Wednesday Open Thread | Black Opera Singers | Leontyne Price

Happy Hump day; Everyone! Today’s featured artist is Ms. Leontyne Price.

Price Wiki:   Mary Violet Leontyne Price (born February 10, 1927) is an American soprano. Born and raised in the Deep South, she rose to international acclaim in the 1950s and 1960s, and was one of the first African Americans to become a leading artist at the Metropolitan Opera.[1][2][3]

One critic characterized Price’s voice as “vibrant”, “soaring” and “a Price beyond pearls”, as well as “genuinely buttery, carefully produced but firmly under control”, with phrases that “took on a seductive sinuousness.”[4] Time magazine called her voice “Rich, supple and shining, it was in its prime capable of effortlessly soaring from a smoky mezzo to the pure soprano gold of a perfectly spun high C.”[5]

A lirico spinto (Italian for “pushed lyric”) soprano, she was considered especially well suited to the roles of Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini, as well as several in operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

After her retirement from the opera stage in 1985, she continued to appear in recitals and orchestral concerts for another 12 years.

Among her many honors are the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964), the Spingarn Medal (1965),[6] the Kennedy Center Honors (1980), the National Medal of Arts (1985), numerous honorary degrees, and nineteen Grammy Awards, 13 for operatic or song recitals, five for full operas, and a special Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989, more than any other classical singer. In October 2008, she was one of the recipients of the first Opera Honors given by the National Endowment for the Arts.




Last Aida performance at the Metropolitan



Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4- Ms. Price speaks on her role as Aida

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64 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread | Black Opera Singers | Leontyne Price

  1. rikyrah says:

    My take on it? SCOTUS throws the liberals a bone w/ruling for gay marriage. The vicious ruling on Voting Rights Act is the real agenda.
    — Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) June 26, 2013

  2. rikyrah says:

    Clara Jeffery ✔ @ClaraJeffery

    “Jim Crow is not only alive, he’s in a Brooks Brothers suit, toting a law degree.” Medgar Evers’ widow Myrlie on SCOTUS’ gutting of #VRA.

    2:48 PM – 26 Jun 2013 from San Francisco, CA, United States

  3. rikyrah says:

    Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez charged with murder

    By Elizabeth Chuck, Staff Writer, NBC News

    Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was formally charged Wednesday afternoon with first-degree murder, more than a week after a body was found near his Massachusetts home.

    Hernandez pleaded not guilty to murder and to five firearms charges, including possessing a large-capacity firearm. A judge ordered him to be held without bail because of the murder charge.

    “He orchestrated the crime from the beginning and took steps to conceal and destroy evidence,” First Assistant District Attorney Bill McCauley told the court.

    Wearing a white V-neck shirt, red sports shorts, and handcuffs in Attleboro District Court, Hernandez showed no emotion as prosecutors laid out a bruising account of what allegedly happened the night semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd was killed, citing what they say is surveillance camera footage, text messages, and witnesses who were working the overnight shift who heard gunshots as evidence. Hernandez wiped tears from his face at the very end of the arraignment.

    The bullet-punctured body of Lloyd, 27, was found by a jogger on June 17 in an industrial park about one mile away from the ex-tight end’s North Attleborough home. The death was ruled a homicide.

  4. rikyrah says:

    You can feel the inequality gaining momentum. SCOTUS is only moving in the direction the ruling elite have pushed this entire society.

    Perhaps, finally, our potential thinking class will tear itself away from television, sports & other entertainment long enough to fight back

    Really fight back, not practice diction & glancing at headlines long enough to sound clever in second string television appearances.

    @BlkGenius1 Never be discouraged. We must continue to organize and get a hell of a lot smarter. Only the deluded get discouraged by America.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Ohio School Apologizes After Attempting To Ban ‘Afro-Puffs’ And ‘Twisted Braids’

    Huffington Post | By Rebecca Klein Posted: 06/25/2013 6:37 pm EDT

    In the wake of an outcry over an Ohio charter school’s attempt to ban “afro-puffs and small twisted braids,” the institution’s dean has apologized and said the policy was taken out of context.

    On June 14, officials at Horizon Science Academy in Lorian sent a letter to parents, outlining the school’s new dress code for the upcoming school year. Among other rules regarding hats and tattoos, the updated regulations said that “afro-puffs and small twisted braids, with or without rubber bands are NOT permitted,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by the blog Black Girl with Long Hair.

    A swift backlash against the policy –- which many perceived as racist — prompted school’s administration sent out a letter of apology on Saturday, explaining that the ban would not be included in a final version of the school’s new dress code. The letter, which can be found in its entirety on Black Girl with Long Hair, explained that the administration for the K – 10 school did not have “any intention of creating bias towards any of our students.”

  6. rikyrah says:

    Wanker of the Day: Jonathan Tobin

    by BooMan
    Wed Jun 26th, 2013 at 01:24:58 PM EST

    I am going to take a look at a fairly representative right-wing way of looking at the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. It’s part dishonesty and part self-delusion. The author is Jonathan Tobin who writes for Commentary. He begins by accusing the left of hyperbole.

    Listen to the hue and cry from liberals over the Supreme Court’s decision today in Shelby County v. Holder and you would think the conservative majority had just overturned Brown v. Board of Education or declared discrimination on the basis of race to be legal. Of course, the 5-4 decision on the future of the Voting Rights Act did nothing of the kind

    As I pointed out in a prior post, Justice Ginsburg’s dissent discusses the Congressional Record from the 2006 reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. Congress discovered roughly 1,800 instances between 1982 and 2006 in which areas covered by Section 4 of the Act were prevented from enacting voting laws that were discriminatory in nature. That averages out to 67 attempts to discriminate per year, every year, for 24 straight years.

    There are three sections of the Voting Rights Act that are directly relevant to the Supreme Court’s ruling. Section 2 of the Act allows anyone from any jurisdiction to challenge a governmental entity that attempts to discriminate in the electoral process. But this is almost always done after the fact. Someone was denied the right to vote, or a class of people had their vote suppressed, or districts were used that were discriminatory in nature. Section 4 defines which areas of the country have a history and record of racial discrimination and must get advanced clearance under Section 5 in order to make any changes in their election laws.

    The Supreme Court invalidated the formula that Congress used to craft Section 4, which means that no jurisdictions are currently subject to Section 5. If the law had been the way it is now between 1982 and 2006, all 1,800 violations would have had to have been addressed under Section 2, which would have almost always have been too late. Moreover, the Department of Justice probably would not have brought action in many of those cases due to lack of resources and information, meaning that individual citizens would have had to spend their own resources if they wanted justice.

    So, keep this in mind when you read this next part.

    The high court not only reaffirmed the validity of the act but also even left in place Section 5, which created a mechanism that would require pre-clearance by the federal government of any changes in voting procedures in states and localities that were deemed by Congress to be habitual violators of the right to vote. But what it did do was to declare the existing formula stated in Section 4 to be the places where such scrutiny would be carried out to be unconstitutional


    Having made his argument in favor of the ruling, Mr. Tobin then turns to explaining the Democrats’ reaction, but he engages in classic projection.

    Why then are political liberals and the so-called civil rights community so riled up about the decision? Some are merely offended by the symbolism of any alteration in a sacred piece of legislation. But the reason why the left is howling about this isn’t so much about symbolism as it is about their ability to manipulate the law to their political advantage.

    Enforcing civil rights and protecting people’s voting rights is not a manipulation of the law, but the enforcement of the law. It is not the Democrats’ fault that a honest effort to protect people’s voting rights is to their political advantage.

    Under the status quo, enforcement of the Voting Rights Act isn’t about reversing discrimination so much as it is in applying the political agenda of the left to hamper the ability of some states to enact commonsense laws, such as the requirement for photo ID when voting or to create districts that are not gerrymandered to the advantage of liberals.

    By insisting that protecting people’s right to vote is part of a liberal “political agenda,” Mr. Tobin gives away the game. After all, the entire point of voter photo ID requirements is to gain a political advantage by disproportionately taking away the votes of young people (who move a lot), people who don’t drive (primarily urban, and heavily black, Latino, and Asian), and women (whose ID may be in a maiden or some other former name). Since voter fraud doesn’t exist, there is no other point to these laws and it doesn’t matter whether or not proposing them is “commonsense” or not.

  7. rikyrah says:

    With victories like these, the GOP will become the Whigs (Who? Exactly.)

    By Liberal Librarian 101 Comments

    Cross-posted on The People’s View.

    What does the Supreme Court’s decision gutting the 1965 Voting Rights Act mean for the Republican Party? Follow me, if you will.

    Yesterday, Spandan of The People’s View wrote an analysis of the decision and how the Democrats should respond to it. Basically, it’s an opportunity to do in 2014 what we did in 2012 in the face of voter suppression.

    But it’s a bit more than that. Much more. To emphasize Spandan’s point about demography being destiny: both he and I live in California. Up until Prop 187, the state was more or less reliably Republican, at least in presidential elections. Things were more complex lower down, but the GOP had a lock on our electoral votes. Prop 187 was the galvanizing force which turned a reddish state into pure cerulean blue. How much so? For the first time, Democrats control a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Legislature. And all statewide elected officials are Democrats. The two-thirds majority is big, because that’s what you need to pass a budget. No more deals need to be made with the GOP. The governor, Jerry Brown, is from the fiscally conservative wing of the party; but he still supports making needed investments in both physical and human infrastructure, while living within the state’s means. And for the first time since the 1990s, the state posted a budget surplus. That’s what happens when Democrats run government.

    Republicans look at what once was a bulwark and are scared out of their minds that the rest of the country is going that way.California had always been touted as the Shangri-La to which white Midwesterners could retire. In my own city of Los Angeles, we had race-baiting mayor Sam Yorty serving as recently as the late 1960′s / early 1970′s. Now we’ve had exactly one Republican mayor in the past 40 years, and he won by being the most moderate of Republicans, and making deals with the Democratic majority on the City Council. Within a generation, with massive foreign immigration, Los Angeles went from being “Indiana on the Pacific” to a true world city, as cosmopolitan and diverse as New York or London.

    The Republican brand in California is at an all time low. And, keep in mind, this was done without gerrymandering. California has an independent commission, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, drawing district lines both on the federal and state levels. So, no gerrymandering means that it will be a wash electorally, right? No. This commission drew the lines which gave Democrats a two-thirds majority in the Legislature, and increased the Democratic representation in the Congressional delegation. Unless Democrats muck it up, Republicans have no future in California. And as goes California, so goes the nation. Our state is the precursor of what the rest of the country will look like. Even Old Confederacy states like Georgia will have a large segment of minority voters, who will likely give their votes to Democrats, and joining with liberal whites will tip the balance of power across the south.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Did the Supreme Court Hand Democrats a Wedge in 2014 With Its Voting Rights Decision?

    Tuesday, June 25, 2013 | Posted by Spandan C at 1:43 PM

    By now, you know about this morning’s Supreme Court decision to gut the Voting Rights Act by rendering unenforceable the provision that requires certain jurisdictions to pre-clear their changes to election laws with the federal Department of Justice given their history of discrimination. Without a doubt, the decision along the Court’s ideological lines is partisan, bad for democracy, and will increase GOP enthusiasm to enact archaic voting restrictions.

    But the Supreme Court did not render the concept of preclearance itself unconstitutional. The Court’s majority opinion said that Congress is using a formula too old to decide which areas are to be subjected to that preclearance (never mind all that conservative bullshit about how the Court shouldn’t be legislating). This is something the Congress can remedy – and that is where I find a significant political advantage for Democrats – if we get this right. Will the Republicans cooperate on a new formula? I doubt it, but the president wasted no time in pressing the case.


    That same Pew survey also found that while African American turnout (65%) nearly matched white turnout (66%), turnout among Hispanic and Asian voters – even as those groups voted for the president – lagged behind (50 and 47 percent, respectively). That was all that it took to trounce Mr. Romney in the electoral college despite the President getting less than 40% of the White vote – imagine what would happen if Hispanic and Asian turnouts began to approach white turnout levels. Forget the presidency; Republicans would probably never see more than 42 seats in the Senate again. This is what is making establishment Republicans get into a civil war with the wingbats in their party over immigration reform.

    Why am I telling you all this? Because if my understanding is correct that Republican voter suppression efforts backfired and as a result increased minority voter turnout, then that’s an important precursor for 2014. Just as with immigration reform, Republicans may face a catch 22 if Democrats play their hands right with respect to today’s Supreme Court decision. They can be given two options:

    First option, do the right thing. Work with Democrats to come up with a formula that will pass muster at the Supreme Court. Come up with a new formula that will probably still subject their strongholds to greater federal oversight – but for that matter, I wouldn’t mind if Congress made every state get preclearance from the Justice Department to change their election laws. If they do this by formula though – and any fair formulation will undoubtedly focus on the need for oversight in predominantly white, Republican dominated areas – their crazy base will come after them, but we will have won an important policy victory.

    If they do not cooperate, that brings us to the second option. Democrats need to orchestrate a campaign focused on exposing the Republicans for their voter suppression efforts, and tie it to why they won’t cooperate with Democrats to build a new, updated formula to enforce the Voting Rights Act. Make it clear that the Republicans don’t want the Voting Rights Act enforced because they want to suppress minority votes. Couple it with stepped up voter registration efforts, and educating voters about their rights at the polls. Keep challenging voter ID laws in federal court. If the Republicans won’t cooperate, we will need to make sure that voters know who want to take away their vote, and then bring them out to vote.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Nancy Smash for the win.

    Frank Thorp V ‏@frankthorpNBC32m
    Asked for a response to Rep Bachmann’s statement about DOMA, @NancyPelosi just responds: “Who cares?”

  10. rikyrah says:

    So we’ve gotten rid of DOMA and DADT. Once we restore Glass-Steagall we’ll almost be done fixing Clinton’s presidency.
    — Ryan J. Davis (@RyanNewYork) June 26, 2013

  11. rikyrah says:

    ouch. dan savage declared discrimination against black folks to be “once upon a time”. the day after voting rights act destroyed.

  12. rikyrah says:

    A whole new era for gay rights and human decency

    By Greg Sargent, Published: June 26, 2013 at 11:45 am

    As I’ve written about before, I grew up in the far West Village of New York City, near the site of the Stonewall Inn riots that launched the modern gay rights movement, and witnessed a good deal of anti-gay bigotry in the raw throughout my childhood. So today’s Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional has personal meaning for me.

    What’s particularly striking, in light of the decades of struggle that have unfolded since the early 1970s — the long dark period in the closet, the underground gay clubs that were subsequently padlocked amid the AIDS crisis, the shameful refusal of public officials to acknowledge that crisis — is the ringing language of equality in the SCOTUS decision.

    It is unequivocal in declaring DOMA (which denies federal benefits to same sex couples legally married in states) in violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and due process, and in striking down DOMA as a deliberate effort to impose inequality on a selected class of American citizens.

    What happened today is that a whole new legal framework has been created within which state level battles over marriage equality will now unfold. It’s not an overstatement to say that the language in today’s decision may help put state laws banning gay marriage on the path to extinction around the country.

    The court also declined to rule on a California court’s previous ruling striking down Proposition 8 — the law defining marriage as between a man and a woman in that state — arguing it didn’t have standing. That clears the way for same sex marriage to be legal in California.

  13. rikyrah says:

    adept did a post over at TPV

    A SCOTUS Voting Rights Act Therapy Session

    Tuesday, June 25, 2013 | Posted by adept2u at 10:43 PM

    I’d like to think I’m not alone in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to effectively gut the Voting Rights Acts that at this point there is a need to express anger and rage before having the ability to constructively go forward. There were a stream of images that came to me with captions that I found highly therapeutic in putting together. I wanted to share them and provide a place for anyone in the community to allow their righteous anger to just vent without judgement.

  14. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: Darrell Issa backtracks on IRS scandal

    By Greg Sargent, Published: June 26, 2013 at 8:46 amE-mail the writer

    submit to reddit

    The news that progressive groups were also targeted by the IRS should, in theory at least, prompt reporters to press leading Republicans on a simple question: Do you still stand by your insinuations that the White House or Obama campaign were somehow behind the politically motivated targeting of conservatives?

    In a key moment, Rep. Darrell Issa — the chair of the Oversight Committee and a lead investigator into the IRS scandal — is now claiming he never, ever said the White House or the Obama campaign was behind the targeting. In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash (at the 1:30 mark), he said this:

    “I’ve never said it came out of the office of the President or his campaign. What I’ve said is, it comes out of Washington.”

    And yet, later in the very same interview, Issa said this:

    “For years, the president bashed the Tea Party groups. He was very public against these groups. And on his behalf — perhaps not on his request — on his behalf, the IRS executed a delaying tactic against the very groups that he talked about.”

    This is utter gibberish, and reporters (kudos to Bash for doing a great job here) need to hold Issa accountable for it. Indeed, the juxtaposition of the two statements neatly captures the increasingly untenable nature of Issa’s stance. He claims the IRS targeting was done “perhaps” not on the president’s request — seemingly dangling that out there as a possibility – right after flatly stating he has never said the targeting was directed by the White House or the president’s campaign. Is there any evidence that this was orchestrated by Obama or his campaign, or isn’t there? Yes, or No? Doesn’t the current evidence actually tell us otherwise? Yes, or No?

  15. rikyrah says:

    Tom + Lorenzo® ‏@tomandlorenzo 58m
    FREE AT LAST! FREE AT LAST! The Supreme Court strikes down DOMA! Lorenzo, will you marry me? ~T.

    Tom + Lorenzo® ‏@tomandlorenzo57m
    Absofuckinglutely. ~ L RT FREE AT LAST! FREE AT LAST! The Supreme Court strikes down DOMA! Lorenzo, will you marry me? ~T.

    If you don’t know who Tom and Lorenzo are, here’s their fabulous website:

  16. rikyrah says:

    And then there were 12
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:25 AM EDT.

    The Supreme Court’s decision to reject the Prop. 8 appeal on procedural grounds has one very significant, immediate effect. As of last month, 11 states and the District of Columbia embraced marriage equality, and as of this morning, California is the 12th.

    The Supreme Court cleared the way Wednesday for same-sex marriages to resume in California as the justices, in a procedural ruling, turned away the defenders of Proposition 8.

    Chief Justice John Roberts, speaking for the 5-4 majority, said the private sponsors of Prop. 8 did not have legal standing to appeal after the ballot measure was struck down by a federal judge in San Francisco. […]

    The court’s action, while not a sweeping ruling, sends the case back to California, where state and federal judges and the state’s top officials have said same-sex marriage is a matter of equal rights.

  17. rikyrah says:


    Stay Classy .@MicheleBachmann, stay classy. Congress will be a better place without you in it. #2014elections
    — Jim Messina (@Messina2012) June 26, 2013

  18. rikyrah says:

    @DanaHoule: SCOTUS to black people in the South: “Marry who you want, but don’t expect to vote.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Prop 8 Plaintiffs Get Call From President Obama, Shown Live On MSNBC

  20. rikyrah says:

    An intern races to get the Supreme Court decision to Pete Williams

  21. rikyrah says:

    Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka

    Bravo to @BarackObama for repealing DADT, not defending DOMA; setting in motion SCOTUS repealing DOMA. LGBT more protected under ObamaCare.

    10:17 AM – 26 Jun 2013

  22. rikyrah says:

    Top Dem threatens to block trade deal with Ecuador over Snowden
    By Julian Pecquet – 06/26/13 07:09 AM ET

    Ecuador can kiss its trade preferences with the United States goodbye if it offers asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, a key lawmaker told The Hill.

    “There’s been issues about Ecuador all along,” said Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee. “And if they do this, there’s no basis for even discussing it.”

    The South American nation had been hoping to renew and extend a trade deal aimed at getting impoverished farmers to cultivate flowers and broccoli instead of coca leaves.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Edward Snowden Blasted New York Times Leaks In 2009: Leakers ‘Should Be Shot In The Balls’

  24. rikyrah says:

    gn •

    Re: DOMA decision—it’s extremely hard to not feel happy for wonderful people like Spandan (who is jubilant). Congrats!

    That said, I’m going to go there: I distinctly remember a conversation we had here in which we speculated months ago that the S. Ct. would overturn the VRA provision/affirmative action, yet strike down DOMA. And this will be heralded as a “civil rights victory” meanwhile black people continue to have our rights—economic, political—stripped away. Personally, I reject the attempts to connect DOMA with VRA because I see DOMA as having absolutely nothing to do with VRA. Because sexuality is not the same as race, and majority white groups are not the second coming of slaves, they are not living a de facto Jim Crow, and never were. This is a victory for privacy and the right to pursue happiness without regard to what the peanut gallery thinks of one’s adult, consenting relationship for which there’s no suggestion of harm. But this has nothing to do with advancing the rights of African Americans or our civil rights movement. Apples and oranges.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka

    Shorter #SCOTUS: When it comes to marriage, you have our blessing. When it comes to voting, we and the GOP prefer how it was in the 50’s.

    9:33 AM – 26 Jun 2013

  26. rikyrah says:

    Who is Living in the Past?

    by BooMan
    Wed Jun 26th, 2013 at 09:27:03 AM EST

    The Associated Press notes that the Old Confederacy is prepared to take full partisan Republican advantage of their newfound freedom to discriminate.

    After the high court announced its momentous ruling Tuesday, officials in Texas and Mississippi pledged to immediately implement laws requiring voters to show photo identification before getting a ballot. North Carolina Republicans promised they would quickly try to adopt a similar law. Florida now appears free to set its early voting hours however Gov. Rick Scott and the GOP Legislature please. And Georgia’s most populous county likely will use county commission districts that Republican state legislators drew over the objections of local Democrats.

    Texas is ready to implement a redistricting plan that a federal court has already deemed discriminatory.

    The Supreme Court decision striking down elements of the Voting Rights Act could lead to the Legislature implementing a 2011 redistricting plan that was deemed by federal judges to be discriminatory to Texas minority voters.
    Soon after Tuesday’s decision, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said that the state’s voter identification plan would immediately take effect, requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls. “Redistricting maps passed by the Legislature may also take effect without approval from the federal government,” he said.

    But Jonathan Tobin thinks we are living in the past.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Supreme Court strikes down Defense of Marriage Act
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:07 AM EDT

    In a breakthrough legal victory, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this morning that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. In a 5-4 ruling, the court majority said the anti-gay law is discriminatory: “DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty.”

    The decision was written by Justice Kennedy, who was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. More soon

    • Ametia says:



  28. rikyrah says:

    They were never beaten, jailed, run off their farms or fired from their jobs. No one they knew died simply trying to register to vote.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Voting Rights Act Decision Poses a Crucial Test for Republicans
    by Jamelle Bouie Jun 26, 2013 4:45 AM EDT

    The GOP can use the Court’s decision to double down on its white, aging base, writes Jamelle Bouie—or it seize on it as a new opportunity for outreach to minority voters.

    If you’ve read a magazine at any point in the last decade, then you’ve probably heard of the “Stanford marshmallow test.” Young children are placed at a table with a marshmallow, and are told that they can eat it now, or wait a while and get an even better treat. The experiment is supposed to measure a child’s capacity for delayed gratification. The longer she can wait, the more likely it is she has good impulse control, and that is associated with better life outcomes, as measured by health and educational attainment.

    In overturning Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act—which sets down a formula for identifying which state and local governments have to pre-clear changes to voting law with the federal government—the Supreme Court has all but placed a huge marshmallow in front of the Republican Party. But, instead of a sugary treat, it’s an opportunity to pursue harsh new restrictions on voting—the kinds of policies that would have been blocked under the VRA before the Court’s ruling.

    Over the last three years, Republicans throughout the country have launched aggressive attacks on voting rights and access to the ballot, often under the guise of voter integrity (despite the non-threat of voter fraud). In North Carolina, Republicans have proposed bills that would cut early voting, require a narrow range of identification cards to vote (excluding student IDs, for instance), and impose lifetime disenfranchisement for felons. Likewise, in Virginia, Republican legislators have proposed a strict new voter ID law that could disenfranchise the nearly 900,000 residents who lack the required identification. The same goes for a Mississippi bill that could keep up to 40,000 people from the polls.

    Prior to this ruling, these laws would have had to pass federal pre-clearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. That’s no longer the case. The path is now clear to pass laws that would keep hundreds of thousands of people from voting, of whom a disproportionate number are African American.

    This isn’t an accident. In places like Virginia, keeping blacks, Latinos and other groups from the polls gives a significant advantage to Republican candidates, given their high support for Democrats. Without high African American turnout, Barack Obama couldn’t have won Virginia last year, which would have jeopardized his bid for reelection. And on a smaller scale, high black turnout is key to Democratic odds in midterm and gubernatorial elections. Terry McAuliffe, for instance, can’t win the governor’s mansion without a strong turnout among black voters. The voter ID laws proposed by Republicans tilt the playing field in their favor—which is why they’re on the table in the first place.

    But the Republican Party doesn’t have to reach for that marshmallow. It has another choice: It can wait. Indeed, it can work to patch the new hole in the Voting Rights Act and restore it to its former glory. No, this doesn’t offer an immediate electorate advantage. What it does do, however, is show minority voters that Republicans care both about their interests and their fundamental rights. It’s hard to overstate the importance of this message.

    The GOP is facing a demographic crunch. Its base of older whites is shrinking, while core Democratic constituencies—African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and young people—are growing. A Republican Party that takes the lead in writing a new Voting Rights Act is a Republican Party that can repair its damage with minorities and lay a new foundation for growth. In the long-term, rejecting the temptation of new voter restrictions and recommitting to the legacy of the civil rights movement is a recipe for success. Taking the easy road, by contrast, ties Republicans even more tightly to their aging Southern base, and further alienates nonwhite voters.

  30. rikyrah says:

    ‘It is open season on voting rights right now in America’

    By Steve Benen
    Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:35 AM EDT

    Immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, it was hard not to wonder how long it would take for Republican state lawmakers to begin imposing new voting restrictions on Americans they don’t like. As it turns out, GOP policymakers were apparently already revving their engines, just waiting for the green light that came 24 hours ago.

    MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin noted that the Supreme Court’s majority said the Voting Rights Act “probably wasn’t a deterrent against new restrictions.” Sarlin added, “Oops.”

    Quite right. Just yesterday, Republican state lawmakers in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas all moved forward, with great enthusiasm, on new election measures intended to make it harder for traditional Democratic voters to participate in their own democracy. It is, as Rachel noted on the show last night, “open season on voting rights right now in America,” thanks to the Republican-appointed justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Of course, the responsibility for “fixing” the Voting Rights Act is now in the hands of Congress, where one GOP leader was willing to say … something.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Markey prevails in Massachusetts special election
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:00 AM EDT

    Despite the state’s Democratic leanings, the outcome of Massachusetts’ U.S. Senate special election was not a foregone conclusion. It’s easy to forget, but shortly after the primaries, Public Policy Polling found this was a four-point contest.

    But Republicans’ pick-up opportunities faded as their candidate struggled to find his footing, and in the end, the race wasn’t close.

    Veteran Democratic US Representative Edward J. Markey beat back a challenge from Republican businessman Gabriel E. Gomez today in a special election for US Senate in Massachusetts that was marked by its brevity and by low voter turnout.

    Markey garnered 55 percent of the votes, compared with 45 percent for Gomez, with 99 percent of precincts reporting late this evening. Markey, 66, and Gomez, 47, were vying to fill the seat that Democrat John F. Kerry left vacant when President Obama picked him to be US secretary of state in December.

  32. rikyrah says:

    The Chief Justice’s Long Game


    Published: June 25, 2013

    IN an opinion brimming with a self-confidence that he hides behind a cloak of judicial minimalism, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for a conservative Supreme Court majority in Shelby County v. Holder, cripples Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

    The court pretends it is not striking down the act but merely sending the law back to Congress for tweaking; it imagines that Congress forced its hand; and it fantasizes that voting discrimination in the South is a thing of the past. None of this is true.

    In the Shelby decision, we see a somewhat more open version of a pattern that is characteristic of the Roberts court, in which the conservative justices tee up major constitutional issues for dramatic reversal. First the court wrecked campaign finance law in Citizens United. On Tuesday it took away a crown jewel of the civil rights movement. And as we saw in Monday’s Fisher case, affirmative action is next in line, even if the court wants to wait another year or two to pull the trigger. Imagine striking down affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act in the same week!

    Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act requires certain states and parts of states (mainly in the South) to get permission from the federal government before changing voting rules. The law puts the burden on jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination to demonstrate that any voting change — from a voter-ID law to moving a polling place — won’t make the minority voters the law protects worse off. In Section 4, Congress provided a formula for determining the jurisdictions to which Section 5 applies — but the data used to construct the formula is from the 1960s or 1970s. Congress renewed the act, most recently in 2006, without touching the old formula.

    In Tuesday’s opinion, the court held that the formula was unconstitutionally outdated. The chief justice couches his opinion in modesty, stating that the court is striking only the Section 4 coverage formula and not Section 5. But don’t be fooled: Congress didn’t touch the formula in 2006 because doing so would have doomed renewal. Congress avoided the political issue then, and there’s no way today’s more polarized Congress will agree upon a new list of discriminatory states.

    The tone of the opinion is one of dutiful resignation: gravely, the court must strike down an act of Congress. Chief Justice Roberts reminds us that the court could have struck down the act in a 2009 case, but it gave Congress another chance.

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent mocks this posturing: “Hubris is a fit word for today’s demolition of the V.R.A.” The court could have acted more narrowly, for example, by saying that Alabama’s continued problems with minority voting rights justified the law’s application to Shelby County even if not elsewhere. As it did in Citizens United, the court took the broad path when the narrow path would have limited the court’s damage.

  33. rikyrah says:


    I was 19 years when the 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed and
    signed into law. Like every one in the 60s, I regarded the Act as a monumental achievement although it had come at a terrible cost. Precious lives were lost in the struggle to secure voting rights. Today’s Supreme Court decision hit me so hard that I had decided not to say or write anything.

    I spent the day trying to reflect on this horrible day. Five men of the highest court in the country, in a decision without precedent, erased one of the most important achievements of the Black Freedom Struggle, which was earned as a result of the sacrifices of so many people, many of whom are no longer with us. But then I realized that what happened today, though horrible, is no where near the horrors that our ancestors had to endure without ever giving up or losing hope.

    If our ancestors could endure 244 years of slavery and more than100 years of Jim Crow, then this too shall pass. Re-watching Dr. King’s speech, at the conclusion of the Selma-to-Montgomery March, renewed my determination to press on.

    Today was pay back day by the right wingers on the Court because we showed up twice, in unprecedented numbers, to elect Barack Obama President of the United States. I hope we will pay the right wingers back by showing up in even greater numbers, in 2014, to defeat right wing Republicans at all levels of government. We especially need to focus on the importance of electing members of Congress who are committed to undo today’s Supreme Court abomination.

  34. rikyrah says:

    isonprize •

    Can’t spell truth without “Ruth” (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

  35. rikyrah says:

    another brilliant comment by Camille:

    CamilleCamille •

    I haven’t been this sad in such a long time-

    How anyone can look at what the Supreme court did today and feel good about, or comfortable with it – How any of these justices can sleep tonight or look themselves in the mirror in the morning–?

    Even Mitch McConnell stuttered, stammered and fidgeted and couldn’t even look straight into the camera as he uncomfortably commented – and only as the lone person who even “bothered” to do so – as he stood with some members of his caucus.

    In a time when the election and re-election of a black president plainly exposed the worst of America’s racist underbelly – forcing a vast majority of racists out of hibernation – and inspiring and initiating a whole new generation of hardcore racists along the way–

    Emboldened and egged on by the support, backing and at the exploitative urging of some known and faceless mercenary oil and Wall street billionaires and their media gofers looking to mischievously stoke racial prejudices, discontent and distrust of this president in particular, and government in general, only so that while people are consumed with these distractions, they swoop in like the vultures they are, completely take over and pillage whatever little they don’t already own and control–

    In a time when the first black President and First Lady have been so disrespected in such unbelievable and unprecedented ways, and still without any provocation on their part, subjected to an endless barrage of vicious, hateful and dehumanizing attacks designed to penetrate and strip and diminish their being and destroy their spirits-

    In a time when a Sikh is killed for the heck of it, and only because some ignorant racist mistook him for a “Muslim terrorist”– and a 4th generation American kid is snatched up off the streets and deported to Mexico because they’re certain that with her dark olive skin she’s got to be “illegal”–

    In a time when people are brazenly defending the deeply-held and incredibly harmful racist hankerings of a sly old southern bigot– and publicly raising funds for and defending the cold-blooded murderer of an innocent young black boy–

    In a time when people blatantly pretend not to be able to easily distinguish between the voice of a grown man — and the undeniable screams for help of a petrified and still growing and developing adolescent boy whose still transitioning breaking voice can be easily identified by the punctuations of modulating pitch – warbling and high one second – and croaky and low the next–

    In such a time as this, with everything pointing to still prevalent, entrenched and many insurmountable racist mindsets and societal structures — in such a time as this, we are told by the Supreme court of the United States, led by a man whose life ambition has always been to do away with as much of the life-saving Civil Rights Act, the VRA just being a start –

    We are told that our very dysfunctional and delicate Union is just fine and dandy — and that this most important law which has for years largely guarded the few essential rights of the minority – and made for progress and fairness in an organically inequitable nation — that this law is no longer necessary—

    The oil and Wall street bought racist justices and their token black robe, doing double duty, took away the single most important law in our Democracy only stopping long enough to tell us that we’ve now overcome – even as the racism grows and plays out each minute on our streets, capitol, in our media and every facet of our society–

    Even as their partners in crime at the various State legislatures are busy quickly turning back the hands of time to their preferred nostalgic era — the era when coloured people knew their place and Paula Deen’s great, great, grand pappy was happy and content and had not an inkling that his hardworking slaves were ever going to walk free – and that he’d die out of desperation at his own hands with his suicide avenged by his racist, slave-driving great, great, grand daughter in 2013 —

    How ironic she’s outed in the very same week the supreme justices told us times had changed and then proceeded to do the most important bidding of their monied and racist owners—

    Interesting times–

  36. rikyrah says:


    Rev. Al took on an entire panel of mofos today on Morning Joe. can you find the video and post it?

    • Ametia says:

      I saw the segment before I left for work this morning. We’ll get it. He slammed Murdering Joke. Claiming he wanted to debate Rev. Al. Seriously, a 5th grader could win a debate with this MOFO.

  37. rikyrah says:

    In Texas, they wanted to pass a draconian anti-abortion bill.

    A lone State Senator, Wendy Davis, stood on the Texas State Senate floor, with no breaks – for 11 hours, filibustering the bill.

    She succeeded.

  38. Ametia says:

    TIMESTAMPGATE: After A Crazy Night, This Photograph Helped Kill A Controversial Texas Abortion Bill


    It was a crazy night in Texas politics that ended just before 4 AM Central Time, with a controversial abortion bill (that would have shut down the majority of Texas clinics) getting killed at the last minute.

    Carolyn Jones at The Texas Observer has a great writeup of what went down, but it was basically this.

    – snip –

    That’s when pro-choice activists in the chamber started shouting, and created enough chaos so that the state Senate couldn’t vote by midnight, which was the end of the legislative session.. The final vote to pass the bill happened just after midnight at 12:03.

    However, Republicans claimed that the vote got in before midnight.

    According to Jones, Republicans had to admit that that they were a few minutes late on the bill, when Texas State Senator Juan Chuy Hinojosa tweeted this photo showing that the initial readout of the vote indicated it happened on June 26, but that a subsequent readout had been changed, showing June 25.

    The initial time stamp on the Capitol website and on Senate documents placed the vote at 12:02 or 12:03 on June 26. But then someone mysteriously changed the time stamp to make it appear SB 5 passed before the deadline (see the post below for photographic evidence). The time stamp evidence, circulated on Twitter, eventually forced GOP leaders to admit defeat, at least for tonight.

  39. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-))

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