Wednesday Open Thread

Christmas Candles 47Santa Baby was originally recorded by Eartha Kitt with Heri René and his orchestra in New York city on October 6, 1953. It was released by RCA Victor Records as catalog number 20-5502 (in USA)[3] and by EMI on the His Master’s Voice as catalog numer B 10728. The song was a huge hit for Kitt, and she later said that it was one of her favorite songs to record. A sequel, “This Year’s Santa Baby”, was recorded by Kitt in 1954, to no commercial success; Kitt also reprised the original song in a 1963 re-recording for Kapp Records, with a more uptempo arrangement. (Madonna‘s popular rendition for the 1987 charity album A Very Special Christmas is based on this latter version.) The song was featured in the 1989 film Driving Miss Daisy.

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About SouthernGirl2

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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103 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Ametia and SG2,
    Larry O had a wonderful segment on tonight’s show about a Black Cub Scout Troop from Birmingham that gave him the largest donation to his African charity. Please post it

  2. rikyrah says:

    Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs have decided to split after being married for 10 years.

    “Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs have jointly decided to separate at this time,” reps for the couple shared to People. “Their primary focus and concern is for their son. We ask that you respect their privacy during this time.”

    In the mid-1990s, Idina and Taye met while working as part of the cast of the original production of the Broadway musical Rent. They share one son Walker together, who was born in 2009.

    http://www.justjared.com/2013/12/11/idina-menzel-taye-diggs-split-after-10-years-of-marriage/

  3. rikyrah says:

    Was Naomi Campbell’s Skin Whitened for Her Vogue Thailand Cover? Photographer Marcin Tyszka Responds

    Vogue Thailand’s November Issue cover featuring Naomi Campbell (above) was first posted to Facebook yesterday by photographer Marcin Tyszka, who shot the cover image and editorial spread. The response was immediate and in the tFS Forums, mostly unfavorable, with some members suggesting that the publication had whitewashed Campbell’s skin: “Naomi was recently a guest on the Jonathan Ross show and her skin was beautifully dark,” wrote Cosmic Voices. “It’s such a shame that retouchers aren’t only over-Photoshopping but in fact lightning skin tone.”

    http://www.thefashionspot.com/buzz-news/latest-news/346109-cover-photographer-marcin-tyszka-responds-to-accusations-that-naomi-campbell/

  4. rikyrah says:

    photo/1

  5. Ametia says:

    Luvvie at the White House! Fabulous pics and write up.

    I Went to the White House, Saw the President and Pope Strutted
    December 8, 2013 | Luvvie

    head on over and give her some props and love.
    http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com/2013/12/white-house-youth-summit.html

  6. rikyrah says:

    Erykah Badu Is The Face Of Givenchy’s New Campaign

    Yaaaaaaaas! posted on December 11, 2013 at 4:46pm ES
    Tracy Clayton

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/tracyclayton/erykah-badu-is-the-face-of-givenchys-new-campaign

  7. Ametia says:

    SG2; where are you?

    Zimmerman won’t be charged with threatening girlfriend

    Florida prosecutors said Wednesday that they would not file domestic violence charges against George Zimmerman after his girlfriend told police he had pointed a shotgun at her three weeks ago.

    The move comes two days after Zimmerman submitted an affidavit from Samantha Scheibe stating she did not want “my boyfriend” charged with aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief. She said investigators had misinterpreted her statements about the Nov. 18 incident at the home in Apopka, Seminole County, that she had been sharing with Zimmerman.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/12/11/george-zimmerman-domestic-violence/3990653/

  8. Yahtc says:

    “Brotherly Love Goes Viral”

  9. Oh lOOK, there’s George W Bush & Potus. Michelle is smiling so beautiful with Laura. Why didn’t the media show these photos?

    Bush and Obama

  10. rikyrah says:

    Read this post and see if you don’t tear up. Makes me proud to support our President. This is a wonderful testimony as to the character of our President.

    Validation

    http://allreilledup.com/2012/11/validation/#.Uqi2ubu9LCR

  11. Ametia says:

    SOUTH AFRICA-untitled

    South Africans await the arrival of President Obama at the Nelson Mandela memorial service. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

  12. rikyrah says:

    December 10, 2013 5:29 PM
    Two Polls, Two Narratives
    By Ed Kilgore

    If you wonder how and why political people cherry-pick public opinion surveys to reinforce their “narratives” of what’s actually happening, there’s an excellent example today.

    The GOP line is that Obama is sinking into irretrievable Bush-second-term-land, his credibility being fatally eroded by Obamacare’s problems. Handily for this point of view, Quinnipiac’s got a new survey out showing the president’s job approval rating sagging to an all-time low (38/57), worse even that last month’s all-time low of 39/54.

    The Democratic line is that with HealthCare.gov’s performance slowly improving and attention refocusing on other issues, the November slough for the president is over. And sure enough, a new Pew survey has his approval ratio back up to 45/49 (after bottoming out at 41/53 last month), pretty much where it was before all the HealthCare.gov brouhaha.

    The two polls were taken at the same time with roughly equal samples, though Quinnipiac’s was limited to registered voters while Pew polled “adults.” Q-Pac has in the recent past been generally on the low end of measurements of Obama’s approval ratings, for whatever that’s worth.

    So: pick your poll and pick your narrative, or better yet, wait until a lot more evidence is in.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2013_12/two_polls_two_narratives048145.php

  13. rikyrah says:

    December 09, 2013 9:52 AM
    A Disservice
    By Ed Kilgore

    If Rand Paul would just come out and say (as his muse Ayn Rand would not have hesitated to do) the long-term unemployed are worthless people the Almighty Market has judged as disposable, I might at least respect his position that unemployment benefits should be denied after 26 weeks, regardless of economic conditions. If he claimed we just can’t afford it, that, too, would be a position worth arguing about.

    But his contention that helping people secure food, shelter and other necessities is a “disservice” to the long-term unemployed is really annoying, right up there with Paul Ryan’s perpetual claims that his budget proposals are anti-poverty measures.

    The paternalism reflected in these attitudes is obviously breathtaking. If the long-term unemployed actually could go out and get jobs and are simply refusing to do so because they prefer living on next to nothing at public expense, then Paul might well be righteously angry at them, not condescending. If he’s wrong about their motives and their opportunities, then again, he should come right out and say it’s not America’s problem that they can’t find jobs.

    Where Paul and Ryan alike go fatally adrift is in identifying economic success with virtue, and lack of success with a lack of virtue. Thus we are to believe that when the housing and financial markets collapsed late in the Bush administration, many millions of people suddenly lost their character along with their financial assets and their jobs. And so many conservatives think using public resources to help them is by definition the subsidization of vice.

    If, of course, the Great Recession and the period since is in fact not a passion play about the consequences of national profligacy exemplified by easy credit for those people, and is instead, as the evidence everywhere suggests, a classic demand-side depression, then the long-term unemployed aren’t moral lepers but largely the victims of bad policy, and helping them isn’t a moral hazard but part of an intelligent strategy for boosting consumer demand, as Paul Krugman points out in his latest column.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2013_12/a_disservice048114.php

  14. rikyrah says:

    December 10, 2013 2:09 PM
    Republicans’ Devious New Plan to Kick the Poor
    Now they’re trying to make it harder for families on food stamps to save money.
    By Rachel Cohen

    As the House and Senate Agriculture committees attempt to hash out a final version of the farm bill, food stamps are at the center of the fray. The House version proposed almost $40 billion in cuts to SNAP over the next decade, while the Senate proposed cutting only a fraction of that—just over $4 billion. But last week, the Senate announced it would consider steeper cuts to SNAP.

    As the negotiations continue, the House is wielding its most significant bargaining chip—the threat to eliminate what’s known as “broad-based categorical eligibility,” a mechanism that 43 states use to adjust or eliminate federally imposed asset limits for families’ food stamp eligibility.

    As it is, the federal asset limit for SNAP is $2,000; families with more than that in savings or investments are, according to federal law, ineligible for food stamps. While these limits were originally designed to deter rich individuals from abusing the system, New America Foundation asset policy researcher Aleta Sprague argues that, in practice, most states now recognize they are an “an antiquated and regressive policy.”

    In an effort to work around the federal limit, states have relied on “broad-based categorical eligibility” to raise state asset limits well above the federal level, or to eliminate them entirely. Nebraska’s asset limit, for example, is $25,000; 36 other states no longer have them at all. House negotiators have proposed scrapping the categorical eligibility provision, forcing states to re-impose the federal asset limit of $2000.

    This would be a disaster. For one, federal asset limits impose high logistical costs on the state-administered programs, whose staffs would be called upon to investigate all applicants’ assets—a time consuming process complicated by the fact that what qualifies as an asset varies from state to state, as does the way states go about verifying the assets. Reinstating these costs is simply not efficient: the average household receiving SNAP benefits has only $333 in total assets.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/ten-miles-square/2013/12/republicans_devious_new_plan_t048139.php

  15. rikyrah says:

    Being President While Black is REAL

    ………

    Obama Gets Little Credit for Economy From Most in Poll
    By Mike Dorning Dec 10, 2013 7:00 PM CT

    President Barack Obama gets little credit from the public for economic progress under his watch as his job approval has plummeted to a new low of 42 percent in the Bloomberg National Poll.

    Americans by 50 percent to 45 percent say improvements in the unemployment rate would have happened regardless of anything the Obama administration has done. Sixty percent say he isn’t responsible for a turnaround in housing and 64 percent don’t give him credit for surging stock prices, according to the telephone poll of 1,004 Americans taken Dec. 6-9.

    “It’s more of a natural progression than anything: When the economy goes down, it also will go back up,” said Alexis Zmijeski, 21, of Smithfield, Rhode Island, a college senior and Democrat who voted to re-elect Obama. “Another president could have gotten the same results even if they implemented different policies

    Public skepticism of an Obama role in the economic rebound is an obstacle to Democratic success in the 2014 midterm congressional elections and could undermine the political legacy of a president who arrived in office confronting the aftermath of the largest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

    “It’s obviously damaging to Democrats as a party that voters can’t connect the dots between the president’s policies and the kind of economic recovery that takes place,” said Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University. “Of all the issues, that’s the one that parties can really thrive on, when voters think that a party has helped the economy do well.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-11/obama-gets-little-credit-from-most-in-poll-for-economy.html

    • Ametia says:

      This article is some bullshit.. What universe did the author come from?

    • TyrenM says:

      Ms. Zmijeski of Smithfield, RI – Wild guess, privileged Caucasian female who never wanted for anything in life. Laws of Economics be damned, if Thurston Howell IV would have been elected, she would have found out how small she really is. Her awakening can come another day.

  16. rikyrah says:

    photo/1

  17. rikyrah says:

    Let House Republicans Find the Votes

    by BooMan
    Wed Dec 11th, 2013 at 11:27:32 AM EST

    If I were a congressional Democrat under orders to vote for this deal, I would tell the leadership to stuff it. It’s obvious that the Republican leadership is desperate to avoid another government shutdown, and it appears that Speaker Boehner will have to rely heavily on Democratic votes to pass this budget. If it doesn’t do anything for people who have been out of work for a year or more, then the bill is unconscionable and should not be supported. Even from a cynical political point of view, it’s better to force the Republicans into another government shutdown than it is to impotently criticize them for their callousness.

    If the Dems can’t help desperate people during the holiday season when the GOP is eager to make a deal, then they can’t help them at all. If the House Republicans want this budget, let them vote for it. If they want progressive votes, let them come to us with an offer. This deal isn’t good enough.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2013/12/11/112732/21

  18. Ametia says:

    The chief of staff for Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is under investigation for allegations involving child pornography.

    On Wednesday morning, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced that he was suspending his chief of staff, Ryan Loskarn, who was being investigated by law enforcement for “allegations involving child pornography.” In a release, Alexander, a two-term senator who previously served as the Volunteer State’s governor, said “I am stunned, surprised and disappointed.” The Tennessee Republican said his office was cooperating fully and that Loskarn would be placed on unpaid adminstrative leave.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/11/senate-aide-in-child-porn-bust.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=cheatsheet_afternoon&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bcheatsheet_afternoon&utm_term=Cheat%20Sheet#url=/articles/2013/12/11/senate-aide-in-child-porn-bust.html

  19. rikyrah says:

    December 11, 2013 9:58 AM
    The Budget Deal
    By Ed Kilgore

    As has been expected since the weekend, Patty Murray and Paul Ryan have come up with a budget deal that bipartisan congressional leaders (and the White House) will now try to rush through Congress before it adjourns for the year.

    It’s an actual deal that is designed to run for two fiscal years, not just another stopgap measure. It easily meets the deadline set out in the agreement that ended the recent government shutdown, and presumably will also make the next debt limit increase a bit easier to secure. That’s good not only for those who like their politics and governing lukewarm, but probably good also for the economy as a whole.

    Relief from the appropriations sequester established in 2011 is the main beneficiary of the deal, with $45 billion in restored spending authorized for FY 2014 and $20 billion for FY 2015 (both divided evenly between defense and non-defense accounts). The non-defense restoration represents about two-thirds of the planned sequester, so it’s not peanuts.

    Another $20 billion is burned up at the altar of the decaying Beltway idol of deficit reduction. And the total of $85 billion in “savings” in the deal comes mainly from significantly higher pension contributions by new federal employees and new fees on commercial air travel.

    What’s excluded from the deal is pretty remarkable given past budget negotiations. All the “grand bargain” stuff—higher taxes on the wealthy, “reforms” to entitlements—was left out entirely. There were no symbolic nicks to Obamacare funding, best I can tell. And the deal left in place Medicare provider cuts that both health care lobbyists and many Republicans were screaming about.

    Most importantly, the deal left out an extension of unemployment (UI) benefits for the million or so people who will run out of benefits—and out of luck—at year’s end. Individual pain aside, that will greatly undermine if not completely cancel the stimulative effect of the deal. It will also represent something of an official surrender by the federal government on unemployment, since the long-term unemployed are increasingly who we are talking about (short-term unemployment is now lower than it was in 2007).

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2013_12/the_budget_deal048148.php?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

  20. rikyrah says:

    The time for ‘jokes and fairy tales’ is over
    12/11/13 10:15 AM—Updated 12/11/13 01:15 PM
    By Steve Benen

    We’ve been keeping a close eye on a burgeoning controversy out of New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) administration has been accused of crippling a community with brutal traffic because its mayor refused to endorse the governor’s re-election campaign. The editorial board of the Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s largest newspaper, raises the stakes in a new piece today.

    The first time Bill Baroni spoke to lawmakers about the George Washington Bridge brouhaha, it was a laugher. That was just two weeks ago, when Baroni, deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, blamed a secret “traffic study” for traffic jams that crippled Fort Lee in September.

    Now that his cover story is starting to unravel, legislators should subpoena Baroni to testify again – this time under oath, with the threat of perjury hanging over his head.

    Baroni wants us to believe the Port Authority was studying the bridge’s traffic patterns when it blockaded two-thirds of Fort Lee’s entry lanes, sparking three days of gridlock starting Sept. 9. The agency, he testified, wanted to measure the effect of the Fort Lee shutdown on other bridge traffic…. Nobody involved with George Washington Bridge’s operations knew anything about Baroni’s phantom “study.”

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/the-time-jokes-and-fairy-tales-over

  21. rikyrah says:

    Joy Reid ✔ @TheReidReport
    Follow
    See, how it works is Republican presidents get to sell arms to dictatorial govts and support apartheid-practicing ones. Dems? No handshakes!

    9:37 PM – 10 Dec 2013

  22. Sooky! Sooky! Potus is TOO smooth.

    Barack Obama kissing Michelle Hand

  23. rikyrah says:

    Nelson Mandela lies in state in Pretoria; throngs expected to pay respects
    By Jethro Mullen and Ed Payne, CNN
    updated 8:05 AM EST, Wed December 11, 2013

    Heads bowed, solemn, they filed by.

    The rich, the powerful. The famous and the family. All of them bidding goodbye to anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela on Wednesday, the first of three days his body will lie in state at the seat of South Africa’s government.

    First was South African President Jacob Zuma, then came Mandela’s widow Graça Machel and former wife Winnie Mandela, both wearing black turbans.

    In near silence, dozens of family members passed by as military honor guards dressed in white flanked the coffin on each end.

    There were others too. Former South African leaders Thabo Mbeki and F.W. de Klerk, the country’s last apartheid-era president and Nobel Peace Prize winner. U2′s Bono also paused for a moment before moving on. So did Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/11/world/africa/nelson-mandela-death/

  24. Ametia says:

    Tyren, let’s give the folks a preview of Holidazzle Parade! Love the Caribou Coffee skyway @ Gavidae.

  25. rikyrah says:

    The Gun Lobby’s Stealth Assault on Small Town America

    Since Newtown, a pro-gun group has bullied local governments into repealing firearms ordinances.
    By Hannah Levintova| Wed Dec. 11, 2013 3:00 AM GMT

    This past spring, strangely similar pieces of mail started arriving at the offices of city attorneys in 28 Maryland communities. The tersely worded letters, many dated March 26, warned each town that some of its firearms laws were illegal and needed to be repealed immediately. Takoma Park’s letter claimed that ordinances against carrying unlocked guns and possessing or selling guns in public places “grossly” exceeded state law and should be taken off the books, “out of respect for the rule of law.” All of the letters warned that failure to comply would put the towns “at risk for a lawsuit.”

    “Once in a blue moon we get these kinds of letters from activist organizations,” says Ryan Spiegel, vice president of the Montgomery County chapter of the Maryland Municipal League and a member of the Gaithersburg city council. What felt different this time, he says, was the coordination—and the timing: Just a month earlier, the Maryland Senate had passed some of the country’s toughest gun control measures in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

    The letters came from the Second Amendment Foundation, a prominent pro-gun legal-defense organization, as part of a quiet but mounting campaign to strike down local gun laws across the country. So far, SAF has sent out about 425 letters to cities, towns, and counties in Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington and has announced plans to target hundreds more local laws.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/12/gun-laws-second-amendment-foundation

  26. rikyrah says:

    What a whiny bitchass

    Greenwald Attacks Time For Person Of The Year Selection: ‘A Meaningless Award From A Meaningless Magazine’
    TOM KLUDT – DECEMBER 11, 2013, 10:13 AM EST2319

    Glenn Greenwald ridiculed Time on Wednesday for the magazine’s decision to name Pope Francis — and not Edward Snowden — its “person of the year” for 2013.

    In an email to TPM, Greenwald, who has reported extensively on the National Security Agency’s top secret surveillance programs revealed by Snowden, said that the selection was motivated by Time’s desire to be “relevant” — if only for a moment.

    “It’s a meaningless award from a meaningless magazine, designed to achieve the impossible: to make TIME relevant and interesting for a few fleeting moments,” he wrote.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/greenwald-mocks-time-for-person-of-the-year-selection/

    • TyrenM says:

      Good Morning Ametia,
      This is wrong on so many levels. Wow. I would have been thrown out of school. He doesn’t seem slow and she doesn’t seem to feel victimized – there’s no way this should be on his record. Glad this wasn’t 1 of ours but still. SMDH.

      • Ametia says:

        Hi Tryen. It’s sheer and utter MADNESS. If anyone should be charged with sexual harrassment, it’s the GOP and their attempts to get into our Va-jay jays!

  27. rikyrah says:

    The Plum Line
    The Morning Plum: Have Obama and the health law bottomed out?
    By Greg Sargent
    December 11 at 9:21 am

    It’s too soon to reach any definitive conclusions. But new polls suggest Democrats can hit the pause button on their full blown panic about the health law’s political impact.

    Yes, the new NBC/WSJ poll contains absolutely awful numbers for Obama and the Affordable Care Act. Fifty-four percent disapprove of the president, the highest of his tenure. He has slipped in key categories, such as honesty and crisis management. Half the country says the law is a bad idea. Notably, a majority says by 51-43 that they are bothered more by the terrible rollout and people losing plans than by GOP efforts to sabotage the law. Republicans are still mostly winning the public opinion war over the ACA.

    But the poll also finds only 26 percent favor total elimination of the law. (Republicans will argue another 31 percent favors a major overhaul, which is true, but Dems can try to speak to that with a “keep and fix” message, while Republicans are trapped in a total repeal stance.) Also: 58 percent say it hasn’t had much of an impact on them; and Dems still hold a six point edge on the health care issue. After a crush of truly horrific press about the ACA, only one quarter of the country wants to get rid of the law, suggesting the law is probably still on probation with many voters, despite all its problems – meaning there may still be room to turn things around.

    Meanwhile, a New York Times poll similarly finds half the country disapproves of the law and Obama’s approval rating is at 42 percent, but both of those are improvements since November. The Times headline — “Obama sees a rebound in approval ratings — seems like a big reach. But this claim from the article seems fair: “The political fallout from the website’s start-up might be over.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/12/11/the-morning-plum-have-obama-and-the-health-law-bottomed-out/

  28. rikyrah says:

    Iowa Wants Its Poor to Give Up Smoking and Drinking to Qualify for Medicaid
    By Kevin Drum
    Tue Dec. 10, 2013 3:30 PM GMT

    The Obama administration gave Iowa a waiver today to expand Medicaid along lines similar to what Arkansas did earlier this year, in which Medicaid dollars will be used to buy insurance in the private marketplace. I’m OK with this as an experiment, and curious to see how it turns out. But there was another wrinkle to Iowa’s waiver application:

    Iowa wanted to do something different. Gov. Terry Branstad (R) wanted to charge a small premium for Medicaid enrollees who earn between 50 percent and 133 percent of the poverty line. In the Arkansas plan, there were no premiums at all.

    Health and Human Services essentially split the difference with the state here: They’re allowing premiums for those who earn between 100 percent and 133 percent of the federal poverty line, but not for those who earn below that. The premiums are limited at 2 percent of income (for someone at the poverty line, this is about $19 a month), and enrollees have the chance to reduce their payment by participating in a wellness program.

    Hmmm. Iowa’s waiver application doesn’t describe this wellness program (a draft protocol will be submitted next March), but it does provide a hint about its goals:

    The state shall submit for approval a draft section of the protocol related to year 1 Healthy Behavior Incentives including, at a minimum….the health risk assessment used to identify unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol abuse, substance use disorders, tobacco use, obesity, and deficiencies in immunization status.

    A single person at 50 percent of the poverty line makes less than $500 per month. That’s obviously not someone who can afford even a nickel in extra expenses. But that was the income level in Iowa’s initial application, which means that for all practical purposes the original goal of this program was to (a) deny government benefits to poor people who are smokers, drinkers, drug users, or overweight, but (b) provide the benefits if these poor people agree to fairly intrusive government monitoring that ensures they improve these behaviors.

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/12/iowa-wants-its-poor-give-smoking-and-drinking-qualify-medicaid

  29. rikyrah says:

    THIS is a Power Couple. Love FLOTUS’ coat.

    first couple returning from South Africa

  30. rikyrah says:

    I believe the Democrats are wrong and the GOP is just fucking evil.

    Going over the ‘unemployment cliff’
    12/11/13 08:40 AM—Updated 12/11/13 09:05 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Federal emergency unemployment benefits will expire for 1.3 million struggling Americans in just two weeks. President Obama used his weekly address a few days ago to raise the visibility of the issue and urge Congress to act before it’s too late.

    And while many have wondered whether congressional Republicans are actually prepared to follow through on this, cutting off jobless aid for Christmas, we apparently have our answer

    The [bipartisan budget deal announced last night] doesn’t include any extension of unemployment insurance – and no such extension is forthcoming. During the negotiations, Republicans proved hostile even to limited extensions in unemployment insurance. Right now, the House is expected to vote on Friday to pass the budget deal…. They’re expected to let unemployment benefits for 1.3 million long-term unemployed expire.

    The prospect for 11th-hour heroics is remote, at best. House members are planning to wrap up their work for the year on Friday, and the chamber won’t return until January – well after the Dec. 28 deadline. Democratic proponents of extending unemployment benefits in the budget agreement came up empty.

    There’s still some talk of attaching an extension to some other must-pass bill – the farm bill, the “doc fix,” etc. – but Democrats are running into fierce resistance from Republicans, who simply do not want to act before the deadline.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/going-over-the-unemployment-cliff

  31. rikyrah says:

    Obama Smacks Down The Republican Hysteria Over the Castro Handshake
    By: Jason Easley
    Tuesday, December, 10th, 2013, 5:00 pm

    The White House had a simple explanation for the handshake that has whipped the right into a frenzy, “Nothing was planned in terms of the president’s role other than his remarks,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters traveling with Obama. “He really didn’t do more than exchange greetings with those leaders on his way to speak, it wasn’t a substantive discussion.”

    Republicans are outraged because President Obama was too polite to Raul Castro at a memorial service. I guess the appropriate response in the Republican mind would have been to ignore the lessons of Mandela, and treat Cuba like a lifetime enemy.

    It is silly that the White House had to put out a statement about this, but the media and Republicans ran with it. Republicans went ballistic, because to them this handshake was proof of Obama’s communism. (McCain’s motive was different. He is still bitter over 2008, so he goes out of his way to criticize the president’s foreign policy leadership.) Republicans are petty children who will use anything in their endless attempts to delegitimize this president’s leadership.

    Sometimes a handshake is just a handshake, but the Republican barbarians don’t understand manners, so be prepared for lots of talk of this being proof of Obama’s commie ways.

    http://www.politicususa.com/2013/12/10/obama-smacks-republican-hysteria-castro-handshake.html

  32. rikyrah says:

    Another potential boost for Obamacare
    By Greg Sargent
    December 10 at 1:49 pm

    Opponents of the Affordable Care Act tend to suggest expanded coverage resulting from the law’s Medicaid expansion somehow doesn’t really count as success. But the law’s goal is to expand coverage, and the Medicaid expansion is one of the tools it utilizes to accomplish that.

    And here’s another way the Medicaid expansion could succeed — continuing to grow the built-in constituencies that will benefit from the Affordable Care Act.

    I’m told that the Department of Health and Human Services has just notified Iowa that it is prepared to grant the state a waiver to pursue much of what it has asked for in response to its request for HHS approval to expand Medicaid-funded coverage to low income Iowans on the state’s own terms. “Iowa has proposed a lot of innovative ideas around the Medicaid expansion, and we’re really pleased to approve the waiver today,” an HHS official tells me.

    This could make it more likely Iowa takes federal money to expand coverage — which could impact as many as 150,000 people — and that, in turn, could also signal that other states similarly looking to expand Medicaid in their own way could have an easier time doing that. This is a way out for Republican governors who are hostile to the law, but under internal pressure to accommodate the Medicaid expansion, since it means bucket-loads of federal money to cover their own constituents.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/12/10/another-potential-boost-for-obamacare/

  33. rikyrah says:

    Pope Francis named Time’s 2013 Person of the Year
    Eun Kyung Kim TODAY

    Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pontiff who won hearts and headlines with his humility and common touch, was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2013, the magazine revealed Wednesday on TODAY.

    The iconic title goes every year to the individual chosen by Time editors as someone who has had the most impact on the world and the news — for better or worse — over the past year.

    “It was a very interesting choice this year,” said managing editor Nancy Gibbs Wednesday.

    The magazine staff makes the ultimate decision, Gibbs said, but they poll readers and take public opinion into account.

    Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told TODAY in a statement that “the Holy Father is not looking to become famous or to receive honors. But if the choice of Person of Year helps spread the message of the gospel — a message of God’s love for everyone — he will certainly be happy about that.”

    http://www.today.com/news/pope-francis-named-times-2013-person-year-2D11723759

  34. rikyrah says:

    The story behind “that selfie”

    By Roberto Schmidt

    …Anyway, suddenly this woman pulled out her mobile phone and took a photo of herself smiling with Cameron and the US president. I captured the scene reflexively. All around me in the stadium, South Africans were dancing, singing and laughing to honour their departed leader. It was more like a carnival atmosphere, not at all morbid. The ceremony had already gone on for two hours and would last another two. The atmosphere was totally relaxed – I didn’t see anything shocking in my viewfinder, president of the US or not. We are in Africa.

    I later read on social media that Michelle Obama seemed to be rather
    peeved on seeing the Danish prime minister take the picture. But photos can lie. In reality, just a few seconds earlier the first lady was
    herself joking with those around her, Cameron and Schmidt included. Her stern look was captured by chance.

    I took these photos totally spontaneously, without thinking about
    what impact they might have. At the time, I thought the world leaders
    were simply acting like human beings, like me and you. I doubt anyone could have remained totally stony faced for the duration of the
    ceremony, while tens of thousands of people were celebrating in the
    stadium. For me, the behaviour of these leaders in snapping a selfie
    seems perfectly natural. I see nothing to complain about, and probably would have done the same in their place. The AFP team worked hard to display the reaction that South African people had for the passing of someone they consider as a father. We moved about 500 pictures, trying to portray their true feelings, and this seemingly trivial image seems to have eclipsed much of this collective work.

    http://blogs.afp.com/correspondent/?post/Selfie

  35. rikyrah says:

    Why Boehner’s re-election bid matters
    12/10/13 04:44 PM
    By Steve Benen

    It went by largely unnoticed, but House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) published a blog item yesterday that made a little news: he’s not retiring.

    Before heading to D.C. today to continue the fight on behalf of families and workers hurting under the president’s fundamentally flawed health care law, Speaker Boehner stopped by the Butler County Board of Elections to file petitions to seek re-election.

    Yes, the way all Republican paragraphs are structured in 2013, condemnations of the Affordable Care Act must be incorporated into unrelated news items.

    Awkward writing notwithstanding, Boehner’s re-election campaign was hardly a foregone conclusion. On the contrary, the Huffington Post reported in September that the Speaker’s former aides and a variety of high-level GOP operatives are “increasingly convinced” he will step down after the 2014 midterms. A former Republican leadership aide who is part of Boehner’s circle told Ryan Grim and Jon Ward , “Everybody around him thinks this is his last term.”

    Another former senior Boehner aide said, “I’d be surprised if he did [stay].” Another party operative added, “The natural assumption is that he leaves. It’s the overwhelming, working assumption as people are making strategy going into 2015 and 2016.”

    Barring an 11th hour change of heart, it now appears those assumptions are incorrect. So why should anyone outside Boehner’s southwestern Ohio district care? Because the Speaker’s decision to run rather retire has a significant impact on Congress’ willingness (and ability) to govern over the next year. Yesterday’s news carries broader implications that aren’t often talked about.

    Revisiting an item from September, my Grand Unified Theory of Boehner has long held that the Speaker’s political instincts are fairly sound – he’s perfectly comfortable striking deals, reaching compromises, passing bills, and governing in a traditional way. None of this has happened since he became Speaker, of course, because he leads a radicalized caucus that has no such appetite for legislative success – on anything.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/why-boehners-re-election-bid-matters

  36. rikyrah says:

    Hey SG2,

    I had to break out the Winter Boots today.

    As Ametia knows…the Winter Boots are different than just boots, and also different than Blizzard Boots.

    I’m still wearing the Eskimo coat, though.

    Waiting for the temps to break into the 20′s so that I can go back to wearing my Winter Coat.

    LOL

    • Ametia says:

      I’ve been wearing these outside for the past week. And temps are going up to 20 tomorrow. YIPPEEEEEE!

      MYBOOTS-15002023_Alt03_201311130343

    • Liza says:

      It is getting into the 30′s at night in Tucson. We are using our winter comforters plus I’m using the heaviest blanket I own with it. What is so funny about Tucson right now is that you see people wearing boots and coats but you also see people in shorts and tee shirts. I always suspect the ones in shorts are here from the north and our winter feels like springtime to them. I hope ya’ll get back up to the 20s soon.

  37. rikyrah says:

    These series of tweets made me think:

    Makes u stop and think…..the possible

    Oliver Willis ‏@owillis12m
    when i was a kid in the late 80s, we thought mandela would never be free and the wall would never come down. the impossible is possible.

    Eric Haywood ‏@Eric_Haywood9m
    @owillis And the idea that there’d ever be a black POTUS was *literally* a joke back then.

    Eric Kleefeld ‏@EricKleefeld5m
    @Eric_Haywood @owillis We are the last generation who will remember, that was a recurring sketch-comedy routine.

    You think about all the Black comedians who did the Black President joke, going back to Richard Pryor’s classic skit:

    Eddie Murphy about the in-shape Black President:

    Dave Chappelle

    Chris Rock on Colin Powell running

    Paul Mooney – Obama beat yo mama

    Chris Rock about John McCain ,Barack Obama and Flava Flav

  38. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  39. CarolMaeWY says:

    Thank you for bring us Holiday Cheer. Merry Christmas.
    This is so much better than Madonna’s version.

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