Thursday Open Thread

The Isley Brothers(pronounced /ˈaɪzliː/; EYES-lee) are a successful and long-running American music group consisting of different line-ups of six brothers, and a brother-in-law, Chris Jasper. The founding members were O’Kelly Isley, Jr., Rudolph Isley, Ronald Isley and Vernon Isley.

Starting their careers in the gospel performing circuit in the early 1950s, they eventually crossed over to secular music first finding modest success in doo-wop until the release of their first million-selling hit, “Shout”, in 1959. After several flops resulted in them being dropped from their record label, they found success again with sixties hits such as “Twist & Shout”, later covered successfully by The Beatles and the Motown hit, “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” in 1962 and 1966 respectively. The group didn’t find success again until the end of the decade when their 1969 single, “It’s Your Thing“, (with Ernie Isley on bass guitar) was released. The song brought them success in the then-fledgling funk genre.

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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96 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Look@this shit

  2. Ametia says:



  3. Ametia says:

    Feingold to headline Netroots Nation 2011 in Minneapolis
    By Paul Schmelzer | 03.17.11 | 12:26 pm
    Netroots Nation had a strong Minnesota presence last year: Sen. Al Franken gave the keynote, and as he finished up, he announced that the progressive blog conference would be hosted by Minneapolis in 2011. Today, another midwestern angle was announced: Franken’s former Senate colleague, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, will be giving an address to kick off the June 16-19 summit.

    Feingold, whose name has been brought up repeatedly as a challenger to Gov. Scott Walker next election or should a recall effort be successful in the Badger State, referenced the turmoil in his state over Walker’s efforts to gut the ability of state employees’ unions to collectively bargain.

    “If you’ve been following what’s going on in Wisconsin, then you’re seeing what I’m seeing: the ever-increasing, corruptive power of corporations that continue to invade our system of government,” he wrote in an email sent Thursday by Netroots Nation. “Many of you have already been hard at work standing up for the American people and fighting back against the hundreds of millions of dollars from corporate special interests. But our real fight is ahead, as special interests will try to buy their way to victory in 2012.”

    “Change won’t come easy,” he continued. “We’ll need to support candidates who will work for the people. We’ll need to call out the media — something the Netroots does well — when they hide from the real story. And we’ll need to keep the pressure on Congress and those in Washington who oppose real change.”

    Feingold, who lost his Senate seat in the anti-incumbent GOP sweep last election, “will be Wisconsin’s next governor,” according to Matt Rothschild, publisher of the Madison-based magazine The Progressive. Salon, meanwhile, called Feingold Democrats’ “dream recall candidate.” But there are large obstacles to overcome should he get a chance to challenge Walker, Salon’s Steve Kornacki notes, including a recall, which he calls “one of the more onerous recall procedures when it comes to governors”:

  4. Ametia says:



    • Ametia says:

      Breaking News Alert: U.N. approves ‘all necessary measures’ to protect Libya’s civilians
      March 17, 2011 6:47:08 PM

      On a 10 to 0 vote with five abstentions, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution authorizing the international community to take “all necessary measures” to protect civilians in Libya.
      The resolution demands an “immediate cease-fire in Libya, the complete end of violence and all attacks against and abuse of civilians,” and unspecified action to protect “civilians and civilian population areas under threat of attack.” It also establishes a ban on all flights in the airspace of Libya except for humanitarian and evacuation flights.

  5. Vettte says:


    Date: Thursday, March 17, 2011 By: washingtonpost
    First lady Michelle Obama to write book
    The first lady has signed with the Crown Publishing Group for a book about the garden she started on the South Lawn of the White House and the benefits of healthy eating. The book, currently untitled, is scheduled to come out in April 2012. Obama received no advance and will donate all proceeds to a charity or charities to be determined.

    The White House said the garden has yielded more than 2,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.

    “We’ve gotten food out of the garden, and we can eat it and it’s good,” Obama said Wednesday during a brief telephone interview with The Associated Press. “So we wanted to share the story with the rest of the nation and perhaps with the rest of the world, because we get so many questions about the garden: How did we do it? Why did we do it? How do I do this in my own home or community?”

    The first lady, 47, has been an advocate for locally grown food and last year started an anti-obesity campaign, “Let’s Move!” According to Crown, the book will be “inspirational and instructive, and will provide ideas and resources for readers to get involved in the movement to create community, school and urban gardens, support local farmers’ markets, and make small lifestyle changes to achieve big health results.

    “Mrs. Obama will also share some of her family’s favorite healthy recipes.”

    Editions will include an illustrated hardcover, an e-book and an “enhanced” multimedia e-book.

    “I hope it will be a beautiful book, as well, something that everyone can take something away from,” Obama said. “Maybe if you’re a local gardener yourself, you’ll be drawn by the pictures of the … garden in its various stages throughout the seasons. If you’re a kid, maybe you’ll pick up the book and read along with your teachers, and look at how we’ve incorporated young people in our garden.”

    Obama is continuing a tradition of first ladies using books to address a favorite cause. Hillary Clinton had a best-seller with “It Takes a Village,” about the importance of community in raising children; and Laura Bush collaborated with daughter Jenna on a picture book about a reluctant reader, the popular “Read All About It!” This is Michelle Obama’s first book and she said she had begun working on it. “I don’t know why I’m not really nervous about it. Maybe I don’t know enough to be nervous yet,” she said.

    Because of her crowded schedule, Obama plans to have help, with details still to be worked out. Assistance might be very close by. President Obama has written two best-sellers, “Dreams From My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope,” and is widely regarded as among the most literary presidents. Both books sold in the millions.

    “I will definitely have him be involved and look at it,” the first lady said. “Barack is a wonderful writer and he’s a wonderful writer on so many different fronts.”

    Crown, a division of Random House Inc., also publishes President Obama and the deal was negotiated by his literary representative, Washington attorney Robert Barnett.

    The first lady, who spoke before a Wednesday afternoon event at the South Lawn to lay down crops for the spring planting, eventually will face another first lady tradition: memoirs after leaving the White House. Asked about possible other books, Obama said her priority for the moment was on tending her garden.

    “We’ll see. I’m not really thinking that far ahead,” she said. “Today we’re going to plant our third season, and we’re going to be out on the White House lawn with kids this afternoon. So the focus is really on right now, in telling this story well right now. And we’ll sort of see what happens from th

  6. Vettte says:


    Japan radiation sets off O’Hare airport alarms

    CBS News Chicago station reports trace amounts of radiation clinging to flights from country ravaged by earthquake, tsunami

    Updated at 3:01 p.m. ET

    Travelers coming in from Japan on Wednesday triggered radiation detectors at O’Hare International Airport as they passed through customs. Only very small amounts of radiation were detected.

    Feds move more radiation monitors to West Coast
    U.S. nuke chief: I hope my info on Japan is wrong
    Panic, confusion over Japan plant evacuation

  7. Ametia says:

    March 17, 2011 7:05 PM
    President Obama and First Lady host a St. Patrick’s Day reception
    The White House

    Watch it live streaming here:

  8. rikyrah says:

    Michigan’s Constitution Allows Governor Snyder To Be Recalled In July
    Yesterday, thousands of Main Street Movement protesters marched on the Michigan Capitol to protest Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) constitutionally flawed assault on Michigan workers. Michigan’s voters, however, can do far more than simply make their displeasure known to Snyder and his allies in the state legislature. Michigan’s constitution is unusually easy to amend, and Snyder and his allies become eligible for a recall in just over three months.

    The state House and Senate Minority Leaders have already called for a state constitutional amendment protecting collective bargaining rights, but Michigan voters can bypass the legislature altogether and call for a constitutional amendment by petition and referendum. According to the state constitution,

  9. Ametia says:

    POTUS to deliver speech on Japan

    Live streaming here:

  10. Ametia says:

    March 17, 2011, 2:18 PM ET.Obama Visits Japanese Embassy
    By Carol E. Lee

    As the crisis in Japan appeared to take a turn for the worse, President Barack Obama paid an unannounced visit Thursday to the Japanese embassy in Washington.

    Mr. Obama, who is scheduled to make a statement on ongoing nucelar at the White House at 3:30 p.m., arrived at the embassy to sign a condolence book for the vicitms of last week’s earthquake and tsunami.

    “My main focus is to communicate how heartbroken the American people during this enormous tragedy,” Mr. Obama said.

    The unscheduled stop came after Mr. Obama celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at an annual luncheon at the Capitol hosted by House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio).

    While Mr. Obama lunched on crab salad and roast beef with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, his White House fielded a barrage of questions from reporters about his administration’s confidence in Japan’s handling of the nuclear power plant crisis.

    Gregory Jaczko, head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said the U.S. decided Wednesday to expand to 50 miles the evacuation radius around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant based on information from the NRC’s team of 11 experts in Tokyo. Initially the U.S. agreed to Japan’s recommended 12-mile radius.

    “Yesterday, the NRC looked at the available information that we had. Based on that information, we took a look at how we would deal with a situation similar to that in the United States. And based on that, we recommended that citizens out to about 50 miles should be evacuated,” Mr. Jazcko said. ”And I want to stress that this is, we think, a prudent and a precautionary measure to take.”

    Mr. Jazcko said the NRC is not concerned about radiation having an impact in the U.S.

    Dan Poneman of the Department of Energy stressed that the administration is dealing with a dynamic situation. “The facts on the ground are genuinely complex, they’re genuinely confusing,” he said.

    The White House continued to resisit calls for the U.S. to rethink the large nuclear component of the president’s proposed energy policy.

    As officials scrambled to get a handle on a rapidly evolving situation, the Mr. Obama’s aides changed his schedule to respond to unfolding events.

    The Rose Garden statement on Japan was added to Mr. Obama’s schedule just hours in advance.

  11. Vettte says:

    MY POTUS just landed in Japan!!! Rolling down the nuclear dusted streets in The Beast!

    He ain’t scared of a little NUCLEAR dust on his feet while others are running out of town, my POTUS rides up on a white horese, branging the money to the displaced, cold, homeless, God’s chosen in Japan. This man ROCKS!

    What matter of man is this? It’s time Obama is given credit where credit is due. He is truly amazing.

  12. Ametia says:

    White House stops short of veto threat on NPR defunding
    By Jordan Fabian – 03/17/11 12:15 PM ET

    The Obama administration on Thursday said it “strongly opposes” a House measure that would permanently defund NPR, but stopped short of making a veto threat.

    The administration publicized its stance on the Republican-sponsored bill just a few hours before the House is expected to vote on it. In lieu of the move to ban funding, the Obama administration noted that the president’s budget calls for “targeted reductions” to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the main federal funding arm for NPR and the Public Broadcasting Service.

  13. Ametia says:

    Anthony Weiner: Obama Is ‘Not A Values Guy’


    First Posted: 03/16/11 04:58 PM Updated: 03/16/11 04:58 PM

    WASHINGTON — Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and a handful of other House Democrats expressed deep frustration with President Barack Obama’s leadership on Wednesday, saying he needs to do more to set the direction for the progressive movement.

    Across the aisle, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has struggled to wrangle the various wings of his conference and pass budget measures through the lower chamber. Weiner told a group of journalists and bloggers on Capitol Hill that the Republican leader has a tough job of trying to hold “a coalition of crazies and completely crazies together.”

    But Republicans, Weiner said, have nonetheless long done a better job of making their case — “smaller government, smaller deficits, lower taxes” — to the public and each other. The Democratic Party remains unclear as to its core policy principles, Weiner said, and part of the problem is Obama.

    “On our side is this weird squishy affirmative sense of what government should do and how we’re opposed to this cut and that cut, rather than saying, ‘Here are the things: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, environment and education. We’re not cutting those. Those are off the table. That’s non-negotiable,'” said Weiner, adding, “We haven’t really done that very well. That’s because the president fundamentally — he’s not a values guy. He wants to try to get the best deal for the American people and that’s virtuous in its own right, but it becomes very difficult to make a strategy. There’s been much greater global strategy thinking on [progressive media] outlets, frankly, than at 1600 Pennsylvania.”

    When asked by The Huffington Post whether what’s happening at the state and local level with labor unions and budget battles would rise to the national stage, Weiner said that the leadership of national officials — including the president — will be essential to push the issue forward.

    “We’ve spent a lot of time waiting for Godot when it comes to the Obama White House, and we kind of — to some degree — have to internalize the idea that, you know what? That’s probably not the way to go,” Weiner said. “We have to start initiating some of this.”

    Continued Weiner: “It is now pretty clear to me — I’m not saying this is pejorative — the president, he doesn’t animate his day by saying, ‘All right, what is the thing that has me fired up today? I’m going to out and try to move the ball on it.’ He kind of sees his job as to take this calamitous noise that’s going on on the left with people like us and on the right on Fox News, and his path to being a successful president, in his view, is taking that cacophony and trying to make good, level-headed, smart policy out of it and moving it incrementally down the road. That’s nice. That’s a good thing. We need that, obviously. The problem is there’s no substitute for someone really leaning into these values questions. ”

  14. Ametia says:

    Palin ‘due in Israel’ for private visit

    By Agence France-Presse
    March 17, 2011 @ 8:34 am

    In Nation | No Comments

    JERUSALEM — Sarah Palin, darling of the US Republican right, is to arrive in Israel at the weekend for a “private visit” during which she will meet Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, media reports said on Thursday.

    A spokesman for the Israeli premier could not immediately confirm a report in the top-selling Yediot Aharonot newspaper that the former Alaska governor was due to arrive on Sunday with her husband Todd for a two-day visit.

    The ultra-conservative politician, who was the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2008, is expected to arrive late on Sunday and to meet Netanyahu on Tuesday morning before leaving for the Far East later that day, the paper said.

    During the trip, which Israeli parliamentary sources told the paper was “a private visit,” Palin is to visit Jerusalem’s Old City as well as Christian sites in northern Israel.

    The aim of the trip is to become acquainted with Israel ahead of an official visit she is planning in the coming months, Yediot said.

    The controversial former governor has emerged as a powerful force in US conservative politics, and speculation is mounting that she will announce a bid to run for the Republicans in the 2012 presidential race.

  15. Texas Faces Hard Economic Facts As Miracle Begins To Tarnish

    AUSTIN, Texas — Some in Texas had talked tough about solving the state’s budget problem by austerity alone, but lawmakers finally faced a hard fact: Texas is in serious financial trouble.

    The severity of the state’s $27 billion budget crisis was evident in the furrowed brows, sad eyes and pained expressions of legislators. They fidgeted in their seats as hundreds of teachers, parents and disabled people explained in testimony in recent weeks how proposed budget cuts would ruin their lives.

    Legislatures elsewhere are facing budget problems, but most are blending cuts with asset sales, increased fees and tax modifications to soften the impact. Texas prides itself on lean government so Republicans here promised to solve the crisis here by budget cuts alone.

    Then rhetoric hit reality this week. The result was the latest and most vivid example of a state taking steps it had fiercely resisted.

    The Republican committee chairman’s southern accent turned plaintive as he urged legislators who had campaigned on preserving the state’s $9.2 billion Rainy Day Fund to now break that promise to ease the budget pressure.

    Karma!!!!!!! It’s what’s for dinner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Ametia says:

    3/16/11 6:22 PM EDT

    President Obama on Sunday will visit the Cidade de Deus favela in Rio de Janeiro, a community made famous by the 2002 film “City of God,” the newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo reported on Wednesday.

    Residents of the low-income area told the paper that they hope the visit of the president and Michelle Obama will change the image of their community that most viewers got from the film, which received four Oscar nominations for its portrayal of the dead-end lives of warring drug dealers.

    “We became a symbol of a violent place,” said Josias Oliveira, vice president of the residents’ association in the community of about 38,000 people.

    The White House did not confirm the visit in a briefing Wednesday morning about the upcoming trip, but the Brazilian newspaper said Secret Service agents had scouted the favela on Tuesday.

  17. Ametia says:

  18. Ametia says:

    Pray tell, what are these folks whining about? didn’t POTUS say he’s not in support of DOMA?

    (CBS/AP) The message from Anne Hathaway, Jane Lynch, Martin Sheen and others stars, is, “Say, ‘I do’ Mr. President.”

    They’re among a group of actors, athletes and business leaders urging President Barack Obama to support marriage rights for same-sex couples.

    The New York-based group Freedom to Marry said that R&B singer Mya, NFL linebacker Scott Fujita and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey also signed an open letter calling on the president to back gay marriage.

    On Freedom to Marry’s website, more names are on the list, including musician Rufus Wainwright, entertainment mogul David Geffen and Zynga founder Mark Pincus.

    Mr. Obama has said he supports civil unions as an alternative to marriage for gays and lesbians, and his views on the subject are evolving. His administration announced this month that it would no longer defend the federal law barring government recognition of same-sex unions.

    Freedom to Marry says several couples plan to deliver the letter to the White House in the spring.

  19. Ametia says:

    Harry Reid: Leave Social Security Alone – It’s Solvent For at Least 30 Years

    When asked by Lawrence O’Donnell what he meant when he said Social Security could be improved, Reid responded:

    REID: I have said clearly and as many times as I can, leave Social Security alone. Social Security does not add a single penny, not a dime, a nickel, a dollar to the budget problems we have. Never has and for the next 30 years it won’t do that.

    So what I’ve said, if you want to look at something to take care of the out years, let’s do it at the right time. It is not in a crisis at this stage. Leave Social Security alone. We have a lot of other places we can look that are in crisis. Social Security is not. I repeat, for the next approximately 30 years people will draw 100% of their benefits.

    And if we do nothing after that, they’ll draw 80% of their benefits. Now I want to make sure that in the out years, 30 years from now, we draw 100% of benefits. That’s important. I believe in Social Security. I think it’s the most successful social program in the history of the world. But I am not going to balance the budget on the backs of senior citizens who have paid into the fund and deserve their money.

    Read more:


  20. Ametia says:

    1) Hannity asks Bachmann a question
    2) Bachmann tells multiple shameless and proven lies
    3) Weiner starts to address her lies
    4) Hannity cuts off Weiner, asks a loaded and completly unanswerable question
    5) GO TO 1

  21. Ametia says:

    Donald Trump Would Spend $600 Million Of His Own Cash On 2012 Campaign (VIDEO)
    During an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday, billionaire Donald Trump said he would spend up to $600 million of his own money on a presidential campaign should he decide to run in 2012.

    “That’s one of the nice things. I mean, part of the beauty of me is that I’m very rich,” he said in the exclusive interview conducted aboard his private plane. “So if I need $600 million, I can put $600 million myself. That’s a huge advantage. I must tell you, that’s a huge advantage over the other candidates.”

    Trump later signaled, however, that he does not think his affluence would adversely affect his ability to connect with voters. The real estate mogul and media personality is expected to announce whether or not he plans to run this summer.

    “You know the funny thing, I don’t get along with rich people,” he said. “I get along with the middle class and the poor people better than I get along with the rich people.”

    Trump said if he runs and fails to secure the Republican nomination to go up against President Barack Obama, he’d consider mounting an independent campaign.

    It may perhaps come as a surprise that during the segment Trump expressed a bit of doubt over whether the president was born in the United States. “Everybody that even gives a hint of being a birther,” he said. “The reason I have a little doubt, just a little, is because he grew up and nobody knew him.”

    Also during the interview, Trump addressed House Speaker John Boehner’s tendency to shed tears in the public.

    • “That’s one of the nice things. I mean, part of the beauty of me is that I’m very rich,” he said in the exclusive interview conducted aboard his private plane. “So if I need $600 million, I can put $600 million myself.

      Flipping off

    • Ametia says:

      BWA HA HA HA Trump’s a fool, a ego maniacal attention-seeking fool. Please tell everyone how some one like Doanld Trump, who has declared bankruptcy numerous times can afford $600 million?

      These white dudes are fronting to try and prove they can become the most powerful man in the free world, because you know, that black guy named Barack Hussein Obama did it!

  22. Ametia says:

    L.A. County judge admonished over Ku Klux Klan remark

    The state judicial agency’s action relates to Judge Harvey Giss’ comment during an off-the-record plea discussion in a trial involving two black defendants.

    By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times
    March 17, 2011

    A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge who made an “offensive and inappropriate” reference to the Ku Klux Klan while presiding over a robbery trial involving two African American defendants was publicly admonished Wednesday by a state agency overseeing judges’ discipline.

    Judge Harvey Giss of the San Fernando Courthouse made the comments in July during an off-the-record discussion with attorneys about a possible plea agreement in the case, according to the state Commission on Judicial Performance.

    Neither of the defendants was present, but a family member was in the courtroom, according to the commission. Giss told the commission he remarked that the only thing that would make the defendants agree to a plea was for the judge to “come out in a white sheet and a pointy white hat,” according to the panel’s statement of facts.

    Two days later, when the defense asked the judge to recuse himself because of the remark, Giss conceded that he had made a “bad statement” but added, “People don’t have a sense of humor anymore,” according to the statement of facts.

    Giss, a former deputy district attorney who has been on the Superior Court bench since April 2001, eventually withdrew from the case.

    An attorney for Giss said Wednesday that the judge had “made an unfortunate comment off the record and in jest” in response to the attorneys on the case asking him to get the defendants to enter a plea.

    “He regrets that the comment was made, since while he intended to emphasize how impossible it was for him to do what counsel had requested, he should have chosen a different way to make his point,” Edith Matthai said.

    One of the defense attorneys, deputy public defender David Fujimoto, said the mother of a defendant who was in the audience was upset by the remark and became concerned that her son might not receive a fair trial.

    “A judicial officer is supposed to be beyond reproach, and something like that will put a question in people’s minds,” he said.,0,2677838.story

    • What? And the bastard doesn’t think he did anything wrong?

    • Ametia says:

      Of course the judge didn’t think he said anything wrong. That’s because he’s a KKK in a black robe instead of the white sheets. I’ve said before these klans folk have put away their white sheets for badges and clubs.

      Harvey Giss just spoke about his true feelings towards the black men, evoking klansman activities of threatening and intimidation with the white sheets and hoods. Trust these slimy bastards are planted everywhere in our courtrooms, police offices, government… THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!

  23. Ametia says:

    What’s missing from March Madness? Better academics.
    By Arne Duncan, Wednesday, March 16, 7:47 PM
    Ten years ago, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics proposed that teams should be ineligible for postseason play if they failed to graduate at least half of their players. Today, more than 90 percent of intercollegiate athletic teams meet that minimal academic benchmark, with one notable exception: men’s basketball.

    As March Madness gets underway this week, 10 of the 68 men’s teams in the NCAA tournament are not on track to graduate half of their players. Colleges and universities need to stop trotting out tired excuses for basketball teams with poor academic records and indefensible disparities in the graduation rates of white and black players. And it is time that the NCAA revenue distribution plan stopped handsomely rewarding success on the court with multimillion-dollar payouts to schools that fail to meet minimum academic standards.

    Like millions of fans, I’ll be watching the tournament, rooting for my favorites. As a kid on the South Side of Chicago who loved basketball, I got to see the best and the worst of college sports. I spent time on the court with inner-city players who had been used and dumped by their universities. When the ball stopped bouncing, they struggled to find work and had difficult lives. Some died early. The dividing line for success was between those who went to college and got their degrees, and those who did not. If a team fails to graduate even half of its players, how serious are the institution and coach about preparing their student-athletes for life?

    The NCAA developed a measure known as the Academic Progress Rate index (APR) to track progress toward graduation with real-time data. According to the NCAA, an APR score of 925 (on a scale of 1,000) is equivalent to having 50 percent of a squad’s members on track to graduate. This year, the 10 men’s basketball teams with APRs below 925 include basketball powerhouses Syracuse and Kansas State. At Kansas State in recent years, 100 percent of white players graduated, but just 14 percent of black players did.

    A new analysis, released today by the Knight Commission, shows the current tournament revenue formula is badly skewed to reward success on the court, with little expectation of success off the court. Each game a team plays in the tournament this year earns more than $1.4 million for the team’s conference.

    Over the past five tournaments, the NCAA has awarded more than $400 million to conferences and their teams for tournament appearances. Nearly $179 million of that payout — 44 percent of the total — went to teams that were not on track to graduate at least half of their players. By contrast, tournament revenue provides comparatively little funding for educational uses or academic improvement.

    When I raised the issue of low graduation rates among men’s teams last year, skeptical sportswriters said I didn’t understand the realities of big-time college basketball. But every year, the litany of excuses for why basketball teams cannot graduate most players and still have a championship team is less convincing.

    In last year’s tournament, the two finalists, Duke and Butler, both had outstanding academic records. This year, eight teams in the tournament graduate 100 percent of both their black and white players: Belmont, Brigham Young, Illinois, Notre Dame, Utah State, Vanderbilt, Villanova and Wofford.

    The top-ranked women’s basketball teams have even better records. Twenty-two women’s teams in this year’s NCAA tournament — one in three — graduate 100 percent of their black and white players. The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, which set the NCAA record for consecutive wins this season, graduates more than 90 percent of its players. Meanwhile, the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team has an APR of 930, a hair above a projected 50 percent graduation rate. Only 25 percent of its black players earn degrees.

    The dramatic improvement in graduation rates among big-time football programs shows that a 50 percent graduation standard is not that difficult to meet and that teams will improve their academic performance to meet higher standards. Five years ago, 23 bowl teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision had APRs below 925. This year, one FBS bowl team had an APR below 925.

    The NCAA has made considerable progress in recent years boosting the academic performance of Division I teams. But the bar for postseason play is still too low: In effect, teams must now be on track to graduate fewer than 40 percent of their players for six years running to potentially be ineligible for postseason play. Last year, out of more than 6,000 NCAA intercollegiate sports teams, one squad in men’s basketball was banned from postseason play because of a poor academic record.

    A decade after the Knight Commission recommendation, coaches of teams with weak academic records should worry not just about getting athletes in a uniform — but also about getting them in a cap and gown.

    The writer is secretary of education.

  24. Ametia says:

    Washington Post suspends reporter for plagiarizing stories on Tucson shooting
    By Paul Farhi, Wednesday, March 16, 8:42 PM
    The Washington Post suspended one of its most seasoned reporters Wednesday after editors determined that “substantial” parts of two recent news articles were taken without attribution from another newspaper.

    Sari Horwitz, a longtime Post investigative reporter, was suspended for three months for plagiarizing sections of stories that first appeared in the Arizona Republic. The stories concerned the investigation of and legal proceedings for Jared Lee Loughner, the Arizona man accused of shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 18 others in Tucson in January.

    Horwitz copied two paragraphs from a Republic story that described provisions of a federal civil rights law when she wrote an article that was first published on The Post’s Web site March 4. A second story, first appearing online on March 10, included 10 paragraphs from a Republic story about a search of Loughner’s home. Both stories appeared in the newspaper the day after they went up online.

    Plagiarism has long been one of the most serious ethical violations in journalism. Reporters often cite other news sources for information that they haven’t gathered themselves, but the standard practice is to paraphrase the material and attribute the information to its source.

  25. Ametia says:

  26. rikyrah says:

    Progressive Groups Step Up Recall Ad Campaign (VIDEO)
    They’ve asked the voters, they’ve filled the airwaves and now they’re getting down to business: Starting Thursday, a coalition of national progressives is openly calling for the recall of several Republican state Senators in Wisconsin with new TV ads aimed directly at them.

    Recall fever is catching among the Wisconsin left these days. The state Democratic party has collected just about half of the signatures necessary to make a run at recalling eight state Senators eligible to have their terms cut short (Wisconsin law says only a politician who’s been in office for a year or more can be recalled.)

    The progressive coalition of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America is banging the recall drum, too, after spending more than a half-million dollars on TV ads lambasting the Republican state Senate and Gov. Scott Walker (R). Now the groups are launching the first TV spots to call for recall directly.

    The recall effort is the new focus for the coalition, which brings together national progressive groups representing more than a million members nationwide. The first recall spot is a new version of the add PCCC/DFA created from footage shot at one of the many anti-Walker rallies held in and around the state Capitol in Madison.

    A new ad is coming, the groups say. That spot will “capture the grassroots magic of this recall effort,” PCCC co-founder Adam Green told TPM.

    • Ametia says:

      Boots on the GROUND, BOOTS on the GROUND, you fighting for DEMOCRACY with your BOOTS on the GROUND!

  27. rikyrah says:

    Madison On The Potomac: Labor Protesters Storm Lobbyists’ Lobby In DC
    For about 30 minutes Wednesday afternoon, a group of a couple hundred union workers, labor activists and progressives turned the lobby of a DC office building into a mini-Wisconsin State Capitol.

    In a microcosm of the fight between labor and the Republican-led government in the Badger State, union protesters (and their progressive allies) stormed the lobby of a downtown DC office building that hold the headquarters of BGR Group, a lobbying firm that was hosting a fundraiser for, among others, several of the Republican state Senators who just voted to strip collective bargaining from thousands of Wisconsin union workers.

    The protestors occupied the high-roofed marble lobby for about 30 minutes. They chanted, they spoke and they waved many of the same signs they’ve been waving across the Midwest for weeks. And upstairs, just as in the state Senate chamber in Madison, the targets of the protest said they were unfazed.

    The demonstration was put on by a slew of progressive and labor groups. The largest contingents were workers from the AFSCME union and the AFL-CIO. But there were plenty of supporters on hand as well.

    “He’s trying to break the poor people from political power,” Lisa Werth, a DC nanny and the daughter of two Wisconsin union workers said of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). “People I know back home voted for Walker because of his pro-life stance. But he doesn’t have a pro-living stance.”

    A small crowd of bona fide socialists waving copies of the Socialist Worker showed up too, and they were not eager to talk. One who’d only go by ‘Mike,’ only agreed to a quick interview after “vetting” me.

    “Fox News types are always eager to use Red Scare rhetoric [on us],” he told me. “That makes certain liberal groups, yeah, a little bit skittish.”

    But Mike said his group was there to show solidarity, not call attention to their more controversial cause.

    “The reality is, the better working people have it, the better everyone has it,” he said, claiming that fighting for a “strong middle class” is what socialism is all about.

  28. rikyrah says:

    I’m Just Disgusted by This Person
    by Steven D
    Thu Mar 17th, 2011 at 07:09:23 AM EST

    Too disgusted to come up with some catchy title for this post. Really, really disgusted:

    While it’s a common tactic of abusers, it’s something no one expected of Republican Florida state Rep. Kathleen Passidomo.
    During debate over a bill that would legislate a dress code for Florida students, Passidomo blamed the alleged gang raping of an 11-year-old in Cleveland, Texas on the way the young girl was dressed.

    “There was an article about an 11 year old girl who was gangraped in Texas by 18 young men because she was dressed like a 21-year-old prostitute,” Passidomo declared.

    “And her parents let her attend school like that. And I think it’s incumbent upon us to create some areas where students can be safe in school and show up in proper attire so what happened in Texas doesn’t happen to our students,” she added.

    What kind of sick person blames an 11 year old girl for a gang rape by 18 boys/men in order to justify a dress code? The lack of common decency and basic humanity among this current breed of Republican politicians astonishes me. What next? Salem style witch burnings? These are nasty, ugly, just plain mean people.

    But I suppose that’s what we must expect from a group of “holier than thou, better than you” hypocrites. Maybe if that girl had been a puppy Kathleen Passidomo and many of the residents of the town where the gang rape occurred would have shown more compassion for her.

    But I doubt it.

  29. rikyrah says:

    It sounded like they were hunting rats.”
    16 Mar 2011 11:33 pm

    Nick Kristof’s dispatch from Bahrain is a must-read on the botched opportunities of the monarchy, mistakes by the opposition and descent into sectarian Sunni-Shiite darkness. Money quote:

    I wrote a few weeks ago about a distinguished plastic surgeon, Sadiq al-Ekri, who had been bludgeoned by security forces. At the time, I couldn’t interview Dr. Ekri because he was unconscious. But I later returned and was able to talk to him, and his story offers a glimpse into Bahrain’s tragedy.

    Dr. Ekri is a moderate Shiite who said his best friend is a Sunni. Indeed, Dr. Ekri recently took several weeks off work to escort this friend to Houston for medical treatment. When Bahrain’s security forces attacked protesters, Dr. Ekri tried to help the injured. He said he was trying to rescue a baby abandoned in the melee when police handcuffed him. Even after they knew his identity, he said they clubbed him so hard that they broke his nose. Then, he said, they pulled down his pants and threatened to rape him — all while cursing Shiites.

    This sectarian hatred is lethal and contagious. It could seriously destabilize Iraq. Just look at the faces above.

  30. rikyrah says:

    ’48 Hours to Worse Than Chernobyl’
    The Japanese have lost control, officials warn

    Officials around the world are increasingly concerned that Japan’s mounting nuclear disaster is out of control. “It would be hard to describe how alarming this is right now,” an American official tells ABC News. He warns that unless Japan can get all of its crippled nuclear plants under control, the resulting catastrophe will be “deadly for decades.” Japanese military helicopters are today dumping tons of seawater on the plant in a desperate bid to avert a nuclear meltdown, but CBS News notes that TV footage shows the wind apparently causing much of the water to disperse. Australia’s ABC News adds that the last-ditch attempt to cool the reactors appears to have had no major effect, with only two of the four drops hitting their mark.

    The crisis hinges on the pools of water holding radioactive waste; so far, workers have struggled to cool the used nuclear-fuel rods in the pools, the Wall Street Journal notes, and the rods in at least two of the pools are exposed to the air. “The next 48 hours will be decisive,” an official with France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety tells the Telegraph. “I am pessimistic because almost none of the solutions has worked.” A French government spokesman warns: “In the worst of cases, it could have an impact worse than Chernobyl.” The Japanese “have visibly lost control,” he says. The French ecology minister adds, “The worst scenario is possible and even probable.” Click for the US warning that Japanese authorities are downplaying the true extent of the danger.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Obama sounds 2012 themes to Democratic loyalists
    President Barack Obama sought to energize Democratic loyalists on Wednesday in a speech laying out themes of his coming 2012 re-election bid, saying he has met many of his promises “but we aren’t finished.”

    He gave an early version of his 2012 stump speech to a crowd of Democratic backers at a Washington hotel. Obama has not yet launched his re-election campaign, but is expected to do so in the coming months.

    Obama said he would like to recreate the magic of his 2008 campaign, which he said was “like lightning in a bottle,” when a big turnout from his Democratic base and independent voters carried him to victory.

    He cited improvements in the U.S. economy, the winding down of the Iraq war and efforts to push the United States into a greater use of clean energy as evidence that “we have made extraordinary progress over these last two years.”

    “When you look back at the track record of the work that we’ve done over the last two years, I think it’s fair to say the promise that we made to the American people has been kept. But we aren’t finished. We’ve got more work to do,” Obama said.

    Obama at this stage measures up well in public opinion polls against a host of potential Republican challengers who are expected to compete for their party’s presidential nomination.

    But he will need to bring back into his fold many of the independent voters who fled the Democrats in November’s congressional elections and helped Republicans win control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Obama also talked about some of the stresses of the job on him and his wife, Michelle.

    “There are times where Michelle reminds me that I volunteered for this job, because she looks at me and I looked tired. But I’m telling you, I am having an extraordinary time, because there aren’t many moments in our lives where we know that we’re making a difference,” he said.

    And the constant cable television news chatter can be annoying, he said.

    “I’m sure that some of you are like Michelle and at some point had to just stop watching cable TV because it was getting too frustrating,” he said.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Can anyone from Philly tell me about Police Chief Ramsey?

    what’s he like?

    what’s the relationship between the police and the Black community like under him?

    he’s rumored to be on the short list for Top Cop here in Chicago.

  33. rikyrah says:

    America’s Original Black Comic Superhero ‘Panther’ Returns
    March 14, 2011 Forty years after he first appeared, the first black superhero in mainstream American comics is back. “The Black Panther” is the star of a new animated series. The 12-part series, which features a young African prince who doubles as a powerful superhero, is collaboration between Marvel Knights Animation and cable network, BET. Co-creator of “The Black Panther” series, filmmaker Reginald Hudlin, talks to host Michel Martin about character’s revival and the significance of a black superhero to comic book fans.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Donald Trump: For Obama To Be Playing Golf At This Time Is ‘Totally Inappropriate’
    Matt Schneider | 9:42 am, March 16th, 2011

    Donald Trump appeared with Neil Cavuto last night and continued to keep open the possibility that he might run for President. He even joked with Cavuto that he would love to play President Obama in golf for the presidency. However, then Trump turned a bit more critical of Obama.

    Despite admitting that he loves golf, Trump suggested that Obama change the frequency of his leisure time activity:

    “When Japan is crashing, when you have nuclear problems the likes of which maybe the world so far has never seen – for him to be playing golf simultaneously with that happening – you’re talking about the day of and the day after – to be playing golf, I think is very inappropriate.”

    Besides declaring the image of Obama playing golf “totally inappropriate” while Japan could potentially need our help, Trump also blamed Obama for severely destroying economic activity in Las Vegas with his past statements. And to prove no one is safe from The Donald’s blunt talk, he even claimed Japan has been ripping off America for years in trade by playing us for a patsy, yet he still would be willing to help the country in their time of crisis.

  35. rikyrah says:

    How Qaddafi Has Survived
    17 Mar 2011 08:10 am

    Vivienne Walt explains:

    One crucial error by Western leaders, says [Mustafa Fetouri, director of the M.B.A. program at the Academy of Graduate Studies in Tripoli], has been to downplay Libya’s complex web of tribal loyalties, which has helped to keep Gaddafi in power for more than four decades — an impressive achievement, given several assassination attempts and years of Libya being an international pariah under stiff economic sanctions.

    Some tribal alliances date back decades to the bloody rebellions against the Italian colonial forces before World War II, and even some tribal leaders who hold grudges against Gaddafi, for having failed to deliver services or cutting them out of certain privileges, rushed to his defense once the antigovernment demonstrations in Benghazi became an armed rebellion. For those people, says Fetouri, “they will die for Gaddafi, because he belongs to their tribe.”

  36. rikyrah says:

    I don’t think much of Cardinal George, and he’s been trying to get rid of Pfleger since he got here. He obviously doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the positive, solid Black Catholic community that Pfleger has built over at St. Sabina. Sure, Father Mike can get a little passionate at times, but nobody doubts HIS commitment to the community, while I give the side eye to George, who I don’t think gives a shyt about Saint Sabina. I know all about the Catholic church’s rules, but how many strong Black Catholic communities are there in the United States?


    Cardinal, Pfleger discuss him possibly leaving St. Sabina

    Cardinal Francis George had dinner with the Rev. Michael Pfleger Friday to discuss the possibility of Pfleger’s departure from St. Sabina, where the popular, sometimes controversial pastor, has served for 30 years, a source told the Chicago Sun-Times.

    The source, who asked to remain anonymous, said “several options” for Pfleger’s post-St. Sabina future were discussed. But “no offer was proffered,” the source said.

    On Monday, WBBM-Channel 2 cited unnamed sources in reporting that Cardinal George asked Pfleger to take over struggling Leo High School.

    Pfleger told the station he could “neither confirm nor deny [the request] at this point.” He did say, however, he was “in discussions with the Archdiocese but you know those are private conversations at this point and I can’t comment at this point about those conversations.” Pfleger has been at St. Sabina, 1210 W. 78th, since 1981 — a tenure longer than Archdiocesan priests are typically permitted to stay in one parish.

    Chicago Catholic Schools Supt. Sister Mary Paul McCaughey said in a statement Wednesday any conversations that Pfleger “may or may not” have had with Cardinal George are a private personnel matter. Pfleger did not return several calls seeking comment. A church spokesman said the pastor would release a statement on Thursday.

    WBBM-Channel 2 showed a video of Pfleger at last Sunday’s mass, saying, “I love being your pastor and I love being your shepherd, but you’re looking at a man [who] made a choice [to] hold onto God, wherever God takes me.”

    Leo High School, 7901 S. Sangamon, is just a few blocks from St. Sabina and has experienced declining enrollment and an uncertain future. But Catholic schools spokesman Ryan Blackburn said Leo High’s enrollment and financial picture is improving — and is expected to remain stable for the next school year — under current president Dan McGrath.

    Pfleger, a white Chicago native, has become nationally famous for his success at building the predominantly black Catholic parish.

    McGrath said he respects Pfleger and admires his long service to the church and surrounding community.

    “We have a good relationship with him and admire what he did in this neighborhood,” McGrath said. “Look down 79th Street and all redevelopment you see is attributable to him. He’s a great neighbor.”

  37. dannie22 says:

    Good morning all!

  38. rikyrah says:

    you know, the situation in Japan is serious when this happens


    US charters planes to help its citizens leave Japan
    State Department authorizes voluntary evacuations; U.S. military also drafting plans to enable dependents to leave

    Airlines scrambled to fly thousands of passengers out of Tokyo on Thursday as fears about Japan’s nuclear crisis mounted, and the United States joined other nations urging their citizens to consider leaving.

    The U.S. authorized the first evacuations of Americans out of Japan and warned U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to any part of the country as unpredictable weather and wind conditions risked spreading radioactive contamination.

    The State Department said the government had chartered aircraft to help Americans leave Japan and had authorized the voluntary departure of family members of diplomatic staff in Tokyo, Nagoya and Yokohama — about 600 people.

    Diplomatic dependents have not been ordered to leave, but the State Department will bear the expense of their transportation if they choose to go, NBC News reported.

    Also, the U.S. military is drafting plans for voluntary evacuations of military families and dependents from several bases in Japan. NBC said the order to start the process had not been given yet, but was likely to come Thursday.

    The four military installations where dependents could begin evacuating within the next 24 hours are the naval bases at Yokosuka and Atsugi, Misawa Air Base in northern Japan and Camp Zama, an army base near Tokyo.

    Charter flights would go to safe havens, including South Korea.

    President Barack Obama placed a telephone call to Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Wednesday to discuss Japan’s efforts to recover from last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami and the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant . Obama promised Kan that the U.S. would offer support for its close friend and ally and “expressed his extraordinary admiration for the character and resolve of the Japanese people,” the White House said.

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