Thursday Open Thread

Bobby Caldwell (born August 15, 1951) is an American singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who, despite a prolific musical output over his 30-year career, is still best known for his 1978 hit single “What You Won’t Do for Love“.[1] While he has always maintained a devoted fan base in the United States, a legendary status has been bestowed upon him in Japan. For R&B and modern jazz fans in the United States, he retains the title of: “The white guy most often mistaken for an African American vocalist.”

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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60 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Dem: Amtrak privatization is unconstitutional
    By Keith Laing – 06/22/11 02:40 PM ET

    Stepping up from criticizing the Republican plan to privatize Amtrak rail service as being risky, a key House Democrat said Wednesday that the plan was unconstitutional.

    “The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has determined that this proposal is unconstitutional because it violates the Appointments Clause of the Constitution,” Rep. Nick Rahall, the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said during a hearing on the plan Wednesday.

    “It is also likely that the proposal violates the Takings Clause because it takes Amtrak’s private property without just compensation,” Rahall (D-W.Va.) continued. “As a for-profit corporation, I believe Amtrak’s standing is little different than that of any other for-profit corporation in America.”

    The comments came in a hearing scheduled by Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) after critics said they had not been given time to weigh in on the proposal to remove Amtrak from control of the popular Northeast Rail Corridor (NEC) and allow private companies to bid on operating the service.

    The proposal would remove Amtrak from control of the federally designated Northeast Rail Corridor and transfer it to the Department of Transportation. A newly created Northeast Corridor Executive Committee would oversee the bidding process for rail projects in the Northeast.

    Mica and his co-sponsor, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), have said private companies could provide faster service for passengers traveling to locations between Washington, D.C., and Boston than Amtrak’s Acela trains.

    Several supporters of Amtrak lined up Wednesday to disagree.

    “We have seen the many examples of botched public transit privatization experiments, the well-documented failures of privatized federal prisons and the abysmal working and safety conditions found in privatized school bus operations,” said Edward Wytkind, president of the AFL-CIO union’s Transportation Trades Department.

    “In fact, Amtrak was created in 1971 because the passenger operations run by the private freight railroads went belly up 50 years ago,” Wytkind continued. “We believe the only hope for true high-speed passenger rail is for Congress to join President Obama and finally unleash Amtrak. Instead of destroying Amtrak, Congress must fund the carrier at an adequate level, invest in infrastructure improvements, replace aging locomotives and rolling stock, and give the company’s skilled employees a chance to deliver on the promise of faster and more frequent passenger rail service for more Americans.”

    American Public Transportation Association President William Millar agreed.

    “APTA does not view public-private financing as a substitute for adequate federal investment in the nation’s transportation infrastructure,” he said, though he noted that his organization generally favors such partnerships as a way to expand access to railways.

    “The Northeast Corridor is one of the most complex rail corridors in the world, with more than 2,200 trains operating over the Boston to Washington route each day,” he said.

    Every person testifying before the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Wednesday did not dislike the proposal, however. American Enterprise Institute scholar Richard Geddes said the plan was worthy of support.

    “Both the separation of passenger routes in the United States into the NEC and other, lower-density routes, and the introduction of competition using [public-private partnerships], are vital policies that will yield substantial social benefits,” Geddes said.

    Amtrak President Joseph Boardman strongly disagreed.

    “In order for any public-private partnership to work, you need a partner that understands the key facts,” he said. “That partner is Amtrak.”

    Boardman added that without Amtrak’s Acela service in the Northeast, “this debate would not exist and there would not be such a clear alternative.

    “Amtrak Acela service has demonstrated that this mode can be competitive in the United States,” he said.

  2. Ametia says:


  3. Ametia says:

  4. rikyrah says:

    Cantor is SOO setting up Orange Julius to be the fall guy when the GOP gets little to nothing in these debt ceiling ‘ negotiations’.


    June 23, 2011 12:40 PM

    Cantor puts the weight on Boehner’s shoulders

    By Steve Benen

    As of this morning, it appears the weeks of bipartisan debt-reduction talks are now dead. Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the leading House Republican in the talks, quit. Soon after, Minority Whip Jon Kyl, the leading Senate Republican negotiator, walked away, too.

    But that’s just Phase One coming to an end. Phase Two will feature President Obama sitting down with House Speaker John Boehner’s court — and Boehner’s not especially happy about it.

    Why would he be? The Biden-led talks had reached the point where difficult — and unpopular — decisions had to be made. Cantor, who doesn’t exactly put the “leader” in “House Majority Leader,” didn’t see much of an upside to agreeing to a deal that’s likely to prove controversial, even among Republicans.

    So, Cantor’s passing the buck, probably because he realizes the final deal will need to bring in some additional revenue. As one senior Democratic aide told Brian Beutler, “Eric Cantor just threw Boehner under the bus. This move is an admission that there will be a need for revenues in the final deal to cut our deficit, and Cantor doesn’t want to be the one to make that deal.”

    It’s gone largely overlooked in recent weeks, but Republican leaders know there has to be a deal, but don’t necessarily want to be the one to strike the deal. National Journal reported recently that Boehner put Cantor in the room to give the Speaker some cover: “The debt deal must have Cantor’s fingerprints on it.”

    But Cantor doesn’t want his fingerprints on a controversial measure, especially when he has the option of making Boehner do the hard work. Ezra Klein had a good post on this today.

    Cantor seemed the most obvious choice [to cut a deal] because he has the most credibility with the Tea Party. But that very credibility with the Tea Party is why Cantor won’t cut the deal. They support him because he’s the guy who won’t cut the deal. He can’t sign off on tax increases without losing his power base. But if he’s able to throw it back to Boehner, and Boehner cuts the deal, that’s all good for Cantor: Boehner becomes weaker and Cantor becomes stronger. Which is why Boehner will also have trouble making this deal. It’ll mean he made the concessions that Cantor, the true conservative, didn’t. That’s not how he holds onto the gavel in this Republican Party.

    If you had to write a plausible scenario for how America defaults on its debt, or at least seriously spooks the market, this is how it would start. After insisting on using the debt limit as leverage for a budget deal, the Republican leadership finds they can’t actually strike a deficit-reduction deal, but nor can they go back on their promise to vote against any increase in the debt limit that isn’t accompanied by a deficit-reduction deal. Cantor is putting personal power before country here, and in a very dangerous way.

    Daniel Gross added, “And now John Boehner must decide if he wants to govern or be Speaker. In this climate, with his party, he can’t do both.”

    Keep in mind, there’s no turning back. Boehner was inclined to do the right thing months ago, before he realized that his right-wing party wouldn’t tolerate it. Now he has to strike a deal that can pass, or his party will crash the economy on purpose. Those are the options.

    No one ever said leading a radicalized, pathological political party in a time of multiple crises was easy.

    • Ametia says:

      LOL somebody’s got to be the fall guy and somebody’s got to be the squeaky clean knight in shining armour.

      Boehner=Fall guy
      Cantor= punk-ass Knight

  5. rikyrah says:

    N.J. Fights Over Zuckerberg’s $100 Million

    Nine months after Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg gave $100 million to Newark, N.J. public schools, there’s still not a solid plan how to spend it — sparking protests and distrust from parents.

    Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s plan was presented earlier this year with most parents protesting the lack of community involvement and parent input. However, the state of New Jersey controls the district as it has since 1995, according to NPR. And Gov. Chris Christie has already announced plans to hand over operations to underperforming schools in Camden to private companies. Newark may also be awaiting the same fate.

    The fear is that the plan is focused on charter schools and not on improving already existing community schools — and that private corporations will devour most of Zuckerberg’s gift to a struggling school district.

    It’s not surprising that a struggling school district is having problems administering funds — usually a school district is in dire straits because it lacks leadership and vision as well as efficient administration. We believe the district would have been better served if Zuckerberg gave the district money and a few Facebook executives to handle how the money was spent.

    BY Barbara E. Hernandez // Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 10:28 PDT

  6. rikyrah says:

    Census shows whites lose US majority among babies

    The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — For the first time, minorities make up a majority of babies in the U.S., part of a sweeping race change and growing age divide between mostly white, older Americans and predominantly minority youths that could reshape government policies.

    Preliminary census estimates also show the share of African-American households headed by women — made up of mostly single mothers — now exceeds African-American households with married couples, a sign of declining U.S. marriages overall but also continuing challenges for black youths without involved fathers.

    The findings, based on the latest government data, offer a preview of final 2010 census results being released this summer that provide detailed breakdowns by age, race and householder relationships such as same-sex couples.

    Demographers say the numbers provide the clearest confirmation yet of a changing social order, one in which racial and ethnic minorities will become the U.S. majority by midcentury.

    “We’re moving toward an acknowledgment that we’re living in a different world than the 1950s, where married or two-parent heterosexual couples are now no longer the norm for a lot of kids, especially kids of color,” said Laura Speer, coordinator of the Kids Count project for the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation.

    “It’s clear the younger generation is very demographically different from the elderly, something to keep in mind as politics plays out on how programs for the elderly get supported,” she said. “It’s critical that children are able to grow to compete internationally and keep state economies rolling.”

    Currently, non-Hispanic whites make up just under half of all children 3 years old, which is the youngest age group shown in the Census Bureau’s October 2009 annual survey, its most recent. In 1990, more than 60 percent of children in that age group were white.

    William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the data, said figures in the 2009 survey can sometimes be inexact compared with the 2010 census, which queries the entire nation. But he said when factoring in the 2010 data released so far, minorities outnumber whites among babies under age 2.

    • Ametia says:

      And thus teh ANTI-abortion push and attempts at nixing PLANNED PARENTHOOD.

      GOP gotta get dem white wimmens to keep pumping out de white babies!

  7. rikyrah says:

    Making The Case For Sabotage
    Posted on 06/22/2011 at 5:30 pm by JM Ashby
    Around here, Republican obstructionism and backpedaling on the economy has been rightfully called what it is — sabotage. And up until today, Democratic members of congress have avoided describing the Republican’s strategy in such explicit terms.

    Today, Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Dick Durbin took to the podium to reverse that discrepancy and call things as they see them.

    In a Capitol press conference Wednesday, the Senate’s top Democrats argued that Republicans don’t want to pass measures like a temporary payroll tax holiday for employers because they’ll improve President Obama’s re-election chances.

    “Our Republican colleagues in the House and Senate are driven by putting one man out of work: President Obama,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL).

    The harshest denunciation came from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the man who crafted the Dems’ new “jobs first” message.

    “We are also open to hiring incentives, perhaps in the form of a payroll tax cut for employers that was floated by the administration…. That might not be our first choice, that shows how willing we are to work with the Republicans to create jobs. It’s pro-business, it’s a tax cut, and many Republicans have been for it in the past. But now all of a sudden they’re coming out against it,” Schumer said.

    Republican efforts to obstruct and sabotage do not stop at the borders of the economy, and it’s a salient point to make that the pro-tax-cut Republican party is all of a sudden opposed to a tax cut, because they’re also the pro-war-party and they’re all of a sudden opposed to war. Not because of some tectonic movement of ideological boundaries, but because there is a Democrat currently occupying the Whitehouse.

    I don’t have to stretch my imagination to reach that conclusion. Just take a look at what Mitch McConnell had to say today.

    McConnell admitted that his party is divided over President Obama’s military action in Libya, but that you’re only hearing about it because Obama’s a Democrat. Many of these same divisions, he said, existed under President Bush, but party loyalty “muted” the dissent.

    “I’m not sure that these kinds of differences might not have been there in a more latent form when you had a Republican president,” McConnell admitted. “But I do think there’s more of a tendency to pull together when the guy in the White House is on your side.”

    And if a Republican were in the Whitehouse right now, they may very well be all-in for a second stimulus, all-in for another war either in Iran or Pakistan, and certainly all-in on privatizing the whole of government.

  8. rikyrah says:

    In Atlantic City, effect of mentoring students shows in higher graduation rate
    Posted: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 10:53 pm | Updated: 7:05 am, Thu Jun 23, 2011.

    In Atlantic City, effect of mentoring students shows in higher graduation rate By DIANE D’AMICO Education Writer | 0 comments

    ATLANTIC CITY — When the top 10 students at Atlantic City High School took the stage at graduation Wednesday, half were from the city rather than the four other suburban sending districts, including four of the top five graduates.

    School officials embraced the group in all its diversity as proof that despite its challenges, the district does provide the level of education that helped not just valedictorian Logan Chipkin of Margate get into the University of Pennsylvania, but also got Atlantic City resident and salutatorian Rod Aluise into Drexel University, third-ranked Juan Diaz to Yale University, fourth-ranked Anthony Cox to Brown University, and fifth-ranked Thai Thi Tran to Richard Stockton College.

    “I’m just so excited about this,” said Donna Haye, assistant superintendent of curriculum. “It’s been eight years since we started to make changes. I’ve been to the eighth-grade graduations, and I can see the students are more motivated, choosing better courses in high school.”

    Atlantic City High School has always had two sides: the school offers 21 rigorous Advanced Placement courses, among the most of any school in the county. Almost 20 percent of juniors and seniors take at least one AP course. But the 2010 graduation rate of 76 percent, while a 10 percent improvement over the last decade, was still the lowest in the county. The district goal has been to get more city students not just to stay in school, but to take those AP courses and go on to college.

    Preparation to take AP courses starts in elementary school, where the district has implemented a new guided reading program that gives students more individual attention to make sure they learn to read. As is common in urban districts, students arrive and leave school all year long. Many show up academically below their grade level or with limited English, so education had to become more individualized.

    “We used to send students to the high school reading at a fourth grade level,” Haye said. “Now we start them at whatever level they are when we get them, and we keep moving so they can read when they get to the high school.”

    • Ametia says:

      This really is great news; but it certainly isn’t rocket sciene. Any child given a rich envrionment of love, support, nurturing, the right tools, the caring, will have a greater opportunity to THRIVE.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Batshit In New Jersey
    Posted on 06/22/2011 at 6:45 pm by JM Ashby
    Being opposed to individual mandates is one thing, but I think this is going a little bit too far.

    A bill proposed by a state assemblywoman in New Jersey would have government employees thrown in jail for up to five years if they attempt to enforce any part of the health reforms passed by Congress last year.

    Its sponsor — Assemblywoman Alison Little McHose (R) — reportedly copied much of the bill’s text word for word from the Tenth Amendment Center, a fringe conservative group that promotes states’ rights over the federal government. The parallel was first spotted by reporter Matt Friedman at The New Jersey Star Ledger.

    If passed, the law would mandate a $1,000 fine for any government worker or contractor who upholds federal laws pertaining to health care. It would also recommend prison terms up to five years, although it leaves that decision to judges who would potentially hear prosecutions brought under the proposed law.

    It’s a good thing the state of New Jersey is not accepting federal grant money for, or planning in preparation of, the implementation of a state health insurance exchange ahead of the 2014 deadline. If they were, Assemblywoman McHose may be proposing jailtime for the entire legislature and her dear governor Chris Christie.

    Oh wait, they are accepting grant money and preparing for implementation.

    New Jersey is seeking a $1 million federal grant to begin preparing for the creation of the state’s health insurance exchange, the new health insurance marketplace set to launch in 2014, when federal health insurance reform requires everyone in the nation to get health coverage.

    Neil Sullivan, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Banking and Insurance, told a conference of the New Jersey Association of Health Underwriters, in Piscataway, that DOBI expects by next week to hear back from the federal government on its application for the $1 million federal grant.

    Sullivan said Gov. Chris Christie is “not a fan” of federal health care reform, “but as long as New Jerseyans are paying federal taxes, we will go for those federal funds that are available for the implementation of reform.”

  10. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    June 23, 2011 11:30 AM

    McKinsey report unravels; will GOP care?

    By Steve Benen

    By this point, McKinsey & Company hopefully sees its latest report on health care policy to be an awful, embarrassing mistake. The firm published a controversial study recently, purporting to show that nearly a third of American businesses will stop offering health coverage to their employees as a result of the Affordable Care Act, and has faced nothing but trouble since releasing the dubious data.

    This week, McKinsey pushed an unpersuasive spin to justify its misguided report, but just as importantly, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the methodology — which the company went to great lengths to hide — has rendered the results largely useless.

    There is no doubt that the answers one would get after priming respondents the way they did would be expected to include more expressed interest in the possibility of not insuring employees than a question asked in a nonprimed context,” said Floyd Fowler, a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Survey Research at University of Massachusetts, Boston, and author of the book Survey Research Methods.

    McKinsey’s study concluded that employers are fairly likely to rescind insurance benefits after the health care law takes full effect in 2014. The firm claims to stand by the result, though it now admits the results of the survey aren’t predictive. However, the results were based on some curious questions … designed to lead survey-takers to conclusions at odds with the majority of expert analysis.

    he next question is whether reality or any of these pesky facts will get in the way of Republican rhetoric.

    GOP officials began touting the bogus McKinsey results last week, and continue to cite the report in Republican arguments this week. Will they change their tune now that the study has been largely discredited?

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess, “No, they won’t give a damn.”

  11. Look at this, 3 Chics! Does Flotus rock or what? Flotus is doing push ups with Archbishop Desmond Tu Tu!
    She’s amazing!

  12. Ametia says:

    *Be sure to scroll down the brief for the surprise. LOL

    Did Mark Cuban’s Attorney Just File Greatest Legal Scoreboard Ever in Ross Perot Jr. Case?
    By Robert Wilonsky Wed., Jun. 22 2011 at 10:11 AM

    We’ve written here and there about Ross Perot Jr.’s legal claims that a “reckless and careless” Mark Cuban has done an awful job of running the Dallas Mavericks …. right, Your NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks, of which Perot still owns 5 percent. Well, moments ago Tom Melsheimer, Cuban’s attorney, just submitted into evidence the document you see below as proof that Cuban’s anything but a bad owner. Melsheimer’s brief in support of his motion to dismiss is just that, brief — proof that a picture’s worth … well, you know.
    2011-06-22 WC Mavs and Radical Mavs Mngt MSJ

  13. rikyrah says:

    check out the pics at the link and come to your own conclusions…..LOL


    Widow of Lord Glenconner begs manservant who inherited West Indies estate to give back his fortune
    By Mail On Sunday Reporter

    Last updated at 1:38 PM on 19th June 2011

    The widow of Lord Glenconner, who has left his fortune to his West Indian manservant, has appealed for him to return part of the estate to the family.

    Distressed Lady Anne Glenconner said she hoped that Kent Adonai, 48, ‘would do the right thing’.
    Lady Anne, who was a close friend of Princess Margaret, said it was a ‘surprise’ to learn that her husband had left the multi-million pound estate on the Caribbean island of St Lucia to Mr Adonai.

    At a memorial service yesterday for Lord Glenconner, 83, near Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders, Lady Anne said: ‘Kent was beloved by my husband but so were we all – I was married to him for 55 years.’
    Mr Adonai had walked the baron’s pet elephant in the Caribbean, cooked for his jet-set friends and slept on the floor by his bed for 30 years.
    Lord Glenconner changed his will seven months before his death from cancer to leave Mr Adonai everything that had been meant for his heir, his 17-year-old grandson Cody.
    This included his beachside house between the Pitons in St Lucia, all its contents and a valley overlooking the Caribbean.

    Read more:

  14. rikyrah says:

    N.J. public workers to stage large protest over pension and health insurance reform

    New Jersey’s battle over benefits could hit a fever pitch today.

    Thousands of public workers are expected to stage what leaders vow will be their biggest Statehouse protest yet over a controversial bill to force them to pay more for health insurance and pensions. The bill is up for final passage in the Assembly, which would send it to Gov. Chris Christie, who is expected to sign it swiftly.

    Leading up to today’s battle, a state workers union chapter Wednesday filed a federal suit against the state saying its contract was broken because pension payments were skipped. And Christie pitched the plan at a town hall where he was booed by some teachers.

    At a town hall in Fair Lawn, Christie said the measure, a focal point of his agenda, is needed to restore the state’s fiscal balance and ensure the solvency of the pension fund.

    “We have support with both political parties to do this,” Christie said. “It isn’t like other states.”

    Fair Lawn schools finished for the summer Tuesday and a group of teachers packed the meeting. The crowd was less friendly than most of his meetings: half the attendees booed when he went through his proposals, and the other half, supporters of the governor, clapped louder in an attempt to drown them out.

    “As always in our democracy, there will be people who disagree,” Christie said, acknowledging the dissenters.

    Lauren Gimon, a math teacher at Fair Lawn High School, joined a group of about 50 teachers who stood on street corners out the meeting holding signs and waving at passing cars. Gimon said she’s hopeful the efforts by public employees to rally in Trenton and across the state will have some influence.

    “It made a difference in Wisconsin,” Gimon said.

    With passage in the Assembly seeming almost inevitable, one union began what could be the first of a several court battles. Local 1033 of the Communication Workers of America filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming the state failed to meet his contractual obligations when it didn’t contribute to the pension system.

  15. rikyrah says:

    June 23, 2011 8:40 AM

    ‘It is time to focus on nation building here at home’

    By Steve Benen

    One probably doesn’t need to be an expert in public opinion to know that Americans have grown weary of war, and desperately want to see a stronger domestic economy. It appears President Obama is acutely aware of these sentiments, too.

    Indeed, perhaps what was most politically interesting about his remarks last night on U.S. policy in Afghanistan wasn’t related to the troop withdrawals or conditions for Taliban negotiations, but rather, the fact that he talked at some length about the U.S. economy in a speech about national security.

    “Above all, we are a nation whose strength abroad has been anchored in opportunity for our citizens here at home. Over the last decade, we have spent a trillion dollars on war, at a time of rising debt and hard economic times. Now, we must invest in America’s greatest resource — our people.

    “We must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industries, while living within our means. We must rebuild our infrastructure and find new and clean sources of energy. And most of all, after a decade of passionate debate, we must recapture the common purpose that we shared at the beginning of this time of war. For our nation draws strength from our differences, and when our union is strong no hill is too steep, no horizon is beyond our reach.

    “America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home. […]

    “[L]et us finish the work at hand. Let us responsibly end these wars, and reclaim the American Dream that is at the center of our story. With confidence in our cause, with faith in our fellow citizens, and with hope in our hearts, let us go about the work of extending the promise of America — for this generation, and the next.”

    For those Americans who may be more concerned with the unemployment rate than the troop-withdrawal rate, it was smart to include this rhetoric. The White House doesn’t want to give the impression that his principal focus is overseas.

    And while the Republican response to the policy in Afghanistan was surprisingly disjointed — nearly as many Republicans are to Obama’s left, wanting a faster drawdown, as to his right — it’s also worth keeping in mind that the GOP’s approach to the domestic policy is far clearer: they’re against it.

    Obama wants to “invest in … our people,” but Republicans see “invest” as an ugly code word for “spending” — and “spending” is bad. Obama wants to “unleash innovation,” but the GOP considers this “big government.” Obama wants to “rebuild our infrastructure and find new and clean sources of energy,” and Republicans consider both of these socialistic plots to undermine America.

    “We must recapture the common purpose”? I’m afraid that’s impossible for the foreseeable future.

  16. Ametia says:


    Supreme Court rejects generic drug labeling suits

    (Reuters) – The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that generic drug companies cannot be sued under state law over allegations that they failed to provide adequate label warnings about potential side effects.

    By a 5-4 vote, the justices gave a victory to Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Mylan Inc’s UDL Laboratories and Iceland-based Actavis Inc by overturning U.S. appeals court rulings that allowed such lawsuits.

    The companies argued that federal law barred such lawsuits because the drug had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Federal law requires generic drugs to have the same labels as their brand name equivalents.

    *****Justice Clarence Thomas in the court’s majority opinion agreed. He said federal drug regulations applicable to generic drug manufacturers directly conflicted with and thus pre-empted state lawsuits.*****

  17. Ametia says:

    Democrats Explicitly Call Out GOP For Sabotaging The Economic Recovery
    Brian Beutler | June 22, 2011, 12:36PM

    They’ve made it explicit. Democrats are accusing Republicans of trying to sabotage the recovery — or at least stall it — by blocking all short-term measures to boost the economy, even ones they previously supported.

    In a Capitol press conference Wednesday, the Senate’s top Democrats argued that Republicans don’t want to pass measures like a temporary payroll tax holiday for employers because they’ll improve President Obama’s re-election chances.

    “Our Republican colleagues in the House and Senate are driven by putting one man out of work: President Obama,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL).

    The harshest denunciation came from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the man who crafted the Dems’ new “jobs first” message.

    “We are also open to hiring incentives, perhaps in the form of a payroll tax cut for employers that was floated by the administration…. [T]hat might not be our first choice, that shows how willing we are to work with the Republicans to create jobs. It’s pro-business, it’s a tax cut, and many Republicans have been for it in the past. But now all of a sudden they’re coming out against it,” Schumer said.

    John Boehner called it a gimmick, Paul Ryan called it sugar high. Lamar Alexander and Jeb Hensarling both criticized it as short-term stimulus — apparently that’s a bad thing. Would Republicans really oppose a tax cut for business that created jobs? This is sort of beyond the pale. So if they’d oppose even something so suited to their tastes ideologically, it shows that they’re just opposing anything that would help create jobs. It almost makes you
    wonder if they aren’t trying to slow down the economic recovery for political gain.

  18. Ametia says:

    Traffic Alerts: President Obama is Back on Broadway to See Sister Act!
    Thursday, June 23, 2011 3:05 AM Suzanna Bowling

    Sister Act” was my choice for Best Musical of the Year and I guess it is President Obama’s as well. Tomorrow, get ready to “Raise the Roof,” just to attend the Alan Menken/ Glenn Slater musical. Tickets are soaring even higher than the usual $200 for orchestra seats. A record $10,000. for a photo op with the President.

    Though he’s done fundraising this year at Town Hall, the official PR re-election campaign states “He has chosen the production for his first major Broadway fundraiser for the 2012 cycle.” Whoopi Goldberg, who starred in the original “Sister Act” and is the lead producer for the current production is a political supporter of Mr. Obama’s and will host the evening’s events at the Broadway Theater. Look for Oprah and Tyra to be attending.

    You can get away with paying less. Ticket prices for the fundraiser start at $250, with $500 seats in the front mezzanine and $1,000 will get you an orchestra seat and entry to a pre-show reception with the talented Ms. Goldberg. The President is scheduled to speak following the performance.

  19. rikyrah says:

    June 23, 2011 10:45 AM

    Cantor pulls out of debt talks

    By Steve Benen

    We talked earlier about how badly the bipartisan debt-reduction talks appear to be going. The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that the process appears to be getting worse.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Thursday said he was pulling out of the bipartisan budget talks headed by Vice President Joe Biden for now because the group has reached an impasse over taxes that only President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) could resolve.

    Mr. Cantor, in an interview after a negotiating session he described as bitterly contentious, said he would not be attending today’s scheduled meeting of the bipartisan deficit-reduction leadership group because he believed it was time for the negotiations to move to a higher level.

    “We’ve reached the point where the dynamic needs to change,” Mr. Cantor said. “It is up to the president to come in and talk to the speaker. We’ve reached the end of this phase. Now is the time for these talks to go into abeyance.”

    Let’s put this another way. One of the leading hostage-takers (Cantor) has decided he no longer wants to talk to the negotiators (Democrats) struggling to meet his unreasonable demands. Instead, he wants the lead hostage-taker (Boehner) to talk to the lead negotiator (President Obama).

    This was expected to happen eventually, but only after these participants crafted a blueprint, or at least an outline, for a compromise. Cantor, this morning, indicated that the current participants can’t even get to this point.

    For two weeks, the oft-confused House Majority Leader had said the talks appeared to be progressing nicely. It now appears Cantor either didn’t mean what he was saying, or the process collapsed with surprising speed.

    Keep two additional angles in mind. First, the clock is quickly becoming an enemy here. In order to avoid a panic and risking the nation’s credit status, everyone seems to agree a deal should be wrapped up before the 4th of July. That is, for those keeping score at home, 11 days from today. With progress at a standstill, what are the chances leading policymakers will resolve their differences over the next week?

    Second, to reemphasize a point from earlier, failure on this isn’t like failure in most legislative talks. On most issues, if policymakers engage in negotiations, and the process fails, the bill dies and goes away for a while.

    When it comes to the debt ceiling, if the talks fail, Republicans have vowed to cause a recession on purpose. If failure is an option, the consequences would likely prove catastrophic.

    • Ametia says:

      Cantor’s a punk ass beyotch, and is not tryna be a fall guy when teh House comes crashing down for holding the debt ceiling hostage over keeping tax cuts and spending.

      **looking @ you Speaker Boehner**

  20. Ametia says:

    Breaking News Alert: Cantor pulls out of deficit-reduction talks, citing impasse over tax increases
    June 23, 2011 10:54:13 AM

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Thursday pulled out of White House budget talks led by Vice President Biden, saying the two sides had reached an impasse over tax increases.

    For more information, visit

  21. rikyrah says:

    Senators Look To Put Immigration Back On The Front Burner
    Comprehensive immigration reform has about as much chance of passing right now as an asteroid-sized kidney stone, while even more modest measures, like the DREAM Act, are stalled in Congress. Nonetheless, Democrats are doing their best to keep the issue in the national conversation.

    Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Pat Leahy (D-VT), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) held a joint press conference on Wednesday to prod lawmakers into negotiating a bipartisan bill, and introduced their own bill to get talks moving. The bill would follow the familiar formula that’s been tried unsuccessfully since President Bush’s own legislative push — an increase in enforcement measures coupled with a path to citizenship for undocumented workers.

    They got an unexpected boost on Wednesday from journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who penned a widely read New York Times piece in which he revealed he was an undocumented immigrant who had hid his status for years growing up and building his career in America. He is now an advocate for the DREAM act, which would give a path to citizenship to illegal immigrants who, like Vargas, came to America as children and have either gone to college or served in the military in the states. In another encouraging development, Southern Baptist Convention recently drafted a resolution calling for comprehensive reform.

    Menendez, one of the chief proponents of the DREAM Act in the Senate, told TPM that he had yet to read Vargas’ article but that his experience was illustrative of the problems the legislation seeks to address.

    “From what I understand of the story, it speaks volumes about how an incredible individual contributing to American society has to live with the fear of [being] an undocumented worker,” he said.

    With major legislation unlikely to come anytime soon, Menendez told reporters that he and the rest of the Hispanic Caucus recently urged President Obama in a meeting to help mitigate some of the issues they hoped to eventually solve in Congress using executive orders. One step would be to suspend deportations for illegal immigrants in who would be affected by the DREAM Act’s passage to allow them to complete their college education or military service. Another proposal was suspending deportations for families from Juarez in response to ongoing deadly battles between police and drug gangs.

    “If those two administrative elements were given together it would certainly not solve our problem, but it would provide some relief,” he said.

    Latino voters are crucial to Obama’s re-election prospects, and the White House has been redoubling its efforts to court the key constituency in recent weeks. Obama recently took a rare presidential trip to Puerto Rico, which has a large diaspora population in swing states like Florida.

  22. rikyrah says:>1=33032

    $1 billion in new help to flailing homeowners

    The word (OK, two words) for today is: Get moving.

    Homeowners have until July 22 to get pre-screened for a new, interest-free government loan intended to help delinquent homeowners stave off foreclosure. In fact, for those who play by the rules, the loan isn’t really a loan — it’s a gift.

    No reason is offered for the short deadline, only that the next four weeks are for “pre-screening” applicants. After that, presumably, selected homeowners will be allowed to apply.

    The $1 billion in aid — money provided in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (.pdf file) — was announced this week.

    “The program, known as the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program, is expected to help up to 30,000 distressed borrowers, according to HUD,” says The Washington Post.

    That’s about $34,000 apiece, on average. Sounds great, but of course there are plenty of caveats and qualifications.

    Who’s eligible?

    Apply if:

    You’re (involuntarily) unemployed or underemployed after losing a job or because of a serious medical condition.
    You’re at least 90 days delinquent on your mortgage payments on your primary home.
    You’ve received a notice of foreclosure.
    Your income has dropped by at least 15%.
    You’re likely to be able to resume home payments within two years.
    You meet the income eligibility criteria. Roughly, that’s if your household income in 2009 was at or below $75,000 a year or 120% of the area median income for a household size of four.

    These loans can become gifts

    These “bridge loans” of up to $50,000 are “forgivable,” says HUD. They appear to be carefully constructed to reduce the incentive for underwater homeowners to walk away from their homes.

    Here’s how the program works:

    Lucky approved homeowners will get one-time help to become current on overdue mortgage costs and make monthly (first lien) mortgage payments (including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance) for a maximum of two years or $50,000.
    The loan becomes a junior lien against the borrower’s home. No payments on the loan are due for five years if the borrower stays current on mortgage payments and meets other requirements. After that, the loan balance is reduced by 20% a year until nothing is owed and the junior lien is eliminated.

    The loans are available only in 32 states and Puerto Rico. Participating states: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

  23. Ametia says:

  24. rikyrah says:

    Papandreou Budget Hole Threatens to Swallow Europe, Defies Debt-Crisis Fix
    By James G. Neuger – Jun 22, 2011 5:01 PM CT

    George Papandreou was staring into a 20 billion-euro ($29 billion) hole.

    It’s common for freshly minted leaders to discover that there’s not enough money to pay for their campaign promises. So when Papandreou’s new Greek government woke up to a looming budget disaster within days of taking office in October 2009, the alarm bells were slow to ring in European capitals.

    Don’t “overrate” the problem, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, later to play a pivotal role in the debt saga that continues to rock the 17-nation euro area. “There are deficits in other parts of the world as well.”

    That initial reaction foreshadowed European leaders’ failure to tame a crisis that is entering its 21st month and has world leaders growing anxious over the prospect of a new financial tsunami as they shake off the effects of the last one. On June 7, President Barack Obama told Merkel it was her job to stop an “uncontrolled spiral of default.” China’s central bank warned on June 14 of a “major risk” incubating in Europe.

    “This has unravelled badly,” said Paul de Grauwe, an economics professor at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium and a two-time candidate for a European Central Bank post. “The most favorable scenario is that we can bridge the next six months. The less favorable scenario is this gets out of control.”

    The 256 billion euros in aid committed to Greece, Ireland and Portugal have done little more than buy time against a looming default, says Andrew Balls, Pacific Investment Management Co.’s head of European portfolio management. The cost to insure senior debt of 25 banks and insurers has climbed to 162 basis points from 120 on April 8, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. prices. Insurance against a sovereign default, the most expensive in the world, indicates a chance of more than three in four that Greece will be forced to restructure its debt.

    ‘Pretty Hopeless’
    “If you just look at the economics, it looks pretty hopeless for Greece. It would make you think that a default would already have happened,” Balls told Bloomberg Television June 21. “If you can quarantine Greece, Ireland and Portugal, take these countries out of the market, have them do their adjustments, then you can buy time for Spain, buy time for banks to recapitalize.”

    At a Brussels summit tonight and tomorrow, the stewards of the world’s second-largest economy will have another go at the Greek dilemma, debating the size of new loans to the Athens government and how to get holders of Greek bonds to chip in.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Ryan Medicare Plan Would Make Americans Worse by 57%-34%, Poll Shows

    Representative Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman who has become a star in the Republican Party with his plan to overhaul Medicare, is emerging as a polarizing figure among Americans.

    Twenty-six percent of people view the Wisconsin lawmaker unfavorably while 23 percent see him favorably, according to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted June 17-20.

    The only public figures in the survey with higher net unfavorable ratings than Ryan, who six months ago was known chiefly to his southeast Wisconsin constituents and health- policy experts, were former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

    “I don’t like the focus he’s made, and I don’t like the programs he’s playing with,” says poll respondent Jason Young, 37, a video game producer from Novato, California, and an independent. “Ryan’s plan is too Draconian, and I think the cuts on Medicare he’s proposing are unfair and unrealistic.”


    By a margin of 57 percent to 34 percent, poll respondents say they would be worse off if Ryan’s plan to convert Medicare to a system of subsidized private health coverage were adopted. Fifty-eight percent of independents, a critical voting bloc in recent elections, say they would be worse off.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Sen. Mitch McConnell: President Obama is “weak”
    The State Column

    Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that President Obama’s chances of winning re-election remain “weak.”

    Mr. McConnell, a Republican, said Wednesday that he believes President Barack Obama is in a “very weak position, politically” and that Republicans can beat him if there is no significant change in economic conditions by the fall of 2012.

    “That common view at that time was it was a pretty bad [Republican] field,” Mr. McConnell said. ‘I think one of these candidates is gong to get on a roll, and they are going to start winning, and they are going to look a lot better then than they look today.”

    The comment came during a breakfast held by the Christian Science Monitor.

    The Kentucky Republican said Republican presidential candidate should focus on the economy in order to defeat Mr. Obama in 2012. Mr. McConnell, who has opposed economic policies put forth by the Obama administration, said unemployment is Mr. Obama greatest vulnerability.

    “He made it worse,” Mr. McConnell said referring to the nation’s unemployment rate.

    Mr. Obama continues to face challenges in relation to job creation and economic growth. A recent jobs report showed the nation’s unemployment rate climbing to 9.1 percent as the U.S. created less than 100,000 last month.

    Read more:

    • Ametia says:

      Tippy Turtle, Mitch Mc C, you and teh GOP are WEAK, LYING, PATHETIC SCUMBAGS, you have been holding Americans hostage with you OBSTRUCTIONIST,DISTORTIONS, LIES &THIEVERY with your PRO TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH & ALL THE REST OF YOU AMERICANS BE DAMNED MANTRA.

      Go to HELL, McConnell, we aren’t buying the bullshit you’re peddling.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Florida poll: Tea party movement could cost Republicans in 2012

    Beware, Florida Republicans: The tea party movement that swept you into office in 2010 could cost you the next election.

    That’s the takeaway message from Republican pollster and consultant Alex Patton, who conducted a recent survey showing that, by a 2:1 ratio, registered Florida voters said the tea party movement did not represent their views.

    The sentiment against the tea party is significantly higher among self-described independent voters, who swing elections in Florida and who looked unfavorably on the tea party by 3-to-1, the poll showed. Only Republican voters favored the tea party movement, with 68 percent in support and less than 20 percent opposed.

    “There’s a real danger to Republican candidates,” said Patton, a founder of the Gainesville-based War Room Logistics polling firm.

    “If, in a primary race statewide, a candidate hugs the tea party too tightly in order to win the primary,” he said, “it significantly causes you issues in a general election.”

    But there’s a catch for Republicans: The tea party movement is dear to the base of the GOP. Last year it helped fuel the Republican takeover in the Florida Cabinet as well as the U.S. House. So Republican candidates for president and U.S. Senate are courting the movement to ensure a primary win before they face off against President Obama or Sen. Bill Nelson in the 2012 general election.

    Read more:

  28. rikyrah says:

    Lessons in integrity with San Quentin State Prison’s tennis team

    I’ve played tennis in countless venues and in what I thought was every imaginable setting. The dusty red clay courts in Paris, immaculate grass outside of London, Ivan Lendl’s backyard U.S. Open replica court, numerous stuffy clubs and decrepit public courts with weeds growing through the cracks in the surface. But until recently I had never associated the sport with concertina wire, constant loud alarms and tower guards with rifles.

    Having heard about a tennis court at California’s San Quentin State Prison, I contacted Martin Silverman, a Bay Area volunteer who brings in players from the outside world. As a professor who teaches a course on “Prisons and Punishment,” I considered it a perfect opportunity to bring together my passion for tennis and my interest in prisons. I arranged a visit that would coincide with an academic conference I would be attending at UC-Berkeley. My plan was to “escape” from a mind-numbing academic panel to hit some balls with convicted felons.

    I arrived on a beautiful but brisk Saturday morning, along with Martin (an avid tennis player who recently “aged-up,” with great enthusiasm, into the 80-and-over division) and two other outsiders who take part in a weekly tennis “league” (of sorts), where inmates and outsiders play doubles together against another “mixed” pair. I had heard that they were always in need of more racquets, so I brought a bag filled with a dozen sticks to donate to the inmates (these would have to be delivered later, after being checked for contraband).

    Playing tennis in the notorious San Quentin sounds oxymoronic. But within the confines of a tennis court, these men are learning to play inside the lines. And tennis may be giving some of them the hope of finding a new direction in their lives.

    My day at San Quentin coincided with the first day of the “season,” and everyone was upbeat. When they saw me warming up, the Inside Tennis Team players were excited to have a “ringer” in their midst.

    The Inside Team’s rules are clear: sets are regular scoring, first to four games, without a tie-break. The idea is to keep circulating the players, making as many combinations as possible within the two-hour period.

    The level of play at San Quentin varies widely. The top three players can all hit a heavy ball, and they have great movement and anticipation. Team captain Raphael Calix, short and stocky and in his late 40s, has bursts of speed that belie his build. He has been a tennis fanatic since watching Arthur Ashe and Jimmy Connors play at UCLA — long before drugs took him down a path of crime he wishes he could undo.

    James “Mac” McCartney, in his 50s and sporting a thick, white mustache and a big smile, has quick hands at the net and is a force in doubles. And my first doubles partner, Nguyenly Nguyen, soft-spoken, athletic, in his 40s and displaying a magnetic smile despite missing his four front teeth, can rip a college-level backhand. He runs around his much weaker forehand at every opportunity. Several other players have unusual-looking strokes, but can still make solid contact and hit effective shots. And still others have just started to play recently, and they are still figuring out the game.

    But the point of tennis at San Quentin is not the competition. It is the appreciation of this great game, in which all players strive for perfection, inevitably fall short, yet enjoy the physical and psychological struggle so much that they go right back out there to try again.

    The action was intense, but always good-spirited, and the sets went by quickly. I adjusted my shots to the levels of the other players, mixing in the lobs and drop shots typical of “hit and giggle” tennis with the occasional “heater” serve or return that some players requested.

    Read more:

  29. Ametia says:

    Breaking News Alert: U.S. to release 30 million barrels of oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve
    June 23, 2011 9:43:09 AM

    The Obama administration announced Thursday that it would release 30 million barrels of oil from the emergency Strategic Petroleum Reserve, citing the loss of oil production as a result of the conflict in Libya and the upcoming energy demands of the summer season.

    The step, amid signs that rising fuel prices is hampering the economic recovery, is part of a global coordinated action that will release a total of 60 million barrels of oil.

    For more information, visit

  30. rikyrah says:

    Well, She Has the Idiocracy Vote Locked Up
    by Anne Laurie

    It’s not surprising that Matt Taibbi doesn’t care for Michele Bachmann’s politics, but I found it a little surprising (scary) that he takes her so seriously. In the new Rolling Stone, Taibbi discusses “Michele Bachmann’s Holy War”

    … Bachmann’s entire political career has followed this exact same pattern of God-speaks-directly-to-me fundamentalism mixed with pathological, relentless, conscienceless lying. She’s not a liar in the traditional way of politicians, who tend to lie dully, usefully and (they hope) believably, often with the aim of courting competing demographics at the same time. That’s not what Bachmann’s thing is. Bachmann lies because she can’t help it, because it’s a built-in component of both her genetics and her ideology. She is at once the most entertaining and the most dangerous kind of liar, a turbocharged cross between a born bullshit artist and a religious fanatic, for whom lying to the infidel is a kind of holy duty…

    Images of Michele Bachmann squatting behind a bush or hiding from lesbians in a bathroom would seem to be punch lines of funny stories, but they are not. The real punch line is that rather than destroying her politically, these incidents helped propel her into Congress. In her first two races, in 2006 and 2008, she defeated experienced, credible opponents who failed to realize what they were dealing with until it was too late. Her 2006 win was an especially extraordinary testament to her electoral viability. In a terrible year for conservatives, with the death-spiraling Bush administration taking Republican seats down with them all over the country, Bachmann won a fairly independent district by an eight-point margin. In her runs for Congress, Bachmann discovered — or perhaps it is more accurate to say we all discovered — that a total absence of legislative accomplishment and a complete inability to tell the truth or even to identify objective reality are no longer hindrances to higher office…

    Snickering readers in New York or Los Angeles might be tempted by all of this to conclude that Bachmann is uniquely crazy. But in fact, such tales by Bachmann work precisely because there are a great many people in America just like Bachmann, people who believe that God tells them what condiments to put on their hamburgers, who can’t tell the difference between Soviet Communism and a Stafford loan, but can certainly tell the difference between being mocked and being taken seriously. When you laugh at Michele Bachmann for going on MSNBC and blurting out that the moon is made of red communist cheese, these people don’t learn that she is wrong. What they learn is that you’re a dick, that they hate you more than ever, and that they’re even more determined now to support anyone who promises not to laugh at their own visions and fantasies…

    Here’s the difference between Bachmann and Palin: While Palin is clearly bored by the dreary, laborious aspects of campaigning and seems far more interested in gobbling up the ancillary benefits of reality-show celebrity, Bachmann is ruthlessly goal-oriented, a relentless worker who has the attention span to stay on message at all times. With a little imagination, you can even see a clear path for her to the nomination. Though she outraged Des Moines Republicans by blowing off a party dinner in late May, she had already visited the state four times this year and scored key endorsements there. Obamacare progenitor Mitt Romney has already half-conceded Iowa by dropping out of the straw poll there, leaving fellow Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty as Bachmann’s main competition for the first big prize of the race…

    Even other Republicans, it seems, are making the mistake of laughing at Bachmann. But consider this possibility: She wins Iowa, then swallows the Tea Party and Christian vote whole for the next 30 or 40 primaries while Romney and Pawlenty battle fiercely over who is the more “viable” boring-white-guy candidate. Then Wall Street blows up again — and it’s Barack Obama and a soaring unemployment rate versus a white, God-fearing mother of 28 from the heartland.

    It could happen. Michele Bachmann has found the flaw in the American Death Star. She is a television camera’s dream, a threat to do or say something insane at any time, the ultimate reality-show protagonist. She has brilliantly piloted a media system that is incapable of averting its eyes from a story, riding that attention to an easy conquest of an overeducated cultural elite from both parties that is far too full of itself to understand the price of its contemptuous laughter. All of those people out there aren’t voting for Michele Bachmann. They’re voting against us. And to them, it turns out, we suck enough to make anyone a contender.

    Click over and read the whole article, you won’t regret it. Speaking of “a turbocharged cross between a born bullshit artist and a religious fanatic”, I had not known that Bachmann’s ancestors were Norwegian (like Karl Rove’s). As my mostly Celtic ancestors could attest, it’s never a good idea to turn your back on the kind of people who would need a word for ‘berserker‘.

  31. opulent says:

    OMG!! I never knew the singer was NOT black!

    I love this song.


    June 21: Meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma’s wife Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma in Pretoria and visit to the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg

    June 22: Mrs Obama will deliver keynote address to a Young African Women Leaders Forum in Soweto

    June 23: Meeting with U.S. consulate employees in Cape Town, before visit to Robben Island, where former president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. She will end the day with a speech to young people attending a workshop at the University of Cape Town

    June 24: Meeting with Botswana President Ian Khama and visit to the Botswana Children’s Clinic Center of Excellence Teen Club.

    June 25: Meeting with U.S. Embassy employees in Botswanan capital Gaborone before the family go on safari

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