Tuesday Open Thread | Black Poets Week: Langston Hughes

langston hughes

Today’s poet is Langston Hughes.

Langston Hughes James Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. His parents divorced when he was a young child, and his father moved to Mexico. He was raised by his grandmother until he was thirteen, when he moved to Lincoln, Illinois, to live with his mother and her husband, before the family eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio. It was in Lincoln that Hughes began writing poetry. After graduating from high school, he spent a year in Mexico followed by a year at Columbia University in New York City. During this time, he held odd jobs such as assistant cook, launderer, and busboy.

He also travelled to Africa and Europe working as a seaman. In November 1924, he moved to Washington, D.C. Hughes’s first book of poetry, The Weary Blues, (Knopf, 1926) was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1926. He finished his college education at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania three years later. In 1930 his first novel, Not Without Laughter, (Knopf, 1930) won the Harmon gold medal for literature. Hughes, who claimed Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg, and Walt Whitman as his primary influences, is particularly known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America from the twenties through the sixties. He wrote novels, short stories and plays, as well as poetry, and is also known for his engagement with the world of jazz and the influence it had on his writing, as in his book-length poem Montage of a Dream Deferred (Holt, 1951). His life and work were enormously important in shaping the artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Unlike other notable black poets of the period—Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, and Countee Cullen—Hughes refused to differentiate between his personal experience and the common experience of black America. He wanted to tell the stories of his people in ways that reflected their actual culture, including both their suffering and their love of music, laughter, and language itself.

The critic Donald B. Gibson noted in the introduction to Modern Black Poets: A Collection of Critical Essays (Prentice Hall, 1973) that Hughes “differed from most of his predecessors among black poets…in that he addressed his poetry to the people, specifically to black people. During the twenties when most American poets were turning inward, writing obscure and esoteric poetry to an ever decreasing audience of readers, Hughes was turning outward, using language and themes, attitudes and ideas familiar to anyone who had the ability simply to read…Until the time of his death, he spread his message humorously—though always seriously—to audiences throughout the country, having read his poetry to more people (possibly) than any other American poet.” Langston Hughes died of complications from prostate cancer in May 22, 1967, in New York City. In his memory, his residence at 20 East 127th Street in Harlem has been given landmark status by the New York City Preservation Commission, and East 127th Street has been renamed “Langston Hughes Place.” In addition to leaving us a large body of poetic work, Hughes wrote eleven plays and countless works of prose, including the well-known “Simple” books: Simple Speaks His Mind, (Simon & Schuster, 1950); Simple Stakes a Claim, (Rinehart, 1957); Simple Takes a Wife, (Simon & Schuster, 1953); and Simple’s Uncle Sam (Hill and Wang, 1965). He edited the anthologies The Poetry of the Negro and The Book of Negro Folklore, wrote an acclaimed autobiography, The Big Sea (Knopf, 1940), and cowrote the play Mule Bone (HarperCollins, 1991) with Zora Neale Hurston.

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51 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | Black Poets Week: Langston Hughes

  1. re Langston Hughes, check out Leyla McCalla’s superb first CD of her music, called “Vari-Colored Songs.” It features many Langston Hughes poems set to music she composed, including “Heart of Gold” and “Lonely House” and “Too Blue,” plus some Haitian folk songs and her own compositions. McCalla was born in Haiti, grew up in New York, and now lives in New Orleans. She plays many instruments, including cello, banjo, and guitar. see also leylamccalla.com

  2. rikyrah says:


    Meet the tiny version of Oscar winner Lupita N’yongo. This little beauty stepped on the red carpet earlier this week to conduct a photo shoot with Toddlewood that mirrored Lupita’s confidence and glamor at the 2014 Academy Awards. N’yogongo won the award for Supporting Actress for her role as Patsy in 12 Years A Slave.


  3. rikyrah says:

    ’12 Years A Slave’ Box Office Sales More Than Double After Oscar Win

    Oscar award night was a good one for 12 Years a Slave, and the week after hasn’t been too shabby either. According to box office tabulations (and Entertainment Weekly), the historical drama and Best Picture winner expanded to double the number of theaters, and ticket sales went up 116 percent.

    The film has already been in theaters for 21 weeks, putting it well past its prime. It’s also available on demand, meaning people could also stay home and watch it on their televisions. But it brought in $2.1 million, pushing its total sales up to $53 million for its run. The other nominees – Gravity and Dallas Buyers Club among them — also saw an increase in ticket sales, but the bump was much smaller. In the case of Gravity, it was only one percent. Though one could argue that just about everyone who wants to see that movie in the theaters has. It has already grossed more than $100 million, making it the highest grossing film of all the nominees.


  4. rikyrah says:

    Hillary Clinton Shadow Groups Grapple With Question Of Midterms
    Ruby Cramer BuzzFeed Staff

    When “Ready for Hillary” went to Iowa in January to talk about the next presidential election, Democrats there said they had another set of races in mind: the midterms.

    “We got a little something ahead of us first,” said Ken Sager, the
    president of the Iowa Federation of Labor and one of dozens of activists who attended the Ready for Hillary “kick-off” meetings in Des Moines. Sager and other Democrats who talked with officials from political action committee brought the conversation back on multiple occasions to the slate of key races in Iowa this fall.

    About a week after the meetings, Ready for Hillary held a state-wide
    organizing call with Iowan activists and volunteers. The same thing
    happened. Democrats on the call asked what the group could do this year, according to a participant.

    …Officials with the PAC have indicated they will not give paid staffers or money to other Democratic campaigns. But as they spend more time on the ground in states this year, the topic of midterms, and how the group can be helpful, isn’t going away


  5. rikyrah says:

    Tara McGuinness ✔ @HealthCareTara

    http://FunnyorDie.com is the #1 source of referrals to http://HealthCare.gov right now.
    11:21 AM – 11 Mar 2014

  6. rikyrah says:

    Senate Makes America’s Pathetic Public Financing System Even More Pathetic

    By Josh Israel on March 11, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) successfully attained unanimous consent on Tuesday to pass H.R. 2019, a House bill to end public funding for party conventions. The bill would authorize the money to instead be spent on a decade-long National Institutes of Health (NIH) pediatric health initiative, but would not actually appropriate the $12.6 million annually to that project.

    In 1971, Congress created a system to publicly finance the general election portion of presidential elections. Three years later, in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, Congress expanded this program to provide matching funds to presidential primary candidates who agree to abide by certain spending caps and to publicly fund most of the costs associated with the major parties’ quadrennial national conventions. These programs were funded by taxpayers who voluntarily check off a box on their annual federal income tax returns to designate a portion of their tax payments to the system. In elections from 1976 to 1996, major party candidates utilized the system and nominees were free to focus on campaigning rather than fundraising.

    But the available public funds did not keep pace with the increasing costs of running a national campaign — and the changing realities of outside spending in U.S. elections. No major-party presidential nominee has accepted the primary matching funds since Al Gore (D) in 2000. No nominee has accepted public funding for the general election since John McCain (R) in 2008. In 2012, just three candidates (Libertarian Gary Johnson, Jill Stein of the Green Party, and Republican/Reform Party/Americans Elect candidate Buddy Roemer) received any public financing. But the public financing of political conventions was the one part of the system that remained largely in tact, as both the Democratic and Republican Parties accepted nearly $18 million each for their 2012 conventions — money that would otherwise have been raised from moneyed political interests groups and wealthy donors.


  7. rikyrah says:

    People — Including Cops — See Black Kids as Less Innocent and Less Young Than White Kids
    MAR 10, 2014 8:04PM ET / POLITICS

    Asked to identify the age of a young boy that committed a felony, participants in a study routinely overestimated the age of black children far more than they did white kids. Worse: Cops did it, too.

    The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, aimed at figuring out the extent to which black children were likely to be treated differently than their white peers solely based on race. More specifically, the authors wanted to figure out the extent to which black kids were dehumanized. “Children in most societies are considered to be in a distinct group with characteristics such as innocence and the need for protection,” author Phillip Atiba Goff of UCLA told the American Psychological Association. “Our research found that black boys can be seen as responsible for their actions at an age when white boys still benefit from the assumption that children are essentially innocent.”


  8. rikyrah says:

    A Conservative Meme On School Lunches: Work For It, Kids!

    Sahil Kapur – March 11, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    Before Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) fibbed and told a story at CPAC about free school lunches that turned out to be false, the meme had been long in the making as a conservative rallying cry about the evils of liberal ideology.

    It was adopted in the Senate primaries by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), who suggested in December that school kids “maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria” if they want to avail of free lunches. Kingston, who is struggling in a three-way race with two ultraconservative opponents, was later found to have expensed nearly $4,200 in meals to his congressional office.

    Last April, a state lawmaker in West Virginia, Ray Canterbury (R), argued during a school lunch debate that it’d be a “good idea” to have “the kids work for their lunches.” He proposed that they take out the trash, sweep the hallways or mow the lawns in order to earn their food.

    Sometimes the sentiment materializes into action. In the Salt Lake City School District in January, lunch trays were swiped away from dozens of elementary school children before they could eat anything, as officials told those students it was because they had negative balances in their accounts. (Officials later apologized after an outcry from parents.)

    The National School Lunch Program, which provides federal assistance for public and private schools to offer lunch to children, has been around since 1946. It feeds 17.5 million kids with free or reduced-cost lunches every school day. The lunch is free if their household earns below 130 percent of the federal poverty line, and cheaper if it’s between 130 and 185 percent of poverty. It aims to address a real problem: three out of five teachers report that kids in their classrooms regularly come to school hungry, and a majority says the problem is getting worse, according to a survey by the advocacy group No Kid Hungry.

    So, what’s really behind the antipathy toward government-subsidized school lunches?


  9. Ametia says:


  10. rikyrah says:

    My Life as a Retail Worker: Nasty, Brutish, and Cheap

    After veteran reporter Joseph Williams lost his job, he could only find employment in a sporting-goods store. In a personal essay, he recalls his struggles with challenges millions of Americans return to day after day.

    Joseph Williams
    Mar 11 2014, 11:50 AM ET

    My plunge into poverty happened in an instant. I never saw it coming.

    Then again, there was no reason to feel particularly vulnerable. Two years ago, I was a political reporter at Politico, and I spent my days covering the back-and-forth of presidential politics. I had access to the White House because of my reporting beat, and I was a regular commentator on MSNBC. My career had been on an upward trajectory for 30 years, and at age 50 I still anticipated a long career.

    On June 21, 2012, I was invited to discuss race, Republican candidate Mitt Romney, and the 2012 presidential election on MSNBC. I said this:

    “Romney is very, very comfortable, it seems, with people who are like him. That’s one of the reasons why he seems so stiff and awkward in town hall settings … But when he comes on ‘Fox and Friends,’ they’re like him. They’re white folks who are very much relaxed in their own company.”

    The political Internet exploded. Because I’m an African American, enraged conservative bloggers branded me an anti-white racist. Others on the right, like Andrew Breitbart’s Big Media, mined my personal Twitter account and unearthed a crude Romney joke I’d carelessly retweeted a month before. The Romney campaign cried foul. In less than two weeks I was out of a job.

    This wasn’t the end of my troubles. Five months earlier my ex-wife and I had a fight; I got a restraining order against her; she filed charges. To put it behind me, I accepted a plea agreement, was ordered to serve six months’ probation and, upon completion, the incident would be wiped from my record. But in the wake of the Politico scandal, Fishbowl DC obtained the court documents and published a piece, “Ex-Politico WH Correspondent Joe Williams Pleaded Guilty to Assaulting Ex-Wife.” Finding a new job went from hard to impossible: Some news outlets that had initially wanted my resume told me they’d changed their plans. Others simply dropped me without saying anything.

    That’s how I found myself working a retail job at a sporting goods store—the only steady job I could find after six months of unemployment in a down economy and a news industry in upheaval. In a matter of months, I was broke, depressed, and living on food stamps. I had lost my apartment, and ended up living out of a suitcase in a guest bedroom of an extraordinarily generous family I barely knew. My cash flow consisted of coins from my piggybank and modest sums earned from odd jobs: freelance copy-editing, public relations, coordinating funerals, mowing lawns. So when Stretch, the laconic, 34-year-old manager of a chain store I’ll call Sporting Goods Inc. called to tell me I was hired, it was the best news I’d had in a long time. (I have chosen not to name the store or its employees here, because the story is intended as an illustration of what it is like to work in a low-paid retail environment, and not as an expose of a particular store or team.)


  11. rikyrah says:

    Imani ABL @AngryBlackLady
    Wasn’t Snowden saying how future generations will grow up without having any right to privacy? My point is WOMEN DON’T HAVE THAT RIGHT NOW.

    9:33 AM – 11 Mar 2014

    • Ametia says:

      Yet; you’ll have the “Beckies” fawning all over this fool, but won’t get out there and defend women’s reproductive rights.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Philly Mag: NYT: Christie Turned Twin Towers Wreckage Into “Politically Motivated Gifts”

    The New York Times reports this morning that Chris Christie’s administration used wreckage from 9/11 as “politically motivated gifts,” part of a politicization of the Port Authority that is coming under increasing scrutiny from federal prosecutors in the wake of the Bridgegate scandal. For a state that lost hundreds of lives on Sept. 11, the gifts were emotionally resonant: pieces of steel from the ruins of the World Trade Center. They were presented by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to 20 carefully chosen New Jersey mayors who sat atop a list of 100 whose endorsements Gov. Chris Christie hoped to win. At photo opportunities around the mangled pieces of steel, Bill Baroni, Mr. Christie’s top staff appointee at the Port Authority, told audiences how many people wanted a similar remnant of the destroyed buildings, and how special these mayors were.

    Mayors lower on the list of 100 — such as Mark Sokolich, of Fort Lee, at No. 45 — received other Port Authority perquisites: an intimate tour of the National September 11 Memorial, or the new World Trade Center construction site, or Port Authority money for jobs programs or new firefighting equipment, even in towns far from the port. Turning wreckage of the twin towers into politically motivated gifts before Mr. Christie’s 2013 re-election was only one example. The authority became a means to reward friends (or hire them) and punish adversaries, and a bank to be used when Mr. Christie sought to avoid raising taxes. Major policy initiatives, such as instituting a large toll and fare increase in 2011, were treated like political campaigns to burnish the governor’s image.


  13. Yahtc says:

    Today, I have been reading Charles M. Payne’s outstanding book, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle” and thought I would look for talks by this Professor of African American Studies, Sociology, and Education. I found this one:

  14. rikyrah says:

    NYT: Little Know Health Act Fact: Prison Inmates Are Signing Up

    In a little-noticed outcome of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, jails and prisons around the country are beginning to sign up inmates for health insurance under the law, taking advantage of the expansion of Medicaid that allows states to extend coverage to single and childless adults — a major part of the prison population. State and counties are enrolling inmates for two main reasons. Although Medicaid does not cover standard health care for inmates, it can pay for their hospital stays beyond 24 hours — meaning states can transfer millions of dollars of obligations to the federal government. But the most important benefit of the program, corrections officials say, is that inmates who are enrolled in Medicaid while in jail or prison can have coverage after they get out.

    People coming out of jail or prison have disproportionately high rates of chronic diseases, especially mental illness and addictive disorders. Few, however, have insurance, and many would qualify for Medicaid under the income test for the program — 138 percent of the poverty line — in the 25 states that have elected to expand their programs. Health care experts estimate that up to 35 percent of those newly eligible for Medicaid under Mr. Obama’s health care law are people with histories of criminal justice system involvement, including jail and prison inmates and those on parole or probation. “For those newly covered, it will open up treatment doors for them” and potentially save money in the long run by reducing recidivism, said Dr. Fred Osher, director of health systems and services policy for the Council of State Governments Justice Center. He added that a 2009 study in Washington State found that low-income adults who received treatment for addiction had significantly fewer arrests than those who were untreated.


  15. rikyrah says:

    Detroit Doesn’t Need Hipsters To Survive, It Needs Black People

    Posted: 03/10/2014 1:12 pm EDT Updated: 03/10/2014 2:59 pm EDT
    Print Article

    Last month, Thomas Sugrue, the scholar who literally wrote the book on Detroit, traveled to the Motor City to deliver a tough message to business and political leaders. Detroit’s comeback, he said, depends on whether the city can improve the lives of working-class African-Americans.

    “Revitalization” is a buzzword in the city, which filed for bankruptcy last year and grapples with widespread blight and high unemployment and poverty rates. In spite of all this, Detroit is often celebrated as a hipster paradise and tourist destination by national media outlets.

    But Sugrue said Detroit’s recent successes in its downtown area and in Midtown, the city’s cultural center, aren’t benefiting the majority of residents.

    Sugrue is the author of The Origins of the Urban Crisis, published in 1996 and lauded as the seminal work on the rise and fall of Detroit. He’s also the David Boies Professor of History and Sociology and director of the Penn Social Science and Policy Forum at the University of Pennsylvania. Growing up on Detroit’s northwest side, Sugrue remembers watching his neighborhood change from nearly all white to predominantly African-American. He spoke to The Huffington Post from the Philadelphia airport last week, shortly before an appearance at the annual Detroit Policy Conference (on this year’s agenda: revitalizing the city’s neighborhoods, diversifying the local economy and promoting a better relationship between the city and its suburbs).

    For years, Sugrue pointed out, Detroit’s revitalization has largely been limited to improvements in the greater downtown area. “What does a city revitalizing even mean at this point? I’ll tell you — it means, is it appealing to better-off people, tourists and writers,” he said. “The signs of a city’s success are people sitting in outdoor cafes. It’s beautifully landscaped streets. It’s new high-rises going up. It’s restaurants.”

    With a population that is 83 percent African American, Detroit is blacker than any big city in America. But black people might not be the ones whom revitalization is helping. Urban theorists like Richard Florida have long maintained that the key to rejuvenating a city is to attract young, creative professionals who will bring about economic transformation. But Sugrue says that in practice, this strategy only helps a select few, while leaving everybody else no better off than before — a phenomenon he calls “trickle-down urbanism.”

    “There’s not a lot of evidence that the tourism, downtown-oriented and professional-oriented urban redevelopment policies really grapple with the questions of how to provide stable secure employment for working-class and lower-income folks,” Sugrue said.

    What “trickle-down urbanism” usually leads to, Sugrue said, is gentrification — a hot topic in Detroit lately, due in part to the recent eviction of artists and musicians from downtown lofts owned by the development titan Dan Gilbert. “Gentrification” is usually used to describe the process of displacing residents from urban neighborhoods that have been targeted for new investment and resources. Rising housing prices mean that many long-term residents cannot afford these “rediscovered” neighborhoods.


  16. rikyrah says:

    President Obama hosts the 2012-2013 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Champions at the White House to congratulate student athletes from schools across the country on their accomplishments in the classroom and on the playing field.


  17. rikyrah says:

    Watch as Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Brian Deese, sketches out the nuts and bolts of the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget.


  18. rikyrah says:

    Putin’s Man in Crimea Is Ukraine’s Worst Nightmare
    Simon Shuster / Simferopol @shustry

    Little is known about Sergei Aksyonov, the pro-Russia Crimean leader, who rose from obscurity in a month and who is driving the region toward secession

    A month ago, when Ukraine’s old regime was just starting to crack under the pressure of a revolution, few people in the country had ever heard of Sergei Aksyonov. He was then a marginal figure even in the local politics of the region of Crimea. His Russian Unity party had only three seats in the regional legislature and no representation anywhere else. But that has not stopped him from taking charge. In late January, as the protesters in Kiev began seizing government buildings, Aksyonov started to form an army on the Crimean peninsula. Now he is the de facto leader of the entire region, a post that has thrust him into the center of the most dire political crisis Europe has confronted in years.


  19. rikyrah says:

    Bernie Sanders Destroys The Koch Fueled Republican Plot To Buy Your Government

    By: Jason Easley
    Monday, March, 10th, 2014, 3:44 pm

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) obliterated the Koch plot to buy your government through unlimited campaign contributions on MSNBC today.

    Ronan Farrow asked Sen. Sanders (I-VT) about the upcoming McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission
    Supreme Court ruling, and got a sixty second explanation of why the Koch Brothers and right wing billionaires must be stopped.

    Sanders said, “At the end of the day, you do not want a political system which is heavily dominated by wealthy individuals. That’s not what American society is supposed to be about. And Ronan, I think people have no idea, no idea, about the amount of time that members of congress in both parties, that candidates spend, all they do is raise money. They spend half their lives raising money. And you gotta go where the money is, and the money is with wealthy people. So if you are going to the wealthy to ask for campaign contributions, your political views are going to be shaped by that reality. You’re not worried about the high unemployment in this country. You’re not worried about the need to create millions of jobs. You’re not worried about the fact that we have more people living in poverty than at any time in our history. What you’re worried about are the needs of the wealthy and the powerful, so I believe very strongly that we need to junk this campaign finance situation that we’re in right now, and move to public funding of elections.”

    It took Bernie Sanders exactly sixty seconds to explain why the Koch brothers must be stopped. Most Americans are upset because Republicans have used obstructionist tactics to ignore their concerns. The reason why Republicans aren’t concerned about the needs and difficulties of regular people is because they are busy catering to the interests of those who are paying for their campaigns.


  20. rikyrah says:

    Cruz Still Thinks GOP Can Repeal Obamacare In 2015: ‘Every Single Word’ (VIDEO)
    Fb-square Share

    Caitlin MacNeal – March 9, 2014, 10:17 PM EDT

    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Sunday insisted that Republicans still have a chance of repealing Obamacare in 2015.

    “If there’s one things that unifies politicians of both parties, you know, their top priority is preserving their own hide,” Cruz said on ABC’s “This Week” when asked if the GOP could repeal the health care law while President Obama remains in office. “And if enough Congressional Democrats realize they either stand with ObamaCare and lose, or they listen to the American people and have a chance at staying in office, that’s the one scenario we could do it in 2015. If not, we’ll do it in 2017.”

    Cruz reiterated that he can repeal “every single word” of the law.

    When host Jonathan Karl asked if Cruz was positive a repeal was possible with Obama in the White House, the senator indicated it wasn’t a large factor.

    “You know, what’s funny, Jon, is the media treats that as a bizarre proposition,” Cruz said.

    “Well, it is,” Karl responded. “It is a bizarre proposition.”

    Cruz then said that pushing for a full repeal was the best way for the GOP to win elections in 2014.

    “Millions of people have lost their jobs, have lost their health care, have been forced into part-time work, have their premiums skyrocketing. And right now, Washington isn’t listening to those people,” he said. “That’s how we win elections, and that’s also how we repeal ObamaCare.”


  21. rikyrah says:

    GOP’s New Plan: Pay Cuts For Doctors If Obamacare Isn’t Chopped

    Sahil Kapur – March 10, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    House Republicans have a bold new strategy to attack Obamacare, which involves huge pay cuts for physicians unless Democrats agree to delay the law’s individual mandate to buy insurance.

    GOP leaders intend to vote on legislation this week, aides say, to delay the individual mandate in order to fund a “doc fix” that avoids a 24 percent pay cut to physicians under Medicare — which will automatically take effect on April 1 unless Congress acts. Inaction would disrupt the health care system, in part by causing many doctors to stop accepting Medicare patients.

    The strategy is unlikely to succeed and could backfire on Republicans. Delaying the individual mandate is a nonstarter for the Democratic-led Senate and White House. By demanding a largely partisan unraveling of Obamacare in exchange for must-pass bipartisan legislation, they risk being blamed by seniors and the health care industry if the doctor pay cuts go into effect. When Republicans insisted on such an approach for federal funding last fall, the government shut down and they took most of the blame.

    “This bill represents a new low, even for House Republicans,” fumed Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who decried the plan as “irresponsible and dangerous” and promised it’d be a “legislative dead-end.”

    But Republican leaders believe they have an ace up their sleeve. Many of them expect Obama to delay the individual mandate unilaterally before the first penalties come due (as he has delayed other provisions of the law). So they argue that this proposal puts Democrats in a tough position, particularly given the unpopularity of the federal requirement to buy insurance. A full “doc fix” could be funded by putting it off for several years, an aide said.

    “Is President Obama willing to block a doc fix because he disagrees with a mandate delay he himself is likely to implement?” said a House GOP leadership aide. “Democrats are in a tighter position than [they’d] have you believe.


  22. rikyrah says:

    Thank God for the Kochs Because Disney is Turning Our Kids Gay
    By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson
    Tuesday, March, 11th, 2014, 6:48 am

    We have seen repeatedly how obsessed the Religious Right is with ideas of demons and Satan. Satan especially is a handy crutch for them: if you don’t like something, just say Satan is behind it. I well remember born-again Christians, whom I otherwise liked very much as people, telling me that Satan was behind my own religion. When I would tell them Satan was their problem, that Pagans did not believe in Satan, they would answer that by denying Satan I was doing his work.

    I will return to this point about being a Heathen and dealing with the problem of aberrant Christianity. For now let me remark that this is coming from people who, like Michele Bachmann, while pretending to follow the anti-rich teachings of Jesus, are probably now thanking God for the ultra-rich people Koch brothers for funding their “moral” crusade against poor people and the other social misfits Jesus liked to pal around with and minister to.

    Speaking of doing Satan’s work, what was that Michele Bachmann was saying at CPAC?


  23. rikyrah says:

    Michael Eric Dyson: Charter Schools an ‘Attack on the Civil Rights of All Children’
    by Noah Rothman | 6:00 pm, March 10th, 2014

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is defending his administration’s decision to close a series of private schools on the basis that they syphon resources away from public schools which serve more of the city’s underprivileged students. Charter school advocates claim that private schools perform better than public schools and some have even asserted that limiting access to private schools violates students’ civil rights.

    On Monday, Georgetown University Professor and MSNBC contributor Michael Eric Dyson joined MSNBC host Ed Schultz where he dismissed the notion that Success Academy Charter Schools founder Eva Moskowitz had grounds to file a civil rights case against New York City. He added that the existence of charter schools could be construed as a violation of the civil rights of all children.

    “The opprobrious use of civil rights language to try to justify an attack on the civil rights of all children, for that matter,” Dyson said when asked about Moskowitz’s charges against the de Blasio administration. “What’s at stake here is the equal education and equal access to education of all children.

    Charter schools, in one sense, create two tiers,” he continued. “It reinforces the syphoning off of critical resources from public education students to those in charter schools.”

    “Let’s redistribute the goods so everybody has equal access to education,” Dyson concluded. “I think that’s what Mayor de Blasio is about here.”

    “How can you say that kids with special needs don’t deserve the proper attention?” Schultz asked.

    “This is fundamentally uncivil and against ever tenet of the Civil Rights Movement that we can think of,” Dyson agreed.


  24. rikyrah says:

    GOP strategist: ‘No stupid comments’ about women
    03/10/14 10:19 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Republican strategist Kate Obenshain was recently on Fox News when Bill O’Reilly posited that there must be “some downside to having a woman president.” He added, “There haven’t been that many strong women leaders throughout history.”

    A week later, Obenshain was at CPAC reflecting on the right and the gender gap (thanks to reader J.B. for the tip).

    One of the panelists on a discussion conservative women in politics had a message for men within the party: no dumb comments this cycle and let women talk about contraception.

    “We cannot have any stupid comments this year. No stupid comments,” conservative author Kate Obenshain said Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “Please think before you make pithy, obnoxious comments.” Obenshain added that it’s important to avoid comments that play into the “War On Women” attack against Republicans.

    She went on to say that when it comes to contraception, “White men stay behind, let the women talk about this issue.”

    At the surface, all of this seems quite sensible. There’s ample evidence that Republicans have struggled of late with women voters at the national level, at least in part due to “stupid comments,” so Obenshain’s advice has a sensible ring to it.

    But the underlying problem persists: many Republicans still believe their difficulties have more to do with rhetoric than policy, as if substance just isn’t that important.


  25. rikyrah says:

    The right’s other demographic challenge
    03/10/14 11:02 AM—Updated 03/11/14 12:50 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Republican Party leaders seem well aware of the demographic challenges they’ll face in the not-too-distant future. The party has generally relied on a more homogenous base made up of older, white, religious voters, which Republican leaders have recognized as a problem in an increasingly diverse nation.

    But it’s important to realize the scope of the demographic difficulties facing the GOP, because it’s not just the result of changes to the electorate’s racial and ethnic makeup. The generational challenges should probably be just as alarming to Republican strategists. Consider, for example, the latest Pew Research Center report, released late last week.


    I’ve seen some suggestions that the Pew data should be taken with a grain of salt because young people are always going to be more progressive – it’s just part of youth. That’s an easy explanation, which happens to be wrong.

    For example, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were two of the oldest presidents ever elected, but they both won the youth vote in the 1980s. If young people are naturally more liberal, it’s a very modern phenomenon.

    For that matter, look at the above chart – there’s nothing steady about the trend. If there’s just a natural ebb and flow to young people starting on the left and gradually changing as they get older, we wouldn’t see so much variation as younger Americans move left now.

    What we’re left with is simply a more liberal younger generation. Among the GOP’s other demographic concerns, this should be high on the list.


  26. rikyrah says:

    When facts ‘can’t be true’
    03/11/14 08:01 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Quite a few alleged horror stories about “Obamacare victims” have been debunked in recent months, but for some reason, the story of Michigan’s Julia Boonstra has taken on more significance than most.

    To briefly recap, Boonstra is featured in a Michigan attack ad sponsored by the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity, in which she talks about her fight against leukemia. In the commercial, Boonstra says she’s transitioned to a new coverage plan, which she criticized as “unaffordable.”

    It wasn’t long before the claims started looking dubious. We soon learned that Boonstra, at worst, would break even, all while benefiting from more secure coverage.

    But as the controversy surrounding the attack ad grew, Boonstra felt compelled to provide more information about her circumstances. The Detroit News learned which plan she chose and reported yesterday that she’ll save “at least $1,200 compared with her former insurance plan.”

    In other words, this “Obamacare victim” will, now know for certain, pay less money for better coverage and won’t have to change doctors.

    When advised of the details of her Blues’ plan, Boonstra said the idea that it would be cheaper “can’t be true.”

    “I personally do not believe that,” Boonstra said.

    Facts are not dependent on belief.

    As for why this alleged horror story, in particular, became nationally significant, there are a few relevant angles to keep in mind. First, the pattern of attack ads featuring “victims” who aren’t victims at all has clearly reached a critical mass. Second, Boonstra seemed to go out of her way to give her story a national profile, participating in a Republican National Committee event and even appearing as a Republican guest at this year’s State of the Union address.


  27. rikyrah says:

    SC Republican: ‘The government didn’t shut down’

    03/10/14 04:36 PM—Updated 03/11/14 12:56 AM
    By Steve Benen

    As congressional Republicans shut down the federal government last fall, there was some effort among conservatives to redefine the word “shutdown” to make it seem less politically provocative. Fox News and others said it was a “slowdown,” not a “shutdown.”

    In time, even the most stubborn Republican voices gave up, realizing that a shutdown by any other name is still a shutdown. But as GOP lawmakers give up on legislating for the rest of the year and move into full-time campaign mode, the plainly silly effort to redefine the word is apparently making a comeback.

    Andrew Kaczynski uncovered this gem:

    South Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Sanford claimed in an interview that was posted on YouTube Sunday that the “government didn’t shutdown” during the government shutdown.

    “The government didn’t shut down,” Sanford said. “I mean everyone likes to describe it as such. The president in some cases shut down parts of government that were most visible to people. People were still getting their Social Security checks. They’re still enacting, enrolled in Medicare. I mean, I could go through a lot of different functions of government. You know, we had planes that were flying on a nightly basis, you know, using pieces of sort of our national infrastructure grid. So a lot of things were happening.”

    And what about all of those closings Americans might remember seeing last October? That, according to the Republican congressman, was just President Obama “exerting political pressure,” closing parks and monuments on purpose to make Republicans look bad.


  28. rikyrah says:

    Rand Paul has a plan for Ukraine
    03/10/14 02:56 PM—Updated 03/11/14 12:54 AM
    By Steve Benen

    It gets a little tiresome to hear Republicans complain about President Obama’s handling on the crisis in Ukraine without suggesting credible alternatives. Too often, the rhetoric is little more than vague platitudes – he should be “tougher” and “lead more” – when the right isn’t calling for specific actions the White House is already taking.

    So it was heartening to see Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) publish an 830-word op-ed on the subject in Time. The good news is, the senator has a plan he’s eager to share. The bad news is, his vision for U.S. foreign policy is truly awful (thanks to my colleague Tricia McKinney for the heads-up).

    After some throat-clearing, the Kentucky Republican spells out the “specific and decisive measures” he’d like to see incorporated into U.S. foreign policy. Here’s the gist:


  29. rikyrah says:

    W.Va. advances 20-week abortion ban
    03/10/14 12:39 PM
    By Steve Benen

    West Virginia’s legislature wrapped up its work for the year over the weekend, but not before approving a 20-week abortion ban.

    An ongoing emotional debate on legislation to ban abortions of fetuses after 20 weeks gestation (HB4588) reached a crescendo in the Senate with a 29-5 passage vote on the controversial measure.

    Sen. Erik Wells, D-Kanawha, who had demanded the bill be read in its entirety prior to the vote, admonished his colleagues for passing what many believe is unconstitutional legislation, saying the state will never move ahead so long as legislators are beholden to special interests.

    “We want to focus on gays, abortion and guns, and I have to wonder when that’s going to change,” he said, adding, “We will never get past 50th if we worry more about the next election than the next generation.”

    Soon after, the state House approved the same bill, 83 to 15. There was no debate – House leaders said members needed to vote on a variety of bills on Saturday night, so there wouldn’t be enough time for lawmakers to address the subject before voting on it.


  30. rikyrah says:

    Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama

    With President Barack Obama, Zach Galifianakis, Scott Aukerman, Funny Or Die, Between Two Ferns, more »

    Episode 18: President Barack Obama sits down with Zach Galifianakis for his most memorable interview yet.

    Published March 11, 2014

  31. rikyrah says:

    Feds: DC mayor knew of illegal shadow campaign

    WASHINGTON (AP) — District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray was aware of an off-the-books “shadow campaign” to support his 2010 bid and personally requested the funds from an influential district businessman, federal prosecutors said Monday.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Atkinson disclosed the details in court when reading a document that described the activities of Jeffrey Thompson, the multimillionaire former owner of a well-connected accounting firm who pleaded guilty Monday to two conspiracy charges.

    …Atkinson said “Gray presented Mr. Thompson with a 1-page budget for $425,000. He asked Mr. Thompson to pay for a get-out-the-vote campaign. Mr. Thompson agreed.” Gray agreed to let Thompson fund his campaign while concealing the source of those funds, prosecutors said.

    …According to a criminal information filed in the case, Thompson funded illicit campaign activity for Hillary Rodham Clinton, Gray and seven other candidates for local office in the district. All told, the
    efforts, described previously by prosecutors as “shadow campaigns,” were valued at more than $2 million.


  32. rikyrah says:

    ‘Boondocks’ Creator Brings ‘Black Jesus’ to Adult Swim (Exclusive)
    3:00 PM PDT 3/10/2014 by Lesley Goldberg

    The Boondocks creator is bringing Black Jesus to Adult Swim.

    The Turner-owned network has picked up a new half-hour live-action comedy series called Black Jesus from Aaron McGruder, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.

    The new half-hour live-action scripted comedy finds Jesus living in
    present-day Compton, Calif., on a daily mission to spread love and
    kindness throughout the neighborhood with the help of his small but
    loyal group of downtrodden followers. Newcomer Gerald “Slink” Johnson (Grand Theft Auto V) stars as Black Jesus. Charlie Murphy (Are We There Yet?), Corey Holcomb (The Cleveland Show), Kali Hawk (Couples Retreat), Andra Fuller (L.A. Complex) and The Boondocks’ John Witherspoon round out the cast


  33. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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