Sunday Open Thread

I hope you are enjoying this weekend with family and friends.

This entry was posted in Gospel, Music, Open Thread, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Sag Harbor…. Black folks can’t have any place they can call their own

  2. rikyrah says:

    One Vogue Cover Doesn’t Solve Fashion’s Big Race Problem

    Jourdan Dunn is the first sole black woman to feature on a British ‘Vogue’ cover in 12 years. Good for her—but what a shameful indictment of Planet Fashion.
    When it was announced that Jourdan Dunn would be the first black model to cover British Vogue in twelve years it made me sad. Not for Dunn who was getting the solo cover she so deserved, but for the fashion industry for continuing its decades of tone deafness towards models and consumers of color.

    This is the same industry, that even when there is a black face—as in the case of Annie film star Quvenzhané Wallis—the only option for retailer Target’s Annie-themed fashion campaign was to put a white girl on the cover of it.

    But, but … there was a token black girl in the background, Target cried in its defense! (But we’ll have more on fashion and tokenism later.)

    Both high fashion and the fast, commercial fashion of Target are supposed to be about aspiration. The belief is we should not just want the clothes the model is wearing, but we should want to be her, look like her and live her glamorous life. According to Madison Avenue, I should believe that by slipping on a pair of Dior shades or spraying some Dior cologne I have, by proxy, been endowed with the golden goddess glory of Charlize Theron.

    There’s nothing remiss with this selling of fantasy and dreams until the thinking shifts that if it’s Jourdan Dunn wearing the gold dress in the Dior commercial it won’t sell Dior because no one aspires to be a gorgeous black woman—because black women, by virtue of their blackness, cannot be glamorous and aspirational. Michelle Obama be damned, they are the exotic other, alienating for wealthy white consumers and torpedoing your brand into nothingness.

  3. rikyrah says:

    When asked if he was the best cornerback in the NFL about three different ways, Sherman said, “I don’t answer preschool questions.”

    When pressed on that, Sherman said he likes journalists who “dig deep” for stories and not those who want the “story to write itself.”

    Who knew deflated balls could be such a talker? Read all about the Patriots’ latest controversy here.

    That seemed to get the old Sherman going. When asked whether he thought the Patriots would be punished for Deflategate, Sherman didn’t hold back.

    “Probably not,” he said. “Not as long as (Patriots owner) Rober Kraft and (NFL commisioner) Roger Goodell are taking pictures at their respective homes … talk about conflict of interest.”

  4. rikyrah says:

    water is wet news


    Black Workers With Advanced Degrees, White Workers With B.A.’s Make Roughly the Same

    by Julianne Hing, Friday, January 23 2015, 4:44 PM EST

    You’ve heard of the racial wealth gap, the racial employment gap, and surely also about racial job callback disparities. Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers an updated look at another dynamic of our racialized economy: the racial income gap.

    As in: In 2014, while white workers 25 years or older with at least an undergrad degree took home median earnings of $1,219 per week, similarly aged and educated Latino workers made $1,007, and Asian workers made $1,328 per week. Black workers with at least a college degree, meanwhile, posted median earnings of $970 per week.

    The racial income gap is so pronounced that black workers with an advanced degree made $1,149—roughly the same as white workers who had only a bachelor’s degree ($1,132).

    For more on what this kind of economic inequality means for the country, read Kai Wright’s in-depth look at young black men’s struggle for employment. As Wright wrote last June, “This is an inequity that grows from tangled roots—historic labor market discrimination, ongoing residential segregation, stubborn racial biases among employers. But it’s also one with consequences that stretch out beyond the men themselves, and that will linger long past today’s troubled economy.”

  5. rikyrah says:

    Second random thought after seeing Selma: David Oyelowo in the Garden of Gethsemane

    Not a simple matter of impersonation: David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. (second from the left, although you probably don’t need me to point that out) with the actors playing members of King’s inner circle—(from left to right) Colman Domingo as Ralph Abernathy, André Holland as Andrew Young, and Stephen James as John Lewis—in Selma. Click on the photo to see the real King with some of the same real men.

    Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance as Lincoln in Lincoln was transcendent to a level that no actor, not even one as good as David Oyelowo, playing any character, never mind an historical one, should be expected to match. In fact, I only bring it up because I think Selma’s screenplay was modeled on Lincoln’s and Day-Lewis had some advantages to work with Oyelowo didn’t, mainly due to the scripts they were handed, but starting with the effect of time on the images of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King.

    Over the past 150 years, Lincoln has become both more forgotten and better remembered. He’s better known and yet a stranger. Not only is there no one alive who remembers what he was really like. There’s no one alive who can remember anyone who was alive to remember what he was like. But a century and a half’s worth of memoirs, biographies, handed down stories and anecdotes, movies, plays, and television portrayals have combined to create a collective memory of the man. The real Lincoln is a mystery, but the essentially invented Lincoln is as familiar to most Americans and many non-Americans as an old friend. People just feel they know him or at least have a good sense of what he might have been like. And that gave Day-Lewis a solid character to play and play with and play against. And it gave Lincoln’s screenwriter Tony Kushner a character to write for.

    Martin Luther King, though, is still well-known in the same way he was known when he was alive: as a public figure. Most people’s sense of what he was really like comes from what they’ve seen on television and read in newspapers, magazines, and grade school and high school history textbooks. They know him as a great orator, as a charismatic political leader, as a secular saint, which is to say, they know him as a distant figure way up there at the head of a crowd. There are many people alive who knew him intimately and could tell us what it was like to be in his company in private moments but many of them are still reticence, worried about preserving his public image, and the recollections of the others haven’t spread into the collective consciousness yet. This gave Oyelowo a too well-defined outer man whose appearance, gestures, expressions, and voice he had to match and very little inner man to re-create. He had to invent the private man and in that he faced the problem of having to do that without violating King’s public memory. Playing the outer man was a simple matter of impersonation. Playing the inner man required tact, discretion, indirection, and reserve. Day-Lewis could play it up. Oyelowo had to play it way, way down.

    His challenge was compounded by his not having the lines to say. This was because Selma’s screenwriter Paul Webb had the same problem as Oyelowo in having to portray Martin Luther King without violating King’s public memory but also because he didn’t have the lines to give him. Kushner handled it brilliantly and beautifully but he had something to work with Webb didn’t, his main character’s own words.

    Lincoln wasn’t just one of the two best writers who’ve been President—the other being Thomas Jefferson—he’s one of the great writers of American prose. King was a great writer in his own way, but mainly a great writer of speeches. Of course Lincoln was a speech writer too and his writing is mainly known by his speeches. But his style was more idiosyncratic and idiomatic. He was a politician and a lawyer. He crafted his speeches and his public writings with individuals as his audience in mind, individual voters, individual members of a jury. King was a preacher. Most of his writings and speeches are essentially sermons. He was always trying to stir the collective hearts of a crowd or at least the congregation. He was also the leader of a mass political movement and again he was trying to reach and move a crowd. That requires a different, more impersonal rhetorical approach. You can get a sense of what Lincoln might have sounded like when he talked to people one on one to a degree you can’t with King. That makes Lincoln easier to mimic. King’s private speech—and again, this is a consequence of the reticence of people who did talk with him in private—has to be wholly invented and that posed a risk Webb couldn’t take, not for a movie like Selma. It wouldn’t have been right to have played it too safe, but he had to be extra careful. And even if Webb hadn’t had to worry about not offending anyone it’s difficult to make any character sound like a real person talking. The upshot, though, is Kushner had both more material and a freer hand and that gave Day-Lewis more to work with. Day-Lewis had things to say. Oyelowo mostly had things to get across. Pretty much he had to move from speech to speech with interspersed with passages of exposition which were essentially short speeches themselves. He couldn’t talk like Martin Luther King because his King didn’t talk. He orated.

    And this is why his portrayal of King was most persuasive and most moving for me when he was silent.

    It was the pensive look in his eyes.

    You can see it best in the photographs of King. There’s a sadness, a faraway-ness to him that showed up in many of his most glorious moments. He often appears to be somewhere else and that somewhere else is a dark and troublesome place for him. It’s as if he isn’t looking out from the mountaintop at the Promised Land, or even at the still long and difficult trek across the desert ahead, but back at the way he’s come and he’s seeing all his own missteps, hesitations, and changes of direction that took people out of their way instead of leading them forward. It’s the look of a man who knows he’s not the saint people think he is and that he believes he needs to be. It’s the look of someone who is growing increasingly burdened by his role and his mission and who is beginning to look forward to its end.

    It’s been said that towards the end King seemed to be developing a death wish. I don’t know. I suspect nobody does for sure. I suspect not even Coretta Scott King knew although she worried about it. But I believe he saw what was coming and while he dreaded it and prayed for that cup to pass from his lip he was trying to resign himself to it.

    I call it his Agony in the Garden look and I see him not yet at the point of being able to say, “Not as I will but as thou wilt.”

    Oyelowo captures that look perfectly and I think that’s what lifts his performance far above the level of simple impersonation.

  6. rikyrah says:

    more good news, Empire fans


    Live +7 Ratings: FOX’s ‘Empire’ Premiere Grows 47 Percent in Adults 18-49

    Categories: Network TV Press Releases

    Written By Sara Bibel

    January 25th, 2015

    The series premiere of EMPIRE rose +47% to a 5.6/16 after 7 days of delayed viewing — nearly 2 full ratings points (+1.8) vs its same-day rating.

    In addition, both premiere nights of American Idol saw significant lifts: the Weds premiere grew +22% to a 3.9/12, while the Thurs premiere grew +23% to. 3.8/12.

    Also noteworthy:

    – The return of GOTHAM jumped +52% to a 3.8/11 in Adults 18-49

    – SLEEPY HOLLOW rose +63% to a 2.6/7.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Jeb Wants to ‘Shock and Awe’ Opponents
    by BooMan
    Sun Jan 25th, 2015 at 09:40:57 AM EST

    If you thought that the Bush family was capable of some degree of humility and contrition considering how they brought us the debacle in Iraq, this report from the Wall Street Journal should completely disabuse you of that notion.

    Jeb Bush is crisscrossing the country on a 60-event fundraising blitz aimed at raising enough money to give other Republicans second thoughts about entering the race.

    The fundraising effort, which Mr. Bush’s team has dubbed a “shock and awe’’ campaign, could be particularly meaningful for Mitt Romney , who is competing with Mr. Bush for support from the same small circle of longtime Republican donors.

    The lack of self-awareness is bad enough. After all, the initial “shock and awe” campaign did not cow opponents in Iraq but led to a nasty insurgency and ultimately a failed campaign to make Iraq a protectorate of the United States. The corollary here would be that Jeb raises so much money that he assumes it will force his rivals out of the race only to discover that he was delusional and has no plan for what to do when his opponents do not quit.

  8. rikyrah says:

    smartypants pointing out the obvious, but it still needs to be said:

    Sunday, January 25, 2015

    Dog Whistles from the Left (updated)

    I’ve written before about how uncomfortable I am with the idea that Democrats need to figure out how to appeal to working class white voters. It’s not that I object to building a bigger coalition. My concern is the often unspoken message that appealing to the unique concerns of people of color is the wrong message.

    In an op-ed in the NYT today, Noam Scheiber makes that often unspoken argument overtly. He’s writing about Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s drop in the polls. But I don’t want to get distracted with analyzing DeBlasio’s performance. Instead, let’s pay attention to the overall message.

    From the get-go, Mr. de Blasio’s campaign fused two distinct strands of progressivism. The first was economic populism, not least his criticism that Michael R. Bloomberg had placed the interests of Wall Street and the wealthy above those of average New Yorkers.

    The second was what some have called “identity group” liberalism, which appealed to black and Latino voters as blacks and Latinos, not on the basis of economic interests they shared with whites. The centerpiece of Mr. de Blasio’s identity-group agenda was his promise to win better treatment for minorities at the hands of the police.

    The problem for Mr. de Blasio is that only the first approach has widespread appeal…

    If you were to rank issues by their potential to unite whites and minority voters, the most promising would be populist economic issues like raising taxes on the rich. Somewhere in the middle would be an issue like health care, which has large economic benefits for both whites and nonwhites, even if opponents can portray it as a sop to the latter. At the very bottom would be issues with little economic content, but which different racial groups view in radically different ways.

    What Scheiber is basically saying is that if you want to unite whites and minority voters, you have to focus on the issues that are a priority to whites. That’s pretty much white supremacy in a nutshell.

  9. rikyrah says:

    contact the reporter Architecture Entertainment Asia

    Most Los Angeles architects are lucky if they complete two or three houses by their early 30s.

    Thirty-one-year-old Philip Chan, who runs a firm in Arcadia called PDS Studio, has already seen more than 75 of his residential designs built across the San Gabriel Valley.

    He’s still not the best-known designer in Arcadia. That title belongs to Robert Tong, 54, founder of the equally prolific firm Sanyao International.

    A growing architectural rivalry between the two men is a key part of a construction wave that is radically remaking Arcadia. Blocks that were once sleepy, with single-story ranch houses from the 1940s set comfortably back from the street, are now lined with bloated villas pushed near the front of their lots as if clamoring for attention.


    In the last year alone, more than 90 houses have sold for more than $2.5 million in Arcadia, a city of 56,000 that sits just east of Pasadena at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains.

    Prices in Arcadia are up more than 39% from their peak in 2007 before the housing downturn. The city, now 60% Asian, has become more expensive than Calabasas, the suburban enclave that is home to Justin Bieber and the Kardashians. It’s become known as the “Chinese Beverly Hills.”

    What’s happening in Arcadia is less about big new houses and startling sales figures than how new patterns of immigration are transforming the architecture of Southern California. New arrivals from China are not victims of change, as they were when Southern California’s original Chinatown was razed in the 1930s to make way for Union Station.

    This time around they’re the ones with the economic power. The architectural landscape is being remade not to displace them but as a magnet for their money.


    Arcadia’s construction boom can be traced back to rising prices and volatility in the Chinese real-estate market. Wealthy foreigners are eligible for so-called EB-5 visas from the U.S. government if they invest at least $500,000 in an American business; the vast majority of those visas — 85%, by some accounts —now go to Chinese applicants.

    For them, Arcadia remains a bargain. Prices in Shanghai or Beijing can approach $2,000 per square foot, still far above the $650 per square foot in southern Arcadia.

    “If they sell their apartment in Beijing, they can easily buy a house here,” said Stone Liu, the editor of China Press, a newspaper based in Alhambra aimed mostly at immigrants from mainland China.

  10. rikyrah says:


    Sag Harbor Documentary on OWN tonight at 10pm EST

  11. rikyrah says:

    found the link to this over at the comments section at Luvvie’s Johnson Publishing Story


    The Fire Sale at Johnson Publishing Company Feels Like Karma

    By Six Brown Chicks, today at 2:10 am

    by Zondra Hughes

    When I read the Chicago Tribune article about Johnson Publishing Company selling its storied archive of African American images with the hope of getting $40 million (that’s about $8 per image, thanks Luvvie), I immediately thought of Hurricane Katrina.

    In 2005, I was an Associate Editor at Ebony magazine. At that time, I was tasked with producing the monthly Beauty & Style feature, a story on campus fashions.

    We were working on the 60th anniversary issue of Ebony, so instead of using models and shooting the story in-house, myself and a photographer were assigned to travel to the picturesque campus of Dillard University and to use actual students for the shoot.

    We traveled to New Orleans in late June.

    The photographer and I spent two days in the sweltering heat, styling the unpaid student models and photographing them in various areas on Dillard’s campus. On our last day, we gave the students our business cards and thanked them for their time. SEE the photos here.

    That August, Hurricane Katrina struck Dillard University leaving more than $300 million in damages in its wake. One of the Dillard University student coordinators (who worked with us to organize the photo shoot) called me at work and asked for help.

    Dillard University after the storm.

    Several of the young women that we photographed were stranded at a shelter, and they needed assistance.

    “I’m sorry to call you at work like this,” she said, “but if there was anyone that could help us, I knew Ebony could.”

    And she was right; John H. Johnson, founder of Johnson Publishing, was deeply connected with the plight of the poor and he was generous. (During my first week on the job, a delivery person stole money out of my purse, and Mr. Johnson personally replenished it.)

    But Mr. Johnson had passed away.

    I was twenty-something, newly divorced, and in-between paychecks, and so I didn’t have a thing to send but my prayers.

    Nevertheless, I wrote a memo to my immediate supervisors,and informed them that our unpaid Beauty & Style models were stranded and needed help. My supervisor was embarrassed to tell me that the memo was ignored.

    I sent the memo to a colleague at the sister publication Jet magazine, because at the time, there was an ongoing promotion for and the Jet promo team was handling it. The promo was a college care kit giveaway–and surely we could send a few of those. The college care kits contained shampoo, soap, treats, etc., that the young women sorely needed. That request was DENIED.

    I wrote a memo and sent it to the highest ranking person I knew, and was told: “We don’t have anything to send…except discontinued Fashion Fair lipstick. We can send them some of that.”

  12. rikyrah says:

    Luvvie is telling all sorts of truths again today


    About Owning Your Ideas and Giving Them Permanence Away from Social Media

    Luvvie — January 25, 2015

    Ownership is wealth, and I want us to own our work, in all forms. To do that, we need to take them out of free platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    So here’s my latest rant.

    If you cannot view it below, check out About Owning Your Ideas and Giving Them Permanence Away from Social Media on Storify.

  13. Ametia says:

    The National Weather Service has upgraded a blizzard watch to a blizzard warning for the central New Jersey coast all the way to the Canadian border, including Boston and New York City.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio warns New Yorkers to “prepare for something worse” than what they have seen before. “We are facing most likely one of the largest snowstorms in the history of this city.”

    Twenty to 30 inches of snow is possible in some areas with winds gusting 55 to 65 mph. The National Weather Service says whiteout conditions will make travel extremely dangerous.

  14. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    I hope the photo archives of Jet and Ebony Magazines is bought by a museum. It will be awful not to have the photographs available for public viewing.

    “Dear Johnson Publishing Company, About Selling Your Photo Archives”

  15. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Etta James was born on this day in 1938. From Wikipedia:

    Etta James(born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American singer-songwriter. Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz and gospel. Starting her career in 1954, she gained fame with hits such as “The Wallflower”, “At Last”, “Tell Mama”, “Something’s Got a Hold on Me”, and “I’d Rather Go Blind” for which she wrote the lyrics.

    James is regarded as having bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, and was the winner of six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008.

    Etta James singing “Amazing Grace” :

  16. rikyrah says:

    hat tip- POU:


    This is an actual paragraph, in an actual column, by an actual human being, in the Washington Post. This is an actual argument FOR people dying, in exchange for repealing the ACA – all in the name of freedom…ACTUALLY….I kid you not.

    End Obamacare, and people could die. That’s okay.
    We make such trade-offs all the time.

    In a world of scarce resources, a slightly higher mortality rate is an acceptable price to pay for certain goals — including more cash for other programs, such as those that help the poor; less government coercion and more individual liberty; more health-care choice for consumers, allowing them to find plans that better fit their needs; more money for taxpayers to spend themselves; and less federal health-care spending. This opinion is not immoral. Such choices are inevitable. They are made all the time.

    this is who they are.

    this is who they’ve always been.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Florida police used mugshots of black men for target practice. Clergy responded: #UseMeInstead.
    By Elahe Izadi January 25 at 10:04 AM

    The idea originated on a closed Facebook group for Lutheran clergy, where pastors were discussing how North Miami Beach’s police department had been caught using mugshots of actual people for target practice. Let’s send in our own photos for target practice, the pastors decided.

    The target-practice story had come to light after National Guard Sgt. Valerie Deant saw bullet-riddled mugshots of black men at a police gun range. One photo was of Deant’s brother. Outrage followed in North Miami Beach and beyond as critics called for the police chief’s resignation.

  18. rikyrah says:

    A shattered foundation

    African Americans who bought homes in Prince George’s have watched their wealth vanish
    Published on January 24, 2015

    DASHED DREAMS: This is the first part in a series looking at the plight of the black middle class, particularly in Maryland’s Prince George’s County, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county.

    Part 2: Half of the loans on newly constructed homes in one Prince George’s County subdivision during the housing boom in 2006 and 2007 wound up in foreclosure.

    Part 3: The plight of the Boateng family, who face more than $1 million in debt, shows how some of the people swallowed up by the easy credit era have yet to reemerge.
    African Americans for decades flocked to Prince George’s County to be part of a phenomenon that has been rare in American history: a community that grew more upscale as it became more black.

    The county became a national symbol of the American Dream with a black twist. Families moved into expansive new homes, with rolling lawns, nearby golf courses and, most of all, neighbors who looked like them. In the early 2000s, home prices soared — some well beyond $1 million — allowing many African Americans to build the kind of wealth their elders could only imagine.

    But today, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county stands out for a different reason — its residents have lost far more wealth than families in neighboring, majority-white suburbs. And while every one of these surrounding counties is enjoying a strong rebound in housing prices and their economies, Prince George’s is lagging far behind, and local economists say a full recovery appears unlikely anytime soon.

  19. rikyrah says:

    New York Times writer Charles M. Blow ‘fuming’ that son was detained by Yale police
    By Pam McLoughlin, New Haven Register
    POSTED: 01/25/15, 9:27 AM EST

    NEW HAVEN >> New York Times op-ed columnist Charles M. Blow claims in a tweet that his son, who is black and a Chemistry major at Yale University was “accosted” at “gunpoint” Saturday night by university police who thought he was a suspect.

    At the same time, a Yale University spokesperson has confirmed that a student whose behavior and appearance matched the description of a suspect had been detained “briefly.” No name was given and the spokesperson is not commenting on whether Blow’s son was approached gunpoint.

    The spokesperson said in an email that an internal review of the incident will be conducted by the chief’s office of Yale Police Department.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Read this at another blog,

    Did you all know that the youtube questioner of the President – Glozell Green

    WAS 52?!?


    Black don’t crack

  21. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning Everyone

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