Tuesday Open Thread | Old School Week | The O’Jays

O'Jays1They formed the group in Canton, Ohio in 1958 while attending Canton McKinley High School. Originally known as The Triumphs, and then The Mascots, the friends began recording with “Miracles” in 1961, which was a moderate hit in the Cleveland area. In 1963, they took the name “The O’Jays”, in tribute to Cleveland radio disc jockey Eddie O’Jay who was part of the powerful management team of Frankie Crocker, Herb Hamlett & Eddie O’Jay, (Toop, 1991). In 1963, The O’Jays released “Lonely Drifter,” their very first national chart hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #93. Their debut album, released shortly thereafter was Comin’ Through.

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A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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42 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | Old School Week | The O’Jays

  1. Ametia says:

    Ed Markey Wins Massachusetts Democratic Senate Primary
    By STEVE LeBLANC and BOB SALSBERG 04/30/13 09:51 PM ET EDT

    BOSTON — Democratic U.S. Rep. Edward Markey and Republican former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez won their party primaries on Tuesday, setting up a race between a 36-year veteran of Washington politics and a political newcomer for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by John Kerry.

    Markey defeated fellow U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch in the Democratic primary while Gomez, who’s also a businessman, bested former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and state Rep. Daniel Winslow in the GOP primary, according to unofficial returns. The special election is scheduled for June 25.

    The race to fill the seat Kerry left to become U.S. secretary of state has been overshadowed by the deadly Boston Marathon bombing, and the candidates had to temporarily suspend their campaigns.

    Even before the April 15 bombing, the campaign had failed to capture the attention of voters compared with the 2010 special election following the death of longtime Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy. Former Republican Sen. Scott Brown won the seat, surprising Democrats, but was ousted last year in another high-profile race by Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.

    Markey, 66, led all the other candidates in fundraising and had won the backing early on of Kerry and a large segment of the Democratic establishment. Lynch, a South Boston conservative and self-described “pro-life” Democrat, was dogged in part by his decision to vote against President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/ed-markey-wins_n_3189362.html

  2. rikyrah says:

    Magic Johnson’s TV Network Launching All Black ‘The View’ Like Talk Show
    by Jorge Rivas, Tuesday, April 30 2013, 1:00 PM EST

    Magic Johnson’s cable network “ASPiRE” is launching a talkshow similar to “The View” that will be co-hosted by five black women.

    Variety has the details on the new program dubbed “Exhale:”

    Weekly yakker aims to bring candid conversation to topics including family, relationships, career, money and faith. Co-hosts are journo Angela Burt-Murray, thesp and comedian Erin Jackson, helmer Issa Rae, author and TV anchor Rene Syler and actress Malinda Williams.

    “Exhale,” produced by Lynne Robinson and Black Robin Media, will be Aspire’s third original series. Victoria Mahoney serves as director on “Exhale.”

    http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/04/magic_johnsons_tv_network_launching_all_black_the_view_like_talk_show.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  3. rikyrah says:

    BRILLIANT COMMENT BY SAG OVER AT POU:

    I wish I could like this 1000 times.

    …………………………………..

    sagittarius •

    Good afternoon, Fam

    I am going to stir the funky and murky waters surrounding this Jason Collins debacle. I am going to take it ALL the way there.

    GN has been the canary in the coal mine for nearly a year about the attempted usurpation of Black folks Civil Rights legacy – and she’s been absolutely spot on. I would also suggest that the motive is deeper – and more sinister – than has been suggested.

    What is the ONE cultural institution – good, bad or indifferent, that black folk turn to in times of affirmation, struggle or gathering? The Black church. And as is cited in a post below about the ex-fiancée of Collins, the one false meme that will not die, because folks can’t let it, is “extreme Black homophobia’ That lie is uttered nearly in the same breath as ‘because of the Black Church’.

    The Black Church has been one of the cultural touchstones that has helped us continue and maintain our African traditions. It strengthens us, it uplifts us, it helps us, it moves us, it gathers us and at times, it even outrages us. But it’s there. And it’s been there for centuries. That’s why they’re mad.

    The Civil Rights Movement revealed to the world that we have safe, gathering places. We know how to be quiet and talk amongst ourselves in our places of safety. Our cultural institutions — the church, the barber shop, the hair salon, etc. — are our safe places.

    We can be proud and unashamedly Black in these places. We can cry about the injustices occurring in our daily lives at work, school, play — and it is understood and coping strategies are discussed and offered. We can be happy, sad, mad – we can be human in our places of safety — which helps us continue to wear the mask in our interactions with folks who mean us harm. That’s why they’re mad.

    The Black Church is the cultural institution that provides our moral voice and raises the clarion call to point out the continued injustices that Black folks in America face. November 4, 2008 did not signal post-racial America; it signaled overt, open season on Black folks. The Tea Party, Koch-owned governors and legislatures all point to this. But we can hold on, cause we’ve got this rock that is stronger than Plymouth and bigger than Gibraltar – and that’s why they’re mad.

    If these GLAAD-type racists (and yes, I’m going there) and their acolytes had the ability, the Black Church would become as useless as the NAACP, unfortunately. It would becomes toothless, impotent, ineffective, and co-opted. There is no GLAAD church that can summon the numbers and strength of folks to fight on and do what must be done, despite death threats, hardships, financial ruin, devastation — it doesn’t exist. And that may be the number one reason they’re mad.

    So these racists stay coming after Black folks and our institutions in order to defeat us and maintain the order that they’ve always known. I’ve always believed that many white gay men are mad about their status in this society as homosexuals – because they are not accepted by other white folks and that takes away what they think is their God-given right to oppress Black folk. That’s another reason for coming after the church – if you take away all the support systems, then people are left foundering.

    So, in conclusion, GN is right – they want to claim the Civil Rights legacy and mantle. But let’s be real clear – they also want to destroy the Black church.

    Re: Jason Collins – his big ass been in the league for a decade and averages 1 rebound a game? Seriously? And he thinks he’s Jackie Robinson?

    Dude, ain’t nobody threatening you, spitting on you, disrespecting you for just existing. You aren’t living in fear for your family’s safety. You aren’t being asked to go along and keep quiet, so that you can kick the door open for other folks. So stop the bullshit. Just. Stop.

    Jason, dear, you couldn’t carry Jack Roosevelt Robinson’s gym bag from UCLA – where he lettered in 3 sports – nor his Army uniform, where he won a court martial – nor his number 42, where he endured more than any human being should in order to pursue the profession he loved. He had Hall of Fame numbers and is in Cooperstown because he was a damned fabulous baseball player. The closest you will get to the Basketball Hall of Fame is on a tour – be sure and go on half-price day.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Republicans continue to ignore black voters at their peril

    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on April 30, 2013 at 11:41 am

    In his column on GOP immigration fears — namely, that Republicans will follow the path of 2007 and blow their chance at reform — Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins quotes a Republican strategist who warns that, sans reform, the GOP could alienate Hispanics like it has African Americans:

    “We are really balanced here on a little precipice and if this, pardon the pun, goes south, we could be in very serious trouble,” said Republican media strategist Paul Wilson, citing the increasingly intense attacks on the immigration bill coming from the right. “If [the legislation] stalls or is killed off by conservatives, we could take the Hispanic community and turn them into the African-American community, where we get four percent on a good day…We could be a lost party for generations.”

    If the Republican National Committee’s much-discussed post-mortem of the 2012 presidential election is any indication, the GOP is focused on making inroads with three groups: Young people, women, and Latinos. Asian Americans come in for a mention, but it’s a small one. And other than a few asides, African Americans are nearly absent from the document. The “why” is not hard to understand — if there is such a thing as unanimous support, Barack Obama nearly won it from African Americans, who voted for him 20 to 1 in 2008 and 2012. Republicans may talk about outreach and nod in the direction of black communities, but for all practical purposes, they’ve given up. Wilson’s line reflects the conventional wisdom on black voters in GOP circles.

    It’s wrong. John McCain and Mitt Romney were unique in that they won an unusually small portion of black voters. In previous elections, stretching back to 1976, Republicans were able to win between 10 and 14 percent of the African American vote. This doesn’t sound like much, and in an overwhelmingly white electorate, it isn’t. But over the last ten years, two things have happened — the electorate has become less white, and black turnout has grown, from 10 percent in 2000 to 11 percent in 2004 to 13 percent in 2008 and 2012. And indeed, in last year’s election, blacks voted at a higher rate than any other racial group, including whites. Put another way, almost every eligible African American voter voted in last year’s election.

    If blacks were dispersed throughout the country, or concentrated in a handful of blue states, this wouldn’t mean much. But large numbers of African Americans are concentrated in a handful of swing states—Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio—as well as states that could swing under the right circumstances, like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Indiana. To put this in the most straightforward way possible, black support is worth more in those states than comparable support from any other demographic group

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/04/30/republicans-continue-to-ignore-black-voters-at-their-peril/

  5. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: The GOP and `post-policy nihilism’

    Posted by Greg Sargent on April 30, 2013 at 9:13 am

    submit to reddit

    For some time now, a number of us on the left have been arguing that the GOP seems to be in the grip of a kind of “post-policy nihilism,” in which Republicans are no longer being guided by any real policy “asks,” and instead are chronically positioning themselves only in opposition to the President.

    In making this case, liberals are motivated mainly by a desire for a non-pathological opposition that will come to accept the idea that getting some of what it wants through compromise is preferable to scorched earth opposition. The problem is that it’s unclear whether Republicans actually want anything meaningful in terms of policy at this point, or if so, what it is.

    Today, a right-leaning writer, the Post’s Michael Gerson, weighs in with a very similar case, but from a different angle — this failure to articulate a genuine policy alternative to Obama, he says, risks harming the GOP over the long term. He notes that the GOP faces a series of complicated political challenges — boosting support among Latinos; becoming more socially inclusive; and speaking to people’s economic concerns. Gerson concludes:

    All of these Republican goals demand a response more sophisticated than simple obstruction. For the GOP, politics is not a zero-sum game — and I don’t mean this in a good way. It is entirely possible for Obama to lose on a variety of issues and for Republicans to lose as well, in ways that make future victories less likely. Supporting a perfectly constitutional expansion of gun background checks might have been an opportunity for Republicans to display some rationality in public, even if it marginally aided a lame-duck president. Undermining immigration reform would be a terrible miscalculation, even if Obama is hurt.

    At the end of eight years, Americans will probably be tired of Obama and perhaps of liberalism. The GOP will get another look. It would be a final victory for the president if Republicans focused on defeating him rather than on deserving victory.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/04/30/the-morning-plum-the-gop-and-post-policy-nihilism/

  6. rikyrah says:

    hee hee hee

    things are going from bad to worse for Governor Ultrasound McDonnell.

    …………………..

    Virginia’s McDonnell faces FBI scrutiny
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:35 AM EDT.

    Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is wrapping his final months in office, and would no doubt like to leave on a high note, en route to pursing higher office.

    But at this point, instead of spending time with volunteers in Iowa and New Hampshire, it looks like Governor Ultrasound will have to spend his time with his attorneys.

    FBI agents are conducting interviews about the relationship between Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, his wife, Maureen, and a major campaign donor who paid for the food at the wedding of the governor’s daughter, according to four people familiar with the questioning.

    The agents have been asking associates of the McDonnells about gifts provided to the family by Star Scientific chief executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. and actions the Republican governor and his wife have taken that may have boosted the company, the people said.

    Among the topics being explored, they said, is the $15,000 catering bill that Williams paid for the 2011 wedding of McDonnell’s daughter at Virginia’s historic Executive Mansion. But questions have extended to other, previously undisclosed gifts from Williams to Maureen McDonnell as well, they said.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/04/30/17985640-virginias-mcdonnell-faces-fbi-scrutiny?lite

  7. rikyrah says:

    The hawks’ ‘last, best hope’?

    By Steve Benen
    Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:33 PM EDT

    Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), the 35-year-old congressional freshman whose congressional career has spanned about three months, has certainly developed a fan base. He’s already made three Sunday show appearances; The Weekly Standard makes no effort to hide its affection; and Politico today declared Cotton “an angular soldier-politician … seemingly destined for higher office.”

    The same piece describes the Arkansas Republican, a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as “his party’s most aggressive next-generation advocate for military action overseas,” and the “last, best hope” for the “hawkish Republican elites.”

    OK, I’ll bite. Other than his support for the Bush/Cheney vision of foreign policy and national security, and his calls for intervention in Syria, what does Cotton have to say? Apparently, this video is popular among his fans.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, Cotton had this to say on the House floor last week:

    “I rise today to express grave doubts about the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies and programs. Counterterrorism is often shrouded in secrecy, as it should be, so let us judge by the results. In barely four years in office, five jihadists have reached their targets in the United States under Barack Obama: the Boston Marathon bomber, the underwear bomber, the Times Square bomber, the Fort Hood shooter, and in my own state — the Little Rock recruiting office shooter. In the over seven years after 9/11 under George W. Bush, how many terrorists reached their target in the United States? Zero! We need to ask, why is the Obama Administration failing in its mission to stop terrorism before it reaches its targets in the United States?”

    Really? This is the “last, best hope” for the “hawkish Republican elites”? Cotton’s entire indictment reads like the sort of thing one might find in the comments section of a right-wing blog.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/04/30/17986294-the-hawks-last-best-hope?lite

  8. rikyrah says:

    FEC Expired Terms Prompt Calls for Obama to Keep Promise
    By Jonathan D. Salant – Apr 29, 2013 8:00 PM CT

    Federal Election Commissioner Caroline Hunter’s term expires today, which means all of the commission members are now serving on borrowed time.

    It’s the latest embarrassment for the Obama administration and the FEC, which for years has been stymied because its partisan split — three Democratic members and three Republicans — has paralyzed the agency on election enforcement cases and efforts to rewrite campaign-finance disclosure rules to adapt to the new groups that entered the political arena in the 2012 campaigns.

    As the members’ terms began expiring in 2007, Barack Obama, then a candidate for president, told a Chicago-based advocacy group in a questionnaire that the “FEC needs to be strengthened” and that his “initial goal as president will be to determine whether we can make the FEC more effective through appointments.”

    Since taking office in 2009, Obama has made just one nomination, later withdrawn, in more than four years. Meanwhile, all of the FEC commissioners’ terms have expired; they continue to serve until replacements are confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

    “It’s sort of like the stunning last piece of evidence” of the collapse of the election-monitoring organization, said former Senator Russell Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who introduced legislation while in office to replace the six-member FEC with a three-member agency.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-30/fec-expired-terms-prompt-calls-for-obama-to-keep-promise.html

  9. rikyrah says:

    ‘Just below pond scum’
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:42 PM EDT.

    Yesterday, Public Policy Polling noted that Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), on the heels of his support for a Republican filibuster on gun reforms, has become the nation’s least popular senator. The new figures point to Flake having a dismal 32% approval rating.

    Asked about his poor standing, Flake initially blamed PPP, questioning the pollster’s accuracy, despite its impressive track record. Today, the Arizona senator took a different line.

    Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has an interesting take on a recent poll by Democratic Public Policy Polling that showed his approval rating imploding after his recent vote against expanded background checks for gun purchases: It’s probably right.

    “Nothing like waking up to a poll saying you’re the nation’s least popular senator,” Flake wrote on his Facebook page late Monday night. “Given the public’s dim view of Congress in general, that probably puts me somewhere just below pond scum.”

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/04/30/17986872-just-below-pond-scum?lite

  10. rikyrah says:

    Assign Blame Correctly

    by BooMan
    Tue Apr 30th, 2013 at 10:29:04 AM EST

    The FEC is completely broken. The Judicial Branch is completely broken. We can’t have a vote on a bill to curb gun violence. We may not be able to have a vote on immigration reform. We can’t turn off the sequester, so the budget process is broken.
    These problems are all created by the radicalism of the Republicans and enabled by the 60-vote rule in the Senate. Anyone who blames the president or the Democrats for any of this should have their mouth slapped. Anyone who assigns blame to anyone or anything other that the Republicans and the Senate rules is just enabling bad behavior that is beginning to have a cumulative effect that is dangerous and irresponsible.

    I’m looking at you, Maureen Dowd.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2013/4/30/10294/3640

  11. rikyrah says:

    The NFL’s First Gay Player Had Better Be Black . . . .

    Let’s have a real discussion ladies n’ gentlemen, one minus our mothers and grandmothers, let’s speak frankly and candidly about Gay men exposing themselves in one of our culture’s most macho sideshows . . . the NFL.

    It is our national pastime.

    It’s our 20th century version of gladiators, and despite we’re now in the next century and boxing has taken a backseat to “ultimate fighting . . .” we know the real barbarians remain football players. This is where machismo resides – on the gridiron. These are the supreme athletes of the world. For one of them to profess to being Gay, all I can say n’ hope is the cat looks like Detroit’ Ndamukong Suh, Cincy’s James Harrison or his exalted the recently retired. .Ray Ray.

    See if Ray Lewis or Mike Tyson were Gay, it’d force you to redefine your definition of a gay man.

    If its a kicker, which means he’s White, and somewhat “slight of stature. . .” believe me, in sports bars and barber shops across the land – the common folk are going to contend the guy is not even a football player . . . he’s a kicker, a refugee from the world of soccer, and he’s White.

    A 61, 179 pound kicker does not embody or reflect the nitty or the grittiness of the pro gridiron

    Alan Gendreau former kicker for Middle Tennessee State, the leading scorer in Sun Belt Conference history, a little-known 23-year-old who wants a shot at the N.F.L., and he’s Gay. if he makes it, it won’t have the same impact.

    Trust me, it’s a lot easier for an somewhat homophobic American Society to put their arms around a White kicker and embrace him as a Gay football player than it would be to embrace a 273 pound Black man as the “face” a new 21st century homosexuality.

    A Black brute would force our society to redefine exactly “who n’ what” is a gay man. We’d go beyond the stereotype.

    Now, I’m not saying there aren’t good sized gay Black men . . . look at Magic Johnson’s boy . . . but a extra large, rugged, hard-nosed football player is something different. Consider this, if Ronnie Lott or Jim Brown were Gay . . . that would throw a monkey-wrench in the neanderthal thinking of most people. It’s almost incomprehensible that such nubian spartans could be bustin’ slob with another man .

    http://blackathlete.net/2013/04/nfls-gay-player-black/

  12. Ametia says:

    Monday, April 29, 2013Race-Making in Practice: Are Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokar Tsarnaev the New Sacco and Vanzetti?
    Chauncey DeVega

    A terrorist attack, small in scale but brutal in effect, shocks the nation. The leading perpetrator is an American with foreign connections, apparently linked – at least in his own mind – to a worldwide movement of violent extremists. Furthermore, this young man in his late 20s with the unpronounceable name had attracted suspicion in the past and struck some observers as unstable, although even members of his own family did not suspect he was planning such a spectacular crime.

    Snip

    My posts ready on the topic of racial formation, Whiteness, and the Boston Bombing suspects are finally complete.

    Are Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokar Tsarnaev white?” Of course they are. But, that question still lingers in the air as white Americans–and some others–try to reconcile “terrorism” with a sacred view of “American” identity as benign, safe, harmless, exception, and non-violent.

    If the circumstances were not so tragic Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokar Tsarnaev’s saga would be the stuff of a comedy skit. Race-making is also darkly tragic. Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokar Tsarnaev’s supposed exploits fit that script perfectly.

    Snip

    http://wearerespectablenegroes.blogspot.com/2013/04/race-making-in-practice-are-tamerlan.html

  13. Ametia says:

    And the media continues to radicalize the Tsarnaev brothers as Muslim extremist.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Newborn baby girl found abandoned on Hawaii beach

    By Ian Johnston, Staff Writer, NBC News

    A newborn baby girl was found abandoned on a beach in Hawaii, according to reports.

    The 8-pound child was “abandoned immediately after birth,” state Department of Human Services Director Patricia McManaman said, according to the Star Advertiser newspaper. She was found just before midnight on Sunday.

    McManaman said the girl was “doing quite well” and drinking formula, HawaiiNewsNow.com reported.

    Both reports said the child was found on Sandy Beach by a 21-year-old woman, who took her to a local medical center. The woman is not a suspect, according to police.

    The mother has not been identified, HawaiiNewsNow.com said.

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/30/17982223-newborn-baby-girl-found-abandoned-on-hawaii-beach?lite

  15. rikyrah says:

    About Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots

    The cast of Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots

    Premieres

    May 28, 2013, at 9 p.m. ET/PT

    .

    Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots is a new television drama from the prolific writer, director and producer Tyler Perry. The show follows the complicated dynamic between the rich and powerful Cryer family and the hired help who work in their opulent Savannah, Georgia, mansion.

    From the outside, the Cryers are the enviable face of success and wealth, but behind the veil, the family’s dysfunction threatens to destroy their world of privilege. Cryer family patriarch Jim Cryer (John Schneider) is a powerful judge whose double life, including tawdry affairs with high-priced escorts, puts his family and political ambitions at risk. His wife, Katheryn Cryer (Renée Lawless), is the ultimate matriarch, portraying a loving and dutiful wife, but she is willing to do anything to protect her family’s status. Their son, Wyatt (Aaron O’Connell), is a troubled, angry jock who cares little for his own image and finds himself in and out of rehab. His sister, Amanda (Jacyln Betham), a struggling law student, tries harder to live up to her parents’ expectations but unknowingly has befriended a scurrilous young woman, Candace Young, with the power to ruin the entire family.

    Hanna Young (Crystal Fox) is the Cryers’ maid and the matriarch of her family. Despite having no money, she has found other types of wealth through religion and virtue. She prides herself on her dutiful son, Benny (Tyler Lepley), the glue who helps keep the family together. Hanna does have one dark secret, however—her estranged daughter, Candace (Tika Sumpter), a manipulative opportunist who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. In a bizarre coincidence, Candace is shocked to find out that her newfound friend Amanda’s father is Jim Cryer, the very man who has been paying her for sex and who also employs Candace’s mother as his family’s maid. Armed with this knowledge, the stage is set for what will be, in Candace’s eyes, the opportunity of a lifetime.

    Other characters in the series include the Cryers’ chef Celine (Eva Tamargo), their wealthy friends Veronica (Angela Robinson) and David Harrington (Peter Parros), and Wyatt Cryer’s rehabilitation counselor, Jeffery Harrington (Gavin Houston).

    Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots is produced for OWN by Tyler Perry Studios. It is created, written, directed and executive produced by Tyler Perry.

    Read more: http://www.oprah.com/own-the-haves-and-have-nots/About-Tyler-Perrys-The-Haves-and-the-Have-Nots_1#ixzz2Rxb3Rzyr

  16. rikyrah says:

    Movies I’m looking forward to…

    compliments of Entertainment Weekly,.

    ……………..

    Iron Man 3 (May 3)

    The latest installment of the Iron Man franchise pits billionaire playboy Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) against a terrorist mastermind who calls himself the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). Though the Mandarin in the original Iron Man comics wielded 10 rings endowed with alien superpowers, director Shane Black was intent on making his movie villain more grounded. ”This guy doesn’t fly, he’s not from space, and his rings aren’t magic. The idea I kept in mind was Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now,” says Black. ”I could have done space aliens, but I didn’t particularly want to — and to Marvel’s credit, they didn’t say, ‘The Avengers made a boatload of money — let’s just revive that template.’ They said, ‘Let’s do something different.”’ —Josh Rottenberg

    The Great Gatsby (May 10)

    Moulin Rouge! helmer Baz Luhrmann adapts Gatsby into a visually sumptuous big-screen drama. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the enigmatic Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire who throws lavish parties at his Long Island estate while keeping his humble origins shrouded in mystery; Carey Mulligan costars as the shallow, emotionally fragile Daisy Buchanan, with whom Gatsby has a doomed affair. Luhrmann blows the cobwebs off the literary classic by bringing all of his famed visual flair — and a reported budget north of $120 million — to Fitzgerald’s slim but thematically rich novel. In a post-Great Recession world, he says, the book’s indictment of the empty pursuit of wealth and status is as relevant as it was in the Roaring ’20s. ”You can see the bond scam in it, you can see the subprime scam,” he says. ”We’re not putting that on top of it — it’s there.” —Josh Rottenberg

    Peeples (May 10)

    Wade (Craig Robinson) is the perfect boyfriend. He’s sweet. He’s loyal. Kids love him. But he hasn’t found his way professionally just yet. ”Wade is a good dude who wants to marry his girlfriend, Grace [Kerry Washington],” says Robinson. ”And he’s on a mission to show her family that she’s got a winner here.” So in true comedic-hero form, Wade crashes Grace’s weekend with her family at their lavish Sag Harbor, N.Y., estate to meet her folks and ask for her hand. But Grace hasn’t even told her family she has a boyfriend. ”Grace loves Wade very much, but fears that they won’t accept him,” says Washington. ”Her family is ambitious and upper-crust. She’s nervous about these worlds colliding.” Adds director Tina Gordon Chism: ”[Wade is] a very honest person and he loves to share in an honest way, which is sort of in opposition to how the Peeples operate.”

    The result? Wade’s presence unleashes all manner of Meet the Parents-style shenanigans. And soon all the Peeples’ dirty little secrets start coming out: drugs, plastic surgery, you name it. ”For a family so invested in appearances, they have a lot going on beneath the surface,” says Washington. Even Grace’s serious, scholarly, Moby-Dick-obsessed father (David Alan Grier) has a hidden wild side. See? No family is perfect. —Lindsey Bahr

    Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17)

    As the title suggests, Star Trek Into Darkness brings the crew of the USS Enterprise into some grim space. ”They are tested, and the tests are cruel ones,” says Chris Pine, who returns as James T. Kirk, the newly minted captain of the Enterprise. A mysterious foe (Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch) is the one challenging Kirk with acts of mass terrorism. Zachary Quinto, who reprises his role as the frosty, logical Mr. Spock, says Kirk and Spock ”grow closer as things get worse.” —Geoff Boucher

    Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17)

    As the title suggests, Star Trek Into Darkness brings the crew of the USS Enterprise into some grim space. ”They are tested, and the tests are cruel ones,” says Chris Pine, who returns as James T. Kirk, the newly minted captain of the Enterprise. A mysterious foe (Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch) is the one challenging Kirk with acts of mass terrorism. Zachary Quinto, who reprises his role as the frosty, logical Mr. Spock, says Kirk and Spock ”grow closer as things get worse.” —Geoff Boucher

    The Hangover Part III (May 24)

    The third Hangover breaks from the waking-up-from-a-blackout-night formula that some found redundant in the second installment. ”Part of us was like, ‘F— everyone — we have to do it again,”’ director Todd Phillips says. ”But we had this other story in mind that ties everything together.” That story finds Zach Galifianakis’ man-child, Alan, going off the rails following the death of his father, while he and his fellow Wolfpack-ers get mixed up with Ken Jeong’s gangster, Mr. Chow, and a new villain played by John Goodman. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For instance, the film’s trailer shows a giraffe meeting a grisly fate due to a freeway overpass. States star Ed Helms, ”I’ll go on record as saying that decapitating giraffes is reprehensible — but pretending to decapitate a computer-generated giraffe in the right context is totally hilarious.” —Josh Rottenberg

    Before Midnight (May 24)

    Eighteen years after they first fatefully flirted in Vienna (Before Sunrise), and nine after they reunited in Paris (Before Sunset), transcontinental art-house couple Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) are together again in Before Midnight. And we mean together. The two are now married with kids and vacationing in Greece, where they try to rekindle the spark that drew them to each other over long aimless walks and impossibly sexy Nina Simone ballads. ”The first two films were about connecting and romance,” says Delpy. ”This one is about how do you sustain a loving, romantic relationship in the long run with kids and problems.” Spoiler alert: not easily. —Chris Nashawaty

    Epic (May 24)

    It’s best to read the title of Blue Sky’s new animated film, about a group of tiny Leaf Men and the human girl (voiced by Amanda Seyfried) who is shrunk down to their size, with a wink. ”I mean, we type it out in lowercase letters,” says director Chris Wedge. Nonetheless, he envisions the film as larger-than-life, with action sequences ”as big as Braveheart, but [they're] happening on a lily pad.” Josh Hutcherson, who voices rebellious Leaf guy Nod, agrees. ”The whole idea is to spark kids’ imaginations so that if you look close enough in your backyard, maybe you can see these little guys working together.” —Adam Carlson

    Much Ado About Nothing (June 7)

    Most people would want to take a break after directing an epic $220 million superhero flick. But all Joss Whedon had in mind once he wrapped The Avengers was to make another movie, albeit a much smaller one. The director gathered a group of actor friends, including Castle’s Nathan Fillion and The Avengers’ Clark Gregg, in his own L.A. house and helmed a black-and-white modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic rom-com. ”Honestly, best vacation I ever took,” says Whedon. ”I was never more relaxed. It’s like a 12-day party, and then there’s art. The sense of achievement as well as relaxation is way better than ‘I got a tan’ — which, by the way, I wouldn’t have gotten anyway.” —Tim Stack

    After Earth (June 7)

    In their first onscreen team-up since 2006′s The Pursuit of Happyness, Will and Jaden Smith star in a sci-fi epic about an interplanetary ranger (Smith the elder) who has to rely on his ranger-in-training son (Smith the younger) when their vessel crashes on a savage, inhospitable planet…called Earth. After coming up with the original idea for the movie, Will Smith hired Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli) to pen a script, and comics gurus Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, and Robert Greenberger to write a 350-page ”history” chronicling what might happen if our planet became a human-free wildland full of fearsome animals. (Smith hopes to develop After Earth into a cross-platform brand with a TV show and books.)

    Finding a director, though, required a stroke of luck. ”I was calling [M. Night Shyamalan] to wish him a happy birthday, and he said, ‘Man, I don’t want your birthday wishes — I want to make a movie with you,”’ says Smith. ”I sent him the screenplay, and he sent back ideas that were absolutely genius.” But a signature Shyamalan surprise ending wasn’t one of them. ”There’s a dramatic center to this movie that doesn’t rely on gimmicks,” says Smith. ”It relies on the power of the love between a father and son.” Of course, a Shyamalan movie without a twist could be the biggest twist of all. —Adam Markovitz

    Man of Steel (June 14)

    In the past few years, Warner Bros. was faced with a string of Marvel hits (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers) and began to feel the pressure to rejuvenate its DC brands. Seeing Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy revive Batman, they enlisted the auteur and his Gotham team — screenwriter David S. Goyer and producer Charles Roven among them — to resurrect Superman as a grittier, more damaged hero. Goyer and Nolan devised a hunted, fearful Superman — one who didn’t even identify himself with that grandiose moniker but just wanted to blend in on his new home planet. Introspection, loneliness, and doubt are risky ingredients for an action-packed summer tentpole, but as the project came together, Warner Bros. executives knew they had to make the franchise ”feel fresh and different,” says Jeff Robinov, president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group (which, like Entertainment Weekly, is a division of Time Warner).

    Enter Henry Cavill, the 29-year-old dark-haired, blue-eyed Brit selected to don the red cape this time. In this iteration, Clark Kent’s heroic tendencies would rise to the surface only when the threat was great enough. It would have to be a global menace — one that might also trigger an internal conflict about whether he belongs on Earth even as he yearns to be among his own kind. That’s what pits him against General Zod (Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Shannon), a Kryptonian tyrant who wants Clark to join him back on Krypton, which would mean abandoning his post as defender of the weaklings of Earth.

    One such weakling: Lois Lane (Amy Adams), who is as much a threat as a love interest in Man of Steel. The intrepid Daily Planet journalist — her boss, Perry White, is played by Laurence Fishburne — is chasing down reports of a wandering stranger who is capable of superhuman feats of strength. ”She’s very transient. She’s ready to pick up and go at a moment’s notice,” Adams says, noting that the trait is shared by Lois and Clark. It’s not much of a spoiler to say that gradually Lois starts to see something more in him than a good front-page story. ”She ends up rescuing him, I always say,” Deborah Snyder says.

    And Man of Steel may end up rescuing the DC movie universe. With a revamped Superman, Warner Bros. hopes to lay the groundwork for a planned Justice League film that would team up many DC characters and possibly launch several new franchises. ”It’s setting the tone for what the movies are going to be like going forward. In that, Man of Steel is definitely a first step,” says Robinov. —Anthony Breznican

    Monsters University (June 21)

    When it comes to animated high jinks in college, you usually think of keg stands and panty raids. With the prequel Monsters University, though, Pixar is matriculating two of its most beloved creations. Blue fur ball Sulley (voiced by John Goodman) and walking martini olive Mike (Billy Crystal) weren’t always the best of buddies, especially when they were first learning how to frighten youngsters. ”Mike goes about scaring from an academic standpoint,” says Goodman, ”and Sulley’s more of a natural.”

    Goodman was glad to return to the recording booth with Crystal. ”I just try to hang on and follow Billy. It usually winds up with me trying to hold in my laughter,” he says. And just because they’re off camera doesn’t mean things don’t get physical. ”I put my whole body into it. There’s a lot of what I call ‘grunt work,’ which is literally grunting and falling down.” The story — which features familiar college tropes like fraternity pranks and a hard-nosed dean (Helen Mirren) — draws on numerous cinematic college romps, including one that Goodman starred in nearly 30 years ago. ”I’d say it’s more Revenge of the Nerds than anything,” he says. —Keith Staskiewicz

    The Heat (June 28)

    The Heat initially appealed to everyone involved — a.k.a. stars Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, director Paul Feig, and writer Katie Dippold (Parks and Recreation) — because it turns a traditional genre on its head. Dippold was initially inspired by the buddy-cop comedy Running Scared, which includes a montage of hot babes riding on the back of Billy Crystal’s and Gregory Hines’ scooters. ”[Dippold said to me,] ‘Why can’t the women be in the front?”’ says Feig. ”I just like the idea of the problems of two professional women who love their careers,” he adds, ”and aren’t looking for a man or looking to be married or looking to be saved.” Says Bullock, ”At the end of the day, we made what I feel is the greatest love story I’ve ever done. We’ve either sacrificed any credibility we’ve built up and are never going to work again or we’re going to be doing a bunch of sequels. Either way, we’re willing to lose the rest of our careers for this.” —Karen Valby

    White House Down (June 28)

    When America’s first home is attacked by mercenaries, a wannabe Secret Service agent (Channing Tatum) becomes an ad hoc bodyguard for the president (Jamie Foxx) while trying to keep his own daughter (Joey King) out of harm’s way. The premise sounds as over-the-top as past Roland Emmerich disaster blockbusters, such as Independence Day and 2012 — and that’s just how Tatum likes it. ”People can scoff at it and say Roland only makes big popcorn movies,” says Tatum, who did many of his own action-hero stunts for the film, including falling nine feet onto a glass roof. ”But I think the world is begging for stuff like this. I want to eat popcorn on the Fourth of July.” —Adam Markovitz

    Despicable Me 2 (July 3)

    What’s a professional supervillain to do after stealing the moon? Settle down and raise three adopted daughters, of course. When we catch up with Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), he’s facing the perils of fatherhood. But then he’s tapped by an ultrasecret agency called the Anti-Villain League to track down an even more dastardly foe. Carell’s own parenting experience (he has two kids with wife Nancy Walls) helped inform the way he voiced Gru. ”He had some specific input about the evolution of his character toward the girls [in the film],” says Pierre Coffin, who’s directing with Chris Renaud. ”He was much sweeter, actually, and less harsh towards them.” What a softy. —Grady Smith

    RED 2 (July 19)

    In this sequel to 2010′s action-comedy, former black-ops agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) reassembles his team of gun-toting retirees to hunt for a weapon of mass destruction. The search leads them to an imprisoned physicist played by series newcomer Anthony Hopkins. ”When they find him in the asylum, they think he’s a strange man, but harmless,” Hopkins teases about his character. ”Underneath all that is a different personality. I don’t want to elaborate on that, because it’s a bit of a surprise.” However, the actor notes that RED 2 features a pairing guaranteed to delight movie buffs: ”I have a scene with Brian Cox, who’s the other Hannibal Lecter!” —Darren Franich

    The Wolverine (July 26)

    The Wolverine finds the clawed X-Man battling ninjas and the yakuza in Japan. After Darren Aronofsky dropped out, James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma) came on board to refine the script — and perfect the film’s aesthetic. ”I wanted more night scenes, more rain scenes. I wanted everyone a little sweatier, the air a little heavier, the light a little darker,” says the director, who drew inspiration from classic Japanese cinema and even Clint Eastwood’s The Outlaw Josey Wales. ”I wanted it to be very visceral, physical.” As such, Hugh Jackman’s two-a-day workouts came into play. ”One of the looks we wanted was this sense of what Hugh’s trainer calls ‘vein-iture,’ like feeling his veins bulging,” Mangold says. ”There’s a kind of rawness and almost animalistic quality to his physicality, and he worked very hard to make that happen. It’s not Photoshopped.” —Tim Stack

    Fruitvale Station (July 26)

    On New Year’s Day 2009, an Oakland transit cop responded to an alleged fracas on the platform of a BART train station and shot 22-year-old Oscar Grant in the back. The next day, Grant died in the hospital. Grainy cell-phone footage of the tragedy quickly went viral, and among the millions of people who watched in horror was filmmaker Ryan Coogler. ”So many people have died in similar circumstances,” he says. ”The thing that made Oscar’s death different was that people recorded it.” Sensing the story could make a compelling movie, he pitched it to Forest Whitaker, who agreed to produce what went on to win two prizes at Sundance this year, along with heaps of critical praise. The film focuses on the last day of Grant’s life, and Coogler filmed in many of the real Oakland locations that Grant visited in his final hours — including the Fruitvale train station where the shooting took place. ”We shot above the actual brick [wall] where the bullet hole still is,” says Jordan. ”They never fixed it. It was such a heavy moment.” —Jeff Labrecque

    2 Guns (Aug. 2)

    The plot of 2 Guns isn’t quite as simple as its title might suggest — and no, it’s not a reference to Mark Wahlberg’s biceps. In the film, directed by Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur (Contraband), Wahlberg is a Naval Intelligence officer who teams up with a DEA agent (Denzel Washington) to take out a drug cartel by robbing the bank where the bad guys are supposedly keeping $43 million. The operation doesn’t exactly go as planned. ”There’s a much bigger play going on,” says Wahlberg. ”[Soon] everybody’s after us: the Navy SEALs, the DEA, the cartel, the CIA.” Naturally, our two heroes are less than ideal partners at first. ”I’m trying to get him to be my buddy,” says Wahlberg. ”We’re running together, but he has a lot of trust issues and I’m pretty out-there.” —Grady Smith

    Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (Aug. 7)

    In this sequel to 2010′s $88 million-grossing Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Logan Lerman returns as Percy — the half-human son of sea god Poseidon — and leads his myth-based pals into the Sea of Monsters in search of the Golden Fleece. Thor Freudenthal (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) took over directing duties from continuing producer Chris Columbus, but the essential elements are true to the second book in Rick Riordan’s young-adult series. Given the movie’s sea-soaked title, you’d expect that the star would have been completely shriveled by the end of the four-month shoot in Vancouver and New Orleans. ”I didn’t spend too much time in the water, to be honest,” says Lerman. ”Lot of greenscreen on this one.” —Sara Vilkomerson

    http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20483133_20694515,00.html#21313946

  17. rikyrah says:

    April 29, 2013 10:43 AM
    The Optimist’s Case For Obamacare Implementation

    By Ed Kilgore

    Are you worried by all the baleful predictions being made by critics of the Affordable Care Act about how its implementation will proceed? It’s hard not to worry. Sure, you can dismiss a lot of the conservative talk of a “disaster” or “fiasco” as just spin from the usual suspects, based ultimately on the claim that a move in the direction of the universal health coverage found in most other countries is somehow unsuitable or unworkable for Americans. But precisely because Obamacare builds on the current crazy quilt of public and private insurance offerings, not to mention state regulations and a wide array of providers, and makes certain rebuttable assumptions about the behavior of markets and of millions of people, there is some inevitable suspense about how it will work out, especially in the short term when opponents of health reform are in a position to do significant sabotage work while obstructing legislation to fine-tune the law.

    At TNR, Jonathan Cohn helps sort out the scare tactics and agitprop from the areas of reasonable concern, and offers a sort of optimist’s case for why Obamacare implementation may go more smoothly than many now predict, and why a lot of the negative expectations miss important parts of the story.

    For one thing, he notes, Obamacare won’t immediately change the situation for the fortunate Americans with decent existing insurance:

    T]he vast majority of Americans won’t notice any of these changes directly, because they will continue to get insurance the same way they do today—through Medicare, through Medicaid, or through an employer. To the extent Obamacare affects these people in the short term, it will mostly be by adding protections such as prohibitions on lifetime limits or, in the case of seniors, extra prescription drug coverage. And those changes have already started taking effect….

    Notice that the worries about implementation chaos apply strictly to people who would otherwise be uninsured or at the mercy of the existing individual insurance market, in which plans are inconsistently priced, full of coverage holes, and of unpredictable reliability—and in which financial assistance for buying private coverage is not available at all. Even if it takes these people a while to get insurance, and even if finding that coverage is a maddening experience, they’re going to end up with something they don’t have now: Coverage that meets more of their needs and is available to them, with substantial financial assistance. Don’t forget: Today, people with pre-existing medical conditions frequently cannot get any coverage on the individual market.

    In other words, in focusing on the “shambolic messiness” of the transition to a new system, it’s important not to forget that the status quo is even messier, not to mention fundamentally unjust.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2013_04/the_optimists_case_for_obamaca044424.php

  18. rikyrah says:

    On deficits, declare victory and go home

    By Steve Benen

    Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:15 AM EDT.

    It didn’t generate much attention yesterday, but something rather amazing happened to the finances of the United States.

    The Treasury Department announced Monday that it would reduce its level of debt in financial markets for the first time since President Obama took office.

    The department said it expects to pay down a net of $35 billion in its marketable debt for the second quarter of 2013, the first time it has done so since 2007. [...]

    [T]hanks to unexpectedly higher receipts of government revenue and lower outlays in spending, the Treasury is experiencing a swing in fortune that allows officials to actually pay down some of its outstanding debt.

    As a practical matter, this is one of the reasons the nation probably won’t have to raise its debt ceiling until October, which is good news. Congressional Republicans are suggesting they’re prepared to once again hold the country hostage, threatening to hurt Americans on purpose unless they get their way, so the more the crisis is delayed, the better.

    But even putting that aside, yesterday’s Treasury announcement is amazing independently. At a basic level, a federal budget deficit refers to instances in which the government spends more than it takes in. When that happens, it’s up to the Treasury Department to borrow to make up the difference.

    This quarter, however, the government will take in more than it spends, thanks in large part to increased taxes on the wealthy approved in January. Instead of borrowing more this quarter, the Obama administration will be able to pay down $35 billion in debt — the first such payment in the U.S. since 2007.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/04/30/17984395-on-deficits-declare-victory-and-go-home?lite

  19. rikyrah says:

    ‘Maybe the court should have said…’

    By Steve Benen

    Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:45 PM EDT

    Now she tells us.

    Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor hasn’t given much thought to which was the most important case she helped decide during her 25 years on the bench. But she has no doubt which was the most controversial.

    It was Bush v. Gore, which ended the Florida recount and decided the 2000 presidential election.

    Looking back, O’Connor said, she isn’t sure the high court should have taken the case.

    “It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue,” O’Connor said during a talk Friday with the Tribune editorial board. “Maybe the court should have said, ‘We’re not going to take it, goodbye.’”

    In talking to the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, the retired justice added that the case “gave the court a less-than-perfect reputation.”

    You don’t say.

    O’Connor went on to say Florida election officials “hadn’t done a real good job there” — she seems to have quite an appreciation for understatements — but the high court “probably … added to the problem at the end of the day.”

    Had the Supreme Court not intervened, the 2000 recount process in Florida almost certainly would have continued. If all the state’s ballots had been properly counted, then-Vice President Al Gore “would have won, by a very narrow margin,” according to an independent newspaper consortium that examined all of the ballots.

    O’Connor, in other words, was one of five justices who directly dictated the outcome of a national presidential election, helping elect the candidate who came in second.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/04/29/17972370-maybe-the-court-should-have-said?lite

  20. rikyrah says:

    GOP’s debt limit threat goes off the rails

    Posted by Jonathan Bernstein on April 29, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    In 2010, Republicans threatened to put the nation into default unless Democrats agreed to fulfill every wild conservative wish, more or less, about the size of government.

    This time? Apparently, Republicans are planning to threaten default unless they get … tax reform!

    That’s the takeaway from a nice Post story about GOP strategy heading into the need to raise the debt limit this summer. The problem, basically, is that Republicans have already cut discretionary spending deeply thanks to sequestration, so it’s relatively hard for them to ask for that. What about entitlement cuts? Yes, Republicans had previously claimed they wanted entitlement cuts, and in his budget, Obama offered them Chained CPI on Social Security. But while cutting “entitlements” in the abstract is a big attraction for many conservatives, cutting Social Security and Medicare – which is what cutting entitlements actually means — is unpopular. So — while this is not entirely clear cut or decided — House Republicans apparently have suddenly decided they don’t want to ask for those in exchange for the debt limit hike, either.

    Instead, they are considering forcing the Democrats to go along with them on tax reform. Jonathan Chait had some fun with this by noting that the main difference between the parties on tax reform is that Republicans insist on revenue-neutral tax reform while Democrats want net revenue increases, which means that Republicans would be threatening to default the nation unless Democrats … agree to larger deficits.

    What I’d point out, in terms of how ridiculous this is, is that Republicans don’t have a tax reform bill for anyone to agree with. Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp is “vowing to draft complete legislation by the end of the year.” Not pass a bill in the House; not even pass a bill through committee — sure, in the party-run House, it’s possible that those will follow once a bill is ready, but there are no guarantees. Remember, the debt limit showdown is coming this summer. So what this means is that Republicans apparently are ready to insist on Dems agreeing to their this fictional legislation in exchange for the debt limit hike, but months before that legislation sees the light of day. This is not just a rhetorical demand: Republicans are asking for this in exchange for not destroying the economy.

    The plain truth here is pretty obvious: Republicans love the idea of extorting concessions in exchange for agreeing to a debt limit hike, and are determined to do it even when they don’t actually have any real policy demands. It’s just extortion for extortion’s sake.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/04/29/gops-debt-limit-threat-goes-off-the-rails/

  21. rikyrah says:

    Dems need a tough and united front on sequestration

    Posted by Greg Sargent on April 29, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    By agreeing to give the FAA flexibility in implementing the sequester, in response to the outcry over flight delays, Democrats effectively squandered their leverage in the sequester battle, by signaling that they will selectively undo its effects when the political going gets tough. Does that mean they’ve lost the sequester fight completely?

    In an interview this morning, Dem Rep. Chris Van Hollen — a top party strategist — was surprisingly frank in conceding that Dems had given away crucial leverage by agreeing to the FAA fix. But he said Dems could still make up some of that lost ground — and called on them not to agree to any more targeted sequester fixes.

    “We have certainly made it more difficult to stand firm going forward,” Van Hollen told me. “But we’re going to have to reclaim some lost ground here. We cannot have a situation where people just cherry-pick the sequester.”

    Van Hollen bluntly suggested that Dems — in agreeing to just a targeted FAA fix — had sent a message about Congress that it’s only responsive to powerful interests.

    “If you do that, you’re attacking the symptoms rather than the underlying cause,” Van Hollen said. “When you do that, what happens is the most politically strong groups with the most lobbyists get relief, at the expense of everybody else. Meals on Wheels, or kids on Head Start, or grants on biomedical research — all of those get left behind.”

    Indeed, as the Huffington Post demonstrates, those cuts are really set to devastate programs like Meals on Wheels, causing a real human toll.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/04/29/dems-need-a-tough-and-united-front-on-sequestration/

  22. rikyrah says:

    How to make enemies and alienate people

    By Steve Benen
    Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:32 AM EDT.

    As we discussed a month ago, Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) career on Capitol Hill is off to a difficult start. The Atlantic noted “a remarkable number of both Republicans and Democrats” have already come forward “to say that they think Cruz is kind of a jerk.” The New York Times added that “even some Republican colleagues are growing publicly frustrated” with the right-wing freshman.

    It can, however, get worse. In fact, Cruz seems to be going out of his way to make enemies and alienate people.

    Just a few days ago, Cruz made an unannounced appearance at the FreedomWorks Texas Summit, where he openly mocked his Senate Republican colleagues, calling them “squishes” who don’t like to be held accountable.

    “Here was their argument,” Cruz said of Senate Republican. “They said: ‘Listen, before you did this, the politics of it were great. The Democrats were the bad guys. The Republicans were the good guys. Now we all look like a bunch of squishes.’ “Well, there is an alternative: you could just not be a bunch of squishes.”

    It’s worth pausing to appreciate the irony: Cruz was the one afraid of a debate on reducing gun violence, and it was his GOP colleagues who were kowtowed into ignoring common sense and popular will.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/04/30/17984071-how-to-make-enemies-and-alienate-people?lite

  23. rikyrah says:

    The season finale for The Following..

    Just gonna say…

    Creepy…

    and

    Damn!

  24. Ametia says:

    I’m with you Eugene. The Neo cons are banging the war drums

    In Syria, U.S. inaction is better than intervention
    By Eugene Robinson,
    Published: April 29

    President Obama is right to resist the mounting pressure for military intervention in Syria. Action by U.S. forces may or may not make the situation better — but certainly could make things worse.

    This assessment could change, of course. It would be reasonable to consider intervention if such action were necessary to protect U.S. national security interests or prevent the kind of genocide we saw in Rwanda. At present, neither condition is met.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-in-syria-us-inaction-is-better-than-intervention/2013/04/29/2dd8ec06-b103-11e2-bbf2-a6f9e9d79e19_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions

  25. Ametia says:

    PBO has a presser at 10:15 a.m. this morning.

  26. rikyrah says:

    The OJays….rocking choice!

  27. richstarinc says:

    Reblogged this on richstarinc and commented:
    THE KINGS

  28. rikyrah says:

    Good morning, Everyone.

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