Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread | Tuck & Patti Week

Happy FRY-day, Everyone, it’s been a real pleasure and treat to offer the music stylings of Tuck & Patti this week.


Meanwhile, Tuck might update their database and website. For I Remember You, Tuck worked out parts drawn from a Count Basie recording, then painstakingly figured a way to play all the parts on his guitar. “We might not even use any of it,” says Tuck, “You can’t do it all at once, just on one guitar. But as a way to explore it, I would try to do it all at once. We hope we are suggesting it somehow.”

But Tuck points out that it would be a mistake to too narrowly cast himself as the virtuoso and Patti as the expressive heart and motivator of the duo. “Flying fingers don’t impress me much anymore. I’m much more interested in what I call ‘soft virtuosity,’ where the technique is usually invisible. It’s micro-technique, where the subtleties are controlled, and that’s where the heart of the music lies. Singers hopefully don’t have visibly flying anything, so it’s all about ‘soft virtuosity.’

I Remember You



In My Life

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48 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread | Tuck & Patti Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    anyone here watch Salem on WGN-TV?

  2. rikyrah says:

    Imani ABL @AngryBlackLady

    A storify of @JShahryar’s TL re #BringBackOurGirls and anti-black racism. Read this. Just do it. |

    I read it…it’s fabulous..truth to power

  3. rikyrah says:

    Joy Ann Reid gave me my answer about Dr. Dre. He is a part owner of Beats – a 25% owner…So, Apple..cut the man a check for $800 million, why don’t you..LOL

  4. rikyrah says:

    “Whether Democrats lose the Senate or not, Obama will have a tough time getting significant legislation passed in his final two years. Please don’t tell me he simply needs to be a better politician, like Bill Clinton. Obama ran rings around both Clintons in 2008. A black man with the middle name Hussein who gets elected president twice should be in the all-time-all-world Politics Hall of Fame.”

    Eugene “motherfucking” Robinson,
    Washington Post.

  5. Yahtc says:

    John Brown was born on this day in 1800. From Wikipedia:

    “John Brown (May 9, 1800 – December 2, 1859) was a white American abolitionist who believed armed insurrection was the only way to overthrow the institution of slavery in the United States. During the 1856 conflict in Kansas, Brown commanded forces at the Battle of Black Jack and the Battle of Osawatomie. Brown’s followers also killed five slavery supporters at Pottawatomie. In 1859, Brown led an unsuccessful raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry that ended with his capture. Brown’s trial resulted in his conviction and a sentence of death by hanging.

    “Brown’s attempt in 1859 to start a liberation movement among enslaved African Americans in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, electrified the nation. He was tried for treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia, the murder of five men and inciting a slave insurrection. He was found guilty on all counts and was hanged. Southerners alleged that his rebellion was the tip of the abolitionist iceberg and represented the wishes of the Republican Party to end slavery. Historians agree that the Harpers Ferry raid in 1859 escalated tensions that, a year later, led to secession and the American Civil War.”

  6. rikyrah says:

    May 09, 2014 11:56 AM
    Asymmetrical Warfare Over the Courts

    By Ed Kilgore

    Deep in a TNR article by Simon Lazarus and Tom Donnelly on the relative likelihood of an Obama Supreme Court appointment before he leaves office is an important insight about the investment of progressives and conservatives in the composition of the judiciary:

    To be sure, Democratic culture warriors care deeply about the same issues that animate their social conservative adversaries, but their sense of urgency about the courts has only spottily trickled down to the grassroots.

    In contrast, Republicans savor high-decibel political fights over the courts. In the short term, they see them as a way of firing up their base and burnishing their brand as defenders of the Constitution and the rule of law. And, within the Republican coalition, social conservatives are not alone in prioritizing control of the judiciary for achieving their long-term agendas. Business conservatives also understand how important sympathetic judges have been to their success in neutralizing statutory protections for consumers, workers, retirees, and investors. Finally, libertarians, an increasingly important part of the Republican coalition, view the courts as central to achieving their roll-back-the-New-Deal-and-Great-Society agenda—one that may inspire rhetorical flourishes and symbolic votes in the House, but, as a practical matter, is a virtual dead letter in the elected branches of government.

    In sum, Republicans, at all levels, get that the courts matter a lot, and Democrats mostly do not. This asymmetry yields a chronic, structural disadvantage that limits the options available for Democratic and progressive leaders, when battles flare in the ongoing war over the courts.

    Lazarus and Donnelly tout isolated efforts by Pat Leahy and Elizabeth Warren to educate rank-and-file Democrats about the practical economic consequences of a conservative takeover of the federal courts. But they are acutely aware that for major segments of the conservative movement—and again, it’s not just the social conservatives we’re talking about, but business interests and particularly libertarians—winning in the courts is now the preferred method for imposing their policy views on the country, and doing so permanently via “constitutional” limitations on government’s efforts to regulate private property.

  7. rikyrah says:

    shyt is getting REAL!!


    Rhoda @RhodaJA

    Federal Court Orders N.C. Lawmakers to Release E-Mail Related to Passage of State’s Voter Suppression Law —… …

  8. rikyrah says:

    Anyone gonna watch Rosemary’s Baby with Zoe Saldana on NBC?

  9. rikyrah says:

    Congress falters, Obama advances on immigration

    05/09/14 12:49 PM

    facebook twitter 1 save share group 6

    By Steve Benen

    Hopes of congressional action on immigration have effectively disappeared. In fact, Politico reported yesterday that there’s “growing pessimism on Capitol Hill that a sweeping immigration bill is achievable in President Barack Obama’s second term.” In other words, barring an unexpected surge in progressive voter turnout, legislation is dead until 2017 at the earliest.

    The piece added that Republicans might consider some kind of immigration legislation, but only if Democrats drop their “demand” for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the United States. In other words, if it’s a 100% Republican bill, Republicans might be willing to pass it. How gracious of them.

    Not surprisingly, the White House has noticed.

    President Obama blasted House Republicans for having “stubbornly refused” to address comprehensive immigration reform while attending a fundraiser outside of San Diego on Thursday.

    “Republicans so far at least haven’t been willing to step up,” Obama said. “To their credit some in the Senate have, but the House Republicans have stubbornly refused to even allow a vote on the issue.”

    And with the growing realization that GOP lawmakers probably won’t budge on this issue for the remainder of the Obama presidency, it falls once again to the administration to consider how far it can and will go to improve the system without congressional input.

    Yesterday, officials announced some new measures – intended to compliment the other recent measures

  10. Ametia says:

    Progressive Bloggers Are Doing the White House’s Job

    This administration enjoys an advantage afforded no other: a partisan media that has its back, minute-by-minute.



  11. rikyrah says:

    Taegan Goddard: ObamaCare Is Working – And The GOP Is Shifting Its Attack

    After pounding Democrats on ObamaCare for the last several years, Republicans have a big problem. The law is working and their message is falling flat. This was confirmed again by testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday in which health care industry executives surprised Republican lawmakers. They said the law has not led to a government takeover of the industry, that most enrollees are paying their premiums as required, and that premiums are not certain to go up next year as Republicans claim. With more than 8 million people enrolled in health plans through the ObamaCare exchanges, many Republicans know it’s much harder to repeal the law now than it might have been several years ago. And they tried more than 50 times already without success.

  12. rikyrah says:

    ComEd customers face big price increases

    By Julie WernauTribune staff reporter
    9:49 p.m. CDT, May 7, 2014

    Just as the Chicago area is getting ready for air conditioning weather, residents can expect to be jolted by higher electric bills.

    Starting June 1, Commonwealth Edison customers on average will see monthly bills jump 21 percent, to about $82 a month from about $69 a month.

    City residents and others who have switched to competing suppliers won’t escape the higher prices because the cost of all electric power is higher.,0,7376954.story

  13. rikyrah says:

    Isn’t the company that Dr. Dre is associated with? Wonder if he is just a paid spokesman, or if he actually has a piece of the company and is about to get paid some more.


    Report: Apple Is Getting Ready to Buy Beats for $3.2 Billion
    Mario Aguilar

    Yesterday 5:56pm

    According to the Financial Times, Apple is closing in on an acquisition of Beats, the headphone manufacturer turned streaming music service. The $3.2 billion deal would give Apple control over a powerful brand, but at the same time, it would be puzzling and uncharacteristic of Apple. The FT points out it would be Apple’s biggest acquisition ever.

    Apple’s digital music juggernaut has been slowing down recently, and the company is rumored to be weighing an on-demand streaming music service. In that sense, the deal would make sense. But the acquisition would also give Cupertino control over an empire built on plastic headphones, which conceptually, doesn’t seem to meld with Apple’s elegant glass and aluminum aesthetic.

    The deal could reportedly close as early as next week. It wouldn’t be the first time Apple bought up a music startup, but unlike other acquisitions in which Apple takes the talent and incorporates it into Apple products, Beats is a powerful force of its own right. Perhaps the deal has less to do with streaming music and hardware, and more to do with Topspin Media, the Beats-owned e-commerce and marketing platform. Of course, this is only a rumor. And a crazy one at that.

  14. rikyrah says:

    May 09, 2014 10:58 AM
    Stab in the Back From Mitt Romney

    By Ed Kilgore

    I suspect we’ll soon hear some qualifications and back-filling on what exactly he meant (he actually tied himself in knots on the subject on the 2012 campaign trail) but at the moment, congressional Republicans can’t be too happy at this gratuitous comment from their most recent presidential nominee:

    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Thursday morning said he supports an increase in the minimum wage, breaking with many Republicans who have stood against it.

    “I, for instance, as you know, part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage. I think we ought to raise it,” the 2012 Republican presidential nominee said. “Because frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay.”

    Romney’s comments come after Senate Republicans rejected a vote on a Senate bill that would have increased the minimum wage to $10.10. Recently, though, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, both of whom also ran for the Republican nomination in 2012, said they supported some increase in the minimum wage.

    Truth is, Republican differences of opinion on the minimum wage reflect long-standing divisions on the Right over the very propriety of regulating wage rates, with one longstanding conservative argument being that lowering or perhaps even abolishing minimum wages altogether would be a boon to minority employment. But given the vast unpopularity of that view, and the vast popularity at present of proposals to boost the minimum wage, it’s important to Republicans to avoid direct questions on the topic and instead insert poison pill demands into minimum wage legislation. More than a few will devoutly curse Romney over their breakfast tables for refusing to just go away.

  15. rikyrah says:

    ABC News ✔ @ABC
    Nigeria had a 4-hour warning on school raid, Amnesty International says:

    9:25 AM – 9 May 2014

  16. rikyrah says:

    Morning Plum: What’s good for the Koch brothers is good for America
    By Greg Sargent
    May 9 at 9:31 am

    We now have a sense of just how much the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity is willing to spend to flip control of the Senate: $125 million. It turns out, though, that there is a larger goal here that goes well beyond the midterms: To convince struggling Americans that the answer to their economic problems is as little government as possible.

    Politico reports that AFP is circulating a memo advising big donors that the group will spend $125 million on everything from get-out-the-vote efforts to ads to data analysis, to help conservative candidates this fall.

    But the more interesting thing here is the memo’s concession of a hurdle AFP faces: That people support the idea of “taking care of those in need and avoiding harm to the weak.” That this is seen as a messaging problem is telling.

    The memo notes that all those anti-Obamacare ads featuring middle-aged women worried about health costs are “part of a broader effort to project a kinder, gentler tone in espousing libertarian-infused government-slashing policies that sometimes risk coming across as coldhearted.” Politico adds:

    “If the presidential election told us anything, it’s that Americans place a great importance on taking care of those in need and avoiding harm to the weak,” reads the AFP memo.

    Echoing Charles Koch’s opposition to the minimum wage, it asserts that free market, low-regulation policies “create the greatest levels of prosperity and opportunity for all Americans, especially for society’s poorest and most vulnerable.” Yet, the memo says, “we consistently see that Americans in general are concerned that free-market policy — and its advocates — benefit the rich and powerful more than the most vulnerable of society. …We must correct this misconception.”

    This underscores once again that the Koch-funded attacks on Obamacare are about a broader project: Discrediting the idea of government as an agent of positive economic change for struggling Americans. As the New York Times has detailed, by pure coincidence, the Koch brothers’ vision of what’s good for “society’s poorest and most vulnerable” also would benefit their bottom line to an untold degree.

    As it happens, the AFP memo is right. Majorities of Americans do see the economy as rigged for the wealthy and don’t believe everyone has an equal shot at getting ahead. Majorities support a minimum wage hike. Though polling is admittedly mixed on the proper role of “government,” polls have shown majority support for the idea of policies that tax the wealthy to fund programs for the poor, and more Americans think government programs for the poor help rather than hurt. During the 2012 election — which the AFP memo cites as a teachable moment — polling showed strong support for preserving the safety net. Perceptions like these, the memo suggests, are problematic and must be corrected.

    In essence, what the AFP memo really shows is that a war is underway over how Americans should view the economy. The Dem argument that AFP is spending all of this money to block or roll back government policies to help working and middle class Americans — and in service of the idea that low taxes and low regulations (that happen to benefit the Koch brothers’ bottom line) is the cure-all solution to struggling Americans’ economic problems — is, on the substance, exactly right.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s transformational presidency
    By Eugene Robinson, Published: May 8 E-mail the writer

    Is it safe to say that Barack Obama’s presidency will be remembered as the most consequential since Ronald Reagan’s — a presidency that “changed the trajectory of America” and “put us on a fundamentally different path”?

    That was the audacious goal Obama set for himself during his 2008 campaign. Now is a useful time to assess his progress because the sixth year of any president’s tenure tends to be seen as a low point. Familiarity breeds impatience and frustration — among commentators, at least, whose narrow focus on which party is perceived as “winning” the day or the week misses the bigger picture.

    In both the domestic and foreign spheres, Obama has had transformational impact. And there is more to come.

    Reagan’s great achievement at home was to shift the political spectrum to the right. People tend to forget how radical his ideas once seemed. Tax cuts and massive deregulation were somehow going to produce more revenue? Wealth would inevitably trickle down and benefit the middle class and even the poor? It was not a Democrat but a fellow Republican, George H.W. Bush, who mocked the whole concept as “voodoo economics.”

    That’s what I’d still call Reagan’s program, but he altered the political debate to such an extent that what once were fringe ideas came to be seen as centrist. By the time Obama took office, the combination of Reaganite policies — taken to extremes the Gipper might never have contemplated — and globalization had produced a nation where the rich were becoming obscenely rich and everyone else was struggling to tread water.

  18. rikyrah says:

    KSK(africa) @lawalazu
    Tweeps, If you don’t read anything else this morning, read this piece by @ThePlumLineGS. Koch brothers, wow! … Scary!

    8:59 AM – 9 May 2014

  19. rikyrah says:

    KSK(africa) @lawalazu
    READ this @Eugene_Robinson piece. Then imagine that PBO got all of this done with nary a help from GOP.

    9:18 PM – 8 May 2014

  20. rikyrah says:

    Lawrence O’Donnell ✔ @Lawrence
    I’ve graduated from wheelchair to walker to crutches to @Mobilegs Ultra. Soon I’ll braving the sidewalks on NY.

    4:47 PM – 8 May 2014

  21. rikyrah says:

    In 2014, it’s two parties against one

    05/09/14 10:16 AM
    By Steve Benen

    There is no precedent under modern democratic norms for an outside political force with these kinds of resources.

    The Koch brothers’ main political arm intends to spend more than $125 million this year on an aggressive ground, air and data operation benefiting conservatives, according to a memo distributed to major donors and sources familiar with the group.

    The projected budget for Americans for Prosperity would be unprecedented for a private political group in a midterm, and would likely rival even the spending of the Republican and Democratic parties’ congressional campaign arms.

    Politico’s Ken Vogel obtained a “Confidential Investor Update” provided to major donors in March, which included the $125 million projection. Note, however, that it may yet be exceeded.

    Vogel’s report quoted a source saying the figure is a “very conservative estimate. We’re on track for more than that.”

    When talking about campaigns and fundraising, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of zeroes, so let’s provide some context. Indeed, it’s probably time for a chart.

  22. rikyrah says:

    May 09, 2014 10:45 AM
    The Voter Fraud Mouse That Roared

    By Ed Kilgore

    As we all know, the tide of voter ID and other measures to restrict the franchise is typically justified by its conservative proponents as necessary to combat a vast threat of voter fraud. In most court cases involving individual state laws,voter fraud enthusiasts have been found to come to the table of justice empty-handed. Even more famously, a five-year nationwide effort by the Bush administration’s Justice Department to discover and prosecute voter fraud produced 120 indictments and 86 convictions. Wow.

    But now, Iowa’s secretary of state—who is running for Congress—put the pedal to the medal in a voter fraud investigation in that hyper-political state, and is boasting of dramatic findings, as reported by the Des Moines Register’s John Noble:

    Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s two-year investigation into voter fraud found evidence of 117 illegally cast votes, led to charges against 27 suspected fraudulent voters and has resulted in six criminal convictions, according to a report released Thursday.

    Those results justified the unprecedented partnership between the state’s top election official and the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation, as well as the nearly $250,000 cost of the effort, Schultz, a Republican, said.

    “The takeaway is that there are people who voted who weren’t supposed to,” he said. “This is a situation where we tried to do something about it. I think it was the right thing to do and I stand by that.”

    Critics have called the investigation a misuse of federal funds intended to expand access to voting and charged that the six convictions prove that voter fraud is a miniscule problem in a state where statewide voter turnout frequently exceeds 1 million.

  23. Ametia says:

    Whistleblower Suit Alleges Corruption, Cronyism, and Affairs in Gov. Susana Martinez’s Administration

    Two former appointees of the governor’s level a series of explosive allegations against a Martinez appointee and his deputy.

    —By Andy Kroll | Thu May 8, 2014 11:20 AM PDT

    A recently unsealed whistleblower lawsuit filed in New Mexico state court makes a series of explosive allegations against appointees of rising GOP star Gov. Susana Martinez, accusing high-ranking officials in her administration of public corruption, mismanagement, and intimidation. It claims that officials at the state’s economic development agency engaged in extramarital affairs that could expose the state to sexual harassment charges and that officials tried to silence employees who reported contracting violations and other wrongdoing.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Pensioner, 86, wows locals by doing the splits.
    An 86-year-old woman from China has wowed locals with her ability to do the splits.

  25. rikyrah says:

    RNC seeks to take control of debate circus

    05/09/14 09:27 AM

    By Steve Benen

    For political junkies, the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination was one of the greatest reality shows of all time. A seemingly endless series of debates pushed GOP candidates to pander constantly to extremists; cast the Republican base in a negative light; and produced soundbites that Democrats were able to exploit for the entirety of the cycle.

    The Republican National Committee is committed to learning from its mistakes and keeping the circus under tight control in the 2016 election.

    Virtually every Republican leader agrees that the 20 GOP debates in the last presidential primary season damaged Mitt Romney – remember “self-deportation”? – and briefly made front-runners out of eventual flameouts like Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.

    Party leaders vowed never to let it happen again. On Thursday, they took action, moving at a Republican National Committee meeting here to dramatically cut the number of GOP primary debates – possibly in half.

    A group of 13 RNC members, essentially operating under the control of party Chairman Reince Priebus, will choose the timing, location and media partners of the 2015-2016 Republican primary debates. They will insist that conservative panelists join moderators from the mainstream media.

    That last part is of particular interest

  26. rikyrah says:

    Newly minted US Senate nominee Thom Tillis meets the press

    Posted by John Frank on May 8, 2014

    House Speaker Thom Tillis spent his first day as the Republican U.S. Senate candidate on national TV, appearing on MSNBC and Fox News on Wednesday.

    And it didn’t go entirely smoothly, at least not the MSNBC interview with host Chuck Todd. (See video below.)

    Tillis leveled attacks on Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan and defended the sentiment (but not the wording) of his “divide and conquer” statement now getting plenty of national press attention and drawing comparisons to Mitt Romney’s 47 percent gaffe.) The Democrats are pushing the message, including Hagan, who responded to it for the first time in today’s News & Observer.

    But it was his answer to a different question – a much simpler question, one he’s answered repeatedly – that raised eyebrows.

    The question focused on the minimum wage, a frequent topic from the Republican primary and one where his position is clear.

    Tillis has said he doesn’t support the minimum wage, telling The N&O it was an “artificial threshold,” and later saying it should be set by the states, not the federal government.

    Read more here:

  27. rikyrah says:

    Politics & Policy

    The Tea Party Gets Into the News Biz

    By Joshua Green May 08, 2014

    Last year the conservative Heritage Foundation had more influence on the direction of the Republican Party than just about anyone else—and not necessarily for the better. Over the summer, the conservative think tank’s president, former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, teamed up with Texas Senator Ted Cruz and other lawmakers on a cross-country tour to convince party activists, and eventually GOP leaders, that they could stop Obamacare by refusing to fund it. DeMint forced a showdown because he wanted Republicans to unify around his vision of an unapologetic hardline conservatism—a vision he thinks most Americans will support if given the chance. That led to a government shutdown, a collapse of conservative will, and plenty of angry recriminations from fellow Republicans.

    Now Heritage has a new plan to exert its influence and, its leaders hope, win converts to the cause. On June 3 it will begin publishing the Daily Signal, a new digital news site whose primary focus will be straight reporting. “We came to the realization that the mainstream media had really abdicated the responsibility to do the news and do it well,” says Geoffrey Lysaught, vice president of strategic communications at the Heritage Foundation, who will also serve as publisher. The site aims to rectify the conservative perception that mainstream news slants to the left. “We plan to do political and policy news,” says Lysaught, “not with a conservative bent, but just true, straight-down-the-middle journalism.”

    How does this help Heritage? The Daily Signal will also publish an opinion section aimed at a younger audience that isn’t thumbing through the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal. Heritage is betting that these readers, attracted to the Daily Signal’s news, will find themselves persuaded by the conservative commentary and analysis that will draw on the think tank’s scholars and researchers.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Ditsy, Predatory White House Intern”

    Looking back on how Maureen Dowd painted Monica Lewinsky as a crazy bimbo—and won a Pulitzer for it.

    By Amanda Hess

    Monica Lewinsky has unwittingly done this country a great service. In 1998, she forced America to bumble through an unprecedented national conversation about sex, power, and sexism. And in 2014, she has returned to compel us to review how we handled the assignment. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd—who covered the scandal obsessively and, as my colleague Mike Pesca notes in his podcast “The Gist” on Wednesday, won the Pulitzer Prize for that work—is as good a case study as any for examining what’s changed in the 16 years since Monicagate hit.

    In 1998, a week rarely went by where Lewinsky’s name did not appear in Dowd’s column. When the scandal broke in January of that year, Dowd was initially sympathetic to Lewinsky and damning of an administration that rushed to smear her in a bid to cover its own ass. “Inside the White House, the debate goes on about the best way to destroy That Woman, as the President called Monica Lewinsky,” Dowd wrote. “Should they paint her as a friendly fantasist or a malicious stalker? … At least some of the veteran Clinton shooters feel a little nauseated this time around, after smearing so many women who were probably telling the truth as trashy bimbos. … It is probably just a matter of moments before we hear that Ms. Lewinsky is a little nutty and a little slutty.” Dowd also had words for feminists who were eager to throw Lewinsky under the bus to save their Democratic overlord: “[O]nce you decide it’s O.K. to sacrifice individual women for the greater good, you set a dangerous precedent,” Dowd wrote. “The revolution always eats its own.”

  29. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Stumble on Flawed Obamacare `Facts’
    May 8, 2014 12:59 PM EDT
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    The question of whether politicians believe their own propaganda is always fascinating. For several years, we have witnessed an alarming trend: Republican politicians, pundits and other party insiders getting trapped inside a closed conservative information feedback loop (I think the phrase is Jonathan Chait’s) in which they lose track of the difference between their rhetoric and the truth.

    There was no better demonstration than the House hearing on the Affordable Care Act yesterday.

    The sequence began with a the release of a survey of insurance companies commissioned by House Republicans that supposedly showed that only two-thirds of Obamacare signups were paying premiums, and thus fully qualified as enrollees. It was rapidly discovered that the survey was poorly constructed (for example, it counted people who hadn’t yet been billed as nonpayments ).

    This could be just a story of ineptitude. The House Energy and Commerce Committee wouldn’t be the first to construct a survey poorly. Or it could be a display of lazy mendacity, stemming from a desire to come up with something that will play well in the Republican-aligned media, even if that something would be easy to tear down. Fox News and conservative talk radio will swallow it and keep running with it even after it’s discredited — so why bother to find talking points that stand up to scrutiny?

  30. rikyrah says:

    How to Tell the GOP’s Benghazi Obsession Is Pure Opportunism
    By Brian Beutler

    House Republicans investigating Benghazi like to say the word “coverup” a lot, when invariably what they mean by “coverup” is that they believe administration officials and President Obama whitewashed events for a few days after the attack in Libya to minimize political damage to Obama’s campaign.

    This is a highly contestable interpretation of events, undergirded by deeply flawed logic—how is intentionally downplaying a terrorist attack, then acknowledging it, then retroactively making excuses for the original whitewash more politically advantageous than coming right out and saying it? But at least it’s plausible. What it isn’t, though, is a “coverup.”

    But they use that term because the right in America is consumed by the belief that Obama really tried to coverup the attack—perhaps hoping to lump it in with the other, less deadly uprisings on September 11, 2012—and that four Americans died as a result.

    That would be a big scandal. It’s just not what happened. And if Republicans had made a concerted effort to disabuse the right of its more paranoid notions, it’s hard to imagine this tremendous appetite to create a special committee to investigate the propriety of administration talking points. Or its turf war with Congress.

    But they didn’t do that. And I think two different Benghazi news features last week help shed light on why, by helping to clarify the differences between conspiracy and reality, and which elements of the right believe what.

  31. rikyrah says:

    May 08, 2014 3:32 PM
    Letting the Impeachment Genie Out of the Bottle—Carefully!
    By Ed Kilgore

    If you read two posts by Slate’s Dave Weigel this week about the establishment of the Select Committee on Benghazi!, the potential significance of this move and how it’s being handled by John Boehner becomes pretty clear. This isn’t just a move to provide daily porn for wingnuts, or even to take down Hillary Clinton’s approval ratings a few points, but a conscious step towards impeaching Barack Obama:

    On Saturday night, as Washington’s press corps was distracted by a surge of celebrity selfie opportunities, it was missing a kind of milestone. Jeanine Pirro, a former New York Republican star who tumbled out of politics and onto Fox News, was calling for the impeachment of President Obama over “a story no one wants to talk about.”

    The story was the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. Referring to that, on Fox, as “a story no one wants to talk about” sounded a bit like CNN asking where all the Flight 370 coverage had been. Not Pirro’s point—she was saying that the media failed to see where the Benghazi story was going to lead. Hint: Impeachment.

    “We have impeached a president for lying about sex with an intern,” she said. “A president resigned in the face of certain impeachment for covering up a burglary. Why wouldn’t we impeach this president for not protecting and defending Americans in the bloodbath known as Benghazi?” Pirro then addressed the president directly—though at this point in the evening he was giving a sardonic dinner speech—with a warning that “your dereliction of duty as commander-in-chief demands your impeachment.”

    Just one segment on a slow news night, but there was a sense of inevitability about it, of the Overton Window being shifted by hand

    Weigel goes on to pull together a number of quotes from Republican pols and conservative media figures that don’t so much raise the possibility of impeachment as take it as a given and ponder how it can be handled without “looking crazy.”

  32. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Use Benghazi as Shiny Object to Distract from Good News on Economy and Obamacare

    Spandan Chakrabarti| May 5, 2014

    There is great jobs news from last month. 288,000 jobs were added in April, the numbers from March were revised up, and the unemployment rate took a nose dive to hit the lowest since the beginning of the Bush financial crisis in September of 2008. The stock market responded by rallying to new heights after the numbers beat Wall Street’s estimates by a good margin.

    In the mean time, the Congressional Budget Office released estimates indicating that the Affordable Care Act is costing less and insuring more people than previously thought, despite GOP’s state-based stonewalling of the Medicaid expansion. Which means, you know, their dreams of winning an election on the promise of taking away health care from now 12 million people this year alone is fast turning into a nightmare.

    So, how do you respond to the unqualified success and vindication of President Obama’s economic and health care policies if you are a Washington Republican? Do you respond by raising the minimum wage? Psst. Do you respond by reinvesting in America? Oh, investment, shminvestment. But they had to have a response. How does the party that has universally obstructed every attempt of this president to get the economy back on track after their own policies led to the greatest economic calamity in a century respond to the news that the last vestiges of the Great Recession has finally been reversed, with the unemployment rate returning to pre-crash numbers?

    With a shiny object. You know it. I know it. It’s called Benghazi. After trying again and again to pin the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi on President Obama and his administration and failing more spectacularly each time than the last and even after their own report embarrassingly admitted that their own storyline on Benghazi was just that, a story, the Republicans are back. This time, they are launching – you guessed it, a new “special investigation” – targeting emails from the White House communications office. Evidently, they have got a problem that the White House had a communication strategy about Benghazi … at all.

    House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, of course, called the GOP out on their shiny object strategy:

  33. rikyrah says:

    For voting-rights advocates and other opponents of voter-ID laws, the spring is off to an unexpectedly heartening start.

    Just last week, a federal court struck down Wisconsin’s voter-ID law, ruling that it violated the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. It came on the heels of a similar victory in Arkansas the week before, which followed related victories in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Texas.

    Yesterday, proponents of voting rights had reason to celebrate in Pennsylvania, too.

    Gov. Tom Corbett put another nail in the coffin of Pennsylvania’s voter identification law on Thursday, announcing he would not appeal a judge’s decision that the law violated the fundamental right to vote.

    The Republican governor issued a statement that defended the law, but he also said it needed changes and that he hoped to work with the Legislature on them.

    That last point clearly matters – voter-ID isn’t entirely dead in Pennsylvania; it’s just been put on ice indefinitely. As Zack Roth reported, “Corbett, who polls suggest faces a tough re-election fight this fall, raised the idea of working with lawmakers to modify the law so that it could pass muster in the courts – but suggested it wasn’t a priority.”

  34. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, May 8, 2014
    Last Call For The Hagan Defense

    Hey look, a Democrat who’s smart enough to read the polls!

    In a flipping of the proverbial script, a Senate Democrat facing a tough re-election race used a confirmation hearing of Sylvia Mathews Burwell, nominated to head the Department of Health and Human Services, to advocate forcefully in favor of Obamacare.

    While Republican senators mostly went through the motions with their anti-Obamacare talking points or outright endorsed Burwell as Kathleen Sebelius’s replacement, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) used her time to trumpet the benefits of Medicaid expansion — and emphasize the downside of not expanding.

    Left unsaid, but strongly implied, was that her opponent, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, who locked up the GOP nomination earlier this week, had been instrumental in stopping the state from expanding Medicaid under the law.

    “Last year in North Carolina, our state legislature and governor decided against expanding the state’s Medicaid program,” Hagan said as she started her questioning, “and as a result, about 500,000 people who would have qualified for coverage through Medicaid are not now able to do so.”

    “These are some of the most vulnerable in our society,” she said, “who will continue to seek care in emergency rooms and then will leave chronic conditions unmanaged, which we know is detrimental to their health and the economy.

    Thom Tillis cost 500,000 North Carolinians health insurance, but somehow Kay Hagan is going to lose by 20 points. Okay, sure. That makes sense. You go with that, Republicans.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, May 8, 2014
    Time, Thom, And Toddlers

    Meet Thom Tillis, former GOP Speaker of the NC House, who survived his US Senate primary and reached 45%, enough to stave off any runoff nonsense. He’s going after Sen. Kay Hagan’s seat, and his first interview after winning the primary Tuesday was with Chuck Todd(ler). The latest polls had Hagan up by 2 in a prospective race with Tillis.

    Didn’t go so well for Thom, as Chuck played a clip of Tillis’s more ridiculous statements from 2011.

    In fact, it went very poorly for him.

    The newly-minted Republican contender in what could be one of November’s key Senate races says he regrets using the words “divide and conquer” in a 2011 speech while describing those who are dependent on government assistance.

    “Yeah, I do,” North Carolina GOP candidate Thom Tillis said Wednesday on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown when asked by host Chuck Todd if he regrets the use of the word “conquer.”

    But Tillis, who secured the GOP nomination in last night’s primary election, also said he was referring to the abuse of public assistance funds by those who do not “desperately need the safety net” – a position he believes is backed by voters in North Carolina

  36. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, May 8, 2014
    Benghazi Forever And Ever, Amen

    GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, the newly installed Park Ranger at Orange Julius’s Benghazi Land Fun-Time World, gives away that the game is to keep Benghazi-ing all the way through November 2016.

    Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said the special committee he’ll lead on Benghazi could continue into the 2016 campaign, when Hillary Clinton might be running for the White House.

    Asked about that possibility Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Gowdy said the length of his work would depend on the administration’s level of cooperation.

    “It would be shame on us if we intentionally dragged this out for political expediency,” said Gowdy, the special committee’s chairman. “On the other hand, if an administration is slow-walking document production, I can’t end a trial simply because the defense won’t cooperate.”

    Clinton is a core figure in the Benghazi story, since she was the secretary of State when terrorists attacked the U.S. diplomatic annex in Benghazi, Libya. The attack left four Americans dead, including Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

    Some Democrats suspect Republicans want to keep Benghazi in the news to try to hurt Clinton if she runs for the White House in 2016, as expected.

    Gowdy said a memo that came to light last week, in which deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes set out “goals” for the administration’s response, but which was not turned over by the administration earlier, was evidence of a cover-up.

    Demand concrete evidence of cover-up from the Obama administration, and when it magically fails to appear because there’s no cover-up, state that the lack of evidence is in fact proof the cover-up exists and demand concrete evidence of the cover-up. Repeat infinitely! Sell tickets.

    This is the GOP plan for the next 30 months, so get used to it. Don’t want to get used to it? Vote the assholes out. Real simple.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Good morning, Everyone :)

    I really have enjoyed the music this week.

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