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With Mother’s Day right around the corner it seems fitting that our inaugural edition of the Progress Report is all female. Our aim with the Progress Report is to highlight personalities and figures who are pushing people of color forward–and a few who are pulling us a few hundred back!

Time Names Michelle Obama, Oprah and the Women Of The View Among Their 100 Most Influential People for 2009

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Women of color are finally earning props (do we still say “props?”)! I doubt anyone can think of a recent First Lady who has as much style and control over the cultural zeitgeist as Michelle Obama. The women of The View, love ‘em or hate ‘em, have some of the most interesting daily conversations on current events.

Oprah is well…Oprah, and she’s been on the Time’s list since its inception! The media mogul heals us in a way that other media has never been able touch, and her generosity and progressiveness are well documented, which makes the next item in this week’s report that much more disturbing.

PROGRESS: 20 steps forward

Oprah Gives Away Free KFC Meals

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Earlier this week, Oprah partnered with KFC to promote the chicken giant’s new grilled chicken (KGC), where she handed out free coupons on her website. Ultimately, this venture caused something of a chicken riot as KFC was not able to keep up with the demand. In these hard economic times, a free meal is something anyone can get behind, but Oprah giving free KFC to her audience, feels a little like the queen giving the peasants her slop. Ok, maybe harsh, but Oprah doesn’t eat KFC.

If she wanted to help her audience to a free meal, why not get us a deal on something less likely to cause or aggravate health problems – stuff that rich people eat, Fresh Direct or WholeFoods? – or as it’s known around my house, WholePaycheck.

PROGRESS: 377 steps backward

Sherri Shepherd Doesn’t Believe in Evolution

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We’ve known for some time that Sherri Shepard doesn’t believe the world is round, but on Tuesday’s show she cited her faith in God as her reason to teach her son, Jeffery, creationism over evolution. She claimed that while she would inform Jeffery of evolution, she would teach him that creationism was accurate.

By Tuesday I imagine it was too late for Time to exclude Sherri from their prestigious list, so Shepherd stuck by her guns, even though the lone concurring voice on the panel belonged to Elisabeth Hasselbeck – that alone should make anyone rethink anything.

Faith is great for people who gain comfort from it and Creationism vs. Darwinism isn’t a new argument on The View, or anywhere else for that matter, but it always makes for a compelling debate and in the end you gain a pretty good measure of a person’s ability to deal with logic. So to be clear Sherri believes we live on a 6000-year-old flat rock floating in heaven.

PROGRESS: 777 steps backward

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One of Blindie’s Ga Ga Guys Taylor Kitsch is making the promotion rounds for his No. 1 blockbuster X-Men Origins: Wolverine–and his latest pitch is to Entertainment Weekly.

While Kitsch’s day job is playing the broodingly sexy Tim Riggins on NBC’s fantastic drama Friday Night Lights, he said, “Not seeing Riggins in Gambit was incredibly important to me.”

The TV hunk may be getting major buzz for his big screen jump, but he says he’ll “never say no to” FNL because of all it’s done for him.

Up next for the talented hunk? Playing suicidal Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Carter in The Bang-Bang Club, which he’s shooting in South Africa and dropped 30 lbs. for.

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Beyonce has gone all tranny thundercat in the latest issue of Marie Claire, where she’s promoting her world tour, but the mag says on the cover, “She’d rather be in bed with Jay-Z!”

For some reason, we don’t find that appealing–and neither do we find her fierce cat costume (one of 58 over-the-top get-ups designed by Thierry Mugler for the stage) intriguing…Seriously, does one really need to have the panther paws/cheetah spots painted on one’s skin?!

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