entertainers list according to Forbes magazine.[68] She was the highest earning African-American woman overall and the third highest entertainer after Bill Cosby and Eddie Murphy.[68]

whitney houston-14

Houston was a supporter of Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement. During her modeling days, the singer refused to work with any agencies who did business with the then-apartheid South Africa.[69][70] On June 11, 1988, during the European leg of her tour, Houston joined other musicians to perform a set at Wembley Stadium in London to celebrate a then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday.[69] Over 72,000 people attended Wembley Stadium, and over a billion people tuned in worldwide as the rock concert raised over $1 million for charities while bringing awareness to apartheid.[71] Houston then flew back to the US for a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City in August. The show was a benefit concert that raised a quarter of a million dollars for the United Negro College Fund.[72] In the same year, she recorded a song for NBC’s coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics, “One Moment in Time”, which became a Top 5 hit in the US, while reaching number one in the UK and Germany.[73][74][75] With her world tour continuing overseas, Houston was still one of the top 20 highest earning entertainers for 1987–88 according to Forbes magazine.[76][77]

whitney houston-15

In 1989, Houston formed The Whitney Houston Foundation For Children, a non-profit organization that has raised funds for the needs of children around the world. The organization cares for homelessness, children with cancer or AIDS, and other issues of self-empowerment.[78] With the success of her first two albums, Houston was undoubtedly an international crossover superstar, the most prominent since Michael Jackson, appealing to all demographics. However, some black critics believed she was “selling out”.[6] They felt her singing on record lacked the soul that was present during her live concerts.[30]

At the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards, when Houston’s name was called out for a nomination, a few in the audience jeered.[79][80] Houston defended herself against the criticism, stating, “If you’re gonna have a long career, there’s a certain way to do it, and I did it that way. I’m not ashamed of it.”[30] Houston took a more urban direction with her third studio album, I’m Your Baby Tonight, released in November 1990. She produced and chose producers for this album and as a result, it featured production and collaborations with L.A. Reid and Babyface, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder. The album showed Houston’s versatility on a new batch of tough rhythmic grooves, soulful ballads and up-tempo dance tracks. Reviews were mixed. Rolling Stone felt it was her “best and most integrated album”.[81] while Entertainment Weekly, at the time thought Houston’s shift towards an urban direction was “superficial”.[82]

The album contained several hits: the first two singles, “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and “All the Man That I Need” peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; “Miracle” peaked at number nine; “My Name Is Not Susan” peaked in the top twenty; “I Belong to You” reached the top ten of the US R&B chart and garnered Houston a Grammy nomination; and the sixth single, the Stevie Wonder duet “We Didn’t Know”, reached the R&B top twenty. The album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and went on to be certified 4× platinum in the US while selling twelve million total worldwide.

whitney houston-18

In 1990, Houston was the spokesperson for a youth leadership conference hosted in Washington, D.C. She had a private audience with President George H. W. Bush in the Oval Office to discuss the associated challenges.

During the Persian Gulf War, Houston performed “The Star Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium on January 27, 1991.[83] This performance was later reported by those involved in the performance to have been lip synced[84] or to have been sung into a dead microphone while a studio recording previously made by Houston was played. Dan Klores, a spokesman for Houston, explained: “This is not a Milli Vanilli thing. She sang live, but the microphone was turned off. It was a technical decision, partially based on the noise factor. This is standard procedure at these events.”[85] (See also Star Spangled Banner lip sync controversy.) A commercial single and video of her performance were released, and reached the Top 20 on the US Hot 100, making her the only act to turn the US national anthem into a pop hit of that magnitude (José Feliciano’s version reached No. 50 in November 1968).[86][87] Houston donated all her share of the proceeds to the American Red Cross Gulf Crisis Fund. As a result, the singer was named to the Red Cross Board of Governors.[83][88][89]

Her rendition was critically acclaimed and is considered the benchmark for singers.[84][90] Rolling Stone commented that “her singing stirs such strong patriotism. Unforgettable”, and the performance ranked No. 1 on the 25 most memorable music moments in NFL history list. VH1 listed the performance as one of the greatest moments that rocked TV.[91][92] Following the attacks on 9/11, it was released again by Arista Records, all profits going towards the firefighters and victims of the attacks. This time it peaked at No. 6 in the Hot 100 and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[93]

Later in 1991, Houston put together her Welcome Home Heroes concert with HBO for the soldiers fighting in the Persian Gulf War and their families. The free concert took place at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia in front of 3,500 servicemen and women. HBO descrambled the concert so that it was free for everyone to watch.[94] Houston’s concert gave HBO its highest ratings ever.[95] She then embarked on the I’m Your Baby Tonight World Tour.


whitney houston portrait-3

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47 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread: Whitney Houston Week

  1. RIP! Thanks for the music! Motown FOREVER!

    Motown singer Jimmy Ruffin dies at age 78.

    NEW YORK (AP) — Jimmy Ruffin, the Motown singer whose hits include “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” and “Hold on to My Love,” died Monday in a Las Vegas hospital. He was 78.

    Philicia Ruffin and Jimmy Lee Ruffin Jr., the late singer’s children, confirmed Wednesday that Ruffin had died. There were no details about the cause of death.

    Ruffin was the older brother of Temptations lead singer David Ruffin, who died in 1991 at age 50.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Which is more important to Republicans: Deporting more than 10 million people or taking health insurance from more than 10 million people?
    9:05 AM – 19 Nov 2014

  3. rikyrah says:

    Eric Boehlert @EricBoehlert
    Fact that NYT is quoting Michelle Bachman as a GOP immigration strategist tells you all you need to know abt this clown car cavalcade
    6:55 AM – 19 Nov 2014

  4. rikyrah says:

    GOP sees a shutdown as a consequence-free gambit
    11/19/14 12:07 PM
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    By Steve Benen
    Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.) was asked yesterday about the prospect of Republicans shutting down the government again. “If he’s not willing to work with us, then we don’t have any other choice,” Duncan told Nashville Public Radio.

    Yes, for some in Congress, a shutdown isn’t just a good idea, it’s practically mandatory.

    As GOP lawmakers and activists continue to bat the idea around, the fault lines are becoming clearer. Republican leaders want to avoid a shutdown, fearing a public backlash, while many rank-and-file members remind one another that the backlash never seems to come. Dave Weigel reported today:
    [I]n the received, popular GOP history of the last Congress, the shutdown really did not end badly for the Republicans. They won, didn’t they?

    “Let’s think about all the hyperbole, the hyperbolic statements coming from everybody, particularly the talking heads on television,” said Arizona Representative David Schweikert, a member of the Tea Party class of 2010. “This was supposed to be the end of the Republican Party. The public would never understand what the fight was all about. Turns out the public was a lot smarter than a lot in the political class and media class gave them credit for. They were able to discern that it was an honorable fight over many of the things that were rolling out in the new health care law.”
    Well, that’s certainly one way to look at it. The other way is that a year passed and voters largely forgot about the GOP’s shutdown by the time Election Day 2014 rolled around.

    But the notion of a consequence-free shutdown is nevertheless taking hold within the party.

    “This is the second shut down where the GOP got blamed and saw no catastrophe at the ballot box,” Erick Erickson argued this week. “Every horror story every talking head within the GOP Establishment trotted out to scare congressmen and senators into caving turned out to be crap.”

    Maybe so. But Republicans appear to be asking themselves one specific question – “Will this hurt the party?” – when there are other questions equally deserving of answers.

    The right may have a point about recent history. Republicans shut down the government in 1995 and paid no real price at the ballot box in 1996. Republican shut down the government again in 2013 and had a great election cycle in 2014. I’d caution against drawing sweeping conclusions after looking a sample size of two, but the argument that the GOP can survive post-shutdown public frustration may have some merit.

    Or maybe there will be a cumulative effect to voters’ dissatisfaction and the third shutdown would be the final straw for much of the public. Perhaps the lesson is that shutdowns a year out from the election are forgotten, but Republicans can’t risk an election-year shutdown.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Well, I love this show. Creepy as it is.


    Michael Ealy Goes Dark! Will Play Ryan Hardy’s Brilliant, Chameleon-Like Killer Nemesis in ‘The Following’ Season 3

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act
    November 18, 2014 at 7:03PM

    Whoa! This should be quite a meaty role for Michael Ealy, and a definite switch from what we’re used to seeing him play.

    “The Following” is actually one of the few shows on TV that I watch religiously. Despite the occasional annoyance, I love its dark, twisted nature, in telling the story of the physical and psychological battle between two foes who see each other as the other’s compliment, and, for a time, seemed to be forever connected. When I first read the log-line, and knowing that it was on Fox, which tends to be the edgiest of broadcast TV networks, I had to check it out: “A brilliant and charismatic, yet psychotic serial killer communicates with other active serial killers, and activates a cult of believers following his every command.”

    Meanwhile, on the side of the divide, the internally tormented, determined and impulsive copper who will stop at nothing to track him down, and bring him to justice.

    Kevin Bacon plays the cop (named Ryan Hardy), and James Purefoy, the psycho (who goes by Joe Carroll). Both perfectly-suited in their respective roles. Of course there’s also a woman between them, to only complicate matters, but I’ll let you discover the series on your own, if you’re curious.

    For the show’s upcoming 3rd season, TV Line is reporting that Michael Ealy will be Kevin Bacon’s cop character’s new nemesis, who’s described as a “brilliant, chameleon-like” murderer who’ll test Ryan Hardy’s limits, just when you thought his limits

  6. rikyrah says:

    Republicans, ‘amnesty,’ and the point at which words lose meaning
    11/19/14 09:31 AM—UPDATED 11/19/14 01:50 PM
    By Steve Benen

    Just a few months into the Obama presidency, the New York Times ran a report on Republicans reaching for new rungs on the rhetorical ladder. The old insults had gotten stale and lost their efficacy, so conservatives searched for more searing language.

    Saul Anuzis, a former head of the Michigan Republican Party who ran for the RNC chairmanship, decided it was time for his party to throw around the word “fascism” to add weight to their condemnations. “We’ve so overused the word ‘socialism’ that it no longer has the negative connotation it had 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago,” Anuzis said. “Fascism – everybody still thinks that’s a bad thing.”

    In context, it was clear that Republicans who accused Obama of “fascism” didn’t know what “fascism” means, and they didn’t much care. The definition of the word was meaningless – all that mattered, Republicans said in 2009, was “finding something that raises the consciousness of the average voter.” If that meant changing the meaning of words, so be it.

    More than five years later, in the immigration debate, Republicans are committed to the “amnesty” talking point, since they assume it sounds bad. But when Betsy Woodruff asked GOP lawmakers what the word means, many of them had no idea.
    Some of the top legislators who frequently use the term can’t actually explain what amnesty is. I spent the past few days asking Republican senators what they meant when they referred to amnesty in terms of immigration policy. The answers I got were intriguing. That’s because while Republican congressional leaders are always eager to discuss their opposition to this vague, amorphous concept, many of them are downright befuddled when asked to explain what that concept looks like in real life. Their responses ranged from straightforward to nonsensical.

    When I asked Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, what specific immigration policies he was referring to when he used the term amnesty, he said, “I don’t understand the question.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    Lupita Nyong’o Will Star in Mira Nair’s ‘Queen of Katwe’ Film Adaptation (On Ugandan Chess Prodigy Phiona Mutesi)

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act
    November 18, 2014 at 9:04PM

    Back to back big project announcements! I love days like this.

    Just below this post, is the announcement that Steve McQueen and Harry Belafonte are teaming up to bring Paul Robeson’s life to the big screen. That piece of good news is being followed here by a revelation from revered director Mira Nair, that one of the stars of McQueen’s Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave” – Lupita Nyong’o (you’ve heard of her, right?) – will star in Nair’s next film, which will be based on the book “Queen of Katwe,” by Tim Crothers.

    Apparently, Lupita’s attachment isn’t new, but I’m only just hearing about it, thanks to the below video clip a reader sent to me this evening. Although, I don’t think a lot of people are aware of it, because a Google search didn’t return many links on Lupita’s involvement. If you already knew about it, then this is old news. If you didn’t, then, well, now you know.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Blackish fans

    Jennifer Lewis is on tonight’s show!

  9. rikyrah says:

    Great pictures!


    Solange Knowles’ Best Wedding Moments

    Dancing in the streets! In keeping with New Orleans tradition, new bride Solange Knowles led her wedding party — including Jay Z and Beyonce — in a second line parade down a New Orleans street to celebrate her marriage to music video director Alan Ferguson on Nov. 16, 2014. Keep clicking to see more photos of the wedding party!

  10. rikyrah says:

    Nostradeptus @adept2u

    Where is that milk dud head Van Jones today he talked a gang of shit about PBO and Keystone hoping he has the same for Dem Senators.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Awesomely Luvvie @Luvvie

    Can we call emergency meeting of the Council of People Black Folks Wanna Claim and punt Don Lemon out? I’m asking. For everyone.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Nostradeptus @adept2u

    The poverty pimps and ancient aliens of Black leadership are preparing their Hillary Clinton kiss her ass resumes. they work not for us.

  13. eliihass says:

    I don’t know why I thought today was Friday, but I did. Happy Wednesday everyone!! Just happened across Kamala Harris on Mrs Greenspan’s hour, and what a total disappointment. Complete weak sauce!! Sorry but anyone least of all an attorney general who ignores the most glaring facts in the highly publicized Ferguson case, and pretends the only issue is ‘building good community relationships’ is simply disingenuous. Ignoring the most glaring problem of police brutality and the unabated killing of black lives at the hands of those charged with protecting all lives, and choosing instead to talk about how truancy is the root cause of incarceration, only lends credence to the already fine tuned effort to continue to distract and shift blame. Truancy and other strains of societal dysfunction in communities that have suffered dehumanization for generations, should not have to mean death in cold blood at the hand of police.

    Frankly, I’m sick and tired of people like Kamala who ought to be articulating and addressing the serious life-ending matters that disproportionately affect people of color, demurring and throwing helpless communities of color under the bus just because she’s so consumed with cultivating her political career, she forgets that speaking up at times like this and taking a clear stand in instances such as this Ferguson case, is precisely what that political/’public service’ career ought to be about. Nobody wants to hear about a truancy study Kamala when these black kids can’t even be allowed to exist. Conditions in Oakland, part of her jurisdiction as California A.G, are even worse than what’s happening in Ferguson. And it’s all been crickets from Kamala. Can’t have anything inconveniently intruding upon her political aspirations. Brutalized black kids be damned.

  14. Liza says:

    This is what is gained from fear mongering.

  15. Good morning!

    Whew lawd,

    Rikyrah, you’re rocking the photos of Whitney. First time I’ve seen the one front paged today. Where do you find them?

  16. rikyrah says:

    The Racist Origins of Felon Disenfranchisement

    The state laws that barred nearly six million people with felony convictions from voting in the midterm elections this month date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Southern lawmakers were working feverishly to neutralize the black electorate.

    Poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses and cross burnings were effective weapons in this campaign. But statutes that allowed correctional systems to arbitrarily and permanently strip large numbers of people of the right to vote were a particularly potent tool in the campaign to undercut African-American political power.

    This racially freighted system has normalized disenfranchisement in the United States — at a time when our peers in the democratic world rightly see it as an aberration. It has also stripped one in every 13 black persons of the right to vote — a rate four times that of nonblacks nationally. At the same time, it has allowed disenfranchisement to move beyond that black population — which makes up 38 percent of those denied the vote — into the body politic as a whole. One lesson here is that punishments designed for one pariah group can be easily expanded to include others as well.

    The history of disenfranchisement was laid out in a fascinating 2003 study by Angela Behrens, Christopher Uggen and Jeff Manza. They found that state felony bans exploded in number during the late 1860s and 1870s, particularly in the wake of the Fifteenth Amendment, which ostensibly guaranteed black Americans the right to vote.

  17. rikyrah says:

    10 Moments Black People In The Workplace Know Too Well

    “I’ve seen 3 seasons of the Wire. I get it.” #ICANTEVENposted on Nov. 15, 2014, at 11:53 a.m.


  18. rikyrah says:

    Lynch confirmation deferred for time-wasting Keystone vote

    Rachel Maddow points out that one thing Senate Democrats could have been doing instead of going through the empty show of holding a meaningless vote on the Keystone XL pipeline is approve Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee for Attorney General, while they still have the majority. Do they think Republicans will be embarrassed to reject a black woman candidate?

  19. rikyrah says:

    ‘People’ names Chris Hemsworth 2014’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’
    By Samantha Highfillon
    Nov 19, 2014 at 12:07AM

    It’s official: Chris Hemsworth is People‘s Sexiest Man Alive 2014.

    After much debate—and much discussion of Chris Pratt possibly taking the title—Jimmy Kimmel announced People‘s pick during Tuesday night’s show. And despite Hemsworth’s name being left out of some of the conversations prior to the reveal, it isn’t hard to see why he made the cut. Abs and accent aside, the man is Thor—not to mention the star of Michael Mann’s upcoming Blackhat.

    Hemsworth is, however, a bit of an interesting pick for the sexiest man of 2014. The Aussie actor hasn’t graced the big screen since 2013, when he starred in Thor: The Dark World and Rush. So although there’s no debating whether he’s a movie star, there might be some debate about whether this was his year.

    Regardless, Hemsworth has taken the title—adding himself to a very attractive not-so-secret society that already includes the likes of Adam Levine, Channing Tatum, Bradley Cooper, and more.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Sleepy Hollow rocked this week.

    I KNEW their mother wasn’t crazy.

    I KNEW IT!!!

  21. rikyrah says:

    Evil sociopath


    Gov. Mike Pence Says He’s ‘Ennobling’ Poor People By Cutting Off Food Stamps In Indiana
    By David November 18, 2014 11:49 am

    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) explained on Tuesday that a new policy that could cut off food stamps for thousands of people in his state would be “ennobling” for poor people.

    The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced last month that beginning in 2015, it would no longer request a waiver to the federal work requirement for certain people who use the SNAP program. Up to 65,000 single Hoosiers could lose food stamp benefits unless they are working 20 hours a week or attending job training.

    Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Pence argued that 50,000 people had joined the Indiana workforce since 2008 so it was time to return to a “core principle” of welfare reform.

    “How do you feel about people who say you are targeting poor people?” Fox News host Brian Kilmeade asked the governor.

    “I’m someone that believes there’s nothing more ennobling to a person than a job,” Pence insisted. “And to make sure that able-bodied adults without dependants at home know that here in the state of Indiana, we want to partner with them in their success.”

    “You know, it’s the old story,” he continued. “Give someone a fish, and they’ll eat for a day. Teach them to fish, they’ll eat for a lifetime. I think this is an idea whose time has come here in the state of Indiana.”

    Think Progress pointed out last month that there were 2 million people in the Midwest seeking jobs, but only about a million jobs available. And that’s not counting the thousands of people who are no longer counted as unemployed because they gave up looking for a job.

    • Ametia says:

      Folks like Mike Pence who support CORPORATE WELFARE yet screaming to other Americans to pull themselves up by their bootstraps are kin to SATAN.

      Because they are the true ROBBERS, THEIVES, who STEAL from the poor by siphoning off state funds for roads, bridges, schools, etc.


  22. rikyrah says:

    Senate rejects bipartisan NSA reform bill
    11/19/14 08:36 AM
    By Steve Benen
    The Republican-led House took at least modest steps towards reforming the NSA’s surveillance powers in June, approving a measure fairly easily that would prohibit the search of government databases for information on U.S. citizens without a warrant. It wasn’t a sweeping overhaul, but it was the first time in recent years that either chamber tried to limit the government’s controversial spying powers.

    The vote raised hopes that more meaningful NSA reforms might still be possible before the end of the Congress. Those hopes were dashed last night when a filibuster derailed legislation that would have made broad reforms to the National Security Agency. Nick Ramsey reported overnight:
    The bill would have ended the mass collection of phone records by the secretive government organization, instead keeping much of that information in the hands of telephone companies. It also included reforms to the regulatory body that oversees NSA activity, known as the FISA court.

    The legislation, which was introduced in July, was sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy. The Vermont Democrat was joined by a bipartisan group of cosponsors which included some of the Senate’s most conservative Republicans like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, as well as some of the chamber’s most liberal Democrats, including Ed Markey and Cory Booker.
    The bipartisan group of proponents apparently did little to shape the final outcome. The Senate tally was 58 to 42, two short of the votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Of the 42 opponents, 41 were Republicans – including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a frequent NSA critic, who claimed the bill didn’t go far enough.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Dem anger flares over pregnant lawmaker

    The Hill

    Mike Lillis

    A meeting of House Democrats flared up on Tuesday over the increasingly thorny issue of whether a pregnant member should be allowed to vote from afar in the party’s leadership elections this week.

    Democratic leaders, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), have denied a request from Rep. Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), who lost both of her legs in the Iraq War, to waive the Democratic rule barring proxy votes. Duckworth, 46, is in the last stages of a pregnancy and her doctor won’t allow her to travel back to Washington to vote in person.

    The denial has angered a number of Democrats, who aired their discontent during Tuesday’s caucus meeting in the Capitol, after members reelected Pelosi and her top lieutenants as leaders in the next Congress.

    “A lot of people felt that Tammy’s patriotism and sacrifice to this country warrants special consideration. And I’m one of those people who think it’s hard to make an argument that it does not require special consideration,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said afterward. “She’s given parts of her body for her country, and if it came to a vote, I would vote to give her a proxy.”

    Thompson said the debate was fueled by “strong feelings on both sides.”

    “When Democrats take a position, we’re passionate about it,” he said. “This is one of those issues where there’s a lot of passion on both sides.”

    Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a civil rights icon who holds tremendous sway over the caucus on such issues, gave an impassioned speech in favor of allowing Duckworth a proxy vote, arguing it’s a matter of simple justice, according to a number of lawmakers in the room.

    Democratic leaders, however, view the issue differently. On Monday, Pelosi argued that allowing Duckworth to vote by proxy could open the floodgates to other members requesting similar exceptions in the future.

  24. rikyrah says:

    In today’s WATER IS WET news


    Racial gap in U.S. arrest rates: ‘Staggering disparity’
    Brad Heath, USA TODA

    When it comes to racially lopsided arrests, the most remarkable thing about Ferguson, Mo., might be just how ordinary it is.

    Police in Ferguson — which erupted into days of racially charged unrest after a white officer killed an unarmed black teen — arrest black people at a rate nearly three times higher than people of other races.

    At least 1,581 other police departments across the USA arrest black people at rates even more skewed than in Ferguson, a USA TODAY analysis of arrest records shows. That includes departments in cities as large and diverse as Chicago and San Francisco and in the suburbs that encircle St. Louis, New York and Detroit.

    Those disparities are easier to measure than they are to explain. They could be a reflection of biased policing; they could just as easily be a byproduct of the vast economic and educational gaps that persist across much of the USA — factors closely tied to crime rates. In other words, experts said, the fact that such disparities exist does little to explain their causes.

    “That does not mean police are discriminating. But it does mean it’s worth looking at. It means you might have a problem, and you need to pay attention,” said University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris, a leading expert on racial profiling.

    Whatever the reasons, the results are the same: Blacks are far more likely to be arrested than any other racial group in the USA. In some places, dramatically so

  25. rikyrah says:

    The Beltway lays the groundwork for a partisan blame game
    11/18/14 05:10 PM
    By Steve Benen
    A strange sort of assumption has taken root inside the Beltway, which is likely to be quite consequential in the coming weeks. The assumption is odd, but simple: President Obama using executive-branch powers on immigration would make Republicans really angry, ergo, President Obama should not use his executive-branch powers on immigration.

    The result of this line of thought is a shift in responsibilities: if GOP lawmakers flip out, shut down the government, refuse to govern, and ponder impeachment, this will be entirely the president’s fault. After all, the argument goes, Obama knew governing would make Republicans angry, but he chose to govern anyway.

    David Brooks endorsed the thesis in a column today, insisting the president “has been superaggressive on the one topic sure to blow everything up.”
    I sympathize with what Obama is trying to do substantively, but the process of how it’s being done is ruinous.

    Republicans would rightly take it as a calculated insult and yet more political ineptitude. Everybody would go into warfare mode. We’ll get two more years of dysfunction that will further arouse public disgust and antigovernment fervor (making a Republican presidency more likely).
    Let me get this straight. There’s a policy problem. Congressional Republicans have chosen to ignore the problem. Obama has the legal authority to address the problem without Congress, just as many of his predecessors have done. But the president should let the problem fester anyway, Brooks tells us, because Republicans would see governing solutions as an “insult.”

  26. Ametia says:

    Happy HUMP day, Everyone!

    Loving Whitney this week, Fantastic posts, Rikyrah.

    Missing you Whitney….

  27. rikyrah says:

    House GOP struggles with diversity
    11/19/14 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen
    If you missed Rachel’s segment last night, it appears House Republicans have again embraced homogeneity with great enthusiasm.
    House Republicans have selected white men to chair all but one of their standing committees next year.

    The secretive Republican Steering Committee announced its recommendations late Tuesday after an all-day meeting to pick the heads of 17 committees, with all of those slots going to white men. Rep. Candice Miller, who was previously reappointed by Speaker John Boehner to lead the House Administration Committee, will remain the only woman to wield a gavel.
    As Rachel explained last night, “This is your Republican Party in Washington in all its glory. It should be noted, this is the cross-section of America they’re offering to the American people now that they’ve taken power.”

    Of course, these are just the committee chairs. The House Republican leadership has also taken shape and it will feature three white men and one white woman. In the Senate, the incoming Republican majority has not yet announced its committee chairs, but the GOP leadership team in the upper chamber will be compromised entirely of five white men.

    Diversity in the ranks has been a problem for a while, though Republican officials evidently do not yet have a solution.

    As we talked about a while back, during the Republicans’ government shutdown last fall, GOP leaders thought they’d come up with a brilliant stunt: they’d send leading Republican lawmakers to a conference room, position them opposite empty chairs, and show how eager they were to negotiate (i.e., they were willing to listen to Democrats try to make them happy with a series of offers).

    Party officials snapped photos and distributed them widely, oblivious to appearances: Republicans had chosen eight middle-aged, far-right white guys, most of whom are from the South, and lined them up next to each other. When they promoted the photo, GOP leaders never stopped to notice that everyone in the room looked remarkably similar to one another.

    What’s more, when it comes to committee witnesses – experts called in to offer guidance to policymakers – House Republicans invite men to testify 77% of the time.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

    • Ametia says:

      Gonna be in the 20s today. What a relief!

      Whitney singing the national anthem makes me weep with sorrow, because while she sings it with such passion and Soul, this is an America that does not want some, if not the majority of BLACKS and other POC to reap the benefits of their basic HUMAN rights.

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