Friday Open Thread | Diana Ross Week


I hope you have enjoyed this week featuring Diana Ross. In taking this look at her career, it’s hard not to be in awe of Ms. Ross. When she accomplished what she did with her career, it was at a time when Black women just weren’t supposed to do these things. Ms. Ross fought against being pigeon-holed her entire career. She went from girl group to solo career…from music to film…from the music studo to the Broadway stage…

All the supposedly hyphenated performers of today owe a great deal to Diana Ross for blazing the trail.


One of the things that I respect Ms. Ross for most is how she raised her children. By all accounts, she has been a wonderful, loving and generous mother, giving the best of herself to her children, while supporing their dreams. …and might I say, Ms. Ross has some STRONG genes, because nobody can deny that any of those children are hers….

The 30th Annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington DC

diana ross and children

diana ross portrait-2

diana ross portrait-4

diana ross portrait-5

diana ross portrait-6

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69 Responses to Friday Open Thread | Diana Ross Week

  1. FRONTLINE Inside Obama’s Presidency
    FRONTLINE takes a probing look at the first four years of Barack Obama’s presidency

  2. Jim Messina to be given the Machiavelli award

    The Oscars won’t be given for another month, but there are other awards worthy of note.

    We got this announcement Thursday from the Italian American Democratic Leadership Council about Obama’s 2012 campaign manager: “Jim Messina to receive Machiavelli Award as the Italian American Democrat of the Year at Inaugural Reception Sunday.”

    The council says the “award honors the legacy of Niccolo Machiavelli, the first political scientist and showcases a current political mastermind.”

  3. Post-Election, The Obama Machine Goes to the Dark (Money) Side

    Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign was the most technologically advanced political operation in American history, a techie’s wet dream. The campaign, led by Jim Messina, amassed and distilled vast quantities of voter data, built apps and networks to mobilize voters and enlist volunteers, and practically perfected the science of email fundraising. Post-election, Messina and his lieutenants weren’t about to let their data files, email lists, algorithms, and grassroots machine simply gather dust. Instead, they will soon launch Organizing for Action, a standalone advocacy group created to bolster Obama as he pursues his second-term agenda. Messina wrote in an email to donors and staffers that the new group “will be a supporter-driven organization, as we’ve always been, staying true to our core principles: ‘respect, empower, include.'”

    But there’s a rub: Organizing for Action will be formed under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, and will not be required to disclose its donors.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Today at 11:50 AM

    David Brooks Now Totally Pathological
    By Jonathan Chait

    Moderate Republicanism is a tendency that increasingly defies ideological analysis and instead requires psychological analysis. The psychological mechanism is fairly obvious. The radicalization of the GOP has placed unbearable strain on those few moderates torn between their positions and their attachment to party. Many moderate conservatives have simply broken off from the party, at least in its current incarnation, and are hoping or working to build a sane alternative. Those who remain must escape into progressively more baroque fantasies.

    The prevalent expression of this psychological pain is the belief that President Obama is largely or entirely responsible for Republican extremism. It’s a bizarre but understandable way to reconcile conflicting emotions — somewhat akin to blaming your husband’s infidelity entirely on his mistress. In this case, moderate Republicans believe that Obama’s tactic of taking sensible positions that moderate Republicans agree with is cruel and unfair, because it exposes the extremism that dominates the party, not to mention the powerlessness of the moderates within it. Michael Gerson recently expressed this bizarre view, and the pathology is also on vivid display in David Brooks’s column today.

    Brooks begins by noting that the Grand Bargain on the deficit, which he has spent the last two years relentlessly touting, is not actually possible. Why is it impossible? Because, he writes, “A political class that botched the fiscal cliff so badly are not going to be capable of a gigantic deal on complex issues.”

  5. rikyrah says:

    NPR Will Stop Referring To Obama As ‘Mr.’ On Second Reference To Avoid Appearance Of ‘Favoritism’
    by Noah Rothman | 1:03 pm, January 18th, 2013

    One week after MSNBC’s hosts of The Cycle pondered if it was disrespectful for news organizations to refer to President Barack Obama as simply “Obama” after the first reference, National Public Radio’s managing editor has determined that the organization will jettison their policy of calling presidents “Mr.” on the second reference in order to avoid the appearance of “favoritism.” NPR announced Friday that they intend to refer to him as simply “Obama” on the second reference, as many other media outlets’ style guidelines recommend.

    Beginning with the inauguration of President Barack Obama for his second term next Monday, “Mr.” Obama and his successors will be called by just their last names on second reference. “Obama,” for example. Just like the rest of us,” wrote NPR’s ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos.

    Stuart Seidel, NPR’s managing editor, noted that the honorific prefix “mister” is antiquated and overly deferential to the President of the United States.

    “Although meant as a gesture of respect for the office, many listeners have regarded the use of “Mister” as disrespectful,” Seidel wrote. “On the other hand, during the most recent presidential contest, the contrast between our references to “Mister Obama” and just plain “Romney” were perceived by many as showing favoritism toward the incumbent president.”

    “After considerable discussion — and some thoughtful deliberation — we will take the start of the second Obama term as a good opportunity to eliminate this style anomaly.

    “Many listeners have complained over the years about the style. It was meant to show extra respect, but as I wrote in a column on Election Day, extra respect is a suspect practice in a democracy like ours,” Schumacher-Matos wrote. “[A] smaller number of listeners have steadily made the opposite complaint: “Mr.” is too informal and that the president should always be called “President so-and-so” in second references. The complaints seemed to come from supporters of the person in the White House at the time. They often saw an NPR conspiracy afoot against their guy.”

    Like MSNBC, it appears NPR was inundated with complaints from its listeners who saw a lack of respect shown to either the president’s opponents when they were not referred to as “mister” or a submissive attitude towards Obama who was always called “mister.”

  6. rikyrah says:

    GOP eyes new election laws
    By STEVE PEOPLES | Associated Press

    After back-to-back presidential losses, Republicans in key states want to change the rules to make it easier for them to win.

    From Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, GOP officials who control legislatures in states that supported President Barack Obama are considering changing state laws that give the winner of a state’s popular vote all of its Electoral College votes, too. Instead, these officials want Electoral College votes to be divided proportionally, a move that could transform the way the country elects its president.

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus endorsed the idea this week, and other Republican leaders support it, too, suggesting that the effort may be gaining momentum. There are other signs that Republican state legislators, governors and veteran political strategists are seriously considering making the shift as the GOP looks to rebound from presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Electoral College shellacking and the demographic changes that threaten the party’s long-term political prospects.

    “It’s something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at,” Priebus told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, emphasizing that each state must decide for itself.

    Democrats are outraged at the potential change.

    Obama won the popular vote with 65.9 million votes, or 51.1 percent, to Romney’s 60.9 million, or 47.2 percent, and won the Electoral College by a wide margin, 332-206 electoral votes. It’s unclear whether he would have been re-elected under the new system, depending upon how many states adopted the change.

    While some Republican officials warn of a political backlash, GOP lawmakers in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are already lining up behind proposals that would allocate electoral votes by congressional district or something similar.–election.html

  7. rikyrah says:

    PragmaticObotsUnite @PragObots

    Stef Cutter to Andrea Mitchell: “I didn’t come to spend personal time with Pres Obama. I came to work FOR him” #DIVERSITY #MicDrop #p2 #READ

  8. rikyrah says:

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama stand together in the Blue Room of the White House, before a brunch celebrating the Inauguration, Jan. 18, 2013.
    —Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

  9. rikyrah says:

    fabulous comments about the ‘ Feminists disappointed in Michelle Obama Article:


    That any feminists are still agitating against Michelle Obama for any reason is really pathetic at this point. This is now beyond the classic race divides and is into common sense and what it means to be a feminist.

    What the First Lady represents to me is CHOICE. And choice should be heralded by all feminists of all persuasions, because misogyny is primarily about control. The issue for me was never about whether housework versus office/factory/farm etc. work was more valuable or more suitable for women. The issue is that for many years, we had no CHOICE. Many African American women because of the economic brutality visited upon our men and our desirability as domestics, had no choice but to leave the home and work. That goes for numerous other communities of color in this country as well. On the flip side, our country has a history of boxing (mainly white) women into a very narrow and circumscribed lifestyles which complemented a misogynistic and women-fearing point of view.

    The First Lady worked when she chose to support her husband’s ambitions, and the First Lady has taken full advantage of her right to CHOOSE to stay home with her babies. This is why one reason of so many that I’m just so glad that she’s there, and she’s visible. Because it shows girls that you can do what you want, you can walk to the beat of your own drum, you don’t have to fit into the narrow roles that anyone, whether a misogynist or a well-meaning but misquided lefty activist, tries to force you into.

    That these folks in that article and the media still can’t seem to grasp that is at this point just ridiculous.

    • rikyrah says:


      From the article

      Feminist discontent with the first lady spiked again last summer at the Democratic National Convention, after she called her daughters “the heart of my heart and the center of my world.” She then repeated her feminist crazy-maker: “You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still ‘mom-in-chief.’ ”


      These are some bitter jealous ass white women. They are so damn mad that this beautiful black woman is loved by so many hell yes they are mad. The fact that these crazy bitches were not called out for their utter disdain for mothers is outrageous. How the hell you gonna take issue with a mother stating that her children are the center of her world? I mean are you fucking kidding me? Any mother that does not wake up each and every day with the thought that her children are her first priority aint worth shit! I hope none of these silly women have children. Matter of fact they should make it their priority not to have kids, adopt kids etc. Now I know why so many of these unicorn left clowns are sooo fucked up.

      • rikyrah says:


        When I was is middle school, I asked my mother about feminism. Her response was burned on my brain.

        “Feminism rode the coat-tails of the civil rights movement. It’s nothing but a family fight between white men and white women. I wish my black ass could stay at home and take care of my kids, ” she said.


      • Ametia says:

        These are ALL spot on, but jds09 NAILS IT!

    • Twitter


      Go Goldie!

      Crying with Laughter

  10. Ametia says:

    Just heard Alicia Keys will sing national anthem at the SuperBowl.

  11. Ametia says:

    FLOTUS tweets Ellen DeGeneres

    1/18/13 5:47 PM EST

    Ellen DeGeneres✔

    I’m so glad the @FLOTUS got bangs. It’s gonna be much easier for her to see me win our next push-up competition.


    .@TheEllenShow Next time: Sit-up challenge. When I win, will you get bangs? #LetsMove –mo

    8 Jan 13

  12. rikyrah says:

    Waddling Into the Threshing Blades

    by BooMan
    Fri Jan 18th, 2013 at 02:41:26 PM EST

    If this the best they can do, the Republicans ought to pick up their ball and go home. In agreeing to extend the debt ceiling for three months without any corresponding spending cuts, the GOP is finally acknowledging that the president was never going to negotiate with them and they would be blamed for a default. But, now we will be back here in three months with the Republicans again taking crap for creating uncertainty and undermining confidence in the full faith and credit of the United States. The one gimmick they’ve included here is a requirement that the Senate pass a budget or no one in Congress will receive any pay. The idea is to try to shift the debate from default to Senate dysfunction, and to get people thinking about the budget and deficit spending again. The problem with their strategy is three-fold. First, the Senate could refuse to agree to this stipulation. Second, the Budget Control Act of 2011 already sets spending limits for next year, so the Senate doesn’t really need to pass a detailed non-binding budget. Third, almost no one in the country cares whether Congress gets paid or not. In fact, most people would like to see them go without a paycheck and see how it feels

  13. rikyrah says:

    GOP takes off the suicide bomb vest
    Posted by Greg Sargent on January 18, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Big news. Eric Cantor has just made it official: The GOP leadership is prepared to agree to a three month debt ceiling hike. This is a major de-escalation of the crazy and effectively means Republicans have all but taken the threat of default off the table completely.

    First, the key bit from Cantor’s statement:

    We must pay our bills and responsibly budget for our future. Next week, we will authorize a three month temporary debt limit increase to give the Senate and House time to pass a budget. Furthermore, if the Senate or House fails to pass a budget in that time, Members of Congress will not be paid by the American people for failing to do their job. No budget, no pay.

    Here’s why this matters: This increases the debt ceiling to authorize borrowing to pay the country’s bills well into April. That punts the debt limit deadline until after the deadline for funding for the government to run out, which is on March 27th. In other words, Republicans will now use the threat of a government shutdown along with the coming expiration of the sequester to extract the spending cuts it wants. Presuming this all gets resolved by then, or soon after, it means the threat of default is no longer a factor. This will all but certainly get resolved in advance of this three month deadline, and a long term debt limit hike will get attached to that agreement.

    On the debt ceiling, at least, this is a complete cave. As noted below, the mere willingness to raise the debt ceiling temporarily was itself an acknowledgment by Republicans that the threat of default gave them no leverage and that they had essentially lost this fight. Now the three month extension means that in practical terms, it’s essentially been removed from the talks entirely.

  14. rikyrah says:

    The debt-ceiling hostage strategy starts to unravel

    By Steve Benen
    Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:42 AM EST

    In 2011, the Republicans held the debt ceiling hostage, vowing to crash the economy on purpose unless their unconditional demands were met, and they enjoyed complete unanimity on the right — every GOP lawmaker, pundit, and activist was fully invested in the plan.

    In 2013, this is obviously not the case, with a growing number of prominent Republican voices balking at the entire endeavor. Just today, Charles Krauthammer, a prominent conservative pundit, told Republicans they “won’t get” their ransom, they’ll have to “give in” eventually, and they should “forget about forcing tax reform or entitlement cuts or anything major.” Jennifer Rubin added, “The jig is nearly up…. [T]he threat of bumping up against the debt ceiling is not realistic and hence not useful.”

    For the first time, it appears this point is not lost on House Republicans.

  15. rikyrah says:

    A Black Mom-in-Chief is Revolutionary: What White Feminists Get Wrong about Michelle Obama

    September 11, 2012 by Tami Winfrey Harris

    It does my heart good to see women of all races embrace Michelle Obama. It is too rare indeed for a brown-skinned woman, a descendant of slaves, a product of Chicago’s South Side to be lauded on an international stage. Considering the heavy burden of stereotype still faced by black women, I cheer a little each time the First Lady gets some shine for her strength and smarts. But I note that in their eagerness to identify with Obama and make her emblematic of modern woman, some mainstream feminists unwittingly erase a key part of her identity–her blackness.–and deny the experiences and histories of many African American women in the process.

    In her much-talked-about speech, last Wednesday, at the Democratic National Convention, Obama said her most important role is “mom-in-chief.” In analysis, this pronouncement along with the fact that Obama declined to talk about her own impressive career, was found disappointing by many in the white feminist chattering class.

  16. rikyrah says:

    *** On Organizing for Action: And First Read confirms the news that Obama’s political organization “is forming an outside, nonprofit group to support the president’s legislative agenda. The unprecedented move gives Obama a way to promote his agenda outside the confines of the White House and seeks to harness the energy from his re-election campaign into support for legislation. Democratic officials say the group, Organizing for Action, will be announced Friday. The nonprofit will work on key legislative battles, train future leaders and local issues around the country.” Organizing for Action will be set up as a 501c4 group, but we are told the group WILL have full disclosure of its donors (either monthly or quarterly); setting it up a 501c4 (as opposed to a Super PAC) makes it easier to legally coordinate with the White House. But the Obama folks are conceding a big point here: They can’t do the things they want to do (like the organizing, etc.) inside the Democratic Party. If this version of OFA is successful, we’re also told then don’t be surprised if this becomes Obama’s personal vehicle post-presidency, a la Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative.

  17. rikyrah says:

    I call BULL on this.

    non-WHITE women aren’t split. They know how they feel about FLOTUS.



    .Four years later, feminists split by Michelle Obama’s ‘work’ as first lady

    By Lonnae O’Neal Parker,
    Jan 18, 2013 05:09 PM EST

    The Washington Post Updated: Friday, January 18, 11:09 AM

    In the opening moments of her second turn at history, as Michelle Obama waves at celebrants along Pennsylvania Avenue, Americans will clamor to see the first lady, who remains one of the most popular public figures in the country. In the most recent poll, fully 73 percent said they approve of the way she is handling her job.

    But a significant group of Americans — feminist Americans — have been vocally disappointed with her choices and feel let down by her example.

    In 2008, when Obama announced her intention to be “mom-in-chief,” many feminists decried her decision to give up her career and said she had been victimized by her husband’s choices. She was regarded as one of the women feminist Linda Hirshman described as “letting down the team.”

    But most black feminists and writers had a different view. Let the sister get settled, they said. Give her a minute to do a head count. And if she wanted to focus on motherhood, for black women that was more than fine. It was arguably revolutionary, because black women were long denied the right — or lacked the means — to simply care for their own.

    • rikyrah says:


      By necessity and by choice, a majority of black women have been working outside the home at least since the census began keeping track of their labor in 1972. There has never been a national effort to keep black women at home, caring sweetly for their children. They have always worked, and their work has never been a separate thing from their mothering.

      “Feminists who wish that Obama would strike a blow for feminism and against stereotyped roles of women, too easily forget that all women are not burdened by the same stereotypes,” wrote Tami Winfrey Harris in a September article, “A Black Mom-in-Chief is Revolutionary: What White Feminists Get Wrong about Michelle Obama,” for the online magazine Clutch.

      “There’s no denying that the emphasis as ‘mom-in-chief’ can be read as conservative,” says Koritha Mitchell, an English professor at Ohio State University who specializes in African American literature and feminist criticism. But black traditional families are rarely pictured in the mainstream, Mitchell says. And, “let’s be real about how much assumptions about black families being pathological really dictate public policy.”

      “I just have a problem with the idea that Michelle Obama doesn’t work,” says author Joan Morgan, a visiting scholar at Stanford University. “It’s a basic anti-feminist argument to say the work she does in making sure her family is okay — that the girls are healthy and not caught up in the craziness of celebrity and acting out — is not valuable work.”

      Morgan contends that some white feminists are unable to see beyond their own narrative. “Michelle is deeply personal to black women,” Morgan says, and if white feminists “took a modicum of interest in what black women’s lives were like, and took some time to learn about them, then we wouldn’t always end up in this place where there’s an issue or person that seems so polarizing, and we wouldn’t be standing on opposite sides of the chasm.

      • Ametia says:

        Spot on article. We know about our heritage and our family life and culture. Some white fems can’t and don’t want to learn about black women and our lives. They just want to CONTROL or DICTATE the issues, and they CLING to their whiteness and priviledge Or they change their images to take on black features, while claiming their white priviledge

    • Ametia says:

      And YES; we LOVE Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Obama Administration Seeks To Bypass Citizens United, Expose Corporate Money In Politics To Public Scrutiny


    With Congress so divided, the chances of any amendment to overturn Citizens United are slim. However, there are options available to minimize the problems of corporate personhood and unfettered money in the political system.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the government agency tasked with monitoring and regulating corporations, is now evaluating new rules which would put pressure on corporations to not attempt to manipulate elections. By requiring all political donations from public corporations to be publicly disclosed, the main concerns of the Citizens United decision, of unlimited, anonymous money, possibly from foreign governments, the SEC throws a wrench into the whole dark money laundering scheme.

    This, of course, has raised the ire of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a dark money organization which claims that its donors are exempt from revelation to the investors of political contributions because they are too small to have a significant effect on a company’s bottom line. The problem is, because they are not disclosed, there is no method to confirm this, and with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce having spent over $30 million in the last election trying to sway races, there is a very serious concern to be had.

    Because this is the SEC regulating, not political speech, but public disclosure to the shareholders, the owners of the corporation, it neatly bypasses the Citizens United decision. Companies can donate to their hearts content, and then witness as their shares plummet if they donate to the wrong causes. Imagine the corporation who backed the group found harboring a child predator. They would become an instant pariah. We already have witnessed how public pressure can hurt organizations and cause the loss of business, or even the industry.

    The SEC has already receiving cheers of support for evaluating this rule change. With the rule change in effect, the power of corporate money in politics would be dampened, due to the public scrutiny. And this is information the shareholders need in order to properly evaluate a company in the first place. Shareholders need to know if the companies they own are being run properly, without any attempts to gain undue, and potentially illegal, influence because, should a company be caught, and the worst penalties applied, the shareholders are the ones who ultimately pay the price.

  19. rikyrah says:

    ‘White Privilege’ Lesson In Delavan-Darien High School Class In Wisconsin Draws Ire

    Posted: 01/16/2013 4:05 pm EST | Updated: 01/17/2013 12:21 pm EST
    A Wisconsin high school is under fire after a parent accused a diversity class of promoting a critical race theory, alleging that students are being taught that minorities are disadvantaged by white oppressors, Fox News reports.

    Delavan-Darien High School’s “American Diversity” course aims to help students “better understand oneself and recognize how feelings, ideas and beliefs interact with the ideas and beliefs of other individuals and groups,” according to the school’s website. By studying American society through the connections among culture, ethnicity, race, religion and gender issues, the course seeks to “create a more accurate picture of modern America.”

    But an unnamed parent tells Fox News that assignments and class worksheets seem like “indoctrination.” A handout gives students a definition of “white privilege,” which appears to be taken from a book by the same name:

    In critical race theory, white privilege is a set of advantages that are believed to be enjoyed by white people beyond those commonly experienced by non-white people in the same social, political, and economic spaces (nation, community, workplace, income, etc.). Theorists differentiate it from racism or prejudice because, they say, a person who may benefit from white privilege is not necessarily racist or prejudiced and may be unaware of having any privileges reserved only for whites.

    • Examples of white privilege:

      White privilege is pretending a Harvard education doesn’t matter if the person educated is black.

      White privilege is when one can attend six colleges in five years, use run on sentences, can’t name a major newpaper, doesn’t know Africa is a continent and you’re put on ticket as a VP candidate.

      White privilege is when a member of Congress can scream out “you lie” during a State of the Union address without suffering consequences.

      White privilege is when the son of a major candidate for the presidency can buy voting machines and they are used in key swing states.

      White privilege is when a major candidate for the presidency lies throughout their candidacy and it’s ignored by the MSM.

  20. Ex-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin indicted on 21 counts of bribery, wire fraud

  21. Feds investigate how suspected white supremacist — a felon — obtained arsenal

    Federal agents are trying to determine how a suspected Ohio white supremacist with a felony conviction for manslaughter acquired a cache of 18 assault weapons and other firearms, along with high-capacity magazines and more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition, according to federal law enforcement officials and court documents reviewed by NBC News.

    The storehouse of weapons was discovered late last month when FBI agents arrested Richard Schmidt, 47, the owner of a Bowling Green sporting goods store called Spindletop Sports Zone, on charges of marketing counterfeit goods — such as football jerseys with NFL logos — from China.

    Although initially portrayed as a probe into the thriving international market for counterfeit clothing, the case took a surprising turn this week when the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland unsealed search warrants and an indictment also charging Schmidt with illegal possession of firearms.

  22. Holder: Obama’s executive actions do not infringe on Second Amendment

  23. Ametia says:

    Pay attention men; this is how you treat your wife on her Birthday.

  24. Black America Struggles To Get On Obama Agenda.


    bwa ha ha ha ha ha…stop lying. Black people didn’t stand in those long voting lines to turn their back on the 1st black Potus. Get out of here!

  25. White House Unveils Obama’s New Official Portrait

    President Barack Obama is ushering in his second term with a smile.

    official presidential portrait

  26. Rikyrah, your series on Diana is off the hook. I’ve enjoyed it. Love the blue photo.

    Beautiful Diana!

    Big Up!

  27. rikyrah says:

    FLOTUS has a new hairdo.

  28. rikyrah says:

    OVERNIGHT HEALTH: HHS touts states’ progress on exchanges

    By Elise Viebeck and Sam Baker – 01/17/13 06:45 PM ET

    Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $1.5 billion in new grants Thursday for states to continue creating their insurance exchanges under healthcare reform. Eleven states received awards for either a single year or several years, based on their progress.

    “These states are working to implement the healthcare law and we continue to support them as they build new affordable insurance marketplaces,” Sebelius said in a statement. “Starting in 2014, Americans in all states will have access to quality, affordable health insurance and these grants are helping to make that a reality.”

    HHS has been trying to induce states to create their own marketplaces, as intended by the Affordable Care Act, or share the task with the federal government rather than cede it entirely.

    In Thursday’s announcement, the department said that states can apply for grants through the end of 2014 and use funds through their “start-up year.” Read more from Healthwatch.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

  29. rikyrah says:

    Earl Smith is the man behind a military patch that President Obama prizes

    By Karen Tumulty,
    Jan 18, 2013 05:20 AM EST

    The Washington Post Published: January 17
    AUSTIN, Tex. — That February morning in 2008 found Barack Obama decidedly out of sorts.

    He was locked in one battle with Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination that showed no signs of ending — and another with a vicious cold that felt the same way.

    As he rode the service elevator in the backway of a convention hotel here, the snowy-haired African American operating it turned suddenly. He held out a black-and-gold bit of fabric embroidered with a screaming eagle.

    “Senator Obama, I have something I want to give you,” the man said. “I’ve carried this military patch with me every day for 40 years, and I want you to carry it, and itwill keep you safe in your journey.” Obama tried to refuse, but the older man persisted.

    Big endeavors can find their meaning in small moments.

    Later that day, Obama and his aides discussed the encounter. The future president pulled the patch from his pocket, along with about a dozen other items people had pressed upon him.

    “This is why I do this,” he said. “Because people have their hopes and dreams about what we can do together.”

  30. rikyrah says:


    #WholeFoods profits up over 300% under Obama. CEO still insults POTUS by calling him a fascist for healthcare reform #ANOTHERBOYCOTT ?

  31. rikyrah says:

    GOP Minority Outreach Irony Alert

    by Steven D
    Fri Jan 18th, 2013 at 08:02:41 AM EST

    See if you can spot the problem with where the Republicans chose to hold a conference in which improving their outreach to African American voters and other minorities is one of the prominent topics they will discuss:

    After its general election battering, the Republican party has retreated to lick its wounds and ponder what went wrong – on the leafy grounds of a luxury golf resort in Virginia.
    And what better place for today’s GOP to hold strategy sessions titled “Successful communication with minorities and women” than on the grounds of a former plantation in the south?

    “When the first English foot was placed in Virginia, it was here on these grounds that once served as a central part of the area’s plantation life in the 1600s through 1800s,” boasts the website of the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, which draws a discrete veil over whatever events in the 1800s may have caused that to end.

    Even better. Guess where the forums on minorities and women are to be held. If you guessed the “Burwell Plantation Room” you were right. More evidence that the GOP is dedicated to putting “The Onion” out of business

  32. rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s real problem
    Posted by Jonathan Bernstein on January 17, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    House Republicans have gathered at their retreat right now and are trying to figure out the way forward for the party, amid disasters like Plan B, the Sandy relief vote, the debt ceiling debacle, and the general crisis-to-crisis atmosphere that has left them deeply unpopular. One idea: Trying never, ever, ever again to use the word “rape.” Moving right along…

    As Greg has been arguing, Republicans are playing a losing hand on the debt limit fight and ultimately will just fold and move on. This gets to the core problem they face: The “move on” part. What exactly are they going to move on to?


    Republicans, that is, don’t actually have a program with popular items that they could run on and then pass if they won. After all, they didn’t run on their Medicare program in 2010 and 2012; instead, they called anyone who accused them of cutting Medicare a liar and instead ran against Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare. What exactly is the GOP equivalent, just in terms of swing-voter popularity, of Lilly Ledbetter or SCHIP right now? Beating up on Planned Parenthood?

    There are no items in any Republican legislative agenda that are workable, are substantively developed, and would have any appeal to swing voters. If there were, Mitt Romney would have run on them, and not on a combination of out of context Obama quotes and proposals that were ripped apart for failing basic arithmetic. This is the GOP’s core problem — and the real cause of the crisis-to-crisis showdowns we’re seeing with the White House and Democrats. A party that doesn’t have a well developed policy agenda that could actually win broad appeal simply can’t function as a normal opposition party.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Marco Rubio’s ‘reformer’ mask slips
    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on January 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    As soon as Barack Obama was declared winner of the presidential election last year, Florida Senator Marco Rubio put himself out there as the face of Republican reform. And on some issues, like immigration, Rubio has moved away from GOP orthodoxy. But that’s a special case; most Republicans agree that the party is doomed if it can’t attract Latino voters and other nonwhites. On issues that don’t obviously relate to the party’s long-term survival, Rubio is a conventional conservative, responding to a base that remains far to the right of the average American.

    To wit, Rubio’s response to President Obama’s gun safety measures — which are modest in scope and broadly popular — is nothing short of hysterical:

    “I actually think the president, and he just doesn’t have the guts to admit it, is not a believer in the Second Amendment, although he states that he is,” Rubio said on Fox News’s The O’Reilly Factor. “The Second Amendment is in the Constitution, I didn’t write the Constitution, and neither did you and neither did he. If he doesn’t want the Second Amendment to be in the Constitution, or if he wants to reform the Second Amendment, then have the guts to admit that.”

  34. rikyrah says:

    An easy way out for the GOP: Accept the inevitable

    Guess what: Even the Tea Party Express now acknowledges the debt ceiling will have to be raised. And this gets to a broader point about this whole mess — that the only way out is for the GOP to revamp its strategy entirely and drop the threat of default as leverage — but more on that later.

    First, the Tea Party Express. Yesterday Glenn Kessler did a demolition job on the Tea Party Express’ recent claim that Obama was full of “baloney” when he argued we must pay the bills for things Congress has already approved. The Tea Party Express had claimed obligations to entitlements and the military “can all be met without an immediate rise in the debt ceiling.” Kessler pointed out that this is mathematical nonsense.

    The group objected. It emailed Kessler a statement explaining it favors temporarily raising the debt ceiling, and were only objecting to Obama’s insistence that it must be raised permanently. “There are cash flow issues that might necessitate a temporary debt ceiling increase, which would then be reduced when tax revenues balloon in March and April,” it conceded. “We are not opposed to responsibly meeting essential obligations.”

    It’s unclear what the stuff about reducing the debt ceiling again later means, but the bottom line is clear: Even the Tea Party Express concedes the debt ceiling will have to be raised to avoid defaulting on “essential obligations,” which the group effectively acknowledges is not an option. In making this concession, the Tea Party Express joins a long line of GOP officials, GOP-aligned groups, and GOP-friendly media figures who are admitting that the threat of default does not give the party leverage.

    This gets to the broader point. There’s something deeply absurd about all the micro-strategizing about how to make the debt ceiling standoff work in the GOP’s favor. We’ve seen all manner of suggestions for ways the party can gain leverage from the threat of default. There’s a temporary debt ceiling hike. There’s raising it in increments (as John Boehner has threatened). There’s the House GOP passing a bill with only deep entitlement cuts and a debt limit hike, and daring Dems to oppose it (as former Bush official Keith Hennesy suggests today, though this would require outlining deep specific cuts).

  35. rikyrah says:

    Valerie Jarrett for the defense
    By MIKE ALLEN and JIM VANDEHEI | 1/18/13 4:42 AM EST

    President Barack Obama, with a second-term team built for fight not compromise, has made it clear that he plans to change very little. No new faces in his innermost circle. No revolution in how he courts Congress. No new love for the permanent Washingtonians who feel a persistent chill from 1600 Pennsylvania. And so far, no new women in key positions in a West Wing some have long felt suffers from excess testosterone.

    Many Obama insiders were embarrassed last week when the front page of The New York Times carried a photo, which had been released by the White House, showing Obama meeting in the Oval Office in December with 10 white men from his senior staff — with Valerie Jarrett’s leg, jutting from behind one of the guys, as the only sign of female input. Jarrett, in a 45-minute interview Thursday in the West Wing office that once belonged to Hillary Clinton and Karl Rove, argued that this was a case where “one picture really didn’t say a thousand words.”

    “The reality is that this president has been surrounded by strong women his entire life,” she said. “Early on, women who had not been a part of the campaign came and worked in the White House, and they don’t know the president. … What the president wants is for people to come in and fight for their ideas — not so that they win, but because he will make better decisions if they’re advocating and telling him what they think. … So, I say, ‘Speak up! Speak up!’ ”

    Read more:

  36. rikyrah says:

    President Obama has a new official portrait.

  37. Ametia says:

    The photos of Lady D & her family are a treat. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series, Rikyrah. “My Mistake” duet was a surprisingly popular. I loved it!

  38. Ametia says:

    The NRA’s diabolical ad

    By Susan Eisenhower,
    Jan 18, 2013 01:12 AM EST

    The Washington Post Published: January 17

    Susan Eisenhower is a business consultant and author.

    In 2008, just after Barack Obama was elected president, I gave a television interview regarding what the Obamas might expect on becoming the new first family. I was asked specifically how Malia and Sasha’s lives would change. For a start, I said, they won’t play outside anymore without armed guards.

    I know something about that. For the eight years that my grandfather, Dwight Eisenhower, was president of the United States, I had Secret Service protection. Known as the “Diaper Detail,” these armed agents protected my sisters, brother and me from potential kidnappings or other targeted attacks. Such threats might be aimed at hurting us, but they would also strike a devastating blow to the president and possibly our national security.

    I repeat: We had Secret Service protection because we were seen as potential targets.

  39. rikyrah says:

    Janet Jackson Could Get $500 Million Just to Stay Married At Least Five Years

    Janet Jackson will be entitled to $500 million if she stays married for a short five years.

    Allegedly, the singer and Wissam al-Mana got secretly engaged last December and are planning to jump the broom in a lavish Muslim wedding in Qatar in the spring this year.

    However, the potential union isn’t without critics. Her fiancée’s lawyers advised the billionaire to sign a pre-nup to protect his money, but he’s deciding against it, probably because she’s got her own fortune.

    But he actually agreed to give her $500 million if they stay married at least five years.

    (Whoa, say What!)

    The 46-year-old singer and performer has been married twice before and was in a seven-year relationship with Jermaine Dupri

  40. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!!

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