Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Star Trek Week: “Guinan”

Today’s Star Trek feature is Whoopi Goldberg AKA Guinan.  Guinan was the mysterious bartender in Ten Forward, the lounge aboard the USS Enterprise-D.


WIKI:  Caryn Elaine Johnson, best known as Whoopi Goldberg (/ˈhwʊpi/; born November 13, 1955) is an American comedienne, actress, singer-songwriter, political activist, author and talk show host.

Although Goldberg made her film debut in the avant-garde ensemble film Citizen: I’m Not Losing My Mind, I’m Giving It Away (1982), her breakthrough role was playing Celie, a mistreated black woman in the Deep South in the period drama film The Color Purple (1985).

She played Oda Mae Brown – a wacky psychic helping a slain man (Patrick Swayze) save his lover (Demi Moore) – in the romantic fantasy film Ghost (1990) for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Goldberg was the second black woman in the history of the Academy Awards to win an acting Oscar (the first being Hattie McDaniel who won for Gone With the Wind in 1939).

She was co-producer of the television game show Hollywood Squares from 1998 to 2004. She has been the moderator of the daytime television talk show The View since 2007.

Goldberg has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards for her work in television. She is one of the few entertainers who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award. In the 1990s, Goldberg was rumored to be the highest paid actress for her appearances in film.[2]

According to an anecdote told by Nichelle Nichols in the documentary film Trekkies (1997), a young Goldberg was watching Star Trek, and upon seeing Nichols’ character Uhura, exclaimed, “Momma! There’s a black lady on TV and she ain’t no maid!”[10] This spawned lifelong fandom of Star Trek for Goldberg, who would eventually ask for and receive a recurring guest-starring role on Star Trek: The Next Generation.


GUINAN, played by Whoopi Goldberg, is a recurring character on Star Trek: The Next Generation. She also appears in the TNG films Star Trek Generations and Star Trek Nemesis but is uncredited in both.

The character first appears in the second-season opening episode “The Child”, and she appears several times over the course of the next four seasons; she does not appear at all in the seventh season. She is said to have the closest relationship with Jean-Luc Picard, which is “beyond friendship” and “beyond family”.[2]
Guinan is originally from El-Auria. As a refugee aboard the El-Aurian vessel Lakul, she is rescued from the Nexus by the USS Enterprise-B. Her people, the El-Aurians, sometimes called “listeners,” had been scattered throughout the galaxy after the Borg invaded their homeworld. The subsequent diaspora and reintegration of her people, and even their traditional clothing that Guinan still wears are interpreted as a reference to questions about race and colonization.[5]

Her species is long-lived, and she is somewhere between 500 and 700 years old when she joins the Enterprise-D. “Time’s Arrow, Part I” reveals that she visited Earth in 1891, and “Rascals” establishes that her father was 700 years old during that episode.

Guinan reveals in Star Trek Nemesis that she has been married 23 times. She states in “Evolution” that she has many children, including a son who went through a phase when “he wouldn’t listen to anybody” – something unusual “in a species of listeners”.

Check out these video segments:

LOL @ Guinan Never Imposed Herself on Anyone

We Are Also Lonely

Guinan Gives Wesley Crusher Good Advice About Losing Somebody you Love

“The Measure of a Man” My absolute favorite Guinan scene.

Yep, if I ever walked into a lounge and needed to seek a listening ear, I be on the look out for Guinan.


This entry was posted in Current Events, Media, Movies, News, Open Thread, Photos, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

110 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Star Trek Week: “Guinan”

  1. Yahtc says:

    Is President Jimmy Carter Evolving on Voter ID?
    Posted on August 29, 2013 9:30 am by Rick Hasen
    A knowledgeable reader writes:

    Jimmy Carter in 2008:
    “As [James Baker and I] stated in our 2005 report, voter ID laws are not a problem in and of themselves. Rather, the current crop of laws are not being phased in gradually and in a fair manner that would increase — not reduce — voter participation.”
    Jimmy Carter in 2013:

    “I believe we all know how Dr. King would have reacted to the new I.D. requirements to exclude certain voters, especially African Americans,” Carter said. “I think we all know how Dr. King would have reacted to the Supreme Court striking down a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act just recently passed overwhelmingly by Congress.”
    I don’t think those positions are inconsistent, but I do wonder why voter ID supporters keep repeating the talking point that “even Jimmy Carter supports voter ID,” without any nuance.

  2. Yahtc says:

    • Yahtc says:

      A new PBS documentary called “Slavery by Another Name” tells the story of the adapted forced labor practices that helped extend slavery long after the end of the Civil War. Gwen Ifill speaks with Douglas Blackmon, the film’s co-executive producer, about this largely forgotten piece of history and the forces that propelled it.

      GWEN IFILL: Now, a history of forced labor after the Civil War.

      A new document that airs tonight on PBS tells the story of how American citizens freed by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution remained under lock and key for decades afterward. “Slavery by Another Name,” based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, tells the story of the thousands of African-Americans who were arrested on trumped-up charges and forced to work as convict labor.
      In many cases, they were sent to the South coal mines, including some owned by businessman and former slave owner John Milner.

      Historians and actors describe it in this excerpt.

      NARRATOR: After emancipation, industrialists replaced slaves with convicts, acquiring thousands from state and county governments.

      MARY ELLEN CURTIN, historian: You can’t drive free labor the same way that you can force prisoners to mine five tons of coal a day. And this is why people like Milner wanted prisoners in his coal mines. He saw them as a great source of profit. And he didn’t have to worry about labor disputes.

      MAN: We would leave the cells around 3:00 a.m. and return at 8:00 p.m., going the distance of three miles through rain or snow.

      MARY ELLEN CURTIN: To describe the conditions in a coal mine at this time, to say that they’re primitive, you can’t even imagine it.

      DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON, author, “Slavery by Another Name”: This is a place where for weeks or months at a time, men might never see daylight. The mine was often filled with standing water around their ankles and their feet. They had to drink from that water. Disease ran rampant through these mines.

      KHALIL MUHAMMAD, historian: They were incredibly dangerous places to work, being subjected to violent explosions, poisonous gases that were released as coal fell from the walls, in addition to the falling coal itself.

      MARY ELLEN CURTIN: Whipping, keeping people chained up, brutal kinds of physical torture and mental abuse are the norm. A lot of the things that kept people in control under slavery are amplified under this convict system.

      GWEN IFILL: Douglas Blackmon is author of the book “Slavery by Another Name” and co-executive producer of tonight’s film. A former reporter for The Wall Street Journal, he’s now the chair of the Miller Center Forum at the University of Virginia.


      DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON: Thanks for having me.

      GWEN IFILL: You make the argument that slavery didn’t end in 1863, when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, not in 1865, when the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, but 1942.

      DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON: Slavery didn’t end when we all have been taught that it did. It receded for a time.

      And in the first years after the Civil War, African-Americans, the formerly enslaved African- Americans, did experience a period of authentic freedom and citizenship. But beginning 20, 25 years, depending on the place, after the Civil War, a whole new regime of involuntary servitude began to be put in place all across the South, and hundreds of thousands of people were catastrophically affected.

      GWEN IFILL: Why didn’t we know these stories?

      DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON: Well, we did know it at the time. Americans were very aware of it. Certainly, white Southerners were. And by the beginning of the 20th century, whites all over the country had seen stories written about some of the — particularly the worst atrocities and some of the brutalities.

      But the truth is that, by the early 20th century, most of America didn’t really care anymore. The country had been fighting over the role of African-Americans for almost a generation at that point. They were worn out with the political fight. And by the early 20th century, the North had largely decided to let the South do what it wanted to with black people.

      GWEN IFILL: So, help us understand how this could happen. Tell us the story of this one person you mentioned in the documentary, Green Cottenham. Tell us his story.

      DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON: Green Cottenham was the son of two former slaves in Alabama. He was born in freedom. He experienced some of the — some of that period of time in which you had huge numbers of black people who voted. Some were elected to office.

      They had a certain amount of economic freedom. They were largely still impoverished, but authentic freedom, separating themselves from the white families that had controlled their lives. But by the time Green Cottenham grew to adulthood in the first years of the 20th century, this whole new regime of laws had been put in place that essentially turned the American justice system on its head.

      And it became an instrument of injustice, instead of a system of justice. And there were rafts of laws that effectively criminalized black life. It was almost impossible for a black man in the South, in the rural South, in the early 20th century not to be at risk of arrest at almost any time. And the consequences of even the most trivial of offenses were enormous. And . . .

      GWEN IFILL: Well, you make an interesting point in the book and in the documentary that, economically, it made more sense to protect slaves than it did to protect the lives of people who were convict laborers or people who were under peonage, it was called?

      DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON: Peonage, which is essentially debt slavery, where a person is held against their will to work off an alleged debt to a landowner or to someone who has purchased them, essentially. And that’s the language that was used, buying and selling, someone who has been purchased from a county jail or purchased from a state prison system.

      And that’s what had happened to Green Cottenham. He was arrested on a charge of vagrancy. He couldn’t prove that he had a job in 1908. He couldn’t pay the enormous fines. It was essentially two years’ labor was the fine for vagrancy. He was immediately sold to a coal mine on the outskirts of Birmingham to a company that was then going to pay his fines off one month at a time.

      But, instead, five months later, he died under horrible conditions in a coal mine outside of Birmingham owned by U.S. Steel Corporation.

      GWEN IFILL: And there are long-term consequences for this — these practices, which link — which over the years have linked criminality and race.

      DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON: This is how our country got in the habit of finding it normal to see such a huge population of African-American men in particular incarcerated all the time.

      It also is, I think, really the missing link in understanding the persistence of the economic and educational gaps between African-Americans and whites in modern society today. Slavery didn’t go away 150 years ago. African-Americans haven’t had that long opportunity to recover from all the terrible damage of slavery.

      Instead, slavery began to recede meaningfully more like 50 or 60 years ago. And that’s all the difference in the world.

      GWEN IFILL: Were there white convicts who were leased in this manner, too?

      DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON: There were whites who were sucked into the system, no doubt about it.

      And, in fact, when there was outrage or concern about this system back in the early 20th century, it was typically when a white person — there’s a story in the film of a young man Martin Tabert, who was a traveler from the Pacific Northwest, who ends up sucked into a forced labor camp in Florida and eventually whipped to death under horrifying conditions.

      And that led to a scandal. That led to some reforms. But, overwhelmingly, this was something that happened to black people. And through most of the period of time that this was happening, these forced labor camps tended to be 80 or 90 percent African-Americans. And the mortality rates in them were often as high as 30 or 40 percent.

      GWEN IFILL: So, whether it was the sharecropping, in which people were tied to the land by debt, or whether it was peonage, or whether it was convict leasing, this had a long-term effect that affected the entire American economy, or just African-Americans?

      DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON: No, this is a huge drag on all of American life. That’s one of the things we forget sometimes when we talk about the atrocities really that were committed against African-Americans.

      It didn’t just injure black people. It injured the whole country, because we deprived ourselves of the talent, and energy, and ambition, and abilities of this huge population of people that was getting bigger and bigger all the time.

      And the proof of that is that, once you get to the truly modern time, to 1970, and this really – that’s really the first point in time that we can really say African-Americans on a large scale begin to have real access to the mechanisms of achievement in America. Since 1940, even with all the problems that persist, since that time — since 1970, even with all the problems that persist, African-Americans have achieved on a level economically and educationally, I think, that’s unrivaled by any group of people in human history.

      GWEN IFILL: Not just a black history story, but an American history story.

      DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON: It’s a story of American history. It’s a story of terrible things done by Americans to other Americans.

      And if we want to appreciate the triumphal parts of our past, we really have to be willing to confront these parts as well.

      GWEN IFILL: Doug Blackmon, author and co-executive producer of “Slavery by Another Name” on PBS tonight, thanks so much.

      DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON: Thanks for having me.

  3. rikyrah says:

    zizi has written another wonderful post about the President and his moves on the foreign policy chessboard.


    Can Y’all smell What Pres Obama’s cooking?
    By zizi2

    No I’m not talking about the acrid smell of Boehner’s singeing flesh as he roasts in PBO’s Veto threats as well as the bonfire that is Congress. That is subject for another diary. No, I’m talking about PBO’s Foreign Policy chestnuts roasting beautifully.

    The Burma Blueprint a Model for Iran Detente

    Prez Obama really works best when there’s a melee brewing all around him. And so it was in 2011 when the GOP debt ceiling hostage taking was underway, he moved swiftly to accelerate the diplomatic thaw between the US and Burma. DC was clueless about how that happened and predictably gave PBO very little credit.

    In his speech in Rangoon, PBO said:

    “When I took office as President, I sent a message to those governments who ruled by fear: We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. So today I’ve come to keep my promise and extend the hand of friendship.”

    He lived up to his promise as Times reported:

    “Shortly after taking office, Obama eased American foreign policy toward greater engagement with Burma’s generals. Naysayers predicted that the clutch of xenophobic generals would not respond. But for whatever reason, Burma’s opening soon followed. For an American leader who calls himself the country’s “first Pacific President” and has pivoted U.S. foreign policy toward Asia in an effort to hedge China, the good news coming out of Burma couldn’t have occurred at a more opportune time.”

    A fledgling but empowered Burmese government proceeded to enact reforms, following which President Obama quickly reinforced support by first sending then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton there, followed by his own visit 2 weeks after reelection.

    “Thein Sein’s government has introduced a raft of substantive reforms, allowing opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy to participate in April polls that resulted in her becoming an elected member of parliament, hacking away at press censorship, releasing political prisoners and signing cease-fires with some of the ethnic militias that had been battling the central government for decades. In return, the U.S., like many other Western nations, has eased the economic sanctions that had further isolated an already reclusive regime and pushed it into China’s economic embrace. Just a few months ago, the Rangoon airport where Obama landed was decorated with advertisements for local instant-coffee brands and jewelry companies owned by the regime’s cronies. Now, the biggest sign in baggage claim is a Coca-Cola advertisement: “Cola Welcome to Myanmar.””


    Burma was a blueprint for how PBO quickly seizes unexpected openings to propel stakeholders (even those with with unsavory records) otherwise paralyzed by fear, to just go for it. He showed the Burmese military junta that he was more interested in the real goal of reversing Burma’s isolation from the world and restoring democracy, than justifiably punishing them their horrendous record of repression.

    So he encouraged them to reverse political repression, lift house arrest on Aung San Suu Kyi and allow her buy-in into the transforming political system. In a perverse way that action brought Suu Kyi down from her long standing perch as political martyr to the realm of mortal politician member of parliament. While these moves risked appearing to have prematurely validated the Burmese leaders’ feeble steps toward democracy. But it worked, And now Burma is no longer outcast but grappling with the mundane task of governance and succeeding or failing at it.

    read the rest of this terrific piece:

    • Yahtc says:

      I just finished reading the article.

      You are so right, rikyrah. It is an excellent article!

      I just printed it out for my husband to read tonight.

  4. Yahtc says:

    This is a GREAT article from 1 hour ago:

    Professor Says He Has Solved a Mystery Over a Slave’s Novel

  5. rikyrah says:

    As odd as this sounds, it’s been fascinating watching the coverage of Mr. Alexis. I’ve been waiting for the moment when the MSM would just call him animal, the way that they do all the other Black killers out there. You could tell they want to do it because of the ridiculousness of having TWO PICTURES OF THE MAN, ONE DARKER THAN THE OTHER. They were so mad that they didn’t find the darker picture of him first, but it would have been obvious for them to take down the light-skinned picture of him for the darkened up one…so, they decided to run both…um, yeah, like that works.

    They want to go there, but can’t because every piece that comes out about this guy points to the obvious – HE HAD SERIOUS MENTAL ISSUES. But, you and I both know that Black people are never allowed to have mental issues…..but, at every turn, wherever you look with this guy the neon lights about his mental health comes up time and time again, preventing the MSN from painting him as the Black Animal and dismissing him.

    Like I said, as odd as this sounds, it’s been fascinating to watch.

  6. Parents Complain After Child Forced to Reenact Slavery on a Field Trip

    • Yahtc says:

      More details from a link within your article:
      Baker’s complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities was filed on behalf of her daughter earlier this year, according to records. A commission spokesman said Thursday that it was “an active case” and had no further information.

      But Tuesday night, Baker and her husband, James Baker, brought their concerns directly to the Hartford school board, noting the “social and emotional abuse” that their daughter — now an eighth-grader who has left the Hartford school system — and other students were subjected to during last November’s four-day school trip.

      According to the Bakers, the reenactment exercise included threatening language and use of the N-word; packing together students in a dark room, as if they were on a slave ship; and “white masters” — instructors at Nature’s Classroom who were white — chasing students through the woods.

      The students were acting as slaves who had escaped.

      Hartford schools spokesman David Medina said Thursday that because the human rights commission is “a quasi-judicial proceeding, our legal counsel has advised us not to comment.” Medina said he could not say whether any future school-sanctioned field trips to Nature’s Classroom would continue.

      Messages left Thursday with Sally Biggs, principal of Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, and a representive from Nature’s Classroom were not immediately returned.

      Earlier this year, a social worker and an intervention specialist at the Hartford school debriefed dozens of students who participated in the exercise. A report dated April 19, 2013, stated that positive feedback from students included “Appreciation for what we have today,” “Should not take freedom for granted” and “Exciting learning experience to see what slaves actually went through.”

      Among the negative feedback: “Felt like it was real, felt like a real slave,” “Started to believe some of the things the group leaders were saying” and “Did not feel like it was a joke, did not know if the leaders were joking.”,0,20523.story

      Excerpt from this second article:

      In addition, the report stated that “students verbally reported that they felt uncomfortable and confused with statements” that were made during the reenactment by Nature’s Classroom staff, who acted in character as slave owners and bounty hunters.

      Negative statements toward students, who played the role of slaves and foremen, included “Going to get the dogs to eat you,” “Dumb dark-skinned Negro person, how dare you look at me,” “You’re not a person, you’re property,” and “Don’t look me in the eyes, you’re worthless, keep your head down,” according to the report.

      “It’s outrageous,” said Glenn Cassis, executive director of the state’s African-American Affairs Commission. Slavery reenactment with children “has no place in an educational system … has no business being conducted in this country.”

      Sandra Baker contacted Cassis in early January to describe the field trip, Cassis said. He then informed the state Department of Education and participated in a meeting later that month with the state, the Baker family and Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, which has previously taken students on school trips to Nature’s Classroom.

      Cassis said he also learned from Nature’s Classroom that schools in at least several other Connecticut school systems have participated in the Underground Railroad reenactment.

      “It’s abominable. No way in the world should this be happening here or anywhere in 2013,” Cassis said Thursday. “Kids at that age being traumatized in a reenactment … makes no sense. Why has this been going on for so many years?

      “It just doesn’t add up,” Cassis continued. “Someone was asleep at the wheel … Having students feel like they were slaves, like they were bunched in a slave ship, that their loved ones could be killed, that they could be killed — what’s the educational objective of that? How is that tied into Common Core learning?

      “We’re not trying to scare these kids straight. Come on,” Cassis said. “We don’t need this.”

      Sandra Baker said she decided to bring her complaint to the school board this week to hold school administrators accountable and to let other parents “know what happened to their kids.”

      Copyright © 2013, The Hartford Courant

    • Yahtc says:

      For payback, the parents should demand a unit be taught by this teacher on “tar and feathering” and let the students actually tar and feather this teacher with real tar and feathers!!!!!!

  7. rikyrah says:

    Five Major Ways That Republicans Are Trying To Sabotage Obamacare

    By Sy Mukherjee on September 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    In two weeks, uninsured Americans will finally be able to start signing up for health coverage through Obamacare’s statewide insurance marketplaces. But even as the critical enrollment period inches closer, Obamacare opponents remain engaged in an all-or-nothing effort to block the law. Congress is trying to defund, delay, and repeal Obamacare on a federal level. State executives and lawmakers are working to stymie outreach efforts and undermine its individual provisions. And grassroots misinformation campaigns are ramping up their efforts.

    The Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF) released a new report on Thursday exploring the major efforts that Republican officials and Obamacare critics are currently using to sabotage the law:

    1. Defund, delay, repeal.

    Since Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) won the Speaker’s gavel in 2011, House Republicans have held votes on either fully repealing, partially repeal, delaying, or defunding Obamacare a staggering 41 times. A ThinkProgress analysis in August found that the current Republican Conference in the House has collectively voted to repeal or defund the health law a total of 7,386 times.

    The New York Times put it another way back in May: since 2011, the House spent 15 percent of all of its floor activity on repealing Obamacare, which amounts to about $17 million of Republican members’ salaries. And those figures will continue to grow this week, as House Republican leadership caved to conservative members’ and Tea Party senators’ demands to try to defund Obamacare as part of a deal to keep the government funded.

    The federal attacks on Obamacare aren’t just focused on the law as a whole, either; they’re also taking on the law’s individual provisions. On Thursday, House and Senate Republicans introduced a bill to delay enrollment in Obamacare’s insurance marketplaces — which launch in just two weeks — until complete data privacy can be assured. The Obama administration has insisted that its digital hub that will handle marketplace enrollment is secure and announced new initiatives to quell fears about privacy and financial security on Wednesday.

    2. Preventing Americans from getting all the facts about Obamacare.

    What if a health care law could help millions of Americans — but no one knew about it? CAPAF’s report highlights the ways that diehard Obamacare opponents have been imposing hurdles on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and groups trying to teach Americans about Obamacare.

    For instance, when word got out that the White House was considering partnering with sports organizations like the NFL and NBA to inform their fans about opportunities they may have under health care reform, GOP members of Congress sent threatening letters to the groups, warning them not to do the Obama administration’s “dirty work.” The plans to partner up with major sports leagues fizzled after the warnings, although individual teams like the Baltimore Ravens have agreed to team up with HHS to promote Obamacare.

    Conservative groups’ ongoing misinformation campaigns about the law, the lack of funding allocated for red state’s outreach efforts, and gag efforts on the federal level have all taken their toll. Over 40 percent of Americans who could benefit substantially from the health law remain utterly confused about it. Now, it’s up to outside groups and community organizations to make sure people know how to take advantage of the law.

  8. Ametia says:

    Professor Says He Has Solved a Mystery Over a Slave’s Novel
    Published: September 18, 2013

    In 2002, a novel thought to be the first written by an African-American woman became a best seller, praised for its dramatic depiction of Southern life in the mid-1850s through the observant eyes of a refined and literate house servant.
    But one part of the story remained a tantalizing secret: the author’s identity.

    That literary mystery may have been solved by a professor of English in South Carolina, who said this week that after years of research, he has discovered the novelist’s name: Hannah Bond, a slave on a North Carolina plantation owned by John Hill Wheeler, is the actual writer of “The Bondwoman’s Narrative,” the book signed by Hannah Crafts.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Condola Rashad and Orlando Bloom shine in biracial ‘Romeo and Juliet’


    by Chase Quinn | September 18, 2013 at 9:04 AM


    David Leveaux’s Romeo and Juliet, staged at the Richard Rogers Theater, opens with a bang

    Literally, the play opens with the loud clang of a church bell, onto a graffitied renaissance fresco of saints that serves as the backdrop for a gang fight. The production that follows, however, strikes a softer note, easing you into the velvet coils of Shakespeare’s doomed romance with an irrepressible lightness of being.

    The chaotic opening scene of the dueling Montagues and Capulets, swaggering in contemporary apparel against the ruins of Verona immediately puts you in mind of the clashing aesthetics of Baz Luhrmann’s highly stylized 1996 production of the iconic love story, but the comparisons more or less end there.

    After the fray disbands, Orlando Bloom’s Romeo motors on stage, stirring every teen’s rebel-without-a-cause fantasy, atop a black motorcycle. After bemoaning his current heart’s desire, Rosaline (remember her? Yeah, nobody does), his buddy Benvolio induces him to attend a party at the rich Capulet’s house where he can meet some other fine lady to take his mind off of Rosaline.

    There he beholds Juliet and, well, the rest is well recorded dramatic history. The two fall in love instantaneously. But all is not well in fair Verona: Romeo is a son of the Montague household and Juliet is of the rival Capulet clan, and never the twain shall meet.

    Nonetheless, the two immemorial lovers contrive a hasty marriage with the aid of Juliet’s indefatigable nurse, played to the hilt by Jane Houdyshell (who manages to conjure both the meddlesome Aunt from James’ Washington Square and your sassy best friend) and Verona’s friar.

    But their plan to defy the social mores that divide them are yet again foiled when, after yet another scuffle Romeo’s bestie, Mercutio, is murdered, and in an act of revenge Romeo slays Tybalt, a son of the Capulets and Juliet’s beloved cousin. From there all hell breaks loose, and Romeo and Juliet are led to fulfill the obligation of an ill-conceived suicide pact. Heavy stuff, right?

    Well, yes, but in Leveaux’s gentle hands the first act of the play is as wistful and poetic as the white feather that at one point drifts from Juliet’s (death) bed. The muted, mauve red and plum hues paired with David Weiner’s soft, ethereal lighting transport the viewer into a world of perpetual afterglow. The festive balloons that decorate the stage during the Capulet’s masquerade ball give the effect of flashing lightening bugs at twilight, offering a soft mantel for R and J’s star-crossed love affair. Nancy Bannon’s seamless choreography achieves the same harmony.

    Rashad’s Juliet, dressed always in white, takes wing in this atmosphere. All pink and blush, she enters each scene with an exuberance that celebrates Juliet’s budding youth. She is, after all, only thirteen when the story takes place. Her frank, conversational delivery gives the audience full access to every word, intonation and mischievous wink, even if, in the second half of the play when things take a more dramatic turn, she seems to struggle a bit to give her emotions the depth that they deserve.

    All the same, Juliet is as witty as ever, but equally as earnest, lending this love affair every ounce of its sincerity. In terms of the interracial casting, Rashad’s effervescent Juliet completely transcends race politics, as does the genuinely un-contrived diversity of the rest of the cast.

    Rashad is in good company here. Chuck Cooper’s Lord Capulet is bombastic and absolutely believable as Juliet’s overbearing and perhaps a bit depraved father. Christian Camargo’s interpretation of Mercutio as a past-his-prime, charmingly disaffected, aging British rocker type also deserves a notable mention. And, of course, Houdyshell’s Nurse brings a witty contemporary significance to the dialogue, when for instance she calls out to Juliet “go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days,” ensuring these lines resonate with her post-women’s movement, 21st-century audience.

  10. rikyrah says:

    In wake of new film ‘The Butler,’ black ex-White House staffers reflect

    Dominique Mann
    6:26 PM on 09/14/2013

    As the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham approached and thousands celebrated the recent March on Washington commemoration, former White House Butler George Hannie relived his journey from 1940s segregated Alabama to the regal second floor residence of the President of the United States.

    Born and raised in Northport, Ala., a city in Tuscaloosa County, Hannie grew up in the Jim Crow South. He remembered the police kicking him off street corners, and threatening him and other black residents with sticks.

    Hannie studied diligently at Northport’s Riverside High School in the 1960s, when the cries of four African-American girls bombed in the 16th Street Baptist Church echoed throughout the nation, and Birmingham bled with police retaliation against nonviolent civil rights protests,

    Lee Daniels’ film The Butler revealed the late Eugene Allen’s navigation through segregated America as a White House butler, but Allen’s story does not echo alone on the grounds of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In interviews with MSNBC, real White House butlers shared their full life stories for the first time.

    In the movie, Eugene Allen’s character, played by Forest Whitaker as “Cecil Gaines,” witnessed lynching, rape, and economic inequality in his lifetime. When asked how his experience compared to Allen’s, Hannie, who served for 46 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson, paused and heaved a melancholic sigh.

    “I think the movie was very accurate –right on key,” he said emphatically with a Southern accent. “One hundred percent accurate. You understand?”

    In telling his story, Hannie focused on the gleaming stories of triumph, epitomized in the love he shared for his mother. He reflected on the moment he escorted his mother up North Portico, the regal entrance to the White House, where he often saw kings, queens, and presidents walk.

    “The most memorable moment I had at the White House is seeing my mother walk up North Portico, all alone, to visit me and George and Barbara Bush in their personal quarters,” Hannie said. “She was so nervous, but enjoyed herself. I said to myself well, my mother is just as important as all those kings and queens. I’m going to have my queen do it.”

  11. rikyrah says:

    Happy Birthday to Me: Man gives away $5 bills to celebrate special day

    Bob Blackley spent his 58th birthday Friday standing on the corner of Peters Creek and Silas Creek parkways holding a cardboard sign.

    Cleanshaven and dressed in a bright orange T-shirt, cargo shorts and dark sunglasses, Blackley had a simple message: “I HAVE A HOME, I HAVE A JOB, COULD YOU USE AN EXTRA $5.00?”

    A retired special needs teacher from Walnut Cove Elementary School, Blackley had withdrawn $750 in $5 bills from his credit union account and gave one to anyone who would take it.

    “Who can’t use an extra $5?” Blackley asked.

    Some motorists tried to ignore him; others sought him out, circling back around the parking lot for a greenback.

    Still others, like Angel Queen of Lexington, parked their cars and got out to speak to Blackley.

  12. rikyrah says:

    This is such a cute picture. Look at how the little ones are dressed up.

    First Couple on AFO
    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet the family of Senior Master Sergeant Roland Paramore (not pictured) aboard Air Force One prior to departure en route to New York, Sept. 19, 2011
    —Pete Souza

  13. rikyrah says:

    Truly in Lord of the Flies Territory
    Josh Marshall – September 18, 2013, 11:57 PM

    Yesterday the news was that Ted Cruz had essentially rolled the GOP House leadership and gotten them to get behind his quixotic and colonic effort to shutdown the government over Obamacare. But that was yesterday. They say revolutions eat their children. But this is more the children eating the children. Or something. DC Republicans are in some sort of infinite regression or feedback loop in which no Big Cheese can ascend the hill without people turning on him as not a real conservative and deserving of destruction. Now House Tea Partiers have decided that Cruz himself may not really be gung-ho enough to kill Obamacare.

    The trigger was Cruz’s statement today that the firebrands in the Senate simply don’t have the votes to force the matter. So it will come down to the House to push the ship of state onto the glorious sandbar of shutdown.

  14. rikyrah says:

    A very detailed post on the fraud that is the GOP’s answer to Obamacare.


    Same old Song and Dance

    Posted by Richard Mayhew at 8:40 am .


    The House Republican Study Committee is offering a “repeal and replace” plan for Obamacare. If we assume that this is purely a marketing document aimed to fulfill the check box that there is a “plan” to “replace” Obamacare that can get 218 votes in the House, then this document aces that evaluation. However, my therapist asked me to try not to be a cynical bastard before my first cup of coffee every morning, so lets evaluate this plan on the following criteria:
    •Provides coverage for people with pre-exisiting conditions
    •Provides coverage for people who aren’t part of the Republican donor class
    •Attempts to bend the cost curve down
    •Covers neccessary medical processes

    Before we evaluate, let’s go over the major policy planks.
    1.Repeal all of Obamacare including Medicaid expansion and the three legged stool of subsidies, community rating/guaranteed issue, and mandate.
    2.Give people a tax deduction of $7,500 for an individual and $20,000 for families
    3.Significant expansion of HSA tax advantages.
    4.$25 billion for state run high risk pools with premium support for any premiums that are over twice the state average for insurance.
    5.Coverage guarantee for pre-exisiting conditions only applies to people who maintain continuous coverage
    6.Allow insurance companies to sell a single product through a single state regulatory filing
    7.Allow small groups to pool together for better risk pool pricing.
    8.Improve pricing transparency
    9.Stop comparative effectiveness research
    10.Tort reform to cap damage limits
    11.Random anti-abortion plank

    The short version is MASSIVE FAIL

    read more of the details here:

  15. rikyrah says:

    Koch brothers push boundaries of decency, creepiness
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:08 PM EDT

    In recent months, the right has pushed a morally bankrupt argument that seems ugly even by contemporary conservative standards. A series of right-wing entities have urged uninsured Americans to stay that way on purpose, not because it would help them or their families, but because they should help Republican efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.

    The idea is, you’ll go without access to basic care, and you’ll be one serious ailment away from years of bankruptcy and hardship, but you can take solace in knowing you’ve unhinged conservatives with a partisan axe to grind. Maybe you’ll get a note someday from some Republican thanking you for “taking one for the team.”

    But this week, a far-right outfit called “Generation Opportunity,” working under the assumption that young Americans are idiots, launched the above video. If the goal was to get people talking, it’s worked quite well — most decent people are amazed Republicans could be this creepy on purpose.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, we’re talking about a minute-long video in which a young woman “signs up for Obamacare,” goes to an OB/GYN appointment, and instead of being examined by a medical professional, she’s terrified by someone in a nightmare-inducing Uncle Sam costume.

    “Don’t let government play doctor,” the video tells viewers. “Opt out of Obamacare.”

    I’ve followed the political debate over health care policy pretty closely for the last 20 years, and I’m reasonably confident that we’ve reached a new level of stupidity. I’m not sure whether I should feel irritated by this effort to mislead the public with garbage or feel sorry for the misguided conservatives who are making fools of themselves by deliberately releasing this.


    First, let’s get the obvious question out of the way. What the hell is Generation Opportunity? Yahoo’s Chris Moody reports:

    Generation Opportunity, a Virginia-based group that is part of a coalition of right-leaning organizations with financial ties to billionaire businessmen and political activists Charles and David Koch, will launch a six-figure campaign aimed at convincing young people to “opt-out” of the Obamacare exchanges. Later this month, the group will begin a tour of 20 college campuses, where they plan to set up shop alongside pro-Obamacare activists such as Enroll America who are working to sign people up for the insurance exchanges.

    Generation Opportunity intends to host events at college football tailgate parties festivals, where “brand ambassadors” (read: hot young people) will pass out beer koozies that read, “opt out,” pizza and literature about the health care law. Some events may have impromptu dance parties with DJ’s, complete with games of Cornhole and competitions for prizes, organizers said.

    • Yahtc says:

      Koch is a German last name. Wonder when they came to America? I hope they are not what I think they are.

      • Yahtc says:

        I was wondering……but now I just plain looked them up on Wikipedia and discovered their father was born in 1900:

        Fred C. Koch (1900–1967), American chemical engineer and entrepreneur who founded the oil refinery firm that later became Koch Industries
        Mary Robinson Koch (October 17, 1907–December 21, 1990),[6] wife of Fred C. and namesake of the company tanker vessel Mary R. Koch
        Four sons of Fred C. and Mary Robinson Koch:[6]
        Frederick R. Koch (born 1933), collector and philanthropist
        Charles G. Koch (born 1935), Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Koch Industries
        David H. Koch (born 1940), Executive Vice President of Koch Industries
        William Koch (born 1940), businessman, sailor, and collector

      • Yahtc says:

        Turns out it is a Dutch name. Here is info about their father:

        Fred C. Koch was born in Quanah, Texas, the son of Mattie B. (née Mixson) and a Dutch immigrant, Harry Koch. Harry began working as a printer’s apprentice in Workum, Netherlands. He worked over a year at printers shops in The Hague and in Germany before coming to the U.S. in 1888, and owned the Tribune-Chief newspaper.Fred attended Rice Institute in Houston from 1917 to 1919,[8] and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1922, where he obtained a degree in Chemical Engineering Practice.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Rubio struggles with the blame game
    By Steve Benen

    Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:46 PM EDT.

    A few weeks ago, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) spoke at a Koch brothers’ event, where he said he would push the nation into default unless Democrats accepted a constitutional amendment on balanced budgets, but instead of hearing applause, Rubio was heckled. “No amnesty!” someone shouted.

    It’s been that kind of summer for the far-right Floridian. Rubio was caught terribly confused by U.S. policy in Syria, and then argued private-sector hiring has slowed due to the national debt, which is little more than gibberish.

    He should have quit while he was behind.

    “A solution is within sight in order to avert another crisis of Washington’s creation,” he added. “President Obama and his allies in Congress should abandon their threats of shutting down the government and instead work with Republicans to pass this proposal that would keep government open while preventing taxpayer dollars from being used to inflict ObamaCare’s damage on people’s jobs, incomes, current health plans and doctor relationships.”

    Let’s put aside for now the fact that Rubio doesn’t understand the Affordable Care Act. Instead, note that from the Republican senator’s perspective, Democrats are threatening to shut down the government.

    Why? Because those rascally lefties aren’t simply paying the ransom unhinged conservatives have demanded. Who’s to blame if the hostage gets shot — the hostage-taker or the loved ones who refused to pay up?

  17. Ametia says:

    A Big Heart Open to God

    The exclusive interview with Pope Francis:

  18. rikyrah says:

    September 18, 2013 12:29 PM
    VA Republicans May Have Screwed the Pooch With Cooch

    By Ed Kilgore

    When I expressed shock yesterday that WaPo’s Jennifer Rubin was more or less writing off Ken Cuccinelli’s odds of winning the Virginia governor’s race, I hadn’t been watching the race all that closely for a while. But the polls—including such thumb-on-the-scale-for-Republican outlets as Rasmussen and Harper— are unmistakably showing T-Mac opening up a lead. Indeed, you have to go back to July to find a poll that Cooch is leading.

    The latest poll, from Quinnipiac, shows what’s really going on. In the month that has passed since the last Q-poll, McAuliffe’s favorable/unfavorable rating has gone from 34/33 to 38/38—not exactly gangbusters, but stable with some room for growth since 22% still hadn’t heard enough (believe it or not) about the Macker to have an opinion. Meanwhile, Cuccinelli’s favorability ratio has gone from 35/41 to 34/51, with only 13% needing to know more about the steely opponent of abortion rights, “sodomy,” and health care reform.

    I don’t know if this is a product of McAuliffe’s ads, which (in NoVa at least) have focused on Cooch’s atavistic position on women’s rights, or just a gradually dawning realization that this guy makes incumbent Gov. Bob McDonnell—whom Cooch semi-openly despises as a RINO—look dreamy from a swing voter’s perspective.

  19. rikyrah says:


    Check out the pics…some are yum yum yum

    The Storm is Coming: What Does Scandal’s Rainy Shoot Tell Us?

    [ 44 ] September 18, 2013 | Luvvie

    We’re only a couple of weeks away from the season 3 premiere of Scandal and Gladiators everywhere are preparing by re-watching and overanalyzing everything. That’s our duty as obsessed fans. Shonda Rhimes put us all into overdrive when her team released pictures from the “Storm is Coming” photoshoot the cast did and of course we’re trying to crack the code. WHAT IS SHE TRYNA TELL US?!? I’m not sure but I will guess.

    “The Storm is Coming” is clearly telling us that it’s about to be raining chaos on season 3. I mean we knew that much when the last word of season 2 was “Dad?” But in case we weren’t nervous enough, BRING DOWN THE RAIN!

    Ok so Abby is in the storm giving her best “come hither” look. I don’t know why she’s tryna make segzy happen but bless her heart. I take it that her and David are gonna resume having the most uncomfortable to watch sex? Maybe there’s a storm in Abby’s loins. I don’t damb know.

    But look at Quinn. She’s in this blood red trench coat, and is the only person in this shoot rocking color, might I add. I think we’re going to see Baby Huck really grow into her killing abilities and start slaying folks. Also, she looks rather calm in this storm that’s raging around her. We’re used to nervous Quinn but it seems she found some grounding.

    And then there’s Mellie, who is basically welcoming the storm. She’s all “COME AT ME, BRO! I’M READY!” Soooo I expect her to be even more conniving than we’re used to. Mellie ain’t gon take no prisoners in this storm. She’s gon be the one chasing it, if anything.

    Two out of these three ain’t got no umbrellas, but they don’t look bothered by it at all.

    • Ametia says:

      BWA HA HA HA HA YES! Luvvie hits another grand slam.

      This comment had me hollering!

      “Yes, Father God, yes!!!! Huck & Harrison look good enough to put on a plate and sop up with a biscuit!!!”

  20. rikyrah says:

    in the Black neighborhoods, Rahm closed 55 schools…because of a budget deficit.

    but, they can afford 17 million for Payton?



    Payton College Prep to get $17 million annex, room for up to 400 more students

    BY FRAN SPIELMAN AND LAUREN FITZPATRICK Staff Reporters September 18, 2013 11:08AM

    As many Chicago Public Schools struggle with deep budget cuts, one of the city’s — and the nation’s — highest-performing selective enrollment high schools will receive a $17 million expansion of up to 400 seats that might ease the heated competition among would-be attendees just a bit.

    In the wake of a record round of school closings, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday that Walter Payton College Prep is getting a new annex and additional classrooms bankrolled by tax increment financing that will allow one of the nation’s top 100 high schools to increase capacity.

    About a year ago, Principal Tim Devine suggested an expansion to the school — “That’s why we went to search for the resources,” Emanuel said in Payton’s library. “This is all about giving parents a set of choices. … If you have met the standard, we should make sure you have the availability to attend.”

    Last year, 6,200 students applied for 220 spots in Payton’s freshman class. They were among 18,000 students citywide competing for 3,000 selective enrollment seats.

    Payton has a current student body of 851, coming from every city ward, 36 percent of which is white, compared with a district average of 8.8 percent, and 30 percent of which is low income, compared with the district’s 87 percent average


    The news infuriated the Chicago Teachers Union, which has been pleading in vain for the city to use TIF surpluses to plug neighborhood school budget holes and hire back arts teachers.

    “Basically what this represents is the same policy of creating winners and losers in our school district,” said CTU staff coordinator Jackson Potter. “Look at the percentage of low-income students and contrast that with a neighborhood school. Here’s a subsection of students who get everything they need and deserve,” while everyone else does not.

    “He needs to deal with every single building, not just the ones he decides deserve it,” Potter said.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Coming to terms with the normalization of extortion politics
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:38 AM EDT

    President Obama spoke yesterday to the Business Roundtable, and used some language to describe Republican tactics that raised a few eyebrows — not because he was incorrect, but because his word choice was provocative.

    In his remarks, Mr. Obama accused what he called “a faction” of Republicans in the House of trying to “extort” him by refusing to raise the nation’s debt ceiling unless the president’s health care plan is repealed.

    “You have never in the history of the United States seen the threat of not raising the debt ceiling to extort a president or a governing party,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s irresponsible.”

    Mr. Obama called upon the business leaders to try to convince lawmakers to avoid the kind of “brinksmanship” that would lead to promises of “apocalypse” every few months. “What I will not do is to create a habit, a pattern whereby the full faith and credit of the united states ends up being a bargaining chip to make policy,” he said. “I’m tired of it,” he added. “And I suspect you are too.”

    For the president to publicly reference Republican “extortion” tactics struck some as excessive. That’s a shame; Obama’s right.

  22. rikyrah says:

    john miller @deaconmill

    Almost no fraud in food stamp program, lots of fraud in farm subsidies, so, per normal GOP thinking, let’s cut food stamps.

    10:09 AM – 19 Sep 2013

  23. rikyrah says:

    Those who get ‘stuck’ making $172,000 a year
    By Steve Benen

    Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:07 AM EDT

    When we think of Rep. Phil Gingrey (R), who’s currently running for the U.S. Senate in his home state of Georgia, we tend to think of his far-right social conservatism. It was, for example, Gingrey who expressed support for Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments. More recently, the Republican congressman, while arguing in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, called for children to take classes on traditional gender roles because fathers are “a little bit better” at some things than mothers.

    As it turns out, though, Gingrey is capable of offending people while addressing economic issues, too.

    Woe is Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia, who bemoaned in a closed-door meeting this morning that he’s “stuck” making a paltry $172,000 a year in Congress…. Capitol Hill aides can go work for a lobby shop and make $500,000, the congressman said, according to National Review’s Jonathan Strong. “Meanwhile I’m stuck here making $172,000 a year.” […]

    Some of Gingrey’s fellow lawmakers were “incensed” by the remark, hence the leak to Strong, but the comment probably won’t help the GOP’s problems of being perceived as a party exclusively for the wealthy.


    The median household income in this country is about $51,000 a year, and in Georgia, it’s a little less. Gingrey makes well over triple that, and reportedly has a net worth of $3 million. The Republican lawmaker is also the beneficiary of taxpayer subsidized health care — benefits he’s eager to deny to others — and has the security that comes with a generous congressional pension.

  24. Yahtc says:

    In case you missed it before:

  25. rikyrah says:

    Congress’s Fiscal Fiasco Forces Americans to Wear Badge of Shame
    By Norm Ornstein

    September 18, 2013 | 7:30 p.m.

    As readers of my past columns know, I was not exactly optimistic as we approached crunch time over the debt limit in 2011. But I am far more pessimistic now. At a dinner I attended Monday night with a host of those individuals deeply involved in fiscal matters, it became clear that there are no talks going on now—neither formal nor back channel—to avoid a series of crises over spending and the debt ceiling. The House majority is in profound disarray, unable to muster majorities for anything on the spending front as the new fiscal year approaches.

    In a misguided attempt to mollify his radicals and avoid a government shutdown over the demand to abort Obamacare, House Speaker John Boehner has instead turned the focus to the debt ceiling. His earlier assurance that he and his party would not play games with the nation’s full faith and credit turned into a pledge weeks ago into to invoke the “Boehner Rule,” insisting that the debt limit be raised only by an amount equal to additional new spending cuts—meaning trillions of additional dollars piled on to the $2.5 trillion in cuts already made (but of course with no specifics about what he would want to cut). And it is clear that a slew of Republicans inside Congress, bolstered by forces outside like Heritage Action, will push their crusade to crush Obamacare by holding the debt-ceiling hostage.

    In 2011, when the intensive negotiations between Boehner and President Obama broke down, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stepped in at the eleventh hour to fill the vacuum and avert a default. When Boehner declared that he would not participate in any negotiations over the fiscal cliff, McConnell stepped in with Vice President Joe Biden to fill the vacuum. This time? There will be no McConnell; the minority leader is so cowed by the challenge to his renomination from the right that he will not be a party to any “compromise.” And the informal negotiations between Obama, his Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and a group of Republican senators led by Bob Corker have broken down, at least for now.

    At this point, I will be surprised if we do not have at least one partial government shutdown within the next month or two, and I fear there is a high chance of a real breach in the debt ceiling, one that may not last for a long time, assuming that the markets react violently to something they still believe will not really happen, and that voters react to the notion that the U.S. will pay its creditors in China before it pays its troops in Afghanistan. But a default this time will have devastating consequences, meaning a downgrade in our credit by all ratings agencies and a spectacle to the world of spectacular, self-destructive dysfunction.

    I could go on, but I want to focus instead on the damage already occurring from the 2011 deal, via the sequester. The mindless, across-the-board budget cuts in domestic and defense discretionary spending were openly and deliberately designed not to occur—the idea was to spur the “supercommittee” created by the deal to do a broader fiscal bargain, along the lines of the Simpson-Bowles proposal, to avoid sequester catastrophe. But the “no-taxes” pledge killed the chance for that broader deal. We have had one year of the sequester, and are approaching the second tranche. The damage to the country and the fabric of governance was not immediately apparent—this was not like the roof of the American house on fire, but more like a particularly potent group of termites eating out the foundation. But its impact is becoming more apparent and more alarming.

  26. rikyrah says:

    The Six Little McGhees is coming back….

    they’re now in the Terrible Twos…TIMES SIX!

  27. Yahtc says:

  28. rikyrah says:

    Republicans’ Phony Obamacare Replacement

    By the Editors Sep 18, 2013 3:24 PM CT

    A mere 48 months after the law was introduced, only 42 months after it was signed, with just two weeks until one of its main provisions takes effect, Republicans today finally offered their alternative to the Affordable Care Act.

    Which would be cause for genuine (if belated) congratulations, except for one thing: It’s not really an alternative. Understanding why can help clarify the U.S.’s seemingly endless debate about health care.

    The Republican bill would give individuals tax deductions to buy health insurance, expand tax-free health savings accounts and limit insurance premiums for people with pre-existing conditions. What it wouldn’t do is expand coverage to the same number of uninsured Americans — about 25 million, according to the latest estimates — as Obamacare

    That last point may seem like one among many, but it’s not. The most important achievement of the Affordable Care Act is that the law attains something like universal health care in the U.S., closing an embarrassing and indefensible gap between it and every other developed country.

    That means any plan billed as an alternative has to meet one definitional threshold, and only one: covering a similar number of Americans as Obamacare. To go a step further and be a better alternative, a proposal should cover a similar number of Americans at a lower cost or with fewer unwanted consequences. The documents Republicans released today are conspicuously silent on how many additional Americans would be covered.

    Until now, the Republican “repeal and replace” strategy on Obamacare has been to pretend that an alternative to Obamacare exists without saying what it is. Today’s proposal is the logical culmination of that cynical strategy: calling something an alternative, and hoping nobody notices that it’s not.

  29. rikyrah says:

    SENATE DEMS UNITED AGAINST HOUSE GOP DEFUNDING PLAN? One key question will be whether any red state Dem Senators waver in their opposition to the new House GOP scheme to temporarily fund the government while defunding the health law. Here’s Chuck Schumer:

    “We are completely united on this issue. We’re not defunding ObamaCare and we’re not negotiating on the debt ceiling…If they think we’re going to back off, they’re wrong, they’re on a different planet.”

  30. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: Panic sets in among GOP elites

    By Greg Sargent, Published: September 19 at 9:26 am

    Karl Rove is always worth reading for a glimpse of how GOP elites are thinking, and his latest Op ed suggest real panic setting in over the chaos and division spreading among Congressional Republicans over how to handle this fall’s fiscal fights. Rove confirms an argument that will be familiar to readers of this blog: Public disapproval of Obamacare does not translate into public support for GOP efforts to sabotage the law.

    Rove argues this is particularly the case among independents, and says it could have serious repercussions in next year’s elections. With House Republican leaders set to hold a vote later this week that functionally uses a government shutdown threat to defund Obamacare, Rove shares new details of a poll taken by his group

    In a new Crossroads GPS health-care policy survey conducted in 10 states likely to have competitive Senate races and in House districts that lean Republican or are swing seats, 60% of independents oppose President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. If this holds through 2014, then Republicans should receive another big boost in the midterms. There is, however, one issue on which independents disagree with Republicans: using the threat of a government shutdown to defund ObamaCare. By 58% to 30% in the GPS poll, they oppose defunding ObamaCare if that risks even a temporary shutdown. […]

    But won’t voters be swayed by the arguments for defunding? The GPS poll tested the key arguments put forward by advocates of defunding and Mr. Obama’s response. Independents went with Mr. Obama’s counterpunch 57% to 35%. Voters in Senate battleground states sided with him 59% to 33%. In lean-Republican congressional districts and in swing congressional districts, Mr. Obama won by 56% to 39% and 58% to 33%, respectively. On the other hand, independents support by 51% to 42% delaying ObamaCare’s mandate that individuals buy coverage or pay a fine.

  31. rikyrah says:

    The conservative alternative to Obamacare isn’t an alternative to Obamacare

    By Greg Sargent, Updated: September 18, 2013

    So House conservatives are planning to roll out their long awaited alternative to Obamacare, some three years after they first promised to do so — and after more than three dozen votes to repeal it.

    The conservative alternative wouldn’t do nothing at all. It would improve matters in some limited ways. But it just isn’t an alternative to Obamacare. That is, if by “alternative,” we mean, “something that intends to accomplish roughly the same goal as the thing it would replace.”

    That isn’t meant as snark. It’s really the key substantive point here. Because at bottom what all of this is about is that Republicans just don’t support the same policy goals on health reform that Democrats and liberals do — which is to spend federal money expanding the safety net and to fix the individual insurance market by expanding government’s role in overseeing it.

    All of this comes by way of Larry Levitt, senior vice president at Kaiser Family Foundation. Here are the key points in the conservative alternative, as summarized by the Associated Press, along with Levitt’s take on them:

    1) “Individuals who purchase coverage approved for sale in their state could claim a deduction of $7,500 against their income and payroll taxes, regardless of the cost of the insurance. Families could deduct $20,000.” The trouble with this, Leavitt says, is that deductions disproportionately benefit the rich. By contrast, Levitt notes, Obamacare gives low income folks subsidies in the form of tax credits, which disproportionately benefit the poor.

    2) The conservative alternative includes a “commitment of $25 billion over 10 years to defray the cost of coverage for high-risk patients.” This is a reference to “high risk pools” to cover those with preexisting conditions. Levitt says this would, in fact, provide protection for some with preexisting conditions, but it would be “much more limited” than Obamacare’s protections. Ultimately that isn’t nearly enough money to fix the problem when compared to Obamacare’s subsidies. Obamcare also places stricter limits on industry discrimination to “make insurance more accessible to people who are sick” and to “make insurance pricing more uniform,” Levitt says.

    3) The conservative alternative also includes ideas that have long been in the GOP health care arsenal, such as allowing insurance sales across state lines and caps on medical malpractice payouts. But health reformers have long thought such ideas just wouldn’t cover too many uninsured, and Levitt sees no exception this time. “I wouldn’t imagine that this would result in more than a few million uninsured getting coverage,” he says.

    The bottom line is that, as Amy Goldstein put it a few years ago, the GOP approach “favors the health-care marketplace over government programs and rules.” Obamacare is not the government takeover of conservative nightmares, but it does envision a more robust government role in expanding coverage — and as a result, it would cover a lot more people.

    “The significant pieces of Obamacare are public money to help low income people afford health care, regulation of the insurance market to make it more accessible to people who are sick, and rules that make insurance pricing more uniform,” Levitt says. “The Republican alternative is not a solution to the problem of sick and low income people being locked out of insurance.”

  32. rikyrah says:

    Aliens in Their Own Nation

    For the Republican Party, what began as a tactic — vilification of its opponents — became a habit that became a conviction. Its anger and distrust have become the dominant political fact of our time.

    We have a problem with our Republicans. They don’t much want to govern anymore, and we can’t govern without them. This has been a long time coming, but at some point in recent years, America’s Republicans, especially elected officials but also a large part of the rank and file, stopped seeing Democrats and many other Americans as their political opponents and started viewing them instead as the enemy, a nemesis bent on destroying the country.

    Certainly a significant factor underlying this phenomenon is white insecurity in a changing world, especially in the old Confederacy, in which the 21st-century Republican party has bunkered itself. But whatever the reason, given the symbiosis between the only two political parties we have allowed ourselves, this extremism endangers the governing arrangement that has held for the last century or so — and by and large worked spectacularly well. It’s as if one of a pair of Siamese twins suddenly became suicidal. If he harms himself, the other dies as well.

    And it is harming itself. The energetic right wing of this new Jacobin Republican party (which has swallowed the party whole) lately has been going through a purification ritual, turning on conservative stalwarts deemed insufficiently radical. In this atmosphere, merely participating in the essential acts of democracy — negotiation, compromise, legislating — becomes suspect. Worse, and perhaps the root of this phenomenon, is the party’s now decades-long habit of trying to win elections not on the basis of its governing strategy or vision for the country but rather on scandal-mongering and defamation, the two biggest targets being Bill Clinton, who was impeached by the Republican House, and Barack Obama, whom a majority of Republicans, according to some polls, consider to be an illegitimate president because they believe he was born in Kenya.

  33. rikyrah says:

    County board bans ‘Invisible Man’ from school libraries
    By Kathi Keys

    RAMSEUR — “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison is banned from the shelves of Randolph County Schools libraries.

    By a 5-2 margin, the Randolph County Board of Education voted Monday night, at its regular meeting held at Eastern Randolph High School, to remove all copies of the book from school libraries.

    The action stems from a Randleman High School parent’s complaint about the book. Committees at both the school and district levels recommended it not be removed.

    Voting in favor of the ban were Board Chair Tommy McDonald and members Tracy Boyles, Gary Cook, Matthew Lambeth and Gary Mason. Voting against the action were Board Vice Chair Emily Coltrane and member Todd Cutler who both first introduced a motion to keep the book in the schools. This first motion was defeated by a 2-5 vote.

    The book, originally published in 1952, addresses many of the social and intellectual issues facing African-Americans in the first half of the 20th century.

    It was one of three books from which rising Randleman High School juniors could choose for summer reading for the 2013-14 school year. The others on the list were “Black Like Me” by John Howard Griffin and “Passing” by Nella Larsen; honors students had to choose two books.

    There was little discussion after the board was presented with the Central Services Committee recommendation concerning the parent’s complaint about the book. All board members had been supplied with copies of the book last month to read.

    McDonald asked if everyone had read the book, stating, “It was a hard read.”

    Mason said, “I didn’t find any literary value.” He also objected to the language in the book. “I’m for not allowing it to be available.”

    Cutler asked if there were other options to which Catherine Berry, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, replied that there were other choices. She also explained that the book is on the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s list of suggested supplemental works for high school students.

    It was at this point that Cutler made the original motion which was defeated. Lambeth then made the motion to ban the book which passed.

    • Ametia says:

      This: “Mason said, “I didn’t find any literary value.” He also objected to the language in the book. “I’m for not allowing it to be available.”<b.

      This is what the white man wants, for blacks to continue being invisible. And banning a book by a black author who chronicles his life as an INVISIBLE human being is way too much TRUTH-TELLING. We can't have students learning about this ugly side of America's history and present day racsim.

      I'm not allowing that to be available= I'M NOT ALLOWING YOU TO BE SEEN AS AN INDIVIDUAL.

      You can shout at us, shoot us and attempt to rewrite our history, but you will NEVER, EVER KILL OUR SPIRIT.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Obama to speak at Congressional Black Caucus awards dinner

    by Lilly Workneh | September 18, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    President Barack Obama is expected to deliver the keynote address during the annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 43rd annual legislative conference.

  35. Yahtc says:

    >The Father of the 14th Amendment


    When the ex-Confederate States refused to ratify the 14th Amendment, Bingham crafted a legislative compromise that ordered the Union Army to organize new elections across the South that would include African-Americans. He told the House that “unless you put [the South] in terror of your laws, made efficient by the solemn act of the whole people to punish the violators of oaths, they will defy your restricted legislative power when reconstructed.”

  36. rikyrah says:

    If we get a debt ceiling crisis, it’s because Republican voters want one

    By Greg Sargent, Updated: September 18, 2013

    If we are going to have a debt ceiling and default crisis — with all of the havoc it may well entail — it may well be because Republican voters want such a crisis, even if it causes serious economic harm.

    No, really. That’s what a new poll shows.

    The new Washington Post/ABC News poll on the debt ceiling tells us something remarkable: Among Republicans who believe that not raising the debt ceiling would cause serious harm to the economy, a majority of them wants Congress not to raise it anyway. By contrast, Americans overall see it in the opposite way.

    This is a complicated one, but it’s worth it. The new WaPo poll asks two questions on the debt limit. It finds that 46 percent of Americans want Congress to raise the debt limit “so the government can keep paying its bills and obligations,” while 43 percent want Congress “not to raise the debt limit and let the government default on paying its bills and obligations.”

    That’s roughly an even split; the debt limit tends to poll that way.

    Meanwhile, the poll also finds that 73 percent think not raising the debt limit would “cause serious harm to the U.S. economy,” versus only 22 percent who say it wouldn’t. How to explain the divergence? It turns out it’s largely driven by Republicans.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Wendell Pierce ✔ @WendellPierce

    GOP have decided to extort the President of the United States with the threat of shutting down the government unless Obamacare is defunded

    10:11 AM – 18 Sep 2013

    Wendell Pierce ✔ @WendellPierce

    Anyone trying to destroy the gov’t by shutting it down does not have the best interest of the United States at heart. This is thuggery.

    10:17 AM – 18 Sep 2013

    Wendell Pierce ✔ @WendellPierce

    In 2 weeks, Health Care exchanges open. Uninsured can now buy inexpensive healthcare coverage because of free market competition. Obamacare

    10:32 AM – 18 Sep 2013

    Wendell Pierce ✔ @WendellPierce

    Obamacare was an idea by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative “think tank”. Now conservatives want to disown it because Obama started it

    10:34 AM – 18 Sep 2013

  38. Yahtc says:

    Cleavant Derricks draws ‘Pullman Porter’ inspiration from real life
    By Moira McCormick September

  39. Ametia says:

    Watchit LIVE, the DC No More Names Event and Call Your Representative

  40. Yahtc says:

    Chatting with Terry Author McMillan, in town Thursday, talks forgiveness, Twitter, “creepy crawlers.”


  41. Yahtc says:

    Cops ignore bad deeds of their coworkers


    Every single African-American living in the United States of America has a family member, a coworker, a friend or a neighbor that has been the victim of law enforcement misconduct.

  42. Yahtc says:

    White Out
    Written by Walter Bird Jr. · 09/19/2013 · 5:00 am
    Minorities, especially blacks, on the outside looking in at elected office in Worcester

  43. Yahtc says:

    Professors, Students March Against Racism At University Of Alabama (PHOTOS)

  44. Yahtc says:

    John Singleton: Can a White Director Make a Great Black Movie? (Guest Column)

  45. rikyrah says:

    September 18, 2013 02:45 PM
    Chuck Todd: Not His Job to Point Out Lies About Obamacare

    By Heather

    From this Wednesday’s Morning Joe, Chuck Todd finally said out loud what most of have known for a long time now. He doesn’t think it’s his job to make sure his audience knows when Republicans are lying to them.

    Chuck Todd: It’s Not Media’s Job To Correct GOP’s Obamacare Falsehoods:

    MSNBC host Chuck Todd said Wednesday that when it comes to misinformation about the new federal health care law, don’t expect members of the media to correct the record.

    During a segment on “Morning Joe,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) speculated that most opponents of the Affordable Care Act have been fed erroneous information about the law. Todd said that Republicans “have successfully messaged against it” but he disagrees with those who argue that the media should educate the public on the law. According to Todd, that’s President Barack Obama’s job.

    “But more importantly, it would be stuff that Republicans have successfully messaged against it,” Todd told Rendell. “They don’t repeat the other stuff because they haven’t even heard the Democratic message. What I always love is people say, ‘Well, it’s you folks’ fault in the media.’ No, it’s the President of the United States’ fault for not selling it.”

    The health care law has long been shrouded in misinformation, a point that Obama himself made in an interview Tuesday with Telemundo. A poll Tuesday showed that support for the law among Republicans was higher when called by the Affordable Care Act, its official title, rather than “Obamacare,” a term used derisively by Republicans that has gained widespread usage.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Homeless Boy Steals The Talent Show

  47. rikyrah says:

    Obama is criticized for right result on Syria
    By David Ignatius,

    How did it happen that, less than a year after Barack Obama convincingly won reelection, his every move as president now draws hoots and catcalls from nearly every point on the political spectrum?

    Perhaps his Syria policy really is a story of “epic incompetence,” as Charles Krauthammer opined last week. Maybe he has an “unbelievably small” presidency, as Marc Thiessen commented, or that no one is afraid of him, as Ruth Marcus argued. And that’s just a sampling of opinion from my colleagues at The Post.

    What’s puzzling about this latest bout of Obama-phobia is that recent developments in Syria have generally been positive from the standpoint of U.S. interests.

    Obama has accomplished goals that most Americans endorse, given the unpalatable menu of choices. Polls suggest that the public overwhelmingly backs the course Obama has chosen. APost-ABC News surveyasked Americans if they endorsed the U.S.-Russian plan to dismantle Syrian chemical weapons as an alternative to missile strikes; 79 percent were supportive.

    Yet the opinion of elites is sharply negative.

    Here’s what I see when I deconstruct the Syria story:

  48. rikyrah says:

    would love this as a postable video:

    Rachel Maddow on the SCAM PART of Conservative Politics.

  49. rikyrah says:

    GOP can’t take its eyes off Benghazi
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:32 PM EDT.

    A government-shutdown deadline is 12 days away, and Congress also needs to tackle a debt-ceiling increase, the farm bill, immigration, and a series of other pending nominations and pieces of legislation. Naturally, then, House Republicans remain preoccupied with Benghazi questions that have already been answered.

    House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) slammed the State Department Wednesday for not firing anyone in relation to the terror attack in Benghazi, Libya.

    “We’re here today because, at the end of the day, nobody was held accountable,” Royce told Patrick Kennedy, the under secretary of State for management. “Reassignment just doesn’t cut it in terms of addressing that issue.”

    Kennedy tried to explain that four State Department officials were already relieved of their senior positions, but Republicans’ enduring outrage remained unaffected.

    Indeed, GOP lawmakers will be able to keep their focus on Benghazi — and presumably send out more fundraising letters about how they’re “keeping the ‘scandal’ alive” — because this was one of only three Benghazi hearings House Republicans have scheduled this week.

    Imagine what would be possible if GOP lawmakers invested a small fraction of these energies in actual governing.

  50. Yahtc says:

    “Diary bombshell: RFK, Jr. slams against Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Gov. Cuomo”

    The Post exclusively reported how Robert F. Kennedy Jr. grappled with what he called his “lust demons” and kept a scorecard of more than two dozen conquests in a secret diary. A follow-up story provides insight on his celebrity connections and the perks of privilege. Below are more sensational details from the journal, in which RFK Jr., a member of the political elite, bashes everyone from then-brother-in-law Andrew Cuomo to the Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

  51. rikyrah says:

    michelle obama lincoln portrait
    From TOD:
    Another gem by Jacqueline OBoomer

    The Great Emancipator
    Mocked and vilified in life
    Stares down from his portrait
    At the new President’s wife
    My dear Mr. Lincoln
    As you look down from on high
    May we present Mrs. Obama
    With a tear in our eye

  52. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  53. Yahtc says:

    Great article, Ametia!

    I loved Guinan!

Leave a Reply