Monday Open Thread

Good Morning, Everyone. As we start off another week, I hope everyone is doing well.

This week, we’re going to cover Black women that expanded the imagination of what Black women could be in America.

First Up: Lena Horne.

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Lena Mary Calhoun Horne (June 30, 1917 – May 9, 2010) was an American singer, actress, civil rights activist and dancer.

Horne joined the chorus of the Cotton Club at the age of sixteen and became a nightclub performer before moving to Hollywood, where she had small parts in numerous movies, and more substantial parts in the films Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather. Due to the Red Scare and her left-leaning political views, Horne found herself blacklisted and unable to get work in Hollywood.[1]

Returning to her roots as a nightclub performer, Horne took part in the March on Washington in August 1963, and continued to work as a performer, both in nightclubs and on television, while releasing well-received record albums. She announced her retirement in March 1980, but the next year starred in a one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, which ran for more than three hundred performances on Broadway and earned her numerous awards and accolades. She continued recording and performing sporadically into the 1990s, disappearing from the public eye in 2000.


Road to Hollywood

In the fall of 1933, Horne joined the chorus line of the Cotton Club in New York City. In the spring of 1934, she had a featured role in the Cotton Club Parade starring Adelaide Hall, who took Lena under her wing. A few years later Horne joined Noble Sissle’s Orchestra, with which she toured and with whom she recorded her first record release, a 78rpm single issued by Decca Records. After she separated from her first husband, Horne toured with bandleader Charlie Barnet in 1940–41, but disliked the travel and left the band to work at the Café Society in New York. She replaced Dinah Shore as the featured vocalist on NBC’s popular jazz series The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street. The show’s resident maestros, Henry Levine and Paul Laval, recorded with Horne in June 1941 for RCA Victor. Horne left the show after only six months to headline a nightclub revue on the West Coast at Slapsy Maxie’s, and was replaced by actress Betty Keene of the Keene sisters.[citation needed]

Horne already had two low-budget movies to her credit: a 1938 musical feature called The Duke is Tops (later reissued with Horne’s name above the title as The Bronze Venus); and a 1941 two-reel short subject, Boogie Woogie Dream, featuring pianists Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons. Horne’s songs from Boogie Woogie Dream were later released individually as soundies. Horne was primarily a nightclub performer during this period and it was during a 1943 club engagement in Hollywood at Slapsy Maxie’s in which talent scouts approached Horne to work in pictures. She chose Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and became the first black performer to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio. In November 1944, she was featured in an episode of the popular radio series Suspense, as a fictional nightclub singer, with a large speaking role along with her singing. In 1945 and 1946, she sang with Billy Eckstine’s Orchestra.

She made her debut with MGM in Panama Hattie (1942) and performed the title song of Stormy Weather based loosely on the life of Adelaide Hall, (1943), which she made at 20th Century Fox, on loan from MGM. She appeared in a number of MGM musicals, most notably Cabin in the Sky (also 1943), but was never featured in a leading role because of her race and the fact that films featuring her had to be re-edited for showing in states where theaters could not show films with black performers. As a result, most of Horne’s film appearances were stand-alone sequences that had no bearing on the rest of the film, so editing caused no disruption to the storyline; a notable exception was the all-black musical Cabin in the Sky, although one number was cut because it was considered too suggestive by the censors. “Ain’t it the Truth” was the song (and scene) cut before the release of the film Cabin in the Sky. It featured Horne singing “Ain’t it the Truth”, while taking a bubble bath (considered too “risqué” by the film’s executives). This scene and song are featured in the film That’s Entertainment! III (1994) which also featured commentary from Horne on why the scene was deleted prior to the film’s release.

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In Ziegfeld Follies (1946) she performed “Love” by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane. Horne wanted to be considered for the role of Julie LaVerne in MGM’s 1951 version of Show Boat (having already played the role when a segment of Show Boat was performed in Till the Clouds Roll By) but lost the part to Ava Gardner, a personal friend in real life, due to the Production Code’s ban on interracial relationships in films. In the documentary That’s Entertainment! III Horne stated that MGM executives required Gardner to practice her singing using Horne’s recordings, which offended both actresses. Ultimately, Gardner’s voice was overdubbed by actress Annette Warren (Smith) for the theatrical release.
Changes of direction

By the mid-1950s, Horne was disenchanted with Hollywood and increasingly focused on her nightclub career. She only made two major appearances in MGM films during the 1950s: Duchess of Idaho (which was also Eleanor Powell’s film swan song); and the 1956 musical Meet Me in Las Vegas. She was blacklisted during the 1950s for her political views.[13] She returned to the screen three more times, playing chanteuse Claire Quintana in the 1969 film Death of a Gunfighter, Glinda in The Wiz (1978), a film younger audience members recognize her from, and co-hosting the MGM retrospective That’s Entertainment! III (1994), in which she was candid about her treatment by the studio.

After leaving Hollywood, Horne established herself as one of the premiere nightclub performers of the post-war era. She headlined at clubs and hotels throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, including the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles, and the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. In 1957, a live album entitled, Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria, became the biggest selling record by a female artist in the history of the RCA-Victor label. In 1958, Horne was nominated for a Tony Award for “Best Actress in a Musical” (for her part in the “Calypso” musical Jamaica) which, at Lena’s request featured her longtime friend Adelaide Hall.
Horne performing on The Bell Telephone Hour, 1965.

From the late 1950s through the 1960s, Horne was a staple of TV variety shows, appearing multiple times on Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dean Martin Show, and The Bell Telephone Hour. Other programs she appeared on included The Judy Garland Show, The Hollywood Palace, and The Andy Williams Show. Besides two television specials for the BBC (later syndicated in the U.S.), Horne starred in her own U.S. television special in 1969, Monsanto Night Presents Lena Horne. During this decade, the artist Pete Hawley painted her portrait for RCA Victor, capturing the mood of her performance style.


On April 13, 1980, Horne, Luciano Pavarotti, and host Gene Kelly were all scheduled to appear at a Gala performance at the Metropolitan Opera House to salute the N Y City Center’s Joffrey Ballet Company. However, Pavarotti’s plane was diverted over the Atlantic and he was unable to appear. James Nederlander was an invited Honored Guest and noted that only three people at the sold out Metropolitan Opera House asked for their money back. He asked to be introduced to Lena following her performance. In May 1981, The Nederlander Organization, Michael Frazier, and Fred Walker went on to book Horne for a four-week engagement at the newly named Nederlander Theatre (formerly the Trafalgar, the Billy Rose, and the National) on West 41st Street in New York City. The show was an instant success and was extended to a full year run, garnering Horne a special Tony award, and two Grammy Awards for the cast recording of her show Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. The 333-performance Broadway run closed on Horne’s 65th birthday, June 30, 1982. Later that same week, the entire show was performed again and videotaped for television broadcast and home video release. The tour began a few days later at Tanglewood (Massachusetts) during the July 4, 1982 weekend. The Lady and Her Music toured 41 cities in the U.S. and Canada through June 17, 1984. It played in London for a month in August and ended its run in Stockholm, Sweden, September 14, 1984.

In 1981, she received a Special Tony Award for her one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, which also played to acclaim at the Adelphi Theatre in London in 1984.[14] Despite the show’s considerable success (Horne still holds the record for the longest-running solo performance in Broadway history), she did not capitalize on the renewed interest in her career by undertaking many new musical projects. A proposed 1983 joint recording project between Horne and Frank Sinatra (to be produced by Quincy Jones) was ultimately abandoned, and her sole studio recording of the decade was 1988’s The Men in My Life, featuring duets with Sammy Davis, Jr. and Joe Williams. In 1989, she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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76 Responses to Monday Open Thread

  1. vitaminlover says:

    What was Ms Horne’s racial make-up?

  2. rikyrah says:

    Today in Virginia: Republican sides with Democrats
    By Laura Conaway
    Mon Feb 4, 2013 3:21 PM EST

    Three Virginia news items, quite possibly unrelated:

    •First, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling today played his role as lieutenant governor to break a tie in the Senate — but in a surprising way. Bolling sided with Democrats in the Virginia Senate to delay a bill that would make voting harder. The bill takes away common documents like utility bills and paycheck stubs as means of complying with voter ID rules at the polls. Barring more changes in the legislature, Bolling’s vote means the earliest the bill could come into effect would be 2014. Bolling reportedly voted for the delay because there’s no money for teaching voters about the change in time for this year’s election.

    •Second, the Virginia Senate has approved a bill that would let the state’s governor serve consecutive terms. Only in Virginia is a governor one-and-done. The measure passed with bipartisan support, 25-15. For now, the Republican Party’s pick to replace current Governor Bob McDonnell is Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Having conceded the GOP nomination, Bolling seems to be considering a run as an independent.

    •Third, just for kicks: The Northern Virginia Tea Party tonight takes up the Obama-UN-mind-control plot known as Agenda 21. The meeting includes James Parmalee, chair of Northern Virginia GOP PAC, among other speakers not yet announced.

  3. rikyrah says:

    I believe that if Medicare’s age was lowered to 55, you’d see a wave of retirements roll across this country.


    Everybody’s working for the…health care benefits

    Posted by Sarah Kliff on February 4, 2013 at 8:49 am

    The Employee Benefits Research Institute recently surveyed workers and retirees on how health-care benefits factored into the timing of their retirement. The short answer is: a lot.

    Three-quarters of retirees said they worked longer than they would have otherwise to maintain access to their health plan. A majority of current workers agreed with a statement that said they “planned to work longer than you would like in order to continue receiving health insurance through your employer.”

    Study author Paul Fronstin argues that the health-care law will change all that: It will end denials of coverage for preexisting conditions and subsidize health insurance for low- and middle-income Americans.

    “It completely changes the playing field,” he says. “If everything goes as planned, you’ve got guaranteed issue next year. You don’t need the employer to fill the gap.”

    Another question in Fronstin’s survey found that more than a quarter of Americans say they would consider an earlier retirement date, should they have guaranteed access to health benefits. That number has slowly ticked upward, from 15 percent in 2003, over the past decade.

  4. rikyrah says:

    I guess there’s an election happening soon


    John Kasich Accepts Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced Monday that he will accept the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, becoming the fifth Republican governor to embrace the provision of the health care reform law that the Supreme Court made optional. The governor unveiled the decision as part of his budget proposal.

    “We are going to extend Medicaid for the working poor and for those who are jobless trying to find work,” Kasich said at a press conference in Columbus. “It makes great sense for the state of Ohio because it will allow us to provide greater care with our own dollars.”[….]

  5. On Trayvon Martin’s birthday, Zimmerman case returns to court
    Trayvon Martin would have turned 18 on Tuesday. His Feb. 26 shooting sparked protests last year.,0,5091160.story

    Trayvon Martin would have celebrated his 18th birthday Tuesday.

    It’s the first of two difficult dates for the teenager’s parents in February. The second comes Feb. 26, the one-year anniversary of Trayvon’s fatal encounter with George Zimmerman, which sparked outcry across the globe.

    “For his family, it’s tough when it comes to his birthday and how to deal with it,” said Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the teen’s family. “As well as coming up in a couple of weeks…. the anniversary of the tragedy.”

    The teen’s birthday coincides with the latest hearing in the second-degree murder case against Zimmerman. Attorneys for the state and defense will be at the Seminole County Courthouse Tuesday morning.

    For Trayvon’s parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, Crump said, the timing is a jarring reminder of their loss.

  6. Former SC GOP Exec Director Fires Off Racially-Charged Tweets During The Super Bowl

    During last night’s Super Bowl, former South Carolina GOP executive director Todd Kincannon sent out a flurry of racially-charged tweets, stirring controversy among social media users.

    Kincannon’s tweets largely involved “jokes” about Trayvon Martin, dick-sucking, Hurricane Katrina, and black people.





  7. Essie Mae Washington Williams, Daughter Strom Thurmond Kept Secret, Dies

    Essie Mae Washington Williams, the daughter former Sen. Strom Thurmond kept a secret his entire life, died Monday, WLTX-TV in South Carolina reports. She was 87.

    Williams publicly disclosed the identity of her father in 2003, six months after Thurmond passed away. Thurmond, who was famous for his support of segregation and opposition to civil rights, never acknowledged his daughter, whose mother was black.

    For over 60 years, the two engaged in a clandestine relationship that included financial support, birthday cards, and occasional face to face meetings–but no deep emotions. At one point, Thurmond used one of his nephews as a financial go-between, but that man was never told exactly who he was helping…

    After her disclosure, Williams wrote a book: “Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond.” In it, she wrote about how he never told her he loved her, despite numerous encounters.

    “As much as I wanted to ‘belong’ to him, I never felt like a daughter, only an accident,” she wrote. “Something, some strong feeling was definitely there. … That was what was drawing him to me, and me to him. But that feeling was all bottled up. We both felt it, from opposite sides of an invisible wall. It was segregated love.”

  8. Ametia says:

    McConnell not ruling out Hagel filibuster, says opposition to nominee ‘intensifying’
    By Jeremy Herb – 02/04/13 02:28 PM ET


    Sen. Hagel did not do a very good job before the Armed Services Committee this week,” McConnell told Kentucky’s cn|2. “I think the opposition to him is intensifying. Whether that means he will end up having to achieve 60 votes or 51 is not clear yet.”
    McConnell’s remarks could add new fuel to a potential filibuster of a Cabinet nominee, an unprecedented step in the Senate. An aide to the No. 2 Senate Republican, Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), said Friday that “all options are on the table” when asked about a filibuster.

    Read more:

  9. Breaking News‏@BreakingNews

    Suspect in Alabama hostage situation, Jimmy Dykes, is dead, coroner says – @abc3340 live stream

  10. Ametia says:

    BREAKING: U.S. Official Says Alabama Hostage Situation Over: Kidnapped Child Alive, Kidnapper Dead

    @CBSNews: BREAKING NEWS: A U.S. official says Alabama hostage situation is over: kidnapped child is alive, kidnapper is dead


    @BreakingNews: Reports of explosions near Midland City, Alabama, hostage scene – @abc3340, WJHG-TV

    Read more:

    Now lock UP The MOFO

  11. BREAKING NEWS: Alabama hostage standoff is over. Kidnapped child alive, kidnapper dead.

  12. Ametia says:

    Four Major Benefits Of The FCC’s Public Wifi Proposal
    By Andrea Peterson posted from ThinkProgress Economy on Feb 4, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    he Washington Post reports that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering a proposal to provide free internet access in major metropolitan and many rural areas. The plan, largely opposed by wireless telecom companies and supported by tech companies including Microsoft and Google, would open up publicly owned spectrum as super strength WiFi and take several years to implement. Some of the possible key benefits include:
    1. Helping the U.S. close the broadband infrastructure gap. Despite being the birthplace of many internet innovations, the U.S. ranks 16th in terms of broadband penetration, speed, and price. A staggering 96 percent of U.S. residents live in areas with two or fewer wireline internet providers, and 5 percent live in areas without any providers. A massive public work Wifi program would help deliver high speed internet access to areas currently lacking and provide competition in areas with limited choice.
    2. Using wireless spectrum as a public good. There is a debate raging over the best use of publicly owned wireless spectrum, with some business interests advocating for the space to be auctioned to private companies — creating the potential for monopolies. Using the spectrum for provide free internet access to the public is a way to to make sure average users benefit, rather than big corporations.
    3. Expanding freedom of expression online. The United Nations calls freedom of expression online a human right, but not everyone has internet access in the U.S. and private attempts to build out access haven’t been able to bridge the gap. Eliminating the cost barrier by providing access for free will undoubtedly expand the number of total U.S. internet users, thus giving more people a voice online.
    4. Bolstering innovation. Expanding the number of internet users means expanding the market for internet devices — that’s one of the reasons tech giants including Microsoft and Google are supporting the plan — and opening the way for more experimentation and innovation in that marketplace. The original Washington Post story notes that the last time the FCC opened up a spectrum for public use, creativity in the form of “[b]aby monitors, garage door openers and wireless stage microphone” directly followed.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Fabulous comment in response to Boyce Watkins:


    No, because PBO was suppose to be Superman and Jesus rolled into one–saving black folks from stuff we ourselves have neglected without any advocacy on our part.

    PBO’s rise has not only showed how ineffective the sole patrol is, it is shown me how ineffective we as blk people have been in advocating for ourselves. The 1980s and 1990s seem like lost decades for us because crime and crack fractured us to the point where we can’t talk to each others kids b/c we’re scared said kids will hurt us. We just go into our corners and try to eke out a way, that’s what most striving blk people I know do. I help my sis to raise my nephew and we have him under lock, but I see so many kids in my neighborhood, especially boys, whose parents have them out and straggling at all hours and into all sorts of trouble and I would never say anything to them because I’m scared of retaliation. That’s the predicament we are in. We are bystanders in our neighborhoods out of fear. But yet, PBO, is supposed to fix an issue like that when I nor my city council dude couldn’t b/c he was skimming money for his own benefit. I have to work on my little sphere first and then nationally.

    By the way, my ex-city council man is in jail, and who knows if the person who replaced him will be any better .But the larger point is that politicians can only go so far as the Zeitgeist allows. We have black reps who only represent black people, limiting their influence, and no ELECTED black senators, which diminshes our influence. PBO not immediately fixing our problems doesn’t t reflect badly on him, but we as a people who’ve let things slide for
    30 years.

  14. rikyrah says:

    How House Republicans can kill immigration reform

    Posted by Greg Sargent on February 4, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    The papers are filled with hints that a bipartisan group of House members is putting together its own immigration reform plan, which is a big deal, since it means bipartisan groups are moving forward on reform in both chambers.

    But there’s still one thing we don’t know about the talks in the House, which are shrouded in more secrecy than the Manhattan Project. Specifically: Does their emerging framework even include a path to citizenship, as the Senate framework does?

    That’s the key thing to be looking for tomorrow, when the House Judiciary Committee holds its first full hearing on the issue, and it goes directly to the possibility that the House GOP could still kill immigration reform. Check out this quote about tomorrow’s hearing from House Judiciary chairman Bob Goodlatte:

    “I am confident that we will pass legislation dealing with immigration, but I don’t know the extent of what we can do yet, because the members need to be educated, the issues need to be discussed, and a lot of questions need to be answered about where on a spectrum between deportation and citizenship we can find common ground to bring people who are living in the shadows out of the shadows.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    The Problem Isn’t Just McCain’s Racist Tweet, but Conservatives Defending Racism

    By: Sarah JonesFeb. 4th, 2013

    The John McCain dustup this morning over his tweet comparing Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a monkey has revealed the thinking behind conservative values. One Republican congressman accused McCain of being a racist, and then a conservative stepped into the fray to explain that it’s okay to be a racist/hater when making jokes about someone who is an “anti-semite”, which is the same argument six year olds use to excuse their bad behavior.

    John McCain tweeted, “So Ahmadinejad wants to be first Iranian in space – wasn’t he just there last week?” In this tweet, he linked to a story about Iran launching a monkey into space. After some backlash, McCain pulled out his “I was just joking, lighten up” card, which is crumbling from over-use but this is John McCain.

    Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) tweeted, “Maybe you should wisen (sic) up & not make racist jokes. “@SenJohnMcCain: Re: Iran space tweet – lighten up folks, can’t everyone take a joke?”

    It’s true that John McCain can’t get out of the locker room long enough to realize how inappropriate he can be. McCain is known for making tasteless “jokes” while taking great umbrage at things he imagines others did or said.

    George W. Bush supporter John Podhoretz, columnist for the New York Post and a speechwriter for former President Ronald Reagan as well as former President George H.W. Bush, stepped into the fray in order to defend McCain by explaining that it’s okay to be a racist against an anti-semite, “How dare McCain say something demeaning & disparaging abt the foremost anti-Semite on the planet.” He added, “So…it’s defend-the-Jew-hater-from-the-war-hero day.”

  16. rikyrah says:

    Skeet Birthers Can’t Afford to Admit the Truth, So They Explode with Insanity

    By: Sarah JonesFeb. 3rd, 2013

    Yesterday I wrote an article about the “skeet birther” movement sweeping the right wing paranoiacs, only to be regaled with tall tales explaining in no uncertain terms that the President is so busted. He never went skeet shooting, the picture is a lie! If only I would take off my Obama blindfold, I would see the truth.

    As the right wing media jumped around like frogs from lily pad to lily pad, desperately hoping to land on The Accusation That Stuck, they screeched that the gun angle was wrong, the gun was wrong, the smoke angle was suspicious, the President threatened them not to photoshop the picture, “questions must be asked”, etc.

    Then the Holy Grail of Skeet Birthers: The President could not have been skeet shooting on that fateful day in August, in spite of the picture provided by the White House. You see, he was golfing that day.

    This gem was tweeted by a very confused Right winger, aptly self-named CrazyBullet2012, who is currently working on proving that the President can’t skeet shoot AND golf on the same day:

    Over at Breitbart (the place for crazy memes that will soon infiltrate Fox News), they’re teeming with paranoia because the time stamp on the skeet picture is set to PST.

    One Breitbart writer embarked on Skeet Gate with great solemnity as if it were WaterGate itself, while allegedly attempting to calm down the skeet birthers — “CTFO” he urges his nervous cult. (There’s a job waiting for him as a factchecker at the Washington Post, no doubt.) However, much investigation is required:

    Right, much better to write that so that all of your readers can file it away in their He’s Coming for Us file. No worries, patriots, the Breitbart writer has, in fact, reached out to Pete Souza, White House photographer, to confirm that his camera was set to the wrong time zone. I’m sure Souza will get right on it, unless his bat phone is set to avoid the crazy galaxy.

    The world awaits the results of the time zone stamp drama!

    All of this energy expended in an attempt to debunk a photo of the President skeet shooting seems absurd. It is absurd. It’s happening because conservatives refused to believe the President when he said he went skeet shooting, so when faced with evidence that they were wrong, they do what agenda-ridden paranoiacs do: They double down. They are going this far down the rabbit hole only to prove that the President does not skeet shoot.

    Let that soak in.

    What would it mean to them if the President did skeet shoot (as he obviously has)? What world view would this puncture that is so precarious it can’t allow a moment of reality to violate its dark, dank dungeon?

    Well, you see, if they admit this, then the entire house of cards might tumble down. They might be permitted, then, to admit that it was Mitt Romney who restricted gun rights, while Obama expanded them. They might have to admit that Ronald Reagan restricted gun rights, that the Republican National Convention refused to allow even toy guns into its hall, and that Sarah Palin disarmed an Alaska militia.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 09:44 AM PST.

    Republicans fearmonger over the Paycheck Fairness Act to hide the real agenda

    by Laura Clawson

    In this day and age, it’s hard to admit that you just think employers should be allowed to pay women less than men because they’re women. But Republicans certainly aren’t going to let the Paycheck Fairness Act, which aims to make it easier for women to find out if they’re being paid less than their male coworkers and do something about it, become law. So what’s a Republican to do to try to hide the fact that the opposition is really all about keeping women underpaid? Well, here’s one emerging right-wing talking point against the Paycheck Fairness Act:

    ‘Paycheck Fairness Act’ Would Require Employers to Share Workers’ Salaries:
    — @Stips620 via Tweet Button
    The link goes to a conservative Christian site, under the headline being tweeted out: that the bill would “require employers to share workers’ salaries.” But aside from the headline, it’s an excerpt from and a link to a CBS story titled “Mikulski’s ‘Paycheck Fairness Act’ Would Allow Employees to Discuss Salaries.” See the rhetorical shift? The Paycheck Fairness Act actually gives workers a new right: to talk to their coworkers about how much they’re paid without being disciplined or even sued, as they can be now. But the opposition frames it as a new requirement falling on employers, to divulge all salary information, and a loss of privacy for workers, who will supposedly have their salary information made public whether they want it or not. All that in one misleading headline attached to an accurate, if not very detailed, article! And it’s been picked up by Drudge, so you know it’s the hot new argument for keeping discrimination against women safe and easy.
    It’s true that, under the Paycheck Fairness Act, employers found to be paying women less than men would face a stricter standard (PDF) for showing that the pay disparity was related to job performance and not to gender, tightening up a loophole in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that has allowed discriminators to claim that pay disparities were just because men are better at negotiating, for instance. That’s a burden of proof Republicans don’t want to put on businesses.

    It’s already illegal to discriminate. The Paycheck Fairness Act doesn’t make it more illegal. It just gives women some new tools to find out if they’re being discriminated against—makes it safe just to tell your coworkers how much you earn without fear of retaliation—and makes it a little harder for employers to wiggle out of trouble for breaking the law. Republicans want you to believe that’s some big loss of liberty and privacy. But the only “right” they’re trying to protect is the one to cover up illegal discrimination.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Wanker of the Day: Howard Kurtz

    by BooMan
    Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 12:02:55 PM EST

    Howard Kurtz wants Al Gore and the president to stop whining about right-wing media. Maybe he just doesn’t like the sound of their voices, but his analysis is ridiculous. Take a look at the logic in this paragraph.

    Now it’s true that Fox or Limbaugh can boost or batter any lawmaker, and that they can help drive a controversy into the broader mainstream media. But we’re talking here about the president of the United States. He has an army, a navy and a bunch of nuclear weapons, not to mention an ability to command the airwaves at a moment’s notice. And he’s complaining about a cable channel and a radio talk-show host?

    Well, it’s true that the president can command the airwaves at a moment’s notice, but he can’t command the air waves twenty-four hours a day like Fox News, and he can’t spend three hours a day, five days a week, hosting a highly rated radio program like Rush Limbaugh. Moreover, of what use is the army, the navy, and our nuclear arsenal in shaping public opinion on immigration or guns or climate change or the economy? I might as well argue that Rush Limbaugh has an advantage over the president because he owns a riding lawnmower.

    More to the point, there was a time before right-wing mass media. We still had lunatics in this country, like the members of the John Birch Society. Our racial problems were significantly worse back then, with reactionary assholes at first promoting an apartheid society, and then converting the Republican Party into a revanchist party dedicated to standing athwart history yelling ‘stop!’ But, there were no outlets where people could steep and saturate themselves in that kind of hatred during all their waking hours. There were no feedback loops where the rankest bullshit could be circulated and amplified until a significant portion of the country became convinced that climate change is a myth because Al Gore is fat, or that ACORN is fixing elections, or that the New Black Panthers are more menacing than three dudes with too much spare time.

    The problem with right-wing mass media is not only that they trade in hate and fear, but that they actively misinform. They are making people angry and stupid in a way that you just cannot say about NPR or the New York Times or MSNBC. I know it is fashionable to argue that MSNBC is just the flip-side of Fox News, but that only appears to be the case if you focus on partisanship. If you focus on whether or not viewers are better or worse informed after watching The Rachel Maddow Show versus The O’Reilly Factor the differences between the two networks is obvious. Maddow explains how things work. O’Reilly inflames people’s passions. Maddow presents things that ought to scare her audience, like the way corporations are using Republicans to write legislation verbatim per their instructions, while O’Reilly is telling his audience that liberals want to ruin their Christmas celebration.

    What Howard Kurtz is ignoring is that one of the main reasons it is difficult to bridge the partisan divide in Congress and get anything done is because the right-wing is living in a bubble made of 90 proof bullshit that is created by right-wing mass media. Yes, they are very powerful. They are very destructive. And, no, the president can’t unleash the armed forces on talk radio hosts or order a nuclear attack on Fox News.

  19. rikyrah says:

    NJ Dems the Worst in the Nation

    by BooMan
    Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 09:02:57 AM EST

    As a native of the Garden State, I can tell you that New Jersey is a cesspool of political corruption that is outpaced in only a few states, like Louisiana. If a politician has fought his or herself to the top of the food chain in either party (but especially the Democratic Party), they have by definition compromised themselves many times over. HBO’s The Sopranos depicted the mob’s relationship with the state Senate fairly accurately. That was north Jersey and the ports. Then there is south Jersey and Atlantic City. One reason a lot of progressives welcomed Goldman Sachs CEO Jon Corzine as governor and senator was because we knew he didn’t have to commit any felonies (in any official capacity, anyway) to get the nominations. New Jersey politics is that bad.
    If Louisiana could shrug off David Vitter’s diaper-wearing visits to prostitutes, Bob Menendez probably has little to worry about, even if the worst allegations are true. The problem is that the only clean politicians the Democrats have created in New Jersey in my lifetime have entered politics at the highest levels rather than working their way up. Frank Lautenberg used his private fortune to win a U.S. Senate seat in 1982. Bill Bradley used his fame to do the same in 1978. They were (and are) politicians that we can be proud of who didn’t shame New Jersey. But they are about the only ones. Even Corzine, who followed that model, turned out to be a scoundrel.

    As for Sen. Menendez, he’s always been suspect to me. I know what it takes to get where he is, and it ain’t pretty.

  20. rikyrah says:


    By Doug Galt February 4th, 2013

    I no longer think that House Republicans have the balls to impeach Obama, but maybe I’m wrong:

    If the president authorized the disclosure of national security secrets that exposed a covert action and undermined a U.S. ally in an effort to gain a political advantage in his reelection campaign, that would be a scandal of gigantic proportions. As one former top Justice Department official told me “if done for political gain, rather than for a bona fide purpose advancing the public interests of the United States, it could be grounds for impeachment.”

    In other words, at best ObamaLeaks may be a crime; at worst, they could be an impeachable offense. So the question is: What are those senior Obama administration officials telling investigators when confronted “with evidence of contact with journalists”? Were the leaks unauthorized? Or are they defending their disclosures by invoking the President’s personal authority to declassify national security information without formal process?

    If the former, then we could see senior Obama administration officials put on trial. If the latter, then it is the president who should be on trial — in the chamber of the United States Senate.

    That’s Marc Thiessen, a crazy motherfucker from around the way, even by WaPo standards. I wonder if this will gain any traction with serious people.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Nazi Goebbels’ Step-Grandchildren Are Hidden Billionaires

    By David de Jong – Jan 28, 2013 8:47 AM CT

    In the spring of 1945, Harald Quandt, a 23-year-old officer in the German Luftwaffe, was being held as a prisoner of war by Allied forces in the Libyan port city of Benghazi when he received a farewell letter from his mother, Magda Goebbels — the wife of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

    The hand-written note confirmed the devastating news he had heard weeks earlier: His mother had committed suicide with her husband on May 1, after slipping their six children cyanide capsules in Adolf Hitler’s underground bunker in Berlin.

    “My dear son! By now we’ve been in the Fuehrerbunker for six days already, Daddy, your six little siblings and I, to give our national socialistic lives the only possible, honorable ending,” she wrote. “Harald, dear son, I want to give you what I learned in life: Be loyal! Loyal to yourself, loyal to the people and loyal to your country!”

    Quandt was released from captivity in 1947. Seven years later, he and his half-brother Herbert — Harald was the only remaining child from Magda Goebbels’ first marriage — would inherit the industrial empire built by their father, Guenther Quandt, which had produced Mauser firearms and anti-aircraft missiles for the Third Reich’s war machine. Among their most valuable assets at the time was a stake in car manufacturer Daimler AG. (DAI) They bought a part of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) a few years later.

  22. rikyrah says:

    For insiders, community group UNO’s charter schools pay

    Staff Reporters
    February 4, 2013 12:22AM

    Built in 2011 with $25 million from Illinois taxpayers, the curvy, stainless-steel structure that houses the UNO Soccer Academy Elementary Charter School leaps out from the neighboring landscape of boxy brick houses on the Southwest Side.

    The school on South Homan Avenue isn’t just eye-catching. It has provided opportunities for working-class, Hispanic parents who want an alternative to crowded, poorly performing public schools for their children, says the head of the United Neighborhood Organization, the increasingly influential group that built and operates the school.

    But the way it and other UNO schools were built also has provided a financial boon to people close to the group’s leaders, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

    A $98 million state grant — approved by the Illinois Legislature in 2009 and believed to be the nation’s largest government investment in charter schools to date — funded the construction of Soccer Academy Elementary and other new schools built by UNO.

    More than one-fifth of the taxpayer money spent on the Soccer Academy Elementary project went to four contractors owned by family members of UNO’s political allies and a top executive of the group, records show:

    ◆ A company owned by a brother of Miguel d’Escoto , UNO’s senior vice president of operations, was paid more than $600,000 as the “owner’s representative” for the project.

    ◆ Another d’Escoto brother landed a $4.4 million contract that included installing the school’s windows and distinctive metal exterior panels.

    ◆ State grant money that was used to guard the construction site went to a security firm run by two brothers of state Rep. Edward Acevedo, a Chicago Democrat who voted to approve the UNO grant.

    ◆ Two deals for plumbing work went to the sister of Victor Reyes , a lobbyist who helped UNO obtain the grant money to build the school.

    UNO also hired the janitorial service it operates, paying it more than $31,000 to clean up the Soccer Academy site before classes began.

    Charter schools are classified as public schools, though they are built and run by private operators outside many of the rules that govern the Chicago Public Schools and other public school systems. The number of charter schools in Chicago is growing. They are a key element of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to improve student performance. And there is a push in Springfield to increase state funding for the privately run schools, whose spending largely has gone unscrutinized.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Pennsylvania Republicans To Introduce New Election-Rigging Plan

    By Ian Millhiser on Feb 4, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Last month, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus called up “states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red” to rig future presidential elections by changing the way electoral votes are allocated. Under Priebus’ proposal, blue states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would stop awarding electoral votes to the winner of the state as a whole, and instead would award them one-by-one to the winner of each congressional district. Meanwhile, red states would continue to award 100 percent of their electors to the Republican. This plan appears to have lost steam, however, as several top Republicans in key states announced they will not support it.

    Even as Republicans in key states such as Michigan, Ohio, Florida and Virginia came out against this election-rigging plan, however, Pennsylvania Republicans have been eerily quite. We now know why. According to the New Castle News a local paper in western Pennsylvania, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R) will introduce legislation this month that will effectively give away a large chuck of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes to the Republican presidential candidate, regardless of who wins the state as a whole.

    How This Election-Rigging Plan Works

    Unlike the plan Priebus backs, the New Republican Plan would not tie electoral votes to congressional districts. Instead, it would award the overwhelming majority of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes proportionally according to the popular vote, with two additional electoral votes going to the winner of the state as a whole. If the New Republican Plan had been in effect in 2012, Mitt Romney would have received 8 of Pennsylvania’ 20 electoral votes, despite losing the state by a substantial margin.

    The problem with the New Republican Plan is that it would only be enacted in blue states such as Pennsylvania — the Democratic candidate for presidential won Pennsylvania in every single election for the past two decades — while red states would continue to award all of their electoral votes to the Republican. Thus, the plan gives away Democratic votes to the Republican for free, while letting the Republican candidate keep all the votes they earn legitimately in other states:

  24. rikyrah says:

    The federal government wants to create super WiFi networks across the nation, so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the Internet without paying a cellphone bill every month.

    The proposal from the Federal Communications Commission has rattled the $178 billion wireless industry, which has launched a fierce lobbying effort to persuade policymakers to reconsider the idea, analysts say. That has been countered by an equally intense campaign from Google, Microsoft and other tech giants who say a free-for-all WiFi service would spark an explosion of innovations and devices that would benefit most Americans, especially the poor.

    The airwaves that FCC officials want to hand over to the public would be much more powerful than existing WiFi networks that have become common in households. They could penetrate thick concrete walls and travel over hills and around trees. If all goes as planned, free access to the Web would be available in just about every metropolitan area and in many rural areas.

    The new WiFi networks would also have much farther reach, allowing for a driverless car to communicate with another vehicle a mile away or a patient’s heart monitor to connect to a hospital on the other side of town.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Maryland county school board to own all students’ work with copyright policy

    A county school board in Maryland has proposed a copyright policy that would allow it to take ownership of all work produced by students and faculty — even work created off campus during personal time.

    A Prince George’s County Board of Education proposal obtained by WTOP says that “any works” created by students or employees “are properties of the Board of Education even if created on the employee’s or student’s time and with the use of their materials.”

    University of Missouri law professor David Rein told The Washington Post that some universities have “sharing agreements” with students and faculty, but he had never heard of a local school board of trying to profit from a student’s work

  26. rikyrah says:

    Tagg Romney considering run for Kerry’s Senate seat

    Tagg Romney, the son of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, is mulling a run for the Massachusetts Senate seat recently vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry.

    The Boston Herald on Monday reported that Republicans were pushing Tagg and his mother, Ann, to consider a campaign for the Senate after former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) announced he would not run.

    Tagg often accompanied his father during campaign events and at one point even told a radio host that he want to “take a swing” at President Barack Obama because he felt that his father had been depicted as a “liar” during one of the presidential debates.

  27. rikyrah says:


    this one made me cry.

  28. rikyrah says:



    • Ametia says:

      This is the Republican Party; THIS IS WHO THEY ARE, and why I will do everything in my power to help see that they NEVER get back into the WH

    • rikyrah says:

      RHODA replied to this:


      Let the evil come to light: POTUS and his family, and Bey, Jennifer Hudson, and Alicia Keyes at the Superbowl is blowing their damn minds.

      I say, let’s see the evil and let the light shine on these animals so America can look them in the eye.

      We will not be denied our place in this country we helped built; they can kill themselves over the fact of it for all I care. They can do NOTHING about it. Let them look at Barack Obama and think long and hard that their are black and brown and yellow and red folk coming after him and they will come HARD and PREPARED for this shit.

      • Ametia says:

        I concur; When folks show their ASS. it’s an ASS. PBO’s paving the way; hope the other brown, yellow, and red folks are TAKING NOTES.

    • rikyrah says:

      May I have a Black Power Afro and Fist graphics, please?

  29. Ametia says:

    CC Proposes Groundbreaking Free Public Wi-Fi Throughout United States; Mobile Companies Protest


    Designed by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the plan would be a global first. When the U.S. government made a limited amount of unlicensed airwaves available in 1985, an unexpected explosion in innovation followed. Baby monitors, garage door openers and wireless stage microphones were created. Millions of homes now run their own wireless networks, connecting tablets, game consoles, kitchen appli­ances and security systems to the Internet.

    “Freeing up unlicensed spectrum is a vibrantly free-market approach that offers low barriers to entry to innovators developing the technologies of the future and benefits consumers,” Genachow­ski said in a an e-mailed statement.

    Some companies and cities are already moving in this direction. Google is providing free WiFi to the public in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and parts of Silicon Valley.

    Cities support the idea because the networks would lower costs for schools and businesses or help vacationers easily find tourist spots. Consumer advocates note the benefits to the poor, who often cannot afford high cellphone and Internet bills.

    This is a policy that could transform American competitiveness and create thousands of new jobs, as well as diminishing the burden of outrageous wireless phone bills on poor Americans. Waiting for the GOP to cry ‘socialism’ in 3,2,1…

  30. Ametia says:

    SG2, here’s the article on Gov. Deval Patrick and his wife’s trip to the WH. Wonder what they discussed, hmmm?

    Gov. Deval Patrick relies on some diplomacy to get to the White House

    WASHINGTON – Four years ago, Governor Deval Patrick and his wife, Diane, thought they had finished up their evening of post-inauguration parties around 1 a.m. Then, word came that they had been invited to the White House, to spend some time with the new president in his new home.

    The governor, unable to contain his excitement, said he told his wife, “Guess what? We just got invited to the White House.”

    She didn’t want to go. She’d been standing all day. Her feet hurt.

    “I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’” Patrick recounted in a Tuesday interview. “’If I sit in the back and massage your feet while we drive, will you go?’ She said yes. So I got in the car, massaged her feet, and we went up Pennsylvania Avenue.”

  31. Ametia says:

    Crooks and Liars writes, Click here to view this media Love that librul media! On CNN’s State of the Union, former Bush Labor Secretary Elaine Chao was busily blasting President Barack Obama’s “far-left agenda” and claimed that he had not been as willing to work towards bipartisan solutions as Republican senators. Oddly enough, CNN host Candy Crowley did not think it worth mentioning to viewers that Chao is married to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Wonder why? During a panel segment on CNN’s State of the Union, Crowley noted that Obama had accused Republicans of obstructionism and standing in the way…

    Continue reading Elaine Chao Slams Obama’s ‘Far-Left Agenda’ Without Disclosing She’s Married to Mitch McConnell. Thanks, CNN! at Crooks and Liars

  32. Ametia says:

    SG2; where’s that poster of Turtle McConnell?

  33. rikyrah says:

    GOP searches for a standard-bearer in Massachusetts
    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on February 4, 2013 at 11:25 am

    When President Obama announced that he would nominate Massachusetts Senator John Kerry to helm the State Department, I assumed that this would clear the path for Scott Brown to reenter the Senate, just a few months after losing his re-election bid to Elizabeth Warren. But Brown isn’t running, and Republicans have few options. Former state Senator Richard Tisei was one possible contender, but he announced on Saturday that he would not be running for the seat. And this morning, former governor Bill Weld released a statement saying the same — he will not enter the race.

    Simply put, there aren’t many options left for the Massachusetts Republican Party. There’s been some indication that former Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey would join the fray, but her electoral record leaves much to be desired — she hasn’t been popular with the state’s voters.

  34. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: The problem with the Obama skeet shooting “controversy”
    Posted by Greg Sargent on February 4, 2013 at 9:02 am

    So it’s settled: President Obama does, in fact, do skeet shooting at Camp David, just as he has claimed.

    This controversy is only the latest sign that the right remains very, very good at getting news orgs to follow shiny bouncy balls. To be clear, I don’t see any problem with fact checking the president’s statement, as many others have. That’s what the fact checkers should be doing. Rather, the problem here is one of overkill and misdirection. Much of the reporting on the back and forth over this controversy doesn’t clarify what is perhaps the most important fact about it: The question of whether Obama did or didn’t engage in skeet shooting is utterly, totally, completely irrelevant to any of the actual policy proposals that are being discussed right now.

    The “gun rights” brigade has grabbed on to this controversy with the very deliberate goal of using it to distort the true nature of the gun reform debate. For instance, here is how the NRA is treating the story:

  35. rikyrah says:

    Welcoming the Conservative Victory Project to the field

    By Steve Benen
    Mon Feb 4, 2013 10:11 AM EST

    Despite their reputation for unity, Republicans are increasingly finding deep schisms within their ranks. GOP policymakers and their allies are fighting amongst themselves on everything from immigration to gun safety, fiscal strategies to defense.

    But just below the surface, perhaps the most striking disagreement relates entirely to electoral consideration.

    In public, Republicans insist their biggest problem is rhetorical — they need to identify a better way to sell their ideas to voters. In private, Republicans focus more on their primary problem — GOP leaders are convinced that the party would be in far better shape right now were it not for rank-and-file Republican voters nominating unelectable loons in so many key races.

    It’s a problem the party establishment is desperate to fix. Indeed, in the wake of their 2012 defeats, Republicans have taken some steps to strengthen the party establishment and prevent fiascoes like the ones the GOP has seen in Delaware, Nevada, Colorado, Indiana, Missouri, and elsewhere.

    But it’s easier said than done. Indeed, party leaders seem to believe earlier endorsements from the GOP establishment might send unmistakable signals to the base and would-be challengers, but that misses the point — the Republican base doesn’t much care who the establishment prefers. If the party’s heavyweight players are going to make a real difference in crushing extremist clowns before they win primaries, it’s going to cost a lot of money

    Enter Karl Rove’s operation to the rescue.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Extortion politics that cannot stand
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Feb 4, 2013 11:07 AM EST

    It’s not exactly news that Senate filibuster rules have been abused to the point of breaking the institution. Though the Senate operated by majority rule for about two centuries, there are now mandatory supermajorities for just about everything.

    That said, some filibusters matter far more offensive than others, and some may even rise to the level of a constitutional crisis.

    President Obama nominated Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about a year ago, and no one could find any objections to his qualifications. But Republicans don’t believe the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should exist, so they blocked Cordray’s nomination in order to stop the law from being implemented. Indeed, GOP senators said they would indefinitely refuse to allow the agency to function — or do any work at all — unless Democrats agreed to weaken the CFPB’s powers and lessen consumer protections.

    Just so we’re clear, this had never happened in American history. There was no precedent for the Senate blocking a qualified nominee solely because a minority of the chamber did not like the existence of the agency the nominee was selected to lead.

  37. Pittsburgh girl, 6, crashes car in bid to see dad

    The girl, who wanted to visit her father across town, hit two parked vehicles, pushing one of them into a third, before hitting a utility pole.

    PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh police say a determined 6-year-old girl didn’t hurt anyone when she crashed her mother’s car while trying to drive across town to visit her father.

    Police haven’t released the name of the girl whose mother was reportedly still sleeping when the girl took the woman’s car keys about 9 a.m. Sunday.

    Police Sgt. Jerry Parker tells reporters the little girl is tall for her age, but adds: “How she knew how to operate a car, your guess is as good as mine.”

    Police say the girl hit two parked vehicles, pushing one of them into a third, before hitting a utility pole.

    Police and the girl’s father arrived to take her home after the accident.

    Police are still investigating but haven’t said if anyone will face charges.

  38. Ametia says:

    LOL Hil to Rand Paul


  39. Breaking Politics ‏@breakingpol

    Former Massachusetts governor William Weld says he will not run for the US Senate

  40. Report Outlines Plan To Fix Long Lines On Election Day

    WASHINGTON — As the federal government works to address the long lines and administrative problems voters nationwide faced on Election Day, a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice argues that the first steps should be modernizing voter registration, providing a national period for early voting and setting minimum standards for polling place access.

    During his victory speech on Nov. 6, President Barack Obama thanked Americans for turning out to vote, noting many people had waited in line for hours to do so. He made clear that voting reform would be a priority in his second term, when he said that the country needed to “fix” those long lines so that all Americans are able to carry out their constitutional right.

    Since then, several lawmakers have introduced election reform bills, and the Justice Department is already working on solutions.

    In its new report released Monday, the Brennan Center said the biggest obstacle facing America’s electoral system — and a central cause of long lines on Election Day — is the country’s outdated voter registration system.

  41. Bloomberg TV ‏@BloombergTV

    BREAKING: U.S. December factory orders rise 1.8%; ex-transport up 0.2%

  42. Alabama Man Holding 5-Year-Old Boy Hostage ‘Listened to a Lot of Conservative Talk Radio’

    Jim Lee Dykes, 65, gunned down a 66-year-old bus driver named Charles Albert Poland Jr. and abducted a 5-year-old boy he’s still holding hostage in his bunker on his Alabama property. The Vietnam-era veteran is described as someone who listened to conservative radio and didn’t like government, starting with Obama.

    The AP reported:

    Michael Creel said Dykes kept to himself and listened to a lot of conservative talk radio.

    “He was very into what’s going on with the nation and the politics and all the laws being made. The things he didn’t agree with, he would ventilate,” he said.

    James Arrington, police chief of the neighboring town of Pinckard, put it differently.

    “He’s against the government, starting with Obama on down,” he said.

    Dykes also has been arrested for possession of marijuana and neighbors say he once killed a dog with a lead pipe. According to neighbors, he patrols his yard with a flashlight and a firearm, threatening to shoot children who step foot on his property.

    Ironically, given his hatred of government, Dykes lives in a FEMA trailer on his rural property.

    “I think he’s just a really angry and bitter guy with some anger management issues,” Morris Dees of Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery told the AP. “He is just against everything – the government and his neighbors.”

  43. rikyrah says:

    Friends of Fraud


    Published: February 3, 2013

    Like many advocates of financial reform, I was a bit disappointed in the bill that finally emerged. Dodd-Frank gave regulators the power to rein in many financial excesses; but it was and is less clear that future regulators will use that power. As history shows, the financial industry’s wealth and influence can all too easily turn those who are supposed to serve as watchdogs into lap dogs instead.

    There was, however, one piece of the reform that was a shining example of how to do it right: the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a stand-alone agency with its own funding, charged with protecting consumers against financial fraud and abuse. And sure enough, Senate Republicans are going all out in an attempt to kill that bureau.

    Why is consumer financial protection necessary? Because fraud and abuse happen.

    Don’t say that educated and informed consumers can take care of themselves. For one thing, not all consumers are educated and informed. Edward Gramlich, the Federal Reserve official who warned in vain about the dangers of subprime, famously asked, “Why are the most risky loan products sold to the least sophisticated borrowers?” He went on, “The question answers itself — the least sophisticated borrowers are probably duped into taking these products.”

  44. rikyrah says:

    A legacy Steven Chu can be proud of

    By Steve Benen
    Mon Feb 4, 2013 8:46 AM EST

    Long-time viewers of The Rachel Maddow Show may recall the “Geek Week” segments aired in May 2010, which included an interview with Energy Secretary Steven Chu. (The segment also noted why At Least I Am A still redirects to the show’s video player.)

    Nearly three years later, we’ve learned that Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, will leave his post in President Obama’s second term, stepping down from the Department of Energy later this month. With this in mind, it’s worth pausing to appreciate the significance of Chu’s first-term efforts, which haven’t generated front-page news, but which carry extraordinary significance.

    Time’s Michael Grunwald flagged this gem from Steve LeVine, which argued that Chu took important steps to put the United States “on course for a new economic revival, led by energy technology.”

    The idea has been to provide fixed sums of concentrated, multi-year funding for scientists to solve really big problems. They have been housed within two Chu creations. The first is Energy Frontier Research Centers, which have been granted $2 million to $5 million a year to find novel ways to revolutionize solar power, nano-scale materials engineering, advanced batteries, solid-state lighting, superconductivity, and more. […]

    Chu’s second creation has been more ambitious: the creation of a series of “innovation hubs.” With $125 million in funding spread over five years, each of the five hubs has been tasked with unraveling big, seemingly intractable problems: how to emulate photosynthesis; make nuclear power safe; make buildings superlatively efficient; create a battery more or less equivalent in energy performance with fossil fuels; and invent a host of inventive new materials to replace ones in short supply in the US, such as rare-earth elements.

    As NPR added, these efforts also included the launch of ARPA-E — basically an internal R&D incubator project at the Department of Energy — which in turn “funded a number of cutting-edge technologies.”

    Has this approach led to immediate breakthroughs that produced blockbuster headlines in Obama’s first term? No, but that misses the point.

  45. rikyrah says:

    if Black folks don’t strive and fight for equality, then what should we do?

    this is what we do.

    this is who we are as a people.

    I just want to know if he’s written columns explaning just where the spike in Black unemployment has come from – THE ELIMINATION OF PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS AT THE STATE LEVEL.

    Black people were disproportionately affected by those cuts because Black people were disproportionately employed by the Public Sector.

    Has Dr. Boyce been beating the drum in the defense of the United States Post Office, which has been a target of the GOP, and where ONE OUT OF EVERY FIVE POSTAL EMPLOYEES IS BLACK?

    Just asking.

    In addition, has he beat the drum for the President’s American Jobs Act, which would lower the unemployment rate by at least 2 points?


    Dr. Boyce: Perhaps Black People Should Stop Expecting Equality

    by Dr. Boyce Watkins

    If you’re black and heartily supported President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election, I have some news for you. Barack Obama is NOT your president and you are not meant to get much of anything for your vote. He’s not the president of black America, so the fact that you would expect your president to do anything to reciprocate his receiving more black votes than any president in history makes you clearly delusional.

    From what I am gathering based on comments that defend the lack of action by the Obama Administration on the black unemployment and incarceration crises, the facts are plain: Black people are not supposed to ask President Obama for anything. Only whites, Jews, gays, women, labor groups and illegal immigrants are allowed to expect anything from the president. Your job as an African American is to vote for him and shut up.

  46. rikyrah says:

    As Extremists Invaded, Timbuktu Hid Artifacts of a Golden Age


    Published: February 3, 2013

    When the moment of danger came, Ali Imam Ben Essayouti knew just what to do. The delicate, unbound parchment manuscripts in the 14th-century mosque he leads had already survived hundreds of years in the storied city of Timbuktu. He was not about to allow its latest invaders, Tuareg nationalist rebels and Islamic extremists from across the region, to destroy them now

    So he gingerly bundled the 8,000 volumes in sackcloth, carefully stacked them in crates, then quietly moved them to a bunker in an undisclosed location.

    “These manuscripts, they are not just for us in Timbuktu,” Mr. Essayouti said. “They belong to all of humanity. It is our duty to save them.”

    The residents of Timbuktu suffered grievously under Islamic militant rule. Almost all of life’s pleasures, even the seemingly innocent ones like listening to music and dancing, were forbidden. With the arrival of French and Malian troops here on Jan. 28, life is slowly returning to normal.

    But the city’s rich historical patrimony suffered terrible losses. Timbuktu is known as the City of 333 Saints, a reference to the Sufi preachers and scholars who are venerated by Muslims here. The Islamic rebels destroyed several earthen tombs of those saints, claiming such shrines were forbidden.

    During their hasty departure from the city last weekend, the fighters struck another parting blow, setting fire to dozens of ancient manuscripts at the Ahmed Baba Institute, the city’s biggest and most important library.

    Irina Bokova, the director general of Unesco, accompanied President François Hollande of France on his visit here on Saturday to get a firsthand look at the damage the city’s cultural artifacts had sustained. She said that plans are already being made to rebuild the tombs of the saints.

    “We are going to reconstruct the mausoleums as soon as possible,” Ms. Bokova said. “We have the plans, we have the ability to do it. We think this is important for the future of the Malian people, their dignity and their pride.”

  47. rikyrah says:

    methinks someone sat him down and read him the riot act.


    Black delegate decides against Va. GOP’s redistricting map

    By Laura Vozzella,

    Published: February 2

    RICHMOND — After a brief flirtation with the GOP’s surprise Virginia Senate redistricting plan and fierce backlash from unions, a black House Democrat has soured on supporting it.

    Del. Onzlee Ware of Roanoke announced on the House floor Friday that he has decided to vote against the new Senate map, which would create a new majority­-black district in Southside but also disperse black voting power in at least eight other districts.

    He had said in an interview Wednesday that he was considering voting for it. His support would have provided Republicans with a measure of bipartisan support and helped blunt criticism that they had pushed the proposed districts through the Senate in a way that was offensive to blacks.

    The map would probably lead to the election of a sixth black senator but also diminish Democratic power in the now evenly divided Senate. Ware had said Wednesday that he was open to the proposal because he was tired of putting the interests of black people second to the interests of the Democratic Party.

    But he announced Friday that he had decided to vote against the map, which Republicans sprang on the Senate on Inauguration Day, when Sen. Henry L. Marsh III of Richmond — a Democrat regarded as a civil rights icon — was in Washington to attend President Obama’s swearing-in. Ware said he had concluded that the map, tacked onto a bill calling for minor “technical adjustments” to House districts, was too much of a departure from the original legislation.

    “It was just too drastically changed,” Ware said.

    Democratic legislators and union leaders pounced after Ware and another black Democratic delegate, Rosalyn R. Dance of Petersburg, said in interviews with The Washington Post that they were open to the map.

  48. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone!:-) I’m looking forward to the series on Ms. Lena Horne.

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