Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Wes Montgomery Week!

More of the fabulous Wes Montgomery!


Many fellow jazz guitarists consider Montgomery the greatest influence among modern jazz guitarists. Pat Metheny has praised him greatly, saying “I learned to play listening to Wes Montgomery’s Smokin’ at the Half Note.” In addition, Metheny stated to The New York Times in 2005 that the solo on “If You Could See Me Now,” from this album is his favorite of all time. Joe Pass said, “To me, there have been only three real innovators on the guitar—Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, and Django Reinhardt,” as cited in James Sallis‘s The Guitar Players and in his Hot Licks instructional video. Kenny Burrell states, “It was an honor that he called me as his second guitarist for a session.” In addition, George Benson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix, David Becker, Joe Diorio, Steve Lukather, Larry Coryell, and Pat Martino have pointed to him numerous times as a great influence. Lee Ritenour, who recorded the 1993 album Wes Bound named after him, cites him as his most notable influence; he also named his son Wesley.

Bumpin’ On Sunset

In Your Own Sweet Way (Brubeck)

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99 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Wes Montgomery Week!

  1. rikyrah says:

    Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka

    @alisonrose711 Exactly. If Pres. Obama had ended DADT with an executive order, another president could overturn it. *Sigh*

    Alison Rose @alisonrose711

    @NerdyWonka Yeah, they always ignored that shit. They want “our” guy to act like a dictator even tho we despise that in others. Bunch of BS
    10:35 PM – 4 Jun 2013

  2. rikyrah says:

    Shorter FLOTUS: I’m not Barack, I don’t play that ish.Glad she checked that heckler. Sick of the disrespect.Second term baby!
    — KMO (@obamakimber) June 5, 2013

    • rikyrah says:

      Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka

      THIS! Michelle Obama is the First Lady of the United States. Hecklers, go have a seat. RT @LiberalPhenom This is not The Help.
      10:50 PM – 4 Jun 2013

  3. rikyrah says:

    Michelle Obama Let a Protester Have It and I Approve!
    [ 10 ] June 4, 2013 | Luvvie

    People gon learn that folks got limits. According to the Washington Post, Michelle Obama was speaking at a private fundraiser when a lesbian activist named Ellen Hurtz kept interrupting her. She wanted POTUS Obama to sign an anti-discrimination executive order.

    Wells, that wasn’t the time for her to be showing out and clearly, FLOTUS wasn’t here (nor there nor anywhere) for that. So she left where she was standing and stood in front of the woman and said:

    “One of the things that I don’t do well is this. Do you understand? Listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.”

    OOP!!! Like a REAL G! Apparently, people asked Michelle to stay and Ellen was showed the door, and I hope given the suggestion that it better not hit her where the good Lord split her. Cuz… WELP. And afterwards, the lady talmbout she was “taken aback” by Michelle stepping to her because she paid $500 to be there.

  4. rikyrah says:

    ProfB @AntheaButler

    Then some tired wanna be protester heckles you while you are trying to raise funds to help her stank behind. Yup, I’d snatched her too.
    9:48 PM – 4 Jun 2013

    • rikyrah says:

      Ellen Sturtz @eos16

      Would be interested in discussing some bold LGBT activity in DC. Purposely cryptic. Ellen

      April @ReignOfApril

      I’d be interested to know what tactics @eos16 used to persuade @SpeakerBoehner to pass #LGBT legislation. Did you heckle his wife too?
      9:40 PM – 4 Jun 2013

      • rikyrah says:

        60th Street @60th_Street

        you do not occupy FLOTUS.
        10:01 PM – 4 Jun 2013

      • rikyrah says:

        Goldie Taylor @goldietaylor

        FTR: The same ppl complaining abt FLOTUS’ civil response have nothing to say when McCain or Christie pop off. They are applauded.
        9:42 PM – 4 Jun 2013

      • rikyrah says:

        Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka

        @NickKristof doesn’t have a problem with Christie’s rudeness but FLOTUS responds politely and he’s clutching his pearls. Go have a seat sir.
        10:01 PM – 4 Jun 2013

      • rikyrah says:

        Goldie Taylor @goldietaylor

        But be clear, @FLOTUS disrespected no one. She gave the heckler a choice…
        9:49 PM – 4 Jun 2013

      • rikyrah says:

        Josh Marshall ✔ @joshtpm

        Must say thot FLOTUS/protestor thing made Michelle sound badass. Left heckler whining that Michelle got in *her* face. #fail
        8:32 PM – 4 Jun 2013

      • rikyrah says:

        Liberal Librarian @Lib_Librarian

        Protip: If you’re going to heckle someone, don’t start whining when they don’t take your shit.
        10:14 PM – 4 Jun 2013

      • rikyrah says:

        Bobfr @Our4thEstate

        Clue to #NEWSTAINERS, #HECLKERS & anyone else stupid enough to be rude to @FLOTUS. She’ll drink your milkshake, with a big beautiful smile.
        10:27 PM – 4 Jun 2013

  5. rikyrah says:

    don’t start none….won’t be none..


    Goldie Taylor @goldietaylor

    Well, I believe I have found the FLOTUS heckler on Twitter. Is that you Ellen Sturtz @eos16?

    April @ReignOfApril

    #PleaseRespond RT @goldietaylor: Well, I believe I have found the FLOTUS heckler on Twitter. Is that you Ellen Sturtz @eos16?”
    8:56 PM – 4 Jun 2013

  6. rikyrah says:

    Awesomely Luvvie ‏@Luvvie11s
    #Ennehweighs, lemme go write a REPRESENT YO CLIQUE, MICHELLE OBAMA!” post. I’ll be back.


  7. rikyrah says:

    IT will repeat tonight at Midnight EST.

    June 4, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Just caught “Legacies” on Open Court on the NBATV channel – awesome roundtable discussion of President Obama by Shaq, Barkley, Chris Webber, Grant Hill, Steve Kerr, Reggie Miller and others. And they ended singing praises of our wonderful FLOTUS. If you get NBATV, be sure and catch it – was great to finally hear the TRUTH about how lucky we are to have President Obama and his beautiful family in the Whitehouse.

  8. rikyrah says:


    Goldie Taylor @goldietaylor

    The protester said she was “taken aback”. If it were me, she’d be falling back(ward)… #IJS
    8:28 PM – 4 Jun 2013

    • Ametia says:

      i’ll bet Missy Anne was

      sandy-duncan-missy anne

      And of course that bitch would have Heckled Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush, or Laura Bush, of course she would have shown her pasty ass with them too.


  9. Ametia says:

    First Lady Michelle Obama was heckled during a Washington D.C. fundraiser Tuesday evening by a lesbian activist demanding that President Obama sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees and job applicants.

    “So let me make the point that I was making before,” continued FLOTUS. “We are here for our kids. So we must recapture that passion. That same urgency and energy that we felt back in 2008, 2012. Understand this — this is what I want you all to understand. This is not about us. No one back here. It’s not about you or you or your issue or your thing. This is about our children.”

    Loud applause in response to this comment.

  10. rikyrah says:


    All In w/Chris Hayes ‏@allinwithchris57m
    TONIGHT: White and Black Americans use pot at the same rate but Black Americans are 3.73x more likely to be picked up for possession. Why?

    All In w/Chris Hayes ‏@allinwithchris17m
    .@kevin_powell “black people feel like legalizing marijuana is a white person’s issue.” #inners


    *sigh*… people are more likely to be “picked up” for possession because black people are more likely to be stopped, frisked, searched and generally assaulted by the police for no reason other than seeing a black man walk down the street…that they have weed on them is purely a gift for the police to justify the unjustifiable stop in the first place. So somebody tell this egghead that the reason black people aren’t marching on Washington to legalize marijuana is because we know that won’t change the arrest rate AT ALL FOR US. It will simply mean another reason to put handcuffs on young black men and women and beat them….like say “dehumanizing stares” or a $150 unpaid parking ticket. Have some segments on that shit instead of trying to find ways to keep stoner Todd and hipster Seth from getting a record.

  11. Ametia says:

    The crowd started shouting that they wanted Obama to stay and one woman near the heckler said “You need to go!”
    As she was escorted out, the heckler shouted: “…lesbian looking for federal equality before I die.”

    and to this my superhero says:


    *winking@youJay* LOL

    And one of my favorite actresses and movie had this to say:


  12. rikyrah says:

    Gabriel Gomez, independent of the national GOP?

    By Greg Sargent, Published: June 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Gabriel Gomez, the Republican candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, has taken to arguing lately that he is independent of the national GOP. He has vowed to be a “pain in the butt” to fellow Republicans in the Senate, and has described himself as a “green Republican” who believes that “humans are a big part of the problem” of climate change.

    “I’m not tied to anybody,” Gomez said yesterday. ”I’m not tied to any rigid ideological position.” It’s an understandable message, given that he’s running in a blue state, and given that he’s trailing Dem Ed Markey in polls.

    This message, however, is getting somewhat muddled by the fact that conservative Republican Senators keep sending out fundraising emails arguing that Gomez’s election is essential in order to restore GOP control of the Senate. The latest: Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

    “In just three weeks, Republicans have a chance to take a huge step toward replacing Harry Reid with a Republican Senate Majority Leader,” Rubio wrote in an email blasted out by his Reclaim America PAC. “Together we can see to it that Gabriel Gomez is the first victory on our drive to a GOP Senate majority.”

    This comes after Mitch McConnell recently sent out a fundraising appeal for the NRSC that said: “Securing a victory for Gabriel Gomez in the Massachusetts Senate special election on June 25th is crucial to taking back the Senate and removing Harry Reid from power.”

    If Gomez is independent of the national GOP, that has not revealed itself when it comes to his stances on key issues. He opposes a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines (though he supports expanded background checks), and has said he favors repeal of Obamacare. Gomez is also anti-choice (though Republicans have argued that his position is in line with that of Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, since he wouldn’t repeal Roe v. Wade).

  13. rikyrah says:

    GOP deepens its problems with women

    By Jamelle Bouie, Published: June 4, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    The Republican Party is on bad terms with a long list of voters. It has no credibility with African Americans, almost none with young voters, little with Hispanics, and is on the rocks with women. The latter is partially a result of positions taken by GOP politicians — in particular, the nationwide push to restrict abortion access and the fight last year over Planned Parenthood, Sandra Fluke, and the administration’s contraception mandate.

    Since the election, Republicans have made small rhetorical moves toward repairing their standing with women voters, by emphasizing proposals meant to improve life for mothers and children. There’s no evidence — yet — that this has been effective. But if there have been gains, they risk being undone by the rhetoric of GOP senators on the sexual abuse scandal in the military.

    Last month, a series of sexual assault scandals revealed the extent to which the Pentagon has had a hard time handling what seems to be an epidemic — last year, 26,000 cases of assault were reported to military authorities. And given what we know about sexual assault reporting, the actual number of incidents was almost certainly higher.

    Some Republicans, like Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Deb Fischer of Nebraska — both members of the Armed Services Committee — have taken a lead on pressing the Pentagon for answers. Indeed, they’ll take part in a hearing today where they’ll question all six members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the rising rate of sexual assaults.

    Others, however, have railed against this attempt to shed light on the problem. Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, for example, took to the Senate floor yesterday to argue against the idea that sexual assault cases should require a different approach from other criminal behavior in the military. He is the ranking Republican on Armed Services.

  14. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: Behind jubilation about scandals, GOP is rudderless and adrift

    By Greg Sargent, Published: June 4, 2013 at 9:10 am

    As I’ve been saying here for some time, behind all the GOP noise and hoopla about Beltway scandal-palooza is a stark reality that can’t be obscured. House Republicans are confronting two major challenges – what to do about the debt limit and about immigration reform, both of which will require cooperation from House conservatives that they aren’t prepared to give — and they don’t have an answer to either one.

    This is driven home in fresh and vivid detail by today’s big Post story on the deep divisions within the House GOP caucus. As the story details, there is no strategy for dealing with either the debt limit or immigration:

    [T]he most momentous policy decisions, including an immigration overhaul and a fresh deadline for raising the federal debt limit, have no coherent strategy to consolidate Republicans, much less take on the Democrats.

    And there is rising fear among some Republicans that House conservatives won’t accept any debt limit hike:

    Many within the party wonder if there’s any approach Republicans will unify behind this time. Several veteran Republicans, speaking on the condition of anonymity to criticize their colleagues, said they fear there are too many extreme budget hawks to approve a deal with GOP votes alone, further hampering their leverage in negotiations with the Senate.

    Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, is trying to rally support for a broad rewrite of the tax code in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling. But many conservatives consider that insufficient to meet the Williamsburg agreement, which they hold requires a path to balancing the budget within a decade.

  15. rikyrah says:

    GoBrooklyn @GoBrooklyn

    2:03 PM – 4 Jun 2013

  16. rikyrah says:

    FLOTUS to heckler: ‘You can take the mic, but I’m leaving’

    6/4/13 7:11 PM EDT

    First lady Michelle Obama was interrupted by a heckler about 10 minutes into a speech at a campaign fundraiser in D.C. on Tuesday.

    A woman started shouting and calling for the president to sign an executive order on gay rights, according to a pool report.

    “One of the things I don’t do well is this,” the first lady said, before leaving the lectern and moving over toward the woman.

    Obama said you can “listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.”

    The crowd started shouting that they wanted Obama to stay and one woman near the heckler said “You need to go!”

    As she was escorted out, the heckler shouted: “…lesbian looking for federal equality before I die.”

    “So, let me make the point that I was making before,” the first lady continued. “We are here for our kids. So we must recapture that passion. That same urgency and energy that we felt back in 2008, 2012. Understand this — this is what I want you all to understand. This is not about us. No one back here. It’s not about you or you or your issue or your thing. This is about our children.”

    The fundraiser benefitting the Democratic National Committee was hosted at the Northwest DC home of Karen Dixon and Nan Schaffer. There were some 200 expected guests who paid between $500 and $10,000 to attend the reception, according to a DNC official.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Christie is So Screwed

    by BooMan
    Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 04:13:59 PM EST
    I told you Chris Christie had no good options. He called a press conference today to announce that he had set the general election for Frank Lautenberg’s Senate seat for October 16th, just two weeks before his own general election day. Why would he do that when he could have set it on the same day as his own and saved the state 25 million dollars? Because the likely Democratic nominee, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, is black, and Christie fears that Booker’s candidacy will drive higher than normal black turnout.

    Faced with the choice of taking a hit for wasting $25 million in an atmosphere of fiscal austerity or dealing with higher black turnout, Christie chose the wasting money route. Flip a coin on that one, but his decision also infuriated Washington Republicans who think he just threw away a chance for them to hold Lautenberg’s seat for a year and a half and maybe even win the full term. At issue were conflicting statutes in New Jersey law that could have been interpreted in a way that would have allowed Christie’s appointment to serve until November 2014. That would have allowed a candidate to become better known, establish some seniority, and to raise a ton of money. But the primary is now set for August 13th, barely over two months away. And both Cory Booker and Rep. Frank Pallone are loaded with cash, while no Republican has had time to prepare.

    Christie’s next decisions are who to pick for the seat and whether or not that person will be a placeholder or the person he expects to compete for and win the Republican nomination. The National Journal has some ideas about who is under consideration.

    According to one Republican source familiar with Christie’s thinking, the leading names are former Gov. Tom Kean Sr., state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. If he opted for a Republican to hold the seat but not run for election, Kean Sr. would be the most logical choice.

    The Dean of New Jersey’s Republican Party is Tom Kean Sr. He’s best known for co-chairing the 9/11 Commission, and he has a moderate reputation. Picking him will only anger people who don’t want a placeholder. Christie’s Lieutenant Governor, Kim Guadagno, is a very attractive candidate but she’s pro-choice and may not want to be pushed out of her current position for a five-month gig in the U.S. Senate. The state Senators would have similar concerns and might only be interested in taking the seat if they were allowed to run for it in August.

    The Washington Republicans think that it no longer matters who wins the August nomination because they’ll just get slaughtered by Booker (or Pallone), but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any New Jersey Republicans who’d like to take their chances. They won’t be happy if Christie doesn’t pick a placeholder.

    Probably the best that Christie can do is keep any surge of black voters out of his contest and select Tom Kean Sr. for a temporary position. That will anger the fewest people both locally and nationally.

    If he picks a pro-choice woman for a placeholder position after rejecting the requests that he strong-arm in his appointee for an 18 month gig, his national prospects are going to be mortally wounded.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Folks say Larry O’s show last night was terrific from beginning to end.

  19. rikyrah says:

    A few thoughts on cynicism

    By Liberal Librarian 103 Comments

    “Cynicism is no more mature than naïveté. You’re no more mature, just more burned.”
    ― Karl Marlantes, What It is Like to Go to War

    I was, in my callow youth, a practiced cynic. Perhaps it was due to the crowd with which I hung out, perhaps due to my own struggles, a combination of the two, or merely the condition of youth where one thinks oneself wiser than one really is. But my view of the world was dark, depressing, and pretty hopeless.

    Or, at least, that’s what I put out. At a certain age, it’s quite hip and cool to pose with an cynical insouciance: you know the game, you know it’s rigged, there’s nothing you can do aside from letting “Them” know that you know. It’s your only power.

    I, thankfully, grew out of my cynicism. There was no one “come to Jesus” moment to which I can point where I embraced hope and optimism to a deleterious despair. And I didn’t embrace a blind optimism; I’m too much a student of the world to believe that if we just wish hard enough things will magically conform to our ideas of the true and the good. It was when I started to work on all the things which made me unhappy, which stymied me, which made me think I’d never amount to anything, and when the work began to pay off, that it dawned on me that there was nothing “easy” about cynicism, that maintaining that mindset was actually hard work, much harder than evaluating yourself and saying “This is what I’ll change. I can’t stay where I am.” Doing that work—whether on yourself or on society—is much easier and more rewarding than staying in the rut where you’re convinced nothing will ever change because nothing has ever changed in the world’s history.

    But we live in a culture where cynicism is the currency of the realm. Not skepticism; a healthy dose of true skepticism prevents you for rushing headlong into a lot of avoidable mistakes. (I differentiate between “true” skepticism, which challenges statements to prove their truth value, with the “skepticism” of, say, the climate-change deniers, who aren’t skeptics, but have merely stuck their fingers in their ears and operate from, yes, a point of cynicism.)

    How else can we judge the actions of most of the mainstream media, chasing the non-stories of Administration “scandals”, while ignoring the real damage being done to the effective governing of this country by the opposition party? The media, ever since the days of 1990s consolidation, have made a calculated decision that “Democrats in scandal” sells, and if there is no “there” there, they will still beat it until it becomes farcical even to them. But they know that enough eyeballs will tune in or read, and cynically exploit that ever-decreasing pool of people glued to their outlets, in a frantic attempt to remain relevant. It’s a losing game for them; ratings are down across all news networks, as the public tires with scandal fatigue, while the media shows nothing about what affects their lives directly. And with the proliferation of social media, there are literally a million other places from which to get news and analysis

  20. rikyrah says:

    Harper High students to meet with Michelle Obama

    By Katherine SkibaTribune reporter
    9:11 a.m. CDT, June 4, 2013

    First lady Michelle Obama will meet privately with Harper High School students at the White House on Wednesday.

    Obama had visited the school in the Englewood neighborhood in April to talk about the problem of gun violence.

    The meeting, timed to the students’ visit to the capital, will be closed to reporters, the first lady’s office said. It is scheduled for 1 p.m., Chicago time.

    The first lady has made gun violence a top cause this year. She paid an emotional visit to Harper High on April 10, weeping during a private meeting with 22 students as they told her how they had been traumatized by guns.

    For two hours, she heard story after story about students dodging bullets, avoiding gangs and trying to stay alive. One teen participant said later that every one of the students in the session had been impacted by violence.

    The first lady opened the meeting by talking about growing up in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. “One of the reasons why I like to talk to kids, especially from my city, is to make sure you all know that there isn’t much distance between me and you. There really is not,” she said.,0,7336943.story

  21. rikyrah says:

    john miller @deaconmill

    Issa refuses to allow Pickering to testify in public for 2 reasons. Issa is a Republican. Issa is a coward. But I repeat myself.

    9:51 AM – 4 Jun 2013

  22. rikyrah says:

    GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma Calls Obama Unfit and Biden Embarrassing

    By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson
    Jun. 4th, 2013

    The degree to which Republicans conveniently forget the existence of George W. Bush as President of the United States continues to be a source of amazement. To listen to Republicans, the Obama administration is the most scandal-prone since that of Ulysses Simpson Grant.

    But they’re skipping right over Bush. Just as they typically skip over him when mention of terrorist attacks are made, or the war in Afghanistan, or the war in Iraq. If the Bush administration was guilty of some sin of omission or commission, you can be pretty much guaranteed that Republicans will blame Obama for it.

    Case in point: On Monday, Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), forgot not only President Bush but his fellow ethically-challenged House Republicans, and excoriated President Barack Obama from the House floor, claiming “the president’s “dishonesty, incompetence, vengefulness and lack of moral compass lead many to suggest that he is not fit to lead,” and that, “The only problem is that his vice president is equally unfit and even more embarrassing.”

    He should have been addressing his words to,

    Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) – under investigation by the IRS for financial improprieties.
    Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY) – under investigation by the FBI for campaign fundraising improprieties.
    Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL)- under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
    Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL) – refused to comply with Office of Congressional Ethics investigation.
    Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) – fined after investigation by Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners.
    Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH) – after refusing to pay his taxes, is still refusing to pay the fine.
    Congressman Mark Sanford (R-SC) – paid fee after admitting to trespassing at his ex-wife’s home.

  23. rikyrah says:

    [caption id="attachment_45453" align="alignnone" width="545"]From the Front Pages of Different Newspapers, 5 years ago, when Barack Obama clinched the Democratic Party's Nomination From the Front Pages of Different Newspapers, 5 years ago, when Barack Obama clinched the Democratic Party’s Nomination [/caption]

  24. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Never Say It Out Loud But Their Problem With Obama Is His Race

    By: Rmuse
    Jun. 4th, 2013

    It is hardly a secret that for the past four-and-a-half years Republicans have made it their overriding mission to obstruct the Obama Administration’s efforts to lift America out of the economic morass left by the Bush administration. There are various theories of why Republicans are willing to see the nation fail to portray the President as inept, but at some point the truth that their impetus is not so much foiling a Democratic President, but portraying an African American as incapable of leading the nation. It may be painful for many Americans to admit, but the real issue has its basis in the belief that white people are superior to people of color, and that white people should dominate non-whites. It is true the majority of Americans elected an African American man as President twice, but that does not mean there isn’t raging racism and white supremacy driving Republicans and their supporters to see the first Black President fail.

    Just mentioning the word racism brings critics screaming that race has nothing to do with their hostility toward the President, but there is no other explanation that makes a shred of sense. It is a sad commentary for America, but despite electing an African America as President, many Americans still harbor deep-seated animus toward people of color. During the campaign for the presidency last year, not only did Willard Romney use a Ku Klux Klan slogan on the campaign trail, his running mate Paul Ryan said during a speech that President Obama “compromises those Judeo-Christian, western civilization values that made us such a great and exceptional nation in the first place.” The words “Judeo-Christian, western civilization values” are a not so subtle substitute for “white values” and it exposed Republican opposition to the President is based primarily on race; especially when they oppose the President when he embraces Republican ideas.

    Last year the day after the President won re-election, students at Humboldt State University in California surveyed social media outlet Twitter and mapped out racist ‘tweets’ that confirmed what many already know, and it is that the deep South and Eastern half of the nation is sick with raging racism. However, the racism is not isolated to social media where racists can hide behind anonymity inherent in the Internet, it is openly apparent in the way African Americans are treated in general, but especially by law enforcement.

    Three days ago it was reported that two Miami police officers slammed a 14 year old African American child to the ground, and one officer choked him while his partner handcuffed the boy. Police admitted the youth was playing with his friends at the beach and feeding his puppy with a bottle. After the officers told the child his “behavior was unacceptable” they asked where his mother was and as he walked toward his mother the officers assaulted the boy injuring his puppy. A police spokesman defended the officers and said “of course we have to neutralize the threat in front of us;” especially because the child allegedly gave them “dehumanizing stares.” Police assaults against African American males are legend, and in 2012 police, security guards, and vigilantes killed a black man every 28 hours in America, but the race-based hate extends far beyond white people killing African Americans.

  25. rikyrah says:

    GOP Distances Itself From Tea Party Leader’s Remarks
    June 4, 2013

    The Republican Party of Texas is distancing itself from comments made about black voters by a Dallas Tea Party leader.

    In an audio recording that Democrats sent out to news outlets Tuesday, Tea Party leader Ken Emanuelson of Dallas can be heard saying that the state GOP doesn’t want to encourage blacks to participate in elections if they overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.

    “I’m going to be real honest with you,” Emanuelson can be heard saying at a May 20 event organized by the Dallas County Republican Party. “The Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they are going to vote nine-to-one for Democrats.”

    Democrats have called the remarks disgusting.

    Steve Munisteri, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, said he spoke at the same event but did not hear Emanuelson speak.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Whispers Grow That Republicans Are Trying to Dump John Boehner

    By: Sarah Jones
    Jun. 4th, 2013
    Speaker John Boehner remains on thin ice with the fringe neophyte Republicans who’ve taken over the House. Speaking to Paul Kane at the Washington Post, Republicans privately suggested that the upcoming battles will test Boehner’s power and reveal whether it’s time for him to go. “This is a big summer and fall, a test for all concerned,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), a close Boehner ally.

    While it might have seemed that things calmed down for the Speaker after the attempted coup against his leadership position in January, conservative tea party members — many of them hubristically blind freshman — are talking about imposing an internal rule that would forbid Boehner from pushing legislation that doesn’t have majority Republican support. This would keep Boehner from getting anything done, as the majority of the legislation he’s managed to move forward this year has only passed due to Democratic support.

    This snippet from the Post exemplifies just how far the Republican Party has jumped the legislative shark:

    Some conservatives are talking about circulating a petition to impose an internal rule forbidding Boehner from advancing legislation that does not have majority support in the Republican Conference, a restriction that would have torpedoed the fiscal cliff bill

    Boehner is frustrated as well, having been outed as essentially impotent as a dealmaker after wheeling and dealing with the President only to have his own caucus shoot down his deal in an epically humiliating moment. As an example of the position the Speaker finds himself in, he knows he has to advance immigration legislation or the Republican Party will be further branded as the party of whites, thereby ensuring they can’t win another national election.

    But the extremists who’ve taken control of Republican leaders in the House only care about their own political future, and that future is protected by catering to the tea party hatred of immigrants.

    Boehner told WaPo that Republicans have to “educate” their members about the issues involved, because the rank and file don’t understand the issue, “We’ve got to educate our members and we’ve got to help educate them about the hundreds of issues that are involved.”

    In other words, Boehner is trying to lead a bunch of neophytes who don’t understand their jobs and don’t seem to care to learn about their jobs. Instead, they are in DC to grandstand for personal political gain. The right freaks out when Boehner even suggests putting basic legislation up for a vote.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Rubio-brand policymaking

    By Steve Benen

    Tue Jun 4, 2013 12:45 PM EDT.

    In the summer of 2009, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), one of the leading Republican lawmakers in the talks over health care reform, told Fox News, “I believe that there is a bipartisan consensus to have an individual mandate.” Was there a massive freak-out on the right? Not even a little — at the time, there really was a bipartisan consensus to have an individual mandate.

    We’ve come a long way since then.

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Tuesday introduced a constitutional amendment aimed at invalidating the individual mandate to buy health insurance under Obamacare.

    The text of the “Right To Refuse” amendment, according to Rubio’s office: “Congress shall make no law that imposes a tax on a failure to purchase goods or services.”

    His press release mentioned the IRS controversy three times, which reinforces the argument that the right is opportunistically (and shamelessly) using the story to push for their unrelated agenda items, whether it makes sense or not.

    In the bigger picture, there are a few relevant angles. First, on the politics of health care, perhaps now would be a good time to point out that the individual mandate on insurance was a Republican idea. As long-time readers may recall, Nixon embraced the mandate in the 1970s, and George H.W. Bush supported the idea in the 1980s. Mitt Romney embraced the mandate as governor, and in the Senate, it’s enjoyed the backing of GOP notables, including John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett, Tommy Thompson, Lamar Alexander, Lindsey Graham, John Thune, and Scott Brown. Indeed, several of them not only endorsed the policy, they literally co-sponsored legislation that included a mandate.

    And yet, Rubio now wants a constitutional amendment to eliminate a GOP-inspired policy that the White House only embraced to keep health care premiums lower.

  28. rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s Myopic Strategy

    by BooMan
    Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 11:00:33 AM EST

    Let’s consider this:

    Republicans say the 2014 election will be a referendum on Obama, the controversies that have plagued his second term and the implementation of the new healthcare law.

    A referendum is a “general vote by the electorate on a single political question that has been referred to them for a direct decision.” I’m not nitpicking the author of this piece’s usage. The Republicans really do see the upcoming midterms as a kind of referendum. They won’t be decided by a “single political question,” but the battle will be waged over only a few discreet issues. Is the president doing a good job? Is ObamaCare working?

    That’s pretty much delusional thinking. The one advantage the Republicans have is that the battle will take place on primarily red turf. For the Democrats to retake the House, they will have to win seats that were drawn to be safe for the incumbent Republicans. And for the Democrats to retain the Senate, they will have to protect incumbents that serve in states that Romney won, some of them very decisively. That means that the Republicans can conceivably do pretty well just by speaking to their base. But there are real limits on how much mileage they can get by limiting their message to a negative one about a president who is not on the ballot and will never again be on the ballot. The electorate is getting very frustrated with gridlock and inaction. The Farm Bill is a good example of how Republicans are alienating the very rural voters who form their strongest base of support.

  29. rikyrah says:

    he means, of course,


    Because BLACK WOMEN have been working outside the home ever since the first slaveship arrived.

    That he’s from Mississippi makes this too easy.

    Mississippi’s Bryant laments when ‘mom got in the workplace’
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jun 4, 2013 11:27 AM EDT

    You can almost hear the gender gap getting worse for Republicans on a daily basis.

    Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said Tuesday that America’s educational troubles began when women began working outside the home in large numbers.

    Bryant was participating in a Washington Post Live event focused on the importance of ensuring that children read well by the end of third grade. In response to a question about how America became “so mediocre” in regard to educational outcomes, he said: “I think both parents started working. The mom got in the work place.”

    I should note in fairness that I didn’t hear the comments, so I suppose it’s possible he meant this as some sort of bad joke, but that seems unlikely — according to the Washington Post account, Bryant acknowledged that he would likely receive a bunch of angry emails in response to his comments.

    In other words, the Mississippi Republican realized what he was saying would be politically problematic. And he’s right — blaming national education problems on women joining the workforce is ridiculous, antiquated, and offensive.

  30. Ametia says:

    Well racism ain’t Casper in Jasper!

  31. Ametia says:

    Is “scandal hysteria” all the GOP has? (updated)

    We’ve seen recently that the Republicans still have enough clout with the media to generate noise about fake “scandals.” But apparently the American public isn’t being swayed. Take a look at what has happened to President Obama’s approval rating (via Charles Franklin).

  32. rikyrah says:

    Even playing the Reagan Card won’t help

    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jun 4, 2013 10:34 AM EDT

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich is one of eight Republican governors eager to support Medicaid expansion, even though it means implementing the Affordable Care Act. And like many other GOP chief executives, he’s running into resistance from state lawmakers in his own party — Republicans have been told to combat “Obamacare,” even when that doesn’t make sense.

    To that end, Kasich is resorting to the only argument he has left: asking his party to consider what Reagan would do.


    Kasich happens to be correct about Reagan, but it just doesn’t seem to matter. Republican state lawmakers in Ohio, Arizona, Michigan, and Florida have heard pleas from governors of their own party, urging them to do the right thing on Medicaid expansion, but they’re choosing not to listen — even if that means ignoring the Reagan legacy. The Washington Post reported this morning that the intra-party fissures on this issue “continue to deepen,” with ongoing battles “showing just how bitter the divisions have become.”

    We’re probably past the point at which arithmetic is persuasive, or even relevant, in the larger discussion, but just yesterday, proponents of state-based Medicaid expansion got a major boost with a new report on just how much money these Republican state legislators are prepared to leave on the table.


    The scope of this financial obstinacy is nothing short of remarkable.

    States that refuse to expand Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s health care reform law not only will deny health coverage to poor residents and lose access to a huge influx of federal dollars, they also will see increased spending on uninsured people’s unpaid medical bills, according to a new report by the Rand Corp., a consulting firm.

    The Rand Corp. analyzed 14 states with governors who oppose the Medicaid expansion. It found their actions will deprive 3.6 million people of health coverage under Obamacare, forgo $8.4 billion in federal funding, and cost them $1 billion for programs that partially compensate medical providers who care for the indigent, according to the report published in the journal “Health Affairs.” Since nearly half of states may not undertake the Medicaid expansion next year, those figures could be even higher.

    When a party’s elected officials are willing to take this kind of hit, on purpose, just because they really hate the president, they’ve let partisanship override good judgment to a remarkable degree

  33. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Economic Triumph
    It’s increasingly clear that the president has steered the country back from the brink—and, in the process, exposed (yet again) the central lie of conservative economics

    by Michael Tomasky Jun 4, 2013 4:45 AM EDT

    This Friday morning will bring the new jobs numbers. If recent months and indicators are any sign, the news will be at least pretty good, and maybe really good—
    remember, the last several months have all been revised upward by significant amounts after the initial estimates. Yes, there is still a ways to go. But everything is moving in the right direction. The president and his people jumped the gun pretty badly in 2010 with their talk of “Recovery Summer.” But 2013 might finally be Recovery Summer. And by next summer, most experts say, the unemployment rate really will be back down to the normal range. In other words, the Republicans are about out of chances to do what they’ve been trying to do since Barack Obama took office—i.e., wreck the economy. Now more than ever, Obama has to ignore these people and get through the next three-plus years just trying to make sure they can’t screw up the economy any worse than they already have

    Let’s first review some recent economic news. Consumer confidence is at a five-year high. Personal debt is back to normal levels, which is a big deal. Housing investment is up, real-estate prices are rebounding everywhere, the stock market is breaking records. The political-economic news has been no less comforting to the right. Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart’s arguments against higher deficit-spending have been debunked. And as winter melted into spring, with oddly little commentary, Obama soared past George W. Bush in the net job-creation sweepstakes: Obama has now created a net positive of more than 1.6 million jobs in four-and-a-half years, which is better than Bush’s mark of 1.08 million in all eight of his years.

    Many economists believe that things would be going even better right now without the austerity imposed on us by the Republicans who run the House of Representatives. It is true—and this is one point on which liberals, me included, haven’t been entirely consistent—that “austerity” also includes the higher taxes on the rich achieved through the fiscal-cliff deal, and the end of the 2 percent payroll tax holiday. So Obama does bear some responsibility for those particular forms of austerity, although the budget cuts the GOP insisted on have had considerably more negative impact on the economy than the tax increases.

    But here’s another point about those tax increases that arguably outweighs the austerity point, or is certainly far more important in historical terms: when you raise taxes, duh, you increase revenues. And so the deficit is going to tumble this year to its lowest level since 2008 ($845 billion or even lower, the way things are going), and next year to a level barely more than 2 percent of GDP, which is a level at which it’s not even worth worrying about. The deficit is going down because revenues are going up, and revenues are going up, the Congressional Budget Office says, “because of the growing economy, from policy changes that are scheduled to take effect during that period, and from policy changes that have already taken effect but whose full impact on revenues will not be felt until after this year (such as the recent increase in tax rates on income above certain thresholds).”

    This is huge. Republicans, as we know, have spent years saying that raising taxes doesn’t increase revenues. It’s an argument that sits at the very core of supply-side theory. It’s been an absolute article of faith. They tried to say this when they passed the Bush tax cuts, and they’ve tried to say it since. But they were just lying. The Bush tax cuts cost the treasury $1.3 trillion by the low estimates and $1.8 trillion by the higher ones. They continued to make these claims long after the facts were in, but facts never stopped them, of course.

  34. rikyrah says:

    I’ve been saying this for awhile.

    It’s been underreported, but facts are facts.

    President Barack Obama put a stake through the heart of the Southern Strategy.

    He has shown the way so that there need not be a Democrat concerned about winning another Southern state.

    While it was nice that he won the Southern States that he did, he was elected TWICE- not needing ONE DAMN SOUTHERN STATE.

    Can’t be repeated enough.

    He received 270 Electoral College Votes and did not need ONE Southern state to do it.


    The End of the Solid South
    JUNE 4, 2013

    The region’s emerging majority is progressive. Its capitols are more conservative than ever. Something’s got to give.

    Over the next two decades, it will become clear to even the most clueless Yankee that the Solid South is long gone. The politics of the region’s five most populous states—Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Texas—will be defined by the emerging majority that gave Obama his winning margins. The under-30 voters in these states are ethnically diverse, they lean heavily Democratic, and they are just beginning to vote. The white population percentage is steadily declining; in Georgia, just 52 percent of those under 18 are white, a number so low it would have been unthinkable 20 years ago.

    By the 2020s, more than two-thirds of the South’s electoral votes could be up for grabs. (The South is defined here as the 11 states of the former Confederacy.) If all five big states went blue, with their 111 electoral votes, only 49 votes would be left for Republicans. (That’s based on the current electoral-vote count; after the next census, the fast-growing states will have more.) Win or lose, simply making Southern states competitive is a boon to Democrats. If Republicans are forced to spend time and resources to defend Texas and Georgia, they’ll have less for traditional battlegrounds like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Even if Democrats aren’t competitive in those states for another decade, they will benefit from connecting with millions of nonvoters who haven’t heard their message. They are building for a demographic future that Republicans dread: the time when overwhelming white support will no longer be enough to win a statewide election in Texas and Georgia.

    Republicans will not give up easily. Their counter-insurgency began soon after Obama’s three Southern victories. It was propitious timing. The Tea Party, a mostly Southern phenomenon, was turning Obamaphobia into a political movement. Big conservative donors, their money freed up by Citizens United and other court decisions, were ready to spend unprecedented amounts on obscure state assembly races and judgeships (to elect those fired-up Tea Partiers, in many cases). Republicans recognized that 2010 might be their last great chance to expand their gains in the South. They made the most of it.

  35. rikyrah says:

    What scandal-mania overreach looks like
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jun 4, 2013 9:56 AM EDT

    Soon after the political world became preoccupied with Scandal Mania, and congressional Republicans casually began throwing around references to impeaching President Obama, there’s been a fair amount of speculation about GOP “overreach.” It’s happened before, and if Republicans weren’t careful, it was poised to happen again.

    It’s been less clear, however, exactly what GOP overreach would look like, and since there’s no set definition of the word in this context, I’ve worked from the assumption that we’d know it when we saw it.

    And right now, I think we’re seeing it, most notably on the IRS controversy.

    To be sure, there is a legitimate underlying controversy, and there’s a sound rationale for congressional hearings. And if Republican policymakers were dealing with the matter responsibly, the talk of overreach would disappear.

    But they’re not. On the one hand, we’re seeing over-the-top rhetorical overreach.

    Asked by Fox’s Bill Hemmer what he hoped to learn at Monday afternoon’s hearing, Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) offered this bit of pre-hearing analysis:

    “Of course, the enemies list out of the White House that IRS was engaged in shutting down or trying to shut down the conservative political viewpoint across the country — an enemies list that rivals that of another president some time ago.”

    It was a sentence in need of a verb but packed with innuendo. And it is part of an approach by House Republicans that seems to follow the Lewis Carroll school of jurisprudence. Not only are they placing the sentence before the verdict, they’re putting the verdict before the trial

    Remember, Rogers isn’t some random Fox personality; he’s one of Congress’ most powerful officials. And on the IRS story, he’s already unhinged, spewing nonsense on national television.

    Rogers’ comments coincide with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) insisting that the White House used the IRS “to target those they perceive as their political enemies” — a claim with no basis in fact — and House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) throwing a tantrum on one of the Sunday shows.

  36. jamalA says:

    Looking forward to Wes’s tribute in-between the weighty issues I’m old enough to remember when friends turned me onto him light-years ago outside of my father bringing Miles into my entry in jazz this was the other, I’ve trained myself to not get stuck in the memory lane music trip as I age, meaning my music choice for the last decade is mostly electronic ranging from Saru, Flying Lotus, Madlib, Honey Root..etc.. but with Bumpin’ I’m just going to sit back and enjoy this. Thanks!

  37. Ametia says:

    House GOP broken into fighting factions
    Paul Kane

    Lawmakers have not passed ambitious legislation this year but instead are trying to re-brand party.

    Well, the GOP could start by passing some MEANINGFUL legislation to help benefit Americans. How’s that for RE-BRANDING the Republican Party?

  38. Ametia says:

    BWA HA HA HA LO left blisters on ISSA.

  39. rikyrah says:

    New Survey Takes A Snapshot Of The View From Black America

    by Gene Demby

    June 04, 201312:00 AM

    You might think African-Americans might be more pessimistic about their lives. The housing crisis decimated pockets of black wealth. The black unemployment rate has been nearly double the national average for several years.

    But according to findings from our survey of more than 1,000 African-Americans, you’d be wrong.

    A new poll released Tuesday by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health found that the overwhelming majority of black people (86 percent) said they were satisfied with their lives. Nearly 60 percent said they would eventually achieve the American dream of financial security and homeownership. A little more than half of those polled (53 percent) said they felt their lives had gotten better in recent years.

    The survey sampled about 1,081 people, and the geographic breakdown — with a majority of respondents in the South or in urban areas — roughly matched the demographics of African-Americans in the country more broadly. It asked respondents for their opinions on a wide range of issues: finances, personal health, dating lives, assessments of their communities and neighborhoods, and much more.

    Robert Blendon, a professor of public health at Harvard and one of the study’s co-directors, said polls usually find that people’s reports of their life satisfaction is much higher than the economic climate might indicate. This optimism has barely budged from Harvard’s last poll of African-Americans in 2002, when 90 percent of black people said they were satisfied with their lives.

    Twenty-one percent said they had achieved the American dream of having a nice home and financial security, while nearly 60 percent said they had not but felt they would eventually. (Sixteen percent said they felt they would never achieve it.)

    But Blendon said that beneath that optimism, there’s real anxiety. Respondents are “satisfied with their lives, but there’s a lot of concern,” he said. “They’re very fearful of losing their jobs and very fearful of getting stuck with a very large medical bill if they get sick.”

  40. rikyrah says:

    Ted Cruz’s Petition to Abolish the IRS Goes Horribly, Laughably, Ridiculously Wrong

    By: Jason Easley
    Jun. 3rd, 2013

    Sen. Ted Cruz’s abolish the IRS PR stunt has gone horribly wrong, and actually calls on Republicans to increase their own taxes.

    Here is the video of Sen. Cruz urging people to sign his petition a.k.a. collect names and email addresses of people that Senate Republicans can hit up for money:


    Cruz explained his plan to abolish the IRS to Fox News, “I think we ought to abolish the IRS and instead move to a simple flat tax where the average American can fill out taxes on postcard. Put down how much you earn, put down a deduction for charitable contributions, home mortgage and how much you owe. It ought to be a simple one page postcard, and take the agents, the bureaucracy out of Washington and limit the power of government.”

    If there are no IRS agents, who is going to know if you are telling the truth about your income? By using the phrase moving the bureaucracy out of Washington, Sen. Cruz is suggesting that the power to collect taxes will be moved to the states. (Cruz is trying to dupe conservatives into thinking that they are getting rid of the tax man, when it reality, he is just moving the tax bureaucracy out of DC.)

    As Ezra Klein pointed out, Cruz’s plan actually makes the case for why we need a federal tax collection agency. We all know how much red states hate government. What if a red state governor doesn’t staff the tax collecting agency? Who will collect the taxes? Who will make sure that people are paying their taxes? Who will enforce the law? How will Sen. Cruz explain to soldiers that they won’t be getting paid, because red states didn’t pay their taxes this year?

    The truth is that Republicans have no interest in ever passing a flat tax, because the flat tax doesn’t work. Sen. Cruz tried to spice up the plan with a few snazzy deductions, but it is still the same bad theory that doesn’t work. The big secret behind the flat tax is that it raises taxes on the poor and middle class, while lowering them for the wealthy. The flat tax is only fair if you are rich. Flat taxes massively shift the tax burden downwards, so that those who have less pay more.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Obama to set stage for judicial showdown
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jun 4, 2013 8:00 AM EDT.

    Nearly two months ago, Senate Democrats said President Obama, any day now, would nominate several would-be judges to fill the vacancies on the D.C. Circuit bench. But after weeks went by with no news, it was hard not to wonder if we’d ever see these alleged nominees.

    Wonder no more.

    President Obama will nominate a slate of three candidates on Tuesday to fill the remaining vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a White House official said Monday.

    The president will name Cornelia T. L. Pillard, a law professor; Patricia Ann Millett, an appellate lawyer; and Robert L. Wilkins, a federal district judge, to fill out the appeals court, which is often described as the second most powerful court in the country because it decides major cases and often serves as a launching pad for future Supreme Court justices.

    At the outset, let’s emphasize how uncontroversial this is — there are vacancies on an important federal bench, so the president is sending qualified nominees to the Senate for consideration. Republicans are characterizing this as a scandalous power-grab, while many political reporters are describing this as Obama thumbing his nose at his political rivals. In reality, it’s neither — presidents filling judicial vacancies is basic American governance. It’s Civics 101. That today’s announcement is seen as somehow remarkable is evidence of just how broken the process has become.

    There is, however, a political context to the underlying fight. Senate Republicans have not only been eager to block Obama’s judicial nominees in general, but they’ve been terrified by the prospect of a D.C. Circuit with a center-left majority. With this in mind, GOP senators are very likely to block the three nominees the president will introduce from the Rose Garden today.

    And this in turn will create a contentious political dynamic. Indeed, for the White House and its allies, it’s already been gamed out — if the Senate minority blocks three moderate/mainstream judicial nominees, effectively because Republicans are annoyed that they lost the 2012 election, then the Senate Democratic majority will likely feel as if they have no choice but to execute the “nuclear option” and end filibusters on judicial nominees altogether.

    What’s more, let’s not overlook the importance of the D.C. Circuit in particular.


    While on paper all of the federal appeals court benches are on equal footing in terms of importance, the D.C. Circuit is clearly first among equals — it’s not only served as a launching pad for jurists who end up on the U.S. Supreme Court, but it’s also the bench that routinely hears regulatory challenges. As the New York Times recently explained, this bench “has overturned major parts of the president’s agenda in the last four years, on regulations covering Wall Street, the environment, tobacco, labor unions and workers’ rights.”

    If you take those issues seriously, then you need to take this court seriously.

  42. rikyrah says:

    Mental-health issues do not need scare quotes
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jun 4, 2013 9:10 AM EDT.

    President Obama addressed the National Conference on Mental Health yesterday, designed to encourage those struggling with mental illness to seek treatment.

    “We whisper about mental health issues and avoid asking too many questions,” the president said. “The brain is a body part, too. We just know less about it. And there should be no shame in discussing or seeking help for treatable illnesses that affect too many people that we love. We’ve got to get rid of that embarrassment. We’ve got to get rid of that stigma.”

    That’s a responsible and sensible sentiment, which made it all the more discouraging when the Daily Caller published its report on yesterday’s event (via Emma Roller).

    President Barack Obama urged depressed, stressed and disturbed Americans to depend on the U.S. government’s growing corps of taxpayer-funded mental health professionals. […]

    The broad definition of “mental illness” is set by the professionals who provide government-funded services to Americans.

    In recent decades, the professionals have broadened the definition from severe, distinct and rare ailments, such as schizophrenia and compulsive behavior, to include a much wider set of personal troubles. Those broader problems include stress and sadness, which are medically dubbed “anxiety” and “depression” by professionals.


    And yet, six months later, the Daily Caller is chastising a simple public-awareness program and subtly suggesting depression isn’t a legitimate ailment by putting it in scare quotes.

    Roller added, “If anything, those scare quotes are helping the Obama administration prove its point about stigma.”

    Here’s hoping the stigma, even among those at Republican media outlets, soon fades.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Democrats see farm bill, rural voters as key to 2014 election

    By Alexander Bolton – 06/04/13 05:00 AM ET

    Senate Democrats hope to pass a five-year farm bill this week and bolster their appeal with rural voters, who they see as crucial to retaining their majority in 2014.

    Democrats have stepped up their outreach to rural constituencies this year as they head into a daunting midterm election year with a slew of seats in conservative-leaning rural states to defend.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

  44. rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s most recognized ‘leaders’

    By Steve Benen

    Tue Jun 4, 2013 8:30 AM EDT

    We talked yesterday about the new report from the College National Republican Committee, detailing their party’s difficulties in connecting with younger voters. As the College Republicans explained, it’s a “dismal present situation,” with focus groups, led by GOP pollsters, finding that voters under 30 consider the party “closed-minded, racist, rigid, [and] old-fashioned.”

    But Andrew Rosenthal found another tidbit in the 95-page document that party officials should also take to heart.

    The most damning conclusions lay in the survey’s examination of how people view the two major parties in terms of broad attributes. For Democrats, young voters chose “tolerant,” “diverse” and “open-minded,” while for Republicans they often chose “rich” and “religious.”

    In focus groups in January, the report said, young voters were asked to list leaders of the Democratic Party. “They named prominent former or currently elected officials: Pelosi, the Clintons, Obama, Kennedy, Gore. When those same respondents were asked to name Republican leaders, they focused heavily on media personalities and commentators: Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck.”

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: When those same respondents were asked to name Republican leaders, they focused heavily on media personalities and commentators: Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck.”


  45. rikyrah says:

    NFL legend Deacon Jones dies at 74

    David “Deacon” Jones, the original sackmaster, has died.

    The Hall of Fame defensive end credited with terming the word sack for how he knocked down quarterbacks, was 74. The Washington Redskins said that Jones died of natural causes at his home in Southern California on Monday night.

    “Deacon Jones was one of the greatest players in NFL history. Off the field, he was a true giant,” said Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, whose father, George, coached Jones with the Los Angeles Rams. “His passion and spirit will continue to inspire those who knew him. He was a cherished member of the Allen family and I will always consider him my big brother.”

    Because sacks didn’t become an official statistic until 1982, Jones’ total is uncertain. His impact as a premier pass rusher and team leader is not.

    Jones was the leader of the Rams’ Fearsome Foursome unit from 1961-71 and then played for San Diego for two seasons before finishing his career with the Redskins in 1974. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980 and made the league’s 75th anniversary all-time squad.

    “Deacon Jones has been the most inspirational person in my football career,” said former teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Jack Youngblood.

    Jones made the Pro Bowl every year from 1964-70 and played in eight overall. He combined with fellow Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier and Lamar Lundy on a defensive line that at times was unblockable.

  46. rikyrah says:

    The GOP Knows That it is Broken

    by BooMan
    Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 10:36:52 PM EST

    Last November, after the elections, the House Republicans chose their committee chairmen for the 113th Congress. All nineteen of them were white men. This followed stunning events in the last Congress, like holding a hearing on the availability of contraceptives without inviting any female witnesses. As far as I know, there are no professed Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, or atheists in the Republican House caucus, and Eric Cantor is the only Jew. There are no openly gay House Republicans. There is a stunning lack of diversity in background and belief systems, and the leadership is almost entirely male. Despite this, the House Republicans have broken out in factions. One reason that they have voted to repeal ObamaCare 37 times is that it helps keeps these factions from getting out of control. Whenever the natives get restless, Eric Cantor has another repeal vote to get everyone back on the same page for five minutes. These votes are the equivalent of a zookeeper’s tranquilizer gun.
    The House keeps somewhat busy voting for things that will never in a million Sundays become law. Cantor has been moving bills that are intended to “frame” the party as policy-minded and family-friendly, but it’s nothing but a charade meant to feed some lower reptilian part of the electorate’s brain. You’re reading this; you must be a political junkie. Do you know what is in any of Cantor’s bills?

    Of course not. Ninety-percent of what the House is doing is nothing more than a colossal waste of time. Even Fox News doesn’t cover it. No one but Cantor even cares about it. Speaker Boehner has totally checked out. Do you know how he plans to act if the Senate passes immigration reform? Does he?

    It’s almost as if the House Republicans have had their central nervous system removed. There is no brain activity. Even the think tanks have stopped trying to be even remotely serious. The Heritage Foundation made Jim DeMint their director and promptly put a guy in charge of their immigration reform analysis who posted at racist websites and did his college thesis on how stupid Latinos are. Plus, their data was laughed out of town by Republicans. It’s gotten to the point that Democratic wonks are lamenting that they no longer have anyone honest to debate.

    What the GOP is doing makes no sense. They behave as if they can get 100% of what their most radical and deluded members want even though they only technically control one half of Congress and there is a relatively popular and freshly-reelected Democrat in the White House. It doesn’t matter how many times the Speaker points those facts out, he has no ability to get those facts to sink in. They act like President Obama is more intransigent than President Clinton, but the Gingrich-led Congress actively worked to find areas where they could work with Clinton. When Boehner tried to do that, he almost lost his speakership. And Gingrich had a lot more leverage because Bob Dole and Trent Lott were in control of the Senate.

    I believe the root problem here is that Republicans told lies for so long that they finally produced a generation of officeholders who actually confuse lies with the truth. They got high on their own supply. No wonder Bob Dole thinks they need to go to a collective rehab.

  47. rikyrah says:

    Why I still have AG Holder’s back

    If you look up at the top of this blog, you’ll see a tab titled DOJ Watch. I started that one back in January 2011 for many reasons. But it was triggered by this article in the New York Times that reflected on what would change as a result of the 2010 midterm election with control of the House going to the Republicans.

    When the Obama administration wakes up next month to a divided capital, no cabinet member will be facing a more miserable prospect of oversight hearings and subpoenas than Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

    Mr. Holder is a particularly juicy target because he presides over issues that have served as recurrent fodder for political controversy — including using the criminal justice system for terrorism cases, and federal enforcement of civil rights and immigration laws.

    More than most administration officials, he has served as a proxy for Republican attacks on what they see as President Obama’s left-leaning agenda.
    What the article didn’t mention – but I was painfully aware of at the time – is that AG Holder had also been under attack from the purity left since day one of the Obama administration for not prosecuting Bush/Cheney for torture.

    In other words, AG Holder was a lightening rod for attacks on President Obama from both the right and left. I set out to chronicle how he calmly and quietly went about fixing a department that had been horribly distorted during the Bush administration and tackling real problems that affect real people. Things like Medicare fraud, police brutality, reverse redlining, racial profiling, the Fair Sentencing Act and voting rights just to name a few. For an update on DOJ accomplishments, check out krebscycle (or @root_e as he’s known on twitter).

    As that NYT article mentioned, there is a reason people went after Holder – and its not JUST that he’s the first African American Attorney General. Its because he has ACTED like he’s the first African American Attorney General.

    Today, the same reporter that wrote that article back in Dec. 2010 is one of three in the New York Times that joined in the pile-on…Charlie Savage. Why? Because its now his ox that is being gored by the DOJ investigation of leaks to journalists.

    If Mr. Holder really thought he could escape controversy, the last few weeks have reinforced how inescapable controversy has become for the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. A furor over tactics in leak investigations, including secretly obtaining phone logs for reporters at The Associated Press and Fox News, has again engulfed the attorney general in allegations, investigations and calls for resignation.

    Over the course of four and a half years, no other member of President Obama’s cabinet has been at the center of so many polarizing episodes or the target of so much criticism. While the White House publicly backed Mr. Holder as he tried to smooth over the latest uproar amid new speculation about his future, some in the West Wing privately tell associates they wish he would step down, viewing him as politically maladroit.
    Notice the Politico-like “some in the West Wing?” The article goes on to repeat every concocted “scandal” the right wing has made up about Holder – from the New Black Panthers nonsense to his refusal to defend DOMA.

    So it seems that the press thinks they can ride these fake scandals into an attempt to end Eric Holder’s career at DOJ. From the beginning I’ve said that I’d have his back. I still do. Because he’s always had ours.

  48. rikyrah says:

    As long as we’re listing Eric Holder’s accomplishments at DOJ, let’s not forget this one

    Today utaustinliberal posted a magnificent piece over at The Obama Diary about some of AG Eric Holder’s accomplishments at the DOJ. If you haven’t seen it already, please go take a look.

    I had neglected to include one of the most important ones in my DOJ Watch – something I need to rectify immediately. When we talk about what Holder has done, this one should be right at the top of the list.

    The Obama administration announced April 11 its intent to resolve 41 long-standing disputes with Indian tribal governments over the federal mismanagement of trust funds and resources.

    Ignacia Moreno, assistant attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice, said the settlements will amount to a combined total of $1.023 billion to the 41 tribes for past federal mismanagement.

    Beyond money, the settlements also set forth a framework for promoting tribal sovereignty and improving nation-to-nation federal-tribal relations, while trying to avoid future litigation through improved communication, Moreno said.
    This agreement negotiated by DOJ between the 41 tribes and the Dept. of Interior settled cases that were over 100 years old. It is milestones like this that prompted Chief Bill John Baker of the Cherokee Nation to say that Obama is “the best President for Indian Country in the history of the United States.”

  49. rikyrah says:

    Immigration reform will ease that entitlements “crisis” we keep hearing about
    By Greg Sargent, Published: June 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    It isn’t every day that both Republicans and Democrats alike enthusiastically circulate a Wall Street Journal editorial, but that’s exactly what happened today with this WSJ take on the fiscal benefits of immigration reform. And for good reason. The editorial blows up one of the major objections on the right to reform — that creating a path to citizenship will create more in costs than it will in benefits — by pointing out that more immigration will actually improve Social Security’s financial outlook:

    The crux of the problem is that the ratio of workers to retirees is falling fast. While there were 16 workers for every retiree in 1950, the ratio now stands at a little under 3 to 1 and within 20 years when the baby boomers are age 65 or older the ratio will fall to about 2.5 to 1.

    Immigrants help ease this demographic problem in three ways. First, most come here between the ages of 18 and 35, near the start of their working years. Second, few come with elderly parents (only about 2.5% of immigrants are over age 65 when they arrive), and the seniors who do come aren’t eligible for Social Security because they have no U.S. work history. Third, immigrants tend to have more children than do native-born Americans and their offspring will also pay into the system.

    These facts are confirmed in the latest report of the Social Security trustees released last week. They conclude that the program’s long-term funding shortfall “decreases with an increase in net immigration because immigration occurs at relatively young ages, thereby increasing the numbers of covered workers earlier than the numbers of beneficiaries.”

    How big a bonus are we talking about? Enormous. We asked Stephen Goss, Social Security’s chief actuary, to estimate the value of the 1.08 million net new legal and illegal immigrants that currently come to the U.S. each year. He calculates that over 25 years the trust fund is enriched in today’s dollars by $500 billion and the surplus from immigration mushrooms to $4 trillion over 75 years.

    With reform increasing the level of immigration, the Journal concludes, “the future fiscal immigration windfall is likely to exceed $4.6 trillion.”

  50. rikyrah says:

    David Frum Warns Republicans About Their Total War Against President Obama

    By: Sarah Jones
    Jun. 3rd, 2013

    Conservative pundit David Frum is taking time off from his column at the Daily Beast, and on his way out of the door, he decided to drop a truth bomb on Republicans. He did it in just one paragraph.

    Frum pointed out that the “scandal” at the IRS is an agency scandal, not a White House scandal, and urged Republicans to stop trying to destroy government because they would need it to work when they take the White House again.

    I am going to break this one paragrahp down point by point. Via the Daily Beast, Frum acknowledged that Republicans/conservatives have engaged in Total War on President Obama, “Still … conservative reformers should admit, if only to themselves, the harm that has been done by the politics of total war over the past five years.”

    Frum pointed out that even though the GOP won’t tolerate this being said out loud, secretly, they must admit that Barack Obama is not the worst president of all time, “I appreciate that conservative reformers must pay lip-service to shibboleths about Barack Obama being the worst president of all time, who won’t rest until he has snuffed out the remains of constitutional liberty, etc. etc. Dissent too much from party orthodoxy, and you find yourself outside the party altogether.”

  51. rikyrah says:

    Michigan bill could cut foreclosure redemption period

    6:11 AM, June 2, 2013
    Michigan lawmakers are considering changes to the state’s foreclosure law, including a measure that would significantly shorten the period homeowners have to sell or save their foreclosed property.

    Legislation recently approved by the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee includes a provision that would shorten the foreclosure redemption period, the time when homeowners can challenge a foreclosure’s legality, sell their home or find a new one. In most cases, that period would be reduced from six months to 60 days.

    The package of four bills is backed by Michigan’s banks, which say that the longer redemption period leads to abandoned homes and blight, and that new federal regulations will help people avoid foreclosure. But critics of the measures say the changes will be devastating for Michigan homeowners struggling to save their property.

    “I don’t understand why this Legislature … instead of giving due process to people, would pass a law that would make it easier for the banks to take people’s homes,” said Curtis Hertel Jr., register of deeds for Ingham County.

    Sen. Darwin Booher, an Evart Republican and a sponsor of the legislation, said a sunset provision in Michigan’s pre-foreclosure process law means it will phase out at the end of June. Under that law, Michigan residents get 90 days before a foreclosure to work with counselors to pursue things like a loan modification. The legislation would extend that law until January, when federal regulations kick in mandating that lenders wait 120 days before making the first notice or filing in the foreclosure process.

    But more time to avoid a foreclosure would mean less time to get it back once it’s already been foreclosed.

    Opponents to the legislation say maintaining a longer redemption period is crucial to preventing foreclosures in Michigan’s still-fragile economy. While foreclosures are down considerably from the height of the housing crisis, in April there were more than 53,000 Michigan homes at some point of the foreclosure process, according to RealtyTrac, a group that tracks national foreclosure figures.

  52. rikyrah says:

    Targeting Eric Holder
    By Jonathan Capehart, Published: June 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Attorney General Eric Holder didn’t lie to Congress. And, despite the fevered hopes of his detractors on Capitol Hill and nervous nellies in the West Wing, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer shouldn’t resign. Sure, he’s a lightning rod. Name a recent attorney general who wasn’t. That his outburst last month at House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) was the only time he has lost his cool is a testament to his ability withstand a torrent of [barnyard epithet goes here].


    Which brings me back to Holder. On May 15, he told a congressional committee, “With regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that I’ve ever been involved in, heard of or would think would be a wise policy.” The Post would later report the news about Rosen.

    In true lawyer fashion, Holder answered the question he was asked. The federal government has not prosecuted a journalist for the disclosure of classified material. And there is a big difference between prosecution and investigation. As we know from Pincus and others, journalists are investigated all the time. But I cannot recall a time when a reporter was prosecuted by the federal government for disclosing classified material.

    The actions of Issa and other congressional Republicans against Holder are really part of their proxy war with President Obama. Anything to slow down his agenda and hobble him in the eyes of the public. That West Wingers are cowering in fear over the political damage all the controversy might have on the White House shows it might be working. But know this. If Holder leaves it won’t be because the president pushed him out. It’ll be because he has had enough of the [barnyard epithet goes here] of Washington.

  53. rikyrah says:

    Not Often I Agree With Scalia

    by BooMan
    Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:05:13 PM EST

    Antonin Scalia’s blistering dissent (pdf., scroll down) in Maryland v. King is utterly convincing. In a 5-4 ruling that included Roberts, Thomas, Alito, and Breyer, and was written by Kennedy, the Supreme Court said that the police do not need a warrant to take a sample of your DNA if you have been arrested for “a serious crime.” The case involved a man who was arrested for an assault in 2009 but convicted for a rape he committed in 2003.
    When I originally read the facts of the case, I was ambivalent about the merits. Why shouldn’t we use DNA technology to solve cold cases? What sealed the deal for me in agreeing with Scalia was a point he made at the end of his dissent. There is no Fourth Amendment argument against taking a DNA sample from someone who has been convicted of a crime. So, the only people who are ultimately impacted by the Court’s rulings are people who are innocent of the crime for which they have been arrested but guilty of a previous crime. The plaintiff in the case would have ultimately been matched to the 2003 rape assuming he was convicted for the 2009 assault. While it’s nice to know that someone is perhaps more dangerous than you suspected when you are making a decision about bail, DNA testing currently takes too long to have any impact on arraignments, which must occur within days of an arrest.

    The majority decision was completely disingenuous, depending as it did on the state’s interest in properly identifying suspects in their custody. I also share Scalia’s discomfort with the idea that the Court has provided meaningful guidance to law enforcement by limiting these DNA samples to people who have been accused of “a serious crime.” First, this undercuts the argument that the purpose is primarily for identification. But, secondly, in introducing the idea that someone’s hidden violent past is part of their “identity,” the Court adopts the flawed theory that the only people who have violent pasts are people accused of “serious” crimes. The majority argues that it’s important to know about someone’s violent past because it allows law enforcement and prison officers to take appropriate precautions. However, their interest in knowing that information is no different for someone arrested for delinquent parking tickets than it is for someone accused of murder.

    Scalia probably doesn’t spend enough time addressing this conflation between identifying someone by, for example, fingerprinting them, and identifying someone as dangerous by running their DNA through unsolved crime databases. But that’s the trick Kennedy uses to justify these searches.

    Scalia calls these warrantless DNA swabs “suspicionless searches.” Kennedy tries to tie them to suspicion by limiting their use to “serious” accusations. In other words, Kennedy is saying that if you beat up your girlfriend then there is a reason to suspect that you once raped someone, but if you committed some petty act of vandalism, there is no reason to suspect that you once raped someone. Scalia is saying that you can’t stick something in someone’s mouth against their will unless you have reason to suspect that they have committed a specific crime, and you need a warrant that specifies that crime.

    When I began thinking about this, I was leaning heavily on the benefits of getting rapists and other violent criminals off the street. The invasion of privacy is relatively minimal and the benefit for public safety and justice is fairly high. But once you realize that you can legally collect this information from anyone who is convicted of a crime, it becomes clear that the ruling will only send people to jail who were wrongfully arrested for some other crime. The majority’s argument about bail is ridiculous. And fingerprinting is a less invasive and completely adequate way of identifying suspects.

    I don’t know what Justice Breyer was thinking in joining the majority. Let’s just say that I’m disappointed

  54. rikyrah says:

    Just wanted to thank everyone for their prayers. My uncle made his transition last night. He had a long, fulfilling life, and did it all ‘ His Way’. I’m just going to miss him.

  55. rikyrah says:

    Published on Jun 3, 2013

    Senator Harry Reid offers remarks on the passing of his friend, Senator Frank Lautenberg. June 3, 2013

  56. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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