Monday Open Thread | The Movies of John Hughes

Most of my formative weekends were spent in a darkened movie theater.

And, one of the most influential filmmakers during those years was the late John Hughes.

John Hughes

John Wilden Hughes, Jr.[1] (February 18, 1950 – August 6, 2009) was an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He directed or scripted some of the most successful films of the 1980s and 1990s, including National Lampoon’s Vacation, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Some Kind of Wonderful, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck, Home Alone, and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

He is known as the king of teen movies as well as helping launch the careers of actors including Michael Keaton, Bill Paxton, Matthew Broderick, Macaulay Culkin, John Candy, Molly Ringwald, and the up-and-coming actors collectively nicknamed the Brat Pack.

Early life

Hughes was born in Lansing, Michigan, to a mother who volunteered in charity work and John Hughes, Sr., who worked in sales.[2] He spent the first twelve years of his life in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.[3] Hughes described himself as “kind of quiet” as a kid.[4]

“I grew up in a neighborhood that was mostly girls and old people. There weren’t any boys my age, so I spent a lot of time by myself, imagining things. And every time we would get established somewhere, we would move. Life just started to get good in seventh grade, and then we moved to Chicago. I ended up in a really big high school, and I didn’t know anybody. But then The Beatles came along (and) changed my whole life. And then Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home came out and really changed me. Thursday I was one person, and Friday I was another. My heroes were Dylan, John Lennon and Picasso, because they each moved their particular medium forward, and when they got to the point where they were comfortable, they always moved on.”

In 1963, Hughes’s family moved to Northbrook, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, where Hughes’s father found work selling roofing materials.[3] It was there that Hughes attended Glenbrook North High School, the school that would provide inspiration for the films that would make his reputation in later years.[5]

[edit] Career

After dropping out of the Arizona State University, Hughes began selling jokes to well-established performers such as Rodney Dangerfield and Joan Rivers.[6] Hughes used his jokes to get an entry-level job at Needham, Harper & Steers as an advertising copywriter in Chicago in 1970[7] and later in 1974 at Leo Burnett Worldwide. During this time, he created what became the famous Edge “Credit Card Shaving Test” ad campaign.

Hughes’s work on the Virginia Slims account frequently took him to the Philip Morris headquarters in New York City. This gave him the opportunity to hang around the offices of the National Lampoon magazine.[3] Hughes subsequently penned a story, inspired by his family trips as a child, that was to become his calling card and entry onto the staff of the magazine.[6] That piece, “Vacation ’58”, later became the basis for the film National Lampoon’s Vacation. Among his other contributions to the Lampoon, the April Fools’ Day stories “My Penis” and “My Vagina” gave an early indication of Hughes’s ear for the particular rhythm of teen speak, as well as the various indignities of teen life in general.

His first credited screenplay, Class Reunion, was written while still on staff at the magazine. The resulting film became the second disastrous attempt by the flagship to duplicate the runaway success of Animal House. It was Hughes’s next screenplay for the imprint, National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), that would prove to be a major hit, putting the Lampoon back on the map.

Hughes’s directorial debut, Sixteen Candles, won almost unanimous praise when it was released in 1984, due in no small part to its more honest depiction of upper middle class high school life, in stark contrast to the Porky’s-inspired comedies made at the time. It was the first in a string of efforts set in or around high school, including The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (see also Brat Pack) and Some Kind Of Wonderful.

To avoid being pigeonholed as a maker of teen comedies, Hughes branched out in 1987, directing the smash hit Planes, Trains and Automobiles starring Steve Martin and John Candy. His later output would not be so critically well received, though films like Uncle Buck proved popular. Hughes’s greatest commercial success came with Home Alone, a film he wrote and produced about a child accidentally left behind when his family goes away for Christmas, forcing him to protect himself and his house from a pair of inept burglars. Home Alone was the top grossing film of 1990, and remains the most successful live-action comedy of all time. His last film as a director was 1991’s Curly Sue.

He also wrote screenplays under the pseudonym Edmond Dantes, after the protagonist of Alexandre Dumas’s novel The Count of Monte Cristo. Screenplays submitted under this pseudonym include Maid in Manhattan and Drillbit Taylor.[6]

In 1994, Hughes retired from the public eye and moved back to the Chicago area. Hughes was considerably shaken by John Candy’s sudden death of a heart attack that same year. “He talked a lot about how much he loved Candy—if Candy had lived longer, I think John would have made more films as a director,” says Vince Vaughn, a friend of Hughes.[3] In the years following, Hughes rarely granted interviews to the media save a select few in 1999 to promote the soundtrack album to Reach the Rock, an independent film he wrote.[8] The album was compiled by Hughes’s son, John Hughes III, and released on his son’s Chicago-based record label, Hefty Records.[9] He also recorded an audio commentary for the 1999 DVD release of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.[10]

Sixteen Candles


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57 Responses to Monday Open Thread | The Movies of John Hughes

  1. rikyrah says:

    the sham that is the Abigail Fisher case:

    From ProPublica:

    In the hundreds of pages of legal filings, Fisher’s lawyers spend almost no time arguing that Fisher would have gotten into the university but for her race.

    In 2008, the year Fisher sent in her application, competition to get into the crown jewel of the Texas university system was stiff. Students entering through the university’s Top 10 program — a mechanism that granted automatic admission to any teen who graduated in the upper 10 percent of his or her high school class — claimed 92 percent of the in-state spots.

    Fisher said in news reports that she hoped for the day universities selected students “solely based on their merit and if they work hard for it.” But Fisher failed to graduate in the top 10 percent of her class, meaning she had to compete for the limited number of spaces up for grabs.

    She and other applicants who did not make the cut were evaluated based on two scores. One allotted points for grades and test scores. The other, called a personal achievement index, awarded points for two required essays, leadership, activities, service and “special circumstances.” Those included socioeconomic status of the student or the student’s school, coming from a home with a single parent or one where English wasn’t spoken. And race.

    Those two scores, combined, determine admission.

    Even among those students, Fisher did not particularly stand out. Court records show her grade point average (3.59) and SAT scores (1180 out of 1600) were good but not great for the highly selective flagship university. The school’s rejection rate that year for the remaining 841 openings was higher than the turn-down rate for students trying to get into Harvard.

    It’s true that the university, for whatever reason, offered provisional admission to some students with lower test scores and grades than Fisher. Five of those students were black or Latino. Forty-two were white.

    Neither Fisher nor Blum mentioned those 42 applicants in interviews. Nor did they acknowledge the 168 black and Latino students with grades as good as or better than Fisher’s who were also denied entry into the university that year. Also left unsaid is the fact that Fisher turned down a standard UT offer under which she could have gone to the university her sophomore year if she earned a 3.2 GPA at another Texas university school in her freshman year.

    In an interview last month, Blum agreed Fisher’s credentials and circumstances make it difficult to argue — as he and his supporters have so ardently in public — that but for her race Fisher would have been a Longhorn.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Parties are Just Vessels

    by BooMan
    Mon Mar 25th, 2013 at 07:31:32 PM EST

    American political parties are vessels. They can take on passengers and they can discharge them. There is no necessary reason why conservatives should be Republicans. Nor is there any necessary reason that environmentalists should be Democrats. If you care more about the environment than you do about the Democratic Party, then you will welcome Republicans who support the environment and may well vote for them over a Democrat.
    What’s going on now is that the Republican Party needs a new set of passengers. To attract those new passengers they will have to get some people off the vessel. It’s not that they don’t have enough room for them. They can accommodate all the passengers who want to get on and ride. The reason they have to push some passengers off is because those passengers are so unpleasant to be around that no one wants ride with them. Those unpleasant passengers are the extreme conservatives. They have to be purged.

    This is how I think people should think about the so-called schism between Republicans who want to win and Republicans who want conservative purity. If you oppose gay rights, you oppose gay rights. You don’t care that the issue is hurting a political party. Same for abortion rights or gun control or immigration reform or any issue that serves as the prime motivator for political behavior.

    In our system, with winner-take-all elections, the job of a party is to cobble together a plurality of the votes in any way possible. There are no unshakable principles for a party. They may remain stable or they may completely flip sides relative to the other party. Fifty years ago, the Democrats were a southern party with union and urban support in the North. Fifty years ago, the Republicans usually didn’t even bother to run candidates in the South.

    So, what we’re seeing now is really a debate between people who believe things and people who want to win. As a party, the Republicans will need to win votes from young people who support gay rights. They will need to win a greater share of the minority vote. They cannot do that if they continue voter suppression campaigns and efforts at boosting their share of the white vote through racial polarization. They can’t behave like conservatives and win, so they will have to stop being so conservative. The natural response will be for conservatives to leave the party.

    But they currently control the party. So, this will be a process.

  3. rikyrah says:

    ain’t nobody playing with these muthafuckas.
    this is suburban MARYLAND 2013….

    when they step to the WRONG ONE….don’t open up your mouth to whine about shyt.


    Racist Hate Group To Conduct Nighttime Patrols On College Campus

    By Scott Keyes on Mar 25, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    A racist hate group at Towson University has announced plans to conduct its own nighttime police patrols on campus.

    Founded last year, the White Student Union has stirred significant controversy already. The organization has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In addition, its founder, Matthew Heimbach (who goes by the title “Commander Heimbach”), and fellow organizer Scott Terry interrupted a minority outreach panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference this month in order to defend slavery, noting that slaveholders provided blacks with food and shelter. Terry later told ThinkProgress that African-Americans “should be allowed to vote in Africa” and he’d be “fine” living in a society where blacks are permanently subservient to whites.

    The Towerlight has more on the vigilante plan:

    The controversial White Student Union has resurfaced on Towson’s campus with plans to conduct random nighttime patrols, which members say are for students’ protection.

    Some members of the group, equipped with flashlights, will conduct on-campus safety walks, and female members will carry pepper spray in an attempt to protect students from various crimes like sexual assaults and robberies, WSU President Matthew Heimbach said. […]

    Heimbach said female members have also been enrolling in self-defense classes, and members have been going to local gun ranges as a group, but not in a “military way,” Heimbach said.

    He said group members would carry no weapons on the nighttime walks.

  4. First Lady Michelle Obama Visits the Fisher House

  5. rikyrah says:

    The Republican National Committee has, commendably, performed an autopsy on the carcass of its 2012 campaign. To its credit, the GOP seems to recognize that it doesn’t just need to moderate, it needs to modernize. You know a party is in trouble when its “celebrities” are has-beens like Hank Williams Jr., Charlie Daniels, and Ted Nugent (who, to be fair, had a big hit—in 1977). As the authors of the GOP report put it: “At our core, Republicans have comfortably remained the Party of Reagan without figuring out what comes next. Ronald Reagan is a Republican hero and role model who was first elected 33 years ago—meaning no one under the age of 51 today was old enough to vote for Reagan when he first ran for President. Our Party knows how to appeal to older voters, but we have lost our way with younger ones. We sound increasingly out of touch.”

    The far right howled when the autopsy was released. No shock there. Did you really think people who deny evolution are going to adapt? The report shines a light on what so many Republican politicians refuse to see: a bridge to the past is a bridge to nowhere. Back in 2008, Sarah Palin—an expert on bridges to nowhere—paraphrased Ronald Reagan: “We’re going to find ourselves spending our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children about a time in America, back in the day, when men and women were free.” Of course, what she was referencing was Reagan’s 1961 speech opposing the creation of Medicare. Well, a baby born the day Reagan gave that speech would be in her 50s today. And Medicare has been on the books for 47 years. Is that 50-something a serf because her father has a Medicare-provided pacemaker? Is her mother enslaved by the free annual mammograms provided by Obamacare?

    To be a conservative today is to fear tomorrow. But most Americans don’t want to go back to 1955.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle Stalks the President’s Daughters, Incites Racial Hatred

    Truly horrible people

    Charles Johnson hack Matthew Boyle (who was, incidentally, the first source of the bogus prostitution smear against Sen. Bob Menendez) is doing what the Breitbart gang does so well — stirring up hatred and racial animus for the President’s family, with another EXCLUSIVE BOMBSHELL based on random Twitter posts: Exclusive: Sasha, Malia Obama Vacation at Bahamas’ ‘Atlantis’ Resort.

    Somehow Boyle manages to write the whole piece without once using the word “uppity,” but you can almost feel it straining to get out.

    Sasha and Malia Obama are quietly vacationing at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, Breitbart News has learned.

    A source tipped Breitbart News off to the First Daughters’ spring vacation, which was not publicly announced or reported.

    Breitbart subsequently confirmed President Barack Obama’s daughters’ trip with other sources. Both the White House and the Atlantis resort declined to confirm the report or comment, but another guest provided a photograph of Sasha and Malia at the resort.


    Sasha and Malia both attend Sidwell Friends School, which is currently on its spring break. That break continues through Friday. It is unclear how long the first daughters will be staying in the Bahamas, or what the cost will be to taxpayers.

    Earlier this month, the White House canceled public tours as a result of the recent budget sequester, citing Secret Service staffing costs.

    According to Judicial Watch, Malia Obama’s trip to Mexico last spring break, during which she was apparently accompanied by Secret Service protection, cost taxpayers $115,500.87. Sasha did not accompany Malia on that trip.


    The Breitbart audience responds like Pavlov’s dogs, of course, ranting and spewing racial slurs at the President’s daughters, and fantasizing about violent revolution and murder.

  7. rikyrah says:




    Cherylyn HarleyLeBon @HarleyLeBon

    Our Taxpayer $ at Work: Exclusive: Sasha, Malia Obama Vacation at Bahamas’ ‘Atlantis’ Resort @pac43 @thetwisters

  8. rikyrah says:

    this is from Liberal Librarian


    A few words on hope

    How’s that hopey-changey thing goin’ for ya?

    —Sarah Palin, half-term governor of Alaska, speaking about Barack Obama

    Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops… at all.

    —Emily Dickinson


    My life would be impossible without hope.

    For as long as I remember, I’ve stuttered. Most of my life has been spent in compensation for this malady, trying to pass it off as no big deal, as no impediment to achieving my goals in life. But the fact is that, despite supportive friends and family, the world does view you differently when you’re different. But, even greater, you view yourself as Other, as not quite the same as those around you, magnifying your flaws to the point where they become huge boulders standing in your path.

    With an affliction such as mine, one can go one of two ways: towards desperation, or towards hope. I count myself lucky; again, because of supportive friends and family, I always kept hope foremost in my mind, that something would break my way.

    To make a long story short, I eventually found a doctor whose therapy worked. Thanks to keeping faith in things getting better, I’m now a librarian, talking my head off, reading and singing to children in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do before my therapy.

    I don’t tell this personal story to elicit commendation. I tell it to illustrate the centrality of hope in any decent human life.

    Hope gives you a chance at a decent life. Hopelessness only leads to death.

    When people deride us for placing hope in “That One”, what they’re really exposing is their own hopelessness.

    Consider Sarah Palin’s quip; it’s easy to, as it was repeated in different versions across the right wing media wurlitzer. Their bromides exposed nothing about Barack Obama or the veracity of his world view; it merely exposed, in bright neon, the paucity of their own withered hearts. “Without vision (hope), the people perish.” The Right, and some elements of the Left, inhabit that country, where hope is a foreign concept, relegated long ago to the realm of fairy stories. Hope doesn’t obtain for them, because hope requires something anathema to them: belief, and work in that belief.

    Oh, they have “belief”; they have enough “beliefs” to write mountains of books. But their beliefs bring nothing but despair; the Right’s world is crumbling before it, and it can’t understand why, after so many years of seeming dominance. And the extreme Left’s world was never born, and it too can’t understand why their beliefs were rejected.

    On the Right and the extreme Left, their beliefs were rejected because they offered no real hope of things being better; their prescriptions merely served to enhance their own influence, without explaining how the Nirvanas they promised would come to fruition. They have belief without hope.

    Hope isn’t blind faith, which those on the Right and Left offer. Hope is work, often hard, often unrecognized. I have more than one friend who is disappointed that Eden hasn’t broken out since November 2008. I ask, “Well, what have you done to make that vision reality?” They never have an answer. Obama offers hope, not a free ride. Anything worth achieving requires an effort which too many in our society eschew, clamoring instead for the easy promise, the get-rich-quick scheme. The work of achieving a decent life for all is beyond too many of our fellow citizens.

    But without that hope that with work and perseverance things will get better, we may as well roll out the red carpet for the Koch Brothers. It’s that hope that maintains civilization. It’s that hope that makes us different from all the other creatures of the Earth. Without hope, the world dies.

    My answer to Sarah Palin’s mocking question? “It’s working out quite fine, because I don’t live in despair.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    lots of pics of the First Couple.

    Barack and Michelle…a photo or two

    By utaustinliberal

  10. rikyrah says:

    Electoral-vote scheme still simmering in Pennsylvania

    By Steve Benen
    Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:31 PM EDT.

    Remember the Republican scheme to rig the presidential election by changing how key “blue” states allocate electoral votes? When we last checked in on the party’s plans a month ago, the effort was unraveling — GOP leaders in Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin had all denounced the plan, and in Virginia, state Republican lawmakers killed it.

    But it’s not completely dead, at least not yet. Michigan Republicans remain interested, and in Pennsylvania, not only is the scheme still alive, but Democrats are concerned enough to rally activists on the threat.


    The calls feature a message from former Gov. Ed Rendell (D), telling voters, “The Republican Party is scheming to rig the next election because they can’t win on the issues. This plan will diminish Pennsylvania’s importance in future elections and its role as a swing state where candidates spend time and money focusing on issues that are important to Pennsylvanians.”

    The calls follow a push last week from the state party, and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D) making a rare public foray into state legislative business, urging state Republican leaders not to pursue this.

    For his part, state House Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi — yes that Dominic Pileggi — says the electoral scheme is not a priority, but his bill is nevertheless pending with 13 Republican co-sponsors.

  11. rikyrah says:

    If Huckabee is the RNC’s model spokesperson…
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:51 AM EDT

    It was briefly encouraging a week ago when RNC Chairman Reince Priebus was offered a chance to condemn Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) over marriage equality, but passed. Referencing his party’s possible appeal to LGBT voters, Priebus said, “I think Sen. Portman made some pretty big inroads…. I think it’s about being decent. I think it’s about dignity and respect, that nobody deserves to have their dignity diminished, or people don’t deserve to be disrespected.”

    It wasn’t exactly a progressive position, but for an RNC chair, it wasn’t bad, either.

    The relief did not last.
    …Priebus says his support of Portman doesn’t signal a policy shift within the party’s platform. “Yes, we’re still a pro-life party. Yes, we still defend our platform on marriage,” he said. He emphasized, however, that Republicans must also sound “reasonable” to voters who disagree.

    Priebus cited former governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas as an example of someone who could be “a model for a lot of people in our party” in terms of discussing issues like marriage and abortion. “I always tell people: Listen to Governor Mike Huckabee,” he said. “I don’t know anyone that talks about them any better.”

  12. rikyrah says:

    Three red state Dems flirt with instant political self destruction

    Posted by Greg Sargent on March 25, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    As I noted this morning, five key red state Democratic Senators have thus far been unwilling to say whether they support expanding the background check system — the centerpiece of President Obama’s package of gun reforms. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $12 million ad campaign is targeting these Dem Senators — Heidi Heitkamp, Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu, Kay Hagan, and Joe Donnelly — and a number of Republicans, too.

    In response to my questions, two of these Senators — Donnelly and Heitkamp — have indicated that they are open to the proposal. Donnelly spokesperson Elizabeth Shapelle emails:

    Senator Donnelly is open to a bipartisan compromise on background checks, one that helps keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill while protecting our Second Amendment rights.

    Asked if this means Senator Donnelly is open to expanding background checks to all private sales (with exceptions like family members), Shappelle replied: “Yes.” That’s good.

  13. rikyrah says:

    The GOP is still Paul Ryan’s party

    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on March 25, 2013 at 11:10 am

    As soon as President Obama declared victory in last year’s elections, speculation shifted to the 2016 presidential race. The GOP roster, so far, is filled with figures only somewhat familiar to the average voter: Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, and most recently, Rand Paul.

    Missing from this list is the other Paul — Wisconsin Representative and former vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Indeed, as Jonathan Martin writes at Politico, the one-time conservative icon seems to have vanished from the political stage:

    In conversations with scores of Republicans in Washington and beyond, it’s striking how little organic support or even interest there is for a Ryan presidential bid so soon after Mitt Romney elevated the Wisconsin wonk to the highest levels of national political stardom. Open-ended questions about who is drawing early attention don’t even include a pro forma mention of last year’s popular vice presidential nominee.

    As Martin acknowledges, “Buzz, or lack of it, in the spring of 2013…can be easily dismissed as irrelevant.” Still, of the many figures in a political party, vice presidential nominees are — in theory — best positioned for future elections. They’re vetted for scrutiny, experienced in national campaigns, and have ties to key donors, fundraisers and activists. Given his youth and stature within the party, his absence from the early presidential field is unusual.

  14. rikyrah says:

    March 25, 2013 11:09 AM
    Shifting Tectonics On Guns

    By Ed Kilgore

    As the Senate moves towards a vote on Harry Reid’s gun violence package, which now (after the excision of a renewed assault gun ban and high-capacity ammo clip restrictions) centers on a quasi-universal background check system for gun sales, there are a lot of shifting techtonics to keep in mind:

    First, public opinion remains overwhelmingly in favor of universal background checks across just about every subset of the population. The opposition may be noisy and influential, and benefits from the perception that this is a “voting issue” only for opponents, but this is at present not a close call in terms of where the public stands.

    Second, the near-unanimity of public opinion probably reflects the ironic fact that for many years a stronger background check system was the default-drive alternative offered by the NRA to every other gun measure. Yes, the gun lobby has been fighting to protect the “gun show loophole” to background checks for some time, and has quietly worked to undermine the system as it exists, but it’s still difficult for Lapierre and company to pretend it represents a deadly threat to the Second Amendment.

    Third, we are in a period where the once-powerful force of red-state Democratic reluctance to make waves on “cultural issues” is waning. There are fewer red-state Dems to worry about, for one thing. For another, voter polarization and reduced ticket-splitting have made the route to survival for red- (and more often, purple-) state Democrats depend more on base mobilization than has been the case in the past.

    This last factor remains important in the 60-vote Senate, however. Plum Line’s Greg Sargent runs the numbers this morning, and identifies five Democrats and three Republicans who are being cross-pressured by the usual NRA threats—but also by Michael Bloomberg’s lavishly funded upcoming ad campaign pushing back

  15. rikyrah says:

    March 25, 2013 11:27 AM
    Big Swinging Polls

    By Ed Kilgore

    Perhaps when looking down the barrel of massive public support for universal gun sales background checks, the NRA and its Republican allies just think public opinion is more malleable than is usually assumed. A data point in favor of this proposition is offered this morning by Slate’s Dave Weigel:

    A year ago, as the presidential race was taking shape, The Washington Post’s pollster asked voters whether they favored the use of drones to kill terrorists or terror suspects if they were “American citizens living in other countries.” The net rating at the time was positive: 65 percent for, 26 percent against.

    Today, after a month of Rand Paul-driven discussion of drone warfare, Gallup asks basically the same question: Should the U.S. “use drones to launch airstrikes in other countries against U.S. citizens living abroad who are suspected terrorists?” The new numbers: 41 percent for, 52 percent against.


    This particular eye-popping shift owed much of its power, it should be clear, from the identification with Barack Obama of a policy most Republicans once instinctively supported. It may be the current overwhelming support for background checks is partially due to past (if eroding) support for background checks by conservatives as an alternative to tougher gun measure. So polarizing the issue will probably move some numbers, though not as quickly or dramatically as happened with the once-popular, now-suspect drone program.

  16. My eyes! My eyes!

    Newtown residents upset about NRA robocalls

    NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Some residents of the Connecticut community devastated by December’s school shooting said they’re outraged over robocalls they’ve received from the National Rifle Association only three months after a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    Newtown residents said the automated calls from the NRA began last week and urge people to tell their state legislators to oppose gun control proposals. Some also said they received postcards from the NRA supporting gun owners’ rights.

    “It’s ridiculous and insensitive,” Newtown resident Dan O’Donnell told Hartford-area NBC affiliate WVIT-TV, one of several media organizations to report about the robocalls. “I can’t believe an organization would be so focused on the rights of gun owners with no consideration for the losses this town suffered.”

  17. Ametia says:


    Bachmann Faces Ethics Probe!

    Exclusive: Congressional Ethics Probe Adds to Michele Bachmann’s Political Woes
    by John Avlon Mar 25, 2013 11:45 AM EDT

    Add the Office of Congressional Ethics to the long list of probes and lawsuits that may be the only enduring legacy of Bachmann’s presidential face-plant. John Avlon exclusively reports.

    The Hindenberg. The Titanic. Michele Bachmann.

    Eighteen months ago, the Minnesota House member was considered an unlikely but undeniable Republican rising star, winning the Iowa straw poll that unofficially begins the primary season. Today, she is embroiled in a litany of legal proceedings related to her rolling disaster of a presidential campaign—including a Office of Congressional Ethics investigation into campaign improprieties that has not previously been reported.

    The Daily Beast has learned that federal investigators are now interviewing former Bachmann campaign staffers nationwide about alleged intentional campaign finance violations on behalf of the Office of Congressional Ethics, which probes reported improprieties by House members and their staffs, and then can refer cases to the House Ethics Committee.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Put Your Pitchforks Down

    By Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal mistermix
    March 25th, 2013

    Here’s the nut of the Cyprus bank deal:

    Laiki, or Cyprus Popular Bank, is to be closed. Its €4.2bn in deposits over €100,000 will be placed in a “bad bank” and could be wiped out entirely. Those with smaller deposits will see their accounts transferred to Bank of Cyprus.

    The Cypriot government reportedly fought hard for Bank of Cyprus to be spared, but the island’s biggest bank will face huge restructuring. No bailout money will be used to the recapitalise it. Instead shareholders and bondholders will be hit. It is thought depositors with more than €100,000 at the bank will also be involved in the recapitalisation, and are expected to face losses of around 30%.

    Getting the bank up to healthy EU-mandated capital levels will be made harder by the fact that Bank of Cyprus will inherit a €9bn debt Laiki had with the European Central Bank (ECB).

    The bailout deal does not need approval from the Cypriot parliament because it has been achieved by restructuring the country’s two largest banks, rather than levying a new tax on citizens.

  19. Ametia says:

    NBC News, ‘Today’ Under Fire For Jerry Sandusky Interview

    The Huffington Post | By Jack Mirkinson
    Posted: 03/25/2013 7:02 am EDT | Updated: 03/25/2013 11:22 am EDT

    NBC News is under fire for airing an interview with convicted Penn State child rapist Jerry Sandusky that was conducted by a controversial conservative filmmaker, John Ziegler.

    NBC had initially announced the interview without saying who had conducted it. By Sunday, though, other outlets learned that the interview was actually an excerpt from a film by Ziegler called “The Framing of Joe Paterno.” (Ziegler is also famous for making a 2009 film that was heavily supportive of Sarah Palin.) In a post on Sunday, TVNewser said that NBC’s initial statement “probably leaves readers with the impression that NBC journalists were involved, even though it technically never says NBC conducted the interview.”


  20. rikyrah says:

    The Credit-History Pariah Class

    Research has shown that someone with a poor credit history is not
    automatically a poor job prospect. Nevertheless, millions of Americans
    who have emerged from the recession with medical debts or a record of
    late payments are at risk of being denied jobs by companies that use
    credit histories to screen applicants. Several states have placed limits
    on this practice. But until the federal government engages the issue
    more aggressively, employers will consign otherwise qualified applicants
    to a kind of pariah class that gets shut out of the job market.

    Many people have recovered from the recession and seen their credit
    ratings go up. But the proportion of people with poor ratings — credit
    scores under 600 — has grown from about 15 percent in the years before
    the recession to about 25 percent in 2011. This means nearly 45 million
    people could theoretically be exposed to unfair credit history checks.

  21. Reblogged this on Big Blue Dot Y'all and commented:
    There were many years when I could quote the entire film Pretty in Pink. Truly good times — GRADE A FRESHMAN MEAT

  22. rikyrah says:

    March 25, 2013 10:04 AM
    War Is Over

    By Ed Kilgore

    There will be a lot of talk this week about our culture and even our politics quickly outpacing the legal system on the subject of same-sex marriage, as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in cases challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. But as Jeffrey Toobin succinctly notes at the New Yorker, a move by the Court in the expected direction will be fitting:

    The litigation process has served the useful purpose of airing the rationalizations for discriminating against homosexuals. There are really only two reasons that gay marriage is still illegal in more than three-quarters of the country: that’s the way it has always been; and the very idea of same-sex marriage makes some people, well, uncomfortable. But courts, even the current Supreme Court, usually require that laws be justified by something more than tradition and bigotry.

    “Fitting” isn’t quite the same as “critical,” though, because on this issue we are hardly talking about “activist judges” leading any sort of parade. It’s news, but not blaring news, this morning that red-state Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill—precisely the sort of pol you’d expect to be terrified of this issue—has publicly announced support for same-sex marriage. And you get the sense that Republican politicians are watching each other closely for signs that it’s time to complete the brisk conversion process from “I oppose it” to “it’s an issue for the states to decide” to “it’s not a priority” to “fine by me.”

    But the uncertainty on the Right isn’t surprising; it’s all happened pretty fast. Again, here’s Toobin on the relative position of litigation—which never happens fast—in this process:

    When Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, the lead lawyers in the Prop 8 case, filed their lawsuit, in 2009, it appeared to many informed observers that they were taking a foolhardy risk. At the time, gay-rights organizations had been following a cautious, state-by-state approach, and it seemed that an adverse decision in a major federal lawsuit could set back the cause of same-sex marriage for a generation. But, whatever the Justices do, that’s not going to happen. The question about marriage equality for all Americans is not if it will pass but when. The country has changed, and it’s never going back to the way it was. Though the battles continue, the war is over

  23. rikyrah says:

    from Rhoda at POU:

    Rhoda •

    Good Morning, everyone.

    Did you see Oscar de La Renta’s comments about Michelle this weekend?

    “An anonymous woman on the street is the woman who influences fashion today,” De la Renta said. “Not a movie star or a first lady.”

    Adding that his relationship with Obama “began poorly,” he predicted, “I think it will end the same way.”

    HAH! Tell that to the lucky ones that made bank off of Michelle modeling their clothes and the Michelle Effect that has been proven and documented – she raised the stock price of the companies she repped and the designers she chose have prospered thanks to their association with her.

    I think Oscar feels Hillary is in the cat bird seat for 2017 and he’ll be dressing a President at her inauguration but don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. There is a lot of space between now and then; and Martin O’Malley for one is making moves and you can not tell me that Claire Mccaskill made news on gay marriage for no reason; that is a woman looking at her options for ’16 IMO. A woman who no one is talking about but was there for team Obama in ’07 and one of the first on the train and ties to a lot of team Obama campaign staff who if they don’t go with Biden might look at another accomplished woman who has no love for the Clintons.


    The MSM may have crowned Hillary; but there are a lot of folks out there who weren’t for Clinton in ’07 and privately urged POTUS to run. They won’t be there for her in ’16 either; and Hillary has to know this.

  24. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: Will red state Dems punt on gun reform?

    Posted by Greg Sargent on March 25, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Over the weekend, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York announced that he would spend $12 million on ads pressuring a number of Senators in 13 states to support Obama’s gun reforms. The NRA has vowed to respond on the air, meaning the battle over guns will intensify in the states as Congress remains on recess for the next two weeks.

    Bloomberg’s ads — which focus largely on the proposal to expand background checks — will target a number of GOP Senators. But the more interesting dimension to this is that they will also target red state Dems: Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Lousiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

    So where are these red state Dems on expanding background checks?

    The last time I checked into this, Pryor’s office refused to respond to the question, while a spokesperson for Landrieu confirmed she had not taken a position. As best as I can determine, Donnelly and Hagan have not taken a clear position. Heitkamp recently took a beating from the gun control forces for describing Obama’s proposals as “extreme,” prompting her to issue a statement declaring that “we have a responsibility to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, while protecting the rights of law abiding gun owners.” Expanding background checks would do exactly that, but Heitkamp has since been cagey on where she stands on them.

    It is crucial that these Democrats show the political courage to stand up for expanded background checks. They are supported by nine in 10 Americans, including 87 percent of Republicans. Failure to embrace expanded background checks will send a signal that public opinion over the proposal is divided and that it is controversial. But opinion is not divided at all. This proposal has universal public support. It is not at all controversial. Even huge majorities of gun owners support the idea. If Democrats can’t win the argument over this — even in red states — what can they win an argument over?

  25. rikyrah says:

    The ‘greatest health care system the world has ever known’

    By Steve Benen
    Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:08 AM EDT.

    Late last week, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) argued that before the Affordable Care Act came along three years ago, the United States had the “greatest health care system the world has ever known.” He added that the pre-reform system was “marvelous.”

    By most measures, that’s insane. It’s true that the United States has some of the best medical professionals, health care facilities, and medical technology, but the health care system itself was a dangerous fiasco — which is precisely why so many Americans have demanded changes for so long. The system itself cost too much, covered too few, and was the only system in the industrialized world that allowed families to go broke when a loved one got sick.

    Consider this health care “lottery” in Nashville, and tell me (a) how the most prosperous nation on the planet tolerates such conditions; and (b) how this in any way resembles the “greatest health care system the world has ever known.”

    Two nights a year, Tennessee holds a health care lottery of sorts, giving the medically desperate a chance to get help.

    State residents who have high medical bills but would not normally qualify for Medicaid, the government health care program for the poor, can call a state phone line and request an application. But the window is tight — the line shuts down after 2,500 calls, typically within an hour — and the demand is so high that it is difficult to get through.

    There are other hurdles, too. Applicants have to be elderly, blind, disabled or the “caretaker relative” of a child who qualifies for Medicaid, known here as TennCare. Their medical debt has to be high enough that if they paid it, their income would fall below a certain threshold. Not many people end up qualifying, but that does not stop thousands from trying.

    The article is heartbreaking, but I hope folks will take a minute to read it anyway. Note the lawyer with the Tennessee Justice Center who receives calls from panicked Americans who can’t get through to TennCare. Note the uninsured Nashville woman with crippling arthritis who said, “I don’t ask for that much. I just want some insurance.”


    It reminds me of the free clinics that are sometimes held in struggling areas, where thousands arrive before dawn, with many sleeping in their cars, hoping to see a physician. Indeed, let’s not forget Wendell Potter, who left his job at a major health insurance company to tell the public the ways in which the industry “put profits before patients.”

  26. rikyrah says:

    The political relevance of Rand Paul’s budget
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:23 AM EDT

    For budget wonks, last week was arguably the greatest week of the year. House Republicans narrowly passed their budget; Senate Democrats narrowly passed their budget; and there were competing alternatives presented by House Democrats, the Republican Study Committee, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

    Even Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had a plan of his own.

    A budget plan from Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that would balance the budget in five years was voted down in the Senate late Friday night.

    Paul’s Platform to Revitalize America would cut $2.3 trillion in taxes compared to current policy and reduce government spending by $9.6 trillion.

    That Rand Paul presented his own plan is not especially shocking. What matters, however, is what’s in it and who voted for it.

    As you’d probably guess, the Paul budget plan is pretty out there. To eliminates the deficit in five years, the senator would abolish the Departments of Education, Energy, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, while privatizing the Transportation Security Authority. Paul would also slash taxes on the rich by establishing a 17% flat tax and eliminating capital gains taxes.

    What’s more, Paul’s budget plan would raise the Social Security retirement age and privatize Medicare, while taking health care benefits away from millions of Americans by eliminating the entirety of the Affordable Care Act.

    Again, this is largely what one should expect from Paul, given his fringe ideology. But let’s not brush past the fact that 18 senators voted for this thing — and those votes may come with some electoral consequences.


    Sure, it generated 81 “nay” votes, but Paul voted for his plan, as did Republican Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Cornyn (Texas), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), James Inhofe (Okla.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mike Lee (Utah), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), James Risch (Idaho), Tim Scott (S.C.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Richard Shelby (Ala.), and David Vitter (La.).

    Now, most of the senators on the list are from deep “red” states, and probably have nothing to worry about. Democrats will struggle to find a credible challenger for most of these incumbents, and it’s unlikely there will be a lot of attack ads come re-election time.

    But a few of these guys are taking a chance voting for Rand Paul’s agenda. Wisconsin isn’t exactly on par with Oklahoma when it comes to ideology, but there was Ron Johnson voting for a plan cuts Social Security. Arizona is becoming increasingly competitive, but that didn’t stop Jeff Flake from supporting it, too.

  27. rikyrah says:

    ‘Stop scaring people’

    By Steve Benen
    Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:59 AM EDT

    The Senate fight over measures to reduce gun violence will begin in earnest when members return to session, but the challenge for Republicans will be to identify a way to condemn a universal background check provision that enjoys overwhelming public support.

    On ABC yesterday, Karl Rove offered a terrific example of why the upcoming debate is likely to be exasperating. Here’s what the Republican strategist said about the background-check proposal

    “Let’s be very careful about quickly trampling on the rights of people who — and look, you want to get something done? Then stop scaring people.

    Right, scaring people is bad. Let’s have a debate, but leave the demagoguery out of it. Anything else, Mr. Rove?

    “If there’s one thing that scares a lot of people who believe in the Second Amendment, it’s the federal government keeping a national registry of gun sales and gun purchases and gun owners.”

    This is what makes Rove such a special person in our contemporary discourse. Mere mortals wouldn’t be able to pull off rhetoric like this off with a straight face, and probably wouldn’t even try.

    First, note the hilarious hypocrisy — Rove wants gun-safety proponents to “stop scaring people,” and in the next breath, warns that the federal government intends to trample on the rights of citizens and create a national gun registry. Rove is effectively arguing, “You need to stop scaring people, so I can start scaring people.”

  28. Ametia says:

    Kraft Mac & Cheese Is Nutritionally Equivalent to Cheez-Its
    By Kiera Butler and Brett Brownell| Mon Mar. 25, 2013 3:00 AM PDT

    We taste-tested Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Annie’s Homegrown Macaroni & Cheese, Cheez-Its, and a simple, homemade pasta-and-cheese dish. Watch the video to see how they stacked up.

    Perhaps you’ve heard about the recent outcry over the use of yellow dyes 5 and 6 in Kraft’s popular Macaroni & Cheese. A couple of food bloggers have petitioned the food giant to ditch the artificial colors, calling them “unnecessary” and “potentially harmful.”

    The petition has already racked up more than 250,000 signatures. That isn’t surprising, since Kraft’s cheesy, gooey dish is a childhood staple. (I subsisted on a strict diet of it and Eggo waffles until about age 10.)

    Video here

  29. Ametia says:

    Black Caucus, Marcia Fudge press White House on high-level appointments
    By William Douglas, Published: March 24

    Rep. Marcia L. Fudge didn’t sugarcoat her feelings about the fact that President Obama has not yet chosen any African Americans to fill high-level positions in his second term.

    “The people you have chosen to appoint in this new term have hardly been reflective of this country’s diversity,” the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus wrote to Obama this month. “Their ire is compounded by the overwhelming support you’ve received from the African-American community.”

    The letter’s tone is an example of the hard-charging style of Fudge, an Ohio Democrat, and signals a shift in how the 43-member caucus of African American Senate and House members will approach the nation’s first African American president in his second term.

    “I’m a very direct person just generally,” Fudge said in an interview. “I don’t use a lot of words unnecessarily. I try to get to the heart of the issue, address it and go on to the next thing.”

    Fudge hopes to give the CBC a “bigger voice” beyond Congress to press an agenda that includes improving economic conditions for African Americans, preserving and improving voting rights laws, and seeking a balanced change in the country’s immigration laws.

  30. Ametia says:

    Hmm, is Bloomberg trying to throw money on the gun issues to take attention off that AWFUL STOP & FRISK LAW IN NY?

  31. rikyrah says:

    Anonymous donor sends Proviso East grad back to college

    BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter
    March 22, 2013 6:46PM

    Monte Johnson was watching cartoons in his bedroom Friday morning when his grandmother told him a wealthy stranger wanted to help him get back in college.

    “I was kind of speechless,” Johnson said of the $25,000 an anonymous donor paid toward his tuition after reading a Sun-Times story detailing how the teenager was forced to drop out of South Carolina State University because he could no longer afford it.

    Johnson’s grandmother was equally shocked over the surprise gift.

    “There are no words for my gratitude. ‘Thank you’ doesn’t say what is in my heart,” Gale Garrett said.

    “It has truly renewed my faith.”

    Johnson, whose father died when he was 1 year old, was orphaned after his mom died in the 2003 E2 nightclub disaster.

    At the time, he and 36 other children who lost parents in the stampede were promised money from a college scholarship fund established by the Chicago Public Schools.

    But a decade later — the Sun-Times reported last month — the families remained waiting for their share of the $118,000 and Johnson, a sophomore who secured some funds through a marching band scholarship at SCSU, had to come back home last August.

    “I was devastated. I had a long bus ride back and had a lot of time to think about,” Johnson said Friday from the Broadview home he shares with the grandmother he often refers to as his mom.

    For the last few months, Johnson, a trumpet player, has been volunteering his time at his alma mater, Maywood’s Proviso East High School, helping students practice their music.

    Now, thanks to his secret benefactor, the 19-year-old can also concentrate on going back to college in the fall.

    “I’m grateful [because] they didn’t have to” help me, Johnson said.

  32. rikyrah says:

    nothing but CROOKEDNESS involved in this case from the get go.


    Lost’ files in Daley nephew case ‘removed,’ then mysteriously returned

    By TIM NOVAK AND CHRIS FUSCO Staff Reporters/
    March 25, 2013 12:07AM

    Key documents from a manslaughter case involving a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley that vanished from the Chicago Police Department and then mysteriously reappeared weren’t lost or misplaced — they were “removed” without authorization, apparently by someone in the department.

    That’s according to a newly obtained report made by the police lieutenant who said he found the missing records, which included a handwritten note saying “V DAILEY SISTER SON.” That appears to have been a reference to Daley nephew Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, who was indicted in December on a charge of involuntary manslaughter as a result of a special prosecutor’s investigation into the 2004 death of 21-year-old David Koschman of Mount Prospect.

    Police Lt. Denis P. Walsh said he found the missing documents “lying on the top shelf of a filing cabinet located in the sergeants office of Area 3 Violent Crimes” at Belmont and Western, according to a police internal affairs report obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

    Walsh told internal affairs investigators he had repeatedly searched that area over a span of six months, beginning in January 2011. That was when the Sun-Times first asked for copies of all records from the case.
    But Walsh said the documents weren’t there until he found them on June 29, 2011.

    He filed a report with his boss three weeks later.

    “The file which was believed to have been lost was obviously not lost but had been removed and returned in violation of department rules and regulations,” Walsh wrote in the July 20, 2011, memo to Area 3 Cmdr. Gary Yamashiroya.

    According to the internal affairs findings, investigators don’t know when the records were removed from the case file, who took them or who returned them.

    The police previously released copies of the missing records, which also included a detective’s notation that Vanecko had been acting in a “very aggressive” manner before Koschman was struck during a drunken confrontation on Division Street near Dearborn early on April 25, 2004, causing him to fall and hit his head, leading to his death 11 days later from brain injuries.

    But the police had refused to make public the findings of the Internal Affairs Division’s investigation of Walsh’s report that someone took the files in violation of department rules. They said the IAD report wasn’t subject to the state’s public records law. The Sun-Times filed an appeal with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who told the police last month to release the internal affairs findings. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Law Department released the 18-page report weeks later.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Bloomberg’s Sneaky Fix For All Those Stop-and-Frisk Lawsuits

    Comments (2) By Graham Rayman Wednesday, Mar 13 2013

    In the files of the federal court in Manhattan, a battle is being waged over a little known set of special court rules aimed at dealing with the massive number of civil rights lawsuits against the NYPD currently choking the system.

    The controversy has come up in a range of cases involving New Yorkers who claim they were roughed up, stopped illegally, or falsely arrested. It came up in the case of Lynda Hinton, who suffered tendon damage during a trespassing arrest for walking across the street to visit her mother in a city housing project. It came up in the case of Marie Rahman, who was arrested outside a methadone clinic by cops allegedly looking to make their arrest quota; in the case of Frank Reyes, who was stopped by police on an East Harlem sidewalk and ended up with a broken nose and stitches; and in the case of Rosa Chiclana, a 27-year-old single mom arrested on a disorderly conduct charge that was dismissed seven months later.

    It has been coming up a lot.

    This week marks the beginning of Floyd v. City of New York, the big civil rights class action lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s stop and frisk campaign. A highlight of the trial is expected to be an airing of the recordings that whistleblower cop Adrian Schoolcraft made in Brooklyn’s 81st Precinct. The tapes—first made public by the Voice in 2010—reveal police bosses ordering cops to stop citizens in order to make quotas, which are illegal under state law. The plaintiffs want the judge to appoint a monitor to oversee the NYPD, a radical shift in the power structure of New York City.

    Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg insist that stop and frisk and quality of life arrests are critical to keeping crime down and they have largely ignored the civil liberties advocates who abhor the policy. But they are having a harder time ignoring one clear consequence of stop and frisk: New Yorkers are running to the courthouse in record numbers. Over the past five years, the number of lawsuits and claims filed against the NYPD have skyrocketed by 40 percent. Total NYPD settlements have risen from $92.3 million in 2007 to $185.6 million in 2011 for a total over the period of an astounding $654 million in payouts. Civil rights claims alone have cost the city $300 million, and the annual payout amount in those cases has risen in every year since 2008. The number of claims against the NYPD has also spiked–by a fairly unbelievable 55 percent, from 5,707 in 2007 to 8,882 in 2011. Last year, the Voice estimated that the city was being sued over stop and frisk at the rate of 40 cases per month.

  34. rikyrah says:

    FDNY EMS Lt. spews racist, anti-Semitic tweets, but cried when confronted
    Last Updated: 12:26 PM, March 24, 2013
    Posted: 12:09 AM, March 24, 2013

    “I’m really a dirty pervert. I see a girl with tight pants on and my eyes immediately focus on her crotch to look for camel toe,” he tweeted March 15. He also posted a photo gallery of naked, obese women.

    * He captioned a photo of an overweight woman talking with two men on St. Patrick’s Day: “I’m gonna get me 2 d–ks tonight. Good thing I take advantage of the drunk.”

    The bad lieutenant is another black eye for the FDNY, a white-male bastion already under a federal court mandate to become more diverse.

    It comes less than a week after The Post exposed the vile racist and anti-Semitic tweets posted by Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano’s own EMT son. Joseph Cassano, 23, who quit the next day.

    The Post also revealed that Joseph Cassano and the white sons of other FDNY brass are joining the Emergency Medical Service as a shortcut to land firefighter jobs after the department was forced to hire more women and minorities.

    The reports sparked an internal FDNY hunt for medics and firefighters spouting hate on social media, The Post has learned.

  35. rikyrah says:

    The return of ‘skewed’ polls — marriage-equality edition

    By Steve Benen

    Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:38 AM EDT

    With the Supreme Court set to hear landmark cases this week on marriage rights, the evidence is overwhelming that the right has lost the larger national debate. “There’s no putting this genie back in the bottle,” Republican strategist Ana Navarro conceded yesterday. “This is now undeniable. The shift is here. We’re not going back.”

    Some in the GOP are struggling with this more than others.

    On “Fox News Sunday” yesterday, Gary Bauer, a long-time leader in the religious right movement, was confronted with some uncomfortable data. Host Chris Wallace noted the shifting national polls, which now show most Americans support marriage equality.

    Bauer was unmoved. When Wallace asked, “Do you worry that this only puts the Republican Party further out of touch with the mainstream of American voters?” the conservative activist replied, “No, I’m not worried about it because the polls are skewed.”

    Conservative activists are certainly free to use whatever talking points they like, but if they don’t want to be laughed at, they should probably stop using the word “skewed” when rejecting polls they don’t like. The last time the right embraced the concept of “skewed” polls, it didn’t turn out well for them.

    Besides, if it were one or two polls, ideologues could plausibly argue they’re outliers, but are all the polls “skewed”?


    Consider the national polls since early February: in the latest Fox News poll, a plurality supports marriage equality (49% to 46%); in the latest CNN poll, a majority supports marriage equality (53% to 44%); in the latest Pew Research Center poll, a plurality supports marriage equality (49% to 44%); in the latest ABC/Washington Post poll, a majority supports marriage equality (58% to 36%); in the latest Quinnipiac poll, a plurality supports marriage equality (47% to 43%); in the latest CBS poll, a majority supports marriage equality (54% to 39%).

    Just yesterday, the Columbus Dispatch published a statewide poll in Ohio that found 54% of the state wants to overturn a statewide ban marriage equality.

  36. rikyrah says:

    This Week in God
    By Steve Benen
    Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:29 AM EDT]

    First up from the God Machine this week is a look at renewed tensions between the religious right movement and the political party that ostensibly fights for its interests.

    The Republican National Committee this week unveiled a lengthy report, providing an “autopsy” of what went wrong in 2012, and offering a blueprint for how the party can get back on track. The RNC’s vision covers quite a bit of ground, detailing possible plans on procedure, tactics, strategy, outreach, and just a pinch of policy.

    But to an almost surprising degree, the Republican National Committee’s plan is entirely secular. The “Growth and Opportunity” report uses the word “Reagan” six times, but there are literally zero references to God, Christianity, and/or the Bible. For a party that has spent several decades claiming to be the arbiter of morality and “family values,” the RNC’s secularism was unexpected.

    And for the religious right, disappointing. McKay Coppins had an interesting report on this, asking, “When the great Republican resurrection comes to pass, will conservative Christians be left behind?”

  37. Ametia says:

    Julián Castro, San Antonio’s ‘relay’ star
    By E.J. Dionne Jr.,

    Julián Castro is a politician in not too much of a hurry. This does not mean he lacks ambition.

    The 38-year-old mayor of San Antonio, which has boomed into the country’s seventh-largest city, came to national attention much as Barack Obama did, with a first-rate keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. Last year in Charlotte, he spoke affectingly of life being not a marathon but a “relay” in which each generation lifts up the next.

    His metaphor didn’t have the instant punch of Obama’s 2004 red-and-blue America oration, but it does have staying power, just fine for a man playing the long game.

    Castro is looking toward easy reelection in May to his third two-year term, and you can expect him to resist entreaties to run for governor in 2014. Demographic change is not likely to turn red Texas purple until the last part of this decade. “No question it will be more hospitable” to a Democrat, Castro says with a smile.

  38. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone. I’m a HUGE fan of Huges.

    Thanks for the coverage, Rik.

  39. CarolMaeWY says:

    Without knowing thing about him, I have seen many of his films. Do you know how he died?

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