Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Tread | JAZZ!


                                                               Sir Duke Ellington            

Wikipedia:  Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions. In the words of Bob Blumenthal of The Boston Globe “In the century since his birth, there has been no greater composer, American or otherwise, than Edward Kennedy Ellington.”[1]

A prominent figure in the history of jazz, Ellington’s music stretched into various other genres, including blues, gospel, film scores, popular, and classical. His career spanned more than 50 years and included leading his orchestra, composing an inexhaustible songbook, scoring for movies, composing stage musicals, and world tours. Several of his instrumental works were adapted into songs that became standards. Due to his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and thanks to his eloquence and extraordinary charisma, he is generally considered to have elevated the perception of jazz to an art form on a par with other traditional genres of music. His reputation increased after his death, the Pulitzer Prize Board bestowing a special posthumous honor in 1999.[2]

Ellington called his music “American Music” rather than jazz, and liked to describe those who impressed him as “beyond category”.[3] These included many of the musicians who were members of his orchestra, some of whom are considered among the best in jazz in their own right, but it was Ellington who melded them into one of the most well-known jazz orchestral units in the history of jazz. He often composed specifically for the style and skills of these individuals, such as “Jeep’s Blues” for Johnny Hodges, “Concerto for Cootie” for Cootie Williams, which later became “Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me” with Bob Russell‘s lyrics, and “The Mooche” for Tricky Sam Nanton and Bubber Miley. He also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, such as Juan Tizol‘s “Caravan” and “Perdido” which brought the ‘Spanish Tinge‘ to big-band jazz. Several members of the orchestra remained there for several decades. After 1941, he frequently collaborated with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, whom he called his “writing and arranging companion.”[4] Ellington recorded for many American record companies, and appeared in several films.

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42 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Tread | JAZZ!

  1. Hello 3 Chics!

    Would you be so kind to take a few seconds of your time to nominate us for The Black Weblog Awards 2011? Click on the link here


    Just enter our URL the following categories:

    [Best Culture Blog]

    This category is for blogs which analyze and discuss Black culture and/or the African diaspora with respect to art, dance, Black history, music, and other related content.

    [Best Faith-Based Blog]

    This category is for blogs which feature unique religious and spiritual content from any religion or faith.

    [Best Group Blog]

    This category is for a single blog which is updated by a group of people (two or more people). This blog can be about any topic.

    [Best New Blog]

    This category is for blogs of any topic which have been started on or after September 1, 2009.

    [Best Political or News Blog]

    This category is for blogs which are about politics or current newsworthy topics.

    [Blog of the Year]

    The blog of the year has it all: great writing, frequent posts, active comments, and a strong reader base.

    [Blog to Watch]

    This category is for that great blog that not everyone knows about…but should! It’s undiscovered. It’s a best kept secret. (Although it won’t be anymore if they win this award!)

  2. Terry Jones, Koran-burning pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center, will pack pistol at next rally

    Koran-burning preacher Terry Jones says he’ll demonstrate outside a Michigan mosque no matter what this Friday – and he plans to pack a pistol for the protest.

    “I have a .40-caliber semi-automatic and a concealed license permit, and I will be wearing that,” the fundamentalist Florida preacher told Reuters.

    “There will be no provocative actions from us,” he continued. “We are coming in peace.”

    Jones, head of the small Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., is due in a Dearborn, Mich., courtroom Thursday for a hearing about his scheduled protest.

    A Detroit prosecutor has filed a petition with the court trying to block the rally outside the Islamic Center of America, the largest mosque in the United States.

    The petition asserts that the threat of violence associated with the rally was enough to shut down the gathering. A Koran-burning at Jones’ church last month sparked anti-Western violence in Afghanistan, with seven U.N. staffers killed.

    It also mentioned hundreds of e-mail death threats against Jones.

    The preacher promised to appear in Dearborn with about a half-dozen supporters, no matter what 19th District Court Judge Mark W. Somers decides.

    According to Jones, the Good Friday gathering is a protest against radical Muslims and not the Islamic faith.

    The preacher also promised that he would not pay a “peace bond” to county officials who want Jones to cover the cost of additional security for the rally.

    This crazy loon is asking for it. Just drop him off in the middle of Kabul, Afghanistan & see what will happen. I dare him to be so brave! He’s a twisted fool.

  3. Ametia says:

    Lawrence O’Donnell: Donald Trump Is A ‘Very Dangerous Man Who Must Be Stopped’
    by Alex Alvarez | 10:38 pm, April 20th, 2011
    On tonight’s The Last Word, host Lawrence O’Donnell had some strong words for Donald Trump… kind of like all the other times he’s had strong words for Trump.

    Calling Trump “America’s Vulgarian-in-Chief,” O’Donnell led viewers through Trump’s recent Today interview with Savannah Guthrie, his awkward chat with George Stephanopoulos, and his interview Michael Isikoff – discussing his stance on abortion, his doubts about Barack Obama’s country of birth, and his business practices (not to mention the establishment of his genuinely perplexing “Trump University”), respectively. O’Donnell continued by calling Trump a “very silly man” who can barely string a sentence together, calling special attention to an instance of Trump using poor grammar.

    He then asserts – exactly as he did the night before – that Trump will not end up running for President, and that NBC will tighten the reins on Trump just as soon as the network announces its programming for next season. Then, he warned his audience that Trump is downright dangerous:

    In the meantime he will continue – knowingly or not – to fan the flames of hatred in this country, hatred of an imagined foreign-born president, a hatred that is born by many who simply hate that we have our first African-American president.

    There is something very ugly in what Donald Trump is doing, and it is built on a base of racism and paranoia. I’m not saying Donald Trump is racist or paranoid; he doesn’t have to be to do the damage he is doing in this country. He just has to be vulgar enough to keep barking out the lies that the racist, paranoid Obama-haters want to hear. And in doing that for them, on major network television talk shows, it legitimizes their feelings, their hatreds, their racism…

  4. Ametia says:

    Nevada town hall- The POTUS is calling out the GOP governors who refused stimulus $$, then asked for it and go before the cameras and bash stimulus $$.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Obama To Use New Secret Service Bus On Campaign Trail
    As the Secret Service prepares for the 2012 campaign, they’re purchasing two new buses, at least one of which will be used by President Barack Obama as he travels around the country, TPM has learned. The Secret Service says that while the armored vehicles will be used by Obama during the 2012 presidential campaign, they’ll be a security asset for future presidents as well.

    “We’ve never been fully comfortable with the security provided by a bus we lease and then try to retro-fit,” Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin told TPM.

    “This would be just like other vehicles we’re adding to our fleet,” Mackin said. “We’d use them for the campaign, but they’re not for campaign purposes. They would be part of our fleet — just like our limos, just like our follow-ups, just like our emergency vehicles.”

    One of the buses will be available for use by the Republican presidential candidate as well. And they wouldn’t only be used on the campaign trail — the Secret Service said the multipurpose vehicles be useful whenever a protectee travels into rural areas.

    “The reality is that we’re overdue for having this type of protective asset in our fleet,” Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told TPM. “We’ve had protectees in buses since at least 1980, Ronald Reagan, Gov. Reagan, was in a bus during the campaign. It’s overdue because designing our own vehicle really gave us a level of security which we don’t get when we lease a bus.”

    In the past, the Secret Service has enhanced the security features of buses leased by presidential campaigns, and they say having their own secure buses that can be used during campaign trips just makes more sense.

    “If we have a candidate who has leased a bus and we’re going to be protecting that candidate, we’re going to look to enhance the security of that vehicle,” Donovan said. “This is just the next step, and as I said, something that we’re overdue for.”

    The cost of installing equipment, removing equipment and repairing the damage to the leased vehicles also factored into the Secret Service’s decision to purchase their own buses.

    Mackin said the vehicles wouldn’t have any sort of campaign logos because they are government vehicles. The campaigns wouldn’t have to reimburse the Secret Service for use of the buses, said Donovan. They hope to get a ten-year shelf life out of the buses, and once they’re no longer ready for the road, they’ll be used at the Secret Service training facility, Mackin said.

    Donovan said the vehicles are “almost at completion,” but said the Secret Service wasn’t releasing any information on what company was contracted to build the buses at this time.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Law Student Feels Oppressed By Pictures Of Black Men

    Yesterday, an anonymous law student sent an email to the Indiana University at Indianapolis law school community complaining that there were too many black men represented in the school’s public materials. This, according to the email first published by Above The Law, forms a “situation of concern to me which affects us all.”

    Why is that? “These banners are not a fair representation of the school. We should support diversity, not just African-American males.” (You can see what s/he appears to be referring to on the school’s website, which also includes images of another black man, a white woman and Asian women in one shot, and a hilariously staged-looking older white woman shaking the hand of a bowtied black man.)

    Also, the emailer alleges that black students are also given disproportionate assistance by career services because of its leadership:

    Is it perception, or reality that since the Office of Professional Development (OPD) has been run for the last few years by African American females that people of similar ethnicity are afforded greater assistance and the best opportunities to succeed? It is a pervasive opinion that the OPD offers more assistance to members of certain groups. Is this how our institution is to be regarded?

    The email follows a boilerplate of the high-end variant of racism (see also Grace, Stephanie): The cloaking of pseudo-intellectual language (with exaggerated reliance on the passive voice); the vague awareness that Racism is a Thing but I’m not racist (including the co-opting of the language of diversity); the belief that one’s all-too-mainstream view is so bold and brave (except for the whole anonymous email thing). There’s the sentiment present in all forms of racism: The misplaced sense of grievance, itself a form of entitlement. Oh, and s/he signs it, “The Invisible Man.” A sign of true oppression!

    Black students make up about 5.8 percent of the school. Writes ATL’s Elie Mystal,

    I never thought that over-representing minorities in law school brochures was painful or offensive to the overwhelming majority that would therefore be underrepresented in the pictures. I guess I thought that one of the benefits of being in the majority is that you don’t need a stupid PR photo shoot to make you feel like you might be able to get through school without being discriminated against.

    While representation in brochures is only the most superficial kind of inclusion, it also represents not just the world that is but also the world that a community would like to see or welcome. (For example, there may not currently be as many women physicists as we’d like, but it’s still important to represent the ones that are out there beating the odds and modeling for the next generation.) Clearly, the community that the anonymous emailer would like to see includes fewer successful black men in it.!5793483/law-student-feels-oppressed-by-pictures-of-black-men

  7. rikyrah says:

    The Right to Be Wrong
    By Ta-Nehisi Coates

    In which Tyler Perry goes in on Spike Lee:

    Tyler Perry, director, writer and star of Madea’s Big Happy Family and all of the films in the popular Madea series, offered some harsh words to his critics in the entertainment industry, in particular filmmaker Spike Lee. “I’m so sick of hearing about damn Spike Lee,” Perry said during a press conference Tuesday in Beverly Hills, Calif. “Spike can go straight to hell! You can print that. I am sick of him talking about me, I am sick of him saying, ‘this is a coon, this is a buffoon.’ I am sick of him talking about black people going to see movies. This is what he said: ‘you vote by what you see,’ as if black people don’t know what they want to see.”

    “I am sick of him – he talked about Whoopi, he talked about Oprah, he talked about me, he talked about Clint Eastwood. Spike needs to shut the hell up!”

    I don’t much like Tyler Perry’s films, and I really wish there was more room in Hollywood for more types of films about black people. But I don’t think the former is responsible for the latter.

    Tyler Perry is black, but there’s no rule that says he therefore has to make films that fit my ideal vision of What Black Is. He doesn’t even have to make films that I appreciate. All Tyler Perry has to do is find that particular tribe of black people who will pay money to see his vision manifest on film, and then make it so. People who want to see another Medicine for Melancholy (read: people like me) need to do the same.

    Spike kinda gets this, though not really:

    We’ve had this discussion back and forth. When John Singleton [made Boyz in the Hood], people came out to see it. But when he did ‘Rosewood,’ nobody showed up. So a lot of this is on us! You vote with your pocketbook, your wallet. You vote with your time sitting in front of the idiot box, and [Tyler Perry] has a huge audience. We shouldn’t think that Tyler Perry is going to make the same film that I am going to make, or that John Singleton or my cousin Malcolm Lee [would make]. As African-Americans, we’re not one monolithic group, so there is room for all of that. But at the same time, for me, the imaging is troubling and it harkens back to ‘Amos n’ Andy.’

    But I don’t think Rosewood is a very good film. And I think Boyz N the Hood is significantly better than Rosewood. And I think Bamboozled is awful. Which is fine. As surely as Spike Lee and John Singleton have the right to make films that I do not like, so does Tyler Perry.

  8. rikyrah says:

    With A Stroke Of His Pen Obama Strikes Back At Citizens United

    A little over a year ago the Supreme Court of the United States made a controversial ruling that says corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited. The case known as Citizens United v Federal Election Commission allows corporations to use their general funds to buy campaign ads that was prohibited under federal law, and opened the door for unlimited contributions by corporations as well as unions. The high court cited the 1st Amendment’s guarantee of the right of free speech, and it was the first time a corporate entity was treated like a person. Detractors of the ruling cried foul and correctly pointed out that, “The Supreme Court has handed lobbyists a new weapon. A lobbyist can now tell any elected official: if you vote wrong, my company, labor union or interest group will spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against your re-election.” The ruling also opened the door for foreign governments to affect the outcome of United States elections.

    There was an attempt to assuage the damage from Citizens United in the form of the Disclose Act that passed in the Democratic controlled House last year but failed in the Senate because Democrats couldn’t muster the super majority needed to overcome Republican’s filibuster threat. The failed legislation provided tough new disclosure rules for groups that invest in the election process. President Obama summed up the necessity of the Disclose Act calling it “a critical piece of legislation to control the flood of special interest money into our elections,” and, “that it mandates unprecedented transparency in campaign spending, and it ensures that corporations who spend money on American elections are accountable first and foremost to the American people.” Since Republicans are enamored with the notion of unlimited special interest money without transparency or accountability, it was not surprising they threatened to filibuster the measure. The 2010 midterm elections confirmed Americans’ fears with money from special interest groups and corporations flooding the airwaves with fallacious assertions and inaccurate characterizations of everything from the health law to socialist tendencies of Democratic candidates. It appeared that since the Disclose Act failed, elections would be bought by the highest bidder for years to come, but a report today gives some hope that democracy is not dead in America; yet.

    On Wednesday it was reported that President Obama was drafting an executive order that would require companies pursuing federal contracts to disclose political contributions that have been secret under the Citizen’s United ruling. A senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, Hans A. von Spakovsky, lambasted the proposed executive order saying that, “The draft order tries to interfere with the First Amendment rights of contractors.” Mr. von Spakovsky dutifully made all the right-wing, neo-con arguments including bringing Planned Parenthood and unions into the discussion. The draft order did not exempt any entity from disclosure rules and presents a reasonable requirement on contractors seeking government contracts. Several states have similar “pay to play” laws to prevent businesses from using unlimited donations to buy lucrative state contracts from slimy legislators. Thus far the only legislator who has railed against the proposed order was Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). McConnell called the proposal an “outrageous and anti-Democratic abuse of executive branch authority,” and went on to say, “Just last year, the Senate rejected a cynical effort to muzzle critics of this administration and its allies in Congress.”

    McConnell is working under the assumption that the draft order is an attempt to restrict free speech, but there is nothing in the order remotely resembling free speech violations. The exact wording of the president’s executive order says, “The Federal Government prohibits federal contractors from making certain contributions during the course of negotiation and performance of a contract.” There is no free speech issue and the order applies to union contractors as well as non-union contractors. There is no special dispensation of muzzles or prohibitions on political support; only certain contributions during negotiations and performance. Republicans must hate the idea of corporations like Halliburton or Koch Industries losing the ability to contribute unlimited money to legislators for special treatment in securing government contracts, especially no-bid contracts like the ones Dick Cheney’s company’s received in Iraq and Afghanistan. In lieu of veracity, McConnell accuses President Obama of muzzling critics and suppressing free speech when in fact, the order will bring increased transparency and accountability to the process of awarding contracts. Republicans made it their goal to increase transparency and accountability in government in the lead up to the midterm elections, so McConnell should be thrilled that President Obama is helping them achieve their goal.

    The real objection Republicans and the Heritage Foundation have with the order is that it removes the possibility of corporate money influencing government more than it already does. The Citizens’ United ruling was a gift to Republicans who do the bidding of corporations in exchange for campaign contributions and it became obvious after reports that two Supreme Court Justices attended a secret Koch Industries strategy meeting prior to voting to extend free speech rights to corporations just in time for the 2010 midterm campaigns.

    The midterm elections saw a record amount of campaign contributions from anonymous sources that were illegal for years until the high court broke with precedent and gave personhood to corporations. The rash of Republican governors’ victories and subsequent corporate favoritism and tax cuts at the expense of poor and working class Americans is evidence that there is a serious need for accountability and transparency in campaign financing.

  9. rikyrah says:

    um, how is he allowed to be a REP…if YOU DO NOT LIVE IN THE DISTRICT.

    not just a matter of a paycheck…but, he’s ILLEGALLY WORKING, isn’t he?

    State Rep. Artiles could face hefty fine for breaking Constitutional rules about residency
    .Busted by a blogger for not living in his district, Rep. Frank Artiles said he’ll move to his West Kendall district soon. But he could pay a hefty fine.

    More than 170 days since Republican Rep. Frank Artiles was elected, he still hasn’t moved to the west Miami-Dade district he represents in the Florida House — a potential Constitutional violation that could cost him 5 months’ pay.

    Artiles was caught living in his Palmetto Bay home two nights ago when a Miami political blogger knocked on the door of his Palmetto Bay home.

    Wearing gym shorts and socks as he watched the Miami Heat basketball game, Artiles admitted to blogger Elaine de Valle that he didn’t live in his district, she wrote.

    “I’m moving to West Kendall next week,” he told de Valle, a former Miami Herald reporter, according to a Tuesday posting on her Political Cortadito blog. When she pulled her video camera out to interview him, she wrote, he closed the door on her.

    Artiles didn’t return calls to the Miami Herald Wednesday. When a Miami Herald reporter called his cell phone as he sat on the House floor before session, Artiles picked up the phone and then put it down without answering. He later waved to a reporter in the gallery, but refused to return calls or a text message.

    Artiles was elected last year in District 119 against Democrat Katie Edwards. But there was at least one person who didn’t vote for Artiles: Artiles himself. The Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Office said Artiles voted by absentee ballot in District 115, where Rep. Jose Diaz was elected state Representative for the Palmetto Bay area.

    The elections office says Artiles is still a registered voter of District 115, not District 119. After his election, Artiles left a Miami P.O. Box and his current Palmetto Bay home as mailing addresses.

    Even if Artiles moves to District 119, it could be too late to avoid financial trouble, said ethics attorney Mark Herron.

    Herron represented Jacksonville Democrat Reggie Fullwood earlier this year when a political opponent filed a House Rules Committee complaint that pointed out Fullwood, after his election, didn’t live in his district and wasn’t a registered voter – as required by the state Constitution.

    Exactly 15 days after his election, Fullwood registered to be a voter in District 15. The House voted to fine him his daily salary of $81.36 for each day he failed to change his registration.

    Total fine: $1,220.40.

    By that standard, Artiles’ fine would be $13,831.20.

    But no one has filed a formal complaint against Artiles with the Florida House. At least not yet.

    “Before making any decisions on whether we should take any actions, we look forward to House Speaker Dean Cannon holding his own members accountable,” said Eric Jotkoff, Florida Democratic Party spokesman. “Speaker Cannon should be the one to move the ethics process forward.”

    Cannon’s spokeswoman, Katie Betta, said the House takes these cases seriously. But, she said, “the House has a formal process and it doesn’t begin with a blog entry.”

    Artiles had a taste of controversy earlier this session when he appeared on the CNN show Anderson Cooper 360 to defend a bill that banned doctors from asking prospective patients about gun ownership. Artiles misrepresented the scope of the ban, and Cooper called him out the following night on his show – where Artiles didn’t appear.

    “As for why he was so adamantly inaccurate about it last night,” Cooper said of Artiles, “we’ll let you be the judge of that.”

    Read more:

  10. rikyrah says:

    Google won’t release minority hiring statistics, claiming trade secret
    By Priyanka Sharma | 17 Apr 2011
    The universal search engine may not be as transparent as it claims.

    Google’s mission statement is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” yet when asked to disclose data about its internal hiring process, the company flatly refused.

    Google has claimed that its hiring procedures are a trade secret, but other Silicon Valley heavy hitters like Intel, Cisco, and eBay have released their data.

    “All we are asking is for Google to show us the numbers,” said Len Canty, chairman of the Black Economic Council. He was among several minority leaders who protested outside Google’s Mountain View headquarters on Feb. 10, rallying for Google to be more transparent about the minorities it hires.

    “Cisco’s numbers are not so impressive, but they have been transparent,” Canty noted.

    Picketers like Canty as well as Jorge Correlejo, Chairman of the Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles, are concerned that, while Google runs several diversity initiatives, blacks, Latinos, women and other minority groups continue to be underrepresented? However, Cany’s claim of underrepresentation remains speculative and is not founded in any data tied to or released by Google.

    Correlejo says the issue has been ongoing. Last year the United States Department of Labor identified 34 Silicon Valley companies including Google and Apple, and asked them to supply data about their hiring practices. While Silicon Valley companies are not required to reveal their data, claiming that the numbers are trade secrets, 12 companies did respond to the department’s request.

    Correlejo, like Canty, has not been impressed by the numbers from companies like Cisco and Intel, but he commends their transparency. The data from the dozen companies that did release their numbers made it evident that companies were hiring low-cost males from India over domestic minority groups such as blacks, Latinos, and women.

    While Google has a global reach, minority group leaders like Canty and Correlejo see Google as an American entity that has a responsibility to its taxpayers to employ American citizens.

    Canty says his, and other minority groups have reached out to Google in an effort to discuss their concerns about minority representation, yet the search giant has not responded.

    To answer these questions, Jordan Newman, a spokesman for Google, said the company has offered Canty and the public the same press release stating that “Our philosophy has always been that a diversity of perspectives, ideas and cultures means better products for our users. That’s why we have an inclusive work environment and constantly promote diversity at Google, through scholarship programs, internship opportunities and partnerships with organizations working to educate the next generation of engineers and professionals.”

    But the press statement simply angers people like Canty. He and other minority group leaders have decided to take matters into their own hands. This spring, Canty will be leading a trip to the capital to meet with the Justice Department.

    “We think Google needs to be transparent about hiring practices, and if they don’t, it can put them in a position for an anti-trust lawsuit,” Canty said.

    While Canty’s assertion is, at best, speculative, he and many others are concerned that Google is getting so big and gobbling up so many so many smaller companies that competition in the market is being disrupted.

    Since Google is hiring over 6,000 people this year, those picketing there say they want to make sure that their respective groups have a fair shot at being hired.

    A New York based ex-Google employee, who requested to remain anonymous, said Google recognizes that the problem runs deeper than just hiring practices. She said most of the staff in departments like sales and marketing, where she worked, were women. But the bulk of the company is made up of engineers, who are mostly males.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Poll: GOP’s 2012 contenders unknown, unloved
    CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

    It’s early yet, but the Grand Old Party clearly has its work cut out to sell the voting American public on a candidate to challenge President Obama in the 2012 national election.

    A 56 percent majority of Republican voters told a CBS News/New York Times poll that none of the names officially or unofficially in the hat at this stage made them feel enthusiastic as potential nominees.

    When asked if there was anyone they did feel enthusiastic about for the nomination — without mentioning any names — none of the contenders garnered more than 9 percent. That high of 9 percent went to Mitt Romney, with 8 percent saying they felt the same about Mike Huckabee, followed by 7 percent for Donald Trump, then Newt Gingrich with 5 percent, and Sarah Palin with 4 percent.

    The big message from the poll, says CBS News political correspondent Jan Crawford, is that the race for the Republican nomination is wide open (watch her report at left). Republican voters are still getting to know the potential candidates, and they want more information. Take the case of former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty; his favorability is at 20 percent, but 78 percent of Republican voters say they’ve not heard enough about him or are just undecided, and that’s the case with a majority of the field.

    When respondents were asked their feelings about specific Republican hopefuls, the most “favorable” ratings went to former Arkansas Governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Fifty-four percent of Republican voters expressed a favorable view of Huckabee, followed by Sarah Palin with 51 percent, Mitt Romney with 42 percent, and Newt Gingrich with 42 percent.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Give Them One, and They’ll All Want One
    Apr 21 2011, 1:30 PM ET 54The Times reports on the effort to put a Latino-American museum on the Mall. Jim Moran is not in favor:

    I don’t want a situation,” said Representative Jim Moran, a Democrat from Virginia, “where whites go to the original museum, African-Americans go to the African-American museum, Indians go to the Indian museum, Hispanics go to the Latino American museum. That’s not America.”

    Much more preferable is a world where we all just go to the white museum. That’s basically what “America” was before the current movement.

    I’d hear more from those in the public history field, and people with a better knowledge of Latino-American history on the appropriateness of a museum. But I think we have to begin by understanding that the problem originates not in our urge to expand the story, but in our urge to shrink it.

    My off the cuff thought is that there should be a Latino-American museum and the Museum of American History should do a better job.

  13. rikyrah says:

    The Right Bailing The Left Out On Spending
    I wrote about this earlier in the specific context of Grover Norquist, but Elise Foley’s account of the Obama administration’s rapidly unraveling deficit reduction initiative is another illustration of the fact that at the moment the right is big government’s best friend:

    The White House’s proposed deficit talks with Congress appear to be unraveling before they’ve even begun.

    House and Senate Republican leaders announced Tuesday that their sole appointees to the May 5th meeting would be House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.)–neither of whom are budget leaders and both of whom function largely as political mouthpieces for their party. GOP leaders also each opted to send only one appointee, instead of the requested four, to the meeting.

    You have a government set to steadily increase spending on autopilot as a result of demographic change and rising health care costs. And you have a Democratic President urging congress to enact spending cuts. But you have conservative politicians refusing to make a serious effort to reach an agreement out of some blend of taxophobia and fear of giving the President a win. The result, again, whether the right realizes it or not, is a gift to the wing of the Democratic Party that disagrees with Obama about the desirability of enacting spending cuts.

  14. Ametia says:

  15. Ametia says:

    Homemade bomb found at mall near Columbine high
    By Keith Coffman
    DENVER | Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:35am EDT

    DENVER (Reuters) – A busy shopping mall near Columbine High School was evacuated on Wednesday after authorities responding to a small fire at the retail complex found two propane tanks and a pipe bomb, officials said.

    Twelve years to the day after two Columbine High School students shot dead a teacher, 12 students and themselves on April 20, 1999, the devices were discovered at Southwest Plaza Mall, about a mile from Columbine.

    Jacki Kelley, spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, said the security scare began when a small blaze broke out in the mall’s food court around noon on Wednesday.

    Firefighters arriving on the scene discovered the propane tanks “at the origin of the fire,” and police ordered an estimated 10,000 shoppers and mall employees out of the complex, Kelley said.

    Bomb squads later uncovered the pipe bomb nearby as they combed through the sprawling plaza with explosives-detecting dogs, she said.

    Among the arsenal that Columbine assailants Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris brought to school during their assault in 1999 were pipe bombs and propane tanks fashioned into bombs.

    The similarity of devices found at the mall to the explosives in the school attack was not lost on investigators, Kelley said.

    “It’s very disturbing that this happened today of all days,” Kelley said.

    FBI agents called to the scene were treating the bomb placements as “a case of domestic terrorism,” Kelley said.

    FBI spokesman Dave Joly later told reporters that investigators believe the pipe bomb was intended to trigger a larger explosion of the propane tanks.

    Kelley said the bomb fell apart while explosives technicians were handling the device as they prepared to detonate it, and it was “rendered safe.”

    Investigators reviewed videotapes from surveillance cameras for clues, and later released two still images from the tapes showing a gray-haired man with a mustache and baseball cap they described as a “person of interest.”

    The FBI asked for the public’s help in locating the unidentified man, who was captured in one photo near a door by a stairwell, carrying a plastic grocery bag in one hand.

    Columbine cancels classes each year on the anniversary of the massacre there. But other schools in the area were placed on lock-down during Wednesday’s bomb scare at the mall as a precaution until the all-clear was given, Kelley said.

    The mall will remain closed until the investigation is complete.

    Discovery of the pipe bomb came a day after police in Colorado Springs, about 50 miles to the southeast, confronted a teenage boy who admitted posting “Columbine-style threats” against his high school on his Facebook account.

    A police spokesman said the Palmer High School ninth grader told officers who visited his home Tuesday that the threats were meant as a joke, and he apologized, along with his family.

    The student, whose name was not released, also agreed to stay home from school on Wednesday. Police patrols and security at the school were stepped up for the day, police said.

  16. Ametia says:


    April 21, 2011 7:10 AM
    Poll: GOP’s 2012 contenders unknown, unloved
    Updated 9:23 a.m. ET

    It’s early yet, but the Grand Old Party clearly has its work cut out to sell the voting American public on a candidate to challenge President Obama in the 2012 national election.
    A 56 percent majority of Republican voters told a CBS News/New York Times poll that none of the names officially or unofficially in the hat at this stage made them feel enthusiastic as potential nominees.
    When asked if there was anyone they did feel enthusiastic about for the nomination — without mentioning any names — none of the contenders garnered more than 9 percent. That high of 9 percent went to Mitt Romney, with 8 percent saying they felt the same about Mike Huckabee, followed by 7 percent for Donald Trump, then Newt Gingrich with 5 percent, and Sarah Palin with 4 percent.
    The big message from the poll, says CBS News political correspondent Jan Crawford, is that the race for the Republican nomination is wide open. Republican voters are still getting to know the potential candidates, and they want more information. Take the case of former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty; his favorability is at 20 percent, but 78 percent of Republican voters say they’ve not heard enough about him or are just undecided, and that’s the case with a majority of the field
    When respondents were asked their feelings about specific Republican hopefuls, the most “favorable” ratings went to former Arkansas Governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Fifty-four percent of Republican voters expressed a favorable view of Huckabee, followed by Sarah Palin with 51 percent, Mitt Romney with 42 percent, and Newt Gingrich with 42 percent.
    Favorable ratings for some of these possible candidates are slightly higher among those who support the Tea Party movement (54 percent of whom identify as Republicans and 36 percent of whom are independents). Huckabee and Palin’s favorable ratings are higher, as are Bachmann’s. Bachmann does especially well among those Tea Party supporters who are Republicans, compared to those who call themselves independents.
    As’s Stephanie Condon reported Wednesday, businessman Donald Trump may have gained some momentum in recent polls due to his high public profile relative to the other potential candidates, of whom Americans remain largely ignorant.
    In the CBS News/New York Times Poll, Republicans were split in their views of Trump: 35 percent said they view him favorably, while 32 percent expressed unfavorable opinions of him. Another 33 percent said they were undecided or hadn’t yet heard enough about him to form an opinion.
    In addition, most registered voters nationwide (72 percent) do not think Trump is a serious presidential candidate, including majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents. Even though 37 percent of Republicans (and 38 percent of Tea Party supporters) think Trump is a serious candidate, more than half of each of these groups does not.
    Predictably, the field of potential GOP candidates fared far better in popularity ratings when the Republican and Tea Party voters’ poll responses were looked at in isolation. When combined with the other respondents, Huckabee still came out on top of the popularity game with 32 percent of all those polled saying they held a favorable opinion of the governor-turned-talk show host.
    Mitt Romney followed with a 28 percent favorability rating, then Sarah Palin with 26 percent. However, the highest number of overall unfavorable ratings also went to Palin, with 55 percent voicing a negative opinion of the ex-Alaskan governor. A high number of respondents – 46 percent – also expressed an unfavorable opinion of Trump.
    While the poll shows a serious lack of knowledge about the GOP contenders among all voters, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, and Jon Huntsman were the least well-known of the potential candidates. More than 80 percent of Republican voters said they could offer no opinion of Barbour or Daniels; that number was even higher (94 percent) for Huntsman.
    Even Huckabee, who was rated the most favorable GOP hopeful by both Republicans and the wider public, has left 35 percent of his own party’s supporters and 42 percent of all those polled scratching their heads for an opinion of him.

  17. rikyrah says:

    BUDGET FACTS ARE STUBBORN THINGS…. Many of you are no doubt familiar with the classic Monty Python sketch from 1972 called the “Argument Clinic,” which, as regular readers know, is one of my favorites. It goes like this: a man who enjoys a good, substantive debate goes to a business that ostensibly provides one, but after paying his fee, he quickly discovers that the man on the other side of the desk simply contradicts literally everything he says.

    The customer, exasperated, eventually tries to explain, “An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.” His adversary replies ,”No, it isn’t.” He tries again, saying, “Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.” After a short pause, the antagonist responds, “No, it isn’t.”

    A little too often, the “Argument Clinic” sketch reminds me of efforts to engage conservative Republicans in any kind of discourse. Take the debate over the House budget plan, approved last week.

    Reasonable observers note that the plan privatizes Medicare. “No, it doesn’t,” the right responds. Those relying on reality add that Medicare would be replaced with vouchers. “No, it wouldn’t,” conservative reply.

    And the GOP budget plan slashes taxes for the wealthy. “No, it doesn’t,” the right responds. Take this recent Charles Krauthammer column, for example.

    The final charge — cutting taxes for the rich — is the most scurrilous…. Ryan’s plan is classic tax reform — which even Obama says the country needs: It broadens the tax base by eliminating loopholes that, in turn, provide the revenue for reducing rates.

    Now, there’s ample evidence that the House Republican budget plan actually cuts taxes to the tune of $2.9 trillion over the course of the next decade, benefiting the wealthy almost exclusively. Krauthammer and others effectively argue, “Don’t worry, it’s deficit neutral because for every dollar in tax cuts, the GOP closes a tax loophole.”

    Which tax loopholes? Well, Republicans haven’t really said. Are there really $2.9 trillion in loopholes just waiting to be closed? They haven’t answered that one, either.

    If we’re going to proceed with a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition, the fact that the GOP plan cuts taxes for the rich really isn’t in dispute.

    Jon Chait had a lengthy item on this yesterday, which is well worth reading.

    First, the argument simply reflects a legitimate difference in baselines…. When President Obama accuses Ryan of cutting taxes for the rich, he’s using the post-2012 baseline. I consider that the best point of reference because the most important force in our political system is inertia. Given our multiple veto points, it takes great effort to enact a policy change that the parties disagree upon. Ryan proposes to make that change. Therefore, I think it’s fair to describe him as “cutting taxes,” even if revenues did remain at present levels (which I dispute, but more on that later.) I do think there’s merit in both baselines. The argument that Obama is lying about Ryan — that calling him a tax-cutter is, in Krauthammer’s characteristically understated phrasing, “scurrilous” — rests upon the assumption that the current-policy baseline is not only more preferable but the only remotely honest point of reference. That seems like a huge stretch.

    Second, even if we accept Ryan’s preferred baseline, his description of his plan is hard to accept at face value. Tax reform is a trade where you take away deductions (that’s hard) and use the money to reduce rates (that’s easy.) The rate reductions are specified. The reduced deductions aren’t. Another way to put this is that Ryan has proposed a specific tax cut that would benefit the affluent, accompanied by utterly vague promises to find offsets. At the very least, the rate-lowering portion ought to carry more weight than the deduction-closing portion.

    Third, even if we accept both Ryan’s baseline and assume he will match every dollar in lost revenue from the rate cuts with another dollar in reduced deductions, he will almost certainly wind up cutting taxes for the rich relative even to the post-Bush tax code.

    And this doesn’t even count the tax increases that would kick in if Republicans repealed the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, which is another part of the budget plan.

    If Ryan and his allies want to argue that these tax cuts are a good idea anyway, we can have the debate. If they want to argue that the vast majority of Americans, who want taxes on the wealthy to go up, are wrong, we can argue about that, too.

    But simply insisting that a massive package of tax cuts isn’t a massive package of tax cuts isn’t part of any intellectual process.

    —Steve Benen 8:30 AM

    • Ametia says:

      The GOP are intelligent, they’re PATHOLOGICAL LIARS & THIEVES.

      And didn’t Paul Ryan get a righteous BOO-Down by seniors, who see through the bullshit?

  18. rikyrah says:

    Koch brothers launch attack on nonprofit investigative journalism group
    By John Tomasic | 04.20.11 | 1:23 pm
    As the journalism industry limps along and public broadcasting comes under attack, the Koch brothers – multimillionaire conservative-politics string-pullers – have taken aim at the Center for Public Integrity, a twenty-year-old nonprofit investigative organization dedicated to making institutional power more transparent. The Center this month posted an influential piece on Koch lobbying activities to which Koch has responded with a targeted campaign of online ads that seek to discredit the Center’s work. It’s just the latest phase in the digital-era media war that has dealt repeated blows to unprepared pillars of professional journalism.

    “Public relations has grown so tremendously while journalism has … shrunk,” Mike Hoyt, executive editor at the Columbia Journalism Review, told the Center for Public Integrity. “Combine that with the ability of powerful entities to buy their own gateways to the public and you have a civic conversation that can be skewed. A main job of the press is to examine the powerful and that becomes harder given the PR muscle of the powerful.”

    The Koch ads play into a dominant media narrative about the untrustworthy mainstream or “lamestream” media pushed almost constantly on the right, for example, by public figures like Sarah Palin.

    “Slanted Reporting on Koch: Bias, Hidden Agenda at the Center for Public Integrity” read the Koch Google ads, which reportedly direct readers to the company website where they can find the real “Koch facts.”

    According to Raw Story, Koch representatives took another typical tack in today’s media-politics skirmishing by refusing to respond to the Center’s requests for comments on its story. Koch instead squabbled over the objectivity and fairness of the reporting. It claimed there were inaccuracies in the reporting but wouldn’t address them directly, at least according to the Center’s Executive Director Bill Buzenberg.

    There’s little reason to doubt Buzenberg. None of what the Center reported the Koch brothers were up to in Washington was all that surprising, except perhaps for the vast amounts of cash they were doling out, and none of it is illegal. Yet the Kochs didn’t want to talk about it or, more to the point, they didn’t want to turn their story over to anyone else to tell, so they didn’t talk to the Center, and instead ran ads on the topic that they paid Koch people to write just the way wanted.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Sarah Palin’s support plummets according to latest poll

    Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s support is plummeting, according to the latest poll.

    Support for the former Republican governor has sunk to an all-time low of 36 percent, according a new Dittman Research poll based out of Alaska. Disapproval of Ms. Palin stands at 61 percent.

    “There are a number of reasons why her popularity isn’t nearly what it once was,” said Matt Larkin, president of Dittman Research & Communications. “A fair number of Alaskans just have Sarah Palin fatigue.”

    Read more:

  20. rikyrah says:


    Governor ” I took my name from a tv show”

    the President GOT 20 billion…..when your ass wasn’t doing shyt…so F-U.


    Gov. Bobby Jindal slams Obama, demands billions from BP.
    The State Column | Staff | Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Speaking on the one-year anniversary of the Gulf oil disaster, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal slammed the Obama administration’s policy on oil drilling the Gulf of Mexico.

    Mr. Jindal touted the coastal community’s recovery since the oil spill last year, adding that his state is attempting to recover from policies put in place by President Obama.

    One of the side effects, one of the things we need to recover from is the administration imposed a one-size-fits-all moratorium after the spill,” Mr. said. “We want drilling to be done safely but we don’t want to lose thousands of jobs down here.”

    The Republican governor noted, “three hundred miles of coast continue to be oiled, but at the same time, you’re seeing a great recovery story here.”

    Mr. Jindal, who was vocal in his criticism of Mr. Obama’s administration during the oil spill crisis, has remained a fierce critic of President Obama and of BP, the company partially responsible for the oil rig that exploded. Speaking Wednesday. Mr. Jindal repeated his demands that BP make advance payments of millions or billions of dollars related to the disaster’s impact on the state.

    Read more:

  21. rikyrah says:

    Alvin Felzenberg
    Shameless Media Complicit in Donald Trump’s McCarthy-ite Farce
    “OK,” says the professor. “Who can tell me what makes for successful political campaigns?”

    “High name recognition and ample funds,” call out an enthusiastic chorus of students. “A strong reason for running can help,” a few add. “But, absent the other components how would they establish their ‘brand’?” they ask.

    For more than a month it appeared as if Donald Trump would add a fourth component to the list: unmitigated gall, seasoned with proper amounts of vulgarity and ghoulishness. But not so fast. To paraphrase how another member of a club we will call “the rich, the famous, and the fallen,” featured in this space last week, might put it, “times could be a changin.”

    Trump had been hinting at a possible presidential run since last fall. Speculation and suspense about him mounted this winter when he purportedly strut his stuff at the annual gathering of young conservatives at CPAC. Without spending a dime of the fortune we keep hearing about, Trump then took to the airwaves 24/7. (The pros call this “free” or “earned” media.) [Vote now: Will Trump seriously run for president?]

    Trump has been hyping one of the greatest variety acts ever seen on television news.(Consider the lines between news and entertainment further blurred.) Trump claims to seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination and maintains that his Republican credentials are in good standing. Never mind that has a long history of backing Democrats. Just this year, he contributed handsomely to the campaign of new Chicago mayor, Rahm Emmanuel. Trump apparently hopes he can blackmail the GOP into nominating him. Before the first caucus or primary vote is even close, he publicly muses about running for president on a third party ticket. (Wearing an expression of feigned regret, he protests that such a move might re-elect Obama.)

    [See editorial cartoons about the 2012 GOP presidential field.]

    Thus far, Trump has used his celebrity status not to advance ideas, but to cast a spotlight on the so-called “birther issue.” He claims to have sent investigators to scout about Hawaii for evidence that Obama was not born there. He said that his team “could not believe what they had turned up.” Who are these investigators? What they found? And when he would make their findings public? No one pressed him on Trump on any of this until George Stephanopoulos had the gumption to ask him. Trump barked back that is was “none” of his interrogator’s “business.” Really?

  22. rikyrah says:

    Governor Foghorn Leghorn is back.

    come on, now, people..

    say it with me…

    you know what I want to say…..


    Barbour Says Everyone In Mississippi Has Access To Health Care — But 18% Are Uninsured

    Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) says Mississippi doesn’t need Washington’s help with health care reform because “there’s nobody in Mississippi who does not have access to health care.”

    “One of the great problems in the conversation is the misimpression that if you don’t have insurance, you don’t get health care,” Barbour said.

    Barbour was speaking with Christopher Rowland of the Boston Globe, who pointed out that about 18% of the state’s population lacks insurance, roughly half a million people. Rowland writes:

    The Obama law will expand Medicaid eligibility to individuals making up to $14,400 or $29,300 for a family of four — 133 percent of the federal poverty limit.
    An independent study the governor commissioned says the state’s share of expanding the Medicaid eligibility umbrella, while starting at zero, could climb to as much as $237 million a year by 2020 — when the state would have to start picking up 10 percent of the cost. Estimated total costs of the health overhaul, including administrative costs and the impact of new Medicaid enrollees who qualify now but have not signed up, will add $1 billion to $1.7 billion to the state budget by 2020, with the federal government kicking in up to $17 billion, the study said.

    In an email to Sam Stein of the Huffington Post, a Barbour aide clarified that Barbour was talking about “emergency room procedures” when he said that everyone has access to health care. “The Governor is imminently aware the status quo is not optimal for Mississippians, as it’s neither cost effective nor does it address his preventative care concerns,” the aide said. “It’s for those reasons that Gov. Barbour has promoted the concept of a ‘medical home’ for Medicaid beneficiaries and has advocated for private market solutions.”

    Barbour had elaborated on those “preventative care concerns” to the Globe. “Most of the health disparities in Mississippi are not because of the inability to get access or afford health care,” he said. “They are because of diet, alcohol, because of drugs, the very high incidence of illegitimacy that leads to high incidence of low-birth weight children.”—-but-18-are-uninsured.php?ref=fpa

    • Ametia says:

      Fuck you, Haley! Having access and having insurance are TWO completely different things. And blaming it on POOR citizens of Mississippi is just criminal. The only folks this tub of lard is concerned about is his cronies


      Greedy, ignorant, cracker.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Negotiating from implosion
    One would think that House Republicans — yes, even House Republicans — could take a cue from the flaming and, what’s more, brief history of Glenn Beck.

    That particular guttersnipe was once all the national rage — an electronic Ready-Mix of a thundering, hyperbolic Elmer Gantry and a boozy, incoherent Joe McCarthy — yet just as suddenly he collapsed into a mostly forgotten hole of public loathing and antipathy. As Beck’s career biographer, Dana Milbank, wrote a couple of weeks ago: “[A]s the recession began to ease, Beck’s apocalyptic forecasts and ominous conspiracies became less persuasive, and his audience began to drift away.” Then, in Milbank, came the part that one would think even House Republicans would uneasily recall: “Beck responded with a doubling-down that ultimately brought about his demise on Fox.”

    A doubling-down: the classic desperation move of every losing gambler and demagogue. Beck did it, McCarthy did it, Goldwater did it in ’64, Southern Democrats recycled it for years. American history is littered with the refuse of loud and crushing defeats. And, in one way or another, House Republicans are about to repeat history.

    Leading the charge into their Russian winter is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a suited-up hyperpartisan whose appointment to the president’s quite serious deficit-reduction task force pre-announced the House GOP’s abject unseriousness about it. In what Politico characterized as “a clear escalation in the long-running Washington spending war,” Cantor, immediately after being named to the panel, declared that he and his party “will not grant [Democrats’] request for a debt limit increase” unless he and his party get their substantial way on contemporary spending cuts and future budgets.

    As Politico bluntly summarized the majority leader’s position: “[H]e’s ready to plunge the nation into default if the GOP’s demands are not met.”

    But think Beck. Is Cantor negotiating from strength? Does he have the nation’s full faith and confidence at his back? Is the GOP — the party “ready to plunge the nation into default” — still riding the peak of its once dubiously popular crest? Or has it already begun its own plunge, and public opinion polls are merely, and typically, lagging behind events?

    That latter conclusion seems inescapable. The GOP’s economic policies and budget desiderata are but campaign rodomontades for a shrinking base, its presidential luminaries are a bad joke, and its brand, once again, is taking on the canned appearance of cheap dog food. The electorate — including, even, enormous chunks of tea partiers — despises Republicans’ scheming euthanasia of Medicare; those once GOP-friendly town hall assemblages are already turning into ugly village protests; the multitudes have repeatedly made it clear they want Washingtonians to compromise, not clash; and as the ramifying economic horrors of an unlifted debt ceiling come into popular focus, Cantor’s bluff and bravado will fade.

    Correction. That is to say, it should fade — a conditional clause of Reason before others that in the GOP’s parallel cosmos is, of course, mostly an alien concept. Cantor & Party will likely double-down instead, because that’s what Republicans do. If it weren’t for brinkmanship and overreach, they’d have no strategies at all.

    Hell, forget Beck. These guys could make Kim Jong-il blush in all his inadequacy.

  24. rikyrah says:

    April 21, 2011
    OBAMA MAKES IT PLAIN AT FACEBOOK TOWNHALL…. President Obama, for whatever reason, hasn’t done a lot of town-hall events in recent months, and that was probably a mistake. He’s done two this week, and it’s offered us a reminder that when the president steps away from a podium and has conversations with people, Obama’s actually pretty good at this stuff.

    In fact, free from a formal script, the president also seems more inclined to speak his mind in a less-guarded way.

    President Obama on Wednesday opened a Western front in his war against House Republicans’ budget, telling an appreciative audience at Facebook headquarters here that the plan is radical, short-sighted and would reduce annual federal deficits at the expense of the nation’s poor and powerless.

    In a town-hall-style forum with the 26-year-old Facebook chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, Mr. Obama seized on a question about the House-passed budget to mount a long, withering indictment. The questioner, an employee of the social networking company, noted that some news media accounts suggested that the sponsor of the Republican budget, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, is “bold and brave” for proposing the deep spending cuts.

    “The Republican budget that was put forward I would say is fairly radical,” Mr. Obama said. “And I wouldn’t call it particularly courageous.” He added: “I do think Mr. Ryan is sincere. I think he’s a patriot. I think he wants to solve a real problem, which is our long-term deficit. But I think that what he and the other Republicans in the House of Representatives also want to do is change our social compact in a pretty fundamental way.”

    “Nothing is easier,” Mr. Obama said, “than solving a problem on the backs of people who are poor, or people who are powerless and don’t have lobbyists or don’t have clout.”

    In case you’re curious — I know I was — the president had not previously used the word “radical” when describing the Republican House budget plan. He’d been deeply critical, both in last week’s speech and at the town-hall event in Virginia, but Obama was even more candid yesterday.

    I mention this, not only because I like and agree with the accurate rhetoric, but also because it suggests the president has been unfazed by Republican and media criticism. For much of the last week, the message has been that Obama has been “too mean” in response to the GOP agenda, and should be more conciliatory to avoid hurting Republicans’ feelings.

    If yesterday was any indication, the president isn’t especially concerned with conservative sensibilities. Indeed, referring specifically to the Ryan agenda, Obama added, “[W]hat his budget proposal does is not only hold income tax flat, he actually wants to further reduce taxes for the wealthy, further reduce taxes for corporations, not pay for those, and in order to make his numbers work, cut 70 percent out of our clean energy budget, cut 25 percent out of our education budget, cut transportation budgets by a third. I guess you could call that bold. I would call it shortsighted. ”

    If you missed yesterday’s event, the transcript is well worth reading. Pay particular attention to Obama’s talk about how the debt issue became a problem, his vision on immigration and energy, his reemphasis on protecting Medicare from far-right privatization efforts, and his calls for Clinton-era tax rates for the wealthy.

    I don’t know how much of the public sees events like these, and what kind of reach the message has, but the more the president participates in these discussions, the better.

    —Steve Benen 8:00 AM

  25. rikyrah says:

    Black Legislators on Frontline Against AZ-Style Immigration Bills
    As immigrant advocates battle hardline immigration bills in state capitols across the country, they’re receiving crucial support from caucuses of black legislators.

    Black politicians have come out in defense of immigrants, questioning the morality and wisdom of tough immigration legislation in states from Nebraska to Georgia, where “copycat bills” are being modeled on Arizona’s immigration enforcement legislation, SB 1070. That bill ignited a national debate last year on whether states should take immigration matters into their own hands. The fact that federal courts have blocked many parts of Arizona’s law from being implemented has not deterred the copycats.

    Nineteen state legislatures have considered Arizona-style proposals this year, according to Suman Raghunathan, Immigration Project Coordinator at Progressive States Network, a New York City-based nonprofit. Ten of these proposals have been defeated, but they remain alive in several states, including South Carolina, Florida, Alabama and Oklahoma.

    Black legislators have been vocal in warning that, if approved, these bills could have unintended consequences, including damage to local economies, racial profiling, and diluting the federal government’s constitutionally-granted authority over immigration matters.

    In the face of an ongoing backlash against immigrants, this deepening alliance between pro-immigrant lobbyists and black lawmakers has begun to transform state-level politics around immigration.

    In Mississippi, the black legislative caucus was instrumental in sinking a get-tough immigration measure that had seemingly unstoppable momentum and bipartisan support. The bill would have required Mississippi law enforcement agencies to check the immigration status of people detained in any “stop, arrest, or detention” and created a state offense for failure to carry “an alien registration document.”

    “There wasn’t any wavering from the black caucus” in our opposition to the immigration bill, Mississippi Rep. Jim Evans said in a phone interview this week from Jackson. “More importantly, there wasn’t any moral wavering.”

    Evans, along with other members of Mississippi’s legislative black caucus— such as Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Edward Blackmon Jr.— were instrumental in organizing the delaying tactics that held up the bill, which finally failed in conference, after versions passed both the House and Senate, when legislators could not agree on a final version.

    Evans also said Mississippi’s black caucus also helped defeat 22 other immigration-related bills in Mississippi this year, which proposed, among other things, that Mississippi public agencies offer services and materials in English only and that license plates be offered only to drivers with proof of citizenship.

    Evans characterized the proposals as “more venom and more hatred.”

    “Immigration is a federal policy issue between the United States government and other countries, not Nebraska and other countries,” read a resolution introduced to the Nebraska Legislature by Sen. Brenda Council, an African-American labor lawyer who represents a 70 percent black and four percent Latino Omaha district.

    The resolution also asked the federal government to act on immigration reform so that states wouldn’t be pushed into considering counterproductive policies.

    Though Council’s resolution did not make it out of committee, neither did LB 48, a proposal that echoed many of the Mississippi bill’s provisions, which Sen. Council vocally opposed in a March 2 committee hearing: “Let me make the record clear so there’s no doubt in your mind or anyone else’s mind, I’m one of those who believes that LB 48 promotes racial profiling.”

    Across the country, black legislators — nearly all Democrats— have framed immigration in the language of civil rights and have sought to restrain lawmakers from taking too-hasty or draconian action on immigration.

    But they were not successful in all states. In Georgia last week, the Republican-controlled state house passed an immigration measure that, among other tough provisions, encourages law enforcement to investigate the immigration status of suspects and allows officers to detain people in the country illegally.

    Even if the Georgia legislators’ pleas for restraint were partly brushed aside, they had a demonstrably moderating impact on the legislation and a galvanizing effect on grassroots opposition to the bill.

    Members of Georgia’s legislative black caucus played a leading role in spearheading amendments to water down the harshest parts of the bill, HB 87.

    In rallies at the state capitol, African-American civil rights leaders like U.S. Rep. John Lewis joined black and Hispanic legislators in attacking the bill as an unwelcome reminder of a divisiveness Georgia should have kept in history’s dustbin.

    In one speech on the floor of the State Senate, Sen. Emanuel Jones asked legislators to remember that “it wasn’t that long ago when vigilante groups, militia groups … routinely rounded up citizens just to exact their own form of vigilante justice.”

    Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to sign the Georgia bill into law despite the lingering opposition of many immigrant, business, and religious groups.

    Of course, not all black political leaders agree with the parallels between immigrant and civil rights, and some worry about immigrants competing with African-Americans for jobs and wages. In Georgia, Willie Talton, a black Republican, voted in favor of HB 87.

    In Alabama, Democrat Barbara Boyd, a Democrat, voted in favor of a similar bill, though other black legislators such as Laura Hall have been noteworthy opponents and voted against it.

    But even in states historically welcoming to immigrants, it is now African-American lawmakers who are beginning to take the initiative on immigration issues.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Are Sisters Finally Getting Love on Network TV?

    Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2011, 4:25 am
    By: Ayinde Moir Waring, Special to

    Network television has long been considered a haven for white actresses, allowing them to flex their acting chops in juicy and time-enduring roles that their black counterparts could only dream of playing. But as the networks gear up for the upcoming Fall 2011 season, black women may finally be getting their moment to shine.

    Three pilots currently going have black women as the lead actresses.

    That’s right: Three.

    If these shows are indeed picked up, TV will finally get a dose of much needed diversity to an otherwise homogeneous mix. Armed with an impressive assortment of talent both on-screen and behind-the-scenes, these three shows may, in fact, signal a new focus and approach for network television.

    The details:

    – Angela Bassett stars as a special agent in charge of an elite police unit focused on identity crimes in writer John Glenn’s “Identity” on ABC, produced by Mark Gordon Co. (“Criminal Minds,” “Reaper,” etc.)

    – Kerry Washington will play an A-list publicist in the ABC drama “Damage Control,” which is said to be based on the real life world of Washington D.C. powerhouse publicist, Judy Smith, another African-American woman. Brought to TV by Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice,” “Off the Map”), it’s the ultimate trifecta – a show based on a black woman, starring a black woman and created by a black woman.

    – Taraji P. Henson portrays a detective in the CBS drama “Person of Interest,” courtesy of J.J. Abrams (“Lost,” “Undercovers”).

    No one knows for certain, where this sudden push for diversity will lead, but the fact is there is a change.

    “I don’t know if the door is being completely opened, but the networks are definitely finally starting to pay attention,” notes Meena Payne, head of development at Rainforest Films (“Stomp the Yard,” “Takers”). ”They’re realizing that there is an audience that wants to see black women in great roles.”

    Atlanta-based producer Autumn Bailey believes this is all part of the natural progression of the entertainment world, particularly in recent years.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS RIGHT HERE: Kerry Washington will play an A-list publicist in the ABC drama “Damage Control,” which is said to be based on the real life world of Washington D.C. powerhouse publicist, Judy Smith, another African-American woman. Brought to TV by Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice,” “Off the Map”), it’s the ultimate TRIFECTA – a show based on a black woman, starring a black woman and created by a black woman.

  27. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everybody! :-)o

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