Monday Open Thread | Luther Vandross Week

Luther VandrossLuther Ronzoni Vandross  (April 20, 1951 – July 1, 2005) was an American singer-songwriter and record producer. During his career, Vandross sold over twenty-five million albums[1] and won eight Grammy Awards[2] including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance four times. He won four Grammy Awards in 2004 including the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for the track “Dance with My Father“,[3] co-written with Richard Marx.

By popular vote, Luther Vandross was inducted into The SoulMusic Hall of Fame at in December 2012.

Luther Ronzoni Vandross was born on April 20, 1951 at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, New York City, United States.[5] He was the fourth child and second son of Mary Ida Vandross and Luther Vandross, Sr.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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52 Responses to Monday Open Thread | Luther Vandross Week

  1. rikyrah says:


    found this new graphic for you over at POU.

    this can be alternated with our regular side- eye gif

  2. rikyrah says:

    Texas Turns Battleground as Cowboy Boots Win Hispanics

    By Michael Tackett – Apr 7, 2013 11:00 PM CT

    Alex Steele begins his pitch on how to turn Texas into a Democratic state like any good politician, with the story of how he got to this place.

    It begins in California’s Central Valley, where he grew up: his father working two jobs to support four boys, his mother disabled by illness. He saw the importance of health care in his mother’s treatments and his father’s hip replacements. Student loans and an athletic scholarship helped make him the first in his family to attend college.

    He was inspired to politics by Barack Obama, and left his job and home to work for his campaign in Iowa in 2008 when few people thought the first-term senator from Illinois could win.

    It took him to Colorado to work for Obama’s 2012 re- election and now it’s brought him to Texas to try to build something even more lasting. And yes, Steele says to approving nods, he’s always worn cowboy boots.

    He is talking to a group of about 50 activists sitting on plastic folding chairs in Room 101 of the Killeen Community Center, about 70 miles north of the state capital in Austin. Steele is the field director for Battleground Texas, a group that is the offspring of the president’s data-driven grassroots organization that many credit with securing his second term. Local Democrats bring a sheet cake that says “Welcome Battleground Texas. Game on Killeen.”

    Steele, 31, and others have come to Texas on a mission as large as the state’s 261,000 square miles: to capitalize on the surge in Hispanic population and turn the Lone Star State into a two-party competitive one instead of the place where the Republican nominee has carried every presidential election since 1976.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Report: Visit to Cuba by Beyoncé and Jay-Z was licensed by US Treasury Department for cultural purposes – @reuters
    — Breaking News (@BreakingNews) April 8, 2013

  4. rikyrah says:

    April 07, 2013 5:54 PM
    Roger Ebert: Film-Lover, Bon Vivant, Disability Rights Icon, and Mensch, R.I.P.

    By Kathleen Geier

    I wanted to take a moment this weekend to pay my respects to Roger Ebert, the film critic who died this week at the age of 70, after a long and public bout with cancer. I count myself as a movie-lover, so his death meant something to me. I am also a Chicagoan, as he was, and of course the man was a near-legend here. I very much regret that I never got the chance to meet him.

    I am a passionate fan of good movie criticism, but truth be told, Ebert was never one of my favorite film critics. His tastes were a lot more mainstream than mine, and I often disagreed with him, particularly towards the end, when he seemed to like virtually everything. But he was the last film critic with a huge mass readership, and in my lifetime I can’t think of anyone else, with the possible exceptions of Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarentino, who has done more to advocate for film culture to a mass audience. On their tv show, Ebert and his sparring partner, the late film critic Gene Siskel, taught a generation of moviegoers how to discuss and analyze a film. For example, for Farran Smith Nehme, Ebert “planted the idea that if you had a blast watching a movie, that alone meant it was worth some serious thought.” And I’m sure many a budding cinephile used Ebert’s Great Movies books as the building blocks for her cinematic education.

    To me, though, the single most remarkable thing about Roger Ebert, and the thing that most gloriously brought out the man’s full on, damn-the-torpedos humanity, was the grace with which he handled an illness that many people would have experienced as devastating. Chris Jones’ extraordinary 2010 Esquire profile tells much of this story. In 2006, Roger’s lower jaw was removed to prevent the spread of cancer, and after that he was never able to eat, drink, or speak again. Recovery was painful, precarious, and slow, and even when he was as recovered as he was ever going to be, his appearance, without his jaw, was odd.

    But rather than living like a depressed recluse, Ebert chose to embrace life anew. Not only did he begin appearing in public and reviewing films again; through social media, he reinvented himself as a writer. Among Ebert’s greatest gifts as a writer and human being was his contagious enthusiasm and his capacity for joy, and these stood him in good stead during the disability and severe illness that marked those last years. He seemed determine to soak up every last drop of joy he had coming to him. And damn if he didn’t succeed! Among other things, his public visibility and renewed vigor as a writer were a victory for disability rights.

    It’s that last, writerly incarnation of Roger Ebert — Ebert the furiously prolific blogger, tweeter, and all-round web presence — that made him feel like such an intimate part of so many people’s lives. It’s also what made his loss feel so peculiarly personal. He wrote constantly, about all manner of things, and if you followed him long enough you got the sense, or the illusion at least, that you knew him pretty well.

    Ebert clearly took pleasure in interacting with his readers, and for a writer of his stature, that was is rare enough. Rarer still, he responded with generosity and humility to his critics, even the non-famous ones — and on the internets, that’s a phenomenon only slightly less unusual than a unicorn. (In her lovely Ebert tribute, Lesley Kinzel recounts one such instance of his willingness to accept criticism).

    I have many favorites among the pieces Ebert wrote in his last years. Some of the ones that stand out are this one, about not being able to eat or drink; this one, about not knowing if there is a God; this piece which carries the awesome title, “Okay, kids, play on my lawn,” in which he graciously takes back some cranky things he said about video games; and this one, about the love of his life, his wife of over 20 years, Chaz. I defy you to read it without tearing up.

  5. rikyrah says:

    April 08, 2013 10:13 AM
    The Rubio-Labrador Gang

    By Ed Kilgore

    With Congress returning from its Easter Recess, there will be vast renewed interest in beltway circles in the progress of the bipartisan “gangs” in both Houses who have been working on more-or-less comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

    What caught my eye in this morning’s gab gleanings is this tidbit from among five scenarios for immigration legislation identified by Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown and Jake Sherman:

    4. The Rubio-Labrador stamp of approval

    The fate of immigration reform hinges, in no small way, on the two conservative Washington neophytes.

    A big reason Republicans have grown comfortable with immigration reform is because the pair — both Hispanic — have given the process their blessing.

    But they’re both facing pressures.

    Top GOP aides say it’s tough to read Labrador. And it’s become accepted wisdom that if Rubio doesn’t sign on in the Senate, the chances of passing a bill could evaporate. He’s attempted to keep some public distance from the Gang of Eight, suggesting his approval of a final deal won’t come easily

    Next time you hear someone talk about the declining influence of the Tea Party Movement, consider that immigration legislation may require a “stamp of approval” not only from Rubio but from Raul Labrador, a Puerto Rican Mormon from Idaho who is a true wild man, but is nonetheless deemed a “centrist” on immigration policy because he thinks deporting 11 million undocumented workers is impractical.

    But if the Republican Party more or less decides to give two of its rare Latino stars the lead on immigration policy, then this could indeed become the only gang that matters—unless Ted Cruz decides to get in on the act.

  6. rikyrah says:

    At the intersection of ACORN and scare quotes

    By Steve Benen

    Mon Apr 8, 2013 12:38 PM EDT.


    In December, national polling discovered that Republicans think ACORN, which permanently closed its doors a few years ago, still exists and helps Democrats steal elections. In March, House Republicans approved a measure blocking funding for ACORN, despite the fact that non-existent organizations don’t seek public funds.

    And now in April, the right is arguing the Obama administration is poised to help reanimate ACORN — or at least something very close to it. ran an item last week warning conservatives that the administration may be poised to use the Affordable Care Act as a “vehicle to resurrect ACORN or an ACORN-like entity.”

    A day later, the far-right Family Research Council issued an email alert to its supporters, warning of an “army” of ACORN activists. The message added, “With this administration, it isn’t a question of whether they would abuse their power — but when!”

    What in the world are these people talking about? As the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, there are obvious bureaucratic challenges associated with signing up tens of millions of people. As the Washington Post noted, “While some people will find registering for health insurance as easy as booking a flight online, vast numbers who are confused by the myriad choices will need to sit down with someone who can walk them through the process.”

    To that end, the law empowers the Department of Health and Human Services to hire people to help the uninsured navigate the health care system and get coverage, many of whom have never had coverage and aren’t sure how to proceed. This is obviously important — if the uninsured get lost, confused, or slip through the cracks, they won’t get the benefits to which they’re entitled and the law won’t work as designed.

    And so, tens of thousands of “navigators” will be needed — and that immediately makes the right think of ACORN, “or an ACORN-like entity.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    Why Republicans don’t fear public opinion on guns

    Posted by Greg Sargent on April 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Nine in 10 Americans, including more than eight in 10 Republicans and more than eight in 10 people from gun owning households, support expanding background checks. So why don’t Republicans fear that their opposition to a proposal that would do just that will result in a public backlash?

    One key reason: Many people simply don’t know that criminals, severely mentally ill people and other high risk groups — like violent misdemeanants and people under a domestic violence restraining order — can get a gun without undergoing a check.

    Joel Benenson, the lead pollster for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, has just published the results of a new poll — conducted by his firm for Democrats — that tells the story very well:

    In a nationwide poll our firm recently conducted for the Democratic National Committee, we asked 800 voters what action they want our government to take: “enforce current gun laws more strictly but not pass new laws” or “pass new gun laws in addition to enforcing current laws more strictly.” It came as no surprise to us that they chose better enforcement by 50 percent to 43 percent. (The remainder responded “neither” or “don’t know.”)

    But in the same poll, 87 percent of voters, including nearly 90 percent of gun owners, said they support background checks for all gun sales. […]

  8. rikyrah says:

    On immigration, Republicans need to lead

    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on April 8, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Yesterday on CBS’ Face the Nation, New York Senator Chuck Schumer expressed optimism that a bipartisan immigration bill could be ready by the end of the week. “Over the last two weeks, we’ve made great progress,“ said Schumer, a member of the immigration Gang of Eight. “There’ve been kerfuffles along the way but each one of those thus far has been settled.”

    For supporters of comprehensive immigration reform, this is encouraging news. But it’s hard to square with recent statements from the Republican side of negotiations. On Friday, for example, Florida Senator Marco Rubio again asked the Senate to slow down its movement on a bill. “Like all legislation of this magnitude, it should be reviewed and scrutinized thoroughly by numerous interested parties well before the first vote is taken,” he said.

    Liukewise, several Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee — Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Mike Lee of Utah, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and Ted Cruz of Texas — have pressured their GOP colleagues in the Gang of Eight to refrain from “rushing” a bill or negotiating in secret. “We believe it is critical that the public and the entire Senate body be given adequate time to read and analyze the contents of any immigration bill put forth by the majority,” the senators wrote in a letter.

    This almost sums up the list of demands and concerns from various GOP senators on immigration. Republicans want immigration reform, but aren’t sure it should have a path to citizenship (which could alienate their base). They think it should have a dedicated guest worker program (to satisfy the business business side of their constituency), and they want to have every opportunity to negotiate, debate, and amend, so if things run away from them, they can easily kill the bill (this is generally what senators mean when demand a “slower” process).

  9. rikyrah says:

    Damned if he does; damned if he doesn’t
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Apr 8, 2013 1:49 PM EDT.

    This New York Times paragraph says quite a bit, doesn’t it?

    Members of both parties say Mr. Obama faces a conundrum with his legislative approach to a deeply polarized Congress. In the past, when he has stayed aloof from legislative action, Republicans and others have accused him of a lack of leadership; when he has gotten involved, they have complained that they could not support any bill so closely identified with Mr. Obama without risking the contempt of conservative voters.

    Well, yes, that does make things challenging. President Obama has to lead, but not too much, and not in a way that may make his rivals feel uncomfortable. He has to be hands-on and hands-off, preferably at the same time. He should use the so-called “bully pulpit,” but not in a way that connects the presidency to any specific issue Republicans may need to vote on.

    And it’s against this backdrop that a few too many pundits wonder aloud why the president doesn’t overcome Republicans’ refusal to compromise by “leading” more. Many more suggested “schmoozing” would alleviate GOP intransigence.

    But if Republicans are going to balk whether Obama engages or not, the advice seems misplaced.

    Jamelle Bouie added, “In reality, there’s only one thing that can help Obama push his agenda through Congress — a Democratic Congress. As long as Republicans have a grip on the House of Representatives, and as long as the GOP remains unsupportive of compromise and disinterested in policymaking, we should expect gridlock in government. Put another way, it’s no accident the 111th Congress — which began with Obama’s first term — was one of the most productive in recent memory; it was controlled, from top to bottom, by a single party.”

    Quite right. Consider a tale of the legislative tape.


    The legislative accomplishments of 2009 and 2010 were historic and extraordinary: health care reform, Recovery Act, Wall Street reform, DADT repeal, student loan reform, credit card reform, New START treaty, etc. Then consider the legislative accomplishments since: not a whole lot.

    The difference isn’t that Obama forgot how to “lead” after the 2010 midterms, or stopped schmoozing. The difference is Republican gains in Congress and a GOP-led House majority.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Maine takes up gun reform, defiance

    By Laura Conaway

    Mon Apr 8, 2013 2:17 PM EDT

    Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the states of New York, Colorado, Connecticut and Maryland have passed laws designed to prevent gun violence. This week the Maine legislature takes up a couple dozen gun bills. One bill would ban carrying weapons “in a public place in a manner that causes a reasonable person to suffer intimidation or alarm.” Back in December, a guy wore his assault rifle as he walked through Portland, Maine, to mail a letter.

    Another bill would limit the size of magazines to 10 rounds. That is the same type of limit set by the other states.

    With gun reform starting to look possible in more places, Maine lawmakers will also debating a few bills that drive the other way. One would make it difficult for local governments to destroy firearms and ammunition obtained through gun buybacks, even when the person turning in the gun wants it destroyed. A second bill would have Maine join the list of states nullifying federal control by exempting firearms and ammunition in the state from federal laws.

    Maine politics are kind of a mess right now. In November, Democrats regained control of the legislature. Since then Republican Governor Paul LePage has mostly refused to meet with the new majority or to sign anything the legislature passes.

  11. rikyrah says:

    The Gun Battle Has Arrived

    by BooMan
    Mon Apr 8th, 2013 at 12:16:38 PM EST

    This week, or perhaps next, the Senate will pass a gun violence control bill. I cannot believe that a filibuster will be upheld. With any luck, the bill will contain a strong universal background check provision that has the backing of a significant number of Republicans. This will be necessary to create the cover John Boehner needs to introduce a bill on the House floor. The more GOP Senators who vote for the Senate version, the easier it will be rank and file House members to join the effort.
    Another consideration is that the more Republicans vote for this legislation, the less likely we are to see the party itself pursue the lie that the government is seeking to confiscate people’s guns or create some kind of national gun registry. That’s important because arguments along those lines can incite some unstable people to commit acts of violence. We don’t want a law intended to prevent violence to perversely turn around and cause it. For this reason, it’s important that we have as much bipartisanship on this as possible.

  12. rikyrah says:

    A post-policy test for Arkansas’ GOP

    By Steve Benen
    Mon Apr 8, 2013 12:02 PM EDT

    For all the Republican policymakers who hate the Affordable Care Act with every fiber of their being, there are also plenty of GOP officials at the state level who have grudgingly discovered the value of “Obamacare.” This is evident, of course, in the growing number of Republican governors who’ve accepted reality and expand Medicaid in their respective states.

    But Arkansas offers a different kind of example. The state has one of the highest rates of uninsured residents in the nation, and is also one of the poorest states by income levels, suggesting Arkansas is set to benefit in a big way from President Obama’s health-care reform law. What’s more, state GOP policymakers are well aware of this

    Arkansas Republicans may be about to undercut their strongest argument for defeating Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.).

    The GOP is promising to hang Pryor’s support for ObamaCare around his neck, using it as their main line of attack in the 2014 campaign. But the Republican-controlled state legislature may soon pass a state law that accepts a key portion of the national health law and use money from the program to help low-income Arkansas residents buy healthcare on state exchanges.

    The plan isn’t a done deal yet — but Arkansas Republican leaders, who are supporting the compromise plan, are in a tough spot.

    Here’s the problem: state GOP officials want to embrace the Affordable Care Act’s provisions in Arkansas because, well, it’d be good for Arkansas. State GOP officials also want to defeat Sen. Mark Pryor (D) next year, and see his “Obamacare” vote as a valuable talking point. They’re well aware of the conflict — the ACA can’t simultaneously be great when Republicans embrace its benefits and awful when Pryor votes for it. If GOP lawmakers reject the law, their constituents suffer; if they embrace the law, they give Pryor cover.

    And so, we’re left with a test.

  13. rikyrah says:

    20/20 General Hospital HD 50th Anniversary FULL SPECIAL 4-6-13

  14. rikyrah says:

    see, she should be writing her from JAIL…

    Because that’s where I’d be for ATTEMPTED MURDER.


    Intimacy Intervention: My Husband Uses Racial Slurs During Sex
    By Abiola Abrams

    Dear Abiola,

    My man keeps calling me a “nigger bitch” during sex and I hate it.

    I have been married for a year and I am at my wit’s end. My investment banker husband is from a White old money family. I am a first generation Black-American woman whose family is from the island of Jamaica. We met at a reunion for the ivy league school we both attended, and he proposed in six months.

    We have the picture perfect fantasy life. He wines and dines me and we travel and shop the globe. Unlike all of the Black men I dated in the past, my husband is generous, loyal, committed and considerate. He courted me and I never have to pay for anything. He said I could quit my job and I did. He makes me feel like a woman.

    I am a little embarrassed to share our problem. The first time he let the n-word drop was during sex on our honeymoon. When I reacted negatively, he explained that a Black woman he dated in the past enjoyed being called racial slurs. Another time he joked that he had purchased my freedom. He also speculated about whether his family could have owned mine because I have “good hair.” Then he made jokes about my pubic hair. He called it my “negro bush” and referred to himself as a “nigger lover.” He says I am being overly sensitive because he loves me to death and should get a “Black pass” for marrying me.

  15. Smilin’ faces, goin’ places, it’s a wonder, it’s so clear
    By a fountain, climbin’ mountains, as we’ll hold each other near
    Sippin’ wine, we try to find that special magic from above
    As we share our affair talkin’ in the glow of LOVE…

    Can this music be any sweeter?!

    Listening to this song with happy feelings and riding down 290 on a Saturday evening with your very handsome guy holding your hand & heading into H-Town for the time of your LIFE! ;)

  16. rikyrah says:

    Things In Politico That Make Me Want To Guzzle Antifreeze, Part The Infinity
    By Charles P. Pierce at 1:14PM

    Some day, when I’m in Washington, I’m going to forego one of my favorite night-time occupations, which is to take a long, lingering cab ride around the city while pretending that I’m Kevin Costner in No Way Out. Instead, I’m going to sneak over to the offices of Tiger Beat On The Potomac and spread all kinds of shiny things around on the ground. Then, I’m going to come back in the morning and watch the whole staff fight over them.

    I swear to almighty god, if they thought it would get them a Drudge link, you could convince these people that the future of democracy can be found in the divination of a flight of geese, or in the abandoned skin of a snake, or somewhere in the collected works of David Brooks. Now, they are enamored of Senator Aqua Buddha and his ongoing attempt to have a lot of cake and eat a lot of it, too.

    Fair or not, Ron Paul epitomized to a swath of voters the caricature of a goofy grandpa who invests in gold, stockpiles guns, sees black helicopters whirling overhead and quotes Friedrich Hayek. His ride into the sunset – combined with an evolving electorates’s move away from hot-button social issues – gives a new libertarian guard the opportunity to rebrand their governing philosophy as more reasonable, serious and compatible with the Republican Party. Led by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), libertarians hope to become a dominant wing of the GOP by tapping into a potent mix of war weariness, economic anxiety and frustration with federal overreach in the fifth year of Barack Obama’s presidency.
    Yeah, whoo-hoo! New stuff. Except that, as the piece goes along, we discover that The New Hope is seeking to gain political influence by “moderating” his positions that address, well, “war weariness, economic anxiety, and frustration with federal overreach.”

    Rand Paul is aggressively trying to pass that test and unite the various factions. He’s taken a series of steps to distance himself from his father’s most unpalatable positions, from articulating a more nuanced position on the drug war to taking a harder-line on national security and more vocally professing his opposition to gay marriage and abortion. The junior Kentucky senator will give high-profile speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire this May. “Maybe he delivers the message a little bit better than I ever did,” the elder Paul acknowledged.
    Hey, Crazy Uncle Liberty (!). The reason he delivers the message differently is that it’s…not…the…same…message. It’s a new age attempt to keep another generation of dissatisfied white men in the Republican coalition without sounding like somebody who saw Jesus in the Wheatena this morning. (He sells the snake oil more smoothly than you did, and that’s a fact.) In this context, “libertarianism” is a marketing device, a way to keep young bond traders comfortable within a party whose base is still snake-handlers and still stock-piling arms against the inevitable Kenyan Muslim gun-grab.

    These are not your father’s libertarians. The rising generation is more pragmatic than the last. They don’t just want to make a point; they want seats at the table.
    So, they’re basically Tea Party types who’d (pragmatically) still allow the government to bust you for selling an ounce of weed but not for selling millions of dollars in trash derivatives. Got it.

  17. Ametia says:

    Bank of America to Pay $36.8 Million to Military Members for Improper Foreclosures
    By Travis Waldron

    Bank of America will pay $36.8 million to members of the military it improperly foreclosed on between 2006 and 2010, according to a settlement it reached with the federal government in 2011, the Justice Department announced this week.

    Bank of America was already paying 142 military members under the original 2011 agreement, but a further review required by the settlement found 155 additional military homeowners who were subject to improper foreclosures, the Justice Department said. In total, Bank of America will pay more than 300 military members, as Reuters reports:
    Each of 316 service members will receive at least $116,785, plus compensation and with interest, for any home equity lost. […]

    “Our men and women in the military should not have to worry about a bank foreclosing on their home while they bravely serve our country,” Eric Halperin, Special Counsel for Fair Lending in the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Wake-Up Call: Coburn Amendment and the Minority Pipeline in Political Science
    by Erik Voeten on April 8, 2013 · 0 comments

    in Blogs,Education,Political science

    As is widely known in the political science community, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) failed to get the Senate to eliminate NSF funding in political science, but succeeded in placing severe limits to its use, limiting funding only to projects that “promote national security or the economic interests of the United States.” In the days following the passage of the amendment, many began to wonder how it would affect existing programs, with some speculating the waiver might be interpreted broadly and would leave most funding efforts intact.

    Now, we seem to have a clearer answer, and the implications for political science are troubling in ways that were not even appreciated or foreseen in the run-up to the Coburn amendment.

    One of the first major casualties of the Coburn amendment, perhaps even the first known casualty of any size, is the cancellation of APSA’s Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (hereafter RBSI), “an annual five-week program designed to introduce minority students to the world of graduate study and to encourage application to Ph.D. programs.”

    This development is deeply concerning, and will hurt the future of political science in a country that is moving inexorably towards majority-minority status by 2050. In October 2011, APSA released a report on racial and gender diversity among political science faculty and graduate students. While some may disagree with the diagnosis of the pipeline problem, the magnitude of the problem is indisputable, as African American, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans currently account for only 11% of the professoriate in political science (see page 40 of the report), and the primary beneficiaries of RBSI (African Americans and Latinos) account for only 14% of recent Ph.D.’s in political science (see page 65 of the report).

    By forcing the elimination of the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute, the Coburn amendment has made the dire situation of a minority scholar pipeline even worse. The RBSI is one of the few disciplinary efforts in political science to diversify the pipeline of Ph.D.’s in political science. As some of the RBSI alumni testimonials indicate (and many of us know from our mentoring experiences), many of our brightest students opt for law school, business school, or consulting instead of exploring a future in political science. This problem seems particularly acute for African American and Latino students, who are less likely than others to have a parent graduating from college, let alone to know any family member who has a social science Ph.D. or is a political science professor.

  19. Ametia says:

    Piercing the secrecy of offshore tax havens

    By Scott Higham, Michael Hudson and Marina Walker Guevara, Published: April 6

    A New York hedge fund manager allegedly swindles $12 million from a prominent Baltimore family. An Indiana couple is accused of bilking hundreds of customers by charging for free trials of cosmetic products. A financial manager in Texas promises 23-percent returns but absconds with $33.5 million of his investors’ money in a classic Ponzi scheme.

    All three cases have one thing in common: money that ended up in offshore accounts and trusts set up in tax havens around the world.

    The existence of the trusts surfaced during a joint examination of the offshore world by The Washington Post and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a D.C-based nonprofit news organization. ICIJ obtained 2.5 million records of more than 120,000 companies and trusts created by two offshore companies, Commonwealth Trust Ltd. (CTL) in the British Virgin Islands and Portcullis TrustNet, which operates mostly in Asia and the Cook Islands, a South Pacific nation. The records were obtained by Gerard Ryle, ICIJ’s director, as a result of an investigation he conducted in Australia.

  20. rikyrah says:

    About Bill Clinton getting the GLAAD award before President Obama…

    That would be akin to, after the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act were passed…

    The NAACP not giving the Springarn to Lyndon Baines Johnson..

    and instead giving it to Strom Thurmond.

    THAT is how ridiculous this award to Bill Clinton is.

  21. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: Revisit filibuster reform, Harry Reid

    Posted by Greg Sargent on April 8, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Congress returns from recess this week, and we are likely to see Republicans stand in the way of key items on Obama’s agenda yet again. The Senate will soon vote on expanded background checks, which enjoy near universal support. Obama is set to meet with Republican Senators to again discuss replacing the sequester with a mix of spending cuts and new revenues — which will be in Obama’s budget — at a time when solid majorities favor that mode of deficit reduction.

    Despite public sentiment on these issues, you can expect more filibustering and obstructionism from Republicans. Perhaps this is why Harry Reid has again threatened to revisit filibuster reform:

    “All within the sound of my voice — including my Democratic senators and the Republican senators who I serve with — should understand that we as a body have the power on any given day to change the rules with a simple majority,” Reid told Nevada Public Radio in a little-noticed interview Friday. “And I will do that if necessary.”

    By my count, this is at least the third time a Dem Senate leader has threatened to revisit rules reform. Yet the obstructionism continues with no action on Reid’s part.

    Reid needs to stop threatening to revisit the filibuster unless he actually means it. Empty threats accomplish nothing. Indeed, they’re counterproductive. They make Dems look weak. They inflate expectations among Dem base voters — and supporters who worked hard to reelect Obama and Dems to Congress — that we may soon enjoy a functional Senate.

  22. rikyrah says:

    House liberal leader: Say No to the Grand Bargain

    Posted by Greg Sargent on April 5, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Let’s say that at the end of the day, liberals face a choice: Which is worse, extended sequestration or a Grand Bargain that cuts Social Security and Medicare in exchange for new revenues, as Obama’s forthcoming budget seems designed to secure?

    In an interview with me today, Dem Rep. Raul Grivjalva — the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus — told me he would vote No on any Grand Bargain with entitlement cuts like Chained CPI for Social Security. And he said that if we face the theoretical choice outlined above, the sequester is the better, or least bad, option — because ultimately the sequester could be changed under pressure from public opinion, while entitlement cuts would be harder to undo.

    “I really believe that the sequester itself would start to unravel under public pressure,” Grijalva told me. “Let’s let the political and fiscal consequences of the sequester take hold with the American public. I’d rather count on the public changing the sequester than on cutting a deal that exposes Social Security into the future.”

    Asked if he would vote against any deal containing Chained CPI, Grijalva said: “I’ve made the commitment that if this is part of it, I will not vote for it. I can’t support it.”

  23. rikyrah says:

    The point behind the ‘Kabuki’

    By Steve Benen

    Mon Apr 8, 2013 9:20 AM EDT

    The White House has not yet released President Obama’s new budget plan, but it’s on the on-deck circle and we have a reasonably good idea of what’s in it. As we talked about last week, the administration hopes to resolve the parties’ fiscal fight by trading entitlement “reforms” for new revenue — Democrats would accept cuts to social-insurance programs, including chained CPI for Social Security, and Republicans would accept closed tax loopholes and fewer deductions.

    Republicans, who reject the idea of compromise, hate the plan. Democrats, who see no reason to cut Social Security, hate it, too. So what is the White House up to? Paul Krugman characterized the whole effort as “Kabuki,” and his take is pretty compelling.

    The answer, I fear, is that Obama is still trying to win over the Serious People, by showing that he’s willing to do what they consider Serious — which just about always means sticking it to the poor and the middle class. The idea is that they will finally drop the false equivalence, and admit that he’s reasonable while the GOP is mean-spirited and crazy.

    But it won’t happen. Watch the Washington Post editorial page over the next few days. I hereby predict that it will damn Obama with faint praise, saying that while it’s a small step in the right direction, of course it’s inadequate — and anyway, Obama is to blame for Republican intransigence, because he could make them accept a Grand Bargain that includes major revenue increases if only he would show Leadership (TM).

    I suspect that’s correct. The conventional wisdom hold several tenets dear: President Obama isn’t willing to touch entitlements; he isn’t prepared to alienate his base; and if the president were committed to showing real “leadership,” he’d meet Republicans half-way with meaningful concessions. (The conventional wisdom has no use for job creation or economic growth, which play no role in the conversation.)

    It would seem, then, that the new White House budget plan is intended to challenge these assumptions: he’s put his entitlement “reforms” in writing; the left is furious; and he’s waiting for Republicans to show at least some interest in compromise. It’s about strengthening Obama’s political standing — positioning him as the leader in the middle, ready to make “the tough calls,” even if it leads to criticism from the left and right.

    But it’s a risky strategy.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Douthat Loathes Himself

    by BooMan
    Sun Apr 7th, 2013 at 08:41:05 PM EST

    Ross Douthat emerged from Harvard with some serious hang-ups. I don’t know why. He grew up in New Haven, so it’s not like Cambridge was a foreign planet. He graduated magna cum laude, which ain’t too shabby. Yet, his first instinct upon graduation was to write a book ripping the place: Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class. Here’s how Stephen Metcalf summed up Privilege:

    In the end, Privilege is more a symptom than a diagnosis. The wound-up, overachieving children of the wound-up, overachieving professional elites find themselves ensnared in a paradox: the more intense the competition for social rewards, the more advantages their parents feel compelled to confer on them, and at earlier and earlier ages. Even as these children compete harder to achieve more, they may suspect they are less and less deserving. This is a recipe for neurosis, in which a style of condescension appropriate to the old Protestant upper crust mingles nonsensically with the gaping insecurity of the striving middle classes. And this is precisely the voice in which Privilege has been written

    Of course, Douthat’s gaping sense of insecurity went deeper than mere suspicions about his right to rule America. Let us quote from page 184 of his book.


    I suppose that growing up in the shadow of Yale and spending four years at Harvard does give you some kind of ingress to talk about The Secrets of Princeton, although I don’t presume to pontificate on the Secrets of Cambridge, never having lived there. I found Susan Patton’s advice to Princeton freshman girls both familiarly humorous and embarrassingly cringe-worthy. I’m both of that world and not of that world.

    It calls to mind an experience I had with some friends during the Princeton Reunions about eighteen or so years ago. Late at night, after much too much alcohol, my friends and I were strolling along McCosh Walk when a man in his late-40’s, handsome, nattily-dressed in casual wear, and arm-in-arm with a gorgeous woman, greeted us much too warmly. One of us asked him how he was doing. “Not too bad, I must say,” he started, without breaking his pace. Soon he was beyond us, but he carried on, “for a man of my position, wealth, education” and so on until his distance muted his words and we could hear no more.

    We laughed and laughed at his unapologetic arrogance and self-satisfied manner. He quite rightly was feeling like he had it all. And he did. Yet, he assumed we did, too. Or would. It might have been a little intergenerational…the old talking to the new, but it wasn’t condescending. It was more like, “Here’s what you have to look forward to, so of course there’s merriment!”

    I laughed at Sarah Potter’s arrogance, but I understood it for what it was: the elite talking to the elite. On that level, it’s hard to call something feminist or anti-feminist and be sure those terms can possibly apply. Her point was straightforward. Princeton girls are extremely smart and they will never have a bigger pool of smart men to marry than during their time at Princeton. So, go find a husband because you’ll never be happy with a man who isn’t your intellectual equal, and the pool of those men is going to shrink fast once your college days are over.

  25. rikyrah says:

    The gun debate GOP senators are afraid to have

    Steve Benen
    Mon Apr 8, 2013 8:35 AM EDT.

    Two weeks ago, a trio of right-wing senators — Republicans Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Mike Lee of Utah — released a statement explaining their intention to block a debate on any legislation that changes any federal gun law in any way. Soon after, the filibuster threat grew to five members, and over the weekend, the total reached 12.

    Remember, these dozen GOP senators aren’t just saying they’re going to oppose legislation, and they’re not merely threatening to block final passage. Rather, these 12 senators are saying they’re not prepared to allow the Senate to even have a debate — even if the legislation would save lives, even if the ideas have bipartisan support, and even if the bill is entirely permissible under the Constitution.

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” and raised a fair point.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, McCain said of Senate Republicans’ vow to filibuster the motion to proceed:

    “I don’t understand it. The purpose of the United States Senate is to debate and to vote and to let the people know where we stand…. What are we afraid of? Why would we not want — if this issue is as important as all of us think it is, why not take it to the world’s greatest deliberative — that’s the greatest exaggeration in history, by the way — but why not take up an amendment and debate?”

    I’m not generally inclined to agree with John McCain, but on this, he’s exactly right.

    Let’s be clear about the nature of the threat: these 12 Republican senators are saying they’re unwilling to allow the Senate to debate gun legislation. It would be tough enough to craft a bill that can pass both chambers of Congress, but we now have a dozen Republicans who are so scared, they’re afraid of a discussion

  26. rikyrah says:

    ‘Ideas that work’ for whom?
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Apr 8, 2013 7:59 AM EDT.

    Every Saturday morning, President Obama releases a weekly address, issued over the air and on radio, followed by an official Republican response. Ordinarily, they’re intended to reinforce the parties’ message of the week, or push some new initiative, and they’re not especially newsworthy.

    But this week’s GOP address, delivered by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), struck me as more interesting than most

    National party leaders selected Brownback so that he could tout Kansas’ new tax policies, which Republicans apparently now consider a model for the nation. The governor specifically called his tax agenda an example of “ideas that work.”

    “They involve a more focused government that costs less. A taxing structure that encourages growth. An education system that produces measurable results. And a renewed focus on the incredible dignity of each and every person, no matter who they are.”

    The next question, of course, is, “Ideas that work for whom?”

    Brownback’s initial approach to tax reform was ludicrously regressive — sharply reducing tax rates for the wealthy, while punishing the poor. For his next phase of “tax reform,” the Kansas governor, with the help of a Kansas GOP legislature that’s been purged of moderates, intends to eliminate the state income tax altogether, while making matters even worse for families that are already struggling by raising sales taxes, eliminating the mortgage interest deduction, and scrapping tax credits for things like food and child care.

  27. rikyrah says:

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  28. rikyrah says:

    I still wanna know WHO INVITED HIM?

    HOW COME nobody’s owning up to the invitation?


    Rand Paul to speak at Howard University

    By Alexandra Jaffe – 04/07/13 02:46 PM ET

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a potential 2016 presidential contender, will address students at Howard University on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

    According to a release on the university’s website, “Sen. Paul’s speech will focus on the importance of outreach to younger voters, as well as minority groups. He will also discuss the history of the African-American community’s roots in the Republican Party and current issues, such as school choice and civil liberties.”

    Paul’s address at the historically black university may be seen as an early effort at outreach to young and minority voters, two voting blocs that typically vote Democratic.

    Young voters came out in support of Paul’s father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), in his 2012 campaign for the Republican nomination for president, and supporters of the younger Paul believe he’ll have similar appeal for young voters if he continues to champion the libertarianism his father brought to prominence.

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

  29. Margaret Thatcher, ‘Iron Lady’ who led conservative resurgence in Britain, dies at 87

    Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady” who led a conservative resurgence in her home country and forged a legendary partnership with President Ronald Reagan, died Monday following a stroke, her spokesman said. She was 87.

    Thatcher led Britain from 1979 to 1990, the first woman to hold the job and longest-serving prime minister of the postwar era.

    “It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning,” the spokesman, Lord Tim Bell, said.

    • rikyrah says:

      found this comment from Zander:

      UPDATE] I had forgotten about Thatcher’s treatment of Nelson Mandela.

      The Conservative prime minister had dismissed the ANC as “a typical terrorist organisation” and refused to back sanctions against the apartheid government, pursuing instead a policy of “constructive engagement”. South Africa was then seen as a vital ally in stemming communist expansion.

      uh huh

    • Ametia says:


  30. Good morning, 3Chics!

    What does this song, The Glow of Love, remind you of? Share your thoughts!

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