Friday Open Thread | Old School Week | The O’Jays

O'Jays11The O’Jays is one of the world’s truly legendary singing groups and an American treasure. The term legendary is often overused, but that is an apt description for The O’Jays, a musical act that holds a unique place in the history of music.  After establishing a recording history that includes an international body of work that generated 24 top ten smash records and 59 total songs on the charts, incredibly energetic and dynamic live shows. mad respect for their Olympian vocals and a social and political impact that spans many generations and multiple nations, The O’Jays could have coasted to a life of sandy beaches, umbrella-decorated drinks and total relaxation. Slowing down is not in the cards for Eddie Levert, Sr., Walter Williams, Sr. and Eric Nolan Grant however.

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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77 Responses to Friday Open Thread | Old School Week | The O’Jays

  1. Ametia says:

    LOL Reese: “I’m an American Citizen.” Translation: I’m WHITE!

  2. Malia Obama’s Spanish ‘Getting Very Good’ President Says In Mexico

    The White House may be the next thing to go Latino.

    First daughter Malia Obama has gained a strong command of the Spanish language, President Barack Obama said Friday during a speech to Mexican high school and university students.

    “You’ve welcomed our daughter Malia and her classmates to Oaxaca,” Obama said during a speech at Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology. “And as a proud father I have to say that Malia’s Spanish is getting very good.”

    “It helps that she’s smarter than I am,” Obama added.

    Malia Obama traveled to Oaxaca on a school trip last year.

    Obama rolled off some Spanish himself, drawing applause when he referred to Mexico City as D.F. and following up with the phrase “es un placer estar entre amigos,” or “it’s a pleasure to be among friends.”

    Obama finished out the speech with “Viva Mexico. Viva Los Estados Unidos. Que Diós los bendiga” — Spanish for “Long live Mexico. Long live the United States. May God bless them.”

  3. Ametia says:

    Video: Pelosi ‘prays’ Hillary Clinton will run for president

    • Ametia says:

      Seriously, Nancy? I wish she would, so she can finally get it that BLACK folks aren’t feeling this bish.

      • Ametia says:

        Does Nancy really think Biden, O’Malley and any other Dem will politely step aside and not run against Hillary, because, like you know they aren’t qualified like this entitled woman is?

  4. rikyrah says:

    How Marco Rubio is enticing conservatives on immigration reform

    Posted by Greg Sargent on May 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    So how can Republicans who want immigration reform get conservatives to accept it, given that Obama also wants it?

    Republicans pushing for reform have come up with a strategic answer to that question, one that isn’t really acknowledged openly. They are subtly making the case to their base that a defeat for immigration reform is actually a hidden victory for Obama, and that passing the Senate compromise is actually worse for the President than the alternative, i.e. doing nothing.

    In this sense, the immigration reform debate is perhaps the ultimate test of what Obama referred to as the need to create a “permission structure” — that is, a way for conservatives to accept something Obama wants, too. The message — which is carefully couched – is that, yes, Obama wants immigration reform, but conservatives should accept the Gang of Eight compromise because the alternative is actually better for the President.

    You can see this strategy on display in Marco Rubio’s big Op ed piece in the Wall Street Journal today calling on Republicans to embrace the Gang of Eight compromise. Note this formulation in particular:

    The immigration-reform bill in the Senate is a solid starting point for solving this problem, and I believe it can be made even better as Congress begins to actively work on it in committee next week. But defeating it without offering an alternative cannot be the conservative position on immigration reform. That would leave the issue entirely in the hands of President Obama and leave in place the disastrous status quo.

    The wording in the last sentence is very carefully chosen. The idea is that if we don’t pass the Gang of Eight plan, Obama wins. This case is being made on several levels. On the one hand, this notion of leaving the issue “entirely in the hands of Obama” is a partly a suggestion that the President just may use his executive powers to solve the undocumented immigrant problem himself if we don’t pass the Senate plan — just as he did with the DREAMers — even as conservatives get nothing of what they want: No increased enforcement, no E-Verify, nothing. At times, when speaking directly to conservative audiences, Rubio has made this case explicitly, as he did in this radio interview with Mark Levin:

    “If we don’t do anything, then the status quo remains, which is they won’t do anything. You won’t have E-Verify, you won’t have…. In fact, I think it’s possible that they could give legal status like they did to the DREAM Act qualificators, I mean people who qualified under the DREAM Act — they could do the same thing to millions of people more. What would stop them from doing that?”

    This idea of the dangers of leaving in place “the disastrous status quo” is also an effort to make the case that failing to act now carries hidden benefits for Obama. The argument Rubio is making is a play on the notion that many conservatives simply don’t believe Obama is securing the border, despite record numbers of deportations and billions spent on border security. The Senate compromise would include massive new resources for border security; Rubio’s suggestion here is that failure to embrace it will allow Obama to continue failing to protect the border. Obama wins again!

  5. rikyrah says:

    Searching in vain for a scandal that isn’t there

    By Steve Benen

    Fri May 3, 2013 10:55 AM EDT

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) hosted an event in his home state yesterday, ostensibly about immigration policy, before repeating one of his favorite talking points. “I’m glad you got up Benghazi,” the senator told a constituent. “My friends, it’s a cover-up.”

    McCain neglected to explain what “it” is. “It’s” a cover-up? What’s a cover-up?

    When he appeared on “Meet the Press” recently, host David Gregory asked this simple question: “A cover-up of what?” McCain turned belligerent and dodged the question.

    It’s been that kind of controversy for months — Republicans and Fox News continue to ask questions that have already been answered, and continue to insist there’s an amorphous scandal hiding just out of sight, which they can neither identify nor explain. What’s more, they just can’t let go.

    Pressure is mounting on House Republican leaders to form a special committee to investigate the September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

    Proponents of a special panel maintain that the five committee chairmen currently leading the House GOP’s ongoing Benghazi investigation are too concerned with protecting their turf.

    Just to clarify, there was an independent investigation of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, led in part by the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. There have been multiple hearings in the House and Senate, spanning a half-dozen committees. House Republicans even produced a strange report of their own.

    But now House Republicans not only want more hearings, they want a special panel to launch another investigation. Why? To answer unresolved questions. And which questions are unresolved? They haven’t the foggiest idea, but seem to think a special committee might find something useful anyway.

    I get the sense Republicans realize how absurd all of this is, but can’t seem to help themselves. They’ve already fallen down the rabbit hole, and apparently don’t see the point of trying to crawl back up. Indeed, why bother? Fox and the party base are still engaged, and maybe GOP policymakers can squeeze another few fundraising letters out of this fiasco.


    To help prime the pump, Fox — which has never even tried to do much in the way of original reporting and clearly isn’t good at it — is now talking up a secret, unnamed source that has inside information about a military team that was in Croatia during the attack on the consulate, and could have been dispatched to the scene after the raid. This information is just coming out now, Fox claims, because everyone other than the secret source is afraid of Obama — the president the right believes is both a weak pushover and a ruthless thug.

    Is there anything to these new un-sourced allegations? No. In fact, Foreign Policy published an interesting item from Billy Birdzell, a retired Marine Corps infantry officer and special operations team leader, responding to Fox’s secret informant.

    Even if the CIF was on ready 5 (fully armed, sitting in the aircraft with pilots at the controls) in Sigonella (the closest European base to Benghazi) with advanced warning of an attack but unsure of the time, and they launched at 2232 on only-in-Hollywood orders from someone other than the president, they would not have been able to do anything about Stevens and Smith’s deaths, nor stopped the mortar rounds. Strike three.

    The person in the [Fox News] interview is a clown.

  6. rikyrah says:

    No harm in breaking bread

    By Steve Benen

    Fri May 3, 2013 10:15 AM EDT

    Arizona’s Caren Teves, whose son was killed in the Aurora slayings, recently invited one of her senators, Republican Jeff Flake, to have dinner in her home so they could better understand one another’s views on gun violence. Flake declined, and instead sent Teves a hand-written note — which later ended up making matters worse.

    Soon after, Fran Lynch of North Carolina’s Religious Coalition for a Non-Violent Durham invited one of her senators, Republican Richard Burr, to have dinner in her home so they too could have a conversation about “ways to reduce … instances of gun violence.” Burr’s scheduler replied that the senator was unavailable — apparently for the indefinite future.

    It seems to be part of a trend.

    Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) has turned down a dinner invitation during the congressional recess from a woman whose husband was killed by gun violence.

    Anne Lyczak lost her husband Richard in January 1994, when he was killed in a drive-by shooting in Portsmouth, N.H.

    Last week, Lyczak wrote a letter to Ayotte, inviting her to dinner at her house to talk about ways to prevent gun violence…. Lyczak proposed dinner with Ayotte on May 1, although she said she would happily work around the senator’s schedule.

  7. rikyrah says:

    May 3, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Subject: :Little Johnny

    little Johnny watched his daddy’s car pass by the school playground and go into the woods. Curious, he followed the car and saw Daddy and Aunt Jane in a passionate embrace.

    Little Johnny found this so exciting that he could hardly contain himself as he ran home and started to tell his mother.
    ‘Mommy, I was at the playground and I saw Daddy’s car go into the woods with Aunt Jane. I went back to look and he was giving Aunt Jane a big kiss, and then he helped her take off her shirt. Then Aunt Jane helped Daddy take his pants off, then Aunt Jane…’

    At this point Mommy cut him off and said, ‘Johnny, this is such an interesting story, let’s save the rest of it for supper time. I want to see the look on Daddy’s face when you tell it tonight.’

    At the dinner table that evening, Mommy asked little Johnny to tell his story. Johnny started his story, ‘I was at the playground and I saw Daddy’s car go into the woods with Aunt Jane.I went back to look and he was giving Aunt Jane a big kiss, then he helped her take off her shirt. Then Aunt Jane helped Daddy take his pants off, then Aunt Jane and Daddy started doing the same thing that you and Uncle Bill used to do when Daddy was away on the oil rigs.’

    Mommy fainted!

    Sometimes you need to just shut up and listen to the whole story before you interrupt!

  8. rikyrah says:

    Protecting rape survivors from having to co-parent with their rapist

    Monday, April 8 2013

    Colorado State Senator Morgan CarrollDENVER — Today, the Senate Judiciary committee worked to stop convicted rapists from invading the lives of rape survivors. In a unanimous, bipartisan vote, the committee moved the bill (SB 13-227) to the Appropriations committee.

    The bill allows the court to terminate all parental rights of a convicted rapist when a rape results in the birth of a child. Under the bill, the court could specifically prohibit parenting time, decision-making, inheritance from the child, and adoption rights.

    The bill does not relieve the rapist of child support obligations, unless those obligations are waived by the survivor.

    “Allowing convicted rapists to have parental rights is a dangerous notion. It allows the rapist access to the family of the survivor, and he may use the access to coerce and torment the survivor. Through this bill, we can help protect the survivor and her family from having to communicate with her rapist,” said Majority Leader Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora), the bill sponsor.

    Rape is a widespread problem in the United States. Statistics prove that every two minutes, a person in the United States is sexually assaulted. Approximately 27.5 percent of college women have been raped, and one in six women will be raped in her life.

    A number of rapes result in pregnancy, and thirty-one states have addressed restricting parental rights of rapists. SB 13-227 will make Colorado the thirty-second state.

  9. I can’t BELIEVE this…I need a sweater on in MAY.


  10. Ametia says:

    Let’s get this NEGRO to tell folks that the other NEGROE’s Healthcare legislation is not ALL.THAT.

    Dr. Ben Carson Interview on Fox & Friends: Does New Study Undermine ObamaCare Claims? – 5/3/13


  11. Ametia says:

    Searching in vain for a scandal that isn’t there
    By Steve Benen
    Fri May 3, 2013 10:55 AM EDT

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) hosted an event in his home state yesterday, ostensibly about immigration policy, before repeating one of his favorite talking points. “I’m glad you got up Benghazi,” the senator told a constituent. “My friends, it’s a cover-up.”

    McCain neglected to explain what “it” is. “It’s” a cover-up? What’s a cover-up?

    When he appeared on “Meet the Press” recently, host David Gregory asked this simple question: “A cover-up of what?” McCain turned belligerent and dodged the question.

    It’s been that kind of controversy for months — Republicans and Fox News continue to ask questions that have already been answered, and continue to insist there’s an amorphous scandal hiding just out of sight, which they can neither identify nor explain. What’s more, they just can’t let go.

  12. rikyrah says:


    A Woman Scorned Had This Woman HOT: Scandal Episode 220 Recap

    [ 4 ] May 3, 2013 | Luvvie

    After last week’s complete emotionally wrecking episode of Scandal, I wondered how the story would continue. Well, 752 made way for A Woman Scorned and we were treated with the return of the segzy. Whoooo, yes MA’AM! Let’s get into it.

    Swimming with No Fishes – Olivia is taking laps in a pool in this AMAZING white and black bathing suit that I was totally here for!

    • Ametia says:

      Dead, dead, DEAD @ Luvvie’s gifs. “If you want me, earn me.” This line right here, is one that I can so herar Michelle telling Barack.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Principal fires security guards to hire art teachers — and transforms elementary school

    The community of Roxbury had high hopes for its newest public school back in 2003. There were art studios, a dance room, even a theater equipped with cushy seating.

    A pilot school for grades K-8, Orchard Gardens was built on grand expectations.

    But the dream of a school founded in the arts, a school that would give back to the community as it bettered its children, never materialized.

    Instead, the dance studio was used for storage and the orchestra’s instruments were locked up and barely touched.

    The school was plagued by violence and disorder from the start, and by 2010 it was rank in the bottom five of all public schools in the state of Massachusetts.

    That was when Andrew Bott — the sixth principal in seven years — showed up, and everything started to change.

    “We got rid of the security guards,” said Bott, who reinvested all the money used for security infrastructure into the arts.

    In a school notorious for its lack of discipline, where backpacks were prohibited for fear the students would use them to carry weapons, Bott’s bold decision to replace the security guards with art teachers was met with skepticism by those who also questioned why he would choose to lead the troubled school.

    “A lot of my colleagues really questioned the decision,” he said. “A lot of people actually would say to me, ‘You realize that Orchard Gardens is a career killer? You know, you don’t want to go to Orchard Gardens.’”

    Share your Big Idea with NBC Nightly News! Your ideas may be featured online — or on our broadcast.

    But now, three years later, the school is almost unrecognizable. Brightly colored paintings, essays of achievement, and motivational posters line the halls. The dance studio has been resurrected, along with the band room, and an artists’ studio.

    The end result? Orchard Gardens has one of the fastest student improvement rates statewide. And the students — once described as loud and unruly, have found their focus.

    “We have our occasional, typical adolescent … problems,” Bott said. “But nothing that is out of the normal for any school.”

    The school is far from perfect. Test scores are better, but still below average in many areas. Bott says they’re “far from done, but definitely on the right path.”

    The students, he says, are evidence of that.

    • Ametia says:

      This is how it’s done. Create a space fot bring out, nuture and maintain the kids creativity. It’s their God given talents that the powers that be are trying to destroy.

  14. rikyrah says:

    STILL no recap from Luvvie..

    I’m getting the shakes…LOL

    • Ametia says:

      Thanks for the Luvvie link. Olivia got into that shower and got her “DO” drenched for Fitz.
      I can not believe they went DOWN SOUTH with James & Cyrus. Shonda Rhimes is one sexy ass writer/producer. Nothing better than SCANDAL right now.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Scared Republicans Flee From Their Own Party’s Union Busting Bills in Ohio

    By: Sarah Jones
    May. 3rd, 2013

    Look who’s running scared from their own extreme anti-union agenda. Yes, it’s Republicans in Ohio.

    Ohio Republicans fled from their own party’s union busting legislation this week. In spite of House Republicans introducing three bills taking aim at turning Ohio into a “right-to-work-for-less” state on May 1st, Republican Senate lawmakers quickly killed the effort fearing it would only serve as ads for Democrats in 2014, as Governor Kasich remained pensively quiet.

    Perhaps they recall that the Ohio voters already spoke loudly and clearly on this issue, and they did not agree with Republican union busting efforts.

    The Dispatch detailed, “Kasich, the face of the GOP’s failed collective-bargaining limits sought in Senate Bill 5 in 2011, has refused to support the right-to-work movement here.” Further, it was unclear if the bills even had the support of key House leaders.

  16. rikyrah says:

    You’ll Find Koch Dollars At the Root Of the Calls for Armed Revolution Against Obama

    By: Rmuse
    May. 3rd, 2013

    The concept of America as a representative democracy has worked relatively well for over 2 centuries, and it is ultimately superior to other forms of government that are oppressive and despotic; Americans can thank the Founding Fathers for protecting this country from becoming an authoritarian dictatorship. It is difficult to imagine many Americans agreeing to abandon democracy for another form of government, but there are a frightening number of citizens who hate America’s representative democracy with such passion that they are leaning heavily toward overthrowing the government and installing a fascist dictatorship. The group in question is not an extremist militia organization and they are not concealing their plans from plain view, and in fact, have begun the transition to fascism from within the conservative movement with full cooperation and assistance from establishment Republicans in Congress and state legislatures around the nation.

    The idea that America’s democratic form of government could fall to an authoritarian regime began taking shape shortly after the election of Barack Obama, and after a little over four years of constant propaganda by Republican politicians incensed that their reign came to an end in 2009, almost half of Republicans believe “an armed revolution might be necessary to protect our liberties.” A recent poll reveals that it is worse than it seems because more Republicans believe armed revolution might be necessary to overthrow the legally elected government than believe is not required, and GOP politicians have been hard at work inciting their base and putting the brakes on democracy since January 2009.

    On Tuesday, a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll revealed that despotism is rampant among the Republican rank and file who are following the lead of Republicans in Congress who have taken extraordinary steps to bring America’s democracy to a halt through not-so-devious machinations and with stunning impunity. In the Senate, for example, the inordinate use of the filibuster has given minority Republicans control of the upper legislative chamber, and around the nation Republican-controlled states are taking extraordinary steps to bring an end to free and fair elections for non-Republican voters. If Americans are foolish enough to believe the Republican’s use of armed revolution to install a permanent Republican government is predicated on the right to unrestricted firearm possession, democracy is already doomed and all that is left is ceding control of the government to the Koch brothers and their fascist regime.

    The idea of using violent force to prevent democratically elected government from operating according to the will of the people began when the Koch brothers’ funded teabaggers brought signs to rallies claiming “we came unarmed this time” during the healthcare reform debate throughout 2009. Republicans and conservative pundits inflamed conservatives with claims their liberties were being infringed up to the time the U.S. Congress passed a law helping 40 million Americans have access to healthcare insurance, and despite the Supreme Court ruling the Affordable Care Act was Constitutional, Republicans are angrier than ever that democracy worked and 44% of them think “armed revolution might be necessary” to protect their liberty. However, healthcare for millions is not the only Republican claim of an assault on their liberties as evidenced by Republican claims their liberties are infringed because the Constitution prevents them from imposing religious edicts on the people. Nearly half of Republicans believe armed revolution might be necessary to enforce Christianity on the population. In Republican-controlled states, the loss in two general elections enraged Republicans who tasked the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to write template legislation restricting Democratic-leaning voters from exercising their right to vote, and because the Department of Justice enforces the right to vote it is interpreted as an infringement of Republicans’ liberties; their solution is “armed revolution” to “protect their liberty” to eliminate voting rights.

    Republican politicians are the primary drivers of the rise in threats of “armed revolution” against the government because if they cannot rule by religious and Koch brother edict, or get their way through the electoral process, then violent insurrection is their solution. The idea of using gun violence reared its ugly head when failed senatorial candidate Sharon Angles said the “public would bring down the out-of-control (Democratic) Congress with Second Amendment remedies” because they were part of “the tyrannical U.S. government,” and made particular mention of her opponent, Majority Leader Harry Reid. Michelle Bachmann said she wanted residents of her state “armed and dangerous” to oppose President Obama’s “because we need to fight back and do everything we can to thwart Democrats at every turn to make sure they aren’t able to secure a power base.” Last year, the Virginia Republican Party called for “armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November,” because they claimed President Obama was a “political socialist ideologue unlike anything world history has ever witnessed or recognized.” Republicans began claiming everything associated with the Obama Administration was a “government takeover” and infringement on Republicans’ liberties beginning in 2009, and it is close to bearing fruit now that half of Republicans support armed revolution against the democratically elected government, and it is all because Republicans are not allowed to rule.

  17. Ametia says:

    Celebrities and others tell how the US Constitution affects their daily lives in new PBS series
    How does the U.S. Constitution affect our daily lives?

    That is the question Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s popular show Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me seeks to answer in Constitution USA, a new PBS series that premieres Tuesday, May 7.

    Over the course of four episodes, Sagal travels by motorcycle to 26 states, interviewing both ordinary folks who are impacted by the Constitution, such as a man whose son’s military funeral was picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church, and those with legal expertise, including litigator David Boies and former solicitor generalTed Olson.

    A PBS video clip gives a several minute preview of the program.

    In an interview with Politico, Sagal says most of the non-experts he talked to for the program weren’t very familiar with the Constitution and tended to think it guarantees the rights that are most important to them, whether or not it actually does.

    “What they don’t understand is that most of the Constitution really doesn’t talk about rights and liberties,” Sagal said. “That’s the Bill of Rights, it’s important. Most of the Constitution doesn’t settle arguments. It gives us a forum through a very carefully designed form of government to have arguments without killing each other, which was, in the late 18th century, a pretty new thing in human experience.”

    Constitution USA with Peter Sagal A More Perfect Union – Preview

    Premieres Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. Check your local listings



    Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly crosses 15,000 points for the first time.

  19. Now streaming: President Obama Speaks in Mexico City

  20. rikyrah says:

    Tears of Joy as Emergency Manager Is Leaving Detroit Public Schools

    By: Black Liberal Boomer
    May. 2nd, 2013

    This may prove to be the most honest thing Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts has said during his entire unwelcome tenure as Gov. Rick Snyder’s appointed pitbull to assist his ongoing efforts to destroy democracy and civil rights in his own state, while dismantling public education at the same time. Roberts was quoted as saying these exact words in the Detroit News on Thursday when he announced his all-too-welcome decision to GTFO and step down in a couple weeks.

    So just like that, eh Roy? After all that bluster and bravado and windbaggery flapping your lips about all these things you were gonna do for (to) Detroit Public Schools, proclaiming yourself to be the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing Oz in control of your very own imaginary Wonderland where Roy Rules, you suddenly ran outta wind and decided now was a good time to exit stage left. Why, you even said that you had been considering retiring for quite some time now, Roy, which I find, well…hell….

    What does one say exactly when one simply cannot believe this s—?

    Interestingly enough, this comes just a week or so after it was discovered that the Educational Achievement Authority sorta kinda ‘borrowed’ $6 million from DPS to help cover its bills. It did this without alerting the Detroit Public School Board, and without alerting the board members of the EAA. Sorta kinda illegal. From the Detroit Free Press:

    The security concerns come on the heels of accusations against the EAA from Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton, a Democrat from Huntington Woods, who said the EAA had stalled and charged her $2,642.05 for documents she requested under the Freedom of Information Act last month. Lipton released the information this week, including documents that show that Detroit Public Schools took out loans through +the Michigan Finance Authority’s state aid note program and gave the money to the the EAA to pay its bills.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Suicide Rates Rise Sharply in U.S.


    Published: May 2, 2013

    Suicide rates among middle-aged Americans have risen sharply in the past decade, prompting concern that a generation of baby boomers who have faced years of economic worry and easy access to prescription painkillers may be particularly vulnerable to self-inflicted harm.

    More people now die of suicide than in car accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which published the findings in Friday’s issue of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. In 2010 there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,364 suicides.

    Suicide has typically been viewed as a problem of teenagers and the elderly, and the surge in suicide rates among middle-aged Americans is surprising.

    From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among Americans ages 35 to 64 rose by nearly 30 percent, to 17.6 deaths per 100,000 people, up from 13.7. Although suicide rates are growing among both middle-aged men and women, far more men take their own lives. The suicide rate for middle-aged men was 27.3 deaths per 100,000, while for women it was 8.1 deaths per 100,000.

    The most pronounced increases were seen among men in their 50s, a group in which suicide rates jumped by nearly 50 percent, to about 30 per 100,000. For women, the largest increase was seen in those ages 60 to 64, among whom rates increased by nearly 60 percent, to 7.0 per 100,000.

    Suicide rates can be difficult to interpret because of variations in the way local officials report causes of death. But C.D.C. and academic researchers said they were confident that the data documented an actual increase in deaths by suicide and not a statistical anomaly. While reporting of suicides is not always consistent around the country, the current numbers are, if anything, too low.

    “It’s vastly underreported,” said Julie Phillips, an associate professor of sociology at Rutgers University who has published research on rising suicide rates. “We know we’re not counting all suicides.”

  22. Ametia says:

    Who are these small business owners listening to and where are they getting their information?

  23. rikyrah says:

    Mad Times In Madison

    By Charles P. Pierce

    at 9:35AM

    Once again, it hasn’t been a good week for Scott Walker, the twice-elected goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their midwestern subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin. As you know, Walker’s great promise in both elections was that he would turn the state around and make it a friendlier place to despoil the wildernes…er…do business. He’s certainly done any plutocrat could have asked on that score; I’m surprised they aren’t digging for iron ore under the dome of the state capitol by now. The problem — and anyone who’s thinking about him as a presidential candidate in 2016, as I certainly am, should recognize it — is that Scott Walker is really rather bad at this.

    Those are the numbers provided by the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, which is basically a trade organization for oligarchs. And they show that Walker has managed to place Wisconsin dead freaking last in short-term job growth and 44th out of 50 states in its overall ranking. It is very hard to get nominated for president as a Republican if the U.S. Chamber is throwing tomatoes at your resume just for laughs. Luckily, though, Walker established a special agency to monitor job growth in the state, so he’s right on top of this problem.

    Except, well, no. They’re pretty much screwing up, but they’re having a grand old time doing it.

    Auditors also said employees of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., a quasi-private entity, made a number of questionable and unexplained purchases, including season tickets to UW-Madison football games and iTunes gift cards, and contracted for services without conducting open and competitive selection processes.

    Unexplained! Suddenly, Camp Randall is infested of a Saturday afternoon with ectoplasmic cheeseheads. Unexplained! This looks like a job for…The Most Awesome Man On Television.

    Auditors found a number of serious problems with the agency, among them that WEDC didn’t have sufficient policies – including some that were statutorily required – to administer its programs effectively. It also found that WEDC awarded some money to ineligible recipients, for ineligible projects, and for cash amounts that exceeded specified limits.

  24. Ametia says:

    Leading From Below
    by Jon FavreauMay 3, 2013 4:45 AM EDT

    Memo to everyone lambasting Obama for not getting along with Congress: The president is not all powerful. And he needs help from his supporters.

    By Jon Favreau


    Much has been written over the last few weeks about the limits of presidential power. Some smart observers have pointed out that these limits are not new; that historically they have had less to do with the personalities of our leaders than the structure of our democracy. The founders, reluctant to entrust any executive with the kind of authority that was so abused by the king they revolted against, created a separation of powers between co-equal branches of government.


  25. rikyrah says:

    Michelle Obama set to visit Republic

    First lady likely to bring daughters here while husband is at G8 summit in North

    Plans are being made for an overnight visit to the Republic by US first lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, Malia and Sasha, next month around the time President Barack Obama attends the G8 summit of world leaders in Northern Ireland.

    Mr Obama will be participating in the high-level summit at Lough Erne Resort in Co Fermanagh on June 17th and 18th. He told Taoiseach Enda Kenny during their St Patrick’s Day meeting in Washington that he was unlikely to visit the Republic on the trip due to other commitments, Mr Kenny said.

    A visit by Mrs Obama and her daughters, which would mark a first visit to Ireland for the girls, is being organised, though the trip has yet to be officially confirmed. A spokeswoman for the first lady’s office had no comment to make.

    US officials have been instructed to plan a trip and an advance team, which is likely to include secret service agents, is expected in Dublin this month to make arrangements for the first lady’s visit.

    Mrs Obama is said to be keen to bring her children to Ireland after she accompanied her husband on his presidential visit here in May 2011 when he travelled to Moneygall in Co Offaly, the birthplace of his ancestor Falmouth Kearney. His visit brought Dublin city centre to a standstill as more than 50,000 people heard the president speak in front of the old parliament building on College Green.

  26. rikyrah says:

    May 02, 2013 11:44 AM
    More Problems For Those Bold, Reforming Governors

    By Ed Kilgore

    One of the most durable themes of U.S. political media coverage is that of the “bold, reforming Governors,” as contrasted with the bloviators in Washington. David Broder used to work it pretty much every time he attended a National Governors’ Association meeting. You know the riff: while partisan warriors agitate the air in the Capitol, out there in America, governors are solving real problems and getting things done without regard to party of ideology.

    As someone who worked for three governors back in Georgia, I’m very sympathetic to the theme. State governors and their executives do in fact have to face the realities of government on the ground, close to their real-life impact on real people, and can only get so far with rhetorical gestures and red-meat-for-the-base posturing. But that general principle should not serve as a substitute for actual analysis of what governors are actually doing. And this is a particularly important point with respect to Republican governors, since they are forever being touted as the “answer” to the political problems of the national Republican Party. This was a wildly popular meme in the late 1990s, when the Gingrich Congress was playing the fool on a daily basis, even as Republican governors benefitting from a national economic boom were happily cutting taxes and boosting spending and in general enjoying the good life. So what did we get in 2000? President George W. Bush, the “reformer with results.”


    In most cases, it’s not working out that well, as noted in an important Wall Street Journal piece late yesterday by Mark Peters and Neil King, who write about the collision with reality being experienced by gubernatorial “tax reformers:”

    Republican lawmakers in several states are blunting plans by GOP governors to reduce or eliminate income taxes, putting the legislators at odds with figures many in the party see as leading voices on reshaping government.

    Friction over tax policy within the GOP has flared in states such as Louisiana, Nebraska, Kansas and Ohio, as Republican lawmakers raise concerns over projected revenue losses from income-tax cuts. Three of those states shelved big income-tax cuts that would be paid for by broadening the sales tax, and in Kansas, legislators will return next week to a continuing debate over the size and speed of proposed cuts.

    Last week, the Indiana legislature passed a plan giving Gov. Mike Pence an income-tax cut that was smaller and phased in over a longer period than his original proposal. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin agreed to an income-tax-cut deal with Republican lawmakers, but they postponed it until 2015 over revenue concerns. North Carolina lawmakers have been discussing a tax overhaul for months but haven’t come up with a plan.

    It’s telling that the bold tax plans of these bold, reforming GOP governors are in most cases being thwarted by Republican legislators who, whatever their generic shortcomings, know some simple math and don’t really want to sacrifice their states to the desire of their chief executive to get mentioned in 2016 articles or hobnob with the “job creators” eager to be relieved of state tax burdens.

    The bottom line is that the ideological fever of the conservative movement and the GOP isn’t confined to Washington, and can’t be banished or even obscured by celebrating “problem-solvers” who are mainly interested in solving the problem of their own relationships with wealthy right-wing donors and savage conservative activists. There’s nothing about living in Baton Rouge or Columbia or Madison or Austin or Harrisburg that inoculates pols against this fever, particularly when the victim aspires to move to Washington, DC, via the enthusiasm of Tea Folk in Iowa or South Carolina. Perhaps we can enjoy a brief respite in the gubernatorial hype, please?

  27. rikyrah says:

    LIES: How The Truth About Hurricane Katrina is Twisted at The Bush Library

  28. rikyrah says:

    From Prisoner To President: The Anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s Election

  29. rikyrah says:

    May 03, 2013 8:53 AM
    If Not for the Sequester….

    So the April Jobs Report is out, and net job growth for the month was 165,000 as opposed to the consensus expectation of 144,000. The number that most Americans focus on, the unemployment rate, ticked down slightly to 7.5%. But the real news was in upward revisions of the jobs numbers for the last two months: March was revised from 88,000 to 138,000, and February from 268,000 to 332,000 (!).

    It’s beginning to become hard to deny that the economy was working on a serious recovery that has slowed down significantly. Perhaps it’s a coincidence this has almost entirely coincided with the imposition and gradual impact of the appropriations sequester; perhaps not. Since that impact is only now really beginning to appear, we may soon find out.

  30. rikyrah says:

    May 02, 2013 3:05 PM
    The Broun Effect, Continued

    By Ed Kilgore

    I’ve been treating the upcoming Senate Republican primary in my home state of Georgia as something of a controlled experiment measuring the rightward pressure on Republicans generally. So it interests me that the presumed “moderate” in the race, Rep. Jack Kingston, has formally announced his candidacy by warning he’s up to the nobody-gets-to-my-right competition, per this report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein:

    U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston has a message for his conservative challengers for an open Senate seat: He won’t be outflanked on the right.

    In announcing Wednesday that he’s joining the race for retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat, the Savannah Republican told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’s a workhorse who “will yield no ground to any of my opponents as to who is the most conservative.”

    That’s saying a lot when his opponents are the conventionally wacky Phil Gingrey and Tom Price (who lest we forget came close to becoming the Tea Party-backed challenger to Speaker Boehner a few months ago) and then the wingnuttiest of them all, Paul Broun, who is clearly driving the pace car in the race to the Right.

    Now to be fair, Kingston did allow as how he’s been willing to “work with the other party and do that without selling out our philosophy.” As a long-time member of the Appropriations Committee, he has to say that, or otherwise squarely take the blame for the insane domestic spending increases conservative stalwarts associate with the Bush administration as much as its successor.

    I personally think Kingston is on a fool’s errand, though he might stand a chance of squeaking through a divided primary field on the basis of being the only candidate from south of Atlanta, and then maybe beating someone like Broun in a runoff if the zany extremist goes around the bend and starts calling for armed revolution against the evil secular-socialists who control both parties in Congress. But it will be both entertaining and instructive to watch the whole show.

  31. rikyrah says:

    May 2, 2013 03:30 PM
    The Coming Backlash on Education Reform

    by Daniel Luzer

    For the last decade or so education reform, whether pushed by Democrats or Republicans, has been focused on standardized-test based accountability. We will fix education by testing students and then instituting sanctions when schools fail to improve their scores on standardized tests. Teachers will be evaluated (and fired or given bonuses) based on their ability to improve standardized test scores. Schools will be reformed (or closed) based similarly on test results.

    Despite opposition from teachers unions, this sort of philosophy dominated the education policies of both George W. Bush (No Child Left Behind) and Barack Obama (Race to the Top). But now this reform strategy might have reached its end.

    According to a piece by John Tierney at The Atlantic:

    Fueled in part by growing evidence of the reforms’ ill effects and of the reformers’ self-interested motives, the counter-movement is rapidly expanding.

    Teachers in various cities (Seattle, for example) have refused to administer standardized tests, and support for their stance has spread; many parents are choosing not to let their kids take the standardized tests, preferring to “opt out,” and those whose kids go ahead with the tests are complaining vociferously about them; legislators in various states (even Texas!) are reconsidering standardized tests and expressing concerns about Pearson and the testing industry; corporate-reform proposals (vouchers and state-not-local authorization of charter schools) got stopped last week in the legislature of Tennessee, a state that previously was friendly to the agenda.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Published on May 2, 2013

    President Obama and Mexican President Pena Nieto spoke at a joint press conference in Mexico City today, where they addressed issues including trade, security, and border issues, as well as answered questions.

  33. rikyrah says:

    May 2, 2013, 11:50 am

    Medicaid Nonsense

    Busy day, no additional blogging until much later. But you should be reading The Incidental Economist on the Oregon Medicaid study that’s creating a lot of fuss today. Basically, budget woes forced Oregon to allocate Medicaid access by lottery, giving a rare randomized experiment. Those who got Medicaid suffered much less financial distress and less depression; they received more preventive care; but on some (not all dimensions) their health wasn’t significantly better than those who lost out in the lottery.

    Somehow, conservatives think this is a big win for their opposition to universal health insurance. Why? What it suggests is that the health benefits of ANY kind of health insurance are somewhat hard to identify over a two year period; so, are you about to give up your own insurance, or is your best bet that having that insurance is still a very good idea? And the financial benefits are a big part of that! Since you are going to treat your illnesses, better not to bankrupt yourself in the process, right?

    Oh, and until now the claim of right-wingers has been that Medicaid actually makes you sicker; serious researchers have always said that this was a case of selection bias, because sicker people got Medicaid — and now we have confirmation: those who got Medicaid were at least somewhat healthier than those who didn’t.

    Above all, you should bear in mind that if health insurance is a good idea — and you are nuts if you let this study persuade you otherwise — Medicaid is cheaper than private insurance. So where is the downside?

  34. rikyrah says:

    May 01, 2013 5:33 PM
    The Administration Feints on Housing

    By David Dayen

    For the first time in 27 months, America has a nominee to run the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the federal conservator for government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Yesterday, President Obama nominated Mel Watt, a 20-year Congressman from North Carolina, to replace Ed DeMarco, who has been acting director of the agency since August 2009. Incredibly, the agency, which directly controls 60 percent of all US mortgages, has been without an official director since that time.

    Watt, a longtime friend of the financial industry, might make a terrible FHFA director, and he might make a fine one. It doesn’t much matter because he’s unlikely to be confirmed by the Senate. The real story here is how the Obama administration has used the FHFA director position as a convenient distraction from their disastrous housing policies.

    Watt’s record is decidedly mixed. His district includes Charlotte, home to Bank of America, and the largest retail banking industry hub outside of New York City. In his 20-year career, during all of which he sat on the House Financial Services Committee, he voted for Gramm-Leach-Bliley (which overturned the Glass-Steagall Act’s firewall between commercial and investment banks), the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, and basically every deregulatory bill that led the country into the 2008 financial crisis. During the Dodd-Frank financial reform, he tried to stop the bipartisan Audit the Fed bill from passing, by substituting a toothless alternative. He has received over $365,000 in donations from the commercial banking industry during his career, likes to hold soirees at his house for Wall Street lobbyists, and raised funds from financial interests before key Dodd-Frank votes, actions which drew a formal investigation from the Office of Congressional Ethics. Watt was later cleared of wrongdoing in that case (though he subsequently tried to defund the ethics office).

    However, the story is not all bad. Many Democrats attest to his support for strong consumer protections in the housing market, including an anti-predatory lending law he introduced with former Rep. Brad Miller in 2004. Progressive housing groups like the Center for Responsible Lending, as well as the entire liberal side of the spectrum in Congress, supports Watt’s nomination.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s real ‘leadership’ problem

    Posted by Jonathan Capehart on May 2, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Thank God for Greg Sargent and Jonathan Chait. Were it not for their clear-eyed explanation of presidential leadership under President Obama and the irrational role of Republicans in thwarting it, I would be perched on a ledge for a full reenactment of the final scene of “Tosca.”

    Chait goes after those who hit the president for his inability to lead his opponents. “ ‘Leadership’ is a real thing — but it’s a quality used to describe the way you rally your underlings or your peers,” he writes in New York Magazine. “You don’t use ‘leadership’ against your opponents!” Chait then points to a sporty analogy employed by the National Journal’s Ron Fournier, who thinks Obama needs a coach to tell him that it’s his job to beat the other team. Chait then boils down the problem with this bit of magical thinking.

    If Obama signs new laws, it will be interpreted as him beating the other team. That only happens if Republicans cooperate. And Republicans don’t want to lose!

    Yesterday, Sargent highlighted a revealing statement on the failure of the background check bill from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that ought to put a stop to all the magical thinking about Obama and leadership

    “In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey said.

    What Toomey said was nothing new. And the president knows this all too well as he has talked about it many times, including at his Tuesday news conference. But what we don’t talk about enough is how the GOP is complicit in the leadership and policy failures it and the media rail against.

    In his 2012 book “The New New Deal,” Michael Grunwald writes that Vice President Biden told him that during the transition, “seven different Republican Senators” told him that “McConnell had demanded unified resistance.” Biden said, “The way it was characterized to me was: ‘For the next two years, we can’t let you succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back.’ ”

    That was after Obama and Biden were elected in 2008 but before they were inaugurated in 2009. Grunwald’s revelation was on top of what we learned in Robert Drapers’s 2012 book “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives.” During a four-hour dinner the night before Obama’s first swearing-in, the Republican leadership met to plot their multi-year recalcitrance.

    So, if folks are going to talk about Obama’s “inability to lead” they need to be fully mindful of just how responsible the Republican Party is for it.

  36. rikyrah says:

    A war over Medicaid

    Posted by Greg Sargent on May 2, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    As you may have noticed, an internet brawl has broken out over a New England Journal of Medicine study of Oregon Medicaid recipients that has gotten caught up in the larger battle over Medicaid expansion in the states. Jonathan Cohn has already done a better job than I ever could of summarizing what the study finds and what both sides are claiming about it, so go read him first.

    The short version is that conservatives are seizing on the finding that recipients showed no significant improvement in health to stiffen the spines of Republican state officials who are considering not opting in to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Liberals, meanwhile, are acknowledging that finding, while also noting that it found Medicaid produced a sharp drop in depression rates and in catastrophic out-of-pocket medical expenditures.

    I emailed one of the authors of the study, Amy Finkelstein, a professor of economics at MIT, for her take on the battle. She declined to take sides but said something that’s useful in thinking about this fight:

    “The results of our randomized evaluation of Medicaid are mixed. Looking over the first two years, we do not find evidence that Medicaid significantly improves measured physical health. However, we do find that Medicaid substantially reduces rates of depression, and virtually eliminates catastrophic out of pocket medical expenditures. How you interpret these findings depends in large part on what you think is the goal behind Medicaid coverage.”

    The last line is key. While it’s true that the finding on physical health may be disappointing to liberals, financial security is intimately bound up with personal health care expenditures, and increased financial security is certainly one of the goals behind Medicaid envisioned by liberals — something we hope will be extended to millions of Americans by the Medicaid expansion. As Cohn puts it: “historically, financial protection has been a driving force behind government expansions of health insurance.”

    Meanwhile, another author of the study, MIT’s Jonathan Gruber (a big proponent of Obamacare), says the mental health improvement — in which depression rates dropped by one-third — should not be underestimated. “This is an astounding finding — that is a huge improvement in mental health,” he told TPM. “I would view this study as somewhat weakening the argument for universal coverage based on health improvements, and greatly strengthening the argument based on financial security and mental well being.”

  37. rikyrah says:

    The facts Ayotte doesn’t want her constituents to know
    By Steve Benen
    Thu May 2, 2013 4:37 PM EDT.

    When the bipartisan compromise on expanded background checks died two weeks ago at the hands of a Republican filibuster, only one senator from New England voted to kill the bill: New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte (R).

    This week, as Ayotte returns to the Granite State, many of her constituents are expressing their dissatisfaction. Take this town-hall meeting today, for example.

    When another man rose to ask Ayotte to explain why she voted against expanding background checks, several people in the audience of more than 250 people applauded.

    “I know people have strong feelings about this issue,” Ayotte began. She said she voted against the bipartisan compromise on background checks last month because she believed gun owners would face an undue burden and she feared it could lead to a federal gun registry

    What bothers me about the senator’s response is how wrong it is. The “undue burden” Ayotte is worried about adds a few minutes to gun purchases, and it already applies to existing firearm sales in gun stores. If it helps prevents gun violence, why is it “undue”?

    More importantly, the fears of a possible federal gun registry are ridiculous. As we talked about a couple of weeks ago, there is no federal registry. The proposed measure explicitly prohibits a federal registry. Under the 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

  38. rikyrah says:


    Some of the gifs at this link are keepers!!!


    27 Things You Had To Deal With As The Only Black Kid In Your Class

    “You know, I don’t even see you as black.” posted on May 2, 2013 at 12:50pm EDT

  39. rikyrah says:

    No Luvvie Scandal recap yet.. :(

    but, I’ll keep checking back.

  40. Ametia says:

    U.S. economy added 165,000 jobs in April; unemployment rate at 7.5 percent

    U.S. employers added 165,000 jobs in April, and hiring was much stronger in the previous two months than first thought.

    The unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in April, according to the Labor Department.

    Read more at:

  41. Ametia says:

    Weekend’s when I party down… Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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