Monday Open Thread: Black Comedians – Amos and Andy

Good Morning, Everyone.

We will take a look this week at Black Comedians. We will begin today with Amos and Andy.

To some, they were comedic genius. To others, they were nothing more than a Minstrel Show.

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What Was It About ‘Amos ‘n’ Andy’?
By Mel Watkins;
Published: July 7, 1991

THE ADVENTURES OF AMOS ‘N’ ANDY A Social History of an American Phenomenon. By Melvin Patrick Ely. Illustrated. 322 pages. New York: The Free Press. $22.95.

During the late 1920’s and early 30’s, the most popular radio program in the United States was “Amos ‘n’ Andy”; many historians contend that it was the most popular show ever broadcast. This comic serial — in which the white actors Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll portrayed two black men — not only dominated this country’s listening habits for 15 minutes, five days a week, but also significantly influenced its daily routines. Al Smith, for example, scheduled radio spots for his 1928 Presidential campaign so that they did not compete with the program, and George Bernard Shaw reflected its impact when he commented, “There are three things which I shall never forget about America — the Rocky Mountains, Niagara Falls, and ‘Amos ‘n’ Andy.’ ”

The program’s popularity and the dispute that ultimately forced its withdrawal from network broadcasting are the focus of Melvin Patrick Ely’s “Adventures of Amos ‘n’ Andy.” Mr. Ely, who teaches history at Yale University, tracks the program from its debut as “Sam ‘n’ Henry” in 1926, through its rise to national prominence during the early days of radio, and follows its continued success during the Depression and World War II, when the humor broadened and Kingfish became the central character. He also describes its controversial television debut with black performers in 1951 and its quick demise after black protests spurred a heated dispute that drove off many prospective sponsors.

But Mr. Ely moves beyond a chronicle of the rise and fall of a black sitcom. Foremost this is a social history; the author uses “Amos ‘n’ Andy” to examine “American racial attitudes in the first half of the twentieth century.” And one of the initial questions he asks is why, “if Gosden and Correll’s work was nothing more than a heap of racist cliches,” the show attained such “unique popularity and influence among both black and white” audiences.

Racial cliches may partially explain white America’s attraction to the program, but that explanation is incomplete. During the 20’s and 30’s, blackface comedy acts — most offering far more demeaning caricatures of black life — were common. But the Mack and Morans, Buck and Wheats, and Anaesthetic and Cerebelums who crowded the airwaves never seriously challenged “Amos ‘n’ Andy.” At least initially, as Mr. Ely writes, although the “show was a comedy, its essential appeal seemed to lie somewhere other than in its humor.”

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The stereotypical portrayals of Amos Jones and Andy H. Brown were balanced by other attributes. Amos was unquestionably dense and naive, but he was also honest, dedicated and hardworking. And Andy, although lazy, conniving and pretentious as minstrelsy’s venal Jim Dandy, was also a good-natured fellow. Moreover, they were depicted in realistic situations with which both whites and blacks could identify. Migration from rural to urban areas was common throughout the nation at the time. The struggle to survive the Depression was an experience shared by nearly all Americans. And although Amos and Andy spoke in a dialect spiced with malaprop (” ‘Splain dat to me,” “Ain’t dat sumpthin’,” “I’se regusted”), Gosden and Correll avoided humor based entirely on race. Mr. Ely says they depicted “Afro-American life while minimizing references to race and categorically ruling out scenes that even implied racial unpleasantness.” Amos and Andy were called “dumbbells” and “rubes,” for instance, but pointed racial slurs were avoided.

Unlike most blackface characters, those in “Amos ‘n’ Andy” reflected many values common to lower middle-class Americans. White audiences could empathize with the universal aspects of the experiences of the black people depicted on the program — financial problems, personal relationships, even reactions to contemporary events — while laughing at their supposed ethnic traits. As Mr. Ely points out, Gosden and Correll walked a tightrope, plying white audiences with traditional racial stereotypes but cleverly muting their harsher overtones.

As the show evolved, however, its central comic characters became George Stevens, the Kingfish of the Mystic Knights of the Sea lodge; Lightnin’, the shiftless handyman; Algonquin J. Calhoun, a bogus lawyer, and Sapphire, Kingfish’s wife. As unmitigated minstrel caricatures they were less humanized than Amos or Andy, and were the principal targets of black complaints about negative images.

Despite protests over the years, many African-Americans were also avid fans of the show. Mr. Ely cites surveys and provides samplings of personal testaments and correspondence illustrating black support. As he shows, black reaction to “Amos ‘n’ Andy” was most accurately characterized by its disparity and vacillation. The Pittsburgh Courier, for example, began a campaign to remove the show from the air in 1931. But Roy Wilkins (then a journalist and editor) debunked the effort, maintaining that “Amos ‘n’ Andy” had “all the pathos, humor, vanity, glory, problems and solutions that beset ordinary mortals and therein lies its universal appeal.” By 1951, when “Amos ‘n’ Andy” was on television, Wilkins had changed his mind and led a campaign by the N.A.A.C.P. to ban the program.

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68 Responses to Monday Open Thread: Black Comedians – Amos and Andy

  1. rikyrah says:

    I was listening to a youtube review of Married to Medicine and I had to go and watch the episode for the child’s birthday party….a six year old being driven in a horse-drawn carriage.
    With Mom and Dad dressed like the King and Queen..

    um, ok.

  2. Yahtc says:

    June 2, 2014, 6:40 p.m. ET
    “Supreme Court Takes Up Appeal on Alabama Redistricting Plan–Update”

  3. rikyrah says:

    Jesus, take the wheel


    Charges detail chilling plot by 12-year-old girls to kill classmate

    As chilling details emerged from a criminal complaint, a Waukesha County court commissioner set $500,000 bail for two 12-year-old girls accused of plotting to kill one of their 12-year-old classmates at Horning Middle School.

    Court Commissioner Thomas Pieper called the allegations “incredibly serious and truly very adult in their potential consequences.”

    The two 12-year-olds, identified in a criminal complaint as Morgan E. Geyser and Anissa E. Weier, are being held at Washington County secured facility.

    Geyser’s family members broke into tears several times during her appearance.

    “The family is very horrified at what has happened,” attorney Donna Kuchler said.

    The bizarre details emerged Monday in the stabbing over the weekend of a 12-year-old Waukesha girl, who authorities say was attacked by two friends who had plotted her killing for months.

    The victim was in stable condition but fighting for her life, Waukesha police said Monday, and the two suspects are being held on charges of attempted first-degree intentional homicide.


    he suspects were interested in a website called “Creepypasta Wiki,” which contains short stories about death and horror that the site says is meant to “unnerve and shock the reader.” According to the criminal complaint:

    When confronted by police, Weiser immediately began explaining about the Web site, Creepypasta. Weier said she introduced Morgan Geyser to the site back in December.

    A character named “Slenderman” is the leader of Creepypasta, and below Slender Man is the killer and below the killer is a proxy.

    Weier explained that in order to be a proxy you needed to kill a person in order to show your dedication to Slenderman.

    Weier said that many people don’t believe Slenderman is real and she wanted to prove the skeptics wrong.

    Weier said that Gesyer told her they should become “proxies” of Slenderman,” and in order to do so, they needed to kill their friend, the victim, to prove themselves worthy of Slenderman.

    Weier said that she was surprised but also excited to prove the skeptics wrong that Slenderman really did exist. In February, Geyser said she was allowed to have two friends over every year for her birthday and her birthday would be May 30, 2014. That would be the day they would kill their friend.

    The suspects believed that “Slender,” as Weier called him, lived in a mansion in the Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin. The plan was to kill the victim and walk to Slender’s mansion and become one of his proxies, according to the criminal complaint.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Oh Fer Fuck’s Sake
    Posted by John (MCCARTHY) Cole at 6:52 pm
    Jun 022014

    Sooner had a much more elegant post, and yes, there may be issues behind his disappearance that will be dealt with later, but the reason we rescued Sgt. Bergdahl is because that is what we do. It’s an unwritten code that you bring your men back. Period. Even the ones you may think were shitbirds. They’re one of us.

    You try to tell someone to enlist for a shitty war that if they get captured, we might not do anything to get them because they sent some emails that pissed off the National Review or their dad is a long hair. We brought Bergdahl back because we don’t leave guys behind. It’s the same reason we repatriate remains of airmen found in Viet Nam whose bodies have just been found 40 years later. No one gets left behind, and we owe a debt to all soldiers and their families to bring them home. Period. It’s why we wear dog tags and have DNA samples. No one, if possible, gets left behind. These armchair commandos have heard of the Tomb of the Unknowns and the Old Guard, fer fuck’s sake? That’s the lengths we go to to honor our dead, missing, and unidentifiable.

    It’s just that fucking simple.

    And btw- Bergdahl spent more time in uniform and in combat than Limbaugh, Kristol, Theissen, and hundreds of these other mother fuckers combined. End of story.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

    Too much “Ha!” in the A-ha! Moment – A Bougie Bachelor Chronicle

    Two of our Bougie Bachelors in their late thirties started dating 2 young ladies of Asian descent in their early 20s. I say this not to judge (cuz I don’t care – find you some happy) but to give you context for the upcoming BougieTale.

    I had occasion to meet the young ladies early in the year and… it did not go well. One of the Harajuku Twins (Google it. Never mind, I Googled it for you here. Sorry for the snark but the similarities were plentiful) was dating an ex of mine. Which I was okay with until she turned nasty and insinuated that upon seeing me in person she understood why I “couldn’t hold onto that man”… The conversation devolved from there. I may or may not have called her Kikalolu a la Whitley from a Different World. I felt justified after she referred to me as a “round the way chick” um… me? A-ight den. But to each his own and whatnot.

    Where the story goes off the rails is when Bougie Bruh #2 (BB2) decides to marry Kikalu two or three months into the relationship. Calls me up all excited, do I want to come to Vegas to attend his Bellagio Bash avec Bridal Boo-Thang? Yeah… no. Even I knew that had disaster written all over it. About twenty folks packed their bags and headed off to Sin City on a Friday afternoon. Bachelor/Bachelorette parties Friday night with the wedding planned for midnight Saturday/Sunday.

    Here’s where the story gets fuzzy. Things happened Friday night and like a good mystery novel, no one really had the whole story. What we do know is that 11:00pm Saturday night, no Kinu. Her girl was missing too. 11:15, 11:30, 11:45… M.I.A. A little after midnight folks go in search of girlie and gal-pal. They find them at a high-stakes poker table seated on the laps of two huge guys. They were either MMA or WWE or some sort of three initial fighting thing. As BB2 looks on, Kiki starts tonguing down dude in the middle of the Bellagio casino.

    Kikalu looks up, blinks and says, “Hey, I meant to call you. I got married last night!” She held up her hand to flash a ring. I’ll let that sink in.

    Yeah, seems she decided that BB2 was trying to turn her into a housewife and she still wanted to part-ay. She met Clint or Clive or whatever MMA/WWE dude’s name was at her bachelorette party and after five glasses of champagne explained that while she wanted to be married, she didn’t want to be “all serious” with it. O__o Clint/Cliff/Clive (also not sober) suggested she marry him instead. They could just have fun. And so she did. The other Harajuku Twin decided Kikalu was right and she bailed on Bougie Bruh #1 as well.

    No one in the Bougie Crew went home happy. Except for Jay & Joy who won $5k at the blackjack table.

    Upon hearing this tale, I asked BB2 the question – “What did you have in common with her? What made her wife material for you?” After a long silence, I was told that she was sweet and she didn’t make him think. Oh. I didn’t know someone who turned your brain off was hotness. :-/

  6. rikyrah says:

    How the Clean Air Act Has Saved $22 Trillion in Health-Care Costs

    Alan H. Lockwood
    Sep 7 2012, 10:59 AM ET

    In an excerpt from The Silent Epidemic: Coal and the Hidden Threat to Health (MIT Press, September 2012), neurologist Alan H. Lockwood examines how even if the entire cost of complying with the Clean Air Act were assumed by the federal government, we would still be vastly ahead financially.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

    Is there more pressure on “men of a certain age” than women to be married?

    In the wake of yesterday’s post about a poor life/wife choice of one of the Bougie Brethren, I was flooded via various forms of social media and inboxes to talk about the struggle of the Professional Single Black Male over 35 to wife well, correctly and with some immediacy.

    I love George Clooney. As an activist, sometimes as an actor, mostly as ageless eye candy. He looks great, probably smells great, has than killer smile and sense of humor not to mention he’s rich as Croesus and an Obama supporter. Yum. But I wouldn’t date him for all the waterviews in his Lake Como mansion. (Didn’t say I wouldn’t sleep with him, let’s be honest… moving on.) The chronic commitment-phobe is not my cup of tea. When you have all the women in the world at your disposal, is it really the hotness to continue to dispose of them? Nawl. But I wondered, does he feel any pressure to get married? Are his peers, partners and public relations people hounding him constantly, “Pick one and put a ring on it!” When he runs into friends of his parents (as I did at an event last week) do they ask loudly (in front of your date), “Still not married? But you’re so pretty!”

    That sound you hear is my teeth gnashing…

    Back on topic… Do single men over 35 take the same amount of nonsensical and judgmental backlash as their female counterparts for being unmarried? And does it intensify as they get older? Hmmm…

    This threw me off a little bit. It’s hard as a single woman “of a certain age” to listen to single men “of a certain age” talking about how they can’t find a woman. In fact, my first thought is to double blink at them, hold out my arms to the left and the right and scream, “We’re right here, why don’t you see us?” And don’t get me started on the biological clock we’ve got ticking while they have no such age restrictions. Latest stats show that for every single male, there are twelve (12!!) single women in queue for them. Twelve. Let’s say four are unattractive to you, three are crazy, three are incompatible for whatever reason, that still leaves 3 in the tank. I’m at -7 for finding a dude in my specified age range and preferences. Negative 7, yo. If the one I’m dating now doesn’t work out, I’m for the nunnery. For reals. Let’s move on.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Morning Plum: Never mind 2014. Climate change will be big issue in 2016.

    With the Obama administration today set to roll out ambitious new rules on carbon emissions from existing power plants, multiple news organizations are already noting that the new push could create political problems for vulnerable Dems in 2014.

    So it’s worth noting that Democrats see this as a much longer battle that will likely continue through the 2016 presidential race and beyond — posing long term risks to Republicans, too.

    It’s true that some vulnerable Dems, particularly in coal states, will likely distance themselves from the new regulations. But as Politico reports today, Dems actually see the short term politics of this as “manageable.” Similarly, Dem strategists told me recently that Dems in tough races will have to deal with the issue but for a number of reasons the risks will largely turn out to be hyped.

    But the long game may matter a whole lot more. To understand how some Dems see this, look back at this Pew poll from last fall. It shows that the very voter groups who could continue giving Dems a demographic edge in national elections — the same groups that Republicans must broaden their appeal among — overwhelmingly believe there is solid evidence of global warming:

    * 73% of those aged 18-29 believe it’s happening.

    * 76 percent of nonwhites believe it’s happening.

    * 67 percent of college educated whites believe its happening.

  9. rikyrah says:

    I thought this was from THE ONION


    GOPer Changes Name To Cesar Chavez, Becomes A Dem To Run In Heavily Hispanic District

    Catherine Thompson – June 2, 2014, 2:09 PM EDT

    One failed GOP candidate will do just about anything to win in Arizona’s heavily Hispanic 7th congressional district — including switching parties and legally changing his name to that of Hispanic labor and civil rights icon Cesar Chavez.

    The Arizona Capitol Times reported Monday that Scott Fistler, who launched a failed write-in campaign as a Republican against Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ) in 2012, successfully petitioned an Arizona superior court last November to change his legal name to Cesar Chavez. Chavez also became a Democrat earlier this year before filing to run for the congressional seat being vacated by Pastor, who is retiring.

    Reached for comment by the Capitol Times, Chavez said he had been “flooded with calls and emails” and was no longer speaking to the press. He also told the newspaper that if he did decide to answer its questions, he would not discuss the name change.

    “There is just simply not enough Cesar Chavez to go around,” he wrote, as quoted by the Capitol Times. “We may resume questions starting May 10 [sic].”

    The candidate formerly known as Scott Fistler also prominently displayed photos on his website of crowds carrying signs and wearing T-shirts with the name “Chavez.” But the photos, as the Capitol Times pointed out, were actually of Venezuelans rallying for deceased former President Hugo Chavez.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Paul ‘Not Sure’ If State Obamacare Exchange Should Be Dismantled (VIDEO)

    Daniel Strauss – May 30, 2014, 6:19 PM EDT

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) seemed to tie himself into knots trying to explain whether Kentucky’s state-based Obamacare exchange should be dismantled after his fellow Kentucky senator suggested it was “unconnected” to the law.

    The question has been a trending topic in Kentucky over the last week or so since Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) puzzlingly argued that Obamacare should be repealed but Kynect, the Kentucky Obamacare exchange, should stay in place.

    A reporter asked Paul if he thought Kynect should be dismantled. Paul responded that he was “not sure.”

    “You know I’m not sure — there’s going to be … how we unravel or how we change things. I would rather —I always tell people there’s a fork in the road. I was in healthcare for 20 years so we had problems in healthcare so we had problems in healthcare but we could have gone one of two directions,” Paul said. “One was towards more competition and more marketplace and one was toward more government control. The people who think that the government can efficiently distribute medicine need to explain why the VA’s been struggling for decade after decade in a much smaller system. And they also need to explain, even though I think we all want Medicare to work better, why Medicare is $35 trillion short. There’s a lot of questions that are big questions that are beyond the exchange and the Kynect and things like that. It’s whether or not how we’re going to fund these things.”

  11. rikyrah says:

    Keller ISD trustee faces reaction to anti-Muslim comment
    WFAA – Updated today at 9:12 AM

    A comment posted on the Facebook account of a new Keller Independent School District trustee is getting a lot of buzz on social media this weekend.

    Place 5 representative Jo Lynn Haussmann offered this statement to voters in Southlake:
    “Do you realize because SO FEW voters took the time and responsibility to VOTE in the municipal elections – YOU NOW HAVE A ‘MUSLIM’ on the City Council!!! What A SHAME!!!!”

    Haussmann, 62, apparently deleted the post, but not before a reporter with WFAA media partner the Fort Worth Star-Telegram took a screen grab and tweeted it.

  12. President Barack Obama-True Colors

  13. rikyrah says:


    Reagan exchanged Soviet Spies for 23 Americans in 1985 & traded for US journalist Nicolas Daniloff with the Kremlin

  14. rikyrah says:

    On Bergdahl
    Posted by Soonergrunt at 12:41 pm Jun 022014

    I don’t know if SGT Bergdahl voluntarily walked off his camp and surrendered to the enemy or not. Just because a few fellow Soldiers in his unit say that doesn’t make it so. The most powerful communication system in an Infantry company is what we used to call “S-5–rumor control.” I’ve never been in a unit that wasn’t essentially a knitting circle with automatic weapons. Young Soldiers, for whom boredom is an almost constant companion (punctuated by moments of sheer terror) can give the most catty junior high school girls’ clique a run for their money. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong, but I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in it without some corroboration. So I’ll hold off judgment on that. It’s also been brought up that he supposedly sent some emails to one or more people expressing doubts about US military actions. So did I. So have a lot of guys who then went out and did the very best they could do for their buddies and their country. It’s irrelevant anyway.

    We’re getting out of Afghanistan, and the treaties two which this nation has repeatedly pledged itself require that we release Prisoners of War and repatriate them home. Taliban are distinct from Al Qaeda in this respect because Taliban could be considered the government forces of Afghanistan (whether legitimate, loved, respected, or not) while AQ isn’t anything but a bunch of thugs under international law. So this idea that we gave up valuable prisoners for one guy and that makes it a bad deal is bullshit on its face. We were going to release them. We were REQUIRED to release them under international law that we largely wrote. Whatever intelligence value they had was long since wrung out of them, in some cases literally. One of them had laid down his arms and pledged to work with the new government of Afghanistan prior to the Pakistani government taking him prisoner more as a propaganda tool and removing a potential political problem than anything else, I am given to understand. So we got something we wanted for doing something now that we would have done in a few months for nothing anyway. That’s not exactly brilliant poker, but it was pretty well played.

    We don’t leave our people behind. That’s an Army value. The people ranting about this whole thing either don’t understand or don’t care about that simple concept. Whatever SGT Bergdahl may have done or not done, we don’t leave our people behind. If it hasn’t already, the Army will shortly start a 15-6 investigation, so called in reference to the Army Regulation that describes such things. You’ve probably heard the term “Board of Inquiry.” They are essentially the same thing. When the Army has concluded what the circumstances of SGT Bergdahl’s capture and captivity were, then they’ll make some decisions, but I’ll just note for the record that US POWs have rarely been punished for their actions or inactions while in enemy hands. Many, many of the POWs in Viet Nam, including John McCain signed documents created by their captors confessing to war crimes and indicting their fellow POWs and the US. Former CW4 Michael Durant, taken prisoner by a Somali warlord after being shot down in the battle of Mogadishu (Blackhawk Down) made problematic statements to a TV camera that were subsequently shown around the world. None of these men were ever subjected to disciplinary action upon repatriation to my knowledge.

    So I’m glad that SGT Bergdahl will be reunited with his family, at long last.

  15. rikyrah says:

    CHARGES: Neighbor, 61, pulls gun on father teaching girl to ride bike

    Posted: Jun 01, 2014 9:58 PM CDTUpdated: Jun 02, 2014 11:02 AM CDT

    video report by Jonathan Choe –

    ROSEMOUNT, Minn. (KMSP) –
    It’s yet another instance of a neighbor puling a gun on a neighbor. This time, it happened in Rosemount, Minn. while a father was teaching his 7-year-old daughter how to ride a bicycle.

    Gary Drake, 61, is facing second-degree assault and terroristic threat charges after he was accused of brandishing a shotgun on Daytona Way last week.

    It’s an idyllic street, but neighbors there like to talk. When Jeanne Helgeson heard rumors that a well-known neighbor had threatened someone with a gun, she didn’t believe it — until her next-door neighbor confirmed the details, that is.

    “I’ve never seen a gun come out of that house ever,” Helgeson said.

    Allison Nelson saw the arrest.

    “We look over and he’s in handcuffs,” she recalled. “He’s walking to the cop car.”

    According to the criminal complaint, Drake didn’t like the way the father was teaching his daughter to ride a bicycle.

    “I guess Gary came out and was trying to give tips,” Helgeson said.

    The father told Fox 9 News he’s still shaken by the encounter. He explained that when he and his daughter got down to the cul de sac, Drake began yelling from his porch. When the father responded to say, “I’ve got it,” Drake allegedly said, “If you don’t like my advice, get off the street.”

    At that point, Drake appeared to get angrier — but as the father and daughter prepared to leave the area, Drake allegedly went inside his home, grabbed a Remington 870 shotgun, pointed it at the father and threatened to kill him

  16. Here we go, folks!

    House Armed Services chairman vows hearings on deal to release Bergdahl.

    House Armed Service Committee Chairman Howard P. McKeon (R-Calif.) said Monday that he will call for congressional hearings on the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity by the Taliban.

    Bergdahl was released from Taliban custody Saturday after nearly five years in captivity. In exchange, the U.S. government released five Afghan inmates, including the former head of the Taliban army, who were being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The inmates must stay in Qatar for at least a year.

    McKeon promised the hearings in interviews on Fox News and MSNBC.

  17. rikyrah says:

    May 31, 2014 2:52 PM
    Republicans are getting left behind, and “independents” won’t save them

    By David Atkins

    The new Gallup numbers have been a hot topic of conversation over the last few days. Most of the discussion has focused on how the electorate is slowly but surely shifting away from the GOP and conservatism in general, which is true.

    But some other interesting points stand out as well when you break down the numbers. Let’s take a look:

    First off, let’s look at “independents.” Like most pollsters, Gallup is once again treating “independents” as some special class of voter with their own more centrist views. While that’s a comfortable fiction for centrist-leaning establishment types, it’s not an accurate reflection of the electorate. So-called independent voters may not identify themselves with either party to a pollster or on their voter registration form, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a strong partisan preference. The vast majority of “independent” voters are just as partisan as nominally Democratic or Republican voters. In fact, they’re often even more so as many independents are far left or far right types unhappy that their otherwise preferred party doesn’t tilt far enough in their direction. Only 12% of voters switched sides between 2008 and 2010—and there were just as many GOP-to-Dem switches as the reverse. The 2010 “shellacking” wasn’t the result of voters changing their minds on party or policy, but the result of Democratic-leaning voters staying home from the polls.

    So it shouldn’t surprise us to see that on most issues, the “independent” opinion falls pretty squarely in the middle of the Democratic and Republican ones. That’s what you should expect when you take an equal aggregate of Democratic and Republican opinions, throw them into a jumbled mix, and call it the “independent” vote.

    Second, Gallup reached new record highs of acceptability for a wide range of issues and practices, including divorce, premarital sex, abortion, stem cells, LGBT relationships, and doctor-assisted suicide. Even cloning and polygamy have seen record high upticks. Society is certainly moving away from conservative morality on sex, science and death with dignity.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Spain’s King Juan Carlos I to abdicate By Al Goodman, Jethro Mullen and Josh Levs, CNN
    June 2, 2014 — Updated 1227 GMT (2027 HKT)

    After nearly 40 years on the throne, King Juan Carlos I of Spain said Monday that he will be stepping down.

    It is “time to hand over to a new generation — younger, with a lot of energy — that can, with determination, take on and carry out the changes that the current situation demands, and to face with intensity and determination the challenges of tomorrow,” he said in a televised statement, according to a CNN translation.

    “The long, deep economic crisis we are going through has left a lot of scars socially, but it has also pointed toward a future of hope,” he said.

    Crown Prince Felipe, 46, will succeed his father. The king said he decided it was “time to prepare and pave way so that he who is in better conditions can continue.”

    Felipe is “stable” and has “the maturity, the preparation, and the sense of responsibility necessary” to serve as king and “to lead to a new stage of hope using his experience and the drive of a new generation,” Juan Carlos added.

    Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy first announced the king’s decision.

    Spaniards generally hold Juan Carlos, 76, in high regard for his service to the nation and his defense of democracy after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Magic Johnson to help lead effort for black and Hispanic young men

    President Obama will announce Friday that he has tasked former basketball star and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson with co-leading a private effort focused on supporting boys and young men of color. Johnson will join Joe Echevarria, chief executive of Deloitte, in captaining the effort, known as “My Brother’s Keeper.”

    Obama will make the announcement at a meeting with aides and Cabinet secretaries working on the effort, which he launched three months ago. “My Brother’s Keeper” seeks to leverage government, corporate and non-profit programs in order to direct resources and attention to the unique problems facing young black and Hispanic men.

    A 90-day evaluation of the effort has generated a series of recommendations, including improving mentor programs, eliminating harsh disciplinary actions in preschool, and making sure more boys of color can read at grade level by third grade. It also calls for increasing high school graduation rates, summer employment and apprenticeship programs for men to gain entry-level jobs. Finally, the group is working toward reducing racial and ethnic bias in the racial and criminal justice systems.

    Obama has already received commitments of $200 million to help fund the project from a range of philanthropies. At the meeting, Obama will announce that Johnson and Echevarria will work on figuring out how the private sector can do more to carry out the aims of the program.

    “In the coming days and weeks, foundations and other private sector organizations will independently announce their specific commitments to help ensure boys and young men of color can succeed,” a White House official said.

  20. rikyrah says:

    The War on Coal Begins
    by BooMan
    Mon Jun 2nd, 2014 at 09:36:17 AM EST

    Today is the day when the administration rolls out its plan to address Climate Change or, at the detractors will argue, the first day of the War on Coal. Justin Gillis and Henry Fountain have an excellent piece on this up at the New York Times. At 10:30am, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Gina McCarthy, “will deliver remarks on what steps EPA is taking under the Clean Air Act to carry out President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The announcement will outline a common sense and flexible approach to cut harmful pollution, protect public health, continue economic growth, and spur innovation.”

    After her remarks, Ms. McCarthy will take questions, and the War on Coal will begin in earnest. This effort, not the Keystone XL pipeline decision, will be the key to President Obama’s legacy on the environment. You will be deluged with stupid hyperbole from both the coal industry and their lackeys and the hard-liners in the environmental movement. What you are unlikely to hear from anyone not affiliated with the administration is any kind of full-throated defense of Obama’s policies.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Bowe Bergdahl Is the Right’s New Benghazi
    Buckle up: The right is going to try to turn the Taliban prisoner swap for ‘deserter’ Bowe Bergdahl into a Willie Horton moment for the president—and they’ll ride it to January 2017.

    So let’s imagine that on Saturday night, the news had emerged not that Bowe Bergdahl was being freed but that he’d been murdered by his Taliban captors. What do you suppose we’d be hearing from Republican legislators? You know exactly what: Barack Obama is the weakest president ever, this is unconscionable. Which, of course, is exactly what we’re hearing from them now that the U.S. Army sergeant, held by the Taliban since 2009, has been freed. And it’s going to get worse. I’m even tempted to say forget Benghazi—Bergdahl may well end up being the flimsy excuse for the impeachment hearings they’ve been dreaming of before all this is over.

    The Republicans’ audacity here is a bit beyond the usual. Let’s face it: There is no question that if President George W. Bush or a President McCain or President Romney had secured Bergdahl’s release in exchange for five Taliban prisoners at Gitmo, Republicans would be defending the move all the way. That business about notifying Congress? They’d have a dozen excuses for it. We got our prisoner of war home, they’d all be saying. That’s what matters.

    But Obama does it, and Bergdahl’s freedom isn’t what matters at all. It’s that we negotiated with terrorists. Well, yes. We’ve been negotiating with the Taliban for a long time now, trying to end the war. See, they’re the people leading the fighting on the other side. When you’re trying to end a war, that’s generally who you negotiate with.

    The five guys we returned to the Taliban are really bad guys, as Eli Lake and Josh Rogin wrote this weekend, and it’s fair to ask whether the price was too high. We can’t know the answer to that question today. But other criticisms are bogus. House intel chairman Mike Rogers said on TV Sunday that in cutting the deal, “you send a message to every al Qaeda group in the world that there is some value in a hostage that it didn’t have before.” That’s ridiculous. So al Qaeda groups didn’t know until this past weekend that taking an American hostage could give them leverage? Guerrilla forces have been taking people hostage since warfare began. We’ve even done lower-level prisoner trades in Afghanistan.

    Looking forward, and looking more broadly at this situation, all the ingredients are here for a classic GOP Obama-conspiracy-mongering soap opera that can be dragged out until January 2017. The late combat journalist Mike Hastings wrote a long profile of Bergdahl in Rolling Stone in 2012, and it gets right to the heart of what may be the coming GOP case against him.

    First of all, Bergdahl wasn’t any Republican’s idea of a patriot. Yes, he volunteered to join the Army, but only after he’d been turned down by the French Foreign Legion. Once on the ground in Afghanistan, he was a deeply disillusioned soldier. Shortly after his battalion took its first casualty, he emailed his parents a scathing indictment of the military and everything he saw around him. From Hastings:

  22. rikyrah says:

    Indianapolis Will Give All Students Free Breakfast And Lunch

    By Abigail Bessle
    rMay 29, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Starting this fall, all students in Indianapolis public schools will get a free breakfast, lunch, and snack every school day under a federal program set up four years ago. “Hunger and having a healthy lunch and breakfast should not be a barrier to teaching and learning,” Indianapolis Public Schools superintendent Lewis Ferebee told the Indianapolis Star earlier this week. “We want to make sure our students are healthy and well fed so they can learn.”

    The federal program, which was set up by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, funds free meals for students in “Community Eligible” districts where 40 percent of kids at one or more schools already qualify for free lunches. In Indianapolis, 77 percent of students qualified for free meals and just 18 percent, 5,500 students out of over 30,000, were required to pay.

    Indianapolis wasn’t the first to decide to join the program. Schools in Dallas, Boston, and Chicago already participate, and New York City may join.

    The free meal program cuts down child hunger in low-income areas. A study of schools in Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan that have guaranteed free lunches and breakfasts to all students shows that when meals became free, lunch participation rates increased dramatically, growing by 13 percent over two years.

    The change in the number of students eating breakfast was even more striking: Breakfast participation in 2012 was nearly three times higher in schools that opted for the program than schools that did not. This is especially significant because studies show having breakfast is linked to motivation in school and academic success. Nationally, just half of students in the free and reduced lunch program eat breakfast at school, and three-quarters of the nation’s teachers say they have students who often come to school hungry.

  23. rikyrah says:

    The Vacant Soul Of John McCain

    By Charles P. Pierce on June 2, 2014

    I firmly believe that, in some very prominent place in his mind, John McCain is in the second year of his second term as president of the United States. He certainly is president of John McCain. I don’t know the source of this delusion; in no way, is the guy a leader, either of his party or his nation. His only obvious followers are Senators Huckleberry Butchmeup from South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte, the Richelieu Of Rye. I suspect it has its origins in his unsuccessful 2000 campaign against George W. Bush. No politician in my memory got better press than McCain did from the national media in those days, including some from, well, me. McCain had so much sunshine blown up his ass that his colon must have looked like Cabo San Lucas. This would have been enough to turn the head of anyone who wasn’t essentially a rank opportunist, something that no fair person ever could say about John McCain.

    Having already draped himself in a toga, McCain’s response to the Obama administration has been both petulant and imperious, a small boy commanding an army of butterflies. This is most recently illustrated in his response to the deal cut by the administration to arrange the release of Bowe Bergdahl from captivity. The conservative chorus of opposition to the deal is a lovely harmonic convergence of complete hypocrisy and profound historical amnesia on the always delightful topic of “negotiating with terrorists.” There’s nothing we can do about the former; without complete hypocrisy, the entire conservative project would blow away into a pile on Frank Luntz’s lawn. It would be like asking swine not to wallow. But there certainly is something we can do about the latter.

  24. rikyrah says:

    June 01, 2014 3:00 PM
    The $6 trillion dollar mistake

    By David Atkins

    A new study says the Iraq War has cost the United States $2 trillion. By the time all the veterans’ bills are paid, it will likely cost us up to $6 trillion.

    Let that sink in for a moment. Per National Priorities, here’s an estimate of how much money is allocated for various programs in President Obama’s 2015 federal fiscal year budget:

    Education: ~ $70 billion
    Health: ~ $58 billion
    Unemployment and labor: ~ $58 billion
    Energy and Environment: ~ $35 billion
    International Affairs: ~ $35 billion
    Science: ~ $35 billion
    Transportation: ~ $23 billion
    Food and Agriculture: ~$11 billion

    Think about what we could have done with $6 trillion. With a “t”. As in, one thousand billions.

  25. rikyrah says:

    The Vanishing Cry of ‘Repeal It’

    JUNE 1, 2014

    It was supposed to be so easy this election year for Republican congressional candidates. All they would have to do was shout “repeal Obamacare!” and make a crack about government doctors and broken websites, and they could coast into office on a wave of public fury. The failure of the Affordable Care Act was simply assumed.

    But it has not quite worked out that way. The government website was fixed, and 8.1 million people managed to sign up for insurance through the exchanges. An additional 4.8 million people received coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Three million people under the age of 26 were covered by their parents’ plans. Though the law itself has never been widely popular, most people say they like its component parts, and a large majority now says it wants the law improved rather than repealed.

    That sentiment conflicts with the Republican playbook, which party leaders are suddenly trying to rewrite. The result has been an incoherent mishmash of positions, as candidates try to straddle a widening gap between blind hatred of health reform and the public’s growing recognition that much of it is working.

    Sometimes the dissonance reaches nearly comic levels. The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, recently won his party’s primary for his Kentucky Senate seat in part by saying he wanted to repeal the health law “root and branch.” Last week, though, he was asked what repeal would mean for the 413,000 people who had signed up for insurance under Kynect, Kentucky’s state-run exchange. “I think that’s unconnected to my comments about the overall question,” he said. Mr. McConnell knows full well, of course, that the popular Kynect program was created by the Affordable Care Act and could not exist without it, but he is hoping to fool his constituents into believing the health care access they like has nothing to do with the law he has fought against for so long or with President Obama.

    His campaign even suggested he would allow many of the 300,000 Kentuckians who signed up for Medicaid — solely because of the law’s expansion — to stay covered after repeal, which makes about as much sense as his previous statement.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Republican Outrage Over The Bergdahl Release is More Proof Conservatives Hate The Troops

    By: Rmuse
    Monday, June, 2nd, 2014, 9:56 am

    America, like most nations, asks its soldiers to sacrifice everything in service to their country, and in return this particular country sacrifices next to nothing for the fighting men and women in the military. Republicans are the worst offenders whether it is sending men and women in uniform to fight and die in wars for profit and indefensible ideology, or blatantly refusing to care for them when they return from war. It is nothing short of criminal to abandon Veterans once their service to their country is finished, but that outrage pales in comparison to abandoning a soldier taken prisoner while serving his country. If the American people have learned only one thing over the past couple of weeks regarding Republicans’ and their horrendous disregard for America’s service members, it is that they consider them dispensable.

    The current Republican outrage over the President negotiating the release of an American soldier held as a prisoner of war by the Taliban is both rank hypocrisy and further proof conservatives hate the men and women serving in the military.

    Republicans complaining bitterly that President Obama should have left Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl to the mercy of his captors are hypocrites because their man-god Ronald Reagan gave the Islamic Republic of Iran 1,500 missiles in exchange for American hostages held in Lebanon by Iranian terrorists, and one can only conclude that Reagan gets a pass because he was white. Republican racism notwithstanding, it is their disregard for an American soldier they were content leaving behind that should outrage the American people and members of the military; particularly because they claim the President overstepped his authority by adhering to an unspoken rule that America “leaves no soldier behind.”

  27. Maya Angelou Memorial Service Set for Saturday. Saturday’s service is private, but Wake Forest is streaming it online here

    A memorial service will be held at Wake Forest University for poet and author Maya Angelou, who died last week.

    Wake Forest says Angelou’s family is holding a private service Saturday at the university’s Wait Chapel.

    Angelou died Wednesday at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at age 86. She was known throughout the world as a literary pioneer and champion of civil rights and began teaching at Wake Forest in 1982 after she first visited the university to read her work.

  28. rikyrah says:

    PAGov: Wolf Up 20 Points on Corbett, Over 50%

    Posted on June 1, 2014 by Jon Geeting #

    The Republican-leaning polling firm Rasmussen has some terrible news for Republicans in the first poll of the general election. Democratic nominee Tom Wolf is beating Republican incumbent Tom Corbett by 20 points, and leads on all issues, with only 14% undecided. Wolf is winning over 50% of likely voters.

    Wolf isn’t going to win 25% of Republicans – if there’s one thing campaigns are good at, it’s reminding partisans of what they hate about the other party. But it doesn’t seem outlandish to expect an above-average number of Republicans to defect to Wolf or stay home this cycle. Tom Wolf is a moderate-seeming business owner, and the generic Republican campaign formula of painting the Democratic nominee as some kind of secret leftist radical seems particularly unlikely to work on him given his background.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Sterling went to a Black Church. Check out the side eye

  30. rikyrah says:



  31. Ametia says:

    I put on Sirus radio this morning. The boob tube is full of noise and hateration for the release of Bergdahl. SMGDH

  32. rikyrah says:

    petty pitiful jealous heifers

    BTW, this is a question that has NEVER crossed my mind.


    Who pays for first lady’s fabulous fashions?
    20 minutes ago

    Michelle Obama’s fashionable clothing has become something of a given in her five-plus years as first lady. Yet her wardrobe still is the subject of endless public fascination and one long-simmering question: Who pays for those incredible outfits?

    It’s no small matter. Her high-low fashion choices mix everyday, off-the-rack fare with custom creations from top designers whose gowns can run into five figures.

  33. rikyrah says:

    The Destruction of Black Wall Street
    The events that destroyed a thriving Black Oklahoma community 92 years ago were much more than a ‘race riot’

    Greenwood, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa, was the type of community that African Americans are still, today, attempting to reclaim and rebuild. It was modern, majestic, sophisticated and unapologetically Black. Tragically, it was also the site of one of the bloodiest and most horrendous race riots (and acts of terrorism) that the United States has ever experienced.

    Today marks ninety-two years since as many as 300 African Americans lost their lives and more than 9,000 were left homeless when the small town was attacked, looted and literally burned to the ground beginning in 1921. It’s impossible, however, to realize what was lost in Greenwood, which was affectionately known as “Black Wall Street.”

    The Greenwood community seems almost imagined when we examine it through a historical lens. The oil booms of the early 1900’s had many moving to Tulsa for a shot at quick economic gains and high life, and African Americans hoped to prosper from the new industry as well. Tulsa, like many cities and towns throughout the US, was hostilely segregated, with African Americans settling into the northern region of the city. As we often saw before integration, Blacks in the area created entrepreneurial opportunities for themselves, which housed an impressive business center that included banks, hotels, cafes, clothiers, movie theaters, and contemporary homes. Greenwood residents enjoyed many luxuries that their White neighbors did not, including indoor plumbing and a remarkable school system that superiorly educated Black children.

    It was pure envy, and a vow to put progressive, high achieving African Americans in their place that would cause the demise of the Black Mecca many called “Little Africa”, and its destruction began the way much terrorism, violence and dispossession against African Americans did during that era. A young White woman accused a young Black man of attempted sexual assault, which gave local mobs and White men acting as police just cause to invade the unsuspecting community. On the malevolent and horrifying attack, Linda Christenson writes the following:

    Read more at EBONY
    Follow us: @EbonyMag on Twitter | EbonyMag on Facebook

  34. rikyrah says:

    That’s right, Harry.

    Bring this to the floor AGAIN, and make them take another clear vote AGAINST THE TROOPS.

    And then kick it over to Orange Julius and press his incompetent ass as to why he won’t bring it to the floor.


    Bernie Sanders Makes Republicans Put Up or Shut Up With New Bill To Expand Vets Benefits

    By: Jason Easley
    Sunday, June, 1st, 2014, 2:24 pm

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is making Republicans show how much they really care about veterans by introducing a new bill that would expand veterans benefits.

    In a statement, Sen. Sanders described what the Restoring Veterans’ Trust Act of 2014 would do, “It would give the VA authority to immediately remove senior executives based on poor job performance while preventing wholesale political firings. It would provide veterans who can’t get timely appointments with VA doctors the option of going to community health centers, military hospitals or private doctors. It would authorize VA to lease 27 new health facilities in 18 states. It would authorize emergency funding to hire new doctors, nurses and other providers in order to address system-wide health care provider shortages and to take other steps necessary to ensure timely access to care. To address primary care doctor shortage for the long-term, the bill would authorize the National Health Service Corps to award scholarships to medical school students and to forgive college loans for doctors and nurses who go to work at the VA.

    Upgrade VA’s antiquated scheduling systems.

    • Require President Obama to establish a commission on VA health care access and recommend, within 90 days, actions to bolster capacity.

    • Extend comprehensive services and benefits to the most severely injured pre-9/11 veterans; standardize the process for sending patients to community health centers, military hospitals or other health care providers; and extend from five to 10 years access to VA health care for all recently-separated veterans.

    Provide help for veterans who suffered significant spinal cord, reproductive and urinary tract injuries and who now want to have children.

    • Bolster the VA’s ongoing effort to eliminate shrinking but still unacceptable backlogs in processing claims for disability benefits.

    • Make certain that all veterans get in-state tuition rates for college costs covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

    • Improve the delivery of care and benefits to veterans who experienced sexual trauma while in the military.

    • Remove the VA from annual budget battles by adopting so-called “advance appropriations” to protect veterans in case of a government shutdown.

    • Restore a 1 percent cut in retirement cost-of-living adjustments that Congress enacted for current military service members.

    It’s put up, or shut up time for Republicans. In February, Senate Republicans blocked a bill to expand veterans’ benefits because they claimed it was too expensive. Republicans want the VA to have the ability to fire senior executives quickly, and some have called for vets to be able to go into the private health system for care during this current crisis. Sanders’ legislation gives Republicans what they were asking for.

    The legislation also gives Senate Republicans a chance to right the disgraceful wrong of February by voting to authorize the construction of 27 new clinics and facilities. House Republicans are currently pushing a $600 billion tax cut for business, so don’t be fooled by Republican cries that the $21 billion veterans’ bill is too expensive.


  35. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  36. Yahtc says:

    I can’t use a vinegar spray because the weeds I pull are mixed in with good stuff that I want to grow. However, many of you might have a garden path of bricks, gravel, or chips, and you might be able to use a vinegar spray to get rid of weeds.

    Meanwhile, I will just keep pulling weeds and, perhaps, meditate as I do so :)

  37. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone!

    A & A., Come on with it, Rikyrah. Lay down the facts and foundation for black comedics.
    I’,m definitely going to enjoy this week’s series.

    • Yahtc says:

      Good Morning, Ametia and Everyone :)

      rikyrah, I can see that this will be a good learning experience for me this week. Thanks for bringing this week’s series!

    • Good morning, everyone!

      Very interesting info about Amos and Andy. This series is going to be good.

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