Monday Open Thread

Christmas Candles 52All I Want for Christmas Is You  is a song by American singer-songwriter Mariah Carey from her fourth studio album, Merry Christmas. It was released as the lead single from the album on November 1, 1994 by Columbia Records. The song was written by Carey and Walter Afanasieff, the latter co-arranging and producing the song as well. As an up-tempo love song, it also incorporates pop music and traditional beats. The song’s lyrics describe an event in which the protagonist declares that she does not care about Christmas presents or lights; all she wants for Christmas is to be with her lover.

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.
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67 Responses to Monday Open Thread

  1. trekkiewife says:

    3Chics…all of you are awesome!! Merry Christmas to all. I really appreciate this blog and all you do to inform us. May the LORD richly Bless you and all who post…and lurk (smile). tw

    • Thank you, Trekkiewife! Merry Christmas to you and your family. We’re so grateful to have you here for discussion and sharing your thoughts with us. May God bless you abundantly.

  2. Ametia says:

    *sigh* I miss this kind of TV. We grew up with Re-run & gang.

    What’s Happening Christmas Part 1
    Check out Dee’s comment at the 2 minute mark. SPOT ON! LMBAO

    What’s Happening Christmas Part 2

  3. rikyrah says:

    These are some crazy mofos:

    They call her Natasha
    Posted by DougJ at 4:32 pm
    Dec 162013

    This is good stuff too (via):

    It was once not uncommon in ‘captive’ communist satellite nations (subjugated to the USSR) to give your child a Russian name, mostly to show support for the Soviet system and provide them a leg-up in the commie world. But how many (esp black) Americans do YOU know with a Russian first name?

    How amusing it is then that the Obamas’ last federal tax return revealed a fact not publicly known- that ‘Sasha’s actual legal name is ‘Nastasha’, which means ‘birthday’ in the language of the USSR. And something tells me it wasn’t just because it sounded pretty.

    Of course it’s a family tradition with Obama- after all, his parents met in Russian language class at the University of Hawaii. And WHAT kind of people took Russian in America in 1961…? Outside of CIA spooks, Lee Harvey Oswald comes to mind…

  4. Ametia says:

    All of sudden NSA program deemed UNCONSTITUTIONAL?

    The U.S. government’s once-secret program of collecting domestic telephone communication records of Americans was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court.

    Judge Richard Leon said the National Security Agency’s surveillance program of so-called metadata was an apparent violation of privacy rights, ruling in favor of four plaintiffs.

    But the judge stayed enforcement of his order barring the government from collecting the phone metadata, pending a potential appeal by the government.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Disney Tackling Jesse Owens Story With ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ Director
    1:16 PM PST 12/16/2013 by Borys Kit

    David Seidler, who on an Oscar for “The King’s Speech,” is attached to pen the screenplay.

    Disney is tackling the story of Jesse Owens, the black track-and-field star who broke down race barriers when he won four medals at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany.

    Antoine Fuqua is attached to direct the project, which also has David Seidler, the Oscar-winning scribe behind The King’s Speech, attached to write the screenplay. Seidler will adapt Triumph, the book by ESPN anchor Jeremy Schaap.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Profile on Harry Reid
    by BooMan
    Mon Dec 16th, 2013 at 11:39:39 AM EST

    I don’t pay much attention to state-level politics, even in my home-state of Pennsylvania, but Jon Ralston single-handedly makes Nevada politics compelling. He is assisted, of course, by the curious and unique history of the state, which makes for all manner of strange alliances and double-dealing. Of course, the fact that Nevada’s senior senator is the Majority Leader of the Senate and the second most powerful man in Congress also adds interest to that state’s local politics.
    I enjoyed reading Ralston’s profile of Harry Reid in Politico Magazine, and I learned quite a bit that I didn’t know. For example, I didn’t know that Reid is no longer talking to Ralston because he’s angry about Ralston’s reporting on some of his children. I didn’t know that Reid put Governor Brian Sandoval on the federal bench to prevent him from running against him in 2010, or that he is trying to get Lucy Flores elected lieutenant governor so that Sandoval can’t resign to run against him in 2016. I also hadn’t really considered the idea that the DNC moved the Nevada caucuses to near the beginning of the primary calendar in 2008 in order to help Reid get organized for 2010. One thing is clear; Harry Reid plans ahead.

    My feelings about Reid have evolved. In May 2009, I declared him “dead to me” over his position on the closing of the prison in Guantanamo Bay. He had said in a press conference “We will never allow terrorists to be released into the United States.” I still haven’t forgiven him for that, but I have learned better how Reid operates. He doesn’t move until he has the votes, and then he brings out the brass knuckles. I think he has also been evolving. I knew something had changed when he called President Bush a “liar” and “a loser.” I think the demographics of his state have changed to the point that he doesn’t feel like he has to project an image of independence or centrism anymore, and he appears liberated as a result. I think he’s also come to see the Republicans as people who you can’t compromise with, which is a foreign concept in an institution like the Senate. It’s given him some backbone that he seemed to lack in the middle of the last decade.

    More than anything else, though, he reflects the sentiments of his caucus. And his caucus has moved to the left and learned to embrace a more combative style of politics. There is only so much you can do when you need the approval of people like Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, and Kent Conrad. Now he has a new generation of senators like Chris Murphy, Tammy Baldwin, Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, Sherrod Brown, Mazie Hirono, Martin Heinrich, Tom Udall, and Bernie Sanders who are pushing him hard in a different direction.

    The end result is that Harry Reid seems to be a better political leader and ally than he used to be.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Secessionists on the ballot
    12/16/13 12:46 PM—Updated 12/16/13 12:47 PM
    By Steve Benen

    It was rather unnerving to learn recently that a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Mississippi attended a neo-Confederate and pro-secessionist conference as recently as June. Molly Redden reports this morning that he’s not the only one.

    Of all the tea partiers running for Senate in 2014, Greg Brannon, a GOP primary candidate hoping to topple vulnerable North Carolina Democrat Kay Hagan, is one of the most extreme. He opposes public education, claiming it “does nothing but dehumanize” students. He doesn’t believe that states have to follow Supreme Court decisions. He contends bipartisan compromises in Washington “enslave” Americans. He hails the late Sen. Jesse Helms – who died in 2008 without ever renouncing his support for racial segregation – as a “modern hero.” He claims that “all ten of [Karl] Marx’s planks of Communism” – including the abolition of private property – “are law in our land today.”

    In October, Brannon cosponsored and spoke at a rally supporting nullification – the notion that states can invalidate federal laws at will – that was cosponsored by the League of the South, a secessionist group seeking “a free and independent Southern republic.”

    Remember, Brannon isn’t some vanity candidate, running for notoriety – a recent PPP poll showed him as the only Republican candidate leading incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan (R) in a hypothetical, general-election match-up.

    What’s more, Brannon has already been endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), among others.

    So, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Mississippi is friendly with a neo-Confederate group; a leading Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina is friendly with a secessionist group; and a Republican senator from Kentucky hired a neo-Confederate, pro-secessionist activist to help write his book and work on Capitol Hill, despite the fact that the guy used to make public appearances in a Confederate flag wrestling mask and has boasted that he “raise[s] a personal toast every May 10 to celebrate John Wilkes Booth’s birthday.”

    It’s 2013. I just thought I’d mention that.

  8. rikyrah says:

    A Bridge to Somewhere
    12/16/13 10:57 AM—Updated 12/16/13 01:24 PM
    By Steve Benen

    When the New York Times first reported on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) bridge scandal last week, it published a report on page A23. By Saturday, the controversy had worked its way to page A1.

    In other words, the political relevance of this story, which we’ve been following with great interest, appears to be increasing.

    After having brushed off the scandal as “crazy” earlier in the week, by Friday the governor was willing to concede “a mistake got made.” This is, of course, a classic of passive-voice politics – during the Bush/Cheney administration’s U.S. Attorney scandal, then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said “mistakes were made.” During the Iran-Contra affair in 1986, then-President Reagan said “mistakes were made.” In the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal, then-President Bush said, “It’s also important for the people of Iraq to know that in a democracy, everything is not perfect, that mistakes are made.”

    The problem with passive voice, of course, is that it’s intended to obscure responsibility. Christie is now prepared to admit “a mistake got made,” but the question remains: who made the mistake?

    NBC’s First Read picks up on the controversy today, highlighting this piece from New Jersey’s largest newspaper.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Obama admin has trust issues with Issa
    12/16/13 10:16 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Given House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) track record, it’s tough to blame the Obama administration for having trust issues.

    While Republicans continue to characterize as a brazen security hazard that could expose personal information to unnecessary risks, the Health and Human Services Department has its own concerns regarding a place of compromised security: the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

    For months, congressional Republicans have pushed the “security” argument: the health care exchange marketplaces, the GOP insists, put Americans’ personal health information at risk. Have there been any successful security attacks? No. Have any consumers’ personal information been jeopardized? No. But the point to scare people into avoiding the system – if Americans believe there’s a risk, maybe they’ll be more reluctant to get covered, which would further Republicans’ sabotage goals.

    In reality, however, there’s been extensive testing of to ensure security measures are in place. Issa wants “unredacted copies” of these sensitive materials, and this has caused a problem.

    These materials include information that, if leaked or misused, could cause catastrophic damage to the health care system. With that in mind, HHS has shared the information with Issa and his committee, and continue to make the documents available for committee review, but HHS won’t simply give the committee copies of dangerous information.

    As Roll Call’s report added, “Oversight and Government Reform staff have been able to review the documents in a secure space, but they have not been given copies. While they’ve had ‘in camera’ sessions with the documents at HHS, they haven’t been able to leave the building with their notes.”

    Issa isn’t satisfied. For now, HHS doesn’t care.

    And while I’m all in favor of vigorous oversight, HHS has a point. Issa has a nasty habit of carelessly leaking sensitive information – usually in the most misleading way possible – to advance partisan goals. In this case, Issa wants to sabotage “Obamacare” and wants information that would make that sabotage possible.

  10. rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s Great Depression agenda
    By Ryan Cooper
    December 16 at 12:10 pm

    Paul Ryan has set everyone’s socks ablaze with a new comment suggesting he wants to shake down the country again over the debt limit. This inevitably inspired a lot of amateur psychoanalysis attempting to figure out whether he was serious or just pandering to the base. Whether that is true is an important thing to figure out, but the deeper subtext here is that the Republican Party continues to organize itself around the kind of austerity agenda that, should they obtain enough power to implement it, would cause another recession immediately, possibly a very bad one.

    “We, as a caucus, along with our Senate counterparts, are going to meet and discuss what it is we want to get out of the debt limit,” Mr. Ryan said on Fox News Sunday. “We don’t want ‘nothing’ out of the debt limit. We’re going to decide what it is we can accomplish out of this debt limit fight.”

    The first thing that always comes to mind when top Republicans are saying crazy things is that it’s hard to know how serious they are being. As Steve Benen points out, Republicans’ last attempt to hold up the debt ceiling backfired spectacularly. It was a ransom demand so ludicrously irresponsible, so dangerous, such a violent insult to democratic legitimacy that Democrats literally had no choice other than to hold firm against it, across the board. So I suspect Steve is right when he says:

    Yesterday, Ryan raised the specter of yet another crisis, in which Republicans would threaten to hurt Americans on purpose, but here’s the thing: we now know he and his party won’t actually follow through. GOP lawmakers can hold the proverbial gun to the nation’s head, but party leaders have already made it abundantly clear that they’re not prepared to pull the trigger.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Sebelius: Issa trying to ‘stifle, intimidate’ Obamacare navigators
    By Aaron Blake
    December 16 at 10:46 am

    Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius says in a new op-ed that a House oversight committee hearing in Texas on Monday is “designed to stifle, intimidate and impugn the reputation” of Obamacare navigators.

    The hearing, which is being run by committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-Calif.), will be held in Dallas and is titled, “Who are the navigators?” Navigators are people who help others sign up for Obamacare.

    “What opponents of the new law could not do legislatively, at the ballot box, or even by shutting down the federal government, they’re now trying to do through other means,” Sebelius says in the op-ed in the Dallas Morning News. “Case in point is Monday’s congressional hearing in Dallas, designed to stifle, intimidate and impugn the reputation of people who have been working hard to help their fellow Texans get covered.

    In a dueling op-ed, Issa and Dallas-area Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) cite “numerous examples of fraudulent activity related to health navigators in Texas.”

    Issa and Sessions argue that the navigator program lacks sufficient guidelines — including by allowing non-government employees to ask people for confidential financial information and allowing convicted felons to serve as navigators.

    “Even as U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted before Congress that the lack of federal requirements raises a ‘possible’ problem, the administration has continued to call common-sense safeguards ‘cumbersome,’ ” Issa and Sessions write.

  12. rikyrah says:

    The Republican ‘Civil War’ Isn’t About Policy — It’s About Cash
    December 15th, 2013 1:58 pm @LOLGOP

    When the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) met in Washington D.C. at the beginning of December, it attracted two of the biggest stars of the conservative movement – Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

    ALEC is the Koch-inspired, corporate-backed non-profit that mocks the idea of conservatives believing in local control and states’ rights by spreading carbon-copied legislation to all 50 states that crushes workers’ rights, makes it easier to abuse animals and guts the Affordable Care Act.

    The shadowy group that attracts hundreds of state legislators to its frequent posh gatherings and sends them back to their state capitols with boilerplate legislation operated blissfully and successfully outside the public eye until the death of Trayvon Martin.

    Several corporations — including Coca-Cola, General Electric and Amazon – quit ALEC when it became clear the group had pushed the legislation that allows individuals to use deadly force to defend themselves without any requirement to retreat. Since then the non-profit has struggled with fundraising but was still able to attract Ryan and Cruz to its summit. And Cruz told the gathered attendees exactly what they wanted to hear.

    “I’ll tell you this,” he said. “My advice to ALEC is very, very simple: Stand your ground.”

    Good old Ted Cruz — willing to invoke the law that may have led to the death of an unarmed teenager to empower his corporate allies.

    Less than two weeks later, Cruz and Ryan were at separate podiums, taking opposite sides in what some are calling a “GOP Civil War.”

    The Texas senator is publicly opposing the Wisconsin congressman’s budget deal, which eases the pain of the automatic sequester cuts while increasing some fees and asking military personnel and federal workers to contribute more to their retirement.

    The agreement is $27 billion lower than what had been put forward in the original Ryan budget, which made him the champion of the far right for his willingness to propose drastic, cruel cuts while cutting taxes for the rich. But it funds Obamacare for two years and spends $33 billion more than it would if the sequester were untouched — $195 billion less than what the president proposed in his budget.

    It’s a compromise. And nobody is supposed to love compromises.

  13. rikyrah says:

    The 17 SWAG-Est Things At Joe Biden’s Private Christmas Party

    Hide yo kids, hide yo wife. posted on December 16, 2013 at 1:36pm EST

  14. rikyrah says:

    The Final Volcker Rule Gets Tough On The Risk-Taking Culture Of Wall Street

    By Tamara Fucile, Guest Blogger and Jennifer Erickson, Guest Blogger on December 11, 2013 at 9:16 am

    More than three years since enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, U.S. regulators took a significant step forward in the implementation of meaningful financial reform yesterday, as five agencies – the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission – all voted to adopt the final version of the Volcker Rule. The final rule is much stronger than the first draft in two key ways: it offers clearer and stricter definitions of what activities are not allowed at certain banks and it puts rules in place that can help change some of the riskier elements that have become a part of banking culture.

    The Volcker Rule, which was initially proposed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, seeks to stop federally insured banks from making high-risk speculative bets, known as proprietary trading, with their assets. The rule had three primary goals: 1. separate core banking services – taking deposits and making loans – from high-risk trading; 2. eliminate egregious conflicts of interest in bank trading activities; and 3. address similarly risky activities at “too big to fail” institutions.

    In short, the rule’s objective is to ensure that large financial firms are in the business of providing lending and other services to clients – businesses and families – while leaving high-risk investing to hedge funds and other private investors where major losses won’t imperil the lending that the economy needs.

    • Liza says:

      Good. Someone needs to neutralize (or maybe neuter) Issa . He is nothing but a troublemaker on a mission to find a “scandal.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    Most Influential Adult at Trinity High School? The Janitor.

    Perhaps no adult employed at Trinity High School has had more
    influence over students or changed more young lives than Charles Clark, the school’s custodian. Clark has mentored countless kids in need of a father figure at the Texas high school, even housing several of them in his home over the years. In the beginning, he took the custodial position thinking he would keep it until he found something better, but 24 years later, he still hasn’t found it.

    Now Clark, 63, has bested more than 400 teachers, administrators and school district employees from 33 states to become the “LifeChanger of the Year” Grand Prize Winner. The national award honors outstanding educators and school district employees who make a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.[….]

  16. rikyrah says:

    Minna Hong ‏@asiangrrlMN2m

    #NotYourAsianSidekick is still going strong, despite some white people’s attempt to derail it. Check it out!

  17. rikyrah says:

    The \”Stomach-Churning\” Sexual Assault Accusations Against R. Kelly
    By Jessica Hopper Mon., Dec. 16 2013 at 10:00 AM

    It\’s been nearly 15 years since music journalist Jim DeRogatis caught the story that has since defined his career, one that he wishes didn\’t exist: R. Kelly\’s sexual predation on teenage girls. Then pop critic at the Chicago Sun-Times, DeRogatis was anonymously delivered the first of two videos he would receive of the pop star engaging in sexual acts with underage girls. DeRogatis, now the host of the syndicated public radio show Sound Opinions and a professor at Columbia College, along with his former Sun-Times colleague Abdon Pallasch, didn\’t just break the story, but did the only significant reporting on the accusations against Kelly, interviewing hundreds of people over the years, including dozens of young women whose lives DeRogatis says were ruined by the singer.

    This past summer, leading up to Kelly\’s headlining performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival, DeRogatis posted a series of discussions about Kelly\’s career, the charges made against him, and sexual assault. He published a live review of the singer\’s festival set that was an indictment of Pitchfork and its audience for essentially endorsing a man he calls \”a monster.\” In the two weeks since Kelly released his latest studio album, Black Panties, the conversation about him and why he\’s gotten a pass from music publications (and even feminist sites such as Jezebel) has been rekindled, in part because of the explicit nature of the album and also in part because of online arguments around the Pitchfork festival performance.


    The saddest fact I\’ve learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody. They have any complaint about the way they are treated: they are \”bitches, hos and gold diggers,\” plain and simple. Kelly never misbehaved with a single white girl who sued him or that we know of. Mark Anthony Neal, the African American scholar, makes this point : one white girl in Winnetka and the story would have been different. No, it was young black girls and all of them settled. They settled because they felt they could get no justice whatsoever. They didn\’t have a chance.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Mandela statue unveiled on South Africa’s Reconciliation Day

    A nine-metre statue of Nelson Mandela will be unveiled Monday on a holiday dedicated to reconciliation, 24 hours after the solemn burial of the icon credited with South Africa’s peaceful transition.

    The 30-foot, bronze colossus will be officially unwrapped by President Jacob Zuma on the lawns of the Union Buildings, the seat of government in Pretoria where Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president in 1994.

    Monday’s ceremony will also mark the centenary in November of the building where apartheid-era heads of state signed off on many of the racial laws Mandela spent most of his life fighting against.

    It is at the Union Buildings that the man lovingly called the father of the nation lay in state for three days last week, as up to 100,000 people stood in hours-long queues to file past his open casket and pay their last respects.

    “The unveiling… signals the start of celebrating and living the late Madiba’s legacy and the end of the mourning period,” said a government statement — using the clan name by which the democracy icon was fondly known.

  19. Ametia says:

    Supreme Court to decide whether employees can sue over 401(k) losses

    The high court will try to clarify who is responsible when workers’ retirement plans lose money because of a drop in the employer’s stock price.

    By David G. Savage
    December 13, 2013, 6:02 p.m.

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday that it would decide whether employees who suffer big losses in retirement accounts can sue their company if it encouraged them to invest in the company’s shaky stock.

    The justices will try to clarify who is legally responsible for investment losses in an era when most workers manage their own retirement accounts but do it through a plan sponsored by their employer.

    Federal law says that administrators of an employee retirement fund have a duty to act as “prudent” trustees. But it has been unclear whether they can be held liable if workers lose much of their money because they invested unwisely. In this particular case, the employer sponsoring the retirement accounts encouraged employees to invest some or most of their money in the company’s stock.,0,592208.story#ixzz2nehwbD3d

  20. rikyrah says:

    NBC News @NBCNews 9s
    DEVELOPING: Harvard University police sweeping all buildings after reports of explosives at four campus sites

  21. rikyrah says:

    Obamacare class warfare in Kentucky
    By Greg Sargent
    December 13 at 3:13 pm

    Republicans are rolling out an attack on Obamacare that sounds a lot like the Romney 2012 “free stuff” argument. As Beth Reinhard explains in a good piece, the idea is to characterize beneficiaries of the law – particularly the Medicaid expansion — as “shiftless freeloaders” enjoying “free health care,” all ”on the backs of hardworking Americans.”

    Mitch McConnell recently derided the notion that Obamacare is a success by characterizing beneficiaries as “people signing up for something that is free.” Reinhard notes that this line “carries an unmistakable undertone of class warfare, a theme easy to exploit in states such as Kentucky, packed with low-income white voters who have a strong distaste for the federal government.”

    The handling of Obamacare by McConnell’s Dem opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, is worth considering in this context. It reflects the fact that red state Dems are approaching the health law in a more nuanced way than conventional wisdom suggests. Grimes is criticizing parts of the law, and is not embracing it — far from it. But she isn’t running from its general goals, either. Something more subtle is going on: A faulting of the Republican stance through a defense of the need to expand coverage to people who lack it — the very same beneficiaries of “free stuff” McConnell is singling out.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Crooks and Liars: When Will CNN Start Being Honest About The ACA?

    Another Sunday full of talking heads concerning their empty little selves with how Politifact’s ridiculous Lie of the Year determination might hurt Democrats.

    …. If only Politifact had been around when George W. Bush was lying to us about Iraq and WMD. Maybe we could have saved thousands of lives by opposing that war before they sent troops into that godforsaken place for no specific purpose other than settling the score and Dubya’s Daddy issues.

    Meanwhile, our panelists completely ignore the true liars in Politifact’s lie of the year: Insurers. Once again, I urge them to read the transcript of an actual telephone call which took place in 2010 luring an insured in a grandfathered plan out of that plan and into one that wasn’t grandfathered.

    • Liza says:

      “When Will CNN Start Being Honest About The ACA?”

      Hmmm, perhaps when it snows in hell or on the same day they decide to report news as factual information. Right now they are FOX-lite and rapidly becoming FOX, IMHO.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Morning Plum: Insurance industry bets on Obamacare. GOP bets on failure.
    By Greg Sargent
    December 16 at 9:09 am

    I’ve expected this for some time, and here it is: The Wall Street Journal reports that insurance companies are set to unleash hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising to entice potential customers on to the exchanges created by Obamacare. As the Journal puts it:

    Insurers … are capitalizing on an unprecedented opportunity in a shifting health-care market. Some seven million Americans are expected to buy health coverage on the new consumer exchanges, where people can compare insurance plans side by side.

    All of this was merely put on hold by the failure of the federal website, and now that it’s largely functional, these plans can proceed. All this is a reminder of just how much of a stake the industry has in the law’s success, and how much it is willing to spend to try to make that happen.

    What’s striking is that this comes even as the absolute certainty among Republicans that the law cannot do anything other than fail spectacularly — indeed, that this has already happened — has only hardened. The New York Times reports that a whole batch of Republicans who were unseated in 2012 are running again for Congress explicitly because they believe Obamacare’s failure has given them an opening — and that they have replaced their previous focus on other issues with a single minded focus on the law.

    Meanwhile, if we get a budget deal — it has passed the House, but its prospects in the Senate are uncertain — it will be partly because of GOP certainty in Obamacare’s failure. Paul Ryan is now claiming that one reason House Republicans supported the sequester replacement is so they can “focus on replacing Obamacare.” Newt Gingrich similarly asserts that budget deal is good politics for Republicans because “it strips away the danger that people will notice anything but Obamacare. And the longer the country watches Obamacare, the more likely the Democrats are to lose the Senate.”

    There is no denying that enrollment is lagging behind predictions, which could be problematic over the long term, or that the disastrous rollout could plague Democrats through the 2014 elections. A batch of new polls (noted below) is cause for concern. But the Republican strategy for 2014 seems to place all of its chips on the idea that current circumstances couldn’t possibly change.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Why there’s no Republican health care plan
    12/16/13 08:00 AM—Updated 12/16/13 08:32 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Where’s the Republican alternative to the Affordable Care Act? The question is generally best suited for milk cartons – it’s pretty clear GOP officials would love to “repeal” the federal health care law, but we’ve been waiting for years to know what they’d “replace” it with.

    This observation is an ongoing point of annoyance for the right, which is quick to argue that a variety of Republicans have presented reform plans of their own. Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist and Patrick Gleason push the argument in a new Politico piece, and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) made a related case in the Republicans’ official weekly address over the weekend.

    “There are common-sense, bipartisan solutions to our health care problems that don’t require ObamaCare’s wholesale government take-over of the system,” Toomey said. “Now, in a nutshell, we can make insurance more accessible, more affordable, and more responsive to individuals and families. And put patients and their doctors in charge of health care decisions, instead of politicians and government bureaucrats.” […]

    Toomey did not mention a specific proposal, but he voiced support for allowing people to transfer insurance from job to job and purchase it across state lines.

    And just like that, we’re reminded all over again why Republicans love to attack what exists, but struggle to craft a credible alternative of their own. Toomey still doesn’t quite understand that the Affordable Care Act is not a “wholesale government take-over” of the health care system, and more importantly, can’t get past the “nutshell” phase of the GOP’s rival policy.

    In fairness, it’s worth emphasizing that Republicans did present something resembling a health care plan in 2009. Following up on our previous coverage, GOP officials missed a series of self-imposed deadlines in 2009, but eventually threw together a half-hearted joke – the GOP “policy” largely ignored the uninsured, did nothing for those with pre-existing conditions, and offered nothing for those worried about losing coverage when it’s needed most.

    As Matt Yglesias noted at the time, the Republican approach to reform sought to create a system that “works better for people who don’t need health care services, and much worse for people who actually are sick or who become sick in the future. It’s basically a health un-insurance policy.” And as ThinkProgress added, the CBO crunched the numbers and found that the Republican alternative would leave “about 52 million” Americans without access to basic medical care.

    Pressed for some kind of alternative to Obamacare, this was the best congressional Republicans could do.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Buzz at Pennsylvania Society gathering is about A.G. Kane
    By Amy Worden and Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Staff Writers
    Posted: December 15, 2013

    NEW YORK The annual migration of the commonwealth’s wealthiest and most powerful – otherwise known as the Pennsylvania Society gathering – roared into Manhattan this weekend.

    This year’s event was supposed to be about the governor’s race – and the question of whether Gov. Corbett will be able to overcome sagging public approval ratings to earn another term in office. Most of the Democratic candidates vying for his job made the trek to hold fund-raisers and rub elbows with potential supporters and influential advocacy groups.

    Yet it was speculation about the political future of a relative newcomer to the political scene with star-power polling that got the most tongues wagging.

    The subject of bar-side talk at most of the soirees was Attorney General Kathleen Kane. The question: Is she eyeing a run for Senate in 2016 against Republican Pat Toomey?

    The talk was so rampant Friday night that Democrats and Republicans alike groused that Kane, one of the state’s biggest headline-makers in her first year in office, was shifting the focus away from what is shaping up to be one of the toughest second-term races for a Pennsylvania governor.

    The speculation was another indication Kane is perhaps the Democrat to watch in the next few years. Those who know her say Kane wanted to send the message to donors and the political class to hold off on committing to any specific Senate candidate.

  26. rikyrah says:

    President Obama nominates the first ever female 4-star Navy admiral
    •Michelle Howard is not only female, she is an African American
    •’For some of the sailors, it was a big deal—not because of the woman thing, but because of the African-American thing,’ she told
    •Howard is famous for helping to win back Captain Richard Phillips when he was taken hostage by Somali pirates in 2009 and is part if the inspiration for the film Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks
    By Alexandra Klausner
    PUBLISHED: 23:58 EST, 13 December 2013 | UPDATED: 09:19 EST, 14 December 2013

    The United States named a new Full Admiral in Washington, D.C. Friday–and it’s an African American woman. She’s will be the first ever female in Naval history to win a fourth star assuming the Senate approves President Obama’s nomination. The Navy announced her nomination in an official release.

    Vice admiral Michelle Howard,53, is currently the deputy chief of naval operations, plans, and strategy.She will serve as the Navy’s second ranking officer, vice chief of naval operations, just a single step below the Navy’s top officer, the chief of naval operations.

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

  27. rikyrah says:

    December 16, 2013 9:02 AM
    See You In Hell, Granny-Starver
    By Ed Kilgore

    Before the lusty cheers from Beltway pundits celebrating the end of the Tea Party and all that other right-wing unpleasantness had entirely faded from the air, we learned from the Wall Street Journal’s Damian Paletta that the great statesman who coauthored the budget agreement the Senate is considering today has some nasty plans for the new year:

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) signaled that Republicans would not raise the debt ceiling next year without some sort of concessions from Democrats, saying lawmakers were still crafting their strategy.

    “We, as a caucus, along with our Senate counterparts, are going to meet and discuss what it is we want to get out of the debt limit,” Mr. Ryan said on Fox News Sunday. “We don’t want ‘nothing’ out of the debt limit. We’re going to decide what it is we can accomplish out of this debt limit fight.”

    Ryan’s budget deal partner Sen. Patty Murray reacted to this news as one might address someone with a chronic illness in remission:

    Democrats are likely to repeat their insistence that they will not negotiate cuts in exchange for a debt ceiling increase, but they haven’t rushed Republicans so far.

    “I don’t think that our country wants to see another crisis and to send our country into a tailspin,” Ms. Murray said Sunday on NBC. “And, so, we’ll take that road when we get there.”

    It’s understandable at this delicate moment that Murray would want to treat Ryan charitably. But since we’ve just pretty recently seen that calling the Republicans’ bluff on debt limit threats is the first successful Democratic strategy on the subject, the time will come pretty soon when the White House and congressional Democrats are going to have to reassert a united front against any negotiations over a debt limit increase. They’re going to have to be willing to look Paul Ryan in the eye and (using the affectionate nickname developed for him by Esquire’s Charles Pierce) say: “We’ll see you in Hell, Granny-Starver, before we give you a thing in exchange for a debt limit increase.”

  28. rikyrah says:

    The Problem With BeyHive Bottom Bitch Feminism

    In Pimp Theory, a “bottom bitch” is the one in the whores’
    hierarchy who rides hardest for her man. She’s the rock of every hustler economy and her primary occupation is keeping other ho’s in check and gettin’ that money. She isn’t trying to elevate the status of her sister ho’s. She isn’t looking to transform pimp culture. The bottom bitch is a token who is allowed symbolic power, which she uses to discipline, advocate for, represent and advance the domain of the stable. In pop culture, she represents the trope of the chosen black female, loyal to her man and complicit in her own commodification.

    In hip hop vernacular she has emerged as the “Boss Bitch” or “Bawse”, titles you’ll hear used liberally across urban/pop discourses – from the streets to rappers to the hip hop, basketball and ATL housewives. What she represents is an appearance of power within a
    structure of male dominance, but in reality this “power” is merely
    vicarious and not a positional power in and of itself

    Admittedly, bottom bitch is an unfortunate metaphor to use for framing conversations about Beyonce, but when you’re married to “Big Pimp’n” and his cameo on your new self-titled album, coined a “feminist masterpiece,” is all about how he gon’

    Catch a charge, I might, beat the box up like Mike…

    I’m like Ike Turner

    Baby know I don’t play, now eat the cake Annie Mae

    Said, eat the cake, Annie Mae

    you leave us no choice. When elements of the feminist community rise up to applaud your simplistic, pro-capitalist, structurally violent sampling of feminism, the metaphor becomes even more relevant. Moreover, we’re concerned that the capitalist ethics of mainstream hip hop has seduced feminist allies into flirting with bottom bitch feminism in their silencing of those who would critique Bey and the systemic violence she represents.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan Threatens President Obama and America With the Debt Limit
    By: Jason Easley more from Jason Easley
    Sunday, December, 15th, 2013, 7:07 pm

    Paul Ryan Threatens President Obama and America With the Debt Limit
    By: Jason Easley more from Jason Easley
    Sunday, December, 15th, 2013, 7:07 pm

    Paul Ryan showed his true colors today by threatening the economy, and confirming that Republicans will demanding ransom in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.

    There’s the Paul Ryan that we all know. For a man who is obsessed with makers and takers, Ryan spends a lot of time dreaming of how he can get something extra for doing his job. It turns out all of the bipartisanship surrounding the budget deal was just for show. The real prize for Ryan and the House Republicans is the debt ceiling.

    Rep. Ryan was doing his song and dance about our long term debt problem, which translated means Social Security and Medicare. Republicans have already gutted food stamps, energy assistance, and much of the safety net, but it’s Social Security and Medicare that they’ve wanted to take apart all along.

    Ryan and the Republicans are back to issuing threats against the economy. I am not sure what Democrats were trying to accomplish with the budget deal. Except for avoiding a government shutdown next year and getting a small percentage of the sequester lifted, they didn’t get much.

    Democrats cut a deal so that they could end up back where they started. Republicans are plotting against the economy, and President Obama will have to stand up and say no.

  30. rikyrah says:

    In all of 2012, health insurers spent $216 million advertising on local television stations. But that’s nothing compared to what they’re about to spend. According to trade association TVB, insurers will spend more than $500 million on local television ads in 2014. And that’s to say nothing of cable television ads and social media campaigns.
    Insurers look at these next few years as a gold rush. Tens of millions of people will be buying private insurance of the exchanges. It’s a swarm of customers like nothing they’ve ever seen. And they plan to capture them — even if they need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to do so.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that WellPoint has been holding off “on a planned campaign as problems with the website made it impossible for many consumers to sign up.” But now that HealthCare.Gov is more or less working the insurance giant plans to spend $100 million by the end of the year.

    These ads aren’t just a boon to local television stations. They’re a boon to the new health law which’ll be promoted in a sustained ad campaign that rivals the presidential election in size and scale. The ads won’t be specifically about Obamacare, of course — they’re about brand building for WellPoint and Cigna and others insurers — but many of the ads will tell consumers where they can go to buy this wonderful product they’ve just heard such glowing things about. Many of the ads will capture the eye of someone who knows they need to buy insurance before tax time but hasn’t quite gotten around to doing it. And then it will direct them to their local exchange, or at least to their insurer’s Web site.
    The fact that the insurers are launching their campaigns is also independent confirmation that HealthCare.Gov is rapidly improving. major insurers are virtually the only group aside from the federal government that has real visibility into the functioning of Obamacare’s digital architecture.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Why Obama’s Haters Are Worse Than Bush’s
    The left’s critics of the Bush presidency are no match to today’s paranoid right, as this week’s insane innuendo—from the Hawaii plane crash to The Handshake—perfectly illustrates.
    By Michael Tomasky
    December 14th 20135:45 am

    In fact, both sides do different things. My assertion is this: Baseless left-wing attacks on Republicans differ in character from baseless right-wing attacks on Democrats in two ways. First, most liberal-left attacks on Republicans are more political than cultural, while virtually all right-wing attacks on Democrats are about culture. And second, those liberal-left attacks that are about culture tend to be mocking in tone, expressing derision, while the right’s attacks are fearful, expressing deep paranoia.

    Let’s take them one by one. Bush and his top men were often called fascists on the left. That’s an attack that certainly has its cultural elements, but it is first and foremost political. The worst thing people on the left could think to do, in other words—call Bush a fascist—is a political smear, not a cultural one. This reflects the way most people on the left see the world—through a political lens primarily, and through a cultural one only secondarily. There are exceptions to this, but in the main, for the broad liberal-left, politics is primarily about politics, not culture.

    On the right, politics is much more about culture, because the right feels itself to be an aggrieved minority whose culture (industriousness, self-reliance, Godliness, etc.) is under constant attack from the libertines and relativists, who of course far outnumber and surround the righteous few. Culture is where people on the right live, and so the worst thing they can think to do is to make attacks that are about culture, about the Democrats hating God, destroying America, and so on.

    Sometimes, of course, the left goes cultural. Calling Bush a chimp and an idiot and a cowboy, say; those trafficked in liberals’ stereotypes about Texans, Southerners in general, back-slapping oil men, and so on (well, chimp just had to do with certain facial features). That wasn’t nice, I suppose, but here’s the thing. It was done to laugh at him.

    By and large, the right doesn’t laugh at Obama. Oh, sometimes. There’s the absurd teleprompter meme from early on, which held that he couldn’t put two sentences together without huge transcripts placed in front of him. And there’s a strain of criticism that he’s in over his head. But those tropes are far outweighed by the ones that assign to Obama a world-historical level of devious intelligence—indeed, he’s so maliciously brilliant that he managed to fake a birth certificate decades ago, all as just the opening salvo of a grand scheme to bring America and/or the white race to ruin.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Wisconsin Democrat who infiltrated ALEC: ‘They don’t want people involved in the political process’
    By Theresa Riley, Bill Moyers & Company
    Friday, August 16, 2013 12:56 EST

    Representative Chris Taylor is a Democrat elected to the Wisconsin legislature in 2011. Last week, she attended the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual conference in Chicago. Writing about her experience at The Progressive magazine’s website, she describes her experience inside the “ALEC universe” and writes: “ALEC members have been quietly working out of the public eye to develop their agenda so that when given the opportunity, they are ready to start creating an ALEC nation. That time has come. And they are ready.”

    We caught up with her by phone back in Wisconsin to talk about what she found out about the conservative policy-making machine.

    Riley: Why did you want to attend the conference? What did you hope to achieve there?

    Taylor: I’m very new in the legislature. I came in the middle of last term. So I missed a lot of the Act 10 [debate]. I was working on various issues when all of that was going on. But I wanted to learn more. I wanted to have a better understanding of the group, so that I could, when I needed to, fight some of these very regressive policies better.

    I think it’s so incredibly important for people to understand where these [model] bills are coming from and try to understand the rationale. I was quite blown away by the extent of where [Wisconsin] policy is coming from, because so much of it is coming from this group.

    Riley: ALEC conferences are known for being very security conscious. Were you incognito? Did you wear a badge with your party affiliation?

    Taylor: No. I did wear a badge with my name and that I was a Wisconsin legislator. Every person there had a badge on. When you registered you had to present ID, which is really unusual. I mean I’ve been to conferences throughout my whole life, I’ve never had to present an ID. There was a big assumption that I was a Republican. Every person I talked to assumed that I was a Republican

  33. rikyrah says:

    #BoycottKoch @GoodbyeKoch
    #ALEC member says voters are irrelevant: “You just need control over the legislature & you need money..we have both”

    5:08 AM – 12 Dec 2013

  34. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

  35. Yahtc says:

    Published on Oct 12, 2013 by SteppStewartShow
    Stepp Stewart (The Dr. Oz Show) Presents a Holiday Musical Spectacular in The Atlanta Area. A Soulful Christmas is a musical journey back in time. Produced, Directed, & Choreographed by Stepp Stewart. Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center. Decatur, GA . The largest African American Holiday Stage musical to date.

  36. Yahtc says:

    “At South L.A. mall, a Claus with quite an effect”
    Langston Patterson is the main attraction at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza at Christmas: a rare black Santa in a sea of white ones.,0,4464242.story?track=rss#axzz2ndyiu1Vx

  37. Yahtc says:

    Teacher to student: You can’t be Santa — you’re black!

    7:45 AM EST, Mon December 16, 2013

    This is inexcusable!!!

  38. Yahtc says:

  39. rikyrah says:

    I love love love this song.

    You have been SO rocking this Christmas music, SG2. Totally been enjoying it.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  41. Yahtc says:

    Founder’s Descendants Weigh In On Cemetery Discovered Beneath Queen Village Playground

  42. Yahtc says:

    Good Morning Everyone :)

    Christmas Album – Nat King Cole (Full Album)

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