Thursday Open Thread | Luther Vandross Week

Luther1Coupled with that voice was Luther’s unique ability to write and sing about love and the shared emotions we all feel in that search for and enjoyment of love.  Love of family, friends, that special someone–all were themes Luther explored with his music regularly, reaching many.  Through his songs, for the last two generations Luther Vandross became a staple in the most joyous moments of people’s lives.

At the time of Luther’s death in 2005 following complications from a stroke two years earlier, Luther had been in entertainment for 35 years.   From his introduction to the world as a singer on the first season of PBS’s Sesame Street in 1969 to winning four Grammy Awards in 2004, Luther was a permanent and dynamic force in popular music. He crossed boundaries, starting with his earliest success as a background vocalist and arranger for David Bowie, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Donna Summer, Carly Simon, Judy Collins, J. Geils Band, Ben E. King, Ringo Starr and Chic.  He produced records for Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick and Whitney Houston.

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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37 Responses to Thursday Open Thread | Luther Vandross Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    Why caring for children is not just a parent’s job
    Melissa Harris-Perry, @mharrisperry
    1:14 PM on 04/09/2013

    I believe wholeheartedly, and without apology, that we have a collective responsibility to the children of our communities even if we did not conceive and bear them. Of course, parents can and should raise their children with their own values. But they should be able to do so in a community that provides safe places to play, quality food to eat, terrific schools to attend, and economic opportunities to support them. No individual household can do that alone. We have to build that world together.

    So those of you who were alarmed by the ad can relax. I have no designs on taking your children. Please keep your kids! But I understand the fear.

    We do live in a nation where slaveholders took the infants from the arms of my foremothers and sold them for their own profit. We do live in a nation where the government snatched American Indian children from their families and “re-educated” them by forbidding them to speak their language and practice their traditions.

    But that is not what I was talking about, and you know it.

  2. rikyrah says:

    April 10, 2013 3:46 PM
    It’s Not As Though Partisan Differences Are Gone

    By Ed Kilgore

    In another effort towards achieving some perspective on the largely symbolic Battle of the Budgets, I recommend a reading of Matt Yglesias’ post today on the rather large differences between Obama’s budget and Paul Ryan’s

    — Rich vs. poor: In a way this is cliché, but it’s also quite important. Paul Ryan balances the budget without increasing taxes or reducing military spending or cutting Social Security or cutting Medicare benefits for people aged 55 and older primarily by cutting spending on poor people. Food stamps? Cut. Medicaid? Cut. Pell Grants? Cut. If the idea of the program is to bolster the living standards of the least fortunate, the GOP budget cuts it. By contrast, Obama expands Medicaid, increases EITC and Child Tax Credits, makes the Opportunity Tax Credit permanent, and spares the poor from the cuts involved in adoping the chained CPI. How does he do it? Well, he does it in several ways, but one big part of the story is reducing tax deductions for rich people. Ryan, by contrast, reduces deductions across the board in order to lower rates on the rich.

    — Young vs. old: Ryan’s budget is a masterpiece of coalition politics, managing to cut spending a lot while minimizing cuts in spending on people who are old today—i.e., on Republicans. Obama’s budget, by contrast, doubles down on the kind of Medicare “savings” found in the Affordable Care Act and creates headroom for a large expansion of pre-K services. Ryan keeps the sequestration cuts to education, and Obama reverses them.

    — Jobs vs. austerity: The Obama administration’s rhetoric has long since abandoned the concept of stimulus, but yet again we have a budget proposal for some meaningful short-term economic stimulus in the form of a $50 billion infrastructure program. Perhaps more importantly, the Obama budget would replace sequestration with alternative deficit reduction that’s phased-in in a more sensible way. The House budget, by contrast, is immediate austerity. I think it’s difficult to gauge the real Federal Reserve policy response function and thus the ultimate impact of this difference, but, broadly speaking, the direction of change is knowable—Obama’s budget would mean more job growth over the next 12-18 months

    Matt didn’t say he was trying to remind progressives that there was more to the budget than Chained CPI, but it does serve that purpose. I’d add another point for those who can’t get beyond the idea that Obama is making unforced concessions while Republicans just come right out offer their maximalist agenda again and again: believe it or not, the Ryan Budget is their idea of a “compromise,” at least in the sense that it points in the direction they want to take rather than leaping there immediately. The Medicaid “block grant,” for example, is a vaguely reasonable-sounding way station to the actual goal of abolishing Medicaid. The Medicare “premium support” proposal is designed (but not advertised) to be the first step towards turning all federal health insurance programs into subsidies for private health insurance, which can then be steadily reduced (along with de-regulation of the insurance products themselves).

    Now you can argue all day long, and I often agree with those who do, that the political payoff Obama gets for trying to breach the gap between Ds and Rs is not terribly impressive (particularly in non-election years), but let’s don’t pretend he’s leapt across it himself tout court. Chained CPI may carry all sorts of symbolic freight, but it’s hardly the worst today’s GOP would do to the safety net if given the chance.

  3. rikyrah says:

    The ‘Emerging Democratic Majority’ Isn’t Assured—Unless the GOP Refuses to Change


    The future of the GOP has been up for debate since its defeat in last November’s elections, and for the most part the question has been not if, but how Republicans should change. More recently, though, well-respected analysts are debating whether the GOP really needs to change at all. George Washington University’s John Sides argued in the Washington Post that the 2012 results “didn’t prove that the Republican Party needs a reboot,” prompting New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait to recapitulate the “Emerging Democratic Majority” thesis and Real Clear Politics’ Sean Trende to recapitulate his own thesis that 2012 postmortems “are overwrought.”

    I’m so tired of debating the “Emerging Democratic Majority.” Or maybe I’m just tired of the way the “Emerging Democratic Majority” gets debated. Many of its critics are responding to a different claim than the one made by John Judis and Ruy Teixeira in 2004’s The Emerging Democratic Majority. Judis and Teixeira don’t argue, for instance, that Democrats are predestined to hold a permanent majority for several decades. Nor do they contend that Democrats can abandon white working-class voters. Judis and Teixeira preempt many of the most persuasive, if uninteresting responses, like the possibility that failure in governance or liberal overreach could prevent Democrats from winning as many elections as they would otherwise. The authors are willing to concede each of those points, and more.

    The debate over a permanent Democratic majority has devolved into discussions of long-term uncertainty (like the possibility that the economy will falter) and the perils of maintaining a diverse coalition (unforeseen issues could divide a coalition already fractured by culture and class). But Republican strategists and politicians won’t—can’t—count on Democrats’ imploding between now and 2016. Who knows where the economy will be in four years? Even if Democrats might fracture one day, it is difficult to envision the Democratic coalition descending into internecine conflict anytime soon. Majorities don’t last, at least in part because minority parties make adjustments to capitalize on opportunities. After all, the New Deal coalition wasn’t won with appeals to free silver or a League of Nations.

    The important question isn’t whether Democratic dominance is inevitable, but how the GOP must adjust and compensate for generational and demographic changes. Yes, Obama’s 3.9 point margin of victory was modest in historical terms. But the last four elections have largely re-litigated the same issues, sorting voters into two of the most ideologically coherent political coalitions in American history. The “red states” and “blue states” have withstood twelve unusually tumultuous years, from 9/11 to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to a historic financial crisis. This isn’t the post-war norm; the electoral maps of 1948, 1960, 1968, and 1976 look quite different from each other, even though all were close. Many of the fluctuations in the two party coalitions over the last twelve years can be attributed to ideological sorting, like the continuing decline of Democratic fortunes in Appalachia or Republican losses in the affluent and well-educated suburbs of Denver, Washington, and Raleigh. These changes are reinforcing divisions between the two parties, not upending them.

    The problem for Republicans is simple: They built relatively durable, ideological coalitions immediately before a new generation of socially moderate and diverse voters completely upended the electoral calculus. In 2012, voters over age 30 went for Romney by 1.5 points—a result that shouldn’t surprise observers of the Bush elections. But the persistent and narrow GOP lean of the 2000 and 2004 electorates was overwhelmed by Obama’s 24-point victory among 18-to-29-year-olds. Democratic success with young voters is a product of demographics, not just Obama’s fleeting appeal or Bush’s legacy. Just 58 percent of 18-to-29-year-old voters were white in 2012 and 19 percent said they have no religious affiliation; in comparison, 76 percent of voters over 30 were white and only 10 percent were non-religious.

    The ascent of millennial voters has turned the Bush coalition into a coffin—and the coffin could be sealed in 2016. It was frequently observed that a Romney victory would have required a historic performance among white voters, provided that Obama could match his ’08 performance among non-white voters. Bush’s 2004 performance among white voters wouldn’t get it done anymore. In 2016, the math gets even more challenging. If the white share of the electorate declines further, Republicans won’t just need to match their best performance of the last 24 years among white voters, they’ll also need to match their best performance of the last 24 years among non-white voters. If they can’t make the requisite 16-point gain among non-white voters—a tall order, to say the least—then the next Republican candidate will enter truly uncharted territory, potentially needing to win up to 64 percent of the white vote just to break 50 percent of the popular vote.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Rev. Al did a nice segment with two of the children of Jackie Robinson tonight.

  5. rikyrah says:

    From ZIZI over at The Obama Diary:

    The one thing the Professional Left (PL) and their Emoprog cohort don’t seem to realize about Pres Obama is that unlike them he KNOWS the depth of nihilistic destruction that the GOP and their corporate backers are prepared to unleash on this country.

    Emos have no clue what the stakes are, being stuck as they are on the eras of FDR & LBJ. The Conservative movement has evolved into a more powerful malignant force since their defeats in the 1930s & 1960s. It is a force that continues to destroy whether their minions hold political power or NOT. Destructive force is easier to deploy than constructive building which liberals-Democrats try to do. Our societal building task is harder, less understood and prone to being demagogued by the conservative retrogressives. The PL is oblivious to the asymmetrical nature of our struggle.

    We don’t have the institutional structures to fight the plutocrats mano-a-mano on their turf. We don’t! We can only fight them using guerrilla strategies & tactics. No amount of Bully pulpiting or screaming “progressive chants”, or “twisting arms a la LBJ” is gonna dent the power of the wingnuts’ backers. Those are the facts. They have the power and money and nihilistic bent to destroy us all without batting an eye.

    The PL-Emos don’t realize that the $32 Trillion that the plutocrats have stashed in tax havens means that THEY DON’T CARE what happens to this country and the people in it. NADA. Unlike the barons of the gilded age who were at least propelled by some sense of nationalism, today’s plutocrats feel no allegiance to this country. It is only a place to exploit for $$$, and feudalize us against our will.

    They can and will SURVIVE our demise. Their red state rubes live vicariously through the ideological fog of their corporate masters and are prepared to do their bidding. Why? they don’t believe they themselves deserve anything or social protection beyond the crumbs that their puppeteers give them, so long as they get the satisfaction of knowing that “those people” (minorities, liberals, gays, immigrants etc…) don’t share the crumbs with them.

    So that is the America we have NOW, and it is the country Pres Obama must captain at this precarious time. How should he do it?

    1. Put points on the board faster than Plutocrats can take them away:

    a) He pushed for and got a critical safety net for the poor and the Middle Class in the form of Obamacare bringing our safety nets to 3 (SS, Medicare/Medicaid & Obamacare). The plutocrats’ response came in the form of Paul Ryan’s thrice voted on budget that threatens to privatize SS & Medicare while eliminating Medicaid (“block-grants” are how you kill a program).

    2. Fight wildfire with controlled fire:

    a) The Chained CPI is the “controlled fire” to guard against the Ryan budget blitzkrieg if GOP gets the reins of power (not that they won’t keep trying). Deaniac explains the policy implications of the Chained CPI on TPV so I won’t do that here. The PL-Emos never tell us what they would do to “SAVE” SS & Medicare/Medicaid if Ryan’s budget gets signed into law by a GOP president. When the WH aide said “we are not gonna be in the WH forever”, what he is referring to is the need for us NOW to shape the future trajectory of the safety net. Cuz if we don’t, the GOP will. It’s as simple as that!

    b) Case in point: Women’s dwindling rights.

    The women’s movement rested on its laurels and was slow to shape the narrative and state-by-state policy about women’s reproductive freedom. Result? Roe v. Wade is an empty law on the books, cuz wingnut Taliban have systematically dismantled women’s rights state by state, locality by locality. And look where we are today? Reduced to trashing POTUS for complimenting an Attorney General while state after state (blue & red) passes personhood amendments, banning abortion clinics.

    Women’s organizations did not fight wildfire with controlled fire. POTUS saved critical women’s rights in Obamacare, while ceding the meaningless repetition of Hyde Amendment in the bill to the conservadems. The real policy benefits for women have been left intact

    This is the exact strategy the president is doing with his budget — head off real disaster by making symbolic concessions.

  6. rikyrah says:

    “Gang of Eight” reaches immigration deal. But will GOP take it?

    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on April 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    At the beginning of the week, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said he was optimistic about the prospects for immigration reform, “I think we’re doing very well. I think that we hope that we can have a bipartisan agreement from the eight of us on comprehensive immigration reform by the end of this week,” he said on CBS’ Face the Nation.

    There were signs Republicans weren’t so eager to move forward with a deal, but as it turns out, Schumer’s optimism wasn’t misplaced. According to the New York Times, the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” has reached an agreement on a comprehensive immigration reform plan.

    By and large, the bill doesn’t depart from the framework established by President Obama and seconded by Marco Rubio, among others. It establishes a provisional status for unauthorized immigrants who who pass background checks and fulfill other requirements, such as paying fines and back taxes to the federal government. It also requires them to wait ten years before they can apply for green cards, a change from Obama’s plan, which proposed an eight year wait.

    This is broadly in line with public opinion. According to the latest poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, 64 percent of Americans support a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, a number that jumps to 76 percent when a proposed pathway includes fines, penalties, and a background check. It should be said, however, that few Americans support the long timeline for citizenship —18 percent say unauthorized immigrants should be immediately eligible for citizenship if they have jobs, while 51 percent say they should be eligible have jobs and have been in the country for five years. Only 12 percent agree with the “Gang of Eight” that ten years is necessary before citizenship can become an option

  7. rikyrah says:

    Hard right’s gun filibuster crashes and burns

    Posted by Greg Sargent on April 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    After a lot of bluster from a handful of hard right Senators who vowed to block debate of gun legislation, their filibuster was just defeated by a solid margin in the Senate. The vote was 68-31.

    This obviously doesn’t mean that the next filibuster will be easy to break. But it’s an encouraging first step.

    In a welcome development, a number of Republicans voted to break the filibuster. Among them: John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, Tom Coburn, Saxby Chambliss, Johnny Isakson, Pat Toomey, and Lindsey Graham. This is potentially important. It signals that there are at least some Republicans who are uncomfortable with using procedural shenanigans to stymie the debate over gun violence.

    Some or even most of these Senators could obviously still filibuster on the motion to end debate. But some of them could conceivably be candidates for supporting the final bill, or perhaps could vote to end debate while opposing the final proposal (which could then pass by simple majority). McCain, for instance, previously cut an ad in support of expanded background checks. Coburn supports the general policy goal but still has concerns about records. Isakson has already said there should be an up or down vote. Toomey obviously already supports the compromise. So perhaps you could see enough Republicans agreeing to give the families something — as Obama has put it, the families “deserve a vote” — even if they can’t support the final proposal.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Fiscal frauds

    Posted by Greg Sargent on April 10, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Okay, if this isn’t the clarifying moment we’ve been waiting for, nothing will ever be.

    This afternoon on CNN, GOP Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the NRCC, opened fire on Obama’s budget by claiming it is an assault on seniors:

    “I’ll tell you when you’re going after seniors the way he’s already done on Obamacare, taken $700 billion out of Medicare to put into Obamacare and now coming back at seniors again, I think you’re crossing that line very quickly here in terms of denying access to seniors for health care in districts like mine certainly and around the country,” he said on CNN Wednesday afternoon.

    This makes it all but certain that Republicans will use Obama’s Chained CPI proposal to attack Democrats in the 2014 elections for cutting Social Security. Brian Beutler points out that this vindicates the warnings of those on the left who predicted this would happen.

    I think this certainly could matter in 2014, but it’s too early to say for sure whether it actually be all that big a problem. As I noted below, the White House thinks 2012 shows that Dems can successfully litigate against Republican arguments on entitlements. Either way, we’ll soon find out.

    But I wanted to focus on another aspect of what this attack from Walden tells us.

    For one thing, it directly contradicts what GOP leaders themselves said earlier today. Remember, John Boehner and Eric Cantor effectively endorsed Chained CPI by claiming we should proceed with those cuts while not raising taxes. Boehner said Obama “deserves some credit” for embracing it. But now the NRCC chair is calling it an assault on seniors?

    You could not illustrate the farcical nature of the GOP position on all this more perfectly.

    Let’s step back a bit. Late last year, Boehner and Mitch McConnell explicitly called on Obama to agree to Chained CPI, with McConnell even claiming that Chained CPI and Medicare means testing “would get Republicans interested in new revenue.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    GOP leaders: By all means, cut Social Security, but don’t tax the rich

    Posted by Greg Sargent on April 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    If the White House’s political goal in calling for Social Security cuts in its budget was to reveal the GOP as the intransigent, uncompromising party in Washington, it’s having the desired effect.

    The statements from Republican leaders today in response to the budget are noteworthy, though not surprising: They say we should proceed with Obama’s proposed entitlement cuts but not raise any new revenues by closing any millionaire loopholes. Oh, they don’t put it in those terms. But here’s John Boehner:

    While the president has backtracked on some of his entitlement reforms that were in conversations that we had a year and a half ago, he does deserve some credit for some incremental entitlement reforms that he has outlined in his budget. But I would hope that he would not hold hostage these modest reforms for his demand for bigger tax hikes. Listen, why don’t we do what we can agree to do? Why don’t we find the common ground that we do have and move on that?

    And here’s Eric Cantor:

    If the President believes, as we do, that programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are on the path to bankruptcy, and that we actually can do some things to put them back on the right course and save them to protect the beneficiaries of these programs, we ought to do so. And we ought to do so without holding them hostage for more tax hikes.

    In other words, let’s only do the thing where there’s common ground (entitlement cuts) and not do the thing where there is disagreement (tax hikes).

    Now in one sense, this can be seen to validate some of the left’s worst fears about what would happen if Obama offered entitlement cuts. Now that he’s formally proposed cutting Social Security benefits, Republicans can describe that proposal as the one area of agreement between the two parties. And it’s true Obama will probably take a political hit for the proposal.

    At the same time, though, it’s worth noting that this doesn’t put Republicans in the greatest political position, either. The GOP position — revealed with fresh clarity today — is that we should only cut entitlements but not raise a penny in new revenues by getting rid of any loophole enjoyed by millionaires. GOP leaders try to compensate for this by robotically repeating the phrase “tax hikes” as a negative, but polls show that majorities already understand that Republican policies are skewed towards the rich. The use of the phrase “tax hikes” to obscure what Dems are really calling for — new revenues from the wealthy — didn’t fare too well in the 2012 elections.

  10. rikyrah says:

    How GOP anti-tax dogma helps liberals

    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on April 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    For the last few years — or at least since Republicans took the House of Representatives — there’s been a pattern to budget negotiations. In an attempt to claim the center and move the ball forward on a “grand bargain,” President Obama will make concessions in an area of concern to liberals. During his negotiations with John Boehner in 2011, he offered to cut Medicare in exchange for a relatively small amount in new revenue. Likewise, in the negotiations over the fiscal cliff, he offered a Social Security cut — “Chained CPI,” a different measure of inflation — in exchange for, again, new revenue. That Chained CPI proposal will be in the budget Obama sends up to the HIll tomorrow.

    But with their categorical opposition to new taxes, Republicans could never take either deal. And while conservatives continued to make a case for deeper spending cuts than the president proposed, the practical effect of their refusal was to protect retirement programs like Social Security and Medicare from Obama’s push to trim their costs and reduce their benefits.

    As The Hill reports this morning, liberals are hoping for a repeat of this dynamic with Obama’s latest budget, which enshrines entitlement cuts as a goal for the administration:

    “They won’t give, and that just creates the situation where nothing moves,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said of the GOP’s stand against new revenues. “And if nothing moves, then you can’t put Medicare or Social Security on the table. … It’s an interesting way to look at it, but there might be more than a kernel of truth in that.”

    If GOP calls for serious deficit reduction has spurred the administration to propose cuts to entitlement programs, then Republican intransigence on new revenues — Obama’s only condition for cutting either Social Security or Medicare — is what keeps those cuts from ever becoming law. Indeed, this isn’t conjecture — as soon as it was announced Obama’s budget would contain entitlement cuts, Speaker Boehner released a statement reiterating his opposition to new revenues or tax increases:

    “When the president visited the Capitol last month, House Republicans stated a desire to find common ground and urged him not to make savings we agree upon conditional on another round of tax increases. If reports are accurate, the president has not heeded that call. If the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there’s no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes. That’s no way to lead and move the country forward.”

    If this is any indication, odds are good that liberals will — again — be able to count on Republican anti-tax dogma to shield retirement programs from further cuts. Or, as Ezra Klein noted recently, John Boehner has become one of liberalism’s most reliable allies.

  11. rikyrah says:

    First lady Michelle Obama to address graduates in Ky., Md., Tenn.

    by Darlene Superville, Associated Press | April 11, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Michelle Obama’s commencement speaking schedule is taking her to Kentucky, Maryland and Tennessee.

    The White House announced Thursday that Mrs. Obama will address graduates at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond on May 11 and at Bowie State University in Bowie, Md., on May 17. She’s also speaking to graduating high school seniors at the Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet School in Nashville, Tenn., on May 18.

    Eastern Kentucky was chosen for its commitment to veterans’ education. The MLK magnet school recently opened a community supported wellness center and students tend to a community garden. Veterans and health and wellness are causes of the first lady.

    The magnet school has also been recognized for its curriculum and high graduation rate.

    Bowie State is a historically black college

  12. rikyrah says:

    Rand Paul fails history at Howard University


    by Joy-Ann Reid | April 11, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    During a speech at Howard University on Wednesday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul made his case for black Americans supporting the Republican Party. Unfortunately, he was pitching a Republican Party that hasn’t existed for more than 100 years.

    Paul, like many Republicans seeking to revive the party of Lincoln’s fortunes with a black electorate that routinely votes more than 90 percent for Democrats, used the 19th century liberal, anti-slavery version of his party to argue that today’s GOP is focused on freedom and individual liberty, respectful of the aspirations of all Americans regardless of race, and on a yeoman’s quest for equal opportunity for all.

    Of course, that’s not the way most black Americans would describe today’s Republican Party, which appears much more fixated on lowering taxes on the very rich, slashing social programs that help the poor, children and the elderly, opposing affirmative action and gun control (and the Voting Rights Act), controlling women’s reproduction and passing voter ID laws that just happen to make it harder for black, brown and young people — read: Democrats — to vote, and which often seems more driven to obstruct President Barack Obama than to govern.

    Paul got ample credit from members of the media, and from some of the students at the event, for showing up at Howard, which is not surprising. The media loves a “fish out of water” story. And that may have been his real goal. Paul is probably running for president in 2016, and he can use the visit to cement his bona fides as a “maverick” willing to take the party’s message into hostile territory.

    But Paul cannot realistically have thought that his gambit would win over black audiences with substance, since as theGrio’s political editor Perry Bacon pointed out, Republicans have chosen to woo Hispanic voters with policy shifts on immigration, but are offering African-Americans only history lessons.

    And they’re flawed history lessons at that.

    Getting the history wrong

    Paul spent the fist 20 minutes or so of his talk lecturing the students about the history of the civil rights struggle of black Americans, from slavery through Jim Crow, calling that history synonymous with the history of the Republican Party. He said that essentially, every bad thing that has ever been done to African-Americans at the hands of white Americans was perpetrated by Democrats. He even cited Dixiecrats in his defense of current voter ID laws.

    And he claimed — in answer to a student’s question and with a straight face — that there is no difference between the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln, who launched a civil war that ultimately ended slavery and who signed the 13th Amendment, and that of Ronald Reagan, who launched his 1980 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi with a speech on “states’ rights,” a move not likely to have been meant to send a supportive message to black people, and whose campaign popularized the term “welfare queens.”

    Paul would have those students, and African-Americans in general, believe that the 19th century Republican Party and the party of George W. Bush, and Mitt “47 percent” Romney, or for that matter, the Senator’s father, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, of those rather racially-insensitive newsletters that warned of a coming race war, are one and the same. “We just don’t talk about it enough,” Paul said of his party’s failure to connect with the progeny of Lincoln’s freedmen.

    The Senator even denied that he ever wavered in his support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, saying he’s “never been against the Civil Rights Act, ever.”

    This despite his having told a Louisville, Kentucky newspaper, NPR, and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in 2010 that he opposed the provisions in the act that forced private businesses to serve clients — read, black patrons — that they didn’t want to, and that opposing government-mandated integration has been his position for more than a decade.

    Paul’s revisionist history didn’t just extend to his own well-documented views. American history itself got a dose of what Slate‘s resident Libertarian Dave Weigel called “Randsplaining.” He is certainly not the first Republican to pretend not to know that after the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act were signed into law by Lyndon Johnson in the mid-1960s, and in the wake of Richard Nixon’s “southern strategy,” the GOP absorbed the southern Democrats — known as “Dixiecrats” — who were staunch opponents of integration and civil rights for African-Americans. He likely won’t be the last. But that doesn’t make him right.

    Don’t believe me? Ask a history professor.

  13. rikyrah says:

    MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid Nails It: GOP’s Outreach To African-Americans Both Condescending And Ineffectual
    by Noah Rothman | 12:45 pm, April 11th, 2013

    On Thursday, humanity edged slightly closer to the end times when I found myself in complete agreement with MSNBC contributor Joy-Ann Reid. In a segment with anchor Thomas Roberts, Reid criticized Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) address to African-American students at Howard University. She was critical, not of his effort, but in the inherent condescension he displayed by reminding that room full of bright students that African-Americans traditionally voted Republican more than a half century ago. In fact, most black civil rights leaders prior to the mid-1960s considered themselves proud members of the GOP. Reid said that African-American voters are well aware of this but it is not a compelling case to support Republican politicians today. Furthermore, that tactic compounds the GOP’s problem with minorities with the offensive implication that a history lesson is all that is required to win their support. Not only do I agree with this statement entirely, I made a similar case last night on Current TV.

    Reid began the segment by giving credit to Paul for appearing before a group of students at a university which traditionally views Republican politicians with suspicion. “The problem is,” she continued, “you probably don’t want to go to a historically black college and do a 20 minute lecture on black history.”

  14. rikyrah says:

    Strange Allies

    by BooMan
    Thu Apr 11th, 2013 at 11:17:15 AM EST

    Notice that Grover Norquist and his organization Americans for Tax Reform are opposed to the Chained CPI proposal because it would keep more people in higher marginal income tax brackets, resulting in a tax increase. The way they are looking at it is that Chained CPI will lower the government’s estimation of inflation, which won’t just result in lower cost of living adjustments for Social Security. It will also slow the rate at which marginal tax brackets are adjusted downwards. The result will be that people who would have had their tax bracket adjusted down will have to wait longer to see that happen. That means more revenue for the government, and the source of that revenue will come from the whole spectrum of taxpayers. Obviously, most of the money will come from people in the highest brackets, but that’s the nature of a progressive marginal tax system.
    Their talking point is that this is a middle class tax hike, which would be true in the narrow sense that some small percentage of middle class folks would pay a higher marginal rate on a tiny percentage of their income.

    Just something to think about as you weigh the pros and cons (both political and policy-wise) of the Chained CPI gambit.

  15. rikyrah says:

    The Dubai Police Are Getting A Lamborghini

    And we are understandably jealous

    By Colin Lecher

    Are the Dubai police looking for additions to their squad? Because we could use an excuse to drive this Lamborghini Aventador, which the city of Dubai has given to its force.

    The 217 mph machine costs about $400,000, making it, uh, high-end, to say the least. The oil-rich Dubai (with its awesome buildings) can probably afford it, and that oil might also help offset the car’s fuel costs: as Yahoo! Autos points out, police cars spend most of their time idling, waiting for a crime, which makes this behemoth a gas-guzzler most other countries wouldn’t have much reason to invest in.

    So the question now is: Will this turbo-charged vehicle strike fear into the hearts of would-be criminals, or will they commit a crime just for a ride in the backseat?

  16. rikyrah says:

    Grassley Proposes Eliminating 3 Seats On Powerful Court To Keep Obama From Filling Them

    By Ian Millhiser on Apr 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    As ThinkProgress has previously explained, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is the second most powerful court in the country. It’s also a bastion of right-wing jurisprudence thanks in no small part to Senate Republican filibusters. Two George W. Bush appointees on this court recently struck down clean air regulations that would have prevented “between 13,000 and 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 non-fatal heart attacks, 19,000 hospital and emergency room visits and 1.8 million days of missed work or school for each year.” Three conservative members of the court handed down a decision earlier this year that would make much of American labor law completely unenforceable, and render an important agency created to check Wall Street impotent to boot. At least two of the Court’s judges believe that all business, workplace or Wall Street regulation is constitutionally suspect.

    Time, however, is a harsh mistress, and several of the court’s older Republican appointees have taken partial retirement in the last several years. As a result, this court that once boasted one of the most lopsided lineups in the country now is split 4-3 between Democratic and Republican appointees. Moreover, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday on the nomination of Sri Srinivasan to the DC Circuit, a nominee brimming with conservative endorsers and past jobs working for Republican judges and administrations. If Srinivasan is confirmed, Republican-appointees will no longer have a majority among the active judges on the nation’s second-highest court. If another Obama nominee is confirmed to one of the three remaining vacancies, Republican-appointees will be in the minority.

    Which explains why Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) used Srinivasan’s hearing to introduce legislation ensuring that this won’t happen:

    I would like to spend a couple minutes discussing the D.C. Circuit. As most of my colleagues know, the D.C. Circuit is the least busy circuit in the country. In fact, it ranks last or almost last in nearly every category that measures workload.

    Based on the 2012 statistics from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the D.C. Circuit has the fewest number of appeals filed per authorized judgeship, with 108. By way of comparison, the 11th Circuit ranks first with over 5 times as many appeals filed per authorized judgeship, with 583. . . . Given this imbalance in workload, today I am introducing the Court Efficiency Act. A number of my colleagues are co-sponsoring the legislation, including Senators Hatch, Sessions, Graham, Cornyn, Lee, Cruz and Flake.

    This legislation is straightforward. It would add a seat to the Second and the Eleventh Circuits. At the same time, it would reduce the number of authorized judgeships for the D.C. Circuit from 11 to 8.

    While it is true that the DC Circuit’s caseload is relatively small in terms of raw numbers, Grassley’s statistics are highly misleading. Unlike other federal courts of appeal, the DC Circuit hears an unusually large number of major regulatory and national security cases, many of which require very specialized legal research, involve intensely long records, and take more time for a judge to process than four or five normal cases of the kinds heard in other circuits. The caseloads outside of the DC Circuit include many routine sentencing, immigration and other cases of the kinds that are often dispatched with in brief orders drafted by staff attorneys (who then have these orders approved by judges). The DC Circuit, by contrast, hears far fewer of these easy cases that require very little work on the part of judges.

    Indeed, it’s likely that even Chuck Grassley understands that Chuck Grassley’s numbers are misleading. In 2005, Grassley voted to confirm Judge Janice Rogers Brown, a Bush appointee to the DC Circuit. Brown was the tenth active judge on the DC Circuit when she took her seat. Shortly thereafter, Grassley voted to confirm Judge Thomas Griffith. Griffith was the eleventh active judge on the DC Circuit at the time of his confirmation.

    Now that President Obama is naming judges, however, Grassley suddenly thinks the DC Circuit is so underworked that it needs just eight judges. This isn’t credible. If Grassley tries to use this excuse in the future to block an Obama nominee to the DC Circuit, Senate Democrats can respond by nuking the filibuster and making Grassley’s transparently self-serving views irrelevant.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Good Evening, Everyone :)

  18. Ametia says:

    Graduation Season: Who Gets the First Lady and Why?
    By: Jenée Desmond-Harris | Posted: April 11, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    On the schedule this year: Commencement addresses at Eastern Kentucky University, the Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School for Health Sciences and Engineering at Historic Pearl High and HBCU Bowie State University.

    According to the White House, the Eastern Kentucky appearance ties in with her Joining Forces initiative because of its outstanding record supporting veterans and military families; Bowie State is getting attention because it’s Maryland’s oldest historically black university; and she’s focusing on MLK Magnet because it is consistently ranked among the best public schools in the nation for its academic rigor and high graduation rates.

    Last year Mrs. Obama spoke at the commencements of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), North Carolina A&T State University and Oregon State University.

  19. Ametia says:

    Jay-Z’s New Diss Track Rips Into Critics of His Cuba Trip, Flaunts Big Brooklyn Nets Cash (Audio)

  20. Ametia says:

    House Conservatives Urge Boehner To Kill Universal Background Check Deal
    By Igor Volsky on Apr 11, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) and 40 Republicans are passing around a Dear Colleague letter asking Republicans in the House to pressure Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) not to take up a bill expanding background checks for gun purchases “without the support of a majority of the conference.” Boehner has brought measures to the floor that are not backed by a majority of Republicans several times in the past, breaking the Hastert rule and outraging conservative members.

    “The so-called “universal background check” system would be a violation of Constitutionally-guaranteed rights on an unprecedented scale,” the letter, obtained by ThinkProgress notes, even though 60 percent of gun sales are already subject to a background check at federally licensed gun stores. It goes on to claim that “such a law would apply to transfers between family members, friends and neighbors.” The background check proposal being considered by the Senate would only apply to sales at gun shows and online and exempt people-to-people transfers.
    Boehner has not committed to taking-up the gun bill, should it pass the Senate, telling reporters on Wednesday that “As I’ve made clear, any bill that passes the Senate, we’re going to review it.”

  21. Ametia says:

    Senate votes to allow gun-violence bill to move forwar
    The Senate voted 68 to 31 to open debate on legislation to curb gun violence on Thursday, beginning what observers expect to be weeks of argument on the most consequential congressional action on firearm regulations since the 1990s.

    Read more at:

  22. Ametia says:

    Whelp! Spring is almost here in the Mini-apple. We’re getting hammered with snow and ice. at least a half a foot!

  23. Ametia says:

    BYE BOY! Carson speaking at JH is just about as ludicris as Rand Paul speaking at Howard.

    Ben Carson withdraws as Johns Hopkins graduation speaker
    Posted by Aaron Blake on April 10, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Dr. Ben Carson announced Wednesday that he is withdrawing as graduation speaker at Johns Hopkins University, ceding to demands from students concerned about his controversial recent comments about gay marriage.

    “Given all the national media surrounding my statements as to my belief in traditional marriage, I believe it would be in the best interests of the students for me to voluntarily withdraw as your commencement speaker this year,” Carson said in an e-mail to the dean of the Johns Hopkins medical school, Paul Rothman. “My presence is likely to distract from the true celebratory nature of the day. Commencement is about the students and their successes, and it is not about me.”
    Carson in a TV interview two weeks ago mentioned bestiality and pedophilia while arguing against gay marriage.

    “[Traditional marriage is] a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group — be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are — they don’t get to change the definition,” Carson said in the Fox News interview, referring to the North American Man/Boy Love Association, which seeks to overturn pedophilia laws.

  24. Ametia says:

    Senate to vote on moving forward with gun control measure today
    By Jonathan Easley – 04/11/13 08:53 AM ET

    The Senate will vote Thursday to move forward on gun control legislation, an action expected to set off weeks of debate on the floor.
    Democrats are confident they have the 60 votes they need to proceed to a debate after a number of Republicans said they would not support a filibuster backed by conservatives.
    Some red-state Democrats up for reelection next year may oppose the motion, scheduled for a vote at 11 a.m., but it is expected the vote will succeed.

    Read more:
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  25. CarolMaeWY says:

    A little night music. :wink:

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