Yes, Aretha Franklin has been doing her thing since she was singing in church in the fifties. But please forgive me if I didn't lead off this morning with "Respect," "Natural Woman," or more appropriate for politics, "Think" and "Chain of Fools." I'm a child of the eighties, so I first discovered her when she released Who's Zoomin Who in 1985 (hence the "Freeway of Love" above). I came to revere her in 1992, when she recorded Donny Hathaway's classic "Someday We'll All Be Free", perhaps one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. And today, twenty years later, I celebrate her, on her 70th birthday.
Today, we'll going to take a ride down the political freeway (sorry, I know that's awful) and examine topics ranging from: the Supreme Court taking up the case against "Obamacare;" whether Republicans are headed for a brokered convention (and whether media is fooling us all into thinking it'll happen); and more on the "Stand Your Ground" laws behind which Trayvon Martin's still-not-arrested killer is hiding. We'll also take a look at the returning hit drama "Mad Men," using it as a vehicle to examine white and male privilege, and the dangerous allure of nostalgia. (For a preview of Melissa's take on that, be sure to make some time to watch her essay from a guest-hosting stint on "The Rachel Maddow Show" this past December. It's also embedded after the jump.)
Melissa's guests today:
- The Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network, and host of msnbc's "Politics Nation."
- Susan Douglas, the Catherine Neafie Kellogg Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan, and author of "The Rise of Enlightened Sexism" and "Where the Girls Are."
- Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
- Tim Wise, anti-racism educator and author (most recently) of "Dear White America."
- Jelani Cobb, associate professor of Africana Studies and History, Rutgers University, and author of "The Substance of Hope."
- Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at the New York University School of Law.
- Anthea Butler, Professor of Religious Studies and Graduate Chair of Religion of the University of Pennsylvania.
- Steve Kornacki, political columnist at Salon, and an msnbc contributor.
- Peter Suderman, senior editor at Reason Magazine.
Again, Melissa's commentary on nostalgia is after the jump. Check it out before the show begins. And as always, be sure to interact with us during the show on Facebook and on Twitter, using the hashtag #nerdland. See you all at 10am ET!