Sunday Open Thread | Lionel Richie Week

We continue with Lionel Richie.


Jesus is Love.

First, with the Commodores.

Then, at the Michael Jackson Memorial Service.

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46 Responses to Sunday Open Thread | Lionel Richie Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    been watching Beachfront Bargain Hunt on HGTV this afternoon..


  2. rikyrah says:

    Media Alert.

    Kennedy Center Honors tonight on CBS at 9 pm EST

  3. rikyrah says:

    Koch brothers’ AFP takes the low road
    12/27/13 02:30 PM—Updated 12/27/13 05:12 PM
    By Steve Benen

    If casual viewers catch the ad by accident, they might think the commercial supports the Affordable Care Act. Randy Westby says in the spot, “I’ve had three heart attacks in the last six years. Health care is something that’s essential. My life depends on it.”

    Right, which is all the more reason that “Obamacare” is likely to be a life-saving law for millions of Americans. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Westby won’t have to worry about being denied coverage due to his pre-existing condition; he’ll have peace of mind knowing that he’ll still have insurance even if he loses or changes his job; and he can take comfort in knowing, no matter how serious his heart ailments, he won’t face annual or lifetime limits. For a person in Westby’s position, a law like this is arguably a godsend – his life, as he says in the ad, may very well depend on having access to quality, affordable care.

    But as it turns out, Westby is actually the star of a new right-wing attack ad, created by the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, and targeting Rep. Rick Nolan (D) in Minnesota’s 8th district. Apparently, according to the ad, Westby is in that small sliver of the population that received cancellation notices as part of reforms to the individual, non-group market.

    George Zornick is asking the right questions.

    [W]as Westby able to find another plan? … The ad doesn’t tell us if Westby is one of those people.

    Nor does it note that he can’t be disqualified from any of the plans on the exchanges because of his preexisting condition – and three heart attacks in six years is one heck of a preexisting condition. Are the plans available to him cheaper than what he had before? How much better is the coverage? We don’t know, although given Westby’s medical history and apparent age, it seems he is exactly the type of person most likely to benefit from how the new individual market is structured.

    When local reporters reached out to Westby to find out more about his circumstances, and to confirm the accuracy of the ad itself, he refused interview requests, which is certainly his right, but which leaves relevant questions about his argument unanswered.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Franken’s mental health bill faces far-right holds
    12/27/13 12:30 PM—Updated 12/27/13 02:03 PM
    By Steve Benen

    Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has made mental health legislation one of the central elements of his legislative efforts and appears to have come up with a sensible proposal: the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act.

    The bill authorizes $40 million to extend funding for mental health courts for five years, creates more crisis intervention teams to work closely with police, and offers veterans better screening for mental health problems stemming from trauma and chemical dependency.

    Police academies would be able to strengthen training programs for new officers on effective responses to mentally ill people they encounter on the street, and increased screening services would be used to better evaluate the mental health of new inmates. […]

    Franken said the bill particularly recognizes that veterans with mental health issues should be accorded special consideration if they find themselves in the criminal justice system after committing a nonviolent crime.

    On the surface, the bill’s prospects looked encouraging, at least as of a couple of months ago. Franken’s bill has 30 co-sponsors in the Senate, for example, nearly half of whom are Republicans. What’s more, there’s a companion bill in the House, sponsored by Rep. Rich Nugent, a Florida Republican. Proponents have worked under the assumption for months that the package could reach the floor in both chambers will minimal opposition.

    But before the Senate broke for the holidays, Franken discovered that his bill has been blocked by two colleagues who placed a “hold” on the legislation. While the senator didn’t identify the members behind the hold, the Minneapolis Star Tribune learned that the two opponents are Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

    And why, pray tell, would Coburn and Lee oppose a bipartisan measure filled with sensible measures related to mental health? Because they “believe that states should govern how mentally ill people are treated.”

  5. rikyrah says:

    So much for private-sector perfection
    12/27/13 11:45 AM—Updated 12/27/13 02:02 PM
    By Steve Benen

    A couple of months ago, at the height of the Affordable Care Act’s online difficulties, one of the more common questions related to the nature of government itself: if online commerce works wonderfully in the private sector, why did fail so severely, at least initially, in the public sector?

    Even the Obama administration bought into the underlying argument, with HHS boasting that officials have acted with “private-sector speed and focus” and operated with “private-sector velocity and effectiveness.”

    The assumptions about businesses’ inherent efficacy are dubious for a variety of reasons – not the least of which is the fact that it was private-sector contractors that helped create the health care website’s troubles in the first place – but they look especially out of place now. Some of the same companies that were held out as models of efficiency and productivity –, UPS, Wal-Mart, FedEx, etc. – struggled badly through the holidays and fell far short of consumers’ expectations when it came to delivering gifts in time for Christmas.

    It’s hard to blame Alec MacGillis for celebrating the “comeuppance for private-sector triumphalists.”

  6. rikyrah says:

    A Vintage Cocktail for Kwanzaa From America’s First African American Cocktillian
    by LeNell Camacho Santa Ana
    on 12/26/13 at 07:00 PM

    After a big dinner, we enjoy mixing up a classic digestive cocktail known as the Stinger. Inevitably, we all end up in the library with drinks in hand. We keep a framed image of a distinguished looking gentleman among our cocktail books. This encourages guests to ask about his identity and opens up conversation to educate people on the first African American cocktail book author in known American history–Tom Bullock.

    Not much is known about Mr. Bullock. He appears to have been born in Kentucky to a freed married couple in 1873.

    He made bartending fame at the Pendennis Club in Louisville as well as the St. Louis Country Club.

    He served quite a few powerful people, including George Herbert Walker, the grandfather of our 41st President George Herbert Walker Bush, who was such a fan he wrote the forward in Mr. Bullock’s book.

    The earliest Stinger recipe we have in our cocktail book collection goes back to Tom Bullock’s The Ideal Bartender published in 1917. The Stinger is an after-dinner drink typically made with brandy, though various other liquors can be substituted. Mr. Bullock instructs to make a stinger in the following manner:

    Read More

  7. rikyrah says:

    Christie aides ‘knew full well’ about traffic chaos
    12/27/13 10:30 AM—Updated 12/27/13 01:49 PM
    By Steve Benen

    On the first day of school in September, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) top aides at the Port Authority shut down local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, soon after the community’s mayor refused to endorse the governor’s re-election campaign. The Bergen Record reported this week that the Christie administration knew well in advance what was likely to happen to the community (via Amanda Terkel).

    The mayor of Fort Lee, frustrated by increasing traffic leading to the George Washington Bridge, wrote to Governor Christie’s top appointee at the Port Authority in November 2010 to plead for help easing the gridlock.

    But nearly three years later, that Port Authority official and another high-ranking Christie appointee quietly closed two local access lanes to the bridge without notifying the mayor or other borough officials, exacerbating the traffic problems. […]

    The three-page letter by Mayor Mark Sokolich to former Port Authority Executive Director Bill Baroni, who recently resigned, is the clearest indication yet that Christie’s appointees at the agency were aware of the borough’s sensitivities to congestion before ordering the lane diversions that are at the center of the controversy. The letter indicates that Baroni met with Sokolich face to face in September 2010 to discuss the traffic issues and that he told Sokolich to contact him in the future “to address any concerns or grievances.” Sokolich has said he was ignored by the authority during the September lane closings.

    The local paper obtained the 2010 letter through a public-records request.

    “The mayor’s letter to Bill Baroni demonstrates that Baroni knew full well the traffic chaos that would result from the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge,” state Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D) said in a statement. “It adds to the growing evidence of poor management by the governor’s top appointees to the Port Authority, men who are among New Jersey’s highest paid public employees…. How the governor can continue to defend such behavior is beyond my comprehension.”

  8. rikyrah says:

    GOP ‘confronting a new reality’ on healthcare
    12/27/13 09:30 AM—Updated 12/27/13 11:42 AM
    By Steve Benen

    The Obama administration won’t have an official announcement on December’s health care enrollment numbers for a few more weeks, but chances are good that we’ll see a spike in the number of newly enrollment Americans. At the end of November, the Affordable Care Act had helped bring coverage to about 1.2 million people; by the end of this month, that total will include millions more.

    And with each new enrollment, it slowly dawns on congressional Republicans that the larger calculus has changed in fundamental ways. Jonathan Weisman reported overnight that GOP policymakers are “confronting a new reality.”

    The enrollment figures may be well short of what the Obama administration had hoped for. But the fact that a significant number of Americans are now benefiting from the program is resulting in a subtle shift among Republicans.

    “It’s no longer just a piece of paper that you can repeal and it goes away,” said Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin and a Tea Party favorite. “There’s something there. We have to recognize that reality. We have to deal with the people that are currently covered under Obamacare.”

    And that underscores a central fact of American politics since Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act during the Depression: Once a benefit has been bestowed, it is nearly impossible to take it away.

    Quite right. The Republican repeal crusade, whether the party wants to admit it or not, is over. Sure, Boehner & Co. can schedule a few dozen more repeal votes to help Tea Partiers feel warm and fuzzy, but even that’s less likely in light of the millions of consumers who’ve signed up for coverage – in an election year, candidates don’t generally thrive running on a platform that says, “Vote for me so I can take health care benefits away from your family.”

    Indeed, GOP officials are desperate to talk about the “cancellation notices” a small sliver of the population received, but it gets a little tricky for these same Republicans to draw up plans to cancel millions more health care plans on purpose.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Seeing the positive changes brought by the federal health law

    Despite a troubled rollout, as many as 20 million people have gained access to coverage. But GOP lawmakers have blocked wider access to Medicaid, and House Republicans’ hostility is making it impossible to fix flaws.

    By Michael Hiltzik
    December 29, 2013, 5:00 a.m.

    This was the year that millions of Americans learned that health insurance is complicated. The landscape they discovered is ugly.

    Paying a premium doesn’t mean your costs are over. Lower premiums mean higher deductibles, higher fees at the doctor’s office, higher prescription costs. You may have to pay more to see a certain doctor or go to a certain hospital.

    After New Year’s Day 2014, the discoveries will keep coming, when many of the newly insured use their policies for the first time. They may wonder, Why am I getting a bill? And, Why is it still so high?
    And many may blame this curious, largely mythical beast called Obamacare, even though these features have been baked into the American healthcare system for years, even decades.

    What they will be discovering is that the American way of health coverage is close to the worst and costliest in the developed world. The Affordable Care Act puts a dent in both those features, but doesn’t eliminate them. During 2014, the country will finally start coming to grips with what to do about the features of American healthcare that haven’t been measurably improved by the new law. And at the same time, the process of fixing the act’s existing flaws will begin — or rather, continue.

    “It’s important that people realize this is a multi-year process,” says Timothy S. Jost, a healthcare expert at Washington and Lee University. “I feel we’re bottoming out this year in terms of the disruption of change.” The hard work, he says, still lies ahead.

    It’s crucial that Americans don’t allow the disruptions to obscure the positive changes already wrought by the Affordable Care Act, including access to insurance for as many as 20 million people previously locked out of the system by high costs and medical conditions.,0,1425488.column#ixzz2oudp4PpX

  10. rikyrah says:

    Anyone remember that story of the HBCU that was bitching about ‘ having’ to drop healthcare for their students because of Obamacare?

    How many folks said that they were doing it because what they sold before was nothing but shyt, and a scam?

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

    The ACA is killing off a college plague: junk student insurance

    One type of junk health insurance that the ACA is doing away with is the
    kind of crappy policy that many colleges used to push on their
    students. (There is one loophole extended to Jan. 1, 2015, explained below.) BusinessWeek exposed this scam in 2008:

    More than half of the insurance plans recommended by colleges offer
    benefits of $30,000 or less, according to a survey published in March by
    the General Accounting Office, an arm of Congress. Many plans have
    further limits that prevent payout of even modest maximums. While
    two-thirds of the country’s more than 17 million college students have
    coverage from a parent’s employer or their own job, many of the rest may
    be vulnerable if they suffer a serious illness or accident. With
    premiums and restrictions increasing under employer-provided plans, a
    growing number of parents are shifting children to college-sponsored
    coverage. But “when a student gets gravely sick, $30,000 in benefits is
    unrealistically low,” says Alan Sager, a professor at Boston
    University’s School of Public Health.

    Indeed. BusinessWeek reporters Ben Elgin and Jessica
    Silver-Greenberg spotlighted a 19 year-old college kid who came down
    with a rare nervous system disease, for which the college plan, offered
    by UnitedHealthcare, reimbursed just $22,800 of the $206,325 bill for 19
    days of intensive care (ultimately leaving the family on the hook for
    $265,000 in hospital and doctor bills).

    The ACA banned lifetime coverage caps upon passage and phased out annual caps. This year, colleges were allowed to cap coverage at $500,000 for a year; as of January 1, annual caps are illegal.

    College health insurance plans are exempt from certain ACA requirements — for example, they don’t have to guarantee coverage to plan members who lose their student status, and insurers are allowed to maintain a separate risk pool for college plan members, rather than including them in the general individual market risk pool. But as of January 1, 2014, student health insurance plans must cover all essential health benefits mandated by the ACA, including free preventive (e.g., contraceptive) services.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Beneath health law’s botched rollout is basic benefit for millions of uninsured Americans

    By Lena H. Sun and Amy Goldstein, Published: December 28

    Adam Peterson’s life is about to change. For the first time in years, he is planning to do things he could not have imagined. He intends to have surgery to remove his gallbladder, an operation he needs to avoid another trip to the emergency room. And he’s looking forward to running a marathon in mid-January along the California coast without constant anxiety about what might happen if he gets injured.

    These plans are possible, says Peterson, who turned 50 this year and co-manages a financial services firm in Champaign, Ill., because of a piece of plastic the size of a credit card that arrived in the mail the other day: a health insurance card.

    Peterson is among the millions of uninsured Americans who are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law that launched far-reaching changes to the U.S. health-care system and is President Obama’s premier domestic achievement.

    These beneficiaries have not been oblivious to the problems of the new insurance exchanges, including a rollout so botched that Obama called it his biggest mistake of the year. Many, including Peterson, had firsthand encounters with the error-prone federal Web site,, that tested their patience and resolve. Some called help lines that couldn’t help them. Others drove long distances to meet with trained enrollment workers who couldn’t get them enrolled. Yet they persisted.

  12. Chant of the Sun, Tatanka Indian Spirit

    I love this so much. It touches my soul.

  13. Ametia says:

    More Than 1.1 Million Sign Up Via ObamaCare Website

    The Obama administration said this morning more than 1.1 million people enrolled in a health plan on the federal exchange from October 1 to December 24, the last day consumers could sign up for coverage effective Jan. 1, 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.

    The bulk of the enrollment came in December alone after the web site was largely fixed to allow more people to sign up.

  14. Ametia says:

    The 50 Dumbest Tweets of 2013


    15. RT @ChoColateDripz: ANOTHER TERRACE ATTACK!!! When will it STOP???!!!! The Devil stay busy

    Balcony attacks are even worse! Hide ya blinds, hide ya curtains. -____-

  15. rikyrah says:

    Yesterday was 50 degrees.


    My fingers nearly froze taking the groceries out of the car. It’s that bone chilling cold.

    Tomorrow, I’m going to have to break out my Eskimo coat….sigh…

    I’ve decided to make some beef stew.

  16. Ametia says:

    Facebook is ‘dead and buried’, replaced by simpler networks, study finds

    A study of how older teenagers use social media has found Facebook is “not just on the slide, it is basically dead and buried” and is being replaced by simpler social networks such as Twitter and Snapchat, an expert has claimed.

    Young people now see the site as “uncool” and keep their profiles live purely to stay in touch with older relations, among whom it remains popular.

    Read more:

  17. On This Day: In 1890 the Wounded Knee Massacre happened near Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota, USA.

    • Disaster at Wounded Knee

      Such violent conflicts were common throughout many territories, and it was not long before the last official military action against Native Americans took place on December 29, 1890. Government officials banned a growing religion known as the Ghost Dance on a South Dakota reservation that month.

      As part of the crackdown against the Ghost Dance, the army arrested Chief Big Foot and his Lakota tribesmen and confined them to a camp near Wounded Knee Creek. The day after the arrest, the military attempted to recover the prisoner’s weapons. A gun was accidentally discharged and soldiers opened fire. When the shooting stopped, more than 300 Lakota Indians were dead.

      The massacre exemplified a culture at war with the Native Americans on various fronts. Books such as Recollections of a Virginian in the Mexican, Indian, and Civil Wars (1894) describes the physical and psychological warfare involved in fighting Native Americans in the territories:

      He told me he hanged all of his prisoners, because the Indians had a great and superstitious horror of hanging; for they believe that no man’s soul will be received into the happy hunting grounds that does not pass through the throat, which is impossible when that route is closed by a rope; it must seek another road of exit, and all such souls are rejected at the gates of Paradise. He said a fine moral effect was produced upon the Indians by this method of execution.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning Everyone!

  19. Yahtc says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

    Beautiful post, rikyrah. I had never heard the song that Lionel Richie sings here.

    Father, help your children
    And don’t let them fall
    By the side of the road

    And teach them
    To love one another
    That heaven might find
    A place in their hearts

    ‘Cause Jesus is love
    He won’t let you down
    And I know He’s mine forever
    Oh, in my heart

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