Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread

Happy Tuesday, Everyone! Tonight, President Obama gives his first State of the Union address for his last term in office.

Here’s a look back at the president’s State of the Union addresses since taking office in 2009, plus the famous 2008 More Perfect Union speech.

A More Perfect Union- 2008





Today’s tune

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46 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Anchor baby Rubio

  2. Ametia says:


  3. rikyrah says:

    “R&B Divas: L.A.” Cast REVEALED! Lil Mo, Kelly Price, Chante Moore, Dawn Robinson & MORE Gear Up For The Drama!

    TV One’s hit reality show “R&B Divas” is kicking off it’s L.A. spinoff. And the final cast has just been announced. Check out some of our faves from the past getting their second wind…on reality tv…..

    “R&B Divas: L.A.” is kicking off its first season after the ladies in ATL had a successful first season. For this spinoff, we’ll get to see a few folks we haven’t seen in a while.

    Kelly Price, Chante Moore, Lil’ Mo, Claudette Ortiz, Michel’le and Dawn Robinson will begin production this month in Los Angeles, TV One has announced, with an anticipated premiere on TV One this fall.

    Learning more about Michel’le and Claudette Ortiz and any drama they have will be interesting. Especially since we haven’t heard from Claudette since she left City High after getting married to her groupmate Ryan Toby for a while and having 3 kids total (two with Ryan).

    As for Dawn, she better dish ALL details about the beef amongst En Vogue (and WTF happened to Lucy Pearl). And Chante Moore and her drama with her ex husband Kadeem Hardison and current husband Kenny Lattimore (even though we HEAR their divorce is almost final as well) ought to be interesting.

  4. Ametia says:

    Senator Rubio Votes Against Violence Against Women Act

    February 12, 2013 3:34 PM

    WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – Just hours ahead of stepping in front of the cameras to give the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address; Senator Marco Rubio voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

    and included not only Rubio but also Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    The original Violence Against Women Act was passed in 1994, but expired in 2011 as Congress’ partisan divide grew. The bill seeks to help victims of domestic violence, stalking, and other crimes. The reauthorization added new protections for LGBT and Native American victims, according to the Huffington Post.

    The VAWA passed the Senate, despite Rubio’s no vote, by a 78-22 margin. All 22 of those who voted against the reauthorization of the bill were men

  5. rikyrah says:

    They Have Nothing

    by BooMan
    Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 11:20:36 PM EST

    David Drucker reports in Roll Call that the House Republicans have a new strategy. They will eschew negotiations with the administration and the Senate Democrats and begin passing “message” bills that they know will have no chance of becoming law. The idea is that there isn’t much profit in spending all their time fighting the White House. They need to give the American people a taste of what life would be like if they were actually in charge. Apparently, their model will be based on a speech Eric Cantor gave last week at the American Enterprise Institute, and the theme will be “Making Life Work.”
    I think that is unintentionally funny. I read it as “Turning Life into Nothing But Work.”

    My opinion of this strategy is that it is fairly stupid. It’s kind of like the old question about whether a tree makes a sound when it falls in the forest if there is no one around to hear it. The House can pass all the bills it wants, but no one will do much reporting about those bills if they have no future.

    It can always be profitable to force the opposition to take unpopular votes, but the House Republicans are not in a position to effectively pursue that strategy. For starters, Republican ideas (even moderate ones) are generally unpopular, especially in Democrat-held districts. Second, if a bill has no prospect of becoming law, Democrats have no reason not to support the bill if it might cause them some heartburn to oppose it. Nancy Pelosi is not going to set her Whips loose on votes that don’t matter in the real world.

    If they aren’t making Democrats uncomfortable and they aren’t getting any press coverage, then all their votes are just a form of wanking.

    What do you think?

  6. Ametia says:

    Who’s sitting in Michelle Obama’s State of the Union box
    Posted by Rachel Weiner on February 12, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    First Lady Michelle Obama’s guest list for tonight’s State of the Union includes a teacher from Sandy Hook Elementary School, a police officer who responded to the massacre at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and the parents of a girl killed by gunfire in Chicago earlier this month.
    The assembled guests make clear that the White House will emphasize gun violence with tonight’s speech. But there are also nods to technological innovation — Apple CEO Tim Cook will sit with Obama, as will the winner of this year’s Intel Science Fair and a member of NASA’s Mars rover team.

    The presence of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) is a nod to Medicaid reform. An Affordable Care Act advocate will also be in the box, as will the founder of a company focused on new technology and cost efficiency in health care.

  7. Ametia says:

    Nancy Pelosi invites Martin O’Malley and Tony Bennett to State of the Union
    Posted by Ed O’Keefe on February 12, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    elosi’s office previously announced that she has invited an unidentified mother and daughter from Newtown, Conn. to attend the speech. The young girl, who Pelosi’s office said would not be identified for security reasons, recently wrote to the Democratic leader about her concerns with gun control. The girl has received threats for starting a Facebook group about gun-control concerns, she said in her letter to Pelosi.
    O’Malley’s appearance comes as he’s widely considered a potential 2016 presidential candidate. He’s also governor of the state where Pelosi was born and raised.
    Bennett has joined in recent weeks with other celebrities to push Congress to consider gun-control legislation. He attended a Capitol Hill rally last week.

  8. Ametia says:

    One of my favs

    You know what; FUCK IT! LMBAO

  9. Ametia says:

    The Senate voted 78-22 to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on Tuesday.
    The Senate action now sends the bill to the House.

    Both the House and Senate passed their own versions during the 112th Congress, but neither chamber took up the other’s version.

    Several Democratic senators — including Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and Sens. Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Patty Murray (Wash.) and Jack Reed (R.I.) — are urging the House to take up and pass the Senate bill. In addition, 17 Republican House members have written a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), urging them to bring a bipartisan VAWA bill to the floor. House GOP leadership has been silent on the issue and no House version has yet been introduced.

    Leahy, the lead author of the bill,said he is hopeful that this year the House will take up the Senate-passed reauthorization of VAWA.
    “This is a good bill,” Leahy said ahead of the vote Tuesday. “It makes needed changes recommended by victims and those who work with them everyday.”
    More than 20 Republican senators joined with Democrats to pass the legislation.

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

  10. rikyrah says:

    College Credit 101

    Feb 12 2013 @ 9:21am

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is initiating an inquiry into the relationship between colleges, banks and debit card companies. One of the more egregious examples:

    Preloaded debit cards have caught on in recent years as a method of giving college students access to federal grants and loans for living expenses. While they have come under scrutiny for high fees, they are a way to give money to students without using paper checks, and do not require a bank account. Critics say students would be better off opening a bank account than relying on preloaded cards. Higher One has dominated the debit card market for years, and has come in for much of the criticism for swipe fees, ATM fees and other charges that can chip away at students’ financial aid. As the cards have grown more popular, other banks, including Sallie Mae, have entered the market place.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Left-wing’ nation

    By Steve Benen
    Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:01 PM EST.

    There’s probably very little point to the flood of speeches and press releases out this morning, with various players making the case for what President Obama “should” say in his State of the Union address. I have a hunch the 11th-hour recommendations won’t change so much as a syllable.

    But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) spoke on the chamber floor this morning about his own expectations, and they struck me as rather interesting.

    “…Republicans will be listening with great interest to see where the president plans to take the country over the coming year. Some media outlets are already reporting that we’ll be subjected to another litany of left-wing proposals, with plenty of red meat for the president’s base. I hope not. The campaign is over, and the fact is, if the president plans to accomplish anything good for the country in the coming months, he’s going to have to go through a Republican-controlled House.

    “So this morning I’d like to humbly suggest once again that it’s time for the president to reach out to Congress, including Republicans, and make divided government work. That’s how he’ll actually address the issues Americans are most concerned about right now. It’s the only way.”

    Now, I imagine Obama would love nothing more than to “make divided government work.” It’s why the president has pleaded with Republicans to work with him on, well, just about everything. The efforts have failed and Mitch McConnell knows why: he spent the president’s first term saying that defeating Obama, not helping Americans, was his top “priority,” and deliberately refusing to consider bipartisan proposals, even ones that he liked and approved of, in order to advance his larger partisan cause.

    But it’s this fear of “left-wing proposals” that strikes me as especially interesting. McConnell wasn’t fielding reporters’ questions at the time, but I’d love to know which of Obama’s ideas the Minority Leader considers “left wing.” Because, whether the Kentucky Republican likes it or not, the American mainstream sides with Obama — and not the GOP — on nearly every major issue of the day.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Why the GOP opposes ideas it supports

    By Steve Benen

    Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:26 PM EST

    We’ve seen the dynamic play out enough times that it’s no longer a coincidence — Republicans will propose an idea; President Obama will endorse the GOP idea; and Republicans will announce their opposition to their own proposal. It’s happened on everything from immigration to health care, energy policy to taxes, deficit reduction to public safety.

    As Jamelle Bouie noted today, it’s not just Republican policymakers who change their mind about policies they used to support

    Today’s poll from the Washington Post and Capital Insight shows something interesting: When Obama lends his name to proposals on immigration, climate change or the war in Afghanistan, support drops.

    Without Obama’s name, 78 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of Republicans, and 70 percent of independents support a path to citizenship as part of comprehensive immigration. But when you associate that proposal with the president, support drops to 75 percent of Democrats, 61 percent of independents, and just 39 percent of Republicans — a 21 point decline. Likewise, without Obama’s name, 65 percent of Democrats, 32 percent of Republicans, and 51 percent of independents support measures to address climate change. With his name attached, Democratic and independent support increases — to 71 percent and 55 percent, respectively — but Republican support dips even further, to 24 percent.

  13. Ametia says:

    LOL Boehner’s trying to get his licks in on the president before tonight’s SOTU

    Boehner: President lacks ‘guts’ and ‘courage’
    Speaker pessimistic about striking any compromise
    UPDATED 11:21 AM CST Feb 12, 2013

    In personal and biting terms, House Speaker John Boehner argued that President Obama’s failure to find agreement with Republicans is a result of his lack of “courage” and “guts” to do what it takes.

    “To do the kind of heavy lifting that needs to be done, I don’t think he’s got the guts to go do it,” Boehner told a group of television reporters and anchors in a breakfast ahead of the president’s State of the Union address.

    He even doubled down on that accusation, when pressed.

    “He doesn’t have the courage to take on the liberal side of his own party. I’m sorry but it’s just clear as a bell to me,” said Boehner.

    Boehner repeatedly talked about the president’s “liberal” agenda he laid out in his inaugural address, suggesting it is a signal that the president’s focus for the next two years will not be reaching across the aisle, but helping Democrats retake control of the House.

    No, Johnnie boy the POTUS is not playing with you or your OBSTRUCTIST Party.

    Read more:

  14. rikyrah says:

    Indiana students, left and right, oppose bill to block them from voting

    By Laura Conaway
    Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:06 PM EST

    All last year, the Indiana University College Republicans worked. In the first few months of the year, the College Republicans raised money and recruited volunteers so they’d be ready for phone-banking (at right) and door-knocking ahead of November’s general election. Though Mitt Romney lost, Indiana went red, and the Indiana University Republicans — “the best party on campus” — went back to work. On Monday, they welcomed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock for a talk about the state of the Republican Party.

    Now the College Republicans have something new to work on: Stopping a Republican state lawmakers’ bill that would block anyone paying out-of-state tuition from voting where they live for school. From the Indiana Daily Student:

  15. rikyrah says:

    In sequester politics, it’s something vs. nothing

    By Steve Benen

    Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:44 AM EST

    Some of the basics of the sequester are not in dispute. We know, for example, that both Democrats and Republicans believe the automatic sequestration cuts would do real harm to the country. We also know that these cuts, approved as a tactic to bring both sides to the negotiating table, will happen in just 16 days unless there’s a compromise.

    And that’s pretty much where the areas of agreement end.

    A closer look at the details of the Republican position reveals a series of problems. GOP officials argue that the sequester is President Obama’s fault, but that isn’t true. They argue that the White House hasn’t offered a sequester alternative, and that isn’t true. They’ve said the Senate’s Democratic majority isn’t offering an alternative, and that isn’t true.

    But my personal favorite is the notion that House Republicans have offered a sequester alternative, which is comically untrue. Brian Beutler reported an amazing quote yesterday from House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) office.

  16. Ametia says:

    Will the next pope be black? Ghanaian and Nigerian cardinals lead race for Vatican

    Two black African cardinals emerged as frontrunners for the papacy yesterday after the shock resignation of Benedict XVI.
    He became the first leader of the Roman Catholic church to step down in 600 years and the first to abdicate through ill-health.
    Amid feverish speculation about the succession, two of the favourites were Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson, 64, and Cardinal Francis Arinze from eastern Nigeria.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  17. rikyrah says:

    ACTION ALERT! Please call Secret Service at 202-406-5708 and Homeland Security at 202-282-8000 and tell them Ted Nugent should not be allowed to attend the SOTU!

  18. rikyrah says:

    With the Voting Rights Act hanging in the balance

    By Steve Benen
    Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:33 AM EST

    Almost exactly a year ago, Josh Gerstein noted, “In a political system where even the most trivial issues trigger partisan rancor, the Voting Rights Act has stood for several decades as a rare point of bipartisan consensus. Until now.”

    Quite right. As recently as 2006 — hardly ancient history — the Republican-led House and Republican-led Senate reauthorized the Voting Rights Act with overwhelming support. Then-President George W. Bush celebrated the law’s extension with a high-profile signing ceremony.

    But as the Republican Party has grown increasingly radicalized, the bipartisan support for the Voting Rights Act has quickly evaporated — Attorney General Eric Holder recently noted that there have been more conservative legal challenges to the Section 5 of the VRA over the past two years than during the previous four decades. All of this is culminating in a critical Supreme Court showdown, with oral arguments set to begin two weeks from tomorrow.

    Ari Berman reports in The Nation on what’s at stake, and who’s driving the fight.

    Last November, three days after a presidential election in which voter suppression played a starring role, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to Section 5 of the VRA, which compels parts or all of sixteen states with a history of racial discrimination in voting to clear election-related changes with the federal government….The lawsuit, originating in Shelby County, Alabama, is backed by leading operatives and funders in the conservative movement, along with Republican attorneys general in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. Shelby County’s brief claims that “Section 5’s federalism cost is too great” and that the statute has “accomplished [its] mission.”

    The current campaign against the VRA is the result of three key factors: a whiter, more Southern, more conservative GOP that has responded to demographic change by trying to suppress an increasingly diverse electorate; a twenty-five-year effort to gut the VRA by conservative intellectuals, who in recent years have received millions of dollars from top right-wing funders, including Charles Koch; and a reactionary Supreme Court that does not support remedies to racial discrimination.

    The timing of the right’s campaign against the VRA is important to understand in context.


    Indeed, the fact that aggressive Republican challenges to the Voting Rights Act have occurred over the last two years is not a coincidence — GOP policymakers nationwide launched an ambitious “war on voting,” deliberately creating longer voting lines, closing early-voting windows, addressing imaginary voter fraud through punitive voter-ID laws, restricting voter-registration drives, and overseeing an anti-voting campaign unlike anything seen in the United States since the days of Jim Crow.

    And that was before the 2012 elections. Since then, Republicans have picked up where they left off, expanding these efforts and even considering a scheme to rig the system through which presidential electoral votes are allocated.

    In other words, there’s a larger effort underway, the elements are not unrelated. Republicans believe they’ll lose if they compete on a level playing field … so they restrict voting rights … which is illegal in several states under the Voting Rights Act … so they target the VRA for elimination.

    Melber’s piece details the history of the law and the players gearing up behind the scenes to destroy it, and it’s well worth your time. The larger takeaway is obvious: more so than at any point in recent memory, the Voting Rights Act is needed, and the Republican campaign to crush the law deserves to be a national scandal.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Rove on Judd: ‘We are making fun of her’

    By Steve Benen
    Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:21 AM EST

    Last week, apropos of nothing, Karl Rove’s operation, American Crossroads, rolled out an attack video targeting actor Ashley Judd. Rove, fearing Judd may run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2014, apparently isn’t done

    “We are making fun of her,” Rove told Fox News. “She is way far out on the left wing of the Democratic Party, which is not very far out left in Kentucky.”

    “She’s going to get to know that she’s not going to be able to wait until the screenwriters from California and producers make her look good and prepare the ads and give her lots of lines to memorize so that she can handle these things,” Rove said.

    Soon after, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) added, “When I heard Ashley Judd might run for office I thought maybe it was Parliament since she lives in Scotland half the year.” The Republican senator added, “Ashley Judd’s a famous actress. She’s an attractive woman, presents herself well and from what I understand is articulate. But the thing is, she doesn’t really represent Kentucky.”

    At this point, I have no idea if Judd intends to seek elected office or whether she’d fare well as a candidate if she ran. But when was the last time Republicans freaked out at this level about an inexperienced candidate Democrat in a “red” state more than 20 months before an election cycle?


    Post script: I’d be remiss if I didn’t laugh a bit at Rand Paul’s concerns about Senate candidates who “represent Kentucky.” I remember writing a piece in August 2010 about Paul, a self-accredited ophthalmologist who seemed to have almost no familiarity with the basics of the state he was running in.

    But in the same interview, Paul said something else of interest. A reporter asked that summer about the significance of Harlan County, Kentucky, which seemed like a fairly easy question for anyone, even those with only passing familiarity with the state. “I don’t know,” the then-candidate replied. Noting that the town of Hazard is nearby, Paul added, “It’s famous for, like, The Dukes of Hazzard.” When an aide tries to steer him towards the truth — Harlan County was home to generations of deadly labor disputes — Paul ignores him, and says, “Maybe the feuding.”

    The Lexington Herald-Leader’s Larry Dale Keeling noted at the time that Rand Paul “seems to know dangerously little” about Kentucky.

  20. Ametia says:

    Why State of the Union addresses rarely sway the public
    Posted by Brad Plumer on February 12, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Political reporters will write thousands and thousands of words about President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night. But will anyone else care? Do these speeches have any effect on the rest of the country?

    Probably not. Political scientists have been studying these speeches for years and have often found that State of the Union addresses tend to have a tiny effect on public opinion. Here are four big things they’ve learned:

    By and large, Gallup has found that State of the Union addresses don’t have much effect on a president’s standing. The one exception? A 1998 speech by Bill Clinton. That year, Clinton’s approval rating soared from 59 percent to 69 percent a week after his address. The speech itself touted the strong U.S. economy and came just days after news of the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke.

    This is horseshit. Ask Joe”YOU LIE” Wilson if his outburst during PBO’s first SOTU didn’t sway public opinion about the GOP.

  21. Ametia says:

    Halle Berry, Chaka Khan Honored; Brandy, SOS Band Perform at BET Honors
    By: Jenée Desmond-Harris | Posted: February 12, 2013 at 8:45 AM
    Hosted by Gabrielle Union, the BET Honors aired last night. At its annual celebration of African American achievement, the network honored Halle Berry, “Godfather of Black Music” Clarence Avant, spiritual educator T.D. Jakes, Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie, and legendary musician Chaka Khan for their contributions to black culture and American culture as a whole.

    Alicia Keys, the SOS Band, Wayne Brady, Brandy, Mint Condition, Jimmy Jam, Ledisi, Terry Lewis and Erkah Badu took to the stage for performances in celebration of the honorees.

    When the event was taped at Washington, D.C.’s Warner Theatre, in January, The Root was there. In anticipation of the show’s airing in the midst of Black History Month, we chatted with stars walking the red carpet what they thought Martin Luther King Jr. woul think of today’s African-American culture and entertainment — both what might make the late civil rights leader proud, and what would disappoint and embarrass him (hey, someone had to ask) Check out the interviews here.

  22. Ametia says:

    President Barack Obama will announce in his State of the Union address tonight that by this time next year, 34,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan will have returned home, according to sources with knowledge of the president’s speech, CNN’s Jake Tapper reports.

    The White House has been considering a range of troop levels to remain in Afghanistan once the combat mission officially ends at the end of 2014, from as many as 15,000 troops to none at all.

  23. Ametia says:

    The Obama transition

    Many of President Obama’s top advisers are unlikely to stick around for a second term. Use this page to track who’s staying, who’s going,and who’s coming in — and what those newcomers might bring to the president’s team.

  24. Ametia says:

    A federal judge has overturned an Arizona law that sought to block funding through the state for Planned Parenthood’s healthcare clinics because the group also performs abortions.

    U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake ruled that the controversial measure signed into law last May by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, unlawfully robs individuals on Medicaid of the ability to choose healthcare services.

    “The Arizona Act violates the freedom of choice provision of the Medicaid Act precisely because every Medicaid beneficiary has the right to select any qualified health care provider,” Wake ruled in a decision released on Friday.

  25. Ametia says:

    FLOTUS to hold dicussion at the WH on this movie. has anyone seen Beast of the Southern Wild?

  26. Ametia says:

    Meet Cody Keenan, Lead Speechwriter on Obama’s 2013 State of the Union
    by Eleanor Clift Feb 12, 2013 4:45 AM EST

    With Jon Favreau headed for Hollywood, Cody Keenan is stepping up as the president’s new chief speechwriter—just in time for Tuesday’s State of the Union address. Eleanor Clift reports on the Chicago native.

    Cody Keenan, one of seven speechwriters to join the White House staff when President Obama took office in 2009, toiled in relative obscurity until 2011. That’s when his breakthrough came with the president’s speech at a Tucson memorial honoring victims of gun violence. The address won praise for its healing tone and revealed a skill with words and emotion that the 32-year-old Keenan is employing in a very different arena as the lead speechwriter on Obama’s Tuesday evening State of the Union address.

    Read on here

  27. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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