Saturday Open Thread

Miriam Makeba (4 March 1932 – 10 November 2008), nicknamed Mama Africa, was a Grammy Award winning South African singer and civil rights activist. In the 1960s she was the first artist from Africa to popularize African music in the U.S. and around the world. She is best known for the song Pata Pata first recorded in 1957 and released in the U.S. in 1967. She recorded and toured with many popular artists, such as Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, and her former husband and South-African Hugh Masekela. She actively campaigned against the South African system of Apartheid. As a result the South African government revoked her citizenship and right of return. After the end of Apartheid she returned home. She died on 10 November 2008 after performing in a concert organized to support writer Roberto Saviano in his stand against the Camorra, a mafia-like organisation local to the Region of Campania.

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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24 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Avoiding The Shutdown Of The Government Was Good… For John McCain!
    4:00 am EST April 9th, 201

    President Obama has brokered a deal between the Democratic-run Senate and the Republican-run House that avoids a shutdown of the federal government, while also stripping the bill of issues such as Planned Parenthood funding and decisions about the EPA’s authority.

    Yet somehow, I’m seeing from some – particularly Ezra Klein, who should honestly know better – that this was a bad deal for the President.

    On policy, of course these budget cuts targeted at programs that assist the poor and middle class suck. But they were always going to suck. The minute the House of Representatives flipped from Democratic to Republican, anyone without giant stores of money had a target at their back. The Republicans negotiated their way to a $39 billion cut.

    But let us remember that these are the same Republicans who campaigned on cutting $100 billion from the budget. Just a couple months ago, conservative blogs were despairing that the cuts had been sliced down to $78 billion.

    And John Boehner, wily trickster that he is, has made an agreement – which probably does not have the support of his caucus, possibly needing Democratic help – that cuts that ransom demand in half. I can only imagine that being described as a victory for Boehner at a Beltway party and nowhere else outside of the 495 loop.

    What did the polls show that Democrats and Independents wanted out of these negotiations? A compromise that kept the doors open on our government. And that’s what we got. Faced with a fundamentally flawed budget process thanks to the outcome of the November elections, President Obama presided over a bipartisan result that avoided the attempt to scuttle women’s health issues and environmental concerns. From a political perspective, he will have signed into law a cut in spending the year before his re-election as the unemployment rate decreases.

    It was enough to prompt Tea Party Nation to claim they will primary Boehner, while base conservatives on the depraved Free Republic gnashed their teeth and made the following statements: “GOP sells out all GOP sucker voters!,” “Cowards, more interested in keeping their jobs then doing what’s right for the country.,” and “The GOP are the modern day Whigs.”

    This sentiment goes on for quite a few pages.

    This was a negotiating process in which voices of the far right such as Allan West and Michele Bachmann advised retreat for the GOP.

    Obama and Reid were operating in an environment infected by the Tea Party House, and secured a deal that averted shutdown and showed the President to be the adult here. Yet a few people seem to think this is the kind of thing that is good news for the right.

    As a failed vice-presidential candidate once asked: In what respect, Charlie?

  2. rikyrah says:

    Obama to Boehner on Title X cuts: “Nope. Zero.”

    From NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell
    As the debate raged in Washington over a budget to keep the government from shutting down, the issue of abortion funding was consistently in the spotlight.

    Ultimately, Democrats succeeded in retaining funding for women’s health organizations that also provide abortions (like Planned Parenthood), but they were not able to eliminate a controversial ‘rider’ related to abortions in D.C.

    A senior Democratic aide says that on Thursday night at the White House, President Barack Obama told House Speaker John Boehner that the White House would include the D.C. abortion language that was in a Republican House-passed one week extension bill. That provision bans the District of Columbia from using its own local tax money to pay for abortion services.

    The aide says he witnessed the president say to Speaker Boehner in the Oval Office, “John, I will give you D.C. I’m not happy about it.”

    But when Boehner later asked for the elimination of funds for Title X — spending for women’s health and family planning organizations that also provide abortion services, the aide said the president flatly refused.

    The president replied, “Nope. Zero.”

    Boehner continued to push to discuss the funds, the aide recalled.

    The President repeated: “Nope. Zero.”

    “‘John, this is it,'” the aide described the president as saying. “‘This is it, John.”

    There was a long pause as no one spoke in the Oval Office spoke.

    The Planned Parenthood issue was resolved that Thursday night.

    • Ametia says:

      BWA HA HA HA I’ll bet ole Boner went wimpering back to the baggers. They really are running the asylum, aren’t they?

    • But when Boehner later asked for the elimination of funds for Title X — spending for women’s health and family planning organizations that also provide abortion services, the aide said the president flatly refused.

      The president replied, “Nope. Zero.”

      Boehner continued to push to discuss the funds, the aide recalled.

      The President repeated: “Nope. Zero.”

      “‘John, this is it,’” the aide described the president as saying. “‘This is it, John.”

      There was a long pause as no one spoke in the Oval Office spoke.

      John Boehner:

  3. rikyrah says:

    April 9, 2011
    The Consequences of Legislative Power

    Posted by JM Ashby

    So, as most of you know, an agreement was reached last night during the 11th hour to avert a government shutdown. The Democrats and Republicans ultimately agreed to somewhere between $37 and $39 billion dollars, depending on who you ask, and red meat is not on the menu.

    The details of the cuts contained in the agreement remain elusive as I type this, but we do know that the majority of the riders, which the Republicans were willing to hold the entire government hostage over, were plucked from the final bill. Planned Parenthood escaped the clutches of the Tea Party and the Affordable Care Act remains intact.

    Economically, this is a loss for the nation. It’s true that in the long-term our deficit problem is going to have to be addressed, but this is the wrong time to be doing that. Current projections suggest that the $39 billion dollar compromise may cost anywhere between 100,000 and 450,000 jobs. In addition to the job losses already being experienced at the state-government level, this does not bode well for the economy. Fortunately, John Boehner has already volunteered to absorb the blame for these loses by saying “So be it.”

    The economic losses could have been much worse. The Republicans campaigned in 2010 on the idea that they would cut $100 billion dollars from the 2011 budget, a number that could have potentially eliminated a million jobs. The original dollar amount that the Republicans began this debate at was $60 billion, and for a time, a $78 billion dollar amount was floated, but they only ended up getting $39 billion. Even $39 billion is a major loss for the economy during this inopportune time on the road to recovery, but the unfortunate fact remains that Republicans control the House of Representatives and the consequence of that legislative power is being unable to pass a budget without their consent.

    Politically I believe this is a major victory for President Obama and, to a lesser extent, senate Democrats. Throughout this entire process, the president has been calm, accommodating, reasonable, and very calculated in his framing of the situation. The more defiantly-left among us may not appreciate the president’s hijacking of certain talking-points, but that political-investment strategy has just paid dividends.

    While speaking to the nation tonight to announce a compromise, he took advantage of the fact that most of the nation was paying attention, and used the opportunity to look directly at the camera and let them know that they can stop worrying about next week’s paycheck. And not coincidentally, his triangulations allowed him to say things that not only appealed to this wide audience, but also things that were not inconsistent with his previous remarks. He knew it would come down to this from the beginning.

    In contrast, consider the corner that Republicans painted themselves into — They displayed to the entire nation, with much fanfare, that they were willing to push the government to the brink of shutdown in an effort to achieve their ideological agenda of defunding reproductive healthcare for women. From day one, the Republicans have appeared decidedly unreasonable and inhospitable, showing little care for the consequences of their actions.

    There are no videos of average American’s clamoring for a government shutdown and there are no videos of Democrats salivating for a government shutdown, but the borderline fetishistic desire of the right-wing for a government shutdown is well documented.

    President Obama, on the other hand, never dispensed so much as a hint that he desired a government shutdown, and that matters, because an even larger battle is ahead of us. President Obama has effectively held the high-ground, and the more political capital he can accumulate before facing the coming Republican ideological crusade, the better chance the rest of us have of not being consumed by it.

    Ironically, the reaction to the actions of the leadership of both parties from the far-left and far-right respectively were nearly identical. From the fringes of the spectrum, both parties were accused of “caving” or “selling-out,” but in the world in which most Americans reside, a world in which next week’s paycheck is next week’s meal ticket, such accusations are effectively meaningless. And those Americans are the ones who decide elections.

    Claiming that compromise should be out of the question may sound good when hurled from the safety of your armchair, but it’s not an effective way to achieve our long-term goals. You can’t implement your goals if you don’t have the legislative power to do so, and the only way to obtain the legislative power to do so is by winning elections. And you don’t win elections by playing the role of an ideologue when it comes time to deal with your political adversaries.

    If we wish for the debate to change, and if we want to clear the fog from the road to the future, we have to keep our eye on the ball and ensure that we regain the power to change it. And if your strategy for regaining that power is to focus on your inadequacies rather than your strengths, then you’re basically just pissing into the wind while your enemies laugh at you and prepare for war.

    • Ametia says:

      On Point, Mr. Cesca.

      IMO, there is NO difference in the teabaggers and the so-called progressive left. The left are NEVER satisfied, and seem to feed on discord, disappointment, and chaos, not wanting to see a compromise or resolution. WTH is progressive in this type of behavior, pray tell?

      Thank you, President Obama!

    • Ametia says:

      Absolutely, loved how PBO took the time to shake the cops hand, before leaving the scene. He shows an appreciation for our public servants.

  4. Ametia says:

    Behind the scenes of the White House budget battle
    April 9th, 2011
    03:15 AM ET

    Posted by:
    CNN White House Correspondent Dan Lothian

    WASHINGTON (CNN) – In a town where politicians like to keep score the White House isn’t boasting about the budget victory. “The American people” won, a senior administration official told reporters at a background briefing after the deal was reached. This is a “very good night for the country.”

    The White House was feeling optimistic that it was on the verge of a deal Thursday night.

    When House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Harry Reid left the Oval Office meeting, “there was kind of an agreement on a range and agreement on the kind of composition,” said another one of five officials who briefed reporters.

    But by three or four o’clock in the morning Friday, the officials described a breakdown.

    The discussion at the staff level on the Hill no longer reflected the framework of the Oval office discussions, they said.

    “There was a higher number,” said one official, “north of $80 billion dollars. There was also renewed talk about family planning.

    As sharp verbal punches were thrown throughout the day on Capitol Hill, the White House kept silent. The president never made any public statements and spokesman Jay Carney never held his daily briefing. That was not by accident, according to the officials who briefed reporters.

    It was a “directive from him,” [president] one official said.

    The idea was to stay out of sight, avoid finger pointing, and allow negotiators to work out a compromise.

    The senior administration officials painted a picture of a president who rolled up his sleeves and got engaged throughout the process.

    “Every time the process seemed to get bogged down the president picked up the phone and made clear that we had a responsibility to the American people…that we shouldn’t play politics.”

    “He did not want this to become a family planning bill he wanted it to be a spending bill,” one official said.

    In fact, on Friday the president spoke by phone with House Speaker Boehner four times. (only two calls had previously been made public) He also spoke with Senate majority leader Reid “multiple times,” one of the officials said.

    During one of the Oval Office meeting this week, one of the officials described how the president went through every controversial rider that Republicans wanted.

    Rob Nabors, his Legislative Affairs Director, who had been carrying around a list of the riders, pulled out his papers then sought out a copy machine so that everyone in the meeting could get a copy. It took so long that Boehner was said to joke that they “might want to find a faster copy machine?”

    In describing the tone of these meetings one official said “at no point did the discussions in the room get personal.”

    The president never scolded Boehner for public comments that appeared to contradict what was being discussed in private negotiations, the officials said.

    Neither side wanted a government shutdown, but the president wasn’t willing to give ground on allowing the controversial family planning rider to be part of the deal.

    “In this case we just were not going to move on this, said one of the officials.”

    “We cut some things that were hard for us to cut.”

    “You have to make tough choices, the official said.”

    So what forced the deal? “The clock probably played the most important factor,” said one of the officials.

    With the clock winding down Nabors was on the Hill, kept the White House informed throughout the negotiation process and signaled that a deal had been reached.

    It was White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley who informed the president around 10:30pm.

  5. dannie22 says:

    Hello everyone!!!!

  6. Meet ‘Mama Kaye’ Wilson: Obama Girls’ Godmother, Marian Robinson’s Travel Companion

    This week’s Chicago Tribune has an illuminating look at Eleanor Kaye Wilson a.k.a. “Mama Kaye” — a close friend of the Obama family and Sasha and Malia’s godmother.

    We first heard of Mama Kaye back in 2009, when she was named to the President’s Commission on White House Fellows. HuffPost blogger Carol Felsenthal wrote at the time:

    Ms. Kaye’s bio on the White House press release describes her as an educator whose work has included stints at DePaul University’s School for New Learning and at the Chicago City Colleges system, “where she developed … a welfare-to-work education and training program for General Assistance participants.” Ms. Wilson, who lives in Olympia Fields, is the Obama girls’ godmother as well as a friend and contemporary of Michelle’s mother, Marian Robinson. Yvonne Davila, a friend of Michelle’s since their days working in City Hall, told me that when Michelle and Barack were on the campaign trail, the Obama girls would often stay with with Mama Kaye, whom she describes as “the Martha Stewart of our group. … She does foods that are amazing. She also does arts and crafts and it’s such a great [treat] for our kids to go over there.”

    More recently, we came across Mama Kaye’s name in the White House pool reports during the First Family’s trip to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador — it seems that she served as a traveling companion for Robinson and “greeted foreign officials and enjoyed red-carpet treatment, just footsteps behind the president,” the Tribune adds.
    And some other factoids from the Tribune’s breakdown:

    “After Obama won the presidency, the voluble, gregarious woman told The Washington Post that she didn’t want to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom, lest she’d be the one to spill coffee on the Gettysburg Address.”

    •”Last February, Obama singled out ‘Mama Kaye’ at a prayer breakfast in Washington for setting up prayer circles for him around the country. She started with her own Bible study group, he said, but “once I started running for president and she heard what they were saying about me on cable, she felt the need to pray harder.”

    •Mama Kaye’s husband, Wellington Wilson, 76, is an ex-Marine and former educator. He’s referred to as “Papa Wellington” even by one Barack Obama.

    The more we find out, the more we embrace this White House’s chain of command. If mom says no, ask grandma. If grandma says no, ask grandma’s friend. If grandma says no, ask Papa Wellington…how could a man with that name be anything short of awesome?

    Read the rest at

  7. Ametia says:

  8. Ametia says:

  9. Ametia says:

    Government Shutdown: How Obama Rose Above
    by Howard Kurtz

    While Boehner and the Democrats squabbled over relatively meaningless cuts, the president sat back and played referee. Howard Kurtz on how White House escaped most of the blame—for now.

    After weeks of looking on as congressional leaders squabbled, President Obama left the sidelines and immersed himself in the budget talks, pulling out a deal in the final hours.

    By positioning himself as the grownup on the playground, he would have escaped most of the blame had the government shut down. And John Boehner knew it.

    The president looks like the referee,” says Jenny Backus, a Democratic strategist and former administration official. “He brings the warring kids into the Oval to negotiate a deal.” As for Obama’s detached negotiating style, Backus says: “He stayed out of it long enough that he doesn’t own the mess.”

    Republicans, of course, see it differently. Kevin Madden, a former Mitt Romney adviser, says the impasse was “very risky for the president because he’s always faced questions about his leadership, and the shutdown could exacerbate that problem.” After what Madden described as Obama’s sluggish response to the BP oil spill and the rebellion in Libya, “this is a president who is lacking in executive skills.”

    Political experts say the shutdown showdown isn’t likely to have much impact on the 2012 campaign, in part because most of the potential Republican candidates are Washington outsiders with no involvement in the Beltway brawl. They have had little to say about the confrontation as Boehner seized center stage. One exception is Rep. Michele Bachmann, who supported her party’s demands but said she would give up her salary out of solidarity with military families if the government’s doors are closed.

    Blame-shifting is a high art in Washington; now both sides can argue about who brought the country back from the brink.

    The endgame to this bitter clash could have altered the narrative of the Obama presidency. It would be a mistake to assume that a shutdown would have played out precisely as it did in 1995 and 1996, when Bill Clinton got a boost by making Newt Gingrich look irresponsible and then shellacked the other Republican leader, Bob Dole, at the polls. There is a greater public appetite for budget cutting these days. Still, if Obama is seen as steering a middle course between unyielding partisans, that could buff his centrist credentials.

  10. Rick Santorum: Freedom At Stake If Obama Wins Reelection

    Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said Friday that American rights and liberties were at risk under President Obama and described his healthcare plan as part of a broader plot by Democrats to get Americans “hooked” on entitlement programs.

    There is a reason you’re a FORMER Senator, Rick Santorum! Loser!

    • Ametia says:

      Expect nonsense from loser like Santorum to continue through next year. Same old game of trying to paint the black guy as the big, bad, boogie man, while they continue to yell, scream, lie, cheat, and steal from Americans.

  11. GOP Policy Leader: Boehner Will Need Dems To Pass Funding Deal

    WASHINGTON — A deal has been reached to keep the federal government running, but not all House Republicans are pleased that Speaker John Boehner compromised with Democrats on social issues that have long been sticking points for the GOP during the budget negotiations.

    Boehner angered some members of his own conference by dropping riders that would have rolled back taxpayer subsidies for Planned Parenthood and the implementation of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, among other programs. Rep. Jim Jordan, who leads the conservative Republican Study Committee, told The Huffington Post that he does not think Boehner, a fellow Ohioan, will be able to pass the funding deal through the House without votes from Democrats.

    Boehner would need 218 Republican votes to pass the House majority threshold, which he said earlier this week was his goal. But given the concessions in the final deal, that may be impossible.

    “218 Republicans? I don’t think so,” Jordan said.

  12. Planned Parenthood, Abortion & Federal Budget Fight

    WASHINGTON — Republicans portray Planned Parenthood as primarily focused on performing abortions and – intentionally or not – using American taxpayer dollars to do it.

    Not so, say Democrats who counter that the group’s 800-plus health centers nationwide provide an array of services, from screenings for cancer to testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Abortion is just one of many procedures, and the law bars Planned Parenthood from using tax money for it.

    In the budget maelstrom that threatened to partially shut the federal government Friday stood Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a 90-year-old organization now part of a decades-long congressional battle over abortion.

    Republicans want any legislation keeping the government operating to bar federal dollars for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of abortions. They want to distribute the money to the states.

    What’s so shocking is the deafening silence of republican women on this issue of Women’s Health. WTF is up w/ them?

    Shame on you, republican women!

    • Inspiration for today….

      And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

      Genesis 9:12-13

    • Ametia says:

      Good Morning, SG2 & Everybody! :-)

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