Saturday Open Thread

Hope you are enjoying this weekend with family and friends.

And SG2 – you are in our thoughts and prayers. Sending positive thoughts your way.

Published on Apr 25, 2014

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This week, the White House celebrated Easter, and the President began a week-long trip to Asia, while the First Lady and Dr. Biden hosted a Career Forum on Veterans Jobs

This entry was posted in Open Thread, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Never say never!

    George Clooney is engaged to lawyer Amal Alamuddin after barely seven months of dating, according to People.

    E! news has learned from two separate sources that the two are headed to the altar. Clooney’s British ladylove was first spotted flashing a “massive” ring on her left ring finger Thursday, while dining at Malibu restaurant Nobu with Cindy Crawford and her husband Rande Gerber, one source told E! News.

    In the middle of dinner that evening, the couple told pal Edward Norton “we’re engaged!” when he approached their table. The actor went on to congratulate them with kisses.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Truth Be Told: The Real Reason Behind Sean Hannity’s Obsession with Cliven Bundy
    By: Trevor LaFauci

    After non-stop cheerleading for deadbeat domestic terrorist Cliven Bundy the previous three weeks, Hannity was forced to backtrack Friday after an interview with the New York Times revealed on Wednesday that Bundy has some “unique” views on people of color. Hannity has come under fire this week for his constant championing of Bundy, a man who owes over $1 million in grazing fees and has refused to pay them because he does not recognize the United States government.


    When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Cliven Bundy, an uneducated backcountry freeloader, becomes a simple pawn in a game played by a millionaire TV host and two billionaire Conservative kingpins. His story, one of simple tax evasion, is hyped by Charles and David Koch in an effort to draw attention to the issue of privatizing federal land. This draws in the cavalry via the Tea Party Patriots who are willing to use women as human shields to fight off the big bad government. Add to that, Fox News’ outright lie accusing Harry Reid of trying to steal Bundy land for his own personal gain and you’ve got the ingredients for a potentially explosive situation. What better way to make the case for your patriotic cause then to have some patsy rancher and a crew of faux patriots become martyrs at the hands of the Nevada Bureau of Land Management?

  3. rikyrah says:

    Friday, April 25, 2014
    ‘Charlie Delta’ is an Uncle Tom Who Deserves His Own Action Figure: Maybe Someone Will Cosplay at C2E2 in Chicago as Cliven Bundy’s ‘Best Black Friend’?

    I had a good time at the first day of C2E2 here in Chicago. At some point tomorrow night, I will post a few random thoughts and questions about the event and the panels I attended. One of the fun things about C2E2 is all of the great costumes worn by the fans. I originally planned on dressing up as “Stabby Smurf”, a deranged, blue, serial-killing machine, he who is the terror of Smurf village. Alas, I didn’t put in the time at the gym to get 300 ripped.

    My alternative costume is “black working class ghetto nerd” who is wearing his fancy pants purchased from the Burlington Coat Factory…they are irregular by the way. Bonus points if you get the joke.

    I have been enjoying the Cliven Bundy spectacle. Mocking the black conservatives like Kira Davis, Larry Elder, and Allen West who are performing political fellatio on white racists–they have hungry mouths…or so I have heard–is always great fun. But, the professional Uncle Tom buck dancers are high profile self-hating negroes. There is a whole underbelly of low level Toms and Handkerchief heads who are playing in the minor leagues of the self-hating political blackface league with the hope of one day getting their shot at the big time.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Inviting The World To Dinner

    by Jim Haynes
    January 12, 2009 3:09 PM ET

    Every week for the past 30 years, I’ve hosted a Sunday dinner in my home in Paris. People, including total strangers, call or e-mail to book a spot. I hold the salon in my atelier, which used to be a sculpture studio. The first 50 or 60 people who call may come, and twice that many when the weather is nice and we can overflow into the garden.

    Every Sunday a different friend prepares a feast. Last week it was a philosophy student from Lisbon, and next week a dear friend from London will cook.

    People from all corners of the world come to break bread together, to meet, to talk, connect and often become friends. All ages, nationalities, races, professions gather here, and since there is no organized seating, the opportunity for mingling couldn’t be better. I love the randomness.

    I believe in introducing people to people.

    I have a good memory, so each week I make a point to remember everyone’s name on the guest list and where they’re from and what they do, so I can introduce them to each other, effortlessly. If I had my way, I would introduce everyone in the whole world to each other.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Navajo Nation removes sales tax on healthy foods

    April 25, 2014
    2:15PM ET


    Massoud Hayoun


    Navajo tribal leaders voted this week to remove sales taxes on food
    items such as fruit, vegetables and nuts in an attempt to promote
    healthier diets and fight rampant obesity and diabetes — but some native
    health activists say the biggest obstacle they face is a lack of access
    to fresh produce on or near the reservation.

    “This is a wake-up call to the Navajo Nation: You are in charge of
    your health,” Jonathan Hale, the Navajo Nation Council delegate who
    introduced the measure, told Al Jazeera.

    Still, advocates say the tribe has a long way to go to improve Navajos’ declining health.

    “We live in a giant food desert,” meaning a region that produces
    little of its own food, said Dana Eldridge, an independent researcher on
    sustainable community and decolonization. Her remark echoes findings by the United States Department of Agriculture.

    Eldridge said that while the council’s decision is “a real victory,” it is also largely symbolic.

  6. rikyrah says:

    If they’ll take away your Obamacare, they’ll take away your Medicare
    By LOLGOP on April 26, 2014 in GOPocrisy

    The one simple sentence that can change everything

    The political momentum continued to shift away from Republicans this week as conservatives took shrapnel from the Bundy implosion, polls continued to show Obamacare is far more popular than repeal even in red states and Democrats have found ways to embrace the law as Republicans continue to fail to win “the big argument.”

    Perhaps the biggest news was that Speaker John Boehner, in a speech attempting to marginalize the Tea Party movement, admitted that Republicans can’t repeal the law, unless they have something to replace it with, which they don’t.

    This is Ted Cruz’s worst nightmare coming true.

    Reality won’t stop the party’s far right from pretending that repeal is a real possibility but it does show that the more than 8 million exchange enrollments in addition to the 4 -15 million Americans who have gained coverage thanks to the law have changed the political dynamics.

    In Michigan, Rep. Tim Walberg was forced to admit in a town hall that Obamacare is helping some people, something that Republicans have avoided doing for years. But Walberg added a thought that exposed his party’s weakness on the issue.

    “A lot of people told me, ‘I never wanted to be subsidized by the government,’” he said.

  7. rikyrah says:

    April 24, 2014 9:25 a.m.
    The Sharing Economy Isn’t About Trust, It’s About Desperation
    By Kevin RooseFollow @kevinroose

    Wired’s cover story this month is about the rise of the “sharing economy” — a Silicon Valley–invented term used to describe the basket of start-ups (Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, et al.) that allow users to rent their labor and belongings to strangers. Jason Tanz attributes the success of these start-ups to the invention of a “set of digi­tal tools that enable and encourage us to trust our fellow human beings,” such as bidirectional rating systems, background checks, frictionless payment systems, and platforms that encourage buyers and sellers to get to know each other face-to-face before doing business.

    Tanz’s thesis isn’t wrong — these innovations have certainly made a difference. But it leaves out an important part of the story. Namely, the sharing economy has succeeded in large part because the real economy has been struggling.

    A huge precondition for the sharing economy has been a depressed labor market, in which lots of people are trying to fill holes in their income by monetizing their stuff and their labor in creative ways. In many cases, people join the sharing economy because they’ve recently lost a full-time job and are piecing together income from several part-time gigs to replace it. In a few cases, it’s because the pricing structure of the sharing economy made their old jobs less profitable. (Like full-time taxi drivers who have switched to Lyft or Uber.) In almost every case, what compels people to open up their homes and cars to complete strangers is money, not trust.

    To understand why the sharing economy is thriving now, it’s worth taking a look at how many full-time jobs have been replaced by part-time jobs since the recession of 2008:

  8. rikyrah says:

    A Texas jury awarded $2.9 million to a family living in what sounds like fracking heaven (or hell):

    According to the lawsuit, Aruba Petroleum had 22 natural gas wells within a 2-mile radius of the Parrs’ property, with three wells in close proximity to their Texas home. The closest was 791 feet away.

    As a result of poor management and lack of emission controls, Aruba Petroleum created a “private nuisance” to the Parr family by producing harmful air pollution and exposing them to harmful emissions of volatile organic compounds, toxic air pollutants and diesel exhaust, the lawsuit said.

  9. Liza says:

    Race Matters: Resegregation and the Rollback of Affirmative Action

    Posted on Apr 23, 2014

    By Amy Goodman

    “I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” So proclaimed Alabama Gov. George Wallace more than a half-century ago. His proudly racist rhetoric was matched by heinous actions: Murders, lynchings and systemic violence, often endorsed or organized by state and local governments, were inflicted on African-Americans and their allies struggling for civil rights. Despite that, those fighting for equality prevailed. Among the successes were the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, affirmative action and court-ordered integration of schools. But with this week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision supporting Michigan’s ban against affirmative action in state university admissions, and with the increasing resegregation of schools, it seems like Wallace’s dream of “segregation forever” may be alive and all too well.

    Nikole Hannah-Jones is an investigative journalist with the nonprofit news organization ProPublica, which has just published her yearlong, 9,000-word piece on the resegregation of public schools in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This remarkable report, “Segregation Now,” notes that “In Tuscaloosa today, nearly one in three black students attends a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened.” The Brown decision, issued in May of 1954, covered several pending court cases (all organized by the NAACP) challenging school segregation. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren authored the unanimous decision, writing, “We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

    Hannah-Jones tells the history of school desegregation in Tuscaloosa through the lens of three generations of the Dent family. James Dent grew up in Jim Crow Alabama, never sharing a classroom with a white student. His daughter, Melissa, first went to an integrated middle school in 1980. It had taken decades for Tuscaloosa to implement desegregation, and then only by additional court orders. The city’s two high schools were consolidated into one, Central High, which became a state powerhouse of excellence, both academic and athletic. Melissa went on to become the first in her family’s history to graduate from college.

    But this golden era of desegregation was short-lived. “Tuscaloosa has become one of the most rapidly resegregating school districts in the country,” Hannah-Jones explained on our “Democracy Now!” news hour. “In 2000, when a federal judge released Tuscaloosa from its court order, the school board immediately voted to split up Central [High School]. Because of fears of white flight … they created three high schools—two integrated and one that was entirely black.” Here is her key finding: a new kind of segregation. While there are no “whites only” schools in Tuscaloosa, as there were up until 1979, there is now a struggling “blacks only” school—Central High. “The irony is that Central High School is actually located in an integrated neighborhood, but the white students right across the street from the school are gerrymandered into a district to go to an integrated school, and that Central was created as a black school by the intentional drawing of district lines.”

    The problem is not limited to the Deep South. UCLA’s Civil Rights Project has been tracking national trends. Surprisingly, it found that “New York has the most segregated schools in the country. … Heavily impacting these state rankings is New York City, home to the largest and one of the most segregated public school systems in the nation.” The UCLA report repeatedly uses a term that is now common in academic circles studying resegregation: “apartheid schools”—those schools with less than 1 percent white student enrollment. The report continues, “Across New York City, 73 percent of charters were considered apartheid schools and 90 percent were intensely segregated (less than 10 percent white enrollment) schools in 2010.”

    This week’s Supreme Court decision will surely continue the trend of resegregation from high schools into colleges. The 6-2 vote upheld the Michigan ban on race-based affirmative action in state university admissions. Chief Justice John Roberts expressed his feelings about race in 2007, when he controversially said, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in her dissent from the majority this week, wrote, “My colleagues are of the view that we should leave race out of the picture entirely and let the voters sort it out. … It is a sentiment out of touch with reality.”

    The reality is, racial discrimination and segregation go hand in hand. Racism may not boom from a governor’s podium as it did in 1963 with George Wallace, but a racially divided America can never be equal.

  10. Yahtc says:

    “Bride Fatally Shot Niece After Wedding Party: Police”

  11. Ametia says:

    Gun control advocates issue NRA-style warning to lawmakers

    Taking a page from the National Rifle Association playbook, a new coalition pushing for what leaders term “common sense gun policy” on Friday called on legislators to get on board or risk being swept out of office.

    The call to action Friday by Lucia McBath, national spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, echoed an NRA handout that proclaims: “When lawmakers target our freedoms, we target their careers.”

    McBath, whose son, Jordan Davis, was shot in 2012 in Jacksonville, Fla., by a man upset about the loud music coming from the young man’s car, acknowledged the NRA has a giant head start. But, she said, change can and will come, slowly but surely, if Americans stand up and demand it.

  12. Ametia says:

    Gee, Ayn Rand Paul, since when did you decide it’s time for anyone but whites to be in the GOP?

  13. Yahtc says:

    “Black pioneer, a cemetery founder, finally honored”

    Excerpt from article:

    “PHILADELPHIA (AP) — In his own right, John C. Asbury deserved a place in the spotlight as a distinguished African American lawyer and state representative in early 20th-century Pennsylvania.

    “Yet his fame has been overshadowed by the likes of the singer Marian Anderson, the activist Octavius V. Catto, and the composer Charles Albert Tindley — all of whom came to be buried at the historic Eden Cemetery that he co-founded.

    “But on Thursday, both Asbury and the Collingdale cemetery were honored in separate ceremonies for their significance. A state historic marker was unveiled outside Asbury’s South Philadelphia home, and a steel bench was dedicated at the 112-year-old Delaware County cemetery.

    “Asbury “was the most prominent African American politician in Pennsylvania in the first half of the 20th century,” said Richard Sand of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission during a morning ceremony at 1710 Christian St.

    “Asbury, who died in 1941 and is buried at the cemetery, introduced a civil-rights bill as a state legislator in 1921. The bill was passed by the House but died in the Senate.

    He is a founder of Mercy Hospital and the Christian Street YMCA. He also joined with four others to establish the cemetery as a place where African Americans excluded from other burial grounds would have a final resting place.”

  14. Yahtc says:

    “Challenging Invisibility: UW Class Discovers Black History In The West”

  15. Yahtc says:

    “U.Va.’s Office of Admissions affirms commitment to race-conscious admission policy”

  16. Yahtc says:

    “Trying to Bring Baldwin’s Complex Voice Back to the Classroom
    James Baldwin, Born 90 Years Ago, Is Fading in Classrooms”

  17. Yahtc says:

    “Dance Africa, Promoting Cultural Heritage through Dance”

  18. Yahtc says:

    “You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Want to Know:
    Fighting a culture of racism, sexism, ageism, and other -ism’s”

  19. Yahtc says:

    “Cliven Bundy’s racist comments: campaign gift to Democrats?”

  20. Yahtc says:

    “911 Dispatchers Suspended Over Delayed Response to Deadly Fire”

  21. Yahtc says:

    Giancarlo Esposito was born on this day in 1958. From Wikipedia:

    Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito (born April 26, 1958) is an American actor, director, and producer. He is best known for his portrayal of Gustavo “Gus” Fring on the AMC series ‘Breaking Bad,’ for which he won the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama award at the 2012 Critics’ Choice Television Awards and was nominated for an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award at the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards. He is also well known for his roles in films such as ‘Do the Right Thing,’ ‘The Usual Suspects,’ and ‘King of New York.’ He has portrayed Sidney Glass/Magic Mirror on ABC’s ‘Once Upon a Time ‘ and currently portrays Major Tom Neville in the NBC series ‘Revolution’.

    Ametia and rikyrah, there are so many video clips with Giancarlo Esposito, I need help :)

    Maybe you two might want to choose one or two, please.

  22. Yahtc says:

    Jesse Eugene Russell was born on this day in 1948. From Wikipedia:

    Jesse Eugene Russell (born April 26, 1948) is an African-American inventor and one of the visionaries’ whose innovative perspectives profoundly influenced the wireless communications industry, the driver of growth in 21st century. Trained as an electrical engineer at Tennessee State University and Stanford University, and recognized globally as a thought-leader, technology expert and inventor in the field of wireless communication for over 20 years, Russell has played a major role in shaping the wireless communications industry direction through his visionary leadership and innovative perspectives for standards, technologies as well as innovative new wireless service concepts.

    He holds numerous patents and continues to invent and innovate in the emerging area of next generation broadband wireless networks, technologies and services, which is frequently referred to as 4G. Russell was inducted into the United States’ National Academy of Engineering during the Clinton Administration for his innovative contribution to the field of Wireless Communication. He pioneered the field of digital cellular communication in the 80s through the use of high power linear amplification and low bit rate voice encoding technologies and received a patent in 1992 (US patent #5,084,869) for his work in the area of digital cellular base station design.

    Russell is currently Chairman and CEO of incNETWORKS, Inc. a New Jersey-based Broadband Wireless Communications Company focused on 4th Generation Broadband Wireless Communications Technologies, Networks and Services.

  23. Yahtc says:

    Ma Rainey was born on this day in 1886. From Wikipedia:

    Ma Rainey (born Gertrude Pridgett; c. April 26, 1886 – December 22, 1939)[1] was one of the earliest known American professional blues singers and one of the first generation of such singers to record. She was billed as The Mother of the Blues.

    She began performing as a young teenager (between the ages of 12 and 14), and recorded under the name Ma Rainey after she and Will Rainey were married in 1904. They toured with F.S. Wolcott’s Rabbit Foot Minstrels and later formed their own group called Rainey and Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues. From the time of her first recording in 1923 to five years later, Ma Rainey made over 100 recordings, including “Bo-weevil Blues” (1923), “Moonshine Blues” (1923), “See See Rider” (1924), “Black Bottom” (1927), and “Soon This Morning” (1927).

    Ma Rainey was known for her very powerful vocal abilities, energetic disposition, majestic phrasing, and a ‘moaning’ style of singing similar to folk tradition. Her powerful voice was never adequately captured on her records, due to her recording exclusively for Paramount, which was at the time known for its below-average recording techniques and poor shellac quality. However, Rainey’s other qualities are present and most evident in her early recordings, Bo-weevil Blues and Moonshine Blues.

    Rainey recorded with Louis Armstrong in addition to touring and recording with the Georgia Jazz Band. She continued to tour until 1935 when she retired to her hometown.

  24. Yahtc says:

    Tukufu Zuberi was born on this day in 1959. From Wikipedia:

    “Tukufu Zuberi (born April 26, 1959) is an American sociologist, filmmaker, social critic, educator, and writer. Zuberi has appeared in several documentaries on Africa and the African diaspora, including ‘Liberia: America’s Stepchild ‘(2002), and ‘500 Years Later ‘(2005). He is one of the hosts of the long-running PBS program ‘History Detectives.’ As founder of his own production company, he produced the film ‘African Independence,’ which premiered at the San Diego Black Film Festival in January 2013. He is the Lasry Family Professor of Race Relations, Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department, and professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.”

  25. rikyrah says:

    Harrison’s Gone, Our Gingham’s Dead: Fune Plans Have Begun
    [ 52 ] April 25, 2014 | Luvvie

    Dearly beloved, we have gathered here today to pay respects to Scandal’s Harrison Wright (aka Brolivia Pope), Gooning Gladiator in Gingham. He came, he read Olivia for filth, he banged Adnan and conquered nothing really. He wore mismatched ties and shirts, suspenders like no other and sometimes, we saw that his yansh was SITTING in them dress pants like the wheels on the bus that go round and round.

    He shall be missed, even though we hardly knew him. He’s survived by his colleagues at Olivia Pope and Associates, and his maybe parent, Rowan Pope. Harrison’s gone, our gingham’s dead! Shoutout to my girl Veronica for that line. She let me borrow it.

    • Ametia says:

      So his firing explains why he wasn’t getting that character development. Short did NOT keep his personal home life straight. Rhimes don’t play that.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Exclusive: U.S. expanding corporate foreign bribery probes to include hiring

    By Aruna Viswanatha

    WASHINGTON Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:17pm EDT

    (Reuters) – U.S. government agencies that have been probing banks’ hiring of children of powerful Chinese officials are expanding existing investigations in other industries across Asia to include hiring practices, four people familiar with the matter said.

    The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have been asking global companies in a range of industries including oil and gas, telecommunications and consumer products for information about their hiring practices to determine if they could amount to bribery, these people said.

    On Wednesday, mobile chipmaker Qualcomm Inc said it could face a civil action from U.S. authorities over alleged bribery of officials associated with state-owned companies in China. It also said it found instances in which “special hiring consideration” was given to people associated with state-owned companies or agencies in China.

    Qualcomm declined to comment on Friday. The Justice Department and SEC declined to comment on whether they have expanded their probes.

    Some of the new inquiries have zeroed in on hires in China, South Korea and southeast Asia, including Singapore, two of the people familiar with the probes said.

    It was not clear how many companies were involved in the expanded probes and the people, who declined to be named because details of the investigations are not public, did not name specific firms.

    Hiring issues have become a focus in bribery probes as a matter of course, sources said. That reflects a change in the wake of the investigation into whether JPMorgan hired children of China’s state-owned company executives with the express purpose of winning underwriting and other business, they added.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

Leave a Reply