Monday Open Thread- Gladys Knight Week

This week, we pay homage to one of the trailblazers: Gladys Knight.




Photo of Gladys Knight

Gladys Maria Knight (born May 28, 1944), known as the “Empress of Soul”,[1][2] is an American recording artist, songwriter, businesswoman, humanitarian and author. A four-time Grammy Award-winner,[3] she is best known for the hits she recorded during the 1960s and 1970s, for both the Motown and Buddah Records labels, with her group Gladys Knight & the Pips, which also included her brother Merald “Bubba” Knight and her cousins Edward Patten and William Guest.

Early life[edit]
Knight was born in Oglethorpe, Georgia, the daughter of Sarah Elizabeth (née Woods) and Merald Woodlow Knight, Sr., a postal worker.[4][5] She first achieved minor fame by winning Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour TV show contest at the age of 7 in 1952. The following year, she, her brother Merald, sister Brenda, and cousins William and Elenor Guest formed a musical group called The Pips (named after another cousin, James “Pip” Woods). By the end of the decade, the act had begun to tour, and had replaced Brenda Knight and Eleanor Guest with Gladys Knight’s cousin Edward Patten and friend Langston George.

In 1961, the group recorded “Every Beat Of My Heart” on the tiny Atlanta Huntom label, which was picked up by Vee Jay. At the same time, the group signed with Bobby Robinson’s Fury label. Both labels issued different versions of the song, with the Vee Jay/Huntom version outselling the Fury remake. With the success of their follow-up, “Letter Full Of Tears”, Fury released their first album. They stayed with Fury through 1962, although the hits dried up. They signed with Larry Maxwell’s Maxx label in 1964 and released several modest hits produced by Van McCoy, including the original version of “Giving Up” and “Lovers Always Forgive”

Gladys Knight-2

Success with The Pips[edit]
Main article: Gladys Knight & the Pips

Gladys Knight & the Pips joined the Motown Records roster in 1966, and, although initially regarded as a second-string act, scored several major hit singles, including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, (recorded first by Marvin Gaye but actually released a year later), “Friendship Train” (1969), “If I Were Your Woman” (1970), “I Don’t Want To Do Wrong” (1971), the Grammy Award winning “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)” (1972), and “Daddy Could Swear (I Declare)” (1973). In their early Motown career, Gladys Knight and the Pips toured as the opening act for Diana Ross and The Supremes. Gladys Knight stated in her memoirs that Ross kicked her off the tour because the audience’s reception to Knight’s soulful performance overshadowed her. Berry Gordy later told Gladys that she was giving his act a hard time.[6]

The act eventually left Motown for a better deal with Buddah Records in 1973, and achieved full-fledged success that year with hits such as the Grammy-winning “Midnight Train to Georgia” (#1 on the pop and R&B chart), “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination,” and “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”. In the summer of 1974, Knight and the Pips recorded the soundtrack to the successful film Claudine with producer Curtis Mayfield. The act was particularly successful in Europe, and especially the United Kingdom. However, a number of the Buddah singles became hits in the UK long after their success in the US. For example, “Midnight Train to Georgia” hit the UK pop charts Top 5 in the summer of 1976, a full three years after its success in the U.S.

Gladys Knight-3

During this period of greater recognition, Knight made her motion picture acting debut in the film, Pipe Dreams, a romantic drama set in Alaska. The film failed at the box-office, but Knight did receive a Golden Globe Best New Actress nomination.

Knight and the Pips continued to have hits until the late 1970s, when they were forced to record separately due to legal issues, resulting in Knight’s first solo LP recordings–Miss Gladys Knight (1978) on Buddah and Gladys Knight (1979) on Columbia Records. Having divorced James Newman II in 1973, Knight married Barry Hankerson (future uncle of R&B singer Aaliyah), then Detroit mayor Coleman Young’s executive aide. Knight and Hankerson remained married for four years, during which time they had a son, Shanga Ali. Upon their divorce, Hankerson and Knight were embroiled in a heated custody battle over Shanga Ali.

In the early 1980s, Johnny Mathis invited Gladys to record two duets – “When A Child Is Born” (previously a hit for Mathis) and “The Lord’s Prayer”.

Signing with Columbia Records in 1980 and restored to its familiar quartet form, Gladys Knight & the Pips began releasing new material. The act enlisted former Motown producers Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson for their first two albums–About Love (1980) and Touch (1981). During this period, Knight kicked a gambling addiction to the game baccarat.

In 1987, Knight decided to pursue a solo career and she and the Pips recorded their final LP together, All Our Love (1987), for MCA Records. Its infectious lead single, “Love Overboard”, was a #1 R&B hit and won another Grammy for the act as well. After a successful 1988 tour, the Pips retired and Knight began her solo career. Gladys Knight & the Pips were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame[7] in 1989 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame[8] in 1996.


In 1996, Gladys Knight & the Pips were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. One year before, Knight had received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2007, Knight received the Society of Singers ELLA Award at which time she was declared the “Empress of Soul”. She is listed on Rolling Stone’s list of the Greatest Singers of All Time.[25]

Gladys Knight-5

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83 Responses to Monday Open Thread- Gladys Knight Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    ‘Selma’ Actors Side-By-Side with Their Real Life Counterparts

    From History to Screen

    Powerful, moving, and poignant, Selma is an effective movie even if you aren’t fully familiar with the history being brought to life before your eyes. But if you were left wanting to know more about the people in the movie, you’re not alone. Here’s a guide to some of the movie’s real-life historical figures along with links to learn more about them.'Selma'+Actors+Side-By-Side+with+Their+Real+Life+Counterparts/#articles/IKN2ugm3Fqd/Sheriff+Jim+Clark+Stan+Houston

  2. rikyrah says:

    Experts Tout Key Electoral Reforms at 2015 Voting Summit

    By: Maggie Duncan

    The League was pleased to join dozens of voting rights advocates, state and local elections officials, congressional staff and academics at last week’s 2015 Voting and Elections Summit in Washington D.C. The annual event brings together a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the latest innovations and ongoing challenges in election administration and voting systems.

    Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-05) kicked off the summit with an impassioned call for reforms that can help making voting easier for Americans of all backgrounds. We were particularly encouraged to hear Rep. Ellison urge the state election leaders in the room to pursue several of the League’s priority election reforms, including better resourced polling places and online voter registration. Ellison also called attention to Minnesotans’ 2012 defeat of restrictive voter photo ID at the ballot box, a groundbreaking victory for the League and other voting rights advocates in the state.

    Later in the day, a lively panel of experts traded ideas for engaging and protecting voters in the years ahead. Tom Hicks, recently confirmed as Commissioner of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) following a four year congressional delay, outlined steps the revived EAC will take to assist states in improving their election practices—starting with encouraging modernized voting standards including streamlined and portable online voter registration systems. We couldn’t agree more.

  3. rikyrah says:

    David Brock resigns from Hillary Clinton PAC

    By Kenneth P. Vogel
    2/9/15 2:42 PM EST

    David Brock on Monday abruptly resigned from the board of the super PAC Priorities USA Action, revealing rifts that threaten the big-money juggernaut being built to support Hillary Clinton’s expected presidential campaign.

    In a resignation letter obtained by POLITICO, Brock, a close Clinton ally, accused Priorities officials of planting “an orchestrated political hit job” against his own pro-Clinton groups, American Bridge and Media Matters.

    Read more:

  4. rikyrah says:

    Just in case you need reminding of what the song SHOULD BE

    The Gold Standard – Mahalia Jackson

    From Mr. Dorsey himself

  5. Ametia says:

    Ledisi is addressing fan uproar over Beyonce performing her song from Selma, the spiritual “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.”

    When word spread that Beyonce would take the GRAMMY stage instead of Ledisi, fans felt the 42-year-old R&B singer wasn’t getting her due. “No one is saying Beyonce shouldn’t perform at #GRAMMYs. What we’re saying is it should be Ledisi performing the song for #Selma perf,” one tweet reads. “Ledisi sung it in the Selma film, so they should have asked her. Beyonce doesn’t have the chops for that one. She’ll over do it,” another angry tweeter chimed in.

    Ledisi, who plays gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic, responded to the controversy on the GRAMMY red carpet Sunday – and admitted that she “had no clue” why Beyonce was performing it over her.

    <b.“What I will say and what I’m excited about is that I had the pleasure of playing an iconic figure in Selma, and the song, ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord,’ it’s been going on forever – starting with the queen Mahalia [Jackson], the queen of soul Aretha Franklin,” Ledisi told ET’s Kevin Frazier on the carpet.

  6. Ooh, I bet you’re wond’rin’ how I knew
    Baby, baby, baby, ’bout your plans to make me blue
    With some other girl you knew before
    Between the two of us girls you know I love you more
    It took me by surprise I must say
    When I found out yesterday.

    Don’t ya know that I heard it through the grapevine
    Not much longer would you be mine
    Oh, don’t ya know that I heard it through the grapevine
    And I’m just about, just about, just about, to lose my mind
    Oh yes, I am, Oh yes, I am, Oh yes, I am.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Trini Trent @TriniTrent
    If you giggle and smile after singing Precious Lord, you don’t understand the song. Mary J Blige or Fantasia would have been weeping.
    10:36 PM – 8 Feb 2015

  8. check your email, ladies.

  9. rikyrah says:

    RunTheBallFruitfly @sherifffruitfly
    Bottom line: you’re never gonna get anything fairer than what Obama offers you, iran. And the next president wants to obliterate you.
    11:46 AM – 9 Feb 2015

  10. rikyrah says:

    Michonne. @ErickaSimone

    Pharrell, the #newblack who disassociate himself from it at first, is pandering to the marketing masses with that #HandsUpDontShoot move.

    • eliihass says:

      I’m so glad people picked up on that. All these opportunistic bandwagon jumpers who see such deeply important and life-impacting events where lives, families and communities have been destroyed, as just another business opportunity to promote themselves.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Pragmatic Obots @PragmaticObot

    @mini_you @PragObots but dont try and sing a gospel classic of such significance and then erase its history claiming your mama sang it to u

  12. rikyrah says:

    The Notorious T.I.M @BionicBombshell

    RT @tressiemcphd: If Beyoncé “took you to church” you may have grown up a Methodist.

  13. rikyrah says:

    itgurl @itgurl_29

    That’s all fine and dandy Kanye, but will you be at the Soul Train Awards? Will u show up to the BET Awards w/o them having to bribe you?

    • Ametia says:

      Johnny Leg & Common wanted Bey to introduce them to sing Glory. She obliged them, but first they had to agree she’d sing “Precious Lord.”

      And as Johnny L said: You con’t say NO to Beyoncé.”

      That’s some SHADEY AZZ SHIT, right there.

  14. rikyrah says:

    itgurl @itgurl_29

    @ErickaSimone How you victim blame Mike Brown but then wanna get on stage all solemn w/ your hands up. These blk entertainers shady as hell

  15. rikyrah says:

    itgurl @itgurl_29

    Fuck John Legend and Common after what they did to Ledisi. Didn’t even tell that lady she was not included. I hope they lose the Oscar too.

    • Ametia says:

      This Grammys show was full of FUCKERY.

      • eliihass says:

        The Grammys have always been. Difference being that black musicians in the past refused to be defined by it, and so didn’t throw each other under the bus, or sell their souls to the devil to be acknowledged by the Academy – or to be front and center at the show.
        The few that did, didn’t fare well in the end. They were only used and dumped by the same Academy big guns still calling the shots to this day.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Laura Rozen @lrozen

    Reuters: Israeli officials considering whether Netanyahu should speak to closed-door session of Congress or AIPAC v prime time address #pt

  17. rikyrah says:

    T @truthrose1

    Someone should let the new Black, Pharrell, know he still looks like a monkey to the new and old.white people

  18. Ametia says:

    I wonder if the “New Black” Pharrell was aware of the minstrel rendering of the Black bellhop character?

  19. rikyrah says:

    About Beyonce last night:

    You know, I commented on a youtube video, and of course, her Stans were like, ‘ how is it inappropriate.’

    I was like, she shouldn’t have been chosen in the first place.
    That was the beginning of their mistake.

    I honestly thought I had missed it. I had no idea that the Grammys had gone that far over-time. I land on the channel, thinking I’m going to be watching the weather report, and there I see her on the stage, with a see-thru slut dress in white.

    Do I even need to begin about how inappropriate her costuming was.
    She was wrong for this song.
    She cannot sing gospel.

    There is nothing about Beyonce that remotely makes me believe that she was ‘ brought up in the church’.

    There are other singers that you have, where you know they sent serious time in the church choir. It eeks in their voice.

    Beyonce is not one of them.

    She showed absolutely no respect for the song. Or an understanding about the song.

    I’m heated because it’s one of my all-time favorite hyms. As sad as the song is, after I hear it sung by someone who actually respects the song…my soul is restored.

    • Ametia says:

      Bey STRAIGHT UP did not have ONE DROP of GOSPEL in her veins last night.

      And if she wore that white dress to symbolize her spiritual purity, GTFOH

      Ledisi didn’t have to raise a ruckus, because she knows who she is.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Meet the Unusual Plaintiffs Behind the Supreme Court Case That Could Destroy Obamacare

    One has called Obama the “anti-Christ.” Another didn’t realize her case might wipe out health coverage for millions.

    —By Stephanie Mencimer

    | Mon Feb. 9, 2015 7:05 AM EST


    Yet most curious of all, one of the plaintiffs did not recall exactly how she’d been recruited for the case and seemed unaware of the possible consequences if she wins. Told that millions could lose their health coverage if the Supreme Court rules in her favor, she said that didn’t want this to happen.


    Brenda Levy
    Levy, 64, lives outside of Richmond. She will qualify for Medicare in June, around the same time the Supreme Court is likely to issue a decision in this case. A substitute teacher with wild, frizzy gray hair and earthy clothes—she lives in a house that resembles a log cabin—Levy looks like an aging hippie. When I met her in January, she mentioned that she’d once belonged to the Sierra Club and that she used to read Mother Jones. She seemed an unusual candidate for a libertarian-tinged lawsuit designed to eviscerate Obamacare.

    What was more surprising, though, was that she said she didn’t recall exactly how she had been selected as a plaintiff in the case to begin with. “I don’t know how I got on this case. I haven’t done a single thing legally. I’m gonna have to ask them how they found me,” she told me. She thought lawyers involved with the case may have contacted her at some point and she had decided to “help ’em out.”

    How did they track her down? I asked if she was involved in GOP or conservative politics. Was she a tea party member who had registered her opposition to Obamacare on a petition or at a rally? Levy insisted she leads “a quiet life.” But she is politically active. A prolific writer of letters to the editor denouncing gay rights activists, Levy was also a donor to California’s anti-gay-marriage ballot amendment Proposition 8. In 2013, she helped to organize a rally outside the headquarters of the local Boy Scouts council in Richmond to protest the organization’s plan to consider allowing gay kids to join (which eventually was adopted). You can see her here:

    Levy has yet to attend any of the court proceedings in King v. Burwell, because she “didn’t think the case was going anywhere.” At the time we spoke, Levy said that she had never met the lawyers handling the case in person, despite the fact that it had been pending for more than a year. But she said she planned to travel to Washington for the Supreme Court oral arguments in March: “It’s an adventure. Like going to Paris!”

    When I asked her if she realized that her lawsuit could potentially wipe out health coverage for millions, she looked befuddled. “I don’t want things to be more difficult for people,” she said. “I don’t like the idea of throwing people off their health insurance.”

    Levy was under the impression that if the case prevailed, someone would surely fix the insurance situation, probably at the local level. “I think [Virginia’s Democratic Gov.] Terry McAuliffe wants to expand Medicaid,” she remarked. She didn’t know that the Medicaid expansion was part of Obamacare, or that the same forces backing her lawsuit have opposed this expansion in her state. She was also unaware that there is no Plan B in the works to rescue the people who could lose their insurance if her case is successful.

    Still, she’s no fan of Obamacare. She claimed it gives the government control over Americans’ medical treatment and that the law has spurred the IRS to expand. And she said she doesn’t like the idea of young people subsidizing her insurance. Levy contended that Obamacare had caused many Americans to lose their insurance and for premiums to rise.

    In fact, the percentage of uninsured Americans has fallen from 18 percent to 13.4 percent since the law took effect last year. And Obamacare has made health care more affordable than ever before. This especially holds true for Levy. She told me she faced monthly health care premiums of $1,500, which she attributed to health woes that have included two craniotomies and two hip replacements. “I’ve had some holes drilled in my head,” she quipped. Levy hasn’t checked out the plans she qualifies for under Obamacare, but a October 2013 affidavit filed by the government in King v. Burwell indicates that at that time she could have purchased a low-cost bronze plan on the federal exchange for $148 a month. Given this, it’s unclear how Obamacare has caused her any real harm

  21. rikyrah says:

    GOP health care plan emblematic of party’s dilemma
    02/09/15 11:30 AM—UPDATED 02/09/15 11:56 AM
    By Steve Benen
    The headline certainly sounded good. “G.O.P. Lawmakers Propose Alternative to Obamacare,” the New York Times reported last week, just days after Republican leaders announced that they’re finally, after nearly six years, ready to get “serious” about crafting a health care plan of their own.

    And for all the kvetching I do about Republicans and their post-policy tendencies, I should probably congratulate some GOP lawmakers putting pen to paper and unveiling an actual proposal to rival the Affordable Care Act.

    But this is roughly where the good news ends.

    To significant fanfare, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) announced last week they had a “new” health care plan they were each proud to present. And while they received the headlines they wanted, one of the many problems was evident from the very start. Dana Milbank explained:
    Congressional Republicans took a novel approach to announcing their Obamacare alternative this week: Out with the old and … well, back in with the old. […]

    Caroline Behringer, the eagle-eyed press secretary for Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee, was suspicious that this “urgent” and “explosive” new proposal had just been “devised.” So she did some sleuthing and discovered that the Republicans had lifted the thing – right down to quotes in the news release – from the rollout of the same proposal a year earlier.
    This isn’t a joke. A year ago, Burr and Hatch unveiled a health plan with then-Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). This year, congressional Republicans sent out literally the same press release that they used last year, except they swapped out Coburn’s name for Upton’s.

  22. Ametia says:

    David Axelrod: Hillary has to ‘run like an insurgent’
    Susan Page, USA TODAY 9:23 a.m. EST February 9, 2015

    CHICAGO — She’s the prohibitive Democratic front-runner, David Axelrod says, but if Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to win the White House in 2016 she needs to campaign like an insurgent.

    Axelrod has credentials to make the critique: He was the strategist for challenger Barack Obama when he wrested the Democratic nomination from her the last time she was the front-runner, in 2008. In his memoir, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics, published Tuesday by Penguin Press, Axelrod recalls both how Clinton’s caution and missteps cost her the nomination — and how she then countered and threatened to win it back.

  23. Ametia says:

    3 words…


    NO–Ledisi please!

  24. rikyrah says:

    Obama vs. FDR, Year Seven

    By Bill Scher – February 9, 2015

    Shudders shot through the Democratic Party after John Judis argued in the National Journal that, despite conventional wisdom that demographic trends would continue to deepen the Democratic claim to electoral majorities, an “Emerging Republican Advantage” is putting the House out of reach and could flip the White House in 2016.

    While he makes no firm predictions, Judis believes that Democratic erosion among blue-collar lower-income whites and office-dwelling middle-income whites will undercut expected gains among minority and youth voters, who still vote Democratic but have displayed a decline in enthusiasm. Judis points to long-standing skepticism within the two white constituencies toward active government and taxes, leading them to view Obamacare and the stimulus as redistributive programs that take from them and give to others.

    Judis once thought Obama would spark a generational shift leftward much like Franklin Roosevelt did, both having saved the American economy from collapse. But now he concludes that “that analogy was clearly flawed. Roosevelt took power after four years of the Great Depression, with Republicans and business thoroughly discredited, and with the public (who lacked any safety net) ready to try virtually anything to revive the economy. Obama’s situation was very different. Business was still powerful enough to threaten him if he went too far in trying to tame it. Much of the middle class and working class were still employed, and they saw Obama’s stimulus program—which was utterly necessary to stem the Great Recession—as an expansion of government at their expense.”

    I make no firm predictions either. But I would argue it’s premature to conclude that Obama won’t eventually earn the same credit as FDR, and Democrats won’t reap the same rewards, as the New Dealers did.

    At the same point in Roosevelt’s presidency as Obama’s, the beginning his seventh year, no pundit would have presumed he was on a glide path toward a fundamental ideological makeover of the country.

    He had just suffered a brutal midterm election. In November, Democrats (and left-leaning third parties) lost 81 House seats and seven Senate seats. Prior to that, Roosevelt had an ignominious defeat in the primaries. Wanting to ideologically purify his party, he audaciously backed liberal challengers to conservative incumbents. But the “purge” attempt backfired. Not only did the conservatives survive, they became more emboldened. After November, a bipartisan conservative coalition effectively ruled Congress, thwarting FDR’s desire to extend the New Deal.

    FDR had become politically weakened in part because of fears he was trying to accumulate too much power – for example, the public recoiled at his 1937 attempt to pack the Supreme Court. But voters were also questioning the liberal philosophy of the New Deal. People were still scarred from the recession that began in the fall of 1937 and lingered into 1938. Polls in March 1938 said the blame for the recession fell on Roosevelt and large majorities supported business tax cuts over government spending to turn the economy around.

  25. rikyrah says:

    A month after kosher market attack, French Jews plan an exodus
    By Griff Witte February 7 

    SAINT-MANDÉ, France — For all her 30 years, Jennifer Sebag has lived in a community that embodies everything modern Europe is supposed to be.

    Inclusive, integrated, peaceful and prosperous, the elegant city of Saint-Mandé — hard against Paris’s eastern fringe — has been a haven for Jews like Sebag whose parents and grandparents were driven from their native North Africa decades ago by anti-Semitism.

    “I’ve always told everyone that here, we are very protected. It’s like a small village,” Sebag said.

    But in an instant on the afternoon of Jan. 9, Sebag’s refuge became a target. A gunman who would later say he was acting on behalf of the Islamic State walked into her neighborhood’s kosher market and opened fire, launching a siege that would leave four hostages dead — all of them Jewish.

    A month later, the Jews of Saint-Mandé are planning for a possible exodus from what had once appeared to be the promised land.

    In homes, in shops and in synagogues guarded night and day by soldiers wielding assault rifles, conversations are dominated by an agonizing choice: stay in France and risk becoming the victim of the next attack by Islamic extremists, or leave behind a country and a community that Jews say they are proud to call home.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Russell Schaffer @RussOnPolitics
    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is demanding Germany pay his country reparations for the Nazi occupation.
    7:10 AM – 9 Feb 2015

  27. rikyrah says:

    Ensemble Cast Black Cowboy Western ‘They Die By Dawn’ to Screen for 3 Days Only (NYC)
    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act
    February 9, 2015 at 10:48AM

    I’ve been waiting for an official release of this film since we first profiled it in late 2012, but, thus far, since its debut (It premiered at the Urbanworld Film Festival in the fall of 2013) , it’s screened primarily at festivals and one-off events. I would’ve expected an online release by now, so that a lot more of us have access to it. But maybe the filmmakers have other plans for it. I certainly wouldn’t know.
    But something I do know is that, if you live in NYC, it will screen for 3 days only later this month, courtesy of ImageNation, in Harlem. I have yet to see it, so can’t offer any useful commentary; although I know some of you must have checked it out. If you have, your thoughts?
    Titled “They Die By Dawn,” it’s a western featuring black cowboys & girls, conceived and directed by Jeymes Samuel of The Bullitts (a collaborative group of artists – both music and film – headed by Samuel).

    The all-star cast includes some fan favorites: Jesse Williams, Michael K. Williams, Isaiah Washington, Bokeem Woodbine, Clifton Powell, Rosario Dawson, Giancarlo Esposito, Erykah Badu, and others.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Al Franken Isn’t Joking Around
    by BooMan
    Sun Feb 8th, 2015 at 08:56:26 AM EST

    Perhaps Roll Call‘s Joannna Anderson doesn’t understand Senator Al Franken’s sense of humor, or perhaps she just can’t tell when Sen. Franken is saying something serious with a smile on his face. I doubt that the following exchange was meant in any way to be in jest.

    Roughly 25 minutes into Thursday’s [Judiciary Committee] meeting, senators had finished debate but were still lacking the attendance level needed to officially advance legislation on child pornography victims and public access to government information. Then, Franken arrived to push attendance over the tipping point.

    “You know, you guys are in the majority,” Franken teased GOP senators as he entered the room.

    With a reporting quorum secured, Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, sought to quickly move ahead with the committee’s agenda.

    But Franken pressed his point, telling Grassley, “No, I want to say something about this.”

    “You know when we were in the majority … we had the responsibility to provide a quorum,” Franken said. “And I thought that you guys, your side, didn’t show up because you just resented being in the minority. But now I know … it’s just sheer laziness.”

    Utah Republican Orrin G. Hatch interjected, “You did a very good job, I have to say. You did show up.”

    Franken replied, “That’s all I wanted to say.”

    Reportedly, everyone had a good laugh over this, and then the committee got down to business. But no more Republican members ever showed up and it was only due to Democratic attendance that the committee was able to conduct its business at all.

    But while the GOP-led committee did ultimately rely on Democrats to get the final numbers it needed, the partisan divide was hardly drastic. In the end, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by a slim 6-5 attendance level. Though Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., — a would-be No. 7 — briefly ducked into the room after the meeting had adjourned.

    At bottom, this was a simple honest observation by Sen. Franken. While in the majority, he had assumed that the Republicans’ refusal to attend committee hearings was part of a strategy of obstruction. Now that he’s in the minority, he realizes that it’s deeper than that. Many of their members simply don’t care about the actual job of being a U.S. Senator, which is to mark up legislation in committee hearings. They care so little about it, in fact, that they’re willing to let bills be marked up with Democratic majorities.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Watching an emergency room close
    02/09/15 10:30 AM—UPDATED 02/09/15 10:43 AM
    By Steve Benen
    It’s hardly a mystery why so many hospitals nationwide have pleaded with state officials to accept Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act: they can’t afford the alternative.

    When someone is seriously ill and they show up at an emergency room, the hospital is prohibited from turning him or her way. When patients are poor, they can’t pay for the care they receive, putting an enormous strain on hospital budgets. The logic isn’t complicated: administrators and medical professionals want to expand coverage, reduce the number of uninsured patients, and bolster hospital finances to everyone’s benefit.

    But as we’ve seen too often, Republican policymakers are inclined to ignore hospitals’ concerns. Why? Because Medicaid expansion is part of “Obamacare.” And “Obamacare” is bad. Or something.

    The consequences are sadly predictable. In Louisiana last week, a Baton Rouge E.R. announced it would have no choice but to close its doors within 60 days. The facility’s president and CEO said officials “left no stone unturned as we’ve sought solutions,” but the uninsured patients using the facility created a financial strain that was simply too great.

    Michael Hiltzik made a persuasive case that the responsibility falls at the feet of Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who refuses to consider Medicaid expansion.

    In Baton Rouge, the Mid City ER, which recorded 45,000 patient visits last year, started facing a crisis in 2013, when it inherited the case load from a nearby ER that closed. According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, Mid City’s losses were projected to hit $25 million to $30 million this year. The Jindal administration stepped in with a promised infusion of $18 million, but that turned out to be a stopgap aimed at staving off an ER closure threatened last summer. Now the ER is set to close within 60 days.

    Jindal, who still evidently harbors fantasies of running for president, deserves blame for the situation. As other GOP governors have seen the light on Medicaid expansion – 10 have reached agreements with the federal government recently – Jindal has become ever more obstinate.
    The real-world consequences matter.

  30. Ametia says:



  31. rikyrah says:

    Three Republicans have proposed removing maternity care coverage from Obamacare
    Feb 8, 2015 By Shardae Jobson

    Following the Republican party winning the control of Congress in fall 2014, they’ve already begun trying to dismantle Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also known as, “Obamacare.” One of the most significant changes for their healthcare agenda is in removing maternity care for women.

    So how does removing this particular “consumer protection” benefit the average American under GOP rule? We’re not entirely sure. But it does place American residents, whether they identify as Republican, Democrat, or Independent, on receiving less of the assistance they did towards being able to afford respectable health insurance. The GOP has been against Obamacare since its creation because they believed that its applicants became or would be too dependant on the government to provide so much care and attention. Iowa Republican Joni Ernst bluntly told New York Magazine back in October: “Now we’re at a point where the government will just give away anything.” From the Republican party perspective, writer Jonathan Chait included that “Health care should be a privilege rather than a right. If you can’t afford health insurance on your own, that is not the government’s problem.”

  32. rikyrah says:

    AFP 1, Tennessee 0
    02/09/15 09:10 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s (R) embrace of Medicaid expansion looked like a godsend for the state. The Volunteer State would receive federal funds to bring coverage to roughly 280,000 low-income Tennesseans, and state hospitals would pick up the tab for future costs. In the process, Haslam struck a deal with federal officials to impose conservative restrictions on his “Insure Tennessee” plan.

    It was about the best gift Tennessee could ever be offered: a package that helped thousands of families, improved state finances, and bolstered state hospitals, all at a cost of $0 from the state budget. And yet, last week Republicans in the state legislature killed the whole idea.

    NBC’s Perry Bacon Jr. reported the other day that in this fight, the popular governor went up against the state chapter of the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity. The Tennessee Republican never stood a chance.

    [AFP] argued Haslam was just trying to trick conservatives into implementing Obamacare in their state by giving it a new name. AFP campaigned aggressively Haslam’s plans for the next six weeks, even running radio ads blasting GOP state legislators who said they might vote for it. […]

    To sell his plan, the governor toured the state over the last two months, stopping in eight cities with the same message: his program could help fund hospitals and cover more than 200,000 low-income people. “This was not Obamacare,” he emphasized constantly, since the program would have co-pays, premiums and other conservative ideas not in traditional Medicaid.

    It didn’t matter. The far-right group not only ran ads insisting that a vote for “Insure Tennessee” was a vote “for Obamacare,” the NBC report added, “On its Facebook page, the group paired pictures of Republican state legislators with photos of Obama’s face, accusing the lawmakers of ‘betraying Tennesseans’ by considering a vote for Haslam’s proposal.”

    A Republican pollster found that only 16% of state residents opposed “Insure Tennessee,” but 85% oppose “Obamacare.” (It doesn’t matter if this doesn’t make sense; when it comes to blocking Americans’ access to basic medical care, reason flew out the window years ago.)

  33. rikyrah says:

    FRIDAY, FEB 6, 2015 10:36 AM CST
    Scott Walker’s hilarious screwup: How he messed with University of Wisconsin — and infuriated his state
    This guy is seriously the best the Republicans have? Here’s why he’s backtracking on a lame new education “reform”

    So the scuttlebut among the Villagers is that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is the GOP’s Great Whitebread Hope, the man Jeb Bush has to beat. I’ve written before about the political establishment’s habit of picking out an upper midwestern Governor in the mold of Robert LaFollette to push as the GOP’s best chance to appeal to the proverbial “independents” who are desperate for a Republican reformer with results. In each election cycle you read endless arguments that start with this premise:

    You could make a good argument for a Midwestern governor as the Republican presidential nominee,” said Larry Sabato, a political science professor and director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “The Midwest has electoral votes Republicans need to reverse their fortunes in the Electoral College.”

    One could say the same thing about the West and the Northeast. The GOP could use those electoral votes just as well, but but for some reason nobody makes the case that the Republicans will win if they nominate the Republican Governor of Maine for president. This seems to be more of a beltway fever dream than anything else. Polling shows that people really aren’t that “independent” and reforms are in the eye of the beholder. In any case, one need only look to past big winners Tim Pawlenty and Tommy Thompson to see how well it worked out.

    Still, Walker seems to be thrilling the punditocracy even more than these bland Governors usually do. This undoubtedly has to do with the fact that he survived a recall effort and won re-election afterwards, which makes him in the eyes of the beltway some sort of giant slayer. But the fact is that he first won in the Democratic bloodbath of 2010 and then barely eked out a win in the next Democratic bloodbath of 2014. In the middle of those two off-year Republican landslides, he was recalled! No other Governor in the nation was recalled, but Scott Walker was and that somehow makes him a great moderate reformer who is a GOP national hero. By that logic, more Governors should want to be recalled so they can be admired for their political brilliance.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Scott Walker trips on the ‘search for truth’
    02/09/15 08:35 AM—UPDATED 02/09/15 08:53 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has been at the center of a series of controversies over the years, but his latest mess was hard to predict. It deals, of all things, with the governor’s proposed budget for the state university system.

    The initial problem was Walker’s plan to slash state funding in higher education, which itself raised questions about his priorities. But while plenty of GOP governors have cut education spending, what sets this story apart is Walker’s gratuitous decision to use his budget to alter the University of Wisconsin’s mission statement.

    For over a century, the University of Wisconsin has committed itself to some simple principles, such as, “Basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth.” Under Walker’s budget, those words would be deleted from the school’s stated mission, along with the university’s commitment “to educate people and improve the human condition” and “serve and stimulate society.”

    All of this language would replaced with a new phrase: the university, under the Walker’s administration’s vision, would focus on “the state’s work force needs.”

    When even Republicans balked at the governor’s move, Walker’s office offered an explanation that the editorial board of the New York Times described as “ridiculous.”
    The citizens of Wisconsin, clearly more appreciative of the state university than is their governor, erupted through social media and news outlets, sending Mr. Walker into retreat a day later. His office attempted the ridiculous excuse that the pernicious editing of the university’s mission was simply “a drafting error” in the budget text and that the Wisconsin Idea would be left intact after all. But a December email showed clear instructions from the administration to make the deletions.
    Going after “the search for truth” was a bad idea. Justifying the move with falsehoods was worse.

    At face value, the “drafting error” excuse was hard to take seriously – it’s tough to accidentally delete a handful of specific phrases while inserting preferred alternative language – but it’s since been discredited through documented evidence. Digby’s piece on this added:
    After the changes were revealed publicly Walker made a hilariously fatuous claim worthy of Rosemary Woods and the 18 minute gap: somehow those changes just appeared and he didn’t know nothin’ about how they got there and anyway it was the University’s fault for “overlooking” it. He has had to backtrack from that as well, admitting that his people did make these changes and the university official argued vociferously against it. But none of it is his fault because well, it just isn’t. Or anyone else’s.
    So to recap:
    1. Walker proposed gutting higher-ed funding, while simultaneously editing a university mission statement to make it more ideologically satisfying to the far-right governor.

    2. Walker blamed a “drafting error” for the ham-fisted mistake.

    3. Walker, confronted with reality, was forced to concede his own excuse wasn’t true.

    Behold, your apparent frontrunner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Critics of Boehner/Netanyahu fiasco grow louder
    02/09/15 08:00 AM—UPDATED 02/09/15 08:19 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Some thought the disastrous partnership between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and congressional Republicans couldn’t become more of a debacle. They thought wrong.

    Two weeks ago, the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman joined the Mossad and Netanyahu’s former ambassador to the U.S. in criticizing the Netanyahu/GOP gambit to undermine nuclear talks with Iran. Over the weekend, Foxman was even more direct in calling on the Israeli leader to cancel.
    Think the Netanyahu speech lead up is going well? Now even Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), one of the oldest and most respected institutions of American Jewry, is saying the speech should be canceled. Foxman has run the ADL for almost thirty years. In the American Jewish community, it does not get anymore establishment than that.

    There’s another element of this too. It is fair to say that over the course of his tenure Foxman has become increasingly known for speaking out against criticisms of Israel, even in cases where the criticisms are from Jews and focus on policies and actions that are the subject of political contention within Israel.
    “It’s a tragedy of unintended consequences,” Foxman told the Forward, adding that “the whole thing” has turned into “a circus.”

    At the same time, a columnist for Haaretz, a leading Israeli newspaper, has now called on the Prime Minister to fire the ambassador, Ron Dermer, who helped put the gambit in motion. “Israel can no longer afford to keep Dermer in Washington,” columnist Bradley Burston argued. “The danger in leaving him at his post is much too great. He has become a liability even to the Republican Party he once served. Israel needs to fire Dermer now. Israel cannot afford for its most crucial ambassador to dig the country an even deeper hole.”

  36. rikyrah says:

    this is my kind of Bucket List


    Bucket-List Pizzerias You Have To Visit Before You Die

    Business Insider


    Dominico De Marco drizzles olive oil on a pie at his pizza parlour, Di Fara Pizza in New York.

    Very few foods can cause shouting matches the way pizza can. Despite its origins as a poor-man’s snack in Naples, pizza has evolved from humble snack to pop-culture icon, with everyone from The Fat Jew to Miley Cyrus scrambling to align themselves with its glory. And, over time, an entire taxonomy of regional styles—from bar pizza in Connecticut, to white pies in Berkeley, CA—has developed, and pizza writers all over the country have spilled endless ink on the mottled char of a freshly fired Neapolitan crust.

    Not only do we have variety, but we’ve also seen a rise in quality and craftsmanship, thanks to a new generation of pizzaiolos who began importing wood-fire brick ovens from Italy. These revered heating vessels became the centerpieces at many serious pizzerias, reminding us that pizza-making is a tradition to be respected.

    When it comes to pizza, there is so much to learn, despite its basic ingredients. Which leads us to a larger question: What is the domestic and international scope of pizza, and which places best define its various styles? More than just taste or selecting “the best,” how do we consider the full experience of going to a pizzeria—and which deserve a place on your bucket list?

    To tackle these questions comprehensively would be a life-long task. So to help you at least get a start, we hit up a crew of pizza geeks, editors, and bloggers to show us a slice of the pie, so to speak. Here is our esteemed panel:

    • Ametia says:

      I really loved Sam smith & Mary J’s singing last night.

      That young man’s got SOU Land so humble

      Even if kanye can’t be humble, he needs to fake it til he makes it

      Humility goes along way, because if with all that God-given creativity, he gives the credit to God, and then takes it back by his vain behaviors.

      BOUNDARIES! Get some, Kanye.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  38. Ametia says:

    Gladys & The PispS Yay!!!

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