Wednesday Open Thread | The Films of Spike Lee

This week, we’re exploring the films of Spike Lee.

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1990 Mo’ Better Blues


Mo’ Better Blues is a 1990 drama film starring Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, and Spike Lee, who also directed.[1] It follows a period in the life of a fictional jazz trumpeter, Bleek Gilliam (played by Washington), as a series of bad decisions result in his jeopardizing both his relationships and his playing career. The film focuses on themes of friendship, loyalty, honesty, cause-and-effect and ultimately salvation. It features the music of the Branford Marsalis quartet and Terence Blanchard on trumpet. The film was released five months after the death of Robin Harris and is dedicated to his memory.


The film begins with a scene set in Brooklyn, New York in 1969. A group of four boys walk up to Bleek Gilliam’s brownstone and ask him to come out and play baseball with them. Bleek’s mother insists that he continue his trumpet lesson, to his chagrin. His father becomes concerned that Bleek will grow up to be a sissy, and a family argument ensues. In the end, Bleek continues playing his trumpet, and his friends go away.

The next scene brings us to the present (over twenty years later), with an adult Bleek (Denzel Washington) performing on the trumpet at a busy nightclub with his jazz band, The Bleek Quintet (Jeff “Tain” Watts, Wesley Snipes, Giancarlo Esposito and Bill Nunn). Giant (Spike Lee, one of his boyhood friends from the previous scene and current manager of Bleek’s band), is waiting in the wings, and advises him to stop allowing his saxophone player Shadow Henderson (Snipes) to grandstand with long solos.

The next morning Bleek wakes up with his girlfriend, Indigo Downes (Joie Lee). She leaves to go to class, while he meets his father by the Brooklyn Bridge for a game of catch, telling him that while he does like Indigo, he likes other women too and is not ready to make a commitment. Later in the day while he is practicing his trumpet, another woman named Clarke Bentancourt (Cynda Williams) visits him. She suggests he fire Giant as his manager; he suggests that they make love (which he refers to as “mo’ better”). She bites his lip and he becomes upset about it, saying, “I make my living with my lips”, as he examines the bleeding bottom lip.

Giant is with his bookie, betting on baseball. Then he goes to the nightclub and argues with the doormen about what time to let the patrons into the club. He meets Bleek inside with the rest of the band, except for the pianist, Left Hand Lacey (Esposito), who arrives late with his French girlfriend and is scolded by Giant. Later Giant goes to the club owners’ office, points out how busy the club has been since Bleek and his band began playing there, and unsuccessfully attempts to renegotiate their contract.

Giant meets his bookie (Rubén Blades) the next morning, who is concerned that Giant is going too deep into debt. Giant shrugs it off, and places several new bets. He then stops off at Shadow’s home to drop off a record. Shadow confides in him that he is cheating on his girlfriend. This leads to the next scene where Bleek is in bed with Clarke, and she asks him to let her sing a number at the club with his band, to which he declines.

Bleek and Giant are fending off requests from the other members of the band, especially Shadow, for a raise due to the band’s success at the club. Bleek goes to the club owners to see about more money, which they refuse, reminding him that it was Giant who locked him into the current deal.

That night at the club, both Clarke and Indigo arrive at the club to see Bleek. They are wearing the same style dress, which Bleek had purchased for them both. Bleek attempts to work it out with each girl, but they are both upset with him over the dresses, and though he sleeps with them each again they leave him (after he calls each of them by the other’s name). However, tension rises with Shadow, who has feelings for Clarke.

Bleek and Giant go for a bike ride, where Bleek insists to Giant that he do a better job managing and bringing in money. Giant promises to do so, then asks Bleek for a loan to pay off his gambling debt. Bleek declines, and later Giant is apprehended by two loan sharks (Samuel L. Jackson and Leonard L. Thomas) who demand payment. Giant can’t pay and gets his fingers broken. Later Giant tells Bleek that he fell off his bike on the ride home, but Bleek does not believe him. Giant asks the other band members for money and Left loans him five hundred dollars. When loan sharks stake out Giant’s home, he goes to Bleek for a place to stay. Bleek agrees to help him raise the money, but fires him as manager.

Bleek misses both his girlfriends, leaving messages for each, but Clarke has begun a new relationship with Shadow. Bleek finds out about it, and fires Shadow after the two fight backstage before a gig. The loan sharks track Giant down at the club before Bleek can come up with the money, take him outside and beat him while Bleek plays. Bleek goes outside to intervene, and gets beaten as well. Additionally, one loan shark (Samuel L. Jackson) takes Bleek’s own trumpet, and smacks him across the face with it. This not only puts Bleek in the hospital, but it also permanently injures his lip, making him unable to continue playing trumpet.

Months later, Bleek reunites with Giant, who has gotten a job as a doorman and stopped gambling. He drops into see Shadow and Clarke, who are now performing together with the rest of Bleek’s former band. Shadow invites him on stage, and they play together. Bleek still has scars to his lips, and is unable to play correctly. He walks off the stage, gives his trumpet to Giant, and goes directly to Indigo’s house. She is angry with him because she hasn’t heard from him in over a year. She tries to reject him, but agrees to take him back when he begs her to save his life.

A montage flashes through their wedding, the birth of their son, Miles, and Bleek teaching his son to play the trumpet. In the final scene of the movie, Miles is ten years old, and wants to go outside to play with his friends. Indigo wants him to finish practicing his trumpet lessons. However, unlike the (almost identical) opening scene in the beginning of the film, Bleek relents and allows his son to leave and play with friends. This final scene uses exactly the same dialogue as the first, with changes only in the delivery of the dialogue. A major part of the film’s themes is cause and affect and fate. In letting Miles stop practising which Bleek never did, then maybe his life will lead to an alternate, and ultimately happier, conclusion.

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1991 Jungle Fever


Jungle Fever is a 1991 American drama film directed by Spike Lee, starring Wesley Snipes and Annabella Sciorra. It was Lee’s fifth feature-length film. The film mainly explores interracial relationships against the urban backdrop of the streets of 90s New York City. This was the film debut of Grammy Award winner Queen Latifah and Academy Award winner Halle Berry.


Before the opening credits begin, a dedication to Yusuf Hawkins is shown, who was killed on August 23, 1989, in Bensonhurst, New York, by neighborhood folk who believed the youth was involved with a white girl in the neighborhood, though he was actually in the neighborhood to inquire about a used car for sale in the area.

Flipper Purify (Wesley Snipes) is a successful, married black American man who works at an architectural firm in New York City. One day, a white woman named Angela “Angie” Tucci (Annabella Sciorra) is hired as a temporary secretary at the place. Flipper complains to his partners Jerry (Tim Robbins) and Leslie (Brad Dourif) about wanting an African American secretary; they tell him that they want “the best human being for the job.”

When Flipper returns to his Harlem home after visiting his friend Cyrus (Spike Lee), he tells his wife Drew (Lonette McKee) about his promotion. Drew tells him to be prepared if his promotion is declined, but Flipper tells her not to worry. Meanwhile, Angie returns to her Bensonhurst home, and cooks dinner for her father Mike (Frank Vincent) and her two brothers Charlie (David Dundara) and Jimmy (Michael Imperioli). Her boyfriend Paulie Carbone (John Turturro) arrives and takes her out on a date.

One night, Flipper and Angie are working late at the firm, and they start to have a conversation about cooking. They have dinner in his office that night and at least another time which leads them to have sex on a desk. The next day, Flipper does not say anything when he is walking his daughter to school. Later, at the office, he tells Jerry and Leslie that he wanted to be partner at the firm. After his offer is declined, he abruptly quits his job. Later that night at the park, Flipper admits his infidelity to Cyrus, who tells him the affair is problematic not only because his mistress is white, but also because she is Italian and from Bensonhurst. Then, Flipper’s brother Gator (Samuel L. Jackson) shows up with his girlfriend Vivian (Halle Berry). He asks Flipper for some money so he can feed his crack habit. Flipper initially refuses, but gives in eventually. Meanwhile, Angie tells her girlfriends that she is seeing Flipper, shocking them when she tells them he is African American. She then tells them not to tell anybody.

The next evening Flipper and Angela are ignored by the staff at a restaurant. He complains to a waitress (Queen Latifah) about not being served; she in turn berates him for dating a white woman. Later, the rumors about them surface when Flipper comes home and sees a furious Drew throwing his things out of the window, forcing him to move back in with his mother Lucinda (Ruby Dee), and his father, the Good Reverend Doctor (Ossie Davis). Later that night, he confronts Cyrus for betraying his trust. Cyrus admitted he told his wife Vera (Veronica Webb), but did not know she told Drew. Flipper insults Vera, causing a rift in his friendship with Cyrus.

The next day, Flipper tries to make things up to Drew by bringing her flowers at work, which she proceeds to refuse. Meanwhile, Angie ends her relationship with Paulie. His father Lou (Anthony Quinn) finds Paulie in the bathroom and consoles him. When Angie returns home, a livid Mike violently beats her for dating a black man and throws her out of the house. Flipper and Angie move in to an apartment together, where they subsequently encounter social problems including a failed dinner with Flipper’s parents, and another problem when they are walking down the street, they joke around and Flipper forces himself onto her, the police show up thinking he is raping her, she tells them that he is her boyfriend and threatens to have their badges. Flipper yells at her and does not want anyone else to know. Paulie attempts to start a similar relationship with an African American woman called Orin Goode (Tyra Ferrell), but encounters problems of his own.

Lucinda has Flipper come over and informs him that Gator has taken the television. She wants him to try and get it back before the Good Reverend Doctor comes home, so Flipper goes out to find Gator. Flipper finds Gator at a crack house, where he and Vivian are smoking the drug. Gator tells Flipper that he pawned the TV to get money for the crack. Flipper slaps Vivian in the face and tells Gator that their mother is crying over him; Gator does not appear to care. Flipper tells him that he is cutting him off for good and leaves.

Eventually, issues surrounding Flipper and Angie strain the relationship so much so that they break up. Orin accepts Paulie’s offer to take her on a date. But when he tells his father he is going on a date with an African American, his father disowns him. On the way to meet with Orin he gets into a fight but still heads to her house. One night, Gator storms into his parents’ house while the Reverend is away, demanding money from Lucinda while trashing the house. The Reverend arrives and threatens him if he does not leave. Gator refuses to leave and mocks his father. The Reverend tells Gator he is better off dead and regretfully shoots him in the stomach. Gator dies in his screaming mother’s arms.

Flipper attempts to reconcile with Drew. After having sex with her, Drew, still hurt, tells him it is best for him to leave. While walking down a street, Flipper passes by a prostitute who offers to perform fellatio for two dollars. Flipper, in response, hugs her and screams “No!” out to the heavens.

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67 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread | The Films of Spike Lee

  1. Yahtc says:

    “Black Teen Busted for Buying a Really Nice Belt”

  2. Yahtc says:

    2 Miss. Museums To Take On Its Turbulent History

  3. Yahtc says:

    “Judge to ask Metro Council to adjust voting lines to reflect growing black population”

  4. Yahtc says:

    Richmond leaders call for sewer director’s ouster over racist remarks

  5. Yahtc says:

    “Penn State to Offer Doctoral in African American Studies”

  6. rikyrah says:

    Texas Voter ID Law Discriminates Against Women, Students and Minorities
    Ari Berman on October 23, 2013 – 11:06 AM ET

    Texas’s new voter ID law got off to a rocky start this week as early voting began for state constitutional amendments. The law was previously blocked as discriminatory by the federal courts under the Voting Rights Act in 2012, until the Supreme Court invalidated Section 4 of the VRA in June. (The Department of Justice has filed suit against the law under Section 2 of the VRA.) Now we are seeing the disastrous ramifications of the Supreme Court’s decision.

    Based on Texas’ own data, 600,000 to 800,000 registered voters don’t have the government-issued ID needed to cast a ballot, with Hispanics 46 to 120 percent more likely than whites to lack an ID. But a much larger segment of the electorate, particularly women, will be impacted by the requirement that a voter’s ID be “substantially similar” to their name on the voter registration rolls. According to a 2006 study by the Brennan Center for Justice, a third of all women have citizenship documents that do not match their current legal name.

    Just yesterday, this happened (via Rick Hasen), from KiiiTV in South Texas:

    “What I have used for voter registration and for identification for the last 52 years was not sufficient yesterday when I went to vote,” 117th District Court Judge Sandra Watts said.

    Watts has voted in every election for the last forty-nine years. The name on her driver’s license has remained the same for fifty-two years, and the address on her voter registration card or driver’s license hasn’t changed in more than two decades. So imagine her surprise when she was told by voting officials that she would have to sign a “voters affidavit” affirming she was who she said she was.

    “Someone looked at that and said, ‘Well, they’re not the same,’” Watts said.

    The difference? On the driver’s license, Judge Watts’s maiden name is her middle name. On her voter registration, it’s her actual middle name. That was enough under the new, more strict voter fraud law, to send up a red flag.

    “This is the first time I have ever had a problem voting,” Watts said.

    • TyrenM says:

      3Chics riddle me this. Why does TX wannabe Governor Wendy Davis pick today to trash talk glitches when she’s gonna be begging AG Holder to come rescue her WF voters eligibility?

  7. rikyrah says:

    Fast Talking Dyson dropped some serious knowledge about the GOP and their use of the slavery analogy with regards to Obamacare.. It’s the first segment of The Ed Show.

    He was totally on point.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Racism shapes education: Austerity and the right’s assault on historically black colleges must stop

    A football forfeit at Grambling State shows how austerity is crippling these important institutions
    By Brittney Cooper

    On Friday, football players from Grambling State University, a small historically black university (HBCU) in north central Louisiana, refused to board a bus for a two-and-a-half hour ride to play their competitors Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss. Incensed with the university over crumbling and unsafe facilities and the recent and unceremonious firing of coach Doug Williams, the famed former Washington R___skins [letters deleted by author because it is an offensive slur] quarterback and Grambling alum, the players refused to play.

    Later, news surfaced that two student journalists from the campus paper the Gramblinite had been punished for standing in solidarity with football players and also for exposing campus facilities badly in need of repair.

    I grew up down the road from Grambling, and learned my appreciation for black college football and band culture, over the course of many homecomings spent on the campus. As a high school student taking classes during a summer pre-college program, I passed the legendary Coach Eddie Robinson on campus. When it was time to go to college, Grambling was the first school to offer me a full scholarship.

    I chose to go elsewhere, but tellingly, I chose an HBCU – Howard University. Of late, Grambling and Howard have been the subject of much bad press. The unexpected resignation of Howard president Sidney Ribeau seemed to support concerns about Howard’s steady decline. Certainly, the fact that Howard, once named in the top 100 universities in the country in U.S. News and World Report, has fallen to No. 142 is cause for concern.

    Coupled with reports that Louisiana state appropriations to Grambling have fallen from $31.6 million to $13.8 million since 2007, it seems that the latest victims of public austerity measures are black colleges. $31.6 million is a paltry amount of state aid, and $13.8 million constitutes a starvation budget. These massive cuts endanger the welfare of one of Louisiana’s oldest institutions of higher learning, and show the deep racial resentment that has driven GOP policies in Louisiana, particularly under Gov. Bobby Jindal.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Carney on GOP complaints about : “I don’t think they’re filled with a sincere desire to improve the system.”

  10. rikyrah says:

    Sabrina ‏@Charmed8614m
    Ed Henry “why wasn’t the President told” Jay: “The President explained this but I’ll do it again since you didn’t get it the 1st time”

  11. rikyrah says:

    A Growing Party

    by BooMan
    Wed Oct 23rd, 2013 at 01:13:41 PM EST

    Tom Edsall explores the meaning and implications of Bill de Blasio’s impending election as the next mayor of New York City. We haven’t seen such an old school, unapologetic liberal hold such an influential office in a very long time. Why is de Blasio succeeding, and what, if anything, does it mean for the future of our national politics?

    THIS then leads to a broader question. Does the advent of a new era of urban populism under [Bill] de Blasio suggest that the country is moving in a decisively liberal direction?
    It may be, rather, that the rise of de Blasio signals the growing strength of liberal forces within the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, a development that may actually work to prevent this wing from leading the entire country to the left.

    In addition to the growing leverage of minority and low-income voters in the Democratic Party, the center-left coalition includes many upscale, well-educated social liberals, who have found common ground with their less fortunate allies in shared animosity toward the Republican Party.

    The stronger the pro-government poor-to-lower-middle class wing gets, the more likely the coalition will fracture along class and economic fault lines.

    As many affluent progressive-leaning voters move to the suburbs (by 2010 New York lost 129,165 residents who had been between the ages 25 and 34 in 2000), have children, buy homes and pay significant property taxes, they are more likely to join the ranks of those who oppose a political party that seeks to increase their tax burdens. They will become legitimate targets for recruitment by a Republican Party that is reasonably conservative — if that stops being an oxymoron


  12. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: Obamacare rollout is awful. GOP’s position is a lot worse.

    By Greg Sargent

    October 23 at 9:14 am

    It’s heart-warming to see Republicans so worried about the difficulties the uninsured are facing in getting health care coverage.

    Republicans continue attacking Obamacare’s rollout today, with a focus on the difficulties people face signing on to the exchanges. The problems with Obamacare are awful and unforgivable. As Jonathan Cohn notes, the next few weeks are critical, and it’s possible the law’s overall success is in peril, though health reform is larger than its web site, and there are reasons for some optimism about its long term prospects.

    Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is facing scalding criticism, is claiming this morning that Obama had no prior knowledge of the problems. Okay, but there must be real accountability and transparency into what’s going wrong.

    Still, folks shouldn’t sugar-coat the true nature of the GOP position here. House Republicans have rolled out a video mocking the unhelpfulness of HealthCare.Gov’s customer service:

  13. rikyrah says:

    Fortune’s’ ’50 most powerful women’ list features 3 black females

    by Lilly Workneh | October 23, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    ortune has revealed their list of this year’s 50 most powerful women in business – and while the occupations of those included vary, the racial identities of these individuals are not as diverse.

    The world’s most influential businesswomen represent some of the biggest and most successful global companies. But among the 50 women mentioned, only three are African-American.

    The three black women included are: Ursula Burns, CEO and president of Xerox; Rosalind Brewer, CEO and president of Sam’s Club; and Shonda Rhimes, the creative executive producer and the mastermind behind popular TV shows Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal

  14. rikyrah says:

    Lupita Nyong’o in Christopher Kane at the “12 Years a Slave” European Premiere

    Posted on Oct 21, 2013 in Fashion

    Because that’s what it takes to wear a difficult dress like this. That’s what it takes to make T Lo look at someone wearing a getup they don’t even like all that much and exclaim “GORGE!” in response. We have to admit, the primary-colored version on the model looks even more difficult to wear, but we find ourselves wishing Miss Lupita had attempted it. We have a feeling she could’ve made it work and it would’ve been a bit more visually arresting than the version she has on.

    Still, she’s rocking the shit out of it. And her makeup throughout this entire poledance has been impeccable. She’s a stunner. We find ourselves salivating over the prospect of seeing her in haute couture on the Oscars red carpet. If this is how she looks in a Christopher Kane, what’s she gonna do when she has an array of Dior, Givenchy, and Chanel gowns to choose from?



  15. rikyrah says:

    Here’s the background of this story.

    Robbins is one of the poorest suburbs of Chicago. Now that they’ve got this discovery, they don’t want to work with the residents, they want to evict them through eminent domain.


    Massive quarry, underground limestone mine planned in Robbins
    By CAsey Toner Sun-Times Media October 11, 2013 10:58PM

    A west suburban developer is looking to acquire massive swaths of land in Robbins and turn it into an industrial megaplex complete with a quarry, an underground mine, asphalt and concrete factories and a therapy horse ranch, according to an agreement village officials quietly approved this year.

    If the plan comes to fruition, such a deal would radically alter the face of one of the south suburbs’ poorest communities and give control of more than 320 acres — including its underground limestone — to Riverside-based ALM Resources for redevelopment. The plan calls for acquiring both vacant land and large blocks with homes on them.

    “This is a takeover,” resident Delean Fuller said

  16. rikyrah says:

    How Dems should make this fall’s fights all about jobs
    By Greg Sargent

    October 22 at 4:41 pm

    Today’s anemic jobs report has sparked a new round of demands — including one from the Plum Line’s own Ryan Cooper — for Dems to insist that the coming budget talks focus on jobs, jobs, and jobs.

    But what would that look like? What should Dems push for that has a chance to succeed? I put the question to Robert Greenstein, the head of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and a leading advocate for balanced fiscal policy.

    To begin with, it’s likely any deal would cover only one or two years. The primary goal is of course to replace the sequester, which is basically a wet blanket over the economy and the recovery that is limiting the country’s ability to invest in its future. Greenstein suggests policy-makers push to replace it with a combination of new tax expenditure curbs and better spending cuts — which Dems will do — but the former will run into a wall of GOP opposition. And so, on the cuts side, the focus should also be on rolling sequester cuts deeper into the future, via carefully designed entitlement cuts (which don’t have to necessarily target benefits), getting the immediate cuts off the back of the recovery and shifting them to a time when the economy is stronger.

    “The single biggest goal is trying to undo as much as you can of the immediate sequestration,” Greenstein says. “Trade the meat cleaver type cuts that hurt the economy for cuts that would occur later in the decade.”

  17. rikyrah says:

    ‘His only crime was being a young black guy buying a $300 belt’: Queens student arrested after buying Ferragamo belt sues Barneys
    Trayon Christian, 19, taken to NYPD precinct despite using his own debit card and ID at the upscale Manhattan store
    The college student, who lives with his mom in Queens, New York, had saved up from his part-time job to buy the Salvatore Ferragamo belt
    Mr Christian is suing Barneys and NYPD for unspecified damages

    By Daily Mail Reporter

    PUBLISHED: 22:41 EST, 22 October 2013 | UPDATED: 05:57 EST, 23 October 2013

    A black college student who had saved up money from his part-time job to buy a designer belt at Barneys department store was pounced on by police ‘because he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase’, according to a new lawsuit.

    Trayon Christian, 19, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday for unspecified damages against the Madison Avenue store and the NYPD who wrongly accused him of fraud.

    Mr Christian, who lives with his mom in Queens, had decided to splash out on a $320 belt by designer Salvatore Ferragamo after seeing one of his favorite music stars, Harlem rapper Juelz Santana, wearing the accessory.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  18. rikyrah says:

    Florida GOP would rather let the working poor go uninsured for health care than accept $51 billion to cover them.… …

  19. rikyrah says:

    Oh, btw unemployment rate lower today than day O took office, deficit has been cut in half, health care costs slowing, stock market soaring

  20. rikyrah says:

    BForward @WiForward

    Hey @CNN I got my healthcare the first time I logged in, took 20 minutes. Completed. Report that?

    7:21 PM – 22 Oct 2013

  21. rikyrah says:

    Sean Lavery @SeanLavery

    Alright so I tried just to see how bad it is, but it worked for me so… #kanyeshrug

    7:19 PM – 22 Oct 2013

  22. Ametia says:

    Exclusive: White House Official Fired for Tweeting Under Fake Name
    by Josh RoginOct 22, 2013 8:27 PM EDT

    Jofi Joseph, an official in the National Security Staff at the White House, was fired last week after being caught as the tweeter behind @natsecwonk, a feed that’s been leaking internal information since 2011. Josh Rogin reports.

  23. Ametia says:

    How’d I miss this?
    VH1’s ‘CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story’ scores big in ratings
    By Andrew Asareon Oct 22, 2013 at 5:36PM

    Pulling in 4.5 million viewers Monday night, VH1 scored the highest-rated original cable movie of 2013 with CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, the biopic that chronicles the R&B group’s rise to fame. CrazySexyCool scored a 2.9 rating in the 18-49 demographic and a 5.5 rating for women 18-34, making it VH1’s highest-rated original movie ever.

    In addition to ratings, CrazySexyCool also took hold of Twitter: According to SocialGuide, the TV movie was the most-tweeted program on TV last night, generating 1.92 million tweets with the hashtag #CrazySexyCool.

    CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story tells the story of Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas (KeKe Palmer), Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes (Lil Mama), and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins (Drew Sidora) and how they became one of the best-selling female groups of all time before losing one of their own.

  24. rikyrah says:

    I know people love to sneer at us O-Bots, but, honestly, I have never had this much fun supporting a politician. Never gonna stop. Ever.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Democrats rally around health-care law

    By Aaron Blake

    October 23 at 8:07 am

    Despite a series of problems with the Web site for President Obama’s new health care exchanges, support for the law is up slightly.

    A new Gallup poll shows support has increased four points since August, thanks to a rise in support from Democrats.

  26. rikyrah says:

    STUDY: Steadfast GOP Refusal To Expand Medicaid Leaves 5 Million Poor Americans Without Health Care

    By Sy Mukherjee on October 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Republican governors refusing generous federal funding to expand Medicaid under Obamacare will leave over five million low-income Americans without basic health benefits, according to a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

    Since the Supreme Court ruled Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion to be optional last summer, just 25 states and the District of Columbia have proceeded to implement expansion. Another 22 states have refused, while a handful still remain undecided. Unfortunately, poor Americans living in states that aren’t expanding Medicaid likely won’t be able to afford health insurance at all.

    Current Medicaid eligibility rules vary by state, and most set an extremely high standard for Americans who want to enroll in the program — reserving it for low-income children, their parents, the elderly, and the disabled. Poor working adults who don’t have children don’t qualify for Medicaid in many states, no matter how little money they make. Furthermore, because Obamacare originally intended every state to expand Medicaid, there aren’t any subsidies available for very poor Americans to buy private insurance through statewide marketplaces. That federal assistance is only available to Americans earning between 100 percent and 399 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

    Therefore, without the expansion, a sizable portion of the working poor will simply be out of luck when it comes to their health coverage. Since they’ll make too much money to qualify for their state’s Medicaid program, but too little to qualify for federal subsidies, they will fall into a coverage gap:

  27. rikyrah says:

    How Obamacare Will Save The Federal Government $190 Billion

    By Igor Volsky on October 23, 2013 at 6:00 am

    Lower than projected premiums under the Affordable Care Act will save the federal government $190 billion over 10 years and increase the law’s deficit reduction by 174 percent to almost $300 billion, a new analysis from the Center for American Progress has found. The report, from Topher Spiro and Jonathan Gruber, bolsters President Obama’s claims on Monday that despite the ongoing technical problems surrounding, “the product of the Affordable Care Act for people without health insurance is quality health insurance that’s affordable.”

    In fact, the emergence of new insurers and increased competition within the law’s marketplaces has lowered premiums below Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections from March of 2012. While the nonpartisan office estimated that the average second-lowest-cost individual silver plan premiums would cost $4,700 in 2014, the actual average premium turned out to be $3,936 or “16 percent lower than projected.” The savings are significant because the law pegs its tax credits to the cost of the second-lowest silver plan. “If premiums for that plan are lower, then the cost of tax credits will also be lower,” the report argues. Here is why:

  28. rikyrah says:

    Poll: ObamaCare approval ticking up

    By Mario Trujillo – 10/23/13 07:11 AM ET

    Public support for the healthcare law ticked up slightly in a Gallup poll released Wednesday, the second survey in a week to record the trend.

    Gallup found 45 percent of the public approve of the law, a 4-percentage-point gain since it last recorded the number in August. A majority, 50 percent, continues to disapprove of the law.

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

  29. rikyrah says:

    Administration to kick off effort to encourage enrollment

  30. rikyrah says:

    I was an ObamaCare guinea pig

    By Sally Kohn/
    Published October 21, 2013/

    I signed up. I saved. And so will millions of Americans.

    Honestly, I couldn’t wait to sign up for ObamaCare — not because I talk about it on television, but because I’m tired of being ripped off by my insurance company.

    I live in New York State — which for several decades has had the highest individual insurance premiums in the nation.

    For the past three years, since leaving a job at a non-profit organization and then exhausting my COBRA, I have relied on the individual insurance market to get coverage for myself, my partner and our daughter.

    Three years ago when I was shopping for insurance, there weren’t that many options to choose from. And the plan I ended up with is expensive and, to put it bluntly, crappy.

    Currently, I pay $965 per month for family coverage that includes:

    • a whopping $7,000 deductible;

    • $36,000 out-of-pocket max per year;

    • an annual coverage limit of $2,000,000;

    • a $35 co-pay for doctor’s visits ($55 for specialists); and

    • a $15 co-pay for generic prescriptions.


    While the exchange site was user-friendly and explained my options in a clear and simple way, picking an insurance plan isn’t exactly like ordering a hamburger. It took a minute to find my calculator and think about the options.

    Within a week, I had settled on a “gold” plan offered by Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. The plan includes:

    • a $2,000 total deductible;

    • an out-of-pocket max of $12,500 for the year;

    • a $30 co-pay for visits to our primary care doctor;

    • a $15 co-pay for generic prescriptions;

    • NO annual coverage limit — because that’s now prohibited thanks to the Affordable Care Act; plus

    • an added bonus: the plan I selected includes child dental.

    This option will cost my family $931 per month — $408 per year less than my previous crappy plan and a $5,000 savings in deductibles. A big win for me and my family financially and in terms of what’s covered.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Predictions are hard, especially about the future

    10/22/13 02:30 PM

    By Steve Benen

    Yogi Berra is believed to have once said, “Predictions are hard, especially about the future.” When it comes to the Affordable Care Act, Republicans can no doubt relate to the sentiment.

    Clearly, recent website problems have become a big story, and understandably so, but Republicans can’t exactly claim this as an I-told-you-so moment. For one thing, they never predicted website glitches. For another, the glitches will be fixed and aren’t related to the underlying system.

    But it’s when we look at the GOP’s actual predictions that conservative critics run into trouble.

    For example, Jonathan Chait recently noted that “Obamacare” critics spent three years insisting that premiums in the state health exchanges would cost consumers more money, and that optimistic projections were folly. The opposite turned out to be true. Republicans have responded to questions about their erroneous predictions by changing the subject.

    Similarly, the right was certain that the Affordable Care Act would hurt the economy, in part by undermining full-time employment and forcing more workers into part-time jobs. Oops.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Greenwald whines about Cory Booker having contact w/Silicon Valley execs then announces start up with billionaire Silicon Valley exec.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Time To Get Bullish on the U.S. Senate

    by BooMan
    Tue Oct 22nd, 2013 at 09:55:17 PM EST

    Since even some Republican senators admit that their party is not ready to lead the Senate, maybe we need to figure out how to rout these bastards in next year’s midterm elections. Sure, the odds are stacked against us, but take a look at Shenna Bellows who is announcing her bid to take out Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) tomorrow. How do we make that happen? Don’t tell me that you don’t want to give money and lend support to Ms. Bellows’ campaign.

    It might be hard to find realistic challengers in Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Alabama, but we ought to at least try. We need to find an Al Franken-type for South Carolina, since we have no elected bench. Someone ought to run against Lamar Alexander in Tennessee. None of these fools deserve to be reelected and their constituents seem to know it. Let’s expand the map and make these Republicans defend their turf.

  34. rikyrah says:

    House Republicans’ unique appreciation for ‘expertise’
    10/23/13 08:01 AM

    By Steve Benen

    From time to time, Republican officials will seek out advice from those who are a little … what’s the word … unusual.

    For example, earlier this year, the Republican National Committee invited far-right provocateur David Horowitz, author of books such as “Killing Whitey,” to help the party “broaden the GOP’s appeal with voters.” His lack of credibility on the subject didn’t seem to bother party leaders. Similarly, around the same time, House Republicans sought out Dick Cheney for guidance on foreign policy, untroubled by his track record, too.

    There is, of course, nothing wrong with seeking out experts for advice – indeed, it’s generally a good idea – but the key is identifying reliable, trustworthy authorities who can help others better understand complex issues and add value to a serious conversation.

    It you missed Rachel’s opening segment last night – and my oh my do I hope you saw this one – there’s fresh evidence that Republicans’ appreciation for expertise is a little, shall we saw, skewed.

    The House committee responsible for Obamacare oversight asked for expert guidance last week about the troubled launch of the federal site from John McAfee, the tech legend once suspected in the murder of his neighbor in Central America, CNBC has learned.

    That Republican-controlled committee wanted the McAfee Associates founder to “guide our oversight and review of” the implementation of the federal marketplace selling Obamacare insurance, according to an email obtained by

    The committee suggested that McAfee might discuss the technologically botched rollout with members of Congress.

  35. rikyrah says:

    In Clinton Fund-Raising, Expect a Full Embrace


    Published: October 21, 2013

    When a recent Manhattan fund-raiser for the Virginia candidate for governor Terry McAuliffe wound down and most of the donors had left the host’s swanky meatpacking district loft, President Bill Clinton stuck around.

    Only a handful of guests (“And none of the really important ones,” according to one attendee) remained, but Mr. Clinton continued to shake hands and pose for photos. He greeted the waiters and joked with stragglers that he would meet them at a nearby bar.

    This spring, as guests gathered around a big table inside a grand Washington home at a fund-raising dinner for Mr. McAuliffe, Mr. Clinton noticed the hosts’ bored young son on a sofa. The former president plopped down and the two played on an iPad together.

    The behavior wasn’t anything unusual for Mr. Clinton, who has always been known as a gregarious party guest. But for some Democratic donors — accustomed to what some see as the aloof indifference of President Obama — experiencing the full embrace of the Clintons in fund-raising mode comes as something of a revelation.

    Mr. Obama has rewarded his top backers with coveted diplomatic posts like London and Tokyo, but he does not expend much personal energy when it comes to stroking donors: More than a dozen Obama supporters interviewed for this article described the president as an introvert who views big-dollar fund-raising as an unappealing, if necessary, chore. If the situation were a movie, one donor said, it would be titled: “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

  36. rikyrah says:

    Noam Scheiber ‏@noamscheiber56m
    So Obama never coddled donors, unlike Clintons, & still raised a record amnt of $$. I’m failing to see the problem… …

  37. rikyrah says:

    Obama Appoints 1st Black Chief Judge of US Court of Federal Claims

    By: Jozen Cummings | Posted: October 22, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Just a month after Patricia E. Campbell-Smith was appointed a judge for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and two days after being confirmed, President Barack Obama has promoted her to the position of chief judge of the court. With the appointment, Judge Campbell-Smith is the first African American to hold that position in the history of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

    In a statement from the White House, President Obama said he was proud of Campbell-Smith’s designation. “She has a long and distinguished record of service,” the president said. “I am confident she will serve with distinction.”

    Though her appointment as a judge to the court is recent, Campbell-Smith has a long history of working with the court. As the special master to the court from 2005 to 2011 and chief special master from 2011 to 2013, Campbell-Smith was responsible for overseeing court orders on the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. She was also a law clerk for former U.S. Federal Claims Court Chief Judge Emily C. Hewitt.

    All judges appointed to the U.S. Federal Claims Court are designated to 15-year-terms. The court was formed in 1982.

    • Ametia says:

      LOL Ok; can these precious little girls get any cuter. And LIL SISTA, ain’t playin around.

      You know her mama told her she’d better get up there and dance; I’m payin’ top $$ for these lessons!

      • Liza says:

        It looks like she decided the routine was just too boring and she had to do a little something to spice it up and make it more interesting. The little girl on the end is so funny as she becomes uncertain about who to follow. They are all so adorable.

    • Yahtc says:

      So precious!

      She is a talented little dancer who hears and feels the music and dances beautifully!

  38. Durbin: House leader told Obama ‘I cannot even stand to look at you’

    A top Senate Democrat said that a leading House Republican told President Obama that they could not ‘even stand to look at you’ during negotiations over the government shutdown.

    Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a Facebook post that the alleged confrontation happened during a meeting between Republicans and the president.

    “Many Republicans searching for something to say in defense of the disastrous shutdown strategy will say President Obama just doesn’t try hard enough to communicate with Republicans,” Durbin said. “But in a ‘negotiation’ meeting with the president, one GOP House Leader told the president: ‘I cannot even stand to look at you.'”

    “What are the chances of an honest conversation with someone who has just said something so disrespectful?” the Illinois Democrat added.

    An aide to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he had “no idea what [Durbin’s] talking about.”

    He was mad b/c the Potus made him look like a punk ass beyotch!

  39. Totally Awesome! Ohio State Marching Band DID THAT!

    Ohio State Marching Band “Michael Jackson Tribute”

  40. Good morning, everyone!

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