Wednesday Open Thread | Bruce Springsteen Week

We continue to explore the career of “The Boss”-Bruce Springsteen.

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1984–1991: Commercial and popular phenomenon

Springsteen probably is best known for his album Born in the U.S.A. (1984), which sold 15 million copies in the U.S. and became one of the best-selling albums of all time, with seven singles hitting the Top 10. The title track was a bitter commentary on the treatment of Vietnam veterans, some of whom were Springsteen’s friends and bandmates. The lyrics in the verses were entirely unambiguous when listened to, but the anthemic music and the title of the song made it hard for many, from politicians to the common person, to get the lyrics—except those in the chorus, which could be read many ways.[23] The song was widely misinterpreted as jingoistic, and in connection with the 1984 presidential campaign became the subject of considerable folklore. Springsteen also turned down several million dollars offered by the Chrysler Corporation to use the song in a car commercial. In later years, to eliminate the bombast and make the song’s original meaning more explicitly clear, Springsteen performed the song accompanied only by acoustic guitar, thus returning to how the song was originally conceived. The original acoustic version of the song, recorded in 1982 during the Nebraska sessions appeared on the 1998 archival release Tracks. “Dancing in the Dark” was the biggest of seven hit singles from Born in the U.S.A., peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard music charts. The music video for the song featured a young Courteney Cox dancing on stage with Springsteen, an appearance which helped kickstart the actress’s career. The song “Cover Me” was written by Springsteen for Donna Summer, but his record company persuaded him to keep it for the new album. A big fan of Summer’s work, Springsteen wrote another song for her, “Protection”. Videos for the album were made by noted film directors Brian De Palma and John Sayles. Springsteen was featured on the “We Are the World” song and album in 1985. His live single “Trapped” from that album received moderate airplay on U.S. Top 40 stations as well as reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart.


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The Born in the U.S.A. period represented the height of Springsteen’s visibility in popular culture and the broadest audience demographic he would ever reach (aided by the release of Arthur Baker’s dance mixes of three of the singles). Live/1975–85, a five-record box set (also on three cassettes or three CDs), was released near the end of 1986 and became the first box set to debut at No. 1 on the U.S. album charts. It is one of the most commercially successful live albums of all time, ultimately selling 13 million units in the U.S. Live/1975–85 summed up Springsteen’s career to that point and displayed some of the elements that made his shows so powerful to his fans: the switching from mournful dirges to party rockers and back; the communal sense of purpose between artist and audience; the long, intense spoken passages before songs, including those describing Springsteen’s difficult relationship with his father; and the instrumental prowess of the E Street Band, such as in the long coda to “Racing in the Street”. Despite its popularity, some fans and critics felt the album’s song selection could have been better. Springsteen concerts are the subjects of frequent bootleg recording and trading among fans.

During the 1980s, several Springsteen fanzines were launched, including Backstreets magazine, which started in Seattle and continues today as a glossy publication, now in communication with Springsteen’s management and official website.

After this commercial peak, Springsteen released the much more sedate and contemplative Tunnel of Love album (1987), a mature reflection on the many faces of love found, lost and squandered, which only selectively used the E Street Band. It presaged the breakup of his marriage to Julianne Phillips and described some of his unhappinesses in the relationship. Reflecting the challenges of love in “Brilliant Disguise”, Springsteen sang:

“ I heard somebody call your name from underneath our willow/I saw something tucked in shame underneath your pillow/ Well I’ve tried so hard baby, but I just can’t see/ What a woman like you is doing with me. ”

The subsequent Tunnel of Love Express Tour shook up fans with changes to the stage layout, favorites dropped from the set list, and horn-based arrangements. During the European leg in 1988, Springsteen’s relationship with backup singer Patti Scialfa became public and Phillips and Springsteen filed for divorce in 1988.[25] Later in 1988, Springsteen headlined the worldwide Human Rights Now! tour for Amnesty International. In late 1989 he dissolved the E Street Band, and he and Scialfa relocated to California, marrying in 1991.

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Bruce Springsteen with Wife Patti Scialfa and Son Evan James

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71 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread | Bruce Springsteen Week

  1. #WestTX explosion registered as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake.

  2. Information hotline for #WestTX 254-202-1100

  3. CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Fertilizer Plant Explosion Near Waco, Texas

  4. West Mayor: No clear number of dead, injured in Texas explosion – @AP

  5. Texas authorities advise West Texas residences to leave town immediately following explosion via @BreakingNews

  6. OMG! So horrible! A fertilizer plant exploded in West Texas & Scott and White hospital in Temple has been told to prepare for 100-200. It’s pretty bad. **tears**

  7. National Assoc. of Black Journalists criticized CNN’s John King report Boston bombing suspect was “dark skinned male”

  8. Take this trash off the street.

    Mississippi man arrested in ricin case

  9. rikyrah says:

    Pretty Brown Girl Doll Galvanizes Movement
    Apr 17, 2013
    ByHannington Dia

    Sheri Crawley noticed a strong change in her daughter’s behavior as she entered kindergarten. Not only was Laila Crawley becoming more isolated at school, but she also began commenting that she wanted the same blond hair that her classmates had — Laila was also one of a few Black girls at her Michigan school. Realizing that Laila was struggling with her identity, Crawley and her husband, Corey, began thinking of ways to address the situation.

    Around that time, Crawley noticed a CNN four-part series on the infamous 1940s Doll Test, which revealed that most children are biased against brown-skinned dolls when given a choice.

    So in 2010, the couple created the “Pretty Brown Girl.” The product line of brown-colored dolls rapidly became so popular that it is sparking the “Pretty Brown Girl” Movement. Consequently, the Crawleys eventually launched the “Pretty Brown Girl” Foundation, offering workshops, products, and events designed to help girls of color realize their self-worth.

    According to the Pretty Brown Girl website’s official mission statement:

    Our mission is to encourage girls to celebrate the beautiful shades of brown skin all over the world while inspiring positive self-esteem and confidence. Our approach is to provide an engaging platform for the subtext that most girls of color live within throughout their lives. This subtext often effects their world view, careers, life choices, and relationships with others as they mature into adults.

    Today, there are churches, schools, and mentoring groups that have used a “Pretty Brown Girl” program to promote the idea that brown is beautiful.

  10. rikyrah says:

    21st CENTURY | Bill @Political_Bill 1m
    RT @JoshMalina: CNN: Homeland Security lowers the threat level from “dark-skinned” to “brown-skinned.”

    The Toast @TheToast2013 2m
    John King: A dark skinned individual was seen telling runners they need a man w/Sensativity A Man like Me. That’s all we can say #THISisCNN

    2 Dark skinned men in Boston Celtic Uniforms walking towards the arena #ThisisCNN

    The Toast ‏@TheToast201335m
    John King: A dark skinned individual was seen prowling the CNN premises. Oh, that was @rolandsmartin. My Bad. #THISisCNN

    @KaeWhy270 “The dogs never were let out..we apologize.” — #thisisCNN

    @punditreview: MEDIA MERGER: CNN and Comedy Central are merging, because, why not? #ThisIsCNN

    ‏@lilvanpeebles Soledad O’Brien is in tears right now. Tears from laughing hysterically. #ThisIsCNN

    @chitownjeff: James Earl Jones has demanded we stop using his voice #ThisisCNN


    ‏@ArrogantDemon John King: Dark skinned people do dark skinned things….more to come #THISisCNN

    ‏@PeytonsHead John King is reporting that John King is in custody. Wait, what??? #ThisIsCNN

    @laloalcaraz CNN reporting they will continue their new policy of not hiring new dark-skinned news anchors #ThisISCNN

    PragmaticObotsUnite @PragObots John King:Eyewitness says she got a dark skinned friend look like Michael Jackson got a light skinned friend look like M Jackson #THISisCNN

    ‏@ArrogantDemon John King: Breaking…it seems our headquarters is located in a city surrounded by dark skinned people with a dark skinned mayor #THISisCNN

    ‏@laloalcaraz Louie Gohmert says the force of the blast obviously blew the sombrero off the fleeing dark-skinned suspect. #ThisIsCNN

    @BriStormer We have reason to believe the bomber was a dark-skinned man. That reason is racism. #ThisisCNN

    @trayf Hey we meant to say “dark-skinned people are THE BOMB.” geez everyone! #ThisIsCNN

  11. Mitch McConnell Spikes the Ball While the Victims’ Families Cry

    As the families of the victims of Newtown and survivors of the Tuscon, Arizona shooting watched from the Senate gallery and cried while expanded background checks were filibustered, Mitch McConnell’s office was busy concocting this.

    Mitch McConnell5

  12. Gabby Giffords: “If members of the Senate refuse to change the laws to reduce gun violence, then we need to change members of the Senate.”

  13. President Obama: Gun Lobby and Allies “Willfully Lied About the Bill”

  14. Man arrested with loaded gun on Capitol grounds

    Washington (CNN) – A man protesting new gun control measures being considered by the Senate was arrested Tuesday on the Capitol grounds when police discovered he was carrying a loaded handgun, CNN has learned.

    The arrest happened at 2 p.m. on the Senate side of the plaza in front of the Capitol, according to U.S Capitol Police spokesman Officer Shennell Antrobus.

  15. Woman who shouted “Shame on you” from Senate balcony: Patricia Maisch who tackled gunman after he shot Gabby Giffords

  16. President Obama: “Sooner or later, we are going to get this right. The memories of these children demand it. And so do the American people.”

  17. BREAKING: Manchin-Toomey amendment killed in Senate; from the gallery, someone yelled, ‘Shame on you!’

    • Ametia says:

      Even Stevie Wonder saw this coming. This was all a charade and a SHAMEFUL one at that. God help this country. 2014 vote all these muthafuckas out of town!

  18. US Senate rejects gun background checks amendment on 54-46 vote; 60 votes needed

  19. rikyrah says:

    See 11 oh-so-cute pics of a baby napping with French bulldog puppies

    Everyone on Earth is pretty much in love with these photos from Pennsylvania dog breeder Cindy Clark. And what’s not to love? The pictures feature an adorable baby all snuggled up with a litter of chubby French bulldog puppies — so, pretty much the cutest things in the world all at once. The baby was 3 months old when the photos were taken in November, and the puppies were 3 weeks old. Since then, the dogs all found new homes. But if you can’t get enough of these pics, you should know Clark told msnNOW that another session is planned with the same baby (a little older now) and a new litter of puppies. Dear Internet: Please make portraits of this baby and French bulldogs a yearly, if not monthly, tradition. [Source]

  20. rikyrah says:

    23 super-sweet photos of a little girl and her feline best friend

    Kids and animals are a winning combination — this baby proved that when he took a nap with bulldog puppies, and this little boy drove the point home when he posed for adorable photos with his bud Max. Now, we have 4-year-old Katherine and her kitty friend Lilu (who’s six years old, or roughly 42 in cat years). The Russian duo is captured in striking pictures by photographer dad Andy Prokh. Katherine and the family’s British shorthair cat have been inseparable since the girl’s birth, and Prokh is chronicling the growing-up process with this charming photo series. Are we crazy, or is there a family resemblance with little Kat and her cat? [Source]

  21. rikyrah says:

    Accused molester says she didn’t do it, too racist to touch the victim
    1 hr ago

    Esther Irene Stokes, 61, of Montgomery, Texas, has been accused of molesting a 7-year-old girl at Northwest Preparatory Academy Charter School, where Stokes taught. This is horrible, obviously, but it gets weirder with Stokes’ novel defense: She couldn’t have molested the girl because she’s racist. Investigators say Stokes denied touching the girl on any part of her body, “stated that she doesn’t like black students because she was prejudiced” and has had “very little to no interaction” with the child. Stokes is no longer employed by the school but has yet to chalk that up to her being a racist. We’ll wait. [Source]

  22. rikyrah says:

    sometimes, you just gotta go..



    Sanford and son

    By DougJ April 17th, 2013

    You’ll never watch alone:

    Former South Carolina governor and congressional candidate Mark Sanford admitted Wednesday that he entered his ex-wife’s home in early February — an apparent violation of the terms of their divorce settlement — but said he did so so his son wouldn’t have to watch the Super Bowl alone.


  23. rikyrah says:

    Lone Star State Blues

    By Steve Benen

    Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:30 AM EDT.


    Associated Press

    A couple of weeks ago, following reports that Democrats are making a concerted effort to make Texas a more competitive electoral battleground, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said, “Over our dead bodies are we going to let this state turn blue.”

    That sounded a bit extreme under the circumstances. Dewhurst probably wasn’t being literal, but the notion that someone would rather die than let a state go Democratic is just a little over the top.

    But Dewhurst isn’t the only Texan talking this way. Take state Attorney General Greg Abbott, for example.

    “One thing that requires ongoing vigilance is the reality that the state of Texas is coming under a new assault, an assault far more dangerous than what the leader of North Korea threatened when he said he was going to add Austin, Texas, as one of the recipients of his nuclear weapons,” Abbott said. “The threat that we’re getting is the threat from the Obama administration and his political machine.”

    Insofar as North Korea couldn’t possibly threaten Austin, I suppose there’s some truth to that, though comparing the Obama administration and its “political machine” to a rogue, authoritarian nuclear state seems a bit excessive.

    But the fact that we’re hearing such rhetoric at all reinforces the fact that Democrats really are taking a look at Texas, they’re seeing an opportunity, and they’re making Republican leaders in the Lone Star State a little antsy. The Wall Street Journal recently ran an interesting item on the “Battleground Texas” effort, led by former Obama field director Jeremy Bird.

    Wiry and bespectacled, Mr. Bird likes to describe how the past two Obama campaigns were littered with foot soldiers from Texas laboring in other states. Texas volunteers made more than 400,000 calls into Florida in the final weeks of the 2012 campaign, he said.

    “For years you have been giving to the national campaign,” he told a packed ballroom of 300 or so Texas Democratic volunteers in San Antonio recently on his first public swing through the state. “Now it’s time the national campaign gave back to you.”

    Ready or not, Texas GOP, here they come

  24. rikyrah says:

    Another setback for the GOP’s outreach to women

    By Steve Benen
    Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:52 PM EDT

    Say hello to state Rep. Peter Hansen, a Republican from New Hampshire.

    In an email sent April 1, Hansen, who once came face-to-face with an intruder in his own home, referenced a speech given by another lawmaker, who described how he had been able to retreat without using deadly force in public.

    “There were two critical ingredients missing in the illustrious stories purporting to demonstrate the practical side of retreat. Not that retreat may not be possible mind you. What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT, Germany, and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vagina’s of course. While the tales relate the actions of a solitary male the outcome cannot relate to similar situations where children and women and mothers are the potential victims,” Hansen wrote, according to messages posted online this week by liberal blogger Susan Bruce.

    Well, let’s see, where to start.

    First, Hansen now says he’s “embarrassed” by what he wrote, but keep in mind, in the face of criticism, he initially did not back down. He eventually said he was sorry “to those who took offense,” which does not a genuine apology make.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Cruz acknowledges, dismisses reality
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:53 PM EDT

    The right’s favorite talking point on expanded background checks is pretty straightforward: the popular, bipartisan proposal must be defeated because it’ll create a national gun registry. Reality proves this is the exact opposite of the truth, but the NRA’s allies keep saying it anyway.

    Today, in an interesting twist, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) grudgingly acknowledged the truth, only to dismiss it in the next breath. For those who can’t watch clips online, Cruz told Capitol Hill reporters:

    “I don’t disagree that on its face, the currently pending legislation does not purport to create a national gun registry. But the Department of Justice has been explicit that when you require background checks for private firearms transactions, the only way to make that effective is through a national gun registry. So if the bill that is pending on the floor of the Senate passed, the next step in the process would be that critics would say, ‘Well this isn’t effective. We don’t know if you’re selling your firearm to someone else unless we know you have your firearm.’

    “And in my judgment a federal registry of firearms — the federal government keeping a list of every firearm that is lawfully owned by every law-abiding citizen — would be terrible policy and would be inconsistent with the Constitution.”

    So, there is no federal registry. The legislation explicitly prohibits a federal registry. Under the pending bill, anyone even trying to create a federal registry would be a felon, subject to 15 years behind bars. No one has even proposed the possibility of a federal registry. But Cruz and his allies are convinced one will organically evolve to prevent private gun sales, even though the Manchin/Toomey measure targets gun shows and online sales.

    In other words, Congress has to kill one idea, because there’s a paranoid fantasy about the possibility of a different idea coming up at some point in the future.


    If this sounds familiar, it’s what unhinged critics of the Affordable Care Act said about “death panels.” Sure, there’s nothing in the proposal that would create “death panels,” but if you close one eye, tilt your head, and use your imagination, you’ll see it’s possible to envision a system in which the federal government starts murdering senior citizens.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Republican response required to Reinhart/Rogoff

    By Steve Benen
    Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:32 AM EDT

    We talked yesterday about a pretty important development for economics wonks. Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff published a report a few years ago that was music to the ears of Republicans: when a nation’s debt climbs above 90% of the nation’s total economy, it necessarily serves as a drag on economic growth. The Reinhardt/Rogoff study became the intellectual foundation for austerity and a deliberate shift from job creation to debt reduction.

    The problem, we now know, is that Reinhart and Rogoff made some important errors in their research, including a careless mistake in an Excel spreadsheet. The economic research embraced by conservatives everywhere was faulty.

    Given yesterday’s item, it’s only fair to note that Reinhart and Rogoff have published a 500-word response, offering a half-hearted defense of their missteps. Those hoping the economists had an exculpatory explanation for their errors came away disappointed — Paul Krugman described the response as “really, really bad” and “terrible.” He later lamented the fact that the economists have “behaved badly.”

    And while Reinhart and Rogoff have quite a bit of work to do, it’s important to realize that this story is about far more than a flawed study. I care that the Reinhardt/Rogoff report was mistaken, but I really care that the report was used to justify widespread and deliberate economic harm.

    The Very Serious People took it on faith that once the debt-to-GDP ratio topped 90%, a nation has no choice but to pursue austerity measures. Jon Chait explained:

    The finding led to quite a kerfuffle among economics bloggers. Newsweek’s libertarian/contrarian blogger Megan McArdle played the expected role of claiming “people are way overstating the impact that the 90% figure from Reinhart and Rogoff have had on austerity policies.” Probably someone, somewhere is overstating it — the Internet is large, and any given event will be overstated by somebody — but the impact of this study is very large. It was the intellectual basis for the Bowles-Simpson report. It was cited frequently by centrist editorials, news stories (which often read like editorials), Thomas Friedman, Joe Scarborough, and pretty much everybody in Congress.

    If you want to make the case that the Reinhart-Rogoff whoopsie is no big deal, implying that nobody paid much attention to it is not the way to go. Everybody paid attention to it.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Newtown families will look on as Senate sinks Toomey-Manchin today

    Posted by Greg Sargent on April 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    submit to reddit

    With the news that Senator Kelly Ayotte will vote against the Toomey-Manchin background check compromise today, that effectively cuts off the last route to 60 votes for the proposal. Senator Heidi Heitkamp — a red state Democrat — also announced her opposition moments ago.

    Barring a string of last minute flip-flops, which all but certainly won’t happen, Toomey-Manchin looks to be dead.

    In a fitting coda to this affair, a number of Newtown family members intend to sit in the gallery to watch today’s voting, a spokesperson for one of the family groups, Sandy Hook Promise, tells me. Among them are Mark and Jackie Barden, whose youngest son, Daniel, was killed in the shooting; Nicole Hockley, who lost her son Dylan; and Jimmy Greene, who lost his daughter Ana.

    Family members decided that witnessing today’s events — even if painful — was too important to forego, a source familiar with their thinking tells me. However, there is still some hesitation about having their reaction appear on camera during what would be the first significant defeat of one of their most desired legislative goals, i.e., expanded background checks. (Family members were on hand to watch last week’s vote on the motion to proceed to debate, which went their way.) Indeed, because of this hesitation, the families’ plans could always change.

  28. The Toast‏@TheToast2013

    John King: A dark skinned individual was seen putting his feet up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. That’s all we can say. #THISisCNN

  29. rikyrah says:

    The real immigration compromise

    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on April 17, 2013 at 11:34 am

    submit to reddit

    The full Senate immigration reform bill was released this morning — a whopping 800 pages detailing the myriad changes this proposal will make if it’s passed into law. Marco Rubio, one of the bill’s chief advocates, continues to insist that this is “not amnesty,” but instead represents a responsible package of rules and reforms, with penalties and fines for unauthorized immigrants who want to become citizens.

    There’s been a lot of talk about how the proposal’s enforcement ”triggers” are what make this proposal a compromise. But that’s based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the actual compromise that’s been made here. It’s a political compromise, not a policy one.

    The “trigger” process isn’t really the trigger some conservatives had hoped for. The Department of Homeland Security will receive billions more for border security and must hit certain border surveillance and apprehension targets within five years. If it doesn’t meet those metrics a border commission will be created.

    The long and difficult part concerns the actual path to citizenship. It will be 10 years before any given immigrant is eligible for it. And then, immigrants will have to pay an additional set of fines, prove English knowledge, and go through another set of background checks.

    It’s this two-tier process that’s really the substance of the compromise between Republicans and Democrats. The GOP wants two things out of immigration reform — a way to begin to repair relations with Latino voters, and more substantively, a guest-worker program that benefits their business allies. Likewise, Democrats want to build on their relationship with Latino voters — which has grown stronger in the Obama years — and offer substantive benefits in the form of citizenship and the legal permission to work in the United States.

  30. NBC’s Pete Williams: To say that “there’s a suspect in the Boston bombings is simply not correct”

  31. Breaking: CNN:

    Suspect in Boston marathon attacks “clearly identified” by authorities

    A suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has been identified by authorities after analyzing video footage, CNN’s John King reported on air Wednesday.

    King said he’s been told by authorities that video footage from the Lord and Taylor department store and from a local Boston television station has led investigators to believe that they have “clearly identified” the individual who placed one of the explosive devices at the site of the second explosion. The department store on Boylston Street is located near the site of the second explosion. It is unclear if the suspect is in custody.

    Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA) and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D) have both been briefed on the situation. King quoted sources who called the development a “game changer.” A law enforcement official described the suspect as a “dark skin male,” but King was hesitant to elaborate on that information.

  32. CNN: Law enforcement briefing to be held at 5:00pm ET on Boston bomb blasts

  33. The Boston Globe‏@BostonGlobe

    BREAKING NEWS: Source: Authorities have an image of a suspect carrying, and perhaps dropping, a black bag at the second bombing scene.

  34. FBI says suspicious letters to Obama, Sen. Wicker are signed, “I am KC and I approve this message.”

  35. BREAKING: Michigan Sen. Carl Levin says his Saginaw regional office received suspicious letter – via @AP

  36. Breaking News‏@BreakingNews

    FBI says preliminary test indicates poisonous ricin in letter sent to President Obama – @AP

  37. J.M. Berger‏@intelwire

    CNN says someone is in custody on the letters; he was hand-delivering them apparently; had a backpack full of suspicious envelopes.

  38. rikyrah says:

    GOP’s Budget Lies Exposed

    by BooMan
    Wed Apr 17th, 2013 at 10:30:59 AM EST

    I know the budget process is pretty boring, but it’s ultimately the most important thing that happens in politics. The budget is where our priorities are set and our resources are allocated. The Budget Control Act of 2011 set the upper limit for congressional spending, so the Senate didn’t bother to pass a budget in 2011 or 2012. They didn’t need to pass one this year, either, expect Congress enacted a bill (probably unconstitutional, but still) that would have withheld pay to members of Congress if either house failed to pass a budget this year. So, the Senate got down to business and passed a budget. In the normal course of events, the Senate would appoint conferees who would sit down with House-appointed conferees, and they would hash out a compromise between Senate Patty Murray’s (D-WA) budget and Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget. This is called a conference committee, and it’s how bills from the House and Senate are reconciled so that they can have one bill with identical language that both chambers can pass. This process is called “regular order” because it crafts legislation in a committee that is open to the public, as opposed to making “back room deals” that are then presented as fait accomplis.
    The Republicans, including Mitt Romney’s campaign, have been hammering the Senate Democrats for years now because they haven’t been using regular order to pass their budgets, or even passing any budgets at all. But, now that the Senate Democrats have passed a budget, and now that they are prepared to use regular order in a conference committee to reconcile their differences with the House, the House Republicans have cold feet.

    House Republicans have no plans to appoint a conference committee to hammer out a budget deal with Senate Democrats, Rep. Paul Ryan said Tuesday, arguing that the move is pointless unless private talks bring the two sides closer to agreement.
    “What we want to do is have constructive dialogues to find out where the common ground is and then go to conference when we have a realistic chance of actually coming out with an agreement,” said Ryan (R-Wis.), who chairs the House Budget Committee.

    So, Paul Ryan doesn’t want transparency. He doesn’t want to have public votes. He wants to do a back room deal. After all that talk and drama about the Democrats’ dirty dealing, Rep. Ryan wants to make a dirty deal. Why the about-face?

    Brian Beutler explains:

    To explain the about-face, consider what happens if conferees begin meeting and negotiating right away. In this phase of regular order, leadership has less control over the course of events, and pretty much everything is majority rule. Democratic negotiators will be able to relitigate the fight they won in the election. They’ll agree to entitlement spending cuts; they might even reluctantly embrace a provision in President Obama’s budget — chained CPI — that would among other things slow the growth of Social Security benefits. But only if Republicans agreed to ditch the anti-tax absolutism.
    Republicans would be faced with the choice of either agreeing to new taxes and triggering a huge conservative revolt; or exacerbating the public’s sense that their party is pathologically unable to compromise.

    Democrats are privately pleased to find Republicans back in a box. But in public they’re pressing and taunting Republicans to back up words with action.

    I don’t know. Is it taunting? Is that a fair way to describe this situation? The Republicans refuse to appoint conferees so that we can do the budget under regular order? After all that rhetoric?

    Is this taunting?

    “We have had Republicans yelling and screaming — sometimes violently — to have regular order. They said ‘Democrats should do a budget,’ even though we had a law [the Budget Control Act], they wanted a resolution. And we did that. Once that’s done — we’ve done that — they’re not interested in regular order,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters at his weekly Capitol briefing. “Chairman Ryan said ‘we want to have a pre-conference.’ You can’t have it both ways. Does he want regular order? Obviously not. So the prior talk was all happy talk — it meant nothing — because they are not able to fulfill the commitment that they’ve made to do regular order.”

    I think it’s more like exasperation than taunting.

  39. LIVE VIDEO: White House briefing on suspicious letter addressed to President Obama

  40. Secret Service: A suspect letter to President Obama found. Senior Law Enforcement: Letter tested postitive for ricin

    • Ametia says:

      Too precious; these dogs will bring more compassion and love to the families than some humans could ever muster. I’ve seen it first hand.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Yes, This is Cowardly

    by BooMan
    Tue Apr 16th, 2013 at 09:45:20 PM EST

    One of the more depressing and dispiriting things about these terrorist attacks is the battle people have over proper usage and nomenclature in their aftermath. When can we call something terrorism? What constitutes cowardice?
    As a general matter, these debates don’t interest me and I wish we didn’t have them. I thought Bill Maher was correct when he said that it took some courage to pilot a plane into a skyscraper knowing that you would die in a fireball. Those men didn’t strike me as cowards because they did something that I wouldn’t do not only because it was evil but because I would be too scared to do it.

    But the person or people who detonated the bombs in Boston do strike me as cowards. They didn’t die or risk dying. They didn’t give their victims a chance to fight back as the passengers of Flight 93 successfully did on September 11th. What they did was deliver a sucker punch. They waited until people were not looking and they blew their legs off. I suppose the only courage in that is the courage to risk being arrested.

    We don’t know who did this, but we do know that they are attempting to get away with it. If I sucker punch you, I know that you might press charges. Even a sucker puncher has more balls than this psychopath.

    So, even though I don’t think it matters or that debating it is a useful endeavor, I think it is entirely appropriate to refer to the perpetrator as a coward (or cowards).

  42. rikyrah says:

    glad to see 3CHICS was all up in Bob Herbert’s Ass about the Central Park 5

  43. rikyrah says:

    With background checks in the balance

    By Steve Benen

    Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:00 AM EDT

    In just eight hours, the Senate will bring a bipartisan measure to expand background checks for firearm purchases to the floor. An aggressive lobbying campaign is underway, including personal appeals from Gabrielle Giffords directly to members, but as things stand this morning, proponents have a lot of work to do between now and 4 p.m.

    It’s important to clarify what, procedurally, is set to happen. At issue is the expanded background check compromise reached by Sen. Pat Toomey, a conservative Republican from Pennsylvania, and Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia, which would close the gun-show loophole and apply background checks to online gun sales. The idea enjoys overwhelming public support across every imaginable demographic.

    Republicans don’t just intend to defeat the measure; they intend to filibuster it. I stress the distinction because today isn’t a vote on the Toomey/Manchin amendment; it’s a vote on whether to have a vote. Opponents who vote against the measure this afternoon are saying, in effect, “This idea is so offensive, we can’t even allow an up-or-down vote to take place.”

    So, can proponents get the 60 votes needed to break the filibuster and allow the Senate to vote on a measure 90% of the country supports? At last count, they’re several votes short. Indeed, yesterday, all of the news was discouraging. Take this press release from Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), for example.

  44. rikyrah says:

    Newtown families ask for meeting with Mitch McConnell

    Posted by Greg Sargent on April 16, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    submit to reddit

    A representative for families of the Newtown shooting victims has asked Senator Mitch McConnell to hold a meeting with them, according to sources familiar with the request. McConnell’s office initially declined the request on the basis of scheduling, a source says — and now family members are set to call McConnell and reiterate the request personally.

    How will McConnell respond?

    The request – if granted — would allow the families to come face to face with the primary architect of the GOP’s strategy of blocking everything Dems propose to slow the tide of gun violence. If it is denied, it would be a big story, and could lend support to the argument that Republicans are callously rebuffing the families — and prioritizing the gun lobby over them – in the wake of a massacre that claimed the lives of 20 Newtown children.

    The request — which was made by a representative of Sandy Hook Promise, a group that includes around a dozen family members who are lobbying Washington lawmakers – represents something of a shift in strategy by the families, and carries interesting implications for later stages in this battle. Previously, the families, who had met with many Democratic and Republican Senators, had shied away from asking for a meeting with McConnell, on the theory that they should focus their energy on Senators they deemed persuadable. This irritated Democrats who wanted to see more public pressure put on their GOP counterparts.

    But now the families are asking McConnell for a meeting. The families are not optimistic that the meeting will move McConnell, a source familiar with their thinking says, but this will placate Dems who want public pressure put on the leader of Senate Republicans. What’s more, if the legislation fails, the families don’t want to be in the position of retrospectively wondering if they had done all they could to get it passed, particularly since a round of bitter finger-pointing would be all but inevitable. And finally, the source says, the families are hoping to initiate a longer term conversation — one beyond the current battle – with even hostile lawmakers about other ways of combatting gun violence, such as school safety and addressing mental illness.

  45. rikyrah says:

    Former SC Gov. Mark Sanford’s ex-wife accuses him of trespassing at her home

    By Associated Press,

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s ex-wife has accused him of trespassing at her home in violation of their divorce settlement, and a judge set a hearing two days after the Republican will stand for election in his effort to mount a political comeback by winning a vacant congressional seat.

    Jenny Sanford confirmed Tuesday that court documents from family court acquired by The Associated Press outlining the complaint were authentic.

    They show a judge has ordered Republican Mark Sanford to appear for a hearing next month, two days after he faces Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a special election for the state’s 1st District congressional seat.

    The complaint says Jenny Sanford confronted the former governor leaving her Sullivans Island home on Feb. 3 by a rear door, using his cell phone for a flashlight. Her attorney filed the complaint the next day.

    The couple’s 2010 divorce settlement says neither may enter the other’s home without permission. Mark Sanford lives about a 20-minute drive away from Sullivans Island in downtown Charleston.

    Jenny Sanford said the complaint, and the timing of the hearing, has nothing to do with her husband’s attempt to rebuild his political career by winning the congressional seat he held for three terms in the 1990s.

    The complaint was filed in February and a family court judge last month set the May 9 hearing date where Sanford will have to show cause why he should not be held in contempt for violating the couple’s divorce settlement.

    “I am doing my best not to get in the way of his race,” Jenny Sanford, who for a time considered running herself, told the AP. “I want him to sink or swim on his own. For the sake of my children I’m trying my best not to get in the way, but he makes things difficult for me when he does things like trespassing.”

    Neither Sanford’s campaign spokesman nor the Colbert Busch campaign would comment on the development.

    The complaint filed by Jenny Sanford’s lawyer, Deena Smith McRackan, said Mark Sanford has “entered into a pattern of entering onto plaintiff’s property. Plaintiff has informed defendant on a number of occasions that this behavior is in violation of the court’s order and has demanded that it not occur again.”

  46. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!!!

  47. Ametia says:

    Love the Boss; even some of his fans couldn’t put himin their box.

  48. Ametia says:


    Morning, Everyone; happy HUMP day. :-)

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