Wednesday Open Thread | Boyz II Men Week

Good Morning. More from Boyz II Men.

Boyz II Men-3

1994: II

After releasing a Christmas compilation, Christmas Interpretations in 1993, Boyz II Men returned to the studio for their highly anticipated sophomore effort. In 1994, II was released. II sold more than 12 million copies in the United States alone, becoming one of the best-selling albums ever released by an R&B group act, and one of the biggest albums of the decade.

Most of the tracks on II were written and produced by Tim & Bob Tim Kelley and Bob Robinson (5) Babyface (2) and the successful team of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis (2). Several of II’s tracks became major singles, among them Jam & Lewis’s “On Bended Knee”, and Babyface’s “I’ll Make Love to You” and “Water Runs Dry”.

“I’ll Make Love to You” broke “End of the Road’s” 13-week record at number 1, by spending 14 weeks at the top of the chart (a feat equaled earlier that year by Whitney Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You”). “On Bended Knee” replaced “I’ll Make Love to You” at number 1, making Boyz II Men only the third act ever to replace itself at number 1 on the Hot 100, after Elvis Presley and The Beatles.[4]

At the 37th Grammy Awards on March 1, 1995, the group won two Grammy Awards: Best R&B Album for II and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. for “I’ll Make Love to You”

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52 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread | Boyz II Men Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    The lovely Plains @DaRiverZkind

    AA in ’12 voted @ higher rate than whites 4 1rst time,0,519527.story

    Stat:75% of blacks age 65+ voted in 2012
    8:54 PM – 8 May 2013

  2. rikyrah says:

    May 8, 2013
    In Bad Taste Aamna Aqeel

    This is possibly one of the most racist ad campaigns we have seen!Everyone needs to act more responsible, this is just wrong on too many levels.

  3. rikyrah says:

    BET Heiress Marries a Rainbeau! Just Goes to Show Rich Folks Want Ratchet For Eveyone Else EXCEPT Their Own.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m THRILLED for Paige. I just wish that EVERY little black girl was cherished and protected and married off to a “perfect guy for her,” not just the daughters of rich men who are responsible for advocated a lifestyle that grants the exact opposite to “ordinary” black girls.

    Author : Christelyn Karazin

    This is the first marriage for Johnson, a champion equestrian based in Middleburg, as well as for Payne, an insurance broker from Warrenton. The two were introduced by a mutual friend seven years ago and have been dating ever since.

    “This guy is the perfect guy for Paige,” Bob Johnson told us last week. “He’s a true gentleman.” Before proposing last year, Payne took the old-fashioned step of inviting the multi-millionaire to Café Milano to ask for his only daughter’s hand in marriage.

    Take a goooooood look at the last paragraph. Mr. Johnson said that this WHITE INSURANCE BROKER IS THE PERFECT GUY FOR HIS DAUGHTER. I’ve said this before on other issues but it bears repeating like a broken record on a Victrola: Be careful of those who advocate a lifestyle on others that they would never desire for themselves. Do you think Jay-Z is going to want his precious little Blu Ivy gallivanting with the progeny of his homeboys? Doubt it.

    Why are we so effing blind? So many of us are being fed a pile of horse-pucky about a lifestyle that nobody with any damn sense wants for themselves or their own. Has the precious Paige been in any of the ratchet BET videos that parade half-naked black women in front of men who call them bitches, hoes, and cum dumpsters? No? Maybe it’s time you ask yourself why.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m THRILLED for Paige. I just wish that EVERY little black girl was cherished and protected and married off to a “perfect guy for her,” not just the daughters of rich men who are responsible for advocating a lifestyle that grants the exact opposite to “ordinary” black girls.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Longtime ‘Young & the Restless’ star Jeanne Cooper dies at 84

    by Lynette Rice

    Jeanne Cooper, who played matriarch Katherine Chancellor on CBS’ hit soap The Young and the Restless, has died. She was 84.

    Cooper, who has starred in the daytime series since its first year in 1973, had been in and out of a Los Angeles hospital recently due to an undisclosed illness. Her actor/son Corbin Bernsen had been informing fans of her condition via Facebook, where he confirmed her death today. “My mother passed away this morning just a short time ago, peaceful with my sister by her side, in her sleep. I was going to visit this afternoon, thought I had time. Reminder to self – time is a precious thing. I too am at peace however. I said my goodbyes several times over during the last few weeks.

    “I’ll go one last time now for a gentle kiss a final farewell for this lifetime,” he continued. “She has been a blaze her entire life, that beacon, that boxer I spoke of earlier. She went the full twelve rounds and by unanimous decision… won! And while her light finally gave into the wind that gives flight to all our journeys, there will always be a glimmer left behind by what she stood for. I will speak about that more in coming days, months I suppose. I will certainly dedicate what remains of my life to continue her purpose of honesty, equality, humility, empathy and love.”

    No cause of death was revealed

  5. rikyrah says:

    Wed May 08, 2013 at 09:57 AM PDT.

    Issa accuses Benghazi commission chairman of refusing to testify, then refuses to let him testify

    byJed Lewison

    As today’s big Benghazi hearing gets underway, Republicans are saying Ambassador Thomas Pickering – the co-chairman of the State Department’s committee investigating of the Benghazi attack – has refused to testify today.
    The State Department says the opposite is true – that Pickering wanted to testify but Republicans would not let him.

    “Ambassador Pickering volunteered to appear,” a State Department official tells ABC News. “But [Government Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Darrell] Issa said no.”

    “That is 100 percent untrue,” says Issa spokesman Frederick Hill.
    Apparently, Pickering declined an earlier invitation to testify at a March hearing, but according to the State Department, wanted to appear in today’s hearing. Asked by ABC about Pickering’s offer, Hill said he could not testify:

    “If Ambassador Pickering has reversed himself and wants to testify, we would welcome him at a future date,” Hill said.
    How about today?

    Hill said it is too late.

    In other words, that thing Hill said was “100 percent untrue” … was in fact 100 percent accurate.

  6. Breaking: The jury has reached a verdict in the Jodi Arias case. It will be read at 4:30pm est.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Wed May 08, 2013 at 09:10 AM PDT.

    Elizabeth Warren: Students should get the same loan rate as big banks

    by Joan McCarter

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduced her first bill, a simple proposal to give students the same loan rates as the nation’s biggest banks. Her proposal would allow the cut-rate loans for students for one year, to give Congress the time to come to agreement on a long-term solution to interest rates. Federal Stafford subsidized loan rates for new students are set to double on July 1 to 6.8 percent.
    Here’s a snippet from her floor speech introducing the bill.

    “Some people say that we can’t afford to help our kids through school by keeping student loan interest rates low,” said Senator Warren. “But right now, as I speak, the federal government offers far lower interest rates on loans, every single day–they just don’t do it for everyone. Right now, a big bank can get a loan through the Federal Reserve discount window at a rate of about 0.75%. But this summer a student who is trying to get a loan to go to college will pay almost 7%. In other words, the federal government is going to charge students interest rates that are nine times higher than the rates for the biggest banks–the same banks that destroyed millions of jobs and nearly broke this economy. That isn’t right. And that is why I’m introducing legislation today to give students the same deal that we give to the big banks.”
    “Big banks get a great deal when they borrow money from the Fed,” Senator Warren continued. “In effect, the American taxpayer is investing in those banks. We should make the same kind of investment in our young people who are trying to get an education. Lend them the money and make them to pay it back, but give our kids a break on the interest they pay. Let’s Bank on Students… Unlike the big banks, students don’t have armies of lobbyists and lawyers. They have only their voices. And they call on us to do what is right.”

  8. rikyrah says:

    Newark’s field of dreams: An ex-con’s crusade to bring baseball to the inner city

    Wed May 8, 2013 9:33 AM EDT

    The statistics are sobering. Newark, N.J., has a murder rate double that of the Bronx. A third of its residents live in poverty. Only 40 percent of its students graduate from high school. Behind those numbers, though, are people trying to beat the odds.

    In his new book, “A Chance to Win: Boyhood, Baseball, and the Struggle for Redemption in the Inner City,” reporter Jonathan Schuppe chronicles that effort through the story of a fledgling Little League team, its improbable coach and inspiring players.


    At the center of the narrative is Rodney Mason, a drug-peddling ex-con left paralyzed from a drive-by shooting who decides he can make a difference by starting a baseball team in a city where America’s pastime holds little allure.

    Below is an excerpt from “A Chance to Win,” published May 7 by Henry Holt:

    For weeks, Rodney had been combing the neighborhood for recruits, but now it was late March, a couple of weeks before the start of the 2008 Little League season, and he had only a handful of completed registration forms.

    Baseball just didn’t seem to be on many people’s minds. Some kids had actually told Rodney that they hated baseball, recoiling as if it were some kind of social disease. He couldn’t understand it. This was the national pastime, the game everyone played when he was growing up.

    And today was the day. If kids didn’t show up this morning, then they never would.

    Rodney hoisted himself out of the tub and dried off. He slipped on a condom, fitted to a urine collection bag, and strapped the contraption to his right leg. He ironed his jeans and white T-shirt and switched to a battery-powered scooter that the family of an elderly neighbor had given him after the old man died.

    Then he rode a lurching elevator to the lobby and rolled out in the gray chill. The neighborhood was just starting to come alive, people stepping onto their stoops, assessing the weather, waving to neighbors, retreating inside.

    The field was empty. So was the parking lot. Rodney pulled up to the dugout, jammed his hands into the pockets of his Yankees windbreaker, and waited. Please god, he prayed. Help me make this happen.


    Sometimes, when he was not working and his children were at school, Thaiquan Scott stopped by the Jackie Robinson South Ward Little League’s old field at the St. Peter’s Recreation Center to catch a game.

    The diamond was lousy with lumps and the quality of play was terrible, but he occasionally noticed a gifted athlete

    The diamond was lousy with lumps and the quality of play was terrible, but he occasionally noticed a gifted athlete who, if he found the right coach and stuck with it, could probably go on to play in high school or college. Thaiquan wondered why more black kids weren’t interested in baseball.

    Thaiquan and his family lived on the second floor of a narrow three-family house with cream-colored vinyl siding on Peshine Avenue. Their block was not what you’d call kid-friendly, though there were many children.

    Dope fiends and drunks puttered around in the abandoned lot across the street. Brash young drug dealers played noisy games of dice on the stoops of homes, the tenants too frightened or too complacent to complain. A few days after the Scotts moved in, a thirty-nine-year-old woman was killed in a drive-by around the corner.

    Thaiquan and his wife wanted to leave Peshine Avenue, but their house was one of the only places they could find that was cheap and large enough for the seven of them. So they made the best of it by keeping the kids busy and trying to expose them to the world outside the city.

    Thaiquan saw baseball, and sports in general, as a bulwark against the streets; the more his kids played, the less chance that something bad would ever happen to them. His father had been an amateur player – a damn good one, he’d heard, but drinking got in the way, and the old man left home without ever passing the game on to Thaiquan.

    Now he wanted to give his two oldest children – Nasir, his biological son, and Kaneisha, his stepdaughter – that chance he never got. He pledged that as soon as they reached playing age, he’d sign them up for Little League.

    In late March, Thaiquan got word that Nasir and Kaneisha had been assigned to a team. They went to meet their coach and were surprised to see that he was in a wheelchair. Thaiquan introduced himself and felt like he understood Rodney immediately.

    “He’s from the struggle,” Thaiquan said later. “But that don’t mean he’s not about the kids. He’s a product of his environment, so he knows how the kids are and how they grow up. I could tell right away that he was doing it from the heart.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    A deficit shift the GOP may struggle to explain

    By Steve Benen

    Wed May 8, 2013 1:44 PM EDT.

    For deficit hawks, all of the news is good news.

    The Congressional Budget Office reported Tuesday that the federal budget deficit is declining this year compared to fiscal 2012.

    For the first seven months of 2013, the deficit was $489 billion. That is $231 billion less than the budget shortfall for the comparable period last year.

    The decrease is almost entirely due to revenue increases.

    Not only is this year’s deficit on track to be significantly smaller than year’s, to the tune of about $200 billion, it’s also on pace to be even better than optimistic projections from February. Hell, we even ran a surplus in April.

    All told, the U.S. federal deficit will be about $600 billion smaller than it was in President Obama’s first year in office, making this the fastest deficit reduction Americans have seen since World War II.

    And with that, let’s pause to note what a terrible mistake it is for Republicans to continue to prioritize a perceived problem that’s quickly improving.

    But let’s also note another tidbit of information: one of the main reasons the deficit is shrinking so quickly is the increased revenue from the tax hikes that began in January. My question for Republicans is, didn’t you guys say this was impossible?

  10. Ametia says:


    • Ametia says:

      Even Stevie Wonder can see that the GOP & Isa are using Benghazi as a DISTRACTION, because they offer NOTHING to Americans, but LIES, LIES, & MORE LIES. NO JOBS, NO INFRASTRUCTURE, NO GOOD SCHOOLS/EDUCATION, NO HEALTHCARE, NO HONEST MORTGAGES,


  11. rikyrah says:

    Jason Richwine and the wonk gap
    By Steve Benen
    Wed May 8, 2013 12:34 PM EDT.

    There’s no great mystery as to why the Heritage Foundation released its widely-panned report on immigration reform this week. The goal was to give far-right opponents of the bipartisan proposal rhetorical ammunition: reform would cost taxpayers over $6 trillion.

    Of course, that’s not true, and even other conservatives consider the figure ridiculous, but Heritage — having completed the transition from think tank to activist group — wanted to give anti-reform Republicans an arrow for their quiver, facts be damned.

    But the more Heritage’s “study” is scrutinized, the bigger the problem becomes. Dylan Matthews reports this morning, for example, that the group’s report was written in part by Jason Richwine, who’s “relatively new to the think tank world,” after having received his PhD in public policy from Harvard in 2009. You might be hearing more about him soon.

    Richwine’s dissertation asserts that there are deep-set differentials in intelligence between races. While it’s clear he thinks it is partly due to genetics — “the totality of the evidence suggests a genetic component to group differences in IQ” — he argues the most important thing is that the differences in group IQs are persistent, for whatever reason. He writes, “No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.”

    Toward the end of the thesis, Richwine writes that though he believes racial differences in IQ to be real and persistent, one need not agree with that to accept his case for basing immigration on IQ. Rather than excluding what he judges to be low-IQ races, we can just test each individual’s IQ and exclude those with low scores. “I believe there is a strong case for IQ selection,” he writes, “since it is theoretically a win-win for the U.S. and potential immigrants.” He does caution against referring to it as IQ-based selection, saying that using the term “skill-based” would “blunt the negative reaction.”

    Too late.

    So, the guy tasked by Heritage to help refute comprehensive immigration reform believes white people are necessarily more intelligent and Latinos may never catch up. It’s as if the ostensible think tank went out of its way to create a plan to push as many Hispanic voters as possible to the left.

  12. rikyrah says:

    The looming fight over ‘debt prioritization’
    By Steve Benen
    Wed May 8, 2013 11:10 AM EDT.

    The question isn’t whether congressional Republicans will launch another debt-ceiling crisis; it’s what they’re prepared to write on the ransom note. GOP leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday, now freely admit that they intend to hurt Americans, on purpose, unless Democrats agree to give Republicans some kind of treat. The intra-party debate is, at this point, over what to put on their “wish list.”

    But in the meantime, there’s a more immediate fight over “debt prioritization.”

    Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee put together this video, highlighting House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) interview with Bloomberg’s Peter Cook yesterday. For those who can’t watch clips online:

    COOK: Doesn’t it mean, as Democrats have suggested, that you’re basically choosing to pay China before you pay U.S. troops?

    BOEHNER: Listen. Those who have loaned us money, like in any other proceeding, if you will, court proceeding, the bond holders usually get paid first. Same thing here.

    COOK: And you’re not worried about the politics of this?

    BOEHNER: No. Not at all…. If it comes to the point where they don’t have enough money to pay all the bills, here is some order that we think is sound.

    At issue here is a proposal, which may receive a House vote as early as this week, to figure out what happens if Congress chooses not to act and the nation pierces its debt ceiling for the first time in American history. Instead of working on a plan to avoid disaster, House Republicans are investing their time and energy into a plan to deal with the disaster after they ensure it strikes.

    In other words, the GOP proposal is a response to the lingering question: what happens if Republicans hold the nation hostage (again) and are forced to pull the trigger once Democrats fail to meet the GOP’s demands?


    In effect, because Congress will have blocked the United States’ ability to borrow the funds necessary to meet our legal obligations, these House Republicans are looking to prioritize who’ll get paid first after the debt limit is breached. Under this radical vision, the nation will start by focusing on our bond holders and debt payments, paying them in full, and then using whatever money is left over to pay for literally everything else.

    It’s why Democrats are going with the straightforward attack: Boehner and his party want to pay China before they pay U.S. troops. (For the record, China doesn’t own that much U.S. debt, making the talking point misleading, though the larger point about bond holders vs. domestic obligations is sound.)

  13. rikyrah says:

    The deficit is shrinking. Can we talk about unemployment now?

    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on May 8, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Is the United States close to running a budget surplus? So suggests the American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis, who highlights an analysis from Potomac Research, which notes two things.

    First, the United States government ran a surplus of $112 billion in April, partly because of income tax payments, and partly because revenue is up from the previous fiscal year. Potomac then predicts that the deficit will fall below 5 percent of GDP for this fiscal year (to around $700 billion), further in 2014 (to $500 billion, close to 3 percent of GDP), and even further in 2015, to below 2 percent of GDP (around $300 billion). As the group notes at the end of its analysis, if the sequester holds and economic growth continues, it’s “not totally out of the question” for the United States to reach a balanced budget, or even a surplus, by the end of fiscal year 2015.

    Not only would this fulfill President Obama’s election year promise to reduce the deficit — itself a carryover from his 2008 campaign — but it would hit the targets established by the Simpson-Bowles debt reduction blueprint, and potentially rob Republicans of one of their most important talking points against Obama and Democrats

    Conservatives who want to see drastic reductions in spending have every reason to welcome this analysis. Liberals, not so much. Mass long-term unemployment is still a problem — millions have been out of work for at least six months, and millions more have dropped out of the labor force completely. Under those conditions, we’re wasting resources by running a program of steady deficit reduction. What’s needed, as liberals have noted for the last four years, is further fiscal stimulus and action from the Federal Reserve.

    Of course, there’s little appetite in Congress for anything close to stimulus, and ongoing enthusiasm for measures — like the sequester — that would slash spending from the budget, at the cost of jobs and growth.
    The deficit is shrinking. Can we talk about unemployment now?

    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on May 8, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Is the United States close to running a budget surplus? So suggests the American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis, who highlights an analysis from Potomac Research, which notes two things.

    First, the United States government ran a surplus of $112 billion in April, partly because of income tax payments, and partly because revenue is up from the previous fiscal year. Potomac then predicts that the deficit will fall below 5 percent of GDP for this fiscal year (to around $700 billion), further in 2014 (to $500 billion, close to 3 percent of GDP), and even further in 2015, to below 2 percent of GDP (around $300 billion). As the group notes at the end of its analysis, if the sequester holds and economic growth continues, it’s “not totally out of the question” for the United States to reach a balanced budget, or even a surplus, by the end of fiscal year 2015.

    Not only would this fulfill President Obama’s election year promise to reduce the deficit — itself a carryover from his 2008 campaign — but it would hit the targets established by the Simpson-Bowles debt reduction blueprint, and potentially rob Republicans of one of their most important talking points against Obama and Democrats

    Conservatives who want to see drastic reductions in spending have every reason to welcome this analysis. Liberals, not so much. Mass long-term unemployment is still a problem — millions have been out of work for at least six months, and millions more have dropped out of the labor force completely. Under those conditions, we’re wasting resources by running a program of steady deficit reduction. What’s needed, as liberals have noted for the last four years, is further fiscal stimulus and action from the Federal Reserve.

    Of course, there’s little appetite in Congress for anything close to stimulus, and ongoing enthusiasm for measures — like the sequester — that would slash spending from the budget, at the cost of jobs and growth.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Oprah Winfrey Returns to Acting With a ‘Misbehaving’ Costar in ‘The Butler’
    .By Matt McDaniel | Movie Talk – 15 hours ago

    It’s easy to forget now that before Oprah Winfrey had a nationally syndicated talk show, she was an Academy Award-nominated actress.

    Ten months before “The Oprah Winfrey Show” debuted coast-to-coast, Winfrey made her acting debut in Steven Spielberg’s “The Color Purple.” The movie was a critical and financial hit, and it could’ve been a launchpad to a successful acting career. But then Winfrey got a little distracted with being the most successful talk show host in history (and one of the wealthiest people in the world).

    Now with the grind of her daily show over, Winfrey has returned to acting in her first on-screen movie role in 15 years in “The Butler,” inspired by the true story of the man who served eight U.S. presidents in the White House. And it seems as though the part puts her in a compromising position we are not used to seeing her in, thanks to her “misbehaving” costar Terrence Howard.

    Winfrey plays Gloria Gaines, the wife of Cecil Gaines (played by Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker), the long-serving White House butler. But she gets embroiled in an affair with their charming next-door neighbor, played by Terrence Howard. And Howard was apparently very happy to talk about what a thrill he found their love scene to be.

    “Oprah and I had such chemistry. She’s such a lovely, voluptuous woman,” Howard told when asked about their make-out scene (he also used some less appropriate terminology to describe her features). “She’s very, very, very beautiful, and that was wonderful.”

    Winfrey herself opened up about the intimate scene when Steve Harvey asked her about it on his talk show. “It was supposed to be like a little scene,” Winfrey explained, “and because Terrence Howard misbehaved it turned into a bigger scene, and then a bigger scene.” She went on to call him “a misbehaving kind of boy.”

    And she didn’t shy away from the language Howard used to describe her: “I heard he was on Twitter the other day talking about my ‘breasteses’ [sic].” Though she clarified that his statements didn’t upset her. She said, “Some people called me saying that they all were offended and I go, ‘Well, I do have big breasteses’.”

    Winfrey’s last on-screen movie role was in the big-screen adaptation of Toni Morrison’s book “Beloved,” which bombed at the box office. Since then she voiced characters in family movies like “The Princess and the Frog.” “The Butler” marks her return to mature, on-camera roles, and that the content is adult-oriented shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. The film is from director Lee Daniels, who previously made the Oscar-winning “Precious,” which Winfrey also produced. He also made last year’s more lurid, “The Paperboy,” which featured a tawdry relationship between Zac Efron and Nicole Kidman.

    Daniels said he wrote the part especially for Winfrey, and the disconnect between the character and her public persona was part of the appeal for her. He told the Huffington Post, “I think that she’s able to escape the pressures of being Oprah while on my set, because she’s able to sort of be the character.” And while things get somewhat heated between Winfrey and Howard, it doesn’t get explicit enough to be alienating. He said, “I think ‘The Butler’ isn’t dark. I’m pleasing everyone with ‘The Butler.'”

    Though it sounds like for Terrence Howard, the pleasure was all his.

  15. rikyrah says:


    The Texas Senate approved something called the Tim Tebow Bill, and it’s a big deal
    By Ben Rohrbach | Prep Rally – Mon, May 6, 2013 5:21 PM EDT…

    The Texas Senate passed the Tim Tebow Bill to allow home-schooled student-athletes to play for their local public schools in the Lone Star State, according to multiple reports.

    The bill, which passed the Senate by a decisive 21-7 vote on April 25, now rests with the Texas House before it’s signed into law, according to The Dallas Morning News. If the bill is successful there, it will open the doors for many home-schooled athletes in Texas.

    Texas is not the only state acting to make it easier for students of Tebow’s ilk to take part in mainstream high school competition. Indiana passed a similar law May 1, and half the nation’s states have already adopted similar bills named for Tebow, the Heisman Trophy winner who led Nease (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) High to a state title and captured Florida’s Mr. Football honor as a high school senior while being homeschooled in 2005.

    Tebow and six-time NFL Pro Bowler Jason Taylor, who played for Woodland Hills (Pittsburgh, Pa.) High while being homeschooled in the early 1990s, have championed the rights of homeschooled student-athletes to varying degrees of success across the country.

    Recently, the Alabama Senate rejected the Tim Tebow Act, the Arkansas House passed the bill and both Tennessee and North Carolina are currently in the legislative process.

    A faction of public educators in Texas opposed the bill, but the Texas Home School Coalition supported it despite some members of the homeschool community who believe the law might lead to further government oversight, according to The Morning News.

    Texas features as many as 320,000 homeschooled students and parents, the THSC said.

    • Ametia says:

      Go KERRY! See, ladies, this is what real, full, lips looks like. ELLE getting with the program, hoping to get the greenbacks from the black ladies.

    • rikyrah says:

      from POU in the comments:


      Had a white actress had a year like Kerry has had, she would have been on all the covers of the major mags, especially Vogue, by now. And she’d have a major endorsement deal. Kerry has to work three times as hard just to get a third of the spoils. Just this year alone, she starred in an Oscar nominated film, leads one of the biggest shows on tv, and has strong ties to the President and First Lady through the arts committee and her activism. If she were White, she’d be the Hollywood “It Girl” right about now.

  16. rikyrah says:

    State Legislatures

    The Republican Power Grab in North Carolina

    By Melba Newsome

    It’s not often that 250 people pack in to see the city council in Asheville, N.C., in the middle of a workday. Yet there they were on the afternoon of April 3, when the city’s elected officials met with citizens to discuss a plan by the Republican-led General Assembly in Raleigh to take control of the city’s water systems. The lawmakers want to hand it over to a new multi-county board that would be appointed largely by the state legislature. Asheville wouldn’t be compensated for lost revenue from water bills, leaving the city of 84,000 with a $3 million shortfall that would force cuts to city services.

    The mostly Democratic voters in the audience vowed to stop the bill from becoming law. But that’s not likely to happen. For two years, Democrats who run the largest city in Western North Carolina have been losing to Republicans in the Capitol. In 2012, the legislature stripped the city’s control of Asheville Regional Airport and is currently in the process of appropriating the land. Lawmakers created an independent state agency to run the airport, saying it would provide better service. “We can’t find a valid reason for the taking,” says Asheville’s Democratic Mayor Terry Bellamy. “They have accused us of mismanaging money, but they have no data to back that up.” She points out that the city’s bond rating rose from AA to AA+ in 2010. “Every city in the state should be watching what’s happening in Asheville and supporting us,” she says, “because they could be next.”

    Since January, Republicans in the General Assembly have introduced a series of bills that would curtail the ability of Democratic-led cities and urban counties to govern themselves. GOP legislators say Charlotte’s City Council can no longer be trusted to manage Charlotte Douglas International Airport, a major hub. They want an appointed regional authority to run it. “The Charlotte Airport has become a multibillion-dollar effort,” says State Senator Bob Rucho, the bill’s main sponsor. “We’re concerned and want to be sure you have the best minds and most experienced individuals in place to move that forward to get the most economic value derived from it.”

    Rucho has cited a variety of reasons for the takeover. He accused Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, now President Obama’s nominee for U.S. Transportation secretary, of planning to divert airport revenue to fund pet projects (not true, Foxx says). He said security costs are up and the airport needs new leadership when its longtime director retires.

    State lawmakers also nullified a lease that let Raleigh use state property for a park and enacted changes limiting cities’ ability to annex land. Another bill would take away control of school buildings and construction from the Wake County Board of Education, which oversees schools in Raleigh and surrounding areas, and give it to county commissioners. “No one has come out to say specifically ‘this is political revenge against Democratic strongholds,’ ” says David Swindell, who teaches public policy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “But these changes amount to an unprecedented attack on the state’s cities, which happen to be home to many of the state’s Democrats.”

  17. rikyrah says:

    Now They Want to Take Away the 8-Hour Day and 40-Hour Week
    Tuesday, 07 May 2013 15:13 By Dave Johnson, Truthout | News Analysis

    Republicans are trying to pass an “alternative” to overtime pay. This is really about taking away the eight-hour workday and 40-hour workweek. Will weekends be next? What about an “alternative” to paying workers at all?

    House Republicans are pushing a bill that takes away extra pay for overtime, substituting “comp” time instead. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 is the law that brought us the eight-hour workday and the 40-hour workweek. This law does not prohibit employers from requiring workers to work over 40 hours. Instead, it gives employers an incentive to instead pay extra or hire more people, and gives employees a premium if they do have to work longer. (Note that this is also the law that brought us a minimum wage and outlawed child labor.)

    There is proof that overtime pay works: workers like domestic workers and agricultural workers – jobs not covered by the FLSA – are twice as likely to have to work more than 40 hours in a week. And even with this law, Americans already work more hours than in almost any other industrialized country.

    The House will be voting on H.R. 1406, The Working Families Flexibility Act, which lets employers offer “comp time” instead of overtime pay. The problem is that employers will pressure workers to take comp time instead of overtime, which reduces paychecks and gets rid of the incentive to hire more people. Later, the employees will be pressured to not take that comp time, or will have to be “on call,” etcetera.

    It is important to note that the law does not guarantee workers the right to actually use the comp time they get instead of extra pay. Employers can put it off forever. You can’t use this time when you want to, only when the employer decides it is okay.

    This really is a flat-out pay take-away, can’t use it another day.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Former Romney aide to publish book on campaign’s ‘chain of errors’
    05/07/2013 4:25 PM
    By Matt Viser, Globe Staff

    One of Mitt Romney’s former campaign aides is planning to release a new book next week that is being pitched as an insider’s account that provides “an unblinking look at the tactical and strategic miscalculations” made by the former presidential candidate.

    The book – “A Bad Day on the Romney Campaign: An Insider’s Account” – is written by Gabriel Schoenfeld, who says he started working for Romney in January 2011 as a consultant and was a senior adviser from August 2011 through the rest of the campaign.

    “The book illuminates the chain of errors that ultimately contributed to Romney’s defeat,” reads a summary of the 66-page book, which is being published next Tuesday as a $2.99 e-book by the Penguin Group.

    “Schoenfeld does not shrink from pointing fingers and naming names,” the summary reads. “Unsparing in his criticism of some of his former colleagues, and presenting a candid appraisal of Romney’s strengths and weaknesses, his objective is to launch a far-reaching debate about the way we go about choosing America’s leader.”

    The book also makes the case that Romney downplayed foreign policy too much – and made too many blunders – in a way that put the campaign at a disadvantage when responding to international events. Schoenfeld highlights Romney’s response to the attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi.

    “The Romney campaign’s response to the Middle East crisis left Romney and his team looking ill-informed and opportunistic,” reads a press release on the book. “It was a miscalculation that severely hampered the campaign for the rest of the race, and especially during the debates.”

    Schoenfeld also outlines several other foreign policy problems, according to the press release. Those include “poor vetting” of Richard Grenell, a foreign policy spokesman who later resigned; Romney’s failure to mention the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the troops, during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention; and what Schoenfeld calls “a mistake-riddled European tour.”

    Schoenfeld’s goal with the book is to convince the Republican Party to jettison “the mechanical poll- and focus-group-driven approach embraced by the Romney campaign.”

  19. rikyrah says:

    Elections have consequences: Immigration Reform

    Between 2010 and 2012, immigration reform suffered the same defeat in Congress that was meted out to anything President Obama proposed…total Republican obstruction. Not only did they fail to pass comprehensive reform, Republicans even blocked the Dream Act when it came up for a vote.

    But here we are in 2013 and its not only Senators McCain and Graham that are promoting comprehensive immigration reform. Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio is its chief champion. And now Paul Ryan looks to be on board.

    Why the change? Let’s state the obvious…71% of Latinos voted for the candidate who supports comprehensive immigration reform in the 2012 presidential election. Knowing that Latinos are the fastest growing demographic in the country, these Republicans know that if they have any hope of a political future, they have to get on board with this issue.

    That’s how democracy is supposed to work.

    It’s true – we don’t yet know the outcome of whether immigration reform will actually pass. But this issue – more than any other – is splitting the Republican Party in two. One need only look at the release of Jim DeMint’s Heritage Foundation report yesterday as representative of the nativist wing and the pushback it got from the realist wing to see that.

    As a matter of fact, the politics of this issue are so strong that even the nativists aren’t arguing against the basics. They’re left to delay tactics – hoping they can derail progress – and lying about the financial repercussions of reform.

    That’s what citizenship in a participatory democracy can do.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Aw, That’s Cute: Republicans Dreaming About Using ObamaCare to Win in 2014

    Tuesday, May 07, 2013 | Posted by Spandan C at 2:36 PM

    For a while now, I have argued that in 2014, the Democrats’ most potent electoral weapon will be a fully implemented Affordable Care Act. By October, the health insurance exchanges will be set up all across this country, and people will be able to start signing up for coverage, with the help of the largest refundable tax credit for health care in history. This president has outsmarted Republicans and humiliated them time and again when they tried to play politics with people’s lives. Republicans, of course, will never learn. They are readying attacks for 2014 just in case the man responsible for taking out Osama bin Laden and securing all of the world’s loose nuclear material screws up while trying to implement his most prized domestic policy achievement.

    “There are very few issues that are as personal and as tangible as health care, and the implementation of the law over the next year is going to reveal a lot of kinks, a lot of red tape, a lot of taxes, a lot of price increases and a lot of people forced into health care that they didn’t anticipate,” said Brad Dayspring, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “It’s going to be an issue that’s front and center for voters even in a more tangible way than it was in 2010.

    With spokesmen like these, is it any wonder that the people in charge of Republican senate campaigns keep introducing us to talents like Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell and Todd Akin? Not that it merits any sort of a serious policy response, but let’s point out first of all that in 2014, Republicans will have to run against actual health care people are getting – people who never would otherwise get such care, and their families and neighbors and friends. Unlike 2010, Republicans will not be able to run against a caricature of Obamacare, they have to run against the real thing.

    The president’s people have fired back, succinctly:

    “If they think they’re going to run the 2014 election on refighting the political battles of 2010, they’re going to fare very poorly,” said Dan Pfeiffer, Mr. Obama’s chief strategist. “We’re going to implement the law well, and we don’t worry.”


    I am beginning to think that this now has less to do with political smarts (not that you should expect a whole lot of that from the party of birthers and climate change deniers), but with true believerism. The idea that the Republicans can ever run and win again by running against the Affordable Care Act is only marginally more plausible than the conspiracy theory that the moon landing was staged in Hollywood (obviously by liberals, but that’s redundant). But that’s exactly the point. The signal is directed far less toward a national audience and more toward the Republican primary voter, even if the New York Times insists on picking up the meme and some Democrats insist on being scared.

    Look, the Republican party has run against the President’s health care reform for three elections now: 2008, 2010 hand 2012. Did I say 2008? Yep, I did. Sure, there was no law yet, but the scare tactics were all the same about how the Kenyan Gay Muslim usurper would pull the plug on grandma so the .. ahem… welfare queens could get free government cheese… I mean, health care. The GOP has been running against health care for three election cycles and two of them have been catastrophic losses for them.

    And frankly, the GOP should have figured this out by now. Their approach to opposing health care reform isn’t much different from their rhetoric of opposing many other social legislation, including immigration reform and their fearmongering against the president himself. For a long time now, Republicans have been trying to win elections by scaring white people that minorities are getting too powerful and demanding a piece of “their” American dream.

    There is nothing new under the sun. Nothing, that is, except the makeup of the American electorate. The Republicans’ attempt to use white resentment got them 60% of the white vote in 2012, and they still lost the election in a landslide. From that election, the Republicans tell they learned that something needed to be done about immigration, lest they lose the vote of the Hispanic population the same way they lost the African American vote. Yet, they seem incapable of understanding why Americans of color, young people, LGBT people and women voted against them in droves last year: It isn’t simply because we want a humane and effective immigration policy. It is because we want a different kind of society. We are tired of being pitted against each other and being told that we should resent others for getting a hand up while the elite rob our wages, our safety net, our safety and our wallets.

    We rejected the GOP and embraced Barack Obama not because he looks like us but because he thinks like us. We do not believe that health care is a privilege tied to one’s employment, but that it is a right of every single one of us. Contrary to GOP’s scare tactics, we do believe that government has a positive role to play in preserving and expanding access to that right.

    But they did do well in 2010, a midterm year, you say, running against Obamacare. Sure. The difference this year is two-fold: first and foremost, the policy reason: Republicans will have to run telling people they want to take their health care away. Second, the political reason: the Right wing had an ally in 2010 in smearing the newly passed health care law, namely the Left’s radical reactionaries who decided to pout and scream on Fox News because they didn’t get their public option pony. With the debate not being so fresh on the blogosphere on the Left, the faux-Leftists have lost their interest in capitalizing on this as it’s no longer a money maker for them. Without that, Republicans cannot succeed on the strategy to depress Democratic turnout.

    So if the Republicans want to come at us with Obamacare in 2014, I say bring it on. We will be able to tell voters that this president and his allies in Congress have brought an economy back from the wreckage of Republican destruction, while they can tell voters why it’s the moochers’ fault. We will run on actual health care reform actually helping millions of people gain and retain coverage, while they can run on why it should be taken away from those people because… Kenya! Or Death Panels! Or something like that. If that’s how they want to fight this, they are even dumber than I thought

  21. rikyrah says:

    And then there were 11
    By Steve Benen

    Wed May 8, 2013 8:30 AM EDT

    Less than a week after Rhode Island became the 10th state to approve marriage equality, Delaware became the 11th yesterday afternoon. Gov. Jack Markell (D) signed it within minutes of the bill passing the legislature, declaring, “I am signing this bill now because I do not intend to make any of you wait one moment longer.”

    During a lengthy floor debate, state Sen. Karen Peterson (D) told her colleagues she’s a lesbian who has lived with her partner for 24 years. “If my happiness somehow demeans or diminishes your marriage, then you need to work on your marriage,” she said, eliciting cheers and laughter.

    Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, responded to developments in Delaware by saying, “We’re not discouraged.”

    They should be — they’re losing, the number of states approving equal marriage rights keeps growing, and the pendulum is not going to swing back. Indeed, Minnesota appears likely to become the 12th state to approve marriage equality later this week, and Illinois will probably be close behind.

    What’s more, while the early victories were the result of judicial intervention — court rulings mandated equal rights under the law, before politicians were prepared to act on their own — note that all of the recent progress has come from policymakers and voters advancing the cause of equality, not because a judge said so, but because they realized it’s the right thing to do.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Shadow Lobbyists and the Revolving Door, or what Anthony Weiner and Newt Gingrich Have in Common

    by John Sides on May 6, 2013 · 0 comments

    in Interest Groups,Legislative Politics

    What do Anthony Weiner and Newt Gingrich have in common? They both served in Congress. While there, they both became outspoken partisans, albeit on opposite sides of the aisle. They both abruptly resigned from Congress due to revelations of what I will graciously call “personal indiscretions.” They then went on to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year consulting corporations on the inner workings of Washington’s policy process.

    And neither of them have ever registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) as a lobbyist.

    Indeed, they both went so far as to stipulate in their contracts that they were not “lobbying.” And they were right. Kind of. I think we can all assume that these two weren’t sought after for their keen business acumen. After all, they both had primarily earned a living on a government salary up to the point they became lobbyists strategic policy consultants.

    Gingrich was called out for his non-lobbying “historical advice” during the 2012 Republican nomination contest, which prompted columns and op-eds like this and this. And just yesterday Micheal Barbaro’s profile of Weiner noted how his “rapid rise from disgraced lawmaker to in-demand strategic consultant demonstrates the enduring power of Washington’s revolving door.”

    Cases like these motivate pundits to write opinion pieces condemning the revolving door and shadow lobbyists by pointing out what is often referred to as the “Daschle Loophole” in the LDA. They can elude the law’s registration requirement by simply interpreting the strict statutory definition of “lobbyist” as not applying to them. That is, so long as they are not spending 20% of their time—think one full day in a normal work week—on behalf of any single client for an entire quarter, then they do not need to register or report their lobbying activities. Think about that: do you ever spend one full day per week for three months straight working on any one project at work? As law professor William V. Luneberg, Jr. notes, “You can do a hell of a lot of lobbying for somebody when you’re only doing 19 percent of your time for the client.”

  23. rikyrah says:

    House GOP takes a new message to ‘mommy blogs’
    By Steve Benen
    Tue May 7, 2013 11:45 AM EDT

    Republicans have struggled with a gender gap for quite a while, but in 2011 and 2012, the problem intensified. Indeed, the phrase “Republican war on women” did not materialize out of thin air.

    In a short period of time, we saw GOP officials restricting contraception; cutting off Planned Parenthood; requiring state-mandated, medically-unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds; forcing physicians to lie to patients about abortion and breast cancer; fighting equal-pay laws; and temporarily defeating the Violence Against Women Act. When it came time for House Republicans to pay for lower student loan interest rates, GOP officials decided to get the funding by cutting access to breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings.

    But that was before. USA Today reported last week that the party has a new idea, included in House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) rebranding campaign, it hopes will resonate with some of the women who ran away from the party in recent years.

    House Republicans are targeting popular “mommy blog” websites in a digital ad campaign beginning Tuesday as part of an ongoing effort to repair the GOP’s image with certain voting blocs — in this case swing female voters — who have sided decisively with Democrats in recent elections.

    The banner ads will be featured on over 100 websites popular among women and geo-targeted to be viewed by residents in 20 Democratic-held congressional districts targeted by the GOP for 2014…. The $20,000 ad buy, running on sites including and through Friday, will call on Democrats to vote with House Republicans next week on a bill to give hourly private sector workers more flexibility to choose between compensatory time and cash payment for overtime work.

    Yes, the rebranded, new-and-improved Republican Party thinks private-sector flex time is the key — or at least, a key — to closing the gender gap.

    There are, of course, a couple of problems. For one thing, this is a pretty modest policy step, which doesn’t come close to compensating for the rest of the GOP’s regressive social agenda.

    For another, the proposal itself isn’t any good.


    The basic idea behind the “Working Families Flexibility Act” is empowering private-sector employers to make a trade with workers — instead of giving employees overtime pay for extra work, businesses can compensate workers with some additional time off.

  24. rikyrah says:

    The Future of White People

    Jamelle Bouie

    May 7, 2013

    The next “flavor” of white ethnicity

    Writing for Reuters, Reihan Salam has an excellent take on the evolution of Hispanic identity. He doesn’t try to relate this with the current push for immigration reform, but it’s useful to consider in the broader context of American politics. Here’s the key passage:

    The Census Bureau relies on individuals to self-identify with a given ethnic category. We now know, however, that many individuals who could identify as Hispanic, by virtue of a parent or grandparent born in a Spanish-speaking country, choose not to do so. In recent years, Brian Duncan, an economist at the University of Colorado Denver, and Stephen Trejo, an economist at the University of Texas at Austin, have been studying this “ethnic attrition rate” among U.S. immigrants and their descendants. And their findings suggest that while a given generation of Americans might identify as Hispanic, there is a decent chance that their children will not

    This squares with what I found last year, in my piece for The American Prospect magazine on potential demographic paths for the United States. Hispanics have one of the highest rates of intermarriage in the country, and are on a general path of upward mobility. In other words, they have all the hallmarks of a group moving towards assimilation. Salam highlights this: “Almost 80 percent of third-generation Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans have no more than two grandparents born in Mexico or Puerto Rico respectively,” he writes, “The same is true of 90 percent of third-generation Americans of Cuban, Dominican, Chinese, and Filipino ancestry.” By the time you reach the third-generation of Latino and Asian Americans, only a small minority identify primarily with their ethnic or national background.

    This isn’t an unusual trajectory—Italian immigrants and their descendants followed it, as did Irish immigrants and other European immigrants. For those groups, their national and cultural distinctions fell away until—by and large—they were just “white.” Assimilation had cleansed “Italian-ness” and “Irish-ness” of its stigma, giving Irish and Italian Americans a chance to participate in the full range of national life.

    Pundits routinely predict a “majority-minority” America, on account of large waves of Latino and Asian American immigration. But that depends on the emergence of a durable Latino and Asian identity. There are signs of it happening—the partial result of right-wing nativism and anti-immigrant policies—but it’s no guarantee. And if it doesn’t, assimilation and high intermarriage rates are likely to give us a repeat of the 20th century—today’s “Hispanics” and “Asians” will be tomorrow’s white people with a different flavor of ethnic last name.

    • Ametia says:

      Of course some Hispanics and Cubans self-identify as being white. The Boston murderers/ Tsamaseav brothers from Russia did too.

      I’m sure the GOP and teabilly folks loves this, until one of those Hispanics/Asians commits a crime, then they’re no longer WHITE folks. All they care about is your vote. See how that works?

  25. rikyrah says:

    Democrats are Freaking Out about Obamacare. Good.Questions about implementation are no sign of distress: They mean Congress is doing its job.


    Democrats are worried about the implementation of Obamacare. And their angst is making news. Today Jackie Calmes of the New York Times reports that Democrats have been peppering the White House with questions—and demanding the administration start putting out more information, so that the law’s critics don’t soak up all of the oxygen on the airwaves. “There’s clearly some concern” among Democrats “that their constituents don’t yet have all facts on how it will work, and that Republicans are filling that vacuum with partisan talking points,” Representative Steve Israel of New York, head of the House Democrats’ campaign committee, told the Times. “And the administration must use every tool they have to get around the obstructions and make it work.”

    I happen to think that’s good advice, purely for practical reasons. Implementing the law is a massive enterprise, one that requires the administration to work with officials and organizations across the country. Administration officials know this as well as anybody. They have been thinking about and working on the roll-out ever since Obamacare became law two-and-a-half years ago. But the administration hasn’t done a particularly good job of sharing those plans. In conversations over the last two weeks, about this very question, I’ve been struck by how little even some of the administration’s allies know about what the White House has in mind.

    That appears to be changing now. As the Times story noted, the administration just brought on Tara McGuinness, who used to work at the Center for American Progress, to lead a communications team on health care reform. The president himself will start talking more about the law: On Friday, for example, he’ll be giving a speech about the benefits it will bring to women. And much more is in store for the summer, when the administration will inform people about the law’s benefits and encourage people who need insurance to sign up. Administration officials need to maintain that kind of campaign. Their allies on Capitol Hill need to start speaking up as well. (Kevin Drum makes that case today, in less gentle terms.)

  26. rikyrah says:

    House Republicans are locked in a debate over what they should demand from President Obama for hiking the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling.

    The GOP conference will meet May 15 to discuss the idea of linking tax reform to the debt limit, but early indications suggest that would be a tough sell with many in the party’s rank and file.

    Some Republicans say that framework is insufficient and that they’ll need spending cuts as well as tax reform to raise the debt ceiling. Others in the conference say that only the full enactment of tax reform will be enough to raise the nation’s borrowing limit and that incremental progress toward completing tax reform is not enough.
    Conservatives in the GOP conference say they are evaluating debt-ceiling proposals against a deal they struck with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his lieutenants during the annual retreat in January. That deal says increases in the debt ceiling will only come about once debt-reducing laws are enacted, they said.
    Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) has discussed developing a plan that would fast-track a rewrite of the tax code and tie it to raising the debt ceiling over multiple stages.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Why you should care about 2016 right now

    Posted by Jonathan Bernstein on May 7, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    The pollsters at Quinnipiac are preparing their first Iowa polling for 2016, and will release the results in a few weeks. If you think that’s too soon — and everyone but the most extreme political junkies thinks that — you’re right! But it’s not too soon to be thinking about and working for the 2016 presidential nomination contest, because now is when it’s really possible to push the candidates on policy, which is what’s really important.

    What does polling tell us, nearly three years out from the Iowa caucuses? Almost nothing. It tells us name recognition, which we also know from common sense. (Lots of voters know who Hillary Clinton is; hardly anyone knows who Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is.) And it might possibly tell us a bit more about who is popular and who isn’t, but it’s far too early for that to be especially predictive of what will happen on a cold night in January or February 2016. My advice? Ignore those polls!

    But that doesn’t mean that it’s too early to pay attention to the nomination battles. After all, the candidates are actively running now. Sometimes, that means actually organizing a full campaign, as we saw with Rand Paul last week. Mostly, however, it’s about impressing party actors and donors, and putting oneself in a position to be viable once the calendar turns to 2015 and 2016.

    A large part of that is finding good issues to run on. And that’s where what happens now matters. Candidates — potential candidates — are looking around to determine which stances all party candidates must take, and are also looking for good issues to help differentiate themselves from the pack. What party actors — everything from think tankers to activists — can do, at this point, is to push the candidates to adopt their pet issues and make them central to the campaign

  28. rikyrah says:

    From the Appalachian Trail to the halls of Congress

    By Steve Benen

    Wed May 8, 2013 8:00 AM EDT

    In the end, South Carolina’s congressional special election wasn’t that close after all. Former Gov. Mark Sanford (R) overcame his scandals and won by nine points over Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D), 54% to 45%. In the process, we witnessed one of the more unexpected political comebacks in recent memory.

    As we discussed in March, after serving three unremarkable terms in Congress, Sanford was elected governor twice, and in 2008, was widely considered a top contender for his party’s vice presidential nomination. By early 2009, the governor appeared to be laying the groundwork for a likely presidential campaign. Those plans were derailed in June 2009, when Sanford, a “family-values conservative,” confessed to having an extra-marital affair with an Argentinian woman. The governor had lied about his activities, misused public funds, violated state ethics guidelines, and was censured by state lawmakers from his own party.

    That didn’t stop him, though, from running for Congress again when a House vacancy opened up unexpectedly. Sanford was far from the ideal candidate — he was caught trespassing at his ex-wife’s home — but managed to overcome his many problems, thanks in large part to the “R” after his name.

    And that’s ultimately why this race was a fascinating drama, which doesn’t really amount to much. Ordinarily, pundits love to ponder the “what does this mean” question, but it’s hard to draw any sweeping conclusions from the results.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Republicans struggle to justify vote against expanded background checks

    Posted by Greg Sargent on May 7, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    submit to reddit

    CNN made a splash earlier today by reporting that GOP Senator Jeff Flake may be prepared to switch to Yes on Manchin-Toomey if its sponsors agree to change the provision relating to internet sales. If that happened, that would obviously be a big boost to the prospects of revisiting the bill.

    However, after talking to Flake’s office, I’m not convinced he’s anywhere near switching his vote, though in one sense his office’s response does suggest progress of a narrow kind. Asked for a detailed explanation of his position, Flake spokesperson Genevieve Rozansky emailed me this:

    He opposed Manchin-Toomey because it would have expanded background checks far beyond commercial sales to include most private transfers – including between friends and neighbors – if the posting or display of the ad for a firearm was made public in any way. He believes that the language in Manchin-Toomey regarding commercial sales was too broad, which is one of the reasons he didn’t support the amendment.

    She added that he objected to Manchin-Toomey because ”it placed undue burdens on all firearms dealers, including smaller retailers” and “would have increased dealers’ liability, record keeping requirements, and expenses leading to high transfer fees on buyers and sellers.”

    Taken all together, this is a good deal to overcome. Manchin-Toomey only requires checks on private sales done via commercial portals — at gun shows or on the Internet. But Flake thinks that the measure could end up requiring checks on certain types of internet transfers among friends and neighbors. Whether that’s true or not, it could probably be addressed with a legislative tweak. But Flake also sees “undue burdens” on dealers and onerous “expenses” on buyers and sellers, which would be much harder to fix with a tweak

  30. rikyrah says:

    How Sequestration Is Devastating Programs That Aid Senior Citizens

    By Anna Chu, Guest Blogger on May 7, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Last week, ThinkProgress spoke to directors of Meals on Wheels programs across the country, and they detailed how sequestration is cutting meal delivery and on-site meal services to needy seniors who may now have to go hungry. Since then, stories about sequestration’s harmful cuts to seniors have continued to pour in from across the country. The stories from Florida and Maine have been particularly wrenching:

    • Throughout Florida, meal services for seniors have been cut. In the Orlando area, five senior meal sites are closing, another 20 seniors are losing their home support services, and other seniors will lose their transportation services, including help getting to medical appointments. Similarly, Aging Matters in Brevard had to close two of its lunch sites. In Ocala, Marion Senior Services will serve 6,000 fewer meals in 2013. Meanwhile, Holly Hill, Ormand Beach and six other locations from Deland to New Smyrna Beach had to cut its on-site meals from 5 days a week to 4 days a week while the waiting list for home-delivered meals is at 2,356 and growing. These may just be numbers to some, but not to the seniors who depend on the meals. Sometimes, these meals are seniors’ “only hot meal of the day.”

    • The same stories are playing out in Maine. In central Maine, Spectrum Generations has had to cut its meal delivery service to just once a week, while Eastern Agency on Aging in Bangor had to furlough its employees once a week. “It is having a tremendous impact on people who need services…These are services that help to keep people — the elderly and the disabled — living in their homes and in their communities rather than living in institutions, which are much more expensive,” said Jessica Maurer, executive director of the Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Meanwhile, in midcoast Maine, the Meals on Wheels program is facing funding shortfalls that may impact its on-site meal service program.

    But losing crucial nutrition support services is not the only way sequestration is hurting seniors. It is also robbing $75 million from Aging and Disability Services programs. These include programs that protect vulnerable adults from elder abuse, that support services for people experiencing Alzheimer’s disease, and that provide home and community-based services that allow seniors to live at home for as long as possible. These drastic cuts are funneled down to the local level in various forms, from funding cuts to senior centers in Missouri to layoffs at a hospice in Kentucky.

    In total, sequestration is cutting more than $230 million to four critical programs that support seniors. It cuts $117 million from Social Services Block Grants, which fund Meals on Wheels and other important initiatives, $75 million from Aging and Disability Services programs, $23 million from Community Service Employment for Older Americans programs, and $19 million from Housing for Elderly programs. But while Congress rushed to stop flight delays right before they flew home for recess, they have done nothing to ease the pain of these cuts on seniors.

  31. rikyrah says:

    On Day Stock Market Sets New Record, Conservative Group Floats Impeaching Obama For ‘Wrecking The Stock Market’

    By Scott Keyes on May 7, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 15,056, an all-time record. For one conservative group, this can only mean one thing: it’s time to impeach President Obama.

    That was the message Capitol Hill Daily, a conservative publication based out of Baltimore, sent to Citizen United’s listserv today. They accused President Obama of “wreck[ing] the stock market” and asked readers to take a poll about whether he should be impeached as a result.

  32. Ametia says:

    Happy HUMP day, Everyone! :-)

  33. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, everyone :)

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