Monday Open Thread | Bruce Springsteen Week

This week, we pay tribute to ‘The Boss’- Bruce Springsteen.

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Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949), nicknamed “The Boss”, is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who records and tours with the E Street Band. Springsteen is widely known for his brand of heartland rock, poetic lyrics, Americana sentiments centered on his native New Jersey and his lengthy and energetic stage performances, with concerts from the 1970s to the present decade running up to an uninterrupted 250 minutes in length.[1][2]

Springsteen’s recordings have included both commercially accessible rock albums and more somber folk-oriented works. His most successful studio albums, Born in the U.S.A. and Born to Run, showcase a talent for finding grandeur in the struggles of daily American life; he has sold more than 65 million albums in the United States and more than 120 million worldwide[3] and he has earned numerous awards for his work, including 20 Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes and an Academy Award as well as being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him as the 23rd Greatest Artist of all time, the 96th Greatest Guitarist of all time on their latest list and the 36th Greatest Singer of all time in 2008.

Career history
1962–1972: Early years

Springsteen had been inspired to take up music at the age of seven after seeing Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show. At 13, his mother bought him his first guitar for $18; later, she took out a loan to buy the 16-year-old Springsteen a $60 Kent guitar, as he later memorialized in his song “The Wish”.


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In 1965, he went to the house of Tex and Marion Vinyard, who sponsored young bands in town. They helped him become the lead guitarist and subsequently the lead singer of The Castiles. The Castiles recorded two original songs at a public recording studio in Brick Township and played a variety of venues, including Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village. Marion Vinyard said that she believed the young Springsteen when he promised he would make it big.[12]

Called for induction when he was 18, Springsteen failed his physical examination and did not serve in Vietnam. In an interview in Rolling Stone magazine in 1984, he said, “When I got on the bus to go take my physical, I thought one thing: I ain’t goin’.” He had suffered a concussion in a motorcycle accident when he was 17, and this together with his “crazy” behavior at induction and not taking the tests, was enough to get him a 4F.[13]

In the late 1960s, Springsteen performed briefly in a power trio known as Earth, playing in clubs in New Jersey. Springsteen acquired the nickname “The Boss” during this period as when he played club gigs with a band he took on the task of collecting the band’s nightly pay and distributing it amongst his bandmates.[14] Springsteen is not fond of this nickname, due to his dislike of bosses,[14] but seems to have since given it a tacit acceptance. Previously he had the nickname “Doctor”.[15]
New Jersey beach towns such as Asbury Park inspired the themes of ordinary life in Bruce Springsteen’s music.

From 1969 through early 1971, Springsteen performed with Steel Mill, which also featured Danny Federici, Vini Lopez, Vinnie Roslin and later Steve Van Zandt and Robbin Thompson. They went on to play the mid-Atlantic college circuit, and also briefly in California. In January 1970 well-known San Francisco Examiner music critic Philip Elwood gave Springsteen credibility in his glowing assessment of Steel Mill: “I have never been so overwhelmed by totally unknown talent.” Elwood went on to praise their “cohesive musicality” and, in particular, singled out Springsteen as “a most impressive composer.” During this time Springsteen also performed regularly at small clubs in Canton, Massachusetts; Richmond, Virginia; and Asbury Park and other points along the Jersey Shore, quickly gathering a cult following.

Other acts followed over the next two years, as Springsteen sought to shape a unique and genuine musical and lyrical style: Dr. Zoom & the Sonic Boom (early–mid 1971), Sundance Blues Band (mid 1971), and The Bruce Springsteen Band (mid 1971–mid 1972). With the addition of pianist David Sancious, the core of what would later become the E Street Band was formed, with occasional temporary additions such as horn sections, “The Zoomettes” (a group of female backing vocalists for “Dr. Zoom”) and Southside Johnny Lyon on harmonica. Musical genres explored included blues, R&B, jazz, church music, early rock ‘n’ roll, and soul. His prolific songwriting ability, with “More words in some individual songs than other artists had in whole albums,” as his future record label would describe it in early publicity campaigns, brought his skill to the attention of several people who were about to change his life: new managers Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos, and Columbia Records talent scout John Hammond, who, under Appel’s pressure, auditioned Springsteen in May 1972.

Even after Springsteen gained international acclaim, his New Jersey roots showed through in his music, and he often praised “the great state of New Jersey” in his live shows. Drawing on his extensive local appeal, he routinely sold out consecutive nights in major New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York venues. He also made many surprise appearances at The Stone Pony and other shore nightclubs over the years, becoming the foremost exponent of the Jersey Shore sound.

1972–1974: Initial struggle for success

Springsteen signed a record deal with Columbia Records in 1972, with the help of John Hammond, who had signed Bob Dylan to the same label a decade earlier. Springsteen brought many of his New Jersey–based colleagues into the studio with him, thus forming the E Street Band (although it would not be formally named as such for several more years). His debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., released in January 1973, established him as a critical favorite,[16] though sales were slow. Because of Springsteen’s lyrical poeticism and folk rock–rooted music exemplified on tracks like “Blinded by the Light”, (which would later be a hit for Manfred Mann and go to No. 1, making it the only time Springsteen had a No. 1 single as a songwriter), and “For You”, as well as the Columbia and Hammond connections, critics initially compared Springsteen to Bob Dylan. “He sings with a freshness and urgency I haven’t heard since I was rocked by ‘Like a Rolling Stone, ‘” wrote Crawdaddy magazine editor Peter Knobler in Springsteen’s first interview/profile, in March 1973.

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68 Responses to Monday Open Thread | Bruce Springsteen Week

  1. Ametia says:

    It’s Homegrown terrorist, bank on it. When the reporters start asking about “false flag” bullshit, that;s the RED FLAG it’s a white, rightwing wingnut.

  2. For the love of Moses…

    A reporter at press conference: “Was this a false flag operation to take more if our civil liberties?”


    slap smiley photo: slap across the room smiley_slapacrossroom.gif

    • Ametia says:

      A fucking righwingut talking point, which makes absolutely NO sense. Spouting civil liberties means their rights, and fuck everyone else. No sense of awareness and compassion for Americans’ rights to stand on a city street and watch a marathon, without getting blown to kingdom come.

      Did you see the comments from the WH video with PBO speaking on the explosions? They’re just SICK and vile, blaming the president for this foolishness.

  3. BREAKING: Officials found five other explosive devices that did not detonate

  4. UPDATE: Officials are searching for a Penske truck that tried to gain access to marathon route before blasts

  5. rikyrah says:

    Jim Roberts@nycjim
    RT @andrewphelps: Reporter on @WBUR says most cases at Mass General are leg amputations. These are people who just finished the Marathon.

  6. CarolMaeWY says:

    This is a National tragedy. In our small we had four runners at the Boston Marathon. All are safe as well as the others from around WY. Our population is under half a million. My oldest son and his wife are/were marathon runners. They weren’t there, but they could have friends. His Grandma just called worried about him. Here is a link to our local paper.

  7. Erik Rush: Kill All Muslims in Response to Boston Marathon Attack

    Earlier today, there was an apparent bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon that, according to preliminary reports, has left two people dead and dozens more injured.

    In response, and utterly without any evidence, frequent Fox News contributor Erik Rush tweeted out a message blaming the bombing on Muslim terrorists, saying “Everybody do the National Security Ankle Grab! Let’s bring more Saudis in without screening them! C’mon! #bostonmarathon.”

    That prompted another Twitter user to chastize Rush for making such unsupported accusations, which prompted Rush to respond with a call for all Muslims to be killed

    Erik Rush

  8. Ametia says:

    Obama: ‘We will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable.’

    In a statement at the White House in response to the deadly blasts at the Boston Marathon, President Obama promised that “we will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable.” Obama declined to call the event a terrorist attack, saying, “We don’t yet have all the answers. We still do not know who did this or why.” He said he had already ordered increased security around the United States, and promised that the federal government was “mobilizing the appropriate resources to investigate and respond.”

    We don’t yet have all the answers. We still do not know who did this or why.

    Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.

    Mobilizing the appropriate resources to investigate and respond.

    There are no Republicans and Democrats” on days like this. “Only Americans.”

    They have every single federal resource available.

    All Americans stand with the4 people of boston.

    Read more at:

  9. Ametia says:

    My gut’s telling me this is another ANGRY WHITE MAN who is feeling oppressed by the government and taxes, yah dah, yah, dah yah dah!

  10. President Obama will deliver a statement at 6:10pm est.

  11. Ametia says:

    Today is Tax day, and we know how the TEA PARTY & nem loathe taxes! Remember the Boston Tea Party?

  12. [wpvideo xyYO4tSJ]

  13. Google has created a Boston Marathon Explosion person finder

  14. Ametia says:

    Boston Police commissioner confirms third explosion at John F. Kennedy Library

    Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis on Monday confirmed a third explosion at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, following two earlier blasts at the Boston Marathon finish line that killed at least two people.

    Read more at:

  15. CarolMaeWY says:

    So sad about the Boston Marathon. It shouldn’t be happening…

  16. Live video: Explosion at Boston Marathon |

  17. Breaking News!

    2 huge explosions at the Boston Marathon near the finish line. People with missing limbs being wheeled from the scene.

  18. rikyrah says:

    When Republicans endorse tax increases
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:54 PM EDT.

    If there’s one constant in contemporary American politics it’s that Republicans are uncompromising in their role as an anti-tax party. When it comes to GOP priorities, literally every other consideration pales in comparison.

    But as those who watch Republican politics closely know, the anti-tax rule needs an asterisk. The party hates tax increases with every fiber of its being, unless you’re poor. Luke Johnson flagged this quote from Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.).

    “You know, folks mock Mitt Romney for what he said, but he’s right. Forty-seven percent of American citizens pay zero in income taxes. It’s just true,” Woodall said, according to remarks recorded by Georgia Fair Share. […]

    “In fact, the bottom 30% of American citizens profit from the tax code because they’re getting refundable tax credits back,” Woodall says in the video. “I don’t care if you’re paying a dollar. You need to believe that you are involved in the process, and you need to have skin in the game.”

    There are a couple of relevant angles to this. First, Romney’s “47 percent” thesis wasn’t just the percentage of Americans who don’t pay income taxes; it was also about characterizing nearly half the country, including seniors and veterans, as lazy parasites.

    Second, what Woodall is talking about is raising taxes on those who can least afford it. He won’t call it that, but “skin in the game” is a euphemism for “paying more than zero in taxes.”


    Remember, as we talked about a year ago, millions of Americans may be exempt from income taxes, but they still pay sales taxes, state taxes, local taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare/Medicaid taxes, and in many instances, property taxes. It’s not as if these folks are getting away with something — the existing tax structure leaves them out of the income tax system because they don’t make enough money to qualify. Indeed, many are retirees who can’t earn an income because they’re no longer in the workforce.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Considering any other part of this budget is impossible
    By Kay April 15th, 2013I’ve been following this and it’s great:

    Friday was the final day of the Working America Minimum Wage Challenge, during which Minnesota Rep. Jason Metsa lived on a budget of $7.25 an hour for one week. Previously, Rep. Metsa made a budget, went grocery shopping, looked for housing, and met with Minnesotans who are living on minimum wage.

    On his last day, Rep. Metsa’s challenge was to do something he usually took for granted: go home at the end of the week.

    Metsa hails from the Iron Range, specifically Virginia, MN, and it’s about a three hour drive from the capital. On the budget he had set out at the beginning of the week, he had $268 a month for transportation. “Most people would have a car payment, but luckily I don’t, because my car is a ’99,” he told us.

    He does have an insurance payment of $138 a month, which leaves him $32 a month for gas and maintenance; not enough even to get around on the metro during the work week and also get him home.

    And then there’s maintenance. “I need an oil change, but there’s no way to do that on this budget,” Metsa commented. “Just before I started the Challenge, I put $1,800 into the car – on minimum wage I’d have to take out a payday loan to cover that. And that’s not ideal for a low-wage worker, with the high interest.”

    It was sobering for Metsa that on a minimum wage budget, he’d literally have to take out a loan in order to make it home. “This budget has no room for mistakes, no room for an emergency, and it’s almost an extra job to make sure I’m spending each penny wisely,” he said.
    “If I really was on minimum wage, I probably wouldn’t have a car,” Metsa continued, “I’d probably use the extra money to secure housing. Without housing, considering any other part of this budget is impossible.”

    So without a car, Metsa would have to work either walking distance from his home or somewhere that was metro or bus accessible. This is feasible in St. Paul near his current job at the Minnesota House, but impossible in Virginia and other parts of the Iron Range (and much of the country) where adequate, affordable, public transit is nonexistent.

  20. rikyrah says:

    North Carolina vote-challengers on fraud claims: Oops?
    By Laura Conaway – Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:25 PM EDT.

    Last week the North Carolina legislature held a hearing on a new bill to require photo ID in order to vote. So many speakers turned out with prepared scripts about stories of voter fraud — prepared by a Tea Party voter-challenge group — that the local press mentioned it as part of the coverage. At least one of the speakers, the woman on the right, mentioned it as part of her testimony. She told lawmakers:

    “And I have of course here another one of these things from the Voter Integrity people who have done a magnificent job in their research.”

    Or maybe not. Over the weekend the group, the Voter Integrity Project, posted a note saying that it might have made mistakes in those scripts, but please make voting harder anyway. The statement in full:


    Late this afternoon, we learned that some of our findings, revealed at the April 10 public Legislative hearing, may be inaccurate; so we plan to issue a full report after completing an audit. While we regret this human error and apologize for any embarrassment it may have caused to the presenters and to election officials, we caution the public against losing sight of the undeniable fact that North Carolina’s voter rolls are so corrupted that, without an effective voter ID law, it will be impossible to know who is really voting. Keeping that in mind, we look forward to constructive engagement with any stakeholders who support open and honest elections in our state.

    Among the anecdotes prepared by the Voter Integrity Project were stories of noncitizens who were allowed to vote. You might remember our story about the Voter Integrity Project from last year, when the group challenged thousands of voter registrations just weeks before the election. The Voter Integrity Project challenged some registrations by saying the person was dead, even though the person was alive.

    We also reported (video) that the Voter Integrity Project told the public it was a nonprofit, though in fact it was registered with the state as a business. The difference matters because by law, nonprofits must disclose their tax returns, giving the public a window into what they’re up to. As a for-profit business, even with no profits, the Voter Integrity Project is asserting itself in the public sphere with no way for the public to know who is behind it or on what scale it is operating or who is responsible for the possibly inaccurate testimony given to North Carolina lawmakers last week.

  21. rikyrah says:

    My Money’s still on the nuns.


    Pope Francis maintains Vatican stance against US nuns’ groupNew pope echoes predecessor’s radical feminist assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious

    Pope Francis has reaffirmed criticism of a body representing US nuns that the Vatican said was tainted by radical feminism.

    Francis’s predecessor, Benedict, decreed that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), a group that represents more than 80% of the 57,000 Catholic nuns in the US, must change its ways, in a ruling the Vatican said on Monday still applied.

    Last year, a Vatican report said the LCWR had serious doctrinal problems and promoted radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith, criticising it for taking a soft line on issues such as birth control and homosexuality.

    The nuns received wide support among US Catholics as LCWR leaders travelled around the country in a bus to defend themselves against the accusations.

    On Monday, the group’s leaders met Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the new head of the Vatican’s doctrinal department, and Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, who has been assigned to correct the group’s perceived failings.

    “Archbishop Müller informed the [LCWR] presidency that he had recently discussed the doctrinal assessment with Pope Francis, who reaffirmed the findings of the assessment and the programme of reform,” the Vatican’s statement said.

    The Vatican reminded the group that it would remain under the direction of the Holy See, the statement said.

    The LCWR said the conversation had been open and frank, adding: “We pray that these conversations may bear fruit for the good of the church.”

    In 2012, the doctrinal department criticised the LCWR for being silent on the right to life, saying it had failed to make the biblical view of family life central to its agenda. The nuns backed Obama’s healthcare reform, part of which makes insurance coverage of birth control mandatory.

  22. Ametia says:

    Because, I’m feeling “You are” right now.

  23. Ametia says:

    No. 42 to be ubiquitous for Jackie festivities
    By Barry M. Bloom / | 4/14/2013 10:00 A.M. ET

    LOS ANGELES — Once again, the Dodgers — all of them — will be wearing the famous No. 42 on Monday night at Dodger Stadium in honor of one of their own. It’s the 66th anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson put on a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform in a regular-season game for the first time, thus integrating Major League Baseball forever.

    Robinson will be honored in each of the nine ballparks where games will be played again this April 15, but the main ceremony will be staged in Chavez Ravine for the first time since 2007. The revamped ballpark is more than six decades and 3,000 miles removed from Flatbush and tiny Ebbets Field, where Robinson went out to play first base for dem Bums. On that epic day in 1947 in front of 26,623, Robinson reached base on a throwing error, scored a run, the Dodgers defeated the Boston Braves, and the grand old game was never the same.

  24. Ametia says:

    Sunday, April 14, 2013 | 2:58 PM
    Paris Jackson Wants to Restore Neverland Ranch
    By Derrick Bryson Taylor

    Paris Jackson may only be 15 years old, but she’s got big dreams for her late father’s dilapidated Neverland ranch. According to Event magazine, Jackson wants to restore it for sick and underprivileged kids to use and enjoy.

    Jackson made a special trip back to the ranch two years ago to find the famous ferris wheel was removed. “I cried and cried,” said Jackson. “It’s beautiful there. It still has good energy.”

    Although her dream to revive the ranch won’t be easy, Jackson says she’ll begin the project when she becomes an adult.

  25. Ametia says:

    Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa, 23, won the men’s division of the 2013 Boston Marathon today.

    In the women’s division, Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo, 32, was the winner. It is her second Boston Marathon win. She also won it in 2006.

    Monday’s race was the 117th edition of the Boston Marathon.

  26. Ametia says:

    How Obama is wisely navigating Washington
    by Perry Bacon Jr. | April 15, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    Two weeks ago, President Obama was getting criticism from all sides, with liberals arguing he was squandering an opportunity to pass major gun control legislation and centrists and conservatives casting him as not providing enough leadership on deficit reduction.

    Nevermind all that. Obama is now not only moving forward on three of his biggest policy priorities for a second term, but has managed to recruit an impressive and surprising set of allies.

    On Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), perhaps the most important figure in the Republican Party because of his ethnicity and potential presidential candidacy, was appearing on seven political talk shows to tout immigration reform, giving a huge bi-partisan lift to Obama’s plans on that issue.

    At the same time, the families of the victims of the Newtown shooting, along with senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), two members with “A” ratings from the National Rifle Association, were aligning with the president for increased background checks for gun purchases. And a bi-partisan group of senators is working with Obama on his deficit reduction ideas.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Newtown families face unexpected pushback
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:51 AM EDT.

    In 2006, about five years after the 9/11 attacks, some on the right did something unexpected: they began going after family members of 9/11 victims. In one especially memorable outburst, Ann Coulter, a notable provocateur of the day, said the widows of victims “demand that we listen to them out of pity,” when they should just “take their money and shut up about it.”

    It was jarring because it was unexpected. In our public discourse, vitriol was and is common, but those who lost loved ones on 9/11 seemed like the last group of people who’d face political attacks from anyone. And yet, in 2006, it happened anyway.

    Seven years later, I wonder if we might be witnessing a replay with the family members of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre.

    Last week, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) characterized Newtown families as manipulated rubes, under the misguided impression that the debate over gun violence “has something to do with them when, in fact, it doesn’t.” A few days later, Rush Limbaugh made a similar argument, characterizing these family members as “human shields” for Democrats.

    Drudge complained last week about the Newtown families getting “Clintonite handlers,” and Politico reported that there’s “nothing subtle” about the family members’ lobbying efforts, to the chagrin of annoyed Republicans on Capitol Hill.

    A group of experienced operators is guiding these families — to a degree that has irritated some pro-gun Republicans. An uber-strategist for the families is Ricki Seidman, a familiar face at the top levels of Democratic politics ever since she ran the Clinton-Gore campaign’s famous 1992 war room. Seidman, a senior principal with TSD Communications, was Vice President Joe Biden’s communications director during the 2008 general election, and helped the White House win confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotmayor.

    Bennett’s Third Way connected the families with a lobbying firm, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, that set up more than 25 Hill meetings this week alone. And Lara Bergthold, a veteran of Democratic presidential campaigns now with Griffin, Schein in Los Angeles, is helping to manage the media onslaught.

    If this sounds like the sort of story a congressional Republican office pitched to Politico, in the hopes of taking the families down a peg, you and I are thinking the same way.


    To be sure, I don’t imagine we’ll hear any Republican pundits whining that these families “demand that we listen to them out of pity,” when they should just “take their money and shut up about it.” Then again, given the state of the conservative movement in 2013, I suppose anything’s possible.

    But these are the first hints of real pushback. The Newtown families have proven to be a powerful force, and we have probably reached a point at which the right, fearful of their efficacy, feels the need to tell Republican lawmakers who may be swayed that while they may seem sympathetic, these families have experienced Democratic “operators” guiding them.

    In the meantime, E.J. Dionne Jr. raises an excellent point about the Newtown families their critics probably don’t want to hear.

  28. rikyrah says:

    GOP offers Obama a chained-CPI off-ramp
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:14 AM EDT

    .When Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee who’ll oversee his party’s 2014 midterm efforts, accused President Obama of waging “a shocking attack on seniors,” it took an enormous amount of chutzpah. At issue, of course, is a controversial proposal to change the way Social Security is indexed — the “chained-CPI” policy — that the White House does not like, but which Obama offered as a concession to congressional Republicans who demanded it.

    In effect, Walden was condemning the president for his own party’s proposal. A day later, House Speaker John Boehner, one of the officials who demanded Obama put chained-CPI on the table, subtly rebuked Walden’s craven criticism.

    But let’s not lose sight of the fact that Walden isn’t alone. Last week, Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) said he’s “not a fan” of the policy, and soon after, they had some company.

    “The president is trying to say this draconian thing that no one likes is the Republicans’ fault,” Rep. James Lankford (Okla.), the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, told reporters on Friday.

    “It’s not my plan,” Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) said about chained CPI. “This is the president’s plan.”

    Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), a House Ways and Means Committee member, added, “I’m very sensitive to the fact that you’re impacting current seniors in particular. It’s something I’m very hesitant to jump up and down and support.”

    The word “bullpucky” keeps coming to mind.

    Yes, plenty of congressional Republicans, including members of the GOP leadership, have welcomed Obama’s offer — while refusing to point to any comparable concessions they’d accept, of course — so this isn’t a party-wide phenomenon.

    But the larger point is that having even some congressional Republicans balk at their own idea offers the president an opportunity.


    Remember, the White House doesn’t actually like chained-CPI. Obama freely admits he doesn’t want this policy, and only offered it because Republicans are such enthusiastic supporters of the idea. From the president’s perspective, he and his team are going to have to tolerate some measures they don’t like if there’s going to be a bipartisan compromise in which both sides accept concessions they would otherwise reject.

    But over the course of just a few days, GOP lawmakers have called this policy — the one Republicans demanded — a “shocking attack on seniors,” a “draconian” policy, “the president’s plan.”

    It is, of course, painfully absurd for the right to criticize Obama for doing exactly what Republicans asked him to do, but therein lies the point: there’s nothing stopping the president from simply walking away from the idea if the GOP has suddenly discovered they dislike their own proposal.

    As I mentioned briefly last week, Obama, who doesn’t like chained-CPI anyway and realized his own party is furious, could credibly declare right now, “I thought Republicans wanted this policy. But if they consider this ‘a shocking attack on seniors,’ I’ll gladly drop the idea.”

  29. rikyrah says:

    A terrorist network with a broken back
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:15 AM EDT.

    Several months ago, when congressional Republicans decided to smear Susan Rice in advance of a possible Secretary of State nomination, one of the GOP talking points focused on Rice’s claim that al Qaeda has been “decimated.”

    Appearing on Fox News in November, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) complained, “Why did she say that, why did she say that al Qaeda has been ‘decimated’ in her statement here on this program? Al Qaeda hasn’t been decimated. They’re on the rise.”

    McCain has struggled for years when it comes to the details of national security policy, but this was an especially jarring claim. The terrorist network responsible for the 9/11 attacks isn’t “on the rise”; it’s falling apart.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Lessons in accountability from the school reform industry and the politicians they purchased
    By Kay April 15th, 2013

    Millions of kids all over the country are taking high stakes tests this week:


    Meanwhile, here’s how the adults are holding themselves accountable:

    The chairman of the D.C. Council’s education committee said Sunday that he has no plans to launch a full-scale investigation into allegations of widespread cheating on standardized tests in 2008, during the tenure of former Chancellor Michelle Rhee.
    Catania said that in light of the 2009 memo, he is “bewildered by the narrow scope” of a investigation by the D.C. Inspector General, which lasted 17 months and focused only on one school. But he said a full-scale reinvestigation of the five-year-old allegations “would be impractical and would yield little in terms of accountability.”
    “Among other things,” he said, “simply identifying and interviewing the hundreds of witnesses would overwhelm the Council’s limited staff and resources.”
    It makes more sense to focus on tightening test security and strengthening efforts to identify cheating in the future, the council member said.The hearing will also include discussion of a report released Friday by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, which found that teachers in 11 schools cheated on 2012 standardized tests.

    I have no idea how they’re going to “tighten security” when they’ve made a decision to ignore what happened when security was lax, but creating security standards without finding out how and why there was a breach makes about as much sense as testing kids on material they didn’t cover, so I’m not surprised. I suppose we’re getting ready to create a companion industry to the testing industry, one that focuses on test security. We’ll need lots and lots of consultants. I can save DC a lot of money and time on this hearing, because everyone in this country is familiar with how these go. The 2008 cheating was due to a few bad apples (ideally lazy, venal union members or their failed and failing students) and none of the people responsible are now or were then in positions of power. Wrap it up, release the findings and hire the security consultants.

    The school reform industry spokespeople and the politicians they own yammer constantly about “accountability” and “no excuses.” The standards they impose seem to apply only to students and teachers, however, because let’s face it. It would be extremely embarrassing to the billionaires and the clueless media celebrities and the politicians from both parties who promoted Michelle Rhee and blindly climbed onto this bandwagon if they investigated what actually happened under Rhee’s watch, so they’ve simply decided not to. No excuses for fourth graders. Plenty of excuses available for the adults at the very top. That’s today’s lesson in accountability from the no excuses crowd.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Robinson’s everlasting impact on baseball

    On Monday, the world will celebrate the nearly indescribable impact Jack Roosevelt Robinson had on civil rights in America — and elsewhere.

    The biographical film “42,” about Robinson breaking the racial barrier in baseball, was released Friday, and there has long been talk of a true, legal national holiday to honor Robinson and his amazing accomplishments as a trailblazer and Hall of Fame player. Not to mention the devastating personal sacrifices he made along the way.

    “Jackie had as much or more impact on the civil rights movement as anybody, so why shouldn’t he have a day named after him?” said his friend and Dodgers teammate Don Newcombe. “All of us were worried about what would happen if somebody hit Jackie (in the head). Jackie was too much of a man to get hit and not retaliate — especially if it was in front of his family.

    “Thank God, it never happened and things went well, but I guarantee you Jackie would not have turned one cheek if someone hit him in the other.”

    Among today’s sports superstars, Robinson’s impact is felt on a daily basis.

    “I saw him as a man who was extremely patient and extremely kind. He understood his significance beyond sports, what he was representing,” Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said. “Now, as I sit back and look at everything he had to endure and you think about some of the things athletes of today have to deal with — heckling, the Twitter-hate — and it’s laughable when you think about what he had to deal with and endure. He might have used it as fuel to become a better baseball player, knowing he had to do more than the other players. That’s a heck of a thing to have to go through, but it was fact.

    “And how phenomenal is it that he had to block out all that stuff, and he still went out and had a Hall of Fame career?”

  32. rikyrah says:

    Tried Hannibal…have to give it up

    it’s too dark for me

  33. rikyrah says:

    ‘I think it’s going to be close’
    By Steve Benen

    Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:59 AM EDT

    Last week offered some drama on the Senate floor, as a bipartisan majority defied the odds and advanced legislation intended to reduce gun violence, but it was only the first in a series of key votes. The second is set for Wednesday, as a measure to expand background checks reaches the floor.

    The amendment’s principle authors, Sen. Pat Toomey, a conservative Republican from Pennsylvania, and Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia, hit the Sunday shows yesterday to make their case. Asked about the bill’s prospects, Toomey told CNN, “I think it’s an open question as to whether or not we have the votes. I think it’s going to be close.”

    How close? Let’s start counting heads. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) endorsed the proposal on Saturday, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said yesterday he’s “very favorably disposed” to the Manchin-Toomey compromise. The Hill has been trying to get a relatively firm head count, and reported this morning that the bill is “inching closer to 60 votes.”

  34. rikyrah says:

    Scandal is on the cover of Entertainment Weekly.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Rubio stops hedging, takes the plunge
    By Steve Benen

    Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:35 AM EDT

    Rubio stops hedging, takes the plunge
    By Steve Benen

    Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:35 AM EDT

    For months, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has played an awkward game on comprehensive immigration reform. On the one hand, Rubio has been a high-profile member of the “Gang of Eight,” helping negotiate the details of the legislation. On the other hand, the Florida Republican signaled his willingness to oppose the legislation he’s ostensibly helping write. Rubio would say he likes his own bill, but wouldn’t commit to it.

    Many of those involved in the process were growing weary of Rubio straddling the fence. I heard someone joke last week that the senator was acting as if he were “a little bit pregnant” on the policy.

    That phase appears to be over.

    Senator Marco Rubio offered an extraordinary endorsement of legislation to overhaul the nation’s badly strained immigration system on Sunday when, after holding back for weeks, he appeared on no fewer than seven television talk shows to explain and defend a plan that he said would be “a net positive for the country, now and in the future.” […]

    Mr. Rubio’s one-man media blitz on Sunday was a striking show of confidence for a lawmaker who only weeks ago had been a voice of caution, a counterweight to the optimism being expressed by others in the group.

    On Sunday, by discussing the plan on the five major network talk shows and on the Spanish-language networks Telemundo and Univision, he was clearly signaling that the plan was ready for scrutiny by the public and by Congress, and that he was prepared to throw his full weight behind it — perhaps, at the same time, risking his own prospects for a widely expected presidential run in 2016.

    Whatever the far-right senator’s ambitions, this was an important development in the larger effort.

    In much the same way as Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-Pa.) support for background checks makes gun-safety legislation more viable, Rubio’s wholehearted backing for immigration reform signals to both parties that success is more likely. So long as Rubio was looking for a way out, stakeholders planned for the possibility that the bipartisan process was stumble badly, and the only “Gang of Eight” member likely to seek national office would walk away, undermining the plan.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Rachel Robinson reflects on her life with Jackie and the movie 42

    Rachel and Jackie Robinson were married from 1946 until 1972, when Jackie died at the age of 53. Rachel is now 90, and she still comes to work a couple of days a week at the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which she started 40 years ago. The Foundation has helped to send thousands of students to college. Rachel has a couch in her office where she sometimes talks with visitors, including, early last year, the actor Chadwick Boseman, shortly after he was cast to play Jackie in the movie 42. Boseman had really wanted to meet Rachel. He is 31 and was born a decade after Jackie’s death.

    They sat down in her office and Rachel said to Boseman: “The first time someone wanted to make a film about my husband, Sidney Poitier was going to play him. Then it was going to be Denzel [Washington]. And now they are doing it with you.”

    There was quiet for a moment and then Boseman laughed out loud while Rachel looked at him. “It was like she didn’t want me to take the role lightly—this was her husband I was playing,” says Boseman. “Not that I would take a role like Jackie Robinson lightly! But that just broke the ice. She has been supportive of me and encouraging and helpful the whole way through.”

    Rachel lets her opinions be known, as she did to Brian Helgeland, 42’s writer-director who sometimes showed her the script along the way. (Helgeland “welcomed my suggestions, so long I wasn’t too critical,” says Rachel.) At one point she was hoping the movie might include some of the civil rights work that Jackie went on to do, but now she understands the dramatic power created by the movie’s tighter focus: it takes place entirely in the years when Jackie was breaking baseball’s color barrier, 1946 and ’47.

    That’s a time frame, naturally, that Rachel has often traveled back to in the decades since. Yet she said that watching the movie revived memories of things she had forgotten, things that were not portrayed in the movie and that had happened between her and her husband. Watching 42 is a different experience for Rachel than it is for anybody else on earth.

    “We were staying in a house with people in Daytona during spring training, wonderful people,” Rachel says. “Our bedroom was at the top of the stairs, a tiny room with just a dresser and a bed. Being from California the blatant racism that we came across every day down there, a lot of that was new to us. Jack and I heard some things I would never want to repeat. One evening we came back to the house after a really tough day. We went straight up to our room and fell onto the bed, exhausted. And then I looked at Jack and we suddenly started laughing. We couldn’t stop. It all seemed so ridiculous and surreal, our situation and what was happening in our lives.”

    The movie also awoke in Rachel the particular sense of protectiveness she felt toward Jackie in that time — the feelings she would get when he went out into a roiling and uncertain environment to play baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers and to change America for good. She loves Boseman’s portrayal, especially, she says, the way he “captures the quiet dignity that Jack had even when he was under attack.”

    “Jack and I had known each other for five years before we got married,” says Rachel. “That was extremely important because we trusted each other and it helped us to bond during that time. There was such an incredible amount of pressure, it might have driven two people apart. But it had the opposite effect on us, it pushed us together.”

    In 42, Rachel is portrayed by the 28-year-old actress Nicole Beharie, who, like her subject, is beautiful and strong. Only one scene shows Beharie and Boseman together in their Brooklyn apartment, yet for Rachel, that apartment — just like the little room in Daytona, and the houses where the Robinsons and their children would live in later years — was an indispensable place for the healing and restoration that enabled Jackie to be the man he was and for the Robinsons to lead the rich, resolute life they lived.

    “Home was our place away from the world, and it was central,” says Rachel. “We made a point not to talk about every negative encounter that happened. That would have been too much. We treated our home like a haven and when you come into a haven you don’t want to bring in painful things. You want to cherish it. You use the haven to get yourself ready for the next day.”

    Read More:

  37. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  38. Ametia says:

    Man shoots himself in the head during NRA 500 at Texas

    FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A medical examiner says a man who died in the infield during the NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway shot himself in the head.

    The Tarrant County (Texas) medical examiner’s office on Sunday said the death of 42-year-old Kirk Franklin of Saginaw, Texas, was a suicide.

    Fort Worth police have said a man who was camping in the infield died of a “self-inflicted injury” after getting into an argument with other campers. The incident happened late in the Sprint Cup race.

    Police spokeswoman Cpl. Tracey Knight has said alcohol may have been a factor. Knight said several people witnessed the incident, but nobody was in danger.

    Track spokesman Mike Zizzo say the death occurred “in or around a pickup truck” in part of the infield near the middle of the backstretch

  39. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone. :-) Da Boss is Bad!

    Looking forward to the series this week, Rikyrah.

  40. CarolMaeWY says:

    A night with Bruce!

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