Monday Open Thread |Grover Washington Jr. Week

Happy Monday, Everyone! This Week we’re featuring the music of Mr. Grover Washington, Jr.


Grover Washington, Jr. (December 12, 1943 – December 17, 1999)[1] was an American jazz-funk / soul-jazzsaxophonist. Along with George Benson, John Klemmer, David Sanborn, Bob James, Chuck Mangione, Herb Alpert, and Spyro Gyra. He is considered by many to be one of the founders of the smooth jazz genre. He wrote some of his material and later became an arranger and producer.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Washington made some of the genre’s most memorable hits, including “Mister Magic,” “Reed Seed,” “Black Frost,” “Winelight,” “Inner City Blues” and “The Best is Yet to Come”. In addition, he performed very frequently with other artists, including Bill Withers on “Just the Two of Us” (still in regular rotation on radio today), Patti LaBelle on “The Best Is Yet to Come” and Phyllis Hyman on “A Sacred Kind of Love”. He is also remembered for his take on the Dave Brubeck classic “Take Five”, and for his 1996 version of “Soulful Strut”.

Washington had a preference for black nickel-plated saxophones made by Julius Keilwerth. These included a SX90Ralto and SX90R tenor. He also played Selmer Mark VI alto in the early years. His main soprano was a black nickel plated H.Couf Superba II (also built by Keilwerth for Herbert Couf) and a Keilwerth SX90 in the last years of his life.


Early life

Washington was born in Buffalo, New York, on December 12, 1943. His mother was a church chorister, and his father was a collector of old Jazz gramophone recordsand a saxophonist as well, so music was everywhere in the home. He grew listening to the great jazzmen and big band leaders like Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, and others like them. At the age of 8, Grover Sr. gave Jr. a saxophone. He practiced and would sneak into clubs to see famous Buffalo blues musicians.

Early career

Washington left Buffalo and played with a Midwest group called the Four Clefs and then the Mark III Trio from Mansfield, Ohio. He was drafted into the U.S. Armyshortly thereafter, which was to be to his advantage, as he met drummer Billy Cobham. A music mainstay in New York City, Cobham introduced Washington to many New York musicians. After leaving the Army, Washington freelanced his talents around New York City, eventually landing in Philadelphia in 1967.[1] In 1970 and 1971, he appeared on Leon Spencer’s first two albums on Prestige Records, together with Idris Muhammad and Melvin Sparks.
Washington’s big break came at the expense of another artist. Alto sax man Hank Crawford was unable to make a recording date with Creed Taylor’s Kudu Records,[2] and Washington took his place, even though he was a backup. This led to his first solo album, Inner City Blues.

Take Five

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62 Responses to Monday Open Thread |Grover Washington Jr. Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    June 16, 2014 12:50 PM
    The Underwhelming Scott Walker

    By Ed Kilgore

    Other than transferring planes at its airport, I’ve never been to Milwaukee, and haven’t read all that much (other than Hunter Thompson’s famously dyspeptic account of his stay at what was then the Sheraton-Schroeder Hotel during the 1972 Wisconsin primaries) about its political history. So I was fascinated by the recent Milwaukee Sentinal-Journal series by Craig Gilbert about the very nearly unique degree of residential segregation that separates the City of Milwaukee from its suburbs, and the corresponding political polarization that seems to operate independently of the national trend in that direction.

    Now at TNR Alec MacGillis amplifies that account and relates it very directly to the political career of Scott Walker. The Wisconsin governor has prospered consistently from his mastery of—or perhaps more accurately, faithful echoing of—the heavily racialized and partisan-Republican politics of suburban Milwaukee, which has made the whole state a seething, high-turnout battleground where Republicans have an advantage in non-presidential elections even as Democrats carry it regularly in presidential years.

    You really should read MacGillis’ whole story, focusing quite a bit on the political role of local talk radio in feeding white suburban resentment of Milwaukee, which in turn sounds even more blatantly racial than its southern analogs (he quotes the Republican chairman of one of the close-in suburban counties as warning him to avoid a particular Milwaukee street as encompassing “the colored section”).

    But in contrast to the color and verve of MacGillis’ portrait of Milwaukee race-baiting talk show hosts and ward heelers, the story’s protagonist, Scott Walker, comes across as a sort of plodding career pol who just happened to become the right man in the right place at the right time to succeed in a plodding way, in part because of lavish support from the Koch Brothers’ financial network. The adjective that most came to mind reading about his background and world-view was “unreflective,” a quality I associate with George W. Bush, and sure enough MacGillis calls him “phlegmatic and self-impressed at the same time, with a boyish smirk that can recall George W. Bush.”

  2. rikyrah says:

    June/July/August 2014
    Why the White Working Class Matters
    The bad news: Dems can’t govern without them. The good news: Blue-collar whites are far more diverse than during the era of the Reagan Democrats.

    By Stanley Greenberg

    Can the Democrats be an effective governing party without winning more support from the white working class? We asked two top strategists to weigh in, and are also happy to publish in this issue a special section on the subject put together by our friends at the Democratic Strategist.

    Conventional wisdom holds that President Barack Obama and the Democrats have a deepening problem with white working-class voters, akin to the one that gave us Reagan Democrats. In the last election, Obama did particularly poorly with non-college-educated white men, a group that, as Ron Brownstein has observed, was “once the brawny backbone of the New Deal-era Democratic coalition.” It’s also widely held that the Democrats’ problems with the white working class are partly responsible for the party’s poor performance in most rural parts of the country, as well as the reason that it struggles during off-year elections, when voters of color and Millennials are a smaller share of the over-all turnout.

    Many observers have posed an intriguing question: Can Democrats win national elections with their growing national coalition—Millennials, minorities, grad-school-educated whites, and so on—without targeting or addressing the needs of white working-class voters? Implicitly, they are asking whether Democrats can build a national majority by primarily addressing the identity and values issues that appeal to this new coalition—such as racial and gender equality, immigration, and gay marriage—while paying scant attention to the so-called lunch-pail economic and material issues that are traditionally of greatest concern to working-class whites.

    But white working-class voters could not be more central to Democrats. And not only are they winnable for Democrats with attention to the right set of issues, but there were already sizable numbers of them voting Democratic as recently as 2012.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Michelle Obama Calls Out House Republicans For Trying to Roll Back School Lunch Standards

    By: Jason Easley
    Monday, June, 16th, 2014, 2:19 pm
    House Republicans are due to vote this week on an agriculture spending bill that includes a provision rolling back the nutritional requirements in school lunches, but First Lady Michelle Obama is already calling out the GOP.

    In an interview with MSN, Michelle Obama called out the House Republicans for offering up some bad policy just as the US is batting an epidemic of childhood obesity:

    It is our job as adults to make sure that our kids eat what they need, not what they want. I struggle with that in my own life, and I tell you, if I let my kids dictate what we have for dinner every day, it would be French fries, chips and candy, but we don’t run our households like that, and we can’t run our schools like that.

    The first step is not to roll back the standards, but to help the schools that are struggling do a better job at making the meals more enjoyable for the kids. Good health and flavor go hand in hand.

    What we need to do is lend a hand to the schools that are struggling, not roll back the standards and say, Oh, well. The kids don’t like it so let them eat cake. We can’t afford to do that.

    Republicans are using the rising cost of fruits and vegetables as their reason to roll back the 2010 school lunch nutritional requirement that more fruits and vegetables be offered at meal time. The School Nutrition Association, which gets nearly two thirds of its funding from frozen and processed food companies, is working with House Republicans to roll back the standards.

    This fight has nothing to do with the health and wellness of students. It is all about processed food giants like ConAgra Foods, Tyson Foods and Domino’s Pizza trying to push healthy food options out of the cafeteria.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Dr. Umar Johnson Plans Residential Academy for Black Children


     May 2014

    Frederick Douglass Marcus Garvey Academy

    Dr. Umar Johnson and others hope to make former HBCU St. Paul’s College into the Frederick Douglass and Marcus Garvey RBG International Leadership Academy for African children.


    Send Donations To:

    c/o Dr. Umar Johnson
    P.O. Box 6872
    Philadelphia, PA 19132

  5. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Self Destruct By Moving To the Far Right After Cantor’s Loss

    By: Rmuse
    Monday, June, 16th, 2014, 10:44 am

    Over the weekend Iowa Republicans held their state convention, and it was a harbinger of what Americans have to look forward to after sitting House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary race to a libertarian college professor. It was a relative certainty that Cantor’s loss would drive the GOP to completely fall in line behind teabagger extremists who demand all-out war to control the nation or governance comes to a screeching halt; likely they want both. What is curious, is that Republicans are convinced teabaggers are enraged that establishment Republicans did not oppose President Obama over the past five years and that now they demand, and Republicans will deliver, unflinching opposition to the President. Subsequently, establishment Republicans are lurching hard right to embrace teabagger fascism and end democracy if the extremists do not get what they want.

    Obviously, Christian extremists are determined to get what they want and one of the convention’s speakers, Bobby Jindal, delivered for the GOP establishment. It was Jindal who this week proved the GOP is in the warm embrace of evangelical extremists and willing supporters of legislation by bible when Jindal signed Christian legislation at a Baptist church eliminating Louisiana women’s reproductive health choices. Jindal also earned bible points with man-love and high praise for Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson who grouped gays with terrorists and said African Americans were happy under Jim Crow because god. Jindal said, to wild applause, that he was sick and tired of the left’s intolerance of religious bigots, racists, and gay-hate like Robertson spews because he had the temerity to say things they disagree with. Obviously extremist Christian views like Robertson’s are part of the new and improved extremist Republicans.

  6. rikyrah says:

    100 Black Men conference showcases role models – Posted 6.14.14

    [….] The 100 Black Men of America is a national organization that strives to improve the quality of life and enhance educational and economic opportunities for African Americans — especially youth. More than 10,000 belong. “We serve as positive role models for young black males,’’ said Dennis Wright, 43, the Fort Lauderdale chapter president and CA Technologies expert who aligns technology to fit businesses. “We lead by example and need to be out front showing them there’s a right way of doing everything in being successful.’’ The organization’s youth-oriented motto: “What they see is what they’ll be.”[….]

    The four-day convention not only was expected to bring more than $5 million in economic impact[….] This year’s empowerment project, in partnership with Nova Southeastern University, centers on the highly anticipated mentoring management system being launched in conjunction with the Broward County School System. Now, in addition to being able to see their children’s grades and attendance records, parents will be able to go online and see the dozens of mentoring programs available, then select the one they deem best suited for the youngsters. Mentors will then be designated through the electronic system.[….]

  7. rikyrah says:

    Open Carry Group Holds Rally At Target After Getting NRA To Back Down

    Eric Lach – June 16, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    The almost-too-hot-for-the-NRA gun rights group Open Carry Texas was back at it this weekend, demonstrating in a Dallas suburb and making a stop in a parking lot outside a Target store.

    The group posted numerous pictures on its Facebook page from its activities Saturday in Irving, Texas. (Open carry of long guns, including semiautomatic rifles, is legal in Texas, but open carry of handguns isn’t. Open Carry Texas’ demonstrations are partly designed to call attention to that fact.) According to the gun-control group Moms Demand Action, the activists gathered in a parking lot outside a Target store in Irving.

    “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America confirmed with a Target manager that the store knew in advance that the open carry rally would take place, and Target did nothing to stop it,” Moms Demand Action said in an emailed statement.

    Target has been a focus of both Open Carry Texas and Moms Demand Action. Open Carry Texas’ activities have prompted several chain restaurants, including Chipotle, to ask customers to keep guns out of their establishments. Moms Demand Action has been calling for Target, the retail giant, to follow suit. But Target has said that it will follow local laws on the issue, as in this statement to Mother Jones. Open Carry Texas lauded the company’s position in a Facebook post Saturday.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Malia Obama Works On Set Of Halle Berry TV Series

    Tom Kludt – June 16, 2014, 10:08 AM EDT

    President Obama’s oldest daughter has gone Hollywood — at least for a day.

    The Wrap reported Sunday that Malia Obama was seen on the set of “Extant,” the upcoming CBS sci-fi series starring Academy Award-winner Halle Berry.

    Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg, a big donor to Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, is a producer on the series.

    According to the Wrap, Malia Obama served as a “production assistant for a day in Los Angeles” on the series last week. She will turn 16 next month.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Moral Mondays: Capitol Showdown

    [….] On the lawn behind the legislative building, more than 1,000 people gathered for an hour-long public rally that featured clergy, educators, and students as speakers. More quietly, the core group of 15, including Proffitt and Boothe, were discreetly huddling on a nearby terrace and planning a peaceful ambush on one of their political adversaries.[….] With no sign of the Senate leader, the protesters staged a “teach-in” outside his office door[….] At 7:45 p.m., 90 minutes into the teach-in, a police officer started making rounds. “We’re clearing the building,” he told the protesters, warning that anyone who remained would face arrest.

    Those who had come inside from the rally left, but the 15 core activists huddled against Berger’s door and prepared for a night of civil disobedience. Instead of making arrests, though, the legislature’s police chief, Jeff Weaver, came back with an offer: “If
    you were to meet with Pro Tem Berger, would you be willing to leave
    after that meeting?” “We’d like to have a meeting,” said Proffitt, the Durham teacher. “And then we’d like to hear his responses to this, and then have an opportunity to check in with each other and decide what’s next from there.”

    The discussion between the Senate leader and the activists, tense but civil, was the first of its kind since the Moral Monday movement began in 2013.[….]

  10. Loves this…

    Botswana Traditional Dance at Best

  11. rikyrah says:

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    Absolutely Nothing

    Tragically, all we’ve fought for in Iraq, all that 4,500 American lives were shed to gain, is on the cusp, potentially, of vanishing.
    – Mitt Romney, “Ideas Summit,” 6/13/2014

    All we fought for in Iraq.

    All we fought for in Iraq is on the cusp of vanishing.

    That’s what Mitt Romney says.

    We fought for. We fought for. We.

    Oh, so it’s we now, is it, Mitt?


    I must have missed you over there, but it was a busy place. We. The guy who helped set up “pro-draft” rallies and yet somehow managed to avoid service in Vietnam is upset about losing what “we” fought for? We.

    Yeah, fuck you, Mitt.

    And you’re all welcome to quote me on that.

    Somebody stepped into my office yesterday and asked how I felt about it. He wanted to know how I felt about “losing” Iraq.

    How do I feel about losing all we fought for?

    I don’t know.

    First, I’m going to need somebody to explain to me exactly what it was that we were fighting for.

    What was it? What is it that we gained, according to Mitt Romney? And what is on the cusp of vanishing? What is that? No, really, somebody please explain it to me.

    Because I’d love to know.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: “Yeah, fuck you, Mitt.”
      Romney and his cronnies are RICH off the blood of our soldiers who fought in these senseless wars.

    • Liza says:

      When the historians tell the story, it will be much different. Especially when they estimate the number of Iraqis who are dead because of the 2003 US invasion. It will be a lot more than 100K. The WWII body count is more or less accepted as around 70 million right now, some estimates as high as 80 million. For a long time it was thought to be as low as 50 million.

      See how that works? There are folks out there who will just dig and dig until the accepted version of history gets close to the truth. So now would be a good time for Mitt Romney and his ilk to sit down and keep quiet. Iraq is imploding, quite predictably. But Mitt Romney didn’t fight for anything noble, never has. All he ever fought for was to be at the top of the heap of those robbing the rest of us (in “legal” ways, of course.)

  12. rikyrah says:

    Midterm2014 4get2016
    @Maggyw519 Hillary saying the US needs a woman to lead…make things better… ok let’s get Warren or Michelle to run… @ItsAlinaJo

  13. rikyrah says:

    Divided Supreme Court Shoots Down ‘Straw’ Purchases of Guns By Pete Williams
    The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a federal law that makes it a crime for one person to buy a gun for another while lying to the dealer about who the gun is for.

    Federal law considers that a straw-man purchase, and the person who does it is called a straw buyer. The law was challenged by Bruce Abramski, a former policeman who bought a gun for his uncle, assuming that by showing his old police ID, he could get a discount — even though his uncle could have legally purchased the gun.

    Abramski was charged with violating the law after he falsely checked “yes” on the federal form asserting that he was the actual buyer.

    Writing for the court in a 5-4 majority opinion, Justice Elena Kagan said the law helps keeps guns out of the hands of those not legally able to buy them, including those with mental illness or previous felony convictions. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented.

    Also Monday, the court voted unanimously to allow an anti-abortion group to continue its challenge to an Ohio law that makes it a crime to lie about a candidate during a political campaign.

    In 2010, when Rep. Steve Driehaus, an Ohio Democrat, was running for re-election, the group, Susan B. Anthony list, prepared to put up billboards saying, “Shame on Steve Driehaus! Driehaus voted FOR taxpayer-funded abortion.”

    He filed a complaint, and Ohio’s elections commission found that the group violated the anti-lying law. But Driehaus dropped his complaint after losing the election. The lower courts said the group could not continue its challenge to the law, but the Supreme Court’s ruling Monday keeps the lawsuit alive.

  14. rikyrah says:

    American Voters Need To Realize The Terrible Urgency Of 2014

    [….] Are Democratic candidates and especially Democratic leadership so incapable of connecting the dots that a sane and literate electorate will sit out this critical election? Yeah, apparently. We have leadership handpicking candidates who won’t galvanize the base and refusing to provide support to non-incumbents unless they are sure-fire winners. Our candidates pussyfoot through campaigns, terrified of offending Republicans who would never vote for them anyway. All in all we have a party which is unwilling or unable to bludgeon voters with the truth. [….] There isn’t a natural constituency the Republicans have not insulted, annoyed, or outright harmed in recent years yet many seem blissfully unaware of it.[….]

    There are 89,727 career and 137,037 non-career employees of the U.S. Postal Service. At least that many more adults probably depend on their paychecks. They all have heard that their livelihood is in danger but do they know why? If it was made clear that a Republican law is forcing USPS to fund employee pensions for 75 years over a period of ten; that this is a badly disguised plan to kill the USPS to the benefit of UPS and FedEx, big donors to the GOP; and that Republicans are now angling to use that pension money to erase the deficit in the Highway Trust Fund, do you think they would sit at home on November 4? Hell, they would probably drag their spouses, parents, and half the neighborhood to the polls with them.[….]

    • Liza says:

      So sad to hear this. Tony Gwynn played for the Padres the whole time that I lived in San Diego. Despite his excellent stats, he probably deserved to play for a better team. But he was so loyal and much loved in San Diego. Once again, the good die young. RIP, Mr. Gwynn. Well done.

    • Ametia says:

      Thank you for all your contributions to the game of baseball and life, Tony.

      Yes; the good die young. Prayers for Tony Gwynn’s family.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Tennessee GOP Aim To Unseat 3 Supreme Court Justices – all because they were initially appointed by Dem Gov.

    Three justices on the Tennessee Supreme Court are facing an election-year attack, not for any particular decision they have authored or even for any unpopular opinion they have espoused. No, in an ugly campaign in Tennessee that appears to be getting ever uglier, Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, who is also the state’s lieutenant governor, is attempting to oust three state Supreme Court justices in their Aug. 7 retention elections, chiefly for the judicial outrage of having been appointed to the high court by a Democrat. Under Tennessee law, the governor appoints Supreme Court justices, and then they come up for retention elections every eight years thereafter. This is a pretty common set-up in states that elect their justices.

    Knocking off a state supreme court justice is one of the cheapest political endeavors going.

    Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen appointed justices Gary Wade, Cornelia Clark, and Sharon Lee to the high court. They are all up for retention in two months and Ramsey, seemingly unable to get past the first few entries in the “Stock Campaign Insults” dictionary, has mounted a statewide assault targeting the three as “soft on crime” and “anti-business.” As the Shreveport Times notes, Ramsey is going after the three jurists “despite the fact that the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission that Ramsey helped to appoint found them qualified to retain their posts.” Ramsey is a member of the Republican State Leadership Committee, which has a history of targeting judicial races across the country and calls the Tennessee race “high on our radar.”

  16. rikyrah says:

    New York Times Editor Treated for Cancer
    Dean Baquet, Top Times Editor, Has Tumor Removed
    Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times, had a malignant tumor removed from his kidney on Saturday and will spend about a week away from the office while recovering, he said in an email to the newspaper’s staff on Monday morning.

    Doctors discovered the tumor on Thursday, Mr. Baquet said, and felt that it required “immediate attention.” He had “minimally invasive, completely successful surgery,” he said, “and my doctors have given me an excellent prognosis.”

    Mr. Baquet, 57, took the paper’s top newsroom job last month after theabrupt dismissal of Jill Abramson, its first female executive editor. On Thursday, Harvard announced that Ms. Abramson plans to teach there this fall.

    Mr. Baquet had previously served as managing editor, The Times’s No. 2 newsroom job. He has not appointed a successor to that role, saying that he plans to take his time with new appointments as he rethinks the paper’s management structure while it continues to adapt to the digital age. His absence comes as The Times has unveiled several new digital initiatives and mobile products.

    In his email, Mr. Baquet said that he would remain “in touch with the newsroom leadership” as he recovered and that the new initiatives would continue.

    “I know this comes as we are all trying to move forward in the newsroom,” Mr. Baquet said.

    “I assure you,” he said, “that I will be back there as soon as possible.”NEXT IN MEDIAFor Fox, Much Is Riding on 3 Sequels to ‘Avatar’

  17. rikyrah says:

    Supreme Court clears way for First Amendment challenge
    06/16/14 10:14 AM
    By Adam Serwer

    The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that an anti-abortion group could challenge an Ohio law barring knowingly false statements in political campaigns.

    Susan B. Anthony List sought to preemptively challenge a law barring knowingly false speech in political campaigns. In the 2010, election, the group attempted to purchase a billboard accusing pro-life Ohio Democratic Rep. Steven Driehaus of voting for “taxpayer funded abortion” when he supported the Affordable Care Act. Federal funds for abortions have been barred since the 1970s, but conservatives have embraced a definition of “abortion” that includes contraceptives that prevent pregnancy and contend that tax breaks to help Americans purchase health insurance amount to funding abortion.

  18. rikyrah says:

    The Sister of Second Chances

    JUNE 13, 2014

    Venita Pinckney grew up around Catholic schools and churches, and she thought she knew about nuns. Then a small, gray-haired sister named Teresa Fitzgerald came to fish her out of a Harlem crack house. Ms. Pinckney had been a drug addict for 23 years, a dealer and a prostitute, and had lost both of her children to foster care. She was high at the time.

    “She looked past all that,” Ms. Pinckney said of the nun. “She must’ve hugged me for two hours.”

    Sister Tesa, as she is known, helped Ms. Pinckney get into a residential drug program, then gave her a job and a room and helped her get her children back.

    “I never thought there was people like that in the world,” said Ms. Pinckney, now a peppery 42-year-old overseeing a group home for other former offenders, with a three-bedroom apartment of her own, in a brand-new building Sister Tesa had constructed. “People that genuinely care.”

    In an unglamorous pocket of Long Island City, Queens, between two of the nation’s largest public housing projects, dozens of women could tell comparable stories about Sister Tesa

    Twenty-seven years ago, answering an open call from an older nun, she started a home for children whose mothers were in the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Last year she was honored by the White House.

    Now, on a drizzly May afternoon, she walked the battered streets of her expanding domain: three apartment buildings, three thrift stores, a day care center, an after-school program, a job-training program, a group home for women with children, a food pantry, a mentoring program. Three more communal homes, including one where she lives, dot nearby neighborhoods.

    In each of the buildings, nearly every woman, whether resident or staff member, is an ex-convict. They are former murderers, drug dealers, embezzlers, smugglers, burglars and addicts. And for many, it was Sister Tesa who turned their lives around, often after they failed on the first or second try.

    “There are uplifting stories and tragic stories,” Sister Tesa, 67, said the other day. “They can all be motivating.”

  19. rikyrah says:

    Dems Push A New Round Of Make It In America Legislation
    June 12, 2014

    Dave Johnson

    This week Democrats added 23 new bills to the comprehensive Make It In America plan.

    These new bills are not like the usual Republican “giving tax cuts to rich people fixes everything” nonsense. These bills contain real substance, and represent a great deal of hard work by representatives and their staff. These people are dedicated to governing and making things better for American workers.

    Of course, Republicans are going to block these bills — because “government.” But instead of giving into despair and apathy you should take heart that there are people trying to make things work. And the public wants it to work, too. Poll: “72% of likely voters are “worried the most” or a “great deal” about manufacturing job loss, a level of concern matched only by the federal budget deficit.”

    So you should pay attention, and give these members of Congress credit for what they are trying to accomplish — and vote.

    National Manufacturing Strategy

    It starts with a national manufacturing strategy.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Yes He Could

    Health Care and Climate: President Obama’s Big Deals

    JUNE 15, 2014

    Several times in recent weeks I’ve found myself in conversations with liberals who shake their heads sadly and express their disappointment with President Obama. Why? I suspect that they’re being influenced, often without realizing it, by the prevailing media narrative.

    The truth is that these days much of the commentary you see on the Obama administration — and a lot of the reporting too — emphasizes the negative: the contrast between the extravagant hopes of 2008 and the prosaic realities of political trench warfare, the troubles at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the mess in Iraq, and so on. The accepted thing, it seems, is to portray Mr. Obama as floundering, his presidency as troubled if not failed.

    But this is all wrong. You should judge leaders by their achievements, not their press, and in terms of policy substance Mr. Obama is having a seriously good year. In fact, there’s a very good chance that 2014 will go down in the record books as one of those years when America took a major turn in the right direction.

    First, health reform is now a reality — and despite a shambolic start, it’s looking like a big success story. Remember how nobody was going to sign up? First-year enrollments came in above projections. Remember how people who signed up weren’t actually going to pay their premiums? The vast majority have.

    We don’t yet have a full picture of the impact of reform on the previously uninsured, but all the information we do have indicates major progress. Surveys, like the monthly survey by Gallup, show a sharp drop in the percentage of Americans reporting themselves as uninsured. States that expanded Medicaid and actively promoted the new exchanges have done especially well — for example, a new survey of Minnesota shows a 40 percent drop in the number of uninsured residents.

  21. rikyrah says:

    How an arrest in Iraq revealed Isis’s $2bn jihadist network

    Seizure of 160 computer flash sticks revealed the inside story of Isis, the band of militants that came from nowhere with nothing to having Syrian oil fields and control of Iraq’s second city

    Martin Chulov in Baghdad
    The Guardian, Sunday 15 June 2014

    Two days before Mosul fell to the Islamic insurgent group Isis (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), Iraqi commanders stood eyeballing its most trusted messenger. The man, known within the extremist group as Abu Hajjar, had finally cracked after a fortnight of interrogation and given up the head of Isis’s military council.

    “He said to us, ‘you don’t realise what you have done’,” an intelligence official recalled. “Then he said: ‘Mosul will be an inferno this week’.’

    Several hours later, the man he had served as a courier and been attempting to protect, Abdulrahman al-Bilawi, lay dead in his hideout near Mosul. From the home of the dead man and the captive, Iraqi forces hoovered up more than 160 computer flash sticks which contained the most detailed information yet known about the terror group.

    The treasure trove included names and noms de guerre of all foreign fighters, senior leaders and their code words, initials of sources inside ministries and full accounts of the group’s finances.

    “We were all amazed and so were the Americans,” a senior intelligence official told the Guardian. “None of us had known most of this information.”

    Officials, including CIA officers, were still decrypting and analysing the flash sticks when Abu Hajjar’s prophecy was realised. Isis swept through much of northern and central Iraq over three stunning days, seizing control of Mosul and Tikrit and threatening Kirkuk as three divisions of the Iraqi army shed their uniforms and fled.

    The capitulation of the military and the rapid advances of the insurgents have dramatically changed the balance of power in Iraq, crippled prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, allowed Kurdish forces to seize control of the disputed city of Kirkuk and galvanised a Shia fightback along sectarian lines, posing a serious threat to the region’s fragile geopolitics. On Sunday Isis published photographs that appeared to show it capturing and killing dozens of Iraqi soldiers.

    “By the end of the week, we soon realised that we had to do some accounting for them,” said the official flippantly. “Before Mosul, their total cash and assets were $875m [£515m]. Afterwards, with the money they robbed from banks and the value of the military supplies they looted, they could add another $1.5bn to that.”

  22. rikyrah says:

    Johanna M. Cook @mommacuisine
    Kawhi Leonard – the youngest MVP since Tim Duncan!! Wow! #Spurs @SpursOfficial @spurs @nba #NBAFinals
    10:03 PM – 15 Jun 2014

  23. rikyrah says: @FootBasketcom
    Tim Duncan is the first player in NBA history to win the Finals in three different decades.
    10:03 PM – 15 Jun 2014

  24. Ametia says:

    Starbucks Makes College Free for Baristas

    This may make dealing with a customer demanding a grande, non-fat, soy cinnamon dolce latte worth it. Starting in the fall, Starbucks is offering free tuition for baristas who work 20 hours a week and enroll in Arizona State University’s online courses in their junior and senior years. If they enroll as freshmen and sophomores, they are eligible for $6,500 on average in scholarships at a school where tuition runs between $480 to $543 per credit hour.

    The new, no-strings-attached program could make a massive difference in the lives of 135,000 Starbucks workers. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will announce more details of the plan along with ASU President Michael Crow and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Monday.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Jeffrey Wright ✔ @jfreewright

    Glenn Greenwald broke from bashing the US from afar to tweet the following about recent protests in his new home, Brazil, “

  26. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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