Friday Open Thread

Christmas Candles12Carol of the Bells” is a popular Americanized version of a Ukrainian Christmas carol. It is a choral work by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych asShchedryk and translated, or rather, adapted to English by Peter J Wilhousky who wrote and Americanized the lyrics. Leontovych’s composition was in turn, set to the words of an ancient Ukrainian carol performed during the celebration of the New Year.

The song is recognized by a four-note ostinato motif (see image to the right). It is a holiday favorite throughout the English-speaking world, having been arranged hundreds of times for different genres, styles of singing and settings. For example, it was been covered by artists and groups of many genres: classical, jazz, rock, and pop. It has also been featured in films, television shows, and parodies.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
This entry was posted in Celebrations, Christmas, Christmas Songs, Current Events, Music, News, Open Thread, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Friday Open Thread

  1. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer is talking about PBO’s uncle & that he may have had a run in with the law. Y’all know what that means? PBO had a run in with the law. Idiot ass clowns!

  2. Ametia says:

    It’s cold as a mug here today. 5 whole degrees… BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

  3. rikyrah says:

    Michelle Obama, mom in chief
    By Dana Milbank, Friday, December 6, 10:43 AM

    The “feminist nightmare” is recurring.

    Unbowed by Politico labeling her with this epithet a couple of weeks ago, Michelle Obama continues to do what her critics regard as frightening behaviors. Last week, she assaulted independent women by showing off the White House Christmas decorations.

    “Our goal is for every room and every tree to tell a story,” she explained to an audience of military families in the East Room, where her two-tone gray dress matched the silver ornaments on the trees.

    She spoke of Christmas trees made from stacks of books (“they’re very cool!”) and described the “first dog display” featuring likenesses of Bo and Sunny. “This year they actually move,” she said. “We’re stepping up in the world of Bo-and-Sunny honoring. And these are just a few of this year’s highlights!”

    From there, the first lady of the United States ushered children into the State Dining Room, where she helped them fold paper flowers, glue reindeer puppets and make ornaments from cake icing and candy. Under the gaze of Abraham Lincoln from an oil painting — and about 50 journalists from behind a rope — she walked the real Bo and Sunny through the room.

    “Sunny girl, calm down!” Obama said after one of the dogs knocked over a toddler. Obama crouched down to hug several of her visitors, popped a gum drop in her mouth and told them: “I’ve got to go to work.”

    But what the first lady did with the kids is her work — and she’s doing it well.

    The chattering class is conducting one of its periodic evaluations of Michelle Obama, and is, as usual, finding her wanting. Before, she was too outspoken; now, too demure. A month ago, the New York Times reported that she has been “derided by critics who hoped she would use her historic position to move more deeply into policy.” Then came Politico’s headline calling her a feminist nightmare.

  4. rikyrah says:

    The Plum Line
    To GOP primary voters, even wanting to fix Obamacare is a liability
    By Greg Sargent
    December 6 at 12:03 pm

    If you want to understand why Democrats believe they are not uniformly on the defensive over Obamacare — and why the GOP stance on the health law is also a liability — take a look at this ad that Rep. Paul Broun is running against Rep. Jack Kingston, his opponent in the Georgia GOP Senate primary

    Kingston had previously said:

    “A lot of conservatives say, just step back and let this thing fall to pieces on its own. But I don’t think that’s always the responsible thing to do. I think we need to be looking for things that improve health care overall for all of us. If there was something in Obamacare, we need to know about it.”

    The suggestion that we should look to improve health care for ”all of us” was apparently a huge no-no, if it entails accommodating any part of Obamacare. In the ad, Broun tees off on this:

    “Jack Kingston wants to keep Obamacare….now he wants to fix it. I think that’s wrong…I don’t want to fix Obamacare. I want to get rid of it.”

    Kingston is now furiously walking back his apostasy, pointing to his dozens of votes to repeal the law as proof that his zeal to get rid of it knows no bounds.

    The point here is that GOP base voters may force Republican lawmakers to remain chained to a fantasy — that Obamacare’s demise is still a genuine possibility. While Democratic operatives fully recognize that the law is unpopular, that further problems are possible, and that Dems are still in danger, they believe Republican lawmakers and candidates are constrained in a way that will work against them, too.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Morning Plum: Fate of unemployment insurance hangs in the balance
    By Greg Sargent
    December 6 at 9:17 am

    The news of the morning, aside from continued discussion of Nelson Mandela’s passing, is that negotiators are close to a deal to replace the sequester with higher spending levels on domestic and defense programs — close to $1 trillion — for fiscal 2014. The deal would boost spending by increasing some fees, deferring the big arguments over whether to raise taxes and/or cut entitlements.

    Unfortunately, an extension of unemployment benefits that are set to expire for at least 1.3 million people is currently not in the deal.

    To put this in perspective, consider the following: If Congress really does punt on extending the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, it will be the first time in many decades that it has failed to do so under conditions this bad for the jobless.

    The White House has released a report on the need to extend these benefits, and you should look at the chart on page 9. It shows that at no point in the recent past has Congress allowed benefits to expire with the long term unemployment rate as high as it is now — 2.6 percent.

    “It would be unprecedented for Congress not to extend emergency unemployment insurance under the current economic conditions,” Josh Drobnyk, a spokeman for Dem Rep. Sander Levin, who has been fighting for an extension, tells me.

    Today’s monthly jobs report says the unemployment rate ticked down from 7.3 percent to 7.0 percent in November — a five year low. That may make it easier for Republicans not to agree to an extension. But this shouldn’t be the case. Because as the White House report shows, even if the unemployment rate has dropped, it is still higher right now than virtually every other time Congress has let the program expire (the exception is 1982, when the rate was 7.2 percent, barely more than it is now). Meanwhile, the report shows that there is plenty of precedent for jobless benefits being available with the unemployment rate below where it is now.

    By all indications, Democrats — including Senator Patty Murray, who is negotiating the budget deal with Paul Ryan, and Nancy Pelosi, who is signaling Dems will resist any deal if benefits aren’t extended — will continue to fight for the extension. And the Republican position on this is increasingly bizarre. John Boehner has said this:

  6. rikyrah says:

    Democrats should run on ‘affordable health care’
    By Greg Sargent
    December 5 at 4:14 pm

    Steve Beshear, the governor of Kentucky — where Obamacare is expanding health coverage every day in a red state – met privately with House Democrats this morning. According to a source in the room, Beshear repeatedly urged them not to get distracted by short term political skirmishes over the website, and said they should keep focused on the big picture, which is that Democrats stand for expanding affordable health coverage, and that this would cover more and more people over time. He predicted the law would transform Kentucky.

    Democrats gave Beshear two standing ovations during the session, the source tells me.

    After the meeting, Beshear held a press conference, at which he told reporters:

    “You know what Democrats ought to run on next November? The idea that we want every American to have affordable healthcare.”

    It looks increasingly like Democrats are going to do that. Sure, you can still find instances of Democrats expressing skittishness about the law. Senate Dems remain nervous about how the botched implementation will impact them, and 39 House Dems did run from the law by voting for the GOP “fix.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    Will Democrats go to the mat on jobless benefits?

    12/06/13 12:27 PM
    By Zachary Roth

    I wrote yesterday about how it would be a bad thing if Democrats’ economic populist agenda was limited to boosting the minimum wage, as important as that is. And today comes news that reinforces the point.

    House Republicans and Senate Democrats are close to agreement on a budget deal. But right now it doesn’t include an extension of unemployment benefits, even though they’re set to expire for at least 1.3 million Americans.

    This is a long way from over. Democrats are insisting on including a benefits extension in the budget agreement, and House Speaker John Boehner has said he’ll “take a look at it.” But Democrats haven’t said whether they’d make it a condition for supporting a deal.

    If anything’s worth going to the mat for, this is.

    If benefits aren’t extended, most workers would only be eligible for 26 weeks, or six months, of benefits. Right now, the long-term unemployment rate is at 2.6%, out of a total unemployment rate of 7%. That means around 37% of all jobless workers have been out of work for more than six months. In other words, more than one in three workers has currently been jobless for a longer period than benefits would run for if, they’re not extended.

    On a human level, cutting off benefits would be cruel: It’s been clear for a while that most of the people out of work for this long aren’t jobless because they’re not trying hard enough—the justification that many Republicans have given for their reluctance to extend benefits. Instead, they’re stuck in a vicious cycle where being unemployed makes it harder to get hired.

  8. rikyrah says:

    ‘Centrist’ think tank attacks Warren, sparks major blowback
    12/05/13 11:54 AM
    By Zachary Roth

    There’s been a lot of talk lately about the coming battle over economic populism that could tear the Democratic Party apart. But it’s looking more and more like one side has already won.

    Consider what happened this week: On Monday, Jon Cowan and Jim Kessler of Third Way, a centrist Democratic Washington think tank, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that called an economic populist agenda “disastrous for Democrats.” It took particular exception to a proposal by Sen. Elizabeth Warren to expand Social Security, and blasted those who oppose cuts to Medicare. As its sole piece of evidence for the idea that populism is politically harmfu, it cited Colorado voters’ recent rejection of an initiative to raise taxes to pay for public education and universal pre-K.

    Cowan and Kessler’s argument, on both the policy and the politics, has already been thoroughly demolished (see here and here, among other places). But what’s fascinating is the swift and decisive pushback their op-ed generated.

    As the Huffington Post reported, Warren sent a letter to six big banks urigng them to dislcose the think tanks and lobby shops they fund—the implication being that much of the backing for groups advocating the kind of business-friendly economic poicies supported by Third Way comes, undisclosed. from Wall Street.

    And a group of progressive Democratic organizations called on Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a Pennsylvania Democrat who’s running for governor, to drop her affiliation with Third Way, where she is listed as a “co-chair”. A spokesman for the congresswoman said she wouldn’t resign, but called the op-ed “outrageous,” and said Schwartz “strongly disagrees with it.”

    It’s Schwartz’s response that’s most telling of all. Democrats running for office feel they simply can’t afford to be on the conservative side of this split.

    There’s plenty of evidence that’s leading them to that view. But it’s striking nonetheless—and great news!—that a movement that not so long ago was embraced by a Democratic White House is now close to being purged from the party.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Virgina Republican: Yes, Obamacare is helping some Americans
    12/05/13 10:50 AM—Updated 12/05/13 11:32 AM
    By Zachary Roth

    Steve wrote Monday about the increasing evidence not only that Obamacare is here to stay, but that opposition to it won’t be the slam-dunk political winner next fall that Republicans are hoping for.

    And today comes a small but revealing development that adds to that impression—in the form of a quote from a Republican member of Congress.

    Here’s what Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia told The New York Times.

    It’s not in dispute that many Americans’ lives are being disrupted in an important way by this law. Is it also true that some Americans’ lives have gotten better? Yes, and not to acknowledge that is to deny reality.

    Rigell’s right. On Sunday and Monday alone, 29,000 people signed up for insurance on the federal exchanges (that doesn’t count those who used the state exchanges). That’s more than had enrolled in the whole month of October.

    In fact, pretty soon it’s going to become clear that the number of people helped by the ACA—and remember, that’s not just those signing up on the federal and state exchanges, but also the the millions covered under the law’s Medicaid expansion—dwarfs the number who are hurt. That’s likely to be true even if you define “hurt” to apply to people who lost their sub-par insurance and can now get better coverage for less on the exchanges.

  10. rikyrah says:

    On long-term jobless, ‘everybody’s worst fears are coming true’
    12/05/13 09:16 AM—Updated 12/05/13 09:23 AM
    By Zachary Roth

    It’s hard to remember now, but President Obama’s re-election campaign leaned heavily on the economic populism that’s a growing force in the Democratic Party. And it’s looking more and more like Democrats around the country have settled on a minimum wage hike, at least for now, as the major piece of populist economic policy to embrace.

    As Steve wrote Monday, California and New Jersey just approved raises, and Massachusetts could be next. There are even efforts underway in Washington—Obama recently came out for raising the national minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour—though no one’s expecting much out of this Congress.

    That makes sense on a political level. As Steve notes, it polls well, and helps drive working-class voters away from the GOP. And of course, it’s good policy too.

    But it would be a shame if boosting the minimum wage allowed Democrats to check the box on economic populism and move on. That’s because, important as it is, it does little for those not working.

    That would be less of a problem if there were more turnover in the job market, with people moving often between being employed and unemployed, as used to be the case. But in recent years, there’s been far less flux. That’s creating a distinct class of people, the long-term jobless, trapped in a vicious cycle where being unemployed makes it all but impossible to get hired. And with economists warning that high unemployment could be the new normal, there’s little reason to expect this dynamic to improve.

    The New York Times recently profiled a 53-year-old college graduate, Jenner Barrigton-Ward, who’s been out of work since 2008 and is now broke and homeless:

    For Ms. Barrington-Ward, joblessness itself has become a trap, an impediment to finding a job. Economists see it the same way, concerned that joblessness lasting more than six months is a major factor preventing people from getting rehired, with potentially grave consequences for tens of millions of Americans.

    “I don’t think we know the answer,” said Jesse Rothstein, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley. “But right now, I think everybody’s worst fears are coming true, as far as we can tell.”

    Helping people like Barrington-Ward will require policies that aren’t even in the conversation right now, like work-sharing programs and direct support for the long-term unemployed. But in the long-term, if we want to avoid creating a whole new class of people who are permanently shut out of the workforce, they’ll need to be.

  11. Is there anyone in the GOP with common sense? Anyone? Rick Santorum needs kicking to the moon!

  12. rikyrah says:

    I listen to this Scandal review on youtube every week. This week, the actress who plays Quinn called into the show.

    Scandal S:3 | YOLO E:9 | AfterBuzz TV AfterShow

  13. rikyrah says:


    YOLO and OMG: Scandal Episode 309

    [ 24 ] December 6, 2013 | Luvvie

    The last episode of Scandal two weeks ago left off after Mama Pope emerged from the shadows to her daughter, who was shell-shocked at seeing the mother she thought has been dead for the past 22 years. I was a-scared tonight because I just knew there’d be no chill to be had in this episode, especially since it was part 1 of the winter finale, which ends next Thursday. All our fears had base. THIS EPISODE, DOE! Whoooooo! I just… let’s just get into it.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Daniel Gross ✔ @grossdm
    Awful lot of silence today from the Obamacare-is-killing-employment crowd.

    7:49 AM – 6 Dec 2013

  15. rikyrah says:

    The economy created 200,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.0% in November.…—
    Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) December 06, 2013

  16. rikyrah says:

    amk4obama @amk4obama
    #ObamaCare sign-ups cross 2 million.
    2 million in slightly over 2 months.
    @gop is phucked.

    5:38 AM – 6 Dec 2013

  17. rikyrah says:

    The November jobs report is out and it’s good news!

    U.S. unemployment rate falls to 7.0% from 7.3% — A FIVE YEAR LOW!

    U.S. gains 203,000 jobs in November beating estimates of 180,000 jobs added.

    The participation rate INCREASED.

    Black unemployment rate DROPPED from 13.1% to 12.5%.

    Black male UER DROPPED from 13% to 12.3%

    Black women UER DROPPED from 11.5% to 11.1%

    Black teen UER DROPPED 36% to 35.8%

  18. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  19. CarolMaeWY says:

    Did some one call me? I was fun to tease at Christmas.

Leave a Reply