Tuesday Open Thread | Gospel Music Week: Mahalia Jackson

You can’t have a week about Gospel without having the woman who brought Gospel Music to the masses around the world: Mahalia Jackson.

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Mahalia Jackson (/məˈheɪljə/ mə-HAYL-yə; October 26, 1911[1] – January 27, 1972) was an American gospel singer. Possessing a powerful contralto voice,[2] she was referred to as “The Queen of Gospel”.[1][3][4] Jackson became one of the most influential gospel singers in the world and was heralded internationally as a singer and civil rights activist. She was described by entertainer Harry Belafonte as “the single most powerful black woman in the United States”.[5] She recorded about 30 albums (mostly for Columbia Records) during her career, and her 45 rpm records included a dozen “golds”—million-sellers.

“I sing God’s music because it makes me feel free,” Jackson once said about her choice of gospel, adding, “It gives me hope. With the blues, when you finish, you still have the blues.”[6]

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1950s–1970s

In 1950, Jackson became the first gospel singer to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall when Joe Bostic produced the Negro Gospel and Religious Music Festival.[citation needed] She started touring Europe in 1952 and was hailed by critics as the “world’s greatest gospel singer”.[citation needed] In Paris she was called the Angel of Peace, and throughout the continent she sang to capacity audiences. The tour, however, had to be cut short due to exhaustion. Jackson began a radio series on CBS and signed to Columbia Records in 1954. A writer for Down Beat music magazine stated on November 17, 1954: “It is generally agreed that the greatest spiritual singer now alive is Mahalia Jackson.”[15] Her debut album for Columbia was The World’s Greatest Gospel Singer, recorded in 1954, followed by a Christmas album called Sweet Little Jesus Boy and Bless This House in 1956.

With her mainstream success, Jackson was criticized by some gospel purists who complained about her hand-clapping and foot-stomping and about her bringing “jazz into the church”.[16] Jackson had many notable accomplishments during this period, including her performance of many songs in the 1958 film St. Louis Blues and singing “Trouble of the World” in 1959’s Imitation of Life, recording with Percy Faith. When Mahalia Jackson recorded The Power and the Glory with Faith, the orchestra arched their bows to honor her in solemn recognition of her great voice.[citation needed] She was the main attraction in the first gospel music showcase at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1957, which was organized by Joe Bostic and recorded by the Voice of America and performed again in 1958 (Newport 1958). She was also present at the opening night of Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music in December 1957.[17] In 1961, she sang at U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball. She recorded her second Christmas album Silent Night (Songs for Christmas) in 1962. By this time, she had also become a familiar face to British television viewers as a result of short films of her performing that were occasionally shown.

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At the March on Washington in 1963, she sang in front of 250,000 people “How I Got Over” and “I’ve Been ‘Buked and I’ve Been Scorned”. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech there. She also sang “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” at his funeral after he was assassinated in 1968.[18] Jackson sang to crowds at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and was accompanied by “wonderboy preacher” Al Sharpton.[19] She toured Europe again in 1961 (Recorded Live in Europe 1961), 1963–1964, 1967, 1968 and 1969. In 1970, she performed for Liberian President William Tubman.

Jackson’s last album was What The World Needs Now (1969). The next year, in 1970, Jackson and Louis Armstrong performed “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” and “When the Saints Go Marching In” together. She ended her career in 1971 with a concert in Germany, and when she returned to the U.S., made one of her final television appearances on The Flip Wilson Show. Jackson devoted much of her time and energy to helping others. She established the Mahalia Jackson Scholarship Foundation for young people who wanted to attend college. For her efforts in helping international understanding, she received the Silver Dove Award. Chicago remained her home until the end. She opened a beauty parlor and a florist shop with her earnings, while also investing in real estate ($100,000 a year at her peak).[20]
Civil rights movement

Jackson was known to have played an important role during the civil rights movement. In August 1956, she met Ralph Abernathy and Martin Luther King, Jr. at the National Baptist Convention.[21][18] A few months later, both King and Abernathy contacted her about coming to Montgomery, Alabama, to sing at a rally to raise money for the bus boycott. They also hoped she would inspire the people who were getting discouraged with the boycott.[21]

Despite death threats, Mahalia Jackson agreed to sing in Montgomery. Her concert was on December 6, 1956. By then, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in Browder v. Gayle that bus segregation was unconstitutional. In Montgomery, the ruling was not yet put into effect, so the bus boycott continued. At this concert she sang “I’ve Heard of a City called Heaven”, “Move On Up a Little Higher” and “Silent Night”. There was a good turnout at the concert and they were happy with the amount of money raised. However, when she returned to the Abernathy’s home, it had been bombed. The boycott finally ended on December 21, 1956, when federal injunctions were served, forcing Montgomery to comply with the court ruling.[21]

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Although she was internationally known and had moved up to the northern states, she still encountered racial prejudice. One account of this was when she tried to buy a house in Chicago. Everywhere she went, the white owners and real estate agents would turn her away, claiming the house had already been sold or they changed their minds about selling. When she finally found a house, the neighbors were not happy. Shots were fired at her windows and she had to contact the police for protection. White families started moving out and black families started moving in. Everything remained the same in her neighborhood except for the skin color of the residents.[21]

King and Abernathy continued to protest segregation. In 1957, they founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The first major event sponsored by the SCLC was the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in Washington, D.C., on May 17, 1957, the third anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.[21] From this point forward, she appeared often with King, singing before his speeches and for SCLC fundraisers. In a 1962 SCLC press release, King wrote Jackson had “appeared on numerous programs that helped the struggle in the South, but now she has indicated that she wants to be involved on a regular basis”.[18] Jesse Jackson said when King called on her, she never refused, traveling with him to the deepest parts of the segregated south.[22]

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Jackson performed “I Been ‘Buked and I Been Scorned” before Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, where she also urged Dr. King to “Tell them about the dream”.[23]

Jackson said she hoped her music could “break down some of the hate and fear that divide the white and black people in this country”.[24] She also contributed financially to the movement.[18]

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Who didn’t have a church fan with Mahalia Jackson on it?

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61 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | Gospel Music Week: Mahalia Jackson

  1. rikyrah says:

    Friday, February 14, 2014
    Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Richard Sherman, Barack Obama: White America’s Historic Problem With ‘Arrogant’ Black People

    In the era of Trayvon Martin, Troy Davis, and ominous Stand Your Ground laws, the above account is painfully familiar.

    Now, consider the following:

    Dunn has testified he described the music to his fiancee as “rap crap.”

    In the parking lot, as the music blared, “his blood started to boil; he didn’t like the music that was coming out of the car next to him; he got angrier and angrier,” Wolfson said.

    Dunn rolled down his window and asked the youths to turn it down, which they did, but then turned it back up, Wolfson said.

    “He got angry at the fact that a 17-year-old kid decided not to listen to him,” she said, adding that Dunn then pulled a 9 mm gun out of his glove box and shot “systematically and methodically” at the SUV. “Nobody denied that Jordan was talking back. But this defendant took it upon himself to silence Jordan Davis forever.”

    The jury in the Michael Dunn-Jordan Davis murder trial has decided that Dunn is “not guilty” of murder.

    The matter should have been a simple one: a man with a gun shoots and kills an unarmed teenager who was sitting in a car and playing loud music. Despite the claims by the shooter that the victim and the other young people he shot were “armed”, no evidence of a weapon is found. Dunn then goes back to his hotel, walks his dog, relaxes, and does not inform the police that he shot at a vehicle and its occupants 10 times.

    Of course, Stand Your Ground, what is a de facto licence to shoot and kill at will, is invoked by Dunn’s attorney. Jordan Davis is a 17-year-old black teenager. Michael Dunn is a 47-year-old white adult. Once more, America’s long history of state sanctioned white supremacist violence against black and brown people unfairly shifts the scales of justice.

    Michael Dunn was found not guilty of murder, the legal system was not able to hurdle over the added doubt which exists whenever a white person is charged with killing a black person. Of course, somehow the latter had it coming, asked for it, or provoked their own end.

    Michael Dunn was found not guilty of murdering Davis because he “felt threatened”. Thus, the notorious Stand Your Ground laws offer him protection from the consequences of his actions. Moreover, the decision is very much in keeping with the American social and legal precedents which have for centuries deemed black life cheap at the hands of white murderers, rapists, terrorists, and other human debris and miscreants.

    There is a thread of connective tissue which runs from Trayvon Martin to Jordan Davis, President Obama, and black athletes such as Richard Sherman.

    Martin was guilty of not being sufficiently deferent to a stranger with no legal authority who against police instructions chose to stalk and threaten him with a gun.

    Obama has faced Birtherism, irresponsible obstructionism, and overt disrespect because he is not sufficiently compliant and deferent in the face of the Republican Party’s neo Confederate white identity politics.

    Sherman, a Stanford University graduate, was branded a “thug” because he dared to celebrate and tout his athletic prowess after a championship football game.

    Jordan Davis was shot dead for being black, male, and having the nerve to “mouth off” to a white man:

    On rebuttal, Assistant State Attorney John Guy appealed to the jurors’ “common sense.”
    “That defendant didn’t shoot into a car full of kids to save his life,” he said. “He shot into it to preserve his pride. Period. That’s why we’re here.”

    Though Davis may have had a big mouth, he had no weapon, Guy said. Though he acknowledged minor inconsistencies in witness accounts, he said that was to be expected. “It’s not like television,” he said. “In real life, there are inconsistencies.”

    All four examples consist of black people–men and teenagers in particular–who have committed one of the greatest social offenses in a country where white supremacy was standing law, and where such rules still exist in many ways.

    Their “crime”? For the White Gaze, Obama, Martin, Sherman, and Davis are “arrogant” and “uppity”.

    http://www.chaunceydevega.com/2014/02/jordan-davis-trayvon-martin-richard.html

  2. I’m back, Chics!

    I had to take my husband to his dr appointment.

  3. rikyrah says:

    UH HUH

    UH HUH

    ………………

    Washington Secrets
    Poll: 71% of Obama voters, 55% Democrats ‘regret’ voting for his re-election

    Over seven in 10 Obama voters, and 55 percent of Democrats, regret voting for President Obama’s reelection in 2012, according to a new Economist/YouGov.com poll.

    Conducted to test the media hype about a comeback by 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, the new poll found voters still uninspired by Romney, but also deeply dissatisfied with Obama who has so far failed to capitalize on his victory over 15 months ago.

    The poll asked those who voted for Obama’s reelection a simple question: “Do you regret voting for Barack Obama?”

    — Overall, 71 percent said yes, 26 percent no.

    — 80 percent of whites said yes, 61 percent of blacks said no and 100 percent of Hispanics said yes.

    — 84 percent of women said yes, and just 61 percent of men agreed.

    — 55 percent of Democrats said yes, as did 71 percent of independents.

    Still, given the choice of Obama versus Romney, Obama supporters said they would stick with their guy, 79 percent to 10 percent for Romney.

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/poll-71-of-obama-supporters-regret-voting-for-his-reelection/article/2544165

  4. rikyrah says:

    Black Boy Interrupted
    On the unfinished life of Jordan Davis
    Politics / Feb 17, 2014 130

    I got up at 5 a.m. today in hopes of making the gym before my train to D.C. I handled business and with some time to spare, walked over to my favorite bakery for a touch of that summer love, now lost to my life upon these shores. The waitress addressed me in a familiar accent. I asked, Vous êtes française? She smiled and said, Oui, Monsieur, and memory of the changes washed over me like a wave.

    ……………….

    The face of Trayvon Martin is always with me, trapped in the amber of youth. What is bracing about these regular deaths is how easily I can slot myself into the same circumstance. Follow me in a Jeep, then follow me on foot and we might come to blows. Demand that I turn down my music, at 17, and you might well not like my response. And I do not think this is a fact of black magic, of pathologies, of my culture. I think it is product of 17. I ride the trains in New York and I see boys of all colors who are very loud, because they finally can be, and no one can stop them. I see them and smile, and remember my own days back in Baltimore, my first freedoms, talking shit and being out in the world.

    ………………………….

    But some are given more days than others, and I think of dying at 17, in my loudness, in my vanity, which is to say in my human youth, and I tremble. I was barely anything. I understood barely anything. When Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis, he obliterated a time-stream, devastated an open range of changes. And somewhere on that American jury, someone thought this was justice, someone believed in the voodoo of shotguns and teleportation. Michael Dunn killed a boy, and too robbed a man of his chance to be.

    And this will happen again, must happen again, because our policy is color-blind, but our heritage isn’t. An American courtroom claiming it can be colorblind denies its rightful inheritance. An American courtroom claiming it can be colorblind is a drug addict claiming he can walk away after just one more hit. Law and legacy are at war. Legacy is winning. Legacy will always win. And our legacy is to die in this land where time is unequal, and deeded days are unequal, and blessed is the black man who lives to learn other ways, who lives to see other worlds, who lives to bear witness before the changes.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/ta-nehisi-coates/

  5. rikyrah says:

    GOP intervention tips scales in unionization vote
    02/17/14 08:00 AM—Updated 02/17/14 06:40 PM
    By Steve Benen

    It wasn’t long ago that employees at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., were likely to unionize. Workers broadly seemed to support the idea; the plant’s owners were on board; and the United Automobile Workers union was heavily involved in trying to seal the deal.

    Everything was on track, right up until Republican officials in Tennessee intervened in a big way.

    Late Friday night, after three days of voting, the results were announced: employees voted 712 to 626 – roughly 53% to 47% – against joining the UAW.

    The U.A.W. lost the unionization campaign even though it took place with one highly unusual – and highly favorable – circumstance. Unlike most American companies, Volkswagen pledged to remain neutral, in some ways offering quiet support to the union.

    Nevertheless, Republican politicians in Tennessee as well as some outside conservative groups made sure that the plant’s nearly 1,600 workers heard plenty of anti-union arguments.

    It was as ferocious an anti-union campaign as anything Americans have seen in a while. Indeed, the Republican effort, bolstered by inside-the-Beltway lobbying activists like Grover Norquist, featured both carrots and sticks: GOP policymakers not only threatened to kill tax incentives for the plant if workers joined a union, but Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he had secret knowledge that if employees turned down the UAW, the plant would be rewarded with a new product line.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/gop-intervention-tips-scales-tenn-vote

  6. rikyrah says:

    McConnell tries to have it both ways
    02/17/14 10:01 AM—Updated 02/18/14 01:39 AM
    By Steve Benen

    When it comes to the statutory debt limit and the prospect of a sovereign debt crisis, there are basically two choices for members of Congress to consider.

    One can argue, “The nation’s debt ceiling must always be raised, responsibly and on time, to protect the integrity of the nation’s finances, prevent default, and avoid a global economic catastrophe.” Conversely, someone else might argue, “The nation’s debt ceiling is a political weapon, to be used as often as possible, exploited by extremists willing to threaten Americans with deliberate harm, in order to extort policy concessions they can’t earn through normal legislative means.”

    It takes a special kind of politician to argue both of these positions at the same time.

    Responding to sharp criticism from Sen. Ted Cruz, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he voted to protect the country from default when he cast the decisive vote advancing the suspension of the debt limit this week.

    “My job is to protect the country when I can, and step up and lead on those occasions when it’s required,” McConnell told reporters at a campaign event in Kentucky on Friday. “That’s what I did.”

    McConnell said the Senate had only two choices after House Republicans were unable to coalesce around any strategy for attaching policy provisions to the debt limit hike: “a clean debt ceiling in the Senate or default.”

    The problem for McConnell is that the closer one looks at his position, the more incoherent it becomes. Indeed, while I can appreciate why the Senate Minority Leader feels a little defensive on this issue, the fact remains that he set this trap and proceeded to throw himself into it.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/mcconnell-tries-have-it-both-ways

  7. rikyrah says:

    Healthcare proponents face tough choice in Arkansas
    02/17/14 12:58 PM—Updated 02/18/14 01:56 AM
    By Steve Benen

    To help advance Medicaid expansion in Arkansas, the Obama administration worked with state officials on a compromise policy that relied on private insurers. The result is a successful policy that’s both popular and critical in extending coverage to tens of thousands of low-income Arkansans.

    In recent weeks, Republicans in the Arkansas legislature have moved closer to ending Medicaid expansion altogether. Because of a quirk in the policymaking process, last year’s vote that expanded access needs to be reauthorized this year, and many of the same GOP policymakers who backed the policy in 2013 are facing primary challengers in 2014. The policy is therefore in severe jeopardy.

    Over the weekend, the Arkansas News Bureau reported on a possible compromise, but for those who support access to health care, it’s not exactly an enticing deal.

    The debate over whether to continue funding the so-called private option appears to have come down to two choices: End the program or continue it with provisions that would prohibit state outreach efforts on behalf of the private option and the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace.

    The directors of the state Insurance Department and the Department of Human Services say the latter option would be detrimental to the goal of expanding health care coverage in the state, but they prefer it to ending a program that has already provided insurance to thousands of Arkansans

    So, for health care proponents, the choice is effectively: (a) kill Medicaid expansion and allow Republican policymakers to take coverage from 85,000 low-income Arkansans; or (b) preserve Medicaid expansion but end state outreach efforts to bring coverage to those who need it and are entitled to it.

    Under this “compromise,” Arkansas wouldn’t be able to spend a penny to promote the exchange marketplaces, encourage the uninsured to sign up for coverage, let residents know that Medicaid exists as an alternative, or rely on navigators to help Arkansans review their choices and pick the plan that’s best for them.

    That may sound horrible, but for Arkansas Democrats, if it’s the only way to ensure Medicaid expansion remains in place, they don’t feel like they have any choice. Indeed, Gov. Mike Beebe (D) has said he’d grudgingly back the “compromise.”

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/ark-healthcare-supporters-face-tough-choice

  8. rikyrah says:

    The ‘practical impact’ of Kansas discrimination
    02/17/14 04:41 PM—Updated 02/18/14 02:06 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Last week, the nation caught wind of an astonishing proposal working its way through the Kansas legislature. Kansans who could cite “sincerely held religious beliefs” against homosexuality would effectively have license to discriminate – restaurants could deny gay couples service; hotels could deny gay couples rooms, even public-sector workers could refuse to provide services to LGBT Kansans.

    This bill actually passed the Kansas House with relative ease and many reports suggested it’d fare well in the Republican-controlled state Senate, too. But that’s not what happened.

    A bill that would have allowed individuals to refuse to provide business services to same-sex couples in Kansas because of religious beliefs met a surprising and quick end last week when conservative senators sided with liberal advocates in saying that the measure promoted discrimination. […]

    Susan Wagle, a conservative Republican who is president of the Kansas Senate, raised opposition to the House measure, saying she had “grown concerned about the practical impact of the bill” and “my members don’t condone discrimination.”

    Over the course of just a few days, the bill to make anti-gay discrimination easier went from being “likely to pass” to “six feet under” with remarkable speed.

    Thomas Witt, the executive director of Equality Kansas, told the New York Times, “The public outcry by midweek had reached such a volume that the Senate just wasn’t going to be able to take it up. I don’t know what surprised me more, the level of public involvement in this or the speed with which the Senate president basically ended the prospects for the bill.”

    Yes, as it turns out, even the fiercest, conservative, red-state culture warriors are sometimes capable of shame.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/practical-impact-kansas-discrimination

  9. rikyrah says:

    Ken Buck addresses gender gap
    02/18/14 08:59 AM—Updated 02/18/14 09:56 AM
    By Steve Benen

    In one of 2010’s most closely watched Senate races, Sen. Michael Bennet (D) narrowly fended off Ken Buck (R), winning by less than 30,000 votes out of over 1.7 million ballots cast. The gender gap in the race was enormous.

    According to exit polls, the Republican challenger easily led among men, with whom Buck enjoyed an 11-point advantage, but Bennet prevailed thanks to a 16-point edge among women.

    Four years later, Buck is trying again, this time taking on Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), and hopes to address gender issues early on (hat tip, Colorado Pols).

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/ken-buck-addresses-gender-gap

  10. rikyrah says:

    Celebrating ‘job lock’
    02/18/14 09:37 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Wonks have highlighted the problem of “job lock” for years, and it’s a pretty straightforward problem, unique to the United States among the global economic powers. In a nutshell, Americans often feel “locked” to a job they don’t want in order to maintain health care coverage for themselves and their families.

    You’re an entrepreneur with an idea for a new venture? Too bad. You’re ready for retirement but aren’t yet eligible for Medicare? Tough.

    Concern about “job lock” used to be bipartisan, though the landscape quickly changed when the Congressional Budget Office noted that the Affordable Care Act would free more than 2 million Americans from “job lock” in the coming years, at which time conservatives decided the problem isn’t so bad after all.

    Consider what happened late last week in Florida’s congressional special election, where former state CFO Alex Sink (D) has a narrow lead, and where she’s touting ACA benefits.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/celebrating-job-lock

  11. rikyrah says:

    Résumé fibber now a principal at charter school

    By Laura Italiano and Aaron Feis

    He might have pulled it off if the “secret handshake” hadn’t given him away as a liar.

    Brooklyn charter-school principal Lewis Franklin Thomas III has been booted from education jobs in three other cities after a string of résumé falsehoods — which were first exposed in Cleveland in 2005 after he claimed he was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity but couldn’t do the handshake, the education news site Chalkbeat reported.

    And while Thomas has deleted the fictitious frat membership from his bio — and no longer claims, as he did in Cleveland, that he had held staff jobs with Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton — other apparent lies and exaggerations still riddle his online bio at the Urban Dove Team Charter School in Bed-Stuy.

    The lies include a claim that he “transformed” a DC charter school where he served as principal two months before being asked to leave.

    He also claims that, “in 2006, he was recognized by the White House as one of the top 50 Innovative Principals in the country” — an award that the Department of Education says does not exist.

    “He’s a con artist, come on,” Tim Goler, an Alpha member and Cleveland educator who first sussed Thomas out, told Chalkbeat.

    http://nypost.com/2014/02/15/resume-fibber-now-principal-at-brooklyn-charter/

  12. rikyrah says:

    How we made our miracle

    02/18/14 07:15 AM—Updated 02/18/14 09:54 AM
    By Melissa Harris-Perry

    On Feb. 14, my husband James and I welcomed our daughter into the
    world. Many people in our lives knew that we were expecting but most
    viewers of MHP Show were not aware of the impending arrival because I was not visibly pregnant. Now that our baby is born, we believe the time is right to share our extraordinary journey along with the sacrifices
    and gifts of so many that ushered in this life.

    The birth of every child is miraculous. This little girl is no exception.

    I had my first daughter, Parker, when I was 28. It was easy. I was
    pregnant within a month of deciding to try and avoided all of the
    serious complications and most of the minor annoyances of pregnancy. She was delivered after an entirely natural, unassisted labor. I assumed this would be the first of several pregnancies and that I would add to my family immediately.

    Life did not work out that way.

    I spent years suffering from the agony of uterine fibroids. Finally,
    in 2008, after fighting back with an arsenal of homeopathic and medical
    weapons, I decided to have my uterus removed. I wept for the children I would never have and made peace with the idea that one is enough.

    Once again, life did not work out that way.

    http://www.msnbc.com/melissa-harris-perry/how-we-made-our-miracle

  13. rikyrah says:

    Va. Senate panel proposes alternative to Medicaid expansion
    By Laura Vozzella, Published: February 16 E-mail the writer

    RICHMOND — Senate budget leaders said Sunday that they were rejecting Medicaid expansion as they approved a state spending plan that would nevertheless tap $2 billion a year in federal Medicaid funding to extend health insurance to low-income and disabled Virginians.

    Instead of expanding Medicaid as it has traditionally operated, the Senate Finance Committee proposed helping up to 400,000 Virginians buy private insurance through a program that would be known as “Marketplace Virginia.”

    Expansion of traditional Medicaid could probably get through the evenly divided Senate, where every Democrat and a handful of moderate Republicans have expressed support. But with the GOP-dominated House opposed to increasing Medicaid rolls, Senate budget leaders touted their approach as an outright rejection of expansion.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/va-senate-panel-proposes-alternative-to-medicaid-expansion/2014/02/16/cc697196-94d9-11e3-83b9-1f024193bb84_story.html

  14. rikyrah says:

    About Last Night’ Writer on Reimagining Movie for a Black Cast (Guest Column)

    excerpt:
    I had some very interesting reactions to the casting specifically from white people who work in the movie industry. While I was doing the rewrite, I got dozens of really mean jokes most of which I don’t feel comfortable putting into writing here because they were sometimes racist and always hurtful. The most clever one (still lame) was: “How’s your David Blamet script going?” It was like my script was suddenly not as good or less than or just plain not cool because of the casting. Whatever. Those people suck.

    This was all happening while I was promoting a film I wrote and directed, Bachelorette. The questions I was repeatedly asked during that press junket were about the trend of “Women in Comedy.” Now the trend is “Black Films Perform at the Box Office.” This kind of marginalization represents the same narrow-mindedness that sparked the racist “jokes” I got during my rewrite. When anyone marginalizes the success of a female-driven comedy or an urban comedy, there’s something more sinister at work.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/last-night-writer-reimagining-movie-680583#comments

  15. rikyrah says:

    Ametia,

    next week’s Downton is the Season Finale. Shirley McClain will be back, also Paul Giamatti will begin as Cora’s brother.

    And I’m convinced…Mr. Bates knows his wife, and he knew from the getgo that something wasn’t ‘right’ about Green….he put two and two together, got 4 and then took care of business.

    • Ametia says:

      Wow! The season is TOO SHORT. LOL@”he put two and two together, got 4 and then took care of business.” Yes; Bates is the kind of man that a woman would do well to meet and connect with. He’s complex and pays attention to the smallest of details.

  16. rikyrah says:

    TuxcedoCat
    RWNJ Angela Corey is a cancer in Florida. #DunnTrial was a sham job just like GZ trial. Inadequent. Biased. #inners @allinwithchris

    • Ametia says:

      I LOATHE the very sight of Angela Corey. She parades in front of the camera after the Zimmerman and Dunn verdicts like a seller of cheesy QVC wares.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Morning Plum: GOP is ‘ready to govern,’ but without any governing agenda
    By Greg Sargent
    February 18 at 8:59 am

    Can Republicans package themselves as “ready to govern” in the run-up to the 2014 Congressional elections without pursuing serious policy accomplishments?

    Multiple reports this morning tell us House Republicans have reached a consensus: it’s far better politically to hold off on acting on immigration, tax reform, and other issues, to avoid fracturing the party for the rest of the year. The problem, as some admit, is that a majority of House Republicans probably can’t unite behind solutions.

    And yet, at the same time, Republicans are also mindful of the need, in their quest to control both houses of Congress, to appear ready to govern. What to do? The Post’s Robert Costa sums up the thinking among top Republicans this way:

    Republican leaders are…quite aware of voters’ skepticism about the GOP’s policies, and most believe that a softer sell, rather than an assertive attempt to pass major bills, is a smart play. A Washington Post-ABC News poll in January found that just 19 percent of Americans have confidence in congressional Republicans to make the right decisions for the country, while 80 percent do not.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/02/18/morning-plum-gop-is-ready-to-govern-but-without-any-governing-agenda/

  18. rikyrah says:

    Poverty and the Tolerance of the Intolerable

    Download: Audio

    Speaker(s): Professor Amartya Sen

    Recorded on 22 January 2014 in Old Theatre, Old Building.

    Drawing on his ground-breaking work on poverty and development, Professor Sen will examine some of the biggest economic, moral and philosophical issues facing anti-poverty campaigners today.

    Amartya Sen is Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, and professor of economics and philosophy, at Harvard University. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998 for his contributions to the study of fundamental problems in welfare economics. His most recent book is An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions, co-authored with Jean Dreze. Professor Sen in an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

    http://www.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/videoAndAudio/channels/publicLecturesAndEvents/player.aspx?id=2205

  19. rikyrah says:

    After Chattanooga

    by Rich Yeselson

    Examining the roots of the United Auto Workers’ defeat at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant

    On Friday afternoon, a reporter friend of mine emailed me to ask what I thought would happen that night when the votes were counted at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. Would the UAW finally break through and organize a “transplant,” an auto plant owned by a foreign company?

    I wrote: “Hoping I’m wrong, I think the workers vote no by 53-47 margin.”

    I nailed it exactly, the result of a combination of 23 years working in the labor movement and years more studying it, my own skeptical temperament — which, when others shout “¡Si se puede!” makes me think, “Hey, this is tougher than you think” — and, mostly, dumb luck.

    But the signs were not good, and as we learn more from reporting after the vote, this was always a longer shot than the UAW and pro-union workers let on. In a way, it’s impressive the UAW got 47 percent — that’s a lot better than the 2-1 beating the union took at the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tenn., a couple hours northwest of Chattanooga, in 2001.

    But the UAW probably overlearned some lessons from that defeat. There’s an old saying in labor: “The boss makes the best organizer.” In this campaign, the UAW — for entirely understandable reasons — sidelined its best organizer. The union didn’t give the workers enough reason to upset the massive status quo bias in an overwhelmingly white evangelical region of an anti-union Southern state against unionization.

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/02/after-chattanooga/

  20. rikyrah says:

    Who Are The Deserving Rich? Rentiers, Apparently.
    .

    .

    Posted by Matt Bruenig on February 17, 2014

    .

    Greg Mankiw is dipping his toe back into economic justice philosophy over at the New York Times. Ignoring Matt Yglesias’s prior suggestion that he heed the wisdom of division of labor and not try to do philosophy, Mankiw has brought to this piece the same naive Just Deserts approach to economic justice that he trotted out in the middle of last year.

    The structure of his argument is to identify three people who are obviously deserving of their income and then analogize those people to bankers and CEOs to show that they are deserving too.

    Rentier Exemplars

    Amusingly, two of three people he chooses as being obviously deserving of their income—Robert Downey, Jr. and E.L. James—make all of their money off of intellectual property monopolies. They are actually making their income in ways that Just Deserts advocates have the hardest time justifying.

    The only reason Robert Downey, Jr. makes as much money as he does is because copyright law allows the people who produce the films he stars in to reap monopoly rents on the films. The only reason E.L. James makes as much as she does is because copyright law allows her to reap monoply rents on the books she produces. Their monster incomes are solely a function of our intellectual property law.

    The problem this presents to the Just Deserts view is that there are no economic fundamentals that determine how much someone who produces copyrighted material deserves. Books and movies obviously add value to the world, but because they are able to be copied infinitely at minimal to no cost, each copy of them is essentially worth nothing. In a world without copyright, tons of firms would make copies of the latest Robert Downey, Jr. film and drive the price of buying a copy to nearly zero. Likewise, tons of firms would make copies of the latest E.L. James book and drive the price of buying a copy to the price of the paper the book is printed on, leaving very little surplus and none for the author herself.

    This ruinous capitalist competition does not happen because of the state intervention into the economy that we call copyright. Under this law, the state hunts you down and fines you or throws you into a cage if you try to copy a movie or book. The problematic thing about copyright for Just Deserts advocates is that its specific contours are essentially arbitrary. You could have copyright law that doles out copying monopolies for 100 years, for 10 years, or for 30 days. How lucrative making a copyrighted product is depends upon these arbitrary lines that we draw. If books and films came out of copyright after 30 days, E.L. James would not receive anywhere near $95 million for “Fifty Shades of Grey” and Robert Downey, Jr. would not have received anywhere near $50 million for “The Avengers.”

    http://www.demos.org/blog/2/17/14/who-are-deserving-rich-rentiers-apparently

  21. rikyrah says:

    The GOP Has Screwed Itself Out Of A Perfect Obamacare Election Message
    Dylan Scott – February 17, 2014, 9:30 AM EST

    Republicans have believed for some time that Obamacare would be a golden ticket to congressional majorities, especially since the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov in October. Conservative groups have started airings ads against vulnerable Democrats, blasting them for their allegiance to the law. With the law — and its eponymous president — underwater in the polls, what could go wrong?

    Well, an intra-party civil war in which moderate positions are heresy could eliminate that apparent advantage — a conflict readily on display since House conservatives forced Speaker John Boehner into a government shutdown over the law while Sen. Ted Cruz undermined Senate GOP leadership in the other chamber. Polls have routinely shown that Americans don’t support Obamacare repeal, the only acceptable conservative position for now, and would rather see Congress work together to improve the law.

    Democrats hope to seize on that discord — the GOP’s devotion to incorruptible Obamacare opposition, which runs counter to what the public says it wants — to turn the Republicans’ main weapon against them.

    “If they wanted to win this issue, they would move their public position to be for fix, and Democrats would be stuck defending the status quo of the law and would be in a much tougher situation,” one Democratic operative told TPM. “But they’ve created an internal situation where they can’t do that.”

    That gives Democrats the opportunity to embrace fixing Obamacare, while acknowledging its problems, and to pummel Republicans for continuing to stoke the repeal fire. A source in the room told TPM that Rep. Steve Israel, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, laid out the strategy during the House Democratic retreat last week: acknowledge the law needs fixing, punch Republicans on repeal, and pivot to an appeal to the law’s upside for people’s pocketbooks.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/2014-election-obamacare-democrats-tea-party

  22. rikyrah says:

    Liberals mobilize against potential Social Security cuts

    By George Zornick

    February 17 at 10:02 am






    President Obama’s budget is due early next month, and already progressives inside and outside Congress are pushing back against one potential line in the document — the Social Security cuts, in the form of “chained CPI,” that Obama has included in his budget several times in the past.

    Late last week, 16 senators ranging from liberal independent Bernie Sanders to Democrat Mark Begich, who is facing a tough reelection in the red state of Alaska this fall, signed a letter to the White House asking the president not to include the cuts in his budget.

    Meanwhile, progressive activists are getting aggressive on the issue. Campaign for America’s Future and Social Security Works have teamed up to urge progressives to tell the White House that chained CPI would be unacceptable.

    Chained CPI is a change in how the government calculates inflation, which among other things would result in a slower rate of growth in Social Security benefits. Some economists say that chained CPI is a “more accurate” measure of inflation, but opponents of the policy persuasively argue that the elderly face a different sort of inflation, driven largely by spending on out-of-pocket health care, and that chained CPI cuts benefits when they should be expanded.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/02/17/liberals-mobilize-against-potential-social-security-cuts/

  23. rikyrah says:

    Ed Kilgore: Travesty in Chattanooga

    I wish I could say I’ve never seen the likes of the campaign of intimidation that led to the vote against UAW representation at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Friday. But I did, as a child growing up in a Georgia textile company town in the early 1960s, where public schools began the year on Labor Day, the word “union” was not said out loud, and people still graphically remembered National Guardsmen being called out to break a strike at Callaway Mills back in 1935—the same year Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act.

    I’m a little rusty on my labor law, but I’m reasonably sure that any employer who issued the sorts of threats made by Republican politicians in Tennessee (including Sen. Bob Corker, Gov. Bill Haslam, and a variety of state legislators, backed by national conservative figures like Grove Norquist) against a unionization effort would have been in blatant violation of the NLRA. But that’s what makes the incident such a travesty….

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2014_02/travesty_in_chattanooga049102.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+washingtonmonthly%2Frss+%28Political+Animal+at+Washington+Monthly%29

  24. rikyrah says:

    The stimulus act was a success — and we need another
    By George Zornick
    February 17 at 11:39 am

    Republican animus toward the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, popularly known as the stimulus, hasn’t decreased over time. Today marks five years since President Obama signed the legislation into law, and Republicans from Marco Rubio to John Cornyn are using the anniversary to bash not only the bill but also the very idea of government spending.

    It’s important to knock down these conservative claims about the stimulus, which haven’t gotten any more factually accurate over time. And it’s not just a matter of correcting the historical record — people shouldn’t be made to be afraid of proactive government intervention, which the economy undoubtedly needs more of.

    Many of the things Republicans are saying today about the stimulus bill are predicated on a similar and presumably deliberate misunderstanding: that the legislation was meant to permanently fix the economy.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/02/17/the-stimulus-act-was-a-success-and-we-need-another/

  25. rikyrah says:

    CBS: Obamacare’s winners include older Americans

    For many older Americans who lost jobs during the recession, the quest for health care has been one obstacle after another. They’re unwanted by employers, rejected by insurers, struggling to cover rising medical costs and praying to reach Medicare age before a health crisis.

    These luckless people, most in their 50s and 60s, have emerged this month as early winners under the nation’s new health insurance system. Along with their peers who are self-employed or whose jobs do not offer insurance, they have been signing up for coverage in large numbers…

    …. The affordable coverage is “an answer to a prayer really,” said Laura Ingle, a 57-year-old Houston attorney who had been denied coverage repeatedly because she has sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease. She recently had back surgery for a painful condition that’s been bothering her for months.

    ….In Miami, licensed practical nurse Marie Cadet, who is 54, often works double shifts to make ends meet for herself and her 12-year-old daughter. She had been paying more than $150 a month for health insurance, with a $3,000 deductible …. After choosing a plan from the marketplace, Cadet’s monthly payment dropped to $86 a month, with the government kicking in $300. Her deductible fell to a more affordable $900.

    “Now,” Cadet said, “I’m not scared anymore.”

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obamacares-winners-include-older-americans/

  26. rikyrah says:

    James Morrison @JamesPMorrison
    Follow
    Admitting Obamacare is working must be as painful for them as admitting Iraq was a tragic mistake. Which reminds me, did they ever do that?

    5:32 AM – 17 Feb 2014

  27. rikyrah says:

    Bill McBride: The Stimulus Success

    …. It is sad today that extremist ideologues are arguing the stimulus failed. This is very dangerous for the future. As an example, look at these absurd comments via the WSJ:

    “If you recall five years ago, the notion was that if the government spent all this money—that, by the way, was borrowed—that somehow the economy would begin to grow and create jobs,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), in a video message released Monday morning. “Well, of course, it clearly failed.”

    Obviously Rubio is clueless about the economy …. we should also ridicule the ideologues … Rubio’s comments are not just wrong but dangerous (if enough people believe him).

    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2014/02/the-stimulus-success.html

  28. rikyrah says:

    National Memo: 5 Ways The Stimulus Saved And Remade America

    The party that still thinks the Bush tax cuts (which resulted in the most negligible job creation in decades) and the Iraq War (which resulted in the Iraq War) both worked wants you to believe that the stimulus failed. And they’ve been making that argument since before the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act even had a chance to work.

    This strategy of asserting — despite all the evidence — that the president’s first major accomplishment did not succeed was so successful in the 2010 elections that Republicans are still doing it five years later on the anniversary of the law’s signing, and few Democrats are willing to stand up for the effort that helped blunt the worst of the financial crisis.

    …. beyond rescuing the economy from a greater depression, the stimulus helped remake America, as Time‘s Mike Grunwald explains in his must-read narrative of the law’s enfolding, The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era. With lots of help from Grunwald — whose most recent reflections on the law appear in “5 Years After Stimulus, Obama Says It Worked” — here are five ways the stimulus saved and remade America’s economy when we needed it most.

    http://www.nationalmemo.com/5-ways-stimulus-saved-remade-america/

  29. rikyrah says:

    Here’s What Happens in Florida When A Black Man Stands His Ground

    Author: Curtis F
    February 18, 2014 12:02 am

    It’s an unfortunate fact that certain states’ “Stand Your Ground” laws are getting tested more and more these days. In fact, in Florida alone, deaths that are ruled as “justifiable homicides” increased 283% between the time the law was enacted and 2010. This is now a sad reality, but many people would claim that the law is a good one since it allows people to defend themselves when they believe their lives are in danger. Much like the Jim Crow laws of the past, however, “Stand Your Ground” is beginning to look more and more like a racially biased law disguised in the cloak of legal necessity.

    An obvious case of “Stand Your Ground.”

    In what is quickly becoming a rallying call against the racial bias of “Stand Your Ground” laws, a young U.S. airman, Michael Giles, was sentenced to 25 years in a Florida prison after shooting a man, who happened to be attacking him, in the leg. That’s right: no death actually occurred in the incident, but Giles was sentenced to 25 years. What makes this even more disheartening is the fact that, in an unrelated case, a Missouri man only received 20 years for actually murdering a man who was only leaving a residence.

    The Giles case began when the young man, who had just finished out a second tour in the Middle East, went to a nightclub with his friends. At the club, a fight suddenly broke out outside between 30 to 40 different individuals. The young man was not even part of the fight, but fearing for his safety since he couldn’t find his friends, he retrieved a gun from his vehicle, which he had a concealed carry permit for, placed it in his pocket, and went to find his buddies.

    A random attack on an innocent victim

    While searching for his friends, a stranger came out of nowhere and punched Giles to the ground. This assailant even admitted that he planned on punching the first person that he came upon. In an obvious act of self defense — what “Stand Your Ground” laws are supposedly for — Giles shot his assailant in the leg. Unfortunately, several fragments broke away from the bullet and injured two others.

    The young father of three, who was looking forward to a promising career in the military, was quickly arrested, charged with second-degree attempted murder, and convicted of a lesser charge which landed him in prison for what equates to a life sentence. Somehow, Jack Campbell, a Florida assistant attorney general, was able to look at the jury with a straight face and say:

    “There is no self-defense that is applicable based on the evidence that’s before the jury.”

    Because an admission from the “victim” saying that he randomly attacked Giles doesn’t prove Giles needed to defend himself.

    http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/02/18/stand-your-ground-for-black-man/

  30. rikyrah says:

    John M. Phillips @JohnPhillips
    Follow
    Rumors starting to circulate it was ONE female juror who held out from day one on justifiable homicide. #MichaelDunn #JordanDavis

    6:28 AM – 18 Feb 2014 from Jacksonville, FL, United States

    John M. Phillips @JohnPhillips
    Follow
    @LiberalPhenom @MrMike_H 11-1 for conviction. 1 voted self defense. Or so the rumor goes. FWIW.

    7:57 AM – 18 Feb 2014

    • Bitch ass mofo! Sounds like the same mind set juror that said prosecutors needed to let Zimmerman go

      • Liza says:

        Echoes of B37.

        That bit of information sent a shock wave through me. If that rumor is true, then we have more insight into the problem.

        Jury selection is the NUMBER ONE problem that these prosecutors are going to have to acknowledge and deal with. Otherwise, this is going to keep happening every time they try to prosecute a white supremacist for killing a black person, no matter how airtight their case might be. These racists ignore evidence and facts. They enter a jury room with the intention of acquitting the white murderer, and they do not back down.

        One of my first thoughts on this is that many people make assumptions about women that they really shouldn’t be making especially during jury selection. When trying to determine whether or not a person is racist and shouldn’t be on this kind of jury, gender is a poor indicator. Women are less likely than men to carry guns and shoot black people, but that does not tell you anything about what a racist woman would do on a jury. And the assumptions that women identify with other women and mothers and instinctively want to protect children are very bad assumptions. Racism trumps all of that. Just ask Sybrina Fulton.

      • Ametia says:

        And she prolly called Dunn “Mikey” too.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Molly K. Hooper: GOP Flocks To Bill Curbing Obama’s Power

    Dozens of House Republicans have recently backed legislation that calls for legal action against President Obama. Forty-three Republicans have cosponsored the resolution since Obama’s State of the Union address, where he threatened to enact policies if Congress didn’t act. The “Stop This Overreaching Presidency (STOP)” measure, introduced by Rep. Tom Rice (S.C.), now has 104 co-sponsors, Rice explained that STOP resolution is aimed at reversing Obama’s delay of the employer mandate, enactment of the DREAM Act, extension of “substandard” health insurance plans and ending work requirements for welfare.

    http://thehill.com/video/administration/198533-gop-flocks-to-bill-curbing-obamas-power

  32. rikyrah says:

    Dahlia Lithwick: How The Moral Mondays Movement Is Redefining The Left

    I spent most of this past weekend answering two questions: “Why are you so interested in what happens in North Carolina?” (Posed mainly by people not from North Carolina.) And: “Why doesn’t anyone care what’s happening here in North Carolina?” (Posed largely by folks rallying in North Carolina.) As state governments limit reproductive rights, gerrymander voting districts, harm workers and the environment, and suppress the vote, we are all North Carolina now. The answer to the second question is that I don’t really know why the major national media, with a few notable exceptions, keeps ignoring this story.

    GOP-controlled redistricting and a truly nasty voter suppression bill attempt to ensure that this remains the permanent state of affairs in North Carolina. The legislature promptly raised taxes on the bottom 80 percent, eliminated the earned-income tax credit for 900,000 people, slashed education spending, passed radical gun legislation, declined the Medicaid expansion (leaving 500,000 of its poorest citizens without health insurance), and passed a draconian abortion bill that was tacked onto a motorcycle safety law. The state, in short, turned on its own workers, its own minorities, its own teachers, its own doctors, its poor, its women, and its prisoners, with what has looked like unbridled glee.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/02/moral_march_on_raleigh_how_the_moral_mondays_movement_is_redefining_the.html

  33. rikyrah says:

    Tonyaa Weathersbee: The Extermination Of Jordan Davis: An Empty Verdict, A Hollow Victory

    So it looks like Michael Dunn, a white man who fatally shot black teenager Jordan Davis for refusing to turn down his “thug music,” may be going to prison for the rest of his life. But that’s a consolation prize. Not a real victory. It’s not a real victory because the jury that convicted Dunn, 47, didn’t convict him for killing the 17-year-old Davis. They convicted him for almost killing Davis’ three friends who were riding in the Dodge Durango with him. It’s hollow because it underscores what seems to be a scary trend. I guess now any random white man can confront a black teenager whose style of dress or music he doesn’t like or views as suspect.

    And when that teenager doesn’t submit to him, or responds to him in a confrontational manner, or in a way that any rebellious teenager is apt to respond, then it’s perfectly fine to exterminate him. What the verdict says is that in this nation, in the 21st century, some white men still believe they have the right to intrude into the space of young black men and make demands. And if the black man is unarmed — with no weapon except his words — those white men can still kill him. And call it self-defense. All they need is a jury to buy it.

    http://us.cnn.com/2014/02/16/opinion/weathersbee-dunn-davis-verdict/index.html?hpt=hp_t4

  34. rikyrah says:

    David Lat: How Did Two Young Lawyers Get To Have Dinner With The Obamas?

    Caleb Ballew and Kourtney Ballew. They’re a pair of twenty-something, small-firm lawyers from Huntsville, Alabama. Say what? Did the Obama White House get Salahi’d again? Actually, no. The Ballews came as honored guests of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Because the Obamas have had so few state dinners, invitations to the ones they do host are in especially high demand. How did two recent law school graduates score one of the most coveted invites in the country? Near the end of 2010, out of financial necessity, the Ballews allowed Kourtney’s health insurance to lapse. She hadn’t had any major health issues up until that point, and they expected that it would be a temporary measure. But during that time period when she was uninsured, Kourtney got diagnosed with a medical condition that could require multiple — and expensive — surgical procedures. Luckily, as a result of health care reforms initiated by President Obama, Kourtney was able to avail herself of a government-run Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. This allowed Kourtney to have her two surgical procedures — which went smoothly, thankfully — at a fairly minimal cost. Had the Ballews had to pay out of pocket for the surgeries, it would have been crippling.

    In November 2012, shortly after President Obama won re-election, Caleb sent a heartfelt letter of gratitude to the president. In the letter, which Caleb described to AL.com as “a pretty emotional letter,” he congratulated the president on his reelection, praised him for delivering on his campaign promises, and thanked him for making such a huge difference in the Ballews’ lives. On Monday, February 3, Caleb received an email inviting him to the State Dinner for President Hollande taking place on Tuesday, February 11. When they reached President Obama, a White House functionary announced the Ballews to the president. As they shook hands, the president said to Caleb, without any prompting, “I really enjoyed your letter. Thank you so much for that.” “I was very impressed,” Caleb said. “There were a number of us ordinary citizens at the dinner, and I was so impressed that the president remembered me and my letter.” After Caleb and President Obama exchanged some pleasantries, the president said to Caleb, “You’re sitting at my table.” “I thought he just used that line on everyone,” Caleb told me. “So I said to him, ‘Mr. President, I don’t believe they’d seat me at your table.” “I’m pretty sure,” President Obama said to Caleb. “I’ll see you in there.” When they arrived, Caleb asked one of the honor guards where he could find the Ballews’ table, table 19. Caleb expected it to be a table somewhere off in a corner. The guard, without even having to look around, directed Caleb towards the large rectangular table directly in front of the stage. “I said a four-letter word to Kourtney,” Caleb recalled, “then said, ‘We are sitting with the president tonight!’”

    http://abovethelaw.com/2014/02/how-did-two-young-lawyers-get-to-have-dinner-with-the-obamas/

  35. rikyrah says:

    Igor Volsky: Republicans Slam Stimulus On Fifth Anniversary – But Most Took Credit For It Back Home

    Monday marks the five-year anniversary of the passage of the American Recovery Act, President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus stimulus package that invested in everything from infrastructure projects to electronic medical health care records and alternative energy sources. Every single Republican in the House and almost every Republican in the Senate — with the exception of Former Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) — voted against the measure and today the GOP continues to deride the law as wasteful an ineffective.

    But as ThinkProgress reported throughout 2009, over half of the GOP caucus praised the effects of the stimulus or took credit for the federal dollars in their home districts and states — despite repeatedly voting against it in Washington D.C. The Wall Street Journal reported “Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who called the stimulus a ‘wasteful spending spree’ that ‘misses the mark on all counts,’ wrote to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in October in support of a grant application from a group in his district which, he said, ‘intends to place 1,000 workers in green jobs.’” Ryan also wrote letters to the Secretary of Energy requesting stimulus funds for a local energy company in 2009. Ryan repeatedly voted against the stimulus.

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/02/17/3298561/stimulus-hypocrites/

  36. rikyrah says:

    How Keeping Our Sons Safe Makes It OK for Whites to Be Racists

    The Jordan Davis case led some parents to give their kids “the talk.” But doing so absolves white people of their responsibility to unlearn stereotypes that scare them.
    By: Tonyaa Weathersbee
    Posted: Feb. 12 2014 3:15 PM

    The slaying of 17-year-old Jordan Davis by a white man who didn’t appreciate his taste in music had some black people scrambling to give black boys “the talk” about how not to scare white people into shooting them.

    The Rev. John Guns, pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., was one of them.

    Using the trial of 47-year-old Michael Dunn—who, on Nov. 23, 2012, fired nine bullets into the SUV that Jordan and two of his friends were sitting in after he argued with the teens over loud music—as a launching point, Guns talked to black boys about the importance of not exacerbating trouble with people who might be threatened by them and their skin.

    At one point Guns brought a young man up on the stage who was wearing a hoodie—which Trayvon Martin was wearing in February 2012 when he was stalked and fatally shot by George Zimmerman—and told him that whenever he walked inside a store, he needed to take the hood off. Better to walk out of the store, he said, than to wind up being killed at age 18 for … well, scaring some squirrelly store owner into thinking you were there to rob the place.

    To be sure, Guns’ advice is sound and pragmatic—and a lot of black parents who love their children are probably repeating it. I understand it.

    But I don’t like it.

    I don’t like it because as practical as it is, it inadvertently feeds the notion that black youths, and black males in particular, ought to capitulate to racist whites in order not to suffer at their hands.

    http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2014/02/jordan_davis_case_how_keeping_our_sons_safe_encourages_racist_behavior.html

  37. rikyrah says:

    Why Are White Men Like Michael Dunn So Angry?

    A crisis in white masculinity is killing black teenagers and, history says, the violence is likely to continue.
    By: Travis L. Gosa, Ph.D.

    Posted: Feb. 17 2014 1:00 AM

    Why are so many white men like Michael Dunn angry?

    Dunn, the man found guilty Saturday on three counts of attempted second-degree murder for shooting into a car full of black teenagers at a Jacksonville, Fla., gas station after an argument over loud rap music—but not convicted of the murder of Jordan Davis, the 17-year-old slain in the incident—provides some answers. Like Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, Dunn’s case represents the rage felt by many angry white men in America.

    During his cross-examination on the stand, Dunn admitted to feeling “disrespected by a mouthy teenager” who ignored his request to turn down the “rap crap” blasting from a red SUV occupied by Jordan and his friends. In Dunn’s version of events, Jordan taunted him with racial and gender slurs like “cracker” and “bitch.”

    Dunn was pushed over the edge by insults and window-rattling music, and what allegedly followed eerily mirrored the 1993 film Falling Down, in which a white-collar worker-turned-vigilante snaps under the pressure of white, middle-class life and strikes back against Latino gangbangers.

    Dunn yelled, “You’re not going to talk to me that way,” according to witness testimony. He grabbed his gun from the glove compartment and fired nine rounds into the side of the teenagers’ vehicle, killing Jordan. According to Dunn, he fled the scene and spent a sleepless night at a hotel, expecting “more gangsters” to retaliate against him and his fiancee.

    http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2014/02/did_white_male_insecurity_kill_jordan_davis.html?wpisrc=topstories

  38. rikyrah says:

    Revealed: The identity of the garbage truck driver behind an amazing act of kindness to boy with autism has been viewed by nearly ONE MILLION people

    Garbage man Manuel Sanchez surprised 5-year-old with a toy truck
    Daniel Mulligan wait outside for Sanchez to pick up trash on garbage day
    A video of the kind act has gone viral and has 750,000 views and counting

    By Alexandra Klausner and Sara Malm

    PUBLISHED: 22:42 EST, 17 February 2014 | UPDATED: 04:43 EST, 18 February 2014

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2561772/Garbage-mans-amazing-act-kindness-boy-autism.html#ixzz2tgQQdb00
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  39. rikyrah says:

    Okla. Police Officers Allegedly Beat Unarmed Man To Death In Front Of His Family [VIDEO]

    Three Moore, Oklahoma police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave after allegedly beating Luis Rodriguez (pictured above) to death in front of his family early Saturday morning, reports News9.com.

    At just past midnight, February 15, Nair Rodriguez, the victim’s wife, got into an argument with her daughter, Lunahi, eventually slapping the girl. As she angrily walked away, her husband chased after her in order to calm her down and stop her from driving away.

    According to Rodriguez, that’s when officers intercepted him and asked for identification.

    The situation escalated from there.

    http://newsone.com/2897178/okla-police-officers-allegedly-beat-unarmed-man-to-death-in-front-of-his-family-video/

  40. rikyrah says:

    White House Initiative Names TSU Student 2014 HBCU All-Star For Academics, Leadership

    NASHVILLE,
    Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University student has been named a 2014 HBCU All-Star by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, for his accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement.

    Jeremiah T. Cooper, a sophomore Computer Science major from Nashville, will serve as an ambassador of the White House Initiative by providing outreach and communication with his fellow students about the value of education and the Initiative as a networking resource.
    http://tnstatenewsroom.com/arc

    75 Students from 62 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Named 2014 HBCU All-Stars
    TENNESSEE
    Nashville–Ciera Carter –Fisk University, Nashville
    Jackson–Stephanie Phillips –Lane College, Jackson
    Memphis–Gilbert Carter –LeMoyne- Owen College, Memphis
    Nashville–Ciera Scales –Meharry Medical College, Nashville
    Nashville–Jeremiah Cooper –Tennessee State University, Nashville

    https://www.ed.gov/edblogs/whhbcu/

  41. rikyrah says:

    We had 6 inches of snow yesterday…sigh….

    sigh….

    SOOOO over Winter.

  42. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  43. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

    Ah, Ms. Mahalia Jackson, the EMPERESS of GOSPEL.

    • Yahtc says:

      Yes!!!

      Thanks for bring Mahalia Jackson to us, rikyrah.

      I am listening now….come on children sing!

      Does my soul good!

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