UPDATE: Whitney Houston is dead at 48. Cause unknown. From CBS:
Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, has died. She was 48.
… News of Houston's death came on the eve of music's biggest night — the Grammy Awards. It's a showcase where she once reigned, and her death was sure to case a heavy pall on Sunday's ceremony. Houston's longtime mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner Saturday; it was unclear if it was going to go forward.
At her peak, Houston the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world's best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.
… She had the he perfect voice, and the perfect image: a gorgeous singer who had sex appeal but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise.
In the New York Times, Charles M. Blow turns the Roland Martin flap into a teachable moment:
The truest measure of a man, indeed of a person, is not whom he lies down with but what he stands up for. If we must be judged, let it be in this way. And when we fall short, as we sometimes will, because humanity is fallible, let us greet each other with compassion and encouragement rather than ridicule and resentment.
Whatever was in Martin’s heart, what was in his Twitter messages wasn’t helpful. They may not lead directly to intimidation or violence, but they may add to a stream of negativity that feeds a culture in which intimidation and violence by some twisted minds is all too real. I don’t believe that Martin wanted that.
Let’s show the whole of mankind that men can indeed be kind, even to other men who dare to wear pink suits.
At the "Toward Healing and Renewal" symposium, Vatican finally "gets religion" on sex abuse prevention reform:
… the idea was to share this experience with the rest of the Catholic world, especially places where the sexual abuse crisis has not yet exploded, in the hope that for once, church leaders can defuse the bomb before it goes off. [emphasis added]
… We saw Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican's powerful Congregation for Bishops, presiding over a liturgy of repentance — effectively symbolizing that the crisis isn't just about wayward priests, but it includes failures by the hierarchy. We heard American Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, concede that much of what's been accomplished to date is due to media pressure, insisting on a "more proactive" approach.
Pope Benedict XVI dispatched a message to the symposium, endorsing the effort to build "a vigorous culture of effective safeguarding and victim support."
The Vatican's top sex abuse prosecutor, Maltese Monsignor Charles Scicluna, bluntly said it is "not acceptable" for bishops to ignore anti-abuse protocols and openly called for imposing sanctions under church law on those bishops who drop the ball.
Are there 10,000,000 secret Obama-loving Catholics?
I have overheard this conversation so many times and in so many bathrooms that I can't tell if it's a satire or a transcript.
The forensic sciences bring us composite sketches of literary characters.
Sandy Rios explains that the real problem with Ellen isn't her comedy or winsome personality; it's that she wants 12-year-olds to engage in exotic sexual practices with the Symbionese Liberation Army. Or something like that.
Breathtaking "cloud tsunami" rolled into Panama City Beach on Friday.
Tomorrow is Darwin Day!
Ray Comfort to black people: Don't believe in evolution like those stupid whitefolk.
“Atheistic evolution isn’t an intelligent belief, as atheists would have the black community believe,” said Ray Comfort, whose new project is “Hitler, God, and the Bible.”
“It’s a philosophy for the dumbest of the dumb, and it’s an insult to the black heritage to try and hoodwink them into believing that nothing created everything,” he said.
“That’s a scientific impossibility, and African Americans have got too much intelligence to believe such an insane worldview. That’s why there are so few black atheists. Most atheists are white, educated, and greatly lacking when it comes to common sense,” he said.
Maryland Del. Pat McDonough talk about the "gay life form."
CNN insists CPAC was downright twitterpated with Santorum …
… but Romney still won the CPAC straw poll.
Ann Coulter said funny/evil things at CPAC.
I was gonna post that CPAC video in which comedian Steve Crowder and blogger-hubby Chris Loesch, incarnated as wig-wearing hip-hop duo The Powdered Zombies, rap "Mr. America," a song in which they pretend to say the word "knicker" when they're actually saying the "n"-word, thereby causing lilywhite ladies in fannypacks to tee-hee-hee. But why post horrible music? Instead, hear Tim Minchin sing about the language of prejudice, AFTER THE JUMP …