Tuesday Open Thread | 70’s Soft Rock

Bread When it comes to Rock music, some folks like it soft, mild, or hard. No matter how you rock it, ROCK & ROLL soothes the SOUL, so come Rock it out this week with 3 Chics.

Bread was an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. They placed 13 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart between 1970 and 1977 and were an example of what later was labeled as soft rock.

Bread, the band featuring singer-songwriter David Gates, dominated the soft-rock scene of the early Seventies with gentle, sentimental favorites like “If,” “Baby, I’m-A Want You,” and “The Guitar Man.”

The band consisted of David Gates (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, violin, viola, percussion), Jimmy Griffin (vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion), Robb Royer (bass, guitar, flute, keyboards, percussion, recorder, backing vocals), Mike Botts (drums; joined in the summer of 1969) and Larry Knechtel (bass, guitar, keyboards, harmonica; replaced Royer in 1971).

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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60 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | 70’s Soft Rock

  1. rikyrah says:

    From Charles Pierce:

    So there really isn’t any excuse any more.

    I occasionally get chaffed by folks for giving out civics lessons but, seriously, we get the government we deserve. The Founders, and those brave people who came later, a group that certainly includes the three Mississippi martyrs and thousands more whose names we don’t know, made sacrifices that leave us no alibis. If you live in a state that has restricted the franchise, and that has erected hoops through which you have to jump, then learn how to jump through the hoops and break down those barriers by flooding the polls. If you don’t live in a state where it has been made more difficult to vote, then get off your sorry ass.


  2. rikyrah says:

    zizi2 @zizii2 · 18h

    #Roberts upheld #Obamacare in ’12 solely for corporate profitmaking thinking Romney wld win. Now his court sticks it to PBO ideologically

  3. Ametia says:

    They Vote
    Trevor LaFauci | July 1, 2014

    The person who wishes to impose his or her religious views upon their company votes.

    The person who believes the Earth is 6,000 years old votes.

    The CEO whose salary is over 300 times that of his or her employees votes.

    The person who thinks guns are a God-given right votes.

    The person who doesn’t believe in equal pay votes.

    The person who thinks Sandy Hook was a false flag votes.


  4. rikyrah says:

    Corrupt Congress Secretly Kills Rule Requiring Them To Disclose Free Trips From Lobbyists

    The House Ethics Committee is different from other committees because it contains an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. This is a change that at least one Democrat on the committee had to agree to, but no one on either side is talking. There is no good reason of the Ethics Committee to reduce transparency, but that is exactly what they have done. Even worse, they were secretive about the change. The Ethics Committee met in private, and issued no public statement.


  5. rikyrah says:

    (UPDATE) Shopping While Black: Talbots CEO apologizes to Detroit city lawyer

    Posted by: zjeffries
    Posted date: July 01, 2014

    Staff report

    As first reported in the Michigan Citizen, Portia Roberson, an attorney and head of Detroit’s Civil Rights and Justice Department, was racially profiled while shopping at the Talbots in Grosse Pointe, June 29. Roberson was searched and stopped by police who were called by a Talbots’ clerk.

    Talbots CEO Lizanne Kindler contacted Roberson to apologize for the incident saying, “the police should not have been called.”

    A Talbots spokesperson released the following statement:

    “We take the claims made by Ms. Roberson very seriously and we are currently investigating all aspects of the incident. We acknowledge that the police should not have been called and acknowledge that Ms. Roberson’s personal belongings should not have been searched. This action was contrary to Talbots policies and practices and was an isolated incident that does not reflect the Talbots culture. All customers are welcome in our stores. Our CEO has reached out directly to Ms. Roberson regarding the incident. As stated within the corporate responsibility section on our website — Talbots is committed to operating under the highest ethical standards and we take pride in the way we conduct business.”

    Roberson, who is African American, went to the store to make a return. In an online statement, Roberson said she had more than one bag and let the clerk know she wanted to look around. She went to the fitting room and approached the counter to pay but was stopped by police officers and searched. She produced her receipt and identification and was not held.

    In social media comments, Roberson applied a post-racial hashtag to the incident.


  6. rikyrah says:

    NOT that Black people are sophisticated voters.

    But, that Cochran , ‘expanded his base.’

    UH HUH

    UH HUH


    Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:47 AM PDT.

    Hillary’s Analysis of Mississippi GOP Primary

    by Phoebe Loosin

    Hillary Clinton makes the case that the Mississippi GOP primary in which Thad Cochran defeated Chris McDaniel “was of historical importance because the Republican Party of Mississippi expanded its base.” And then she elaborated on that thought:

    “I think that Mississippi runoff election was of major historical importance because the Republican Party of Mississippi expanded its base,” she said. “It reached out to Democrats and particularly black Democrats, and said, ‘Join with us. Thad Cochran is a better choice.’ And they succeeded. Now there’s a lesson in there: Expand your base. Get out of your comfort zone. Actually talk to and listen to people you don’t agree with, and build back that sense of trust which is the glue of any democracy.”

    Let me say up front that I totally disagree with Hillary’s take on Cochran’s win because I think it’s a complete misreading of what actually occurred. I’m no professional political analyst or strategist but I think this interpretation by Clinton is pretty breathtakingly off-base.
    Does she really believe that the African-American turn-out for Cochran was based on the fact that they or ANY other demographic of crossover Dem voters turned out for him because they thought “Hey, Thad Cochran has reached out to me and I think I’m gonna expand his base”?


  7. rikyrah says:

    Gays have right to marry in Kentucky, judge rules

    Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal 1:50 p.m. EDT July 1, 2014

    A federal judge today ruled that same-sex couples have a right to marry in Kentucky.

    “In America, even sincere and long-hold religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted,” U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II wrote, invalidating Kentucky’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

    Heyburn held in February that Kentucky must recognize gay marriages performed in other states.

    Heyburn put his ruling today on hold, staying it pending the outcome of several gay marriage cases at the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.


  8. rikyrah says:

    Why Did Maine’s Governor Conspire With ‘Sovereign Citizen’ Extremists?

    Mike Tipping – June 30, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of As Maine Went: Governor Paul LePage and the Tea Party Takeover of Maine, by Mike Tipping.

    At 8 a.m. on February 4, 2013, a signal crackled to life from the WXME radio tower in Aroostook County, about a mile and a half from the Canadian border. The broadcast went out locally on the AM band as well as the station’s online stream. The signal was picked up from the Internet and rebroadcast through a network of low-power FM repeaters maintained by volunteers willing to skirt the edges of FCC regulations in towns across Maine. Listeners tuning in that morning were greeted first with a medley of patriotic and religious songs and then by the voices of Jack McCarthy and Steve Martin, hosts of the Aroostook Watchmen radio show.

    McCarthy and Martin are two men with a cause. They believe they have access to truths that few others know or want to hear, primarily that the American government is illegitimate and that the shadowy cabal of elites who control it are preparing for a war on the American people. The 9/11 attacks, the Boston bombing, most mass shootings, and a wide range of other events generally attributed to terrorists and criminals are actually false-flag operations perpetrated by the American government against its own people as part of a ramp-up to a final reckoning, according to the hosts. The Watchmen, who consider themselves “Sovereign Citizens” outside government control, feel it’s their responsibility to reveal these conspiracies and to help wrest back control of the country from the usurpers. Their program is broadcast six days a week.


  9. rikyrah says:

    July 01, 2014 12:38 PM
    Clueless or Craven? The White House Gets the VA Story Exactly Backwards

    By Phillip Longman

    Sad to say, the Obama administration seems clueless about what might be broken at the VA and how to fix it. Either that, or it is just cravenly saying and doing whatever it thinks is necessary to make the story go away.

    Evidence for the clueless hypothesis came on Friday, when White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors weighed in with his diagnosis (pdf) of what ails the VA. The document is extraordinary in its contradictions, sloppy formations, and non-evidence-based conclusions.

    It starts off well enough by reporting “a strong sentiment among many Veterans and stakeholders that in general VA provides high quality health care ‘once you get in the door’ and that the current system needs to fixed, not abandoned or weakened.” Then, having made the basic and important point that the VA continues to enjoy strong support among those who know from first hand experience how it actually peforms, Nabors offers an additional important point about the culture of the VA.

    He observes that “The vast majority of VA employees are dedicated, hardworking, and committed to the Veterans they serve.” He notes, again accurately, that most VA doctors, nurses and staff could make more money working elswhere, but that that “they choose to work at the VA because they believe in this Nation’s promise to its Veterans, and work each day to realize that promise and deliver the quality of care Veterans have earned and deserve.”

    Now that sounds like an institution with a real culture of excellence! Which makes one wonder what on earth Nabors was thinking when he next put down on the same page that the VA is beset by “corrosive culture.” If you say an institution has a “corrosive culture” you will be taken to mean that there is something fundamentally and systematically wrong with the values of the institution. And what phrase do you suppose the headline writers plucked from this report? The Wall Street Jounal was typical: “White House Review of VA finds “Corrosive Culture.”

    Naturally, this is now what most casual news consumers believe about the VA. The White House told them so. But Nabors offers zero evidence that what problems the VA has are the result of anything like a systematic failure of culture. And where cultural factors are at work, he gets them exactly backwards.

    The key case in point are the wait times that are supposedly at the heart of the “scandal.” Nabor quite rightly points out that the VA’s central office set an unrealistic goal in 2011 when it called for all new patients enrolling in the sytem to be seen within 14 days. The previous goal had been 30 days. Wait times for insured patients outside the VA are typically longer. There’s an acute nationwide shortage of primary care doctors and mental health professionals.

    But bizarrely, the lesson Nabor then takes from this ill-advised cental management decision is that “The VA Central Office needs to be much more hands on with the [VA’s] field structure.” This is an incredible conclusion to take from a case in which too much attempted central control was clearly the root cause of the problem. Faced with impossible directives from Washington, some frontline VA employees juked some scheduling stats, and the official White House conclusion is that the frontline employees had too much automomy?

    People who truly know the VA culture will tell you the opposite story. The VA emerged as a leader in health care quality beginning in the 1990s precisely because its cental management then let go of power. This devolution unleashed the incredible talent and idealism of frontline doctors, nurses and pharmacists who were doing extraordinary innovation in the field. The VA’s vaunted electronic medical record system, for example, which still sets the worldwide standard, is essentially a bundle of open-source health IT programs written by VA docs for VA docs.


  10. rikyrah says:

    July 01, 2014 11:03 AM
    Strikingly Robotic For a Human

    By Ed Kilgore

    The whole idea of “corporate rights” has been a contentious issue in American politics since at least the Jacksonian Era. But rarely has it been so vivid a controversy as now, after a Supreme Court ruling in which one of the most human of activities (as Nietzsche would have said: Human, All Too Human), religious expression, was attributed to corporations in order to protect their masters. For once, Dana Milbank’s impressionistic approach to reporting major news was entirely appropriate:

    There was a certain risk in having Alito deliver the 5-to-4 opinion defending corporate personhood, because his mannerisms are strikingly robotic for a human. Assigned both of Monday’s opinions, Alito delivered a 33-minute monologue — his only departure from the text before him was to raise his head mechanically at intervals and glance at a table to his right — that seemed to have a soporific effect on his colleagues. Clarence Thomas rubbed his head, Anthony Kennedy rested his head in his right palm, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who was to read her dissent in the Hobby Lobby case) drank a large quantity from her coffee mug, and the others stared ahead with unfocused gazes.

    Alito, seated between Ginsburg and Justice Elena Kagan, and his colleagues in the majority also may not have considered how flesh-and-blood humans might perceive the ruling — the five men of the conservative bloc allowing restrictions on birth control over the objections of the three women on the court.

    Any time the rights of an abstraction—or more technically, a legal fiction—are balanced against those of human beings and held to be more compelling, the optics are important. That’s particularly true when the underlying issue is the need to protect a handful of cells constituting a zygote from grown-up women.


  11. I love this Red Bull commercial.

    You wanna ride it, my motorcycle
    You’ve got a license, but you got the right to…

  12. rikyrah says:

    June/July/August 2014
    The Big Lobotomy
    How Republicans Made Congress Stupid

    By Paul Glastris and Haley Sweetland Edwards

    Last September, as they scrambled to decide on one final ultimatum before shutting down the federal government, Republican House leaders came up with what seemed like an odd demand: to strip their own staff of health care benefits.

    At the time, staffers reacted to the news with a mixture of despair and disbelief. “It was like getting sucker-punched by your boss,” one aide told me. “Everyone was thinking, What’s the point? How is screwing us going to help you?”

    The dubious logic behind the House Republicans’ demand can be traced back to a contested provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the gutting of which was the price the Republicans were demanding for agreeing to fund the government. The provision requires employees of the U.S. Congress, including members and their staffs, to buy insurance on the new health care exchanges, while still allowing them to receive subsidies from their employer. Over the course of more than a year, ideologues at several conservative think tanks, especially the Tea Party-friendly Heritage Foundation, which was pushing for the shutdown, managed to put an imaginative spin on the provision, convincing the conservative world that members and their staff were getting a sneaky, backroom deal, a “special exemption from Obamacare.”

    In fact, had the Republicans’ desired language passed, congressional personnel would have become the only employees in America whose employer (in their case, the federal government) was explicitly forbidden from contributing to their health care—a blow that, in all likelihood, would have caused most of the best and brightest staffers, and perhaps some lawmakers, to simply hightail it for the door. Some quite conservative members even said as much. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, in a candid moment later, called the move “political theater” that would do nothing more than catalyze a rapid “brain drain” in Congress.

    While Sensenbrenner was right, one must appreciate the irony. A debilitating brain drain has actually been under way in Congress for the past twenty-five years, and it is Sensenbrenner and his conservative colleagues who have engineered it.

    A quick refresher: In 1995, after winning a majority in the House for the first time in forty years, one of the first things the new Republican House leadership did was gut Congress’s workforce. They cut the “professional staff” (the lawyers, economists, and investigators who work for committees rather than individual members) by a third. They reduced the “legislative support staff” (the auditors, analysts, and subject-matter experts at the Government Accountability Office [GAO], the Congressional Research Service [CRS], and so on) by a third, too, and killed off the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) entirely. And they fundamentally dismantled the old committee structure, centralizing power in the House speaker’s office and discouraging members and their staff from performing their own policy research. (The Republicans who took over the Senate in 1995 were less draconian, cutting committee staff by about 16 percent and leaving the committee system largely in place.) Today, the GAO and the CRS, which serve both House and Senate, are each operating at about 80 percent of their 1979 capacity. While Senate committee staffs have rebounded somewhat under Democratic control, every single House standing committee had fewer staffers in 2009 than in 1994. Since 2011, with a Tea Party-radicalized GOP back in control of the House, Congress has cut its budget by a whopping 20 percent, a far higher ratio than any other federal agency, leading, predictably, to staff layoffs, hiring and salary freezes, and drooping morale.


  13. rikyrah says:

    ‘Your money where their mouths are’

    07/01/14 12:46 PM—Updated 07/01/14 12:52 PM

    By Steve Benen

    The amazing cover story in the current issue of the Washington Monthly is about how Republican lawmakers “made Congress stupid” by gutting Capitol Hill staff. The deliberate shift began with the Gingrich Revolution in the mid-1990s, when the new GOP majority went on a firing binge, getting rid of lawyers, economists, investigators, auditors, analysts, and perhaps most notably, subject-matter experts.

    But it didn’t end there. After the Republicans’ 2011 wave, GOP lawmakers cut even deeper, “leading, predictably, to staff layoffs, hiring and salary freezes, and drooping morale” on Capitol Hill.

    The ostensible point of this was nuanced. On the surface, Republicans wanted to score a public-relations win, showing they were “cutting big government” and starting with their own institution. Below the surface, however, conservatives thought this would help “defund and dismantle the vast complex of agencies and programs,” leading to smaller government.

    The result has been ugly, to put it mildly. Not only has the government gradually grown, but Congress has left itself ill-equipped to deal with the complexities of policymaking and governing in the 21st century. Almost by design, Republicans have ensured that Congress lacks the capacity to solve problems. (Of course, that doesn’t mean the business of state stops, so much as it leads to increased pressure on the executive, independent agencies, outside groups, and states to find solutions without Congress.)

    It’s with this background in mind that a new USA Today report from Paul Singer and Jarrad Saffren deserves attention.


  14. rikyrah says:

    A ‘cautionary tale’ in Brownback’s failed Kansas experiment

    07/01/14 10:14 AM—Updated 07/01/14 10:55 AM

    By Steve Benen

    Kansas is in the middle of an experiment, of sorts. The state elected an extremely conservative Republican governor, former senator and failed presidential candidate Sam Brownback, and elected a Republican legislature to do his bidding. Together with Arthur Laffer, they got to work approving a far-right policy agenda fit for the Koch brothers.

    In late May, Brownback was so proud of his handiwork, he took a victory lap with an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, boasting about his deep spending cuts and even deeper tax cuts.

    Except as Josh Barro discovered, the Kansas way isn’t working.

    Kansas has a problem. In April and May, the state planned to collect $651 million from personal income tax. But instead, it received only $369 million.

    In 2012, Kansas lawmakers passed a large and rather unusual income tax cut. It was expected to reduce state tax revenue by more than 10 percent, and Gov. Sam Brownback said it would create “tens of thousands of jobs.”

    The governor’s assurances were based on dubious assumptions, and two years later, it’s hard to see any evidence of success.

    For one thing, there’s been no burst of new hiring in Kansas. As Barro noted, job growth in the state “has been modest since he signed the bill, trailing the national average and the rate in three of its four neighboring states.”

    For another, Kansas’ finances are a disaster. We recently learned that the state’s bond rating was downgraded in part due to tax breaks Kansas can’t afford. A Businesweek report added, “[T]he immediate effect has been to blow a hole in the state’s finances without noticeable economic growth.”


  15. rikyrah says:

    Flipping the script on Boehner’s anti-Obama lawsuit

    07/01/14 11:06 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Ever since House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced his intention to file a frivolous lawsuit against President Obama over his use of executive authority, there’s one person who seems especially excited about it: President Obama.

    A few days ago in Minnesota, for example, Obama told voters, “I’m not sure which of the things I’ve done they find most offensive, but they’ve decided they’re going to sue me for doing my job. I mean, I might have said in the heat of the moment during one of these debates, ‘I want to raise the minimum wage, so sue me when I do,’ but I didn’t think they were going to take it literally.”

    It’s unexpected, but the West Wing is arguably more enthusiastic about this lawsuit than Republicans are. NBC’s First Read crew added this morning:

    [H]ere is something that shouldn’t be ignored: The White House LOVES the lawsuit. For one thing, it gives meaning to the White House’s various executive actions. Earlier this year during the State of the Union, many of us proclaimed [the president and his team are] simply playing “small ball.” But given this lawsuit, Republicans certainly don’t see them being small.

    In addition, the lawsuit only emphasizes the contrast that one branch of government is doing SOMETHING while the other branch is doing NOTHING. Bottom line: The White House sees a political opportunity here – an opportunity that Republicans might not have seen coming.

    Note that former White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler appeared on “Meet the Press” the other day and also seemed to enjoy chiding House Republicans for their pointless antics.


  16. rikyrah says:

    Christie refuses comment on contraception ruling
    07/01/14 11:36 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Yesterday, a narrow majority of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that some employers can limit their workers’ access to contraception. Just 24 hours later, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) appeared on CNBC, where he must have known in advance that a question on the topic was coming.

    After having a day to think about it, here’s what he came up with.

    Gov. Chris Christie this morning declined to give an opinion this morning on the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial ruling allowing some religious-leaning companies to avoid paying for insurance coverage for contraception under President Obama’s health care overhaul.

    “Who knows if the Supreme Court right?” the Republican governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate said during an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

    “Why should I give an opinion on whether they’re right or wrong?” Christie added.

    It was no doubt a rhetorical question, though the answer is pretty straightforward: the governor should give an opinion because it’s a major point of debate in the United States right now and he’s positioned himself as a national leader with presidential ambitions.


  17. LOLOLOL! Potus & Michelle are too cute!

    Michelle Obama: There Is No Crack in White House Pies

    Watch Potus’ face when Michelle says at the 35 second mark…”no he doesn’t”. Too cute! LOL!

  18. rikyrah says:

    U.S. Senator Agrees With Supreme Court Decision Because Women Use Birth Control ‘Largely For Recreational Behavior’

    By Igor Volskyon June 30, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) agreed on Monday that women use birth control to protect themselves from “recreational behavior,” just hours after the Supreme Court ruled that some companies can refuse to provide health insurance coverage that includes contraceptive services.

    During an appearance on Sirius XM’s The Wilkow Majority, host Andrew Wilkow argued that the real question in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., was about “whether or not a person who runs a business should be forced to provide something that is largely for recreational behavior, if it goes against their religious beliefs.”

    Lee, responded by saying “Yea, that’s right, that’s right,” before claiming that “this administration is using the often coercive power of the federal government to force people into their way of being and their way of existing, their way of believing and thinking and acting.”


  19. rikyrah says:

    SCOTUS gets Hobby Lobby horribly wrong: Why this isn’t a “limited” ruling

    If you think Monday’s decision won’t affect you, you haven’t been paying attention
    Katie McDonough

    In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that Hobby Lobby can ignore federal law and deny its employees comprehensive health insurance because of its “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Analysis of the case has so far called this a limited ruling because it only applies to closely held corporations and “only” impacts contraceptive coverage. But this framing completely ignores the fact that more than 90 percent of corporations in the United States are closely held, and that the court just effectively ruled that it’s fine for employers to discriminate against half of the labor force. There’s nothing limited about it. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted in her powerful dissent, far from being narrow in its ruling, the high court just “ventured into a minefield.”

    So what does the decision actually mean? In the immediate term, it means that women who work at Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties are paying for health coverage (insurance is part of their compensation package, it’s not some gift bestowed upon them by their bosses) that their employers have decided that they can’t have. That’s really what this comes down to in the most blunt terms imaginable. The religious owners of these companies have medically inaccurate ideas about contraception and abortion, and they now get to impose those ideas on the the people who work for them. In the majority opinion, five male justices argued that the Department of Health and Human Services can fill in the gaps in coverage created by this ruling by including for-profit companies in the accommodation system created for religious nonprofits and other explicitly faith-based organizations. Women’s health, it seems, has become someone else’s problem.

    This is certainly bad news for the women who work at both of these places, but it’s bad news for the rest of us, too. The ruling sends a strong message that women’s health and women’s rights — as individuals and employees — do not matter as much as so-called religious liberty. It also shows once again that medically inaccurate ideas about healthcare can dictate the terms of a debate and ultimately win the day. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito argued that contesting Hobby Lobby’s claim that contraception is the same thing as abortion — an idea that has been refuted time and again by medical providers and associations — “in effect tells the plaintiffs that their beliefs are flawed.


  20. rikyrah says:

    Supreme Court Rules Disadvantaged Workers Should Be Disadvantaged Some More
    Harold Meyerson

    June 30, 2014

    The decision in Harris v. Quinn—written by the Court’s leading union-hater, Justice Samuel Alito—appears designed to cripple unions by creating incentives for “free riders.”

    The conservative majority on the Supreme Court today took up the case of some of America’s most disadvantaged workers, and ruled that they should be disadvantaged some more. The five-to-four ruling in Harris v. Quinn goes a long way to crippling the efforts that unions have made to help these workers get out of poverty.

    The case concerned some 28,000 home care aides in Illinois whose paychecks come from Medicaid. Before the state agreed in 2003 that they could form a union, they made the minimum wage. (It’s the state that sets their wage rate, since their pay comes entirely from Medicaid.) Currently, as a result of their union contract, they make $11.85 an hour rather than the minimum of $7.25. Tomorrow, by the terms of their contract, their hourly rate is raised to $12.25, and on December 1st to $13.

    The right to hire and fire these workers remains solely, of course, that of their home-bound patients and their families. The workers, then, are joint employees of both their patients and the state. And since the state allowed them to vote on whether to join a union, and since they voted to join the Service Employees International Union, these 28,000 workers have seen their pay doubled and have received, for the first time, health care coverage. Like all unionized public employees, they don’t have to pay that portion of their union dues that goes to their union’s political activities, but they do have to pay that portion of dues that goes to the union’s bargaining with the state that has produced their contract. The extent of and limits on their dues obligations were established in the 1977 Abood decision of the Supreme Court, which


  21. rikyrah says:

    Illinois to allow same-day registration, expand early voting hours
    By Reid Wilson June 30

    Illinois will dramatically expand access to the ballot box this year by allowing voters to register on Election Day, and by significantly extending the hours early-vote locations will be open.

    Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has said he will sign the measure, passed by the legislature late last month. The bill expands both the number of days during which early voting locations are open and the number of hours each day they remain open. Voters who cast a ballot early will not have to show a photo identification.

    “Democracy works best when everyone has the opportunity to participate,” Quinn said in a statement. “By removing barriers to vote, we can ensure a government of the people and for the people.”

    Meanwhile, students at public universities will have an easier time casting a ballot under the new measure. The bill allows students attending public schools to change their residences from their hometowns to college campuses, giving them easier access to polling places on campus.

    Republicans in the legislature cried foul, accusing Democrats of pushing through the changes in the face of a difficult political atmosphere this fall. The measure passed in the waning hours of the legislative session, which ended in May.


  22. rikyrah says:

    The IRS Is Coming For Your Offshore Bank Account
    By Alex Park Tue Jul. 1, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

    It’s always been a pretty simple arrangement for America’s superrich: Park your money in a country whose banks know how to keep a secret and then underreport your assets to the IRS. Without a way to independently verify how much money you have abroad, the taxman had to take your word for how much money you had stashed in a Swiss vault or in a sunny haven like the Cayman Islands. But as of yesterday, the US government will require foreign banks to report their American clients’ assets, or face 30 percent tax penalties on some offshore deposits.

    The move is part of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which was introduced in 2010. Since then, more than 80 countries have agreed to open their ledger books to the feds. After some complicated last-minute negotiations, evenRussia and China have started to cooperate.

    Companies and individuals have long used offshore banking to keep their taxes low: Last year, American multinationals kept an estimated $2 trillion (yes, with a “t”) abroad, according to a Bloomberg analysis. In recent years, tech companies have become some of the most enthusiastic offshore depositors. Between 2010 and 2013, Microsoft more than doubled its foreign stockpile to $76.4 billion, while Apple increased its pot abroad more than fourfold to $54.4 billion.


  23. rikyrah says:

    Boehner gives up on immigration, Obama moving forward

    06/30/14 03:54 PM—Updated 06/30/14 06:19 PM

    By Steve Benen

    Almost exactly a year ago, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in no uncertain terms that he would ignore the popular, bipartisan immigration reform bill passed by the Senate. The plan may have been endorsed by business leaders, labor unions, law enforcement, immigration advocates, leaders from the faith community, economists, and deficit hawks, but the Republican leader said it didn’t matter: the Senate bill was dead on arrival. Even if it had the votes to pass, it would never reach the House floor.

    But, Boehner said at the time, immigration reform was very much alive. “The House is going to do its own job in developing an immigration bill,” the Speaker vowed. “It is time for Congress to act. But I believe the House has its job to do, and we will do our job.”

    That was 51 weeks ago. And while Boehner probably meant what he said, the House Speaker made a commitment he could not keep. House members “will do our job”? Well, no actually, as is too often the case, the Republican-led chamber will do nothing.


  24. rikyrah says:

    It’s getting hard to ignore insurance numbers (UPDATED)
    June 24, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Aaron Carroll


    Five percent of Americans report being newly insured in 2014. More than half of that group, or 2.8% of the total U.S. population, say they got their new insurance through the health exchanges that were open through mid-April.

    Given the population of the United States, this means that more than 15 million about 10-11 million American adults are newly insured this year. Almost 9 million of them received private insurance through the exchanges. There’s more (emphasis mine):

    The age distribution of those who report newly obtaining health insurance this year through the exchanges is generally similar to what Gallup found in the preliminary report. The newly insured using exchanges are mostly under age 65, as would be expected, given that most Americans 65 and older are covered by Medicare. Thus, the representation of newly insured Americans is higher across all three age groups younger than 65 than is true for the general population. More specifically, newly insured Americans using the exchanges in the 18 to 29 age category are eight percentage points more prevalent than their percentage in the overall adult population, while representation of those 30 to 49 and 50 to 64 are five and four points higher, respectively.


  25. rikyrah says:

    I keep on saying…

    if your azz can’t run on Obamacare with numbers like this…

    then your azz doesn’t remotely deserve to win.


    Kentucky: Another 29K headaches for Mitch McConnell, & at least 78% of Medicaid-eligible enrolled!
    Submitted by Charles Gaba on Monday, June 30, 2014 – 3:14pm.
    Source: Aspen Daily News, 06/28/14:

    A nice unofficial update from Kentucky…but again, no QHP/Medicaid breakout. As I did last time, I’m going to play it cautiously and assume 90% Medicaid & 10% QHPs; since the combined total was around 421,000 last time, this brings the totals up to around 87,000 exchange QHPs and 363,000 Medicaid enrollees;

    Sebelius later tweaked Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky by pointing out that Kentucky’s state health insurance program, the Kentucky Health Connector, now has 450,000 people enrolled in it and many of them had no health care before.

    But there’s more! As I noted a couple of weeks ago, KFF.org estimated that the total number of uninsured Kentuckians who were eligible for Medicaid (expansion + Woodworkers) prior to January 1st was around 350,000. Kentucky has consistantly reported that roughly 75% of both QHP enrollees and new Medicaid enrollees via the KynectKY exchange were previously uninsured.

    This strongly suggests that Kentucky has now enrolled at least 272,000 of those 350K…or 78% of the total.


  26. rikyrah says:

    Michael Strahan Gives $100K to Texas Southern Marching Band

    by Staff Reports • June 30, 2014 •

    Texas Southern University alumnus and soon-to-be Pro Football Hall of Fame member Michael Strahan has donated $100,000 to the university’s Ocean of Soul marching band, capping the band’s fundraising effort to travel to Strahan’s HOF induction ceremony in August.

    The band only needed $150,000, but with Strahan’s donation, a $50,000 donation from comedian Kevin Hart and other pledges, the band surpassed its goal.

    “This is an exciting opportunity, and we’ll be seen by a number of people that have never seen this band before, so we want to make sure we give them an excellent performance as we always do,” said TSU’s band director Richard Lee.


  27. rikyrah says:

    What Happens When A Prep School’s Black Student President Mocks Her White Male Classmates

    An Instagram photo allegedly led the country’s most expensive boarding school to strip its first black female student body president of her role.posted on June 30, 2014, at 1:51 p.m.

    Katie J.M. Baker BuzzFeed Staff

    One day last March, Lawrenceville School Student Body President Maya Peterson donned L.L. Bean boots and a Yale University sweater to pose for an Instagram photo depicting what she described as a typical “Lawrenceville boi”: white, Republican, and cockily holding a hockey stick.

    Peterson, who graduated in June, added hashtags like “#romney2016,” “#confederate,” and “#peakedinhighschool” before posting. It was a joke, she said, inspired by classmates who complained to the school’s dean of students about Peterson’s own senior photo, in which she and 10 friends, all black, raised their fists in a “Black Power” salute. But not everyone thought it was funny.

    “You’re the student body president, and you’re mocking and blatantly insulting a large group of the school’s male population,” one student commented on the photo.

    “Yes, I am making a mockery of the right-wing, confederate-flag hanging, openly misogynistic Lawrentians,” Peterson responded. “If that’s a large portion of the school’s male population, then I think the issue is not with my bringing attention to it in a lighthearted way, but rather why no one has brought attention to it before…”

    Three weeks later, the administration told Peterson she would face disciplinary action unless she resigned from her post as student body president, she said. Peterson was the first black woman to serve in that role at The Lawrenceville School, a prestigious boarding school near Princeton, N.J., that costs around $53,000 a year to attend, making it the most expensive high school in the country.

    A critical mass of faculty members and students believed “it was not fitting of a student leader to make comments mocking members of the community,” Dean of Students Nancy Thomas told the Lawrenceville student paper. But the photo was simply the last straw for many white students who never wanted Peterson to be president in the first place — and for Peterson herself, who said she was sick of fighting vicious attacks from the most privileged members of the elite school.

    The Lawrenceville School, founded in 1810, first admitted black students just 50 years ago. Female students weren’t allowed to enroll until 1987, a change that led 50 students to shout “Better Dead Than Coed” in protest, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer (“We were told they’d be so much smarter. They’re morons, most of them,” one senior boy elaborated). Notable Lawrenceville alumni include famous CEOs (Michael Eisner, Lewis Bernard), state senators, and the founder of Forbes magazine.

    Peterson, a tall, animated 17-year-old with flowing dreads and thick-rimmed glasses who ran on a platform of “inclusion and acceptance and pride in oneself,” wasn’t just the first black woman to serve as student body president — she’s an out lesbian too. She won the election by reaching out to students whom other candidates overlooked, including freshmen and minorities, other students said.

    “The younger kids told me they felt comfortable opening up to me in a way they didn’t with other people,” Peterson said.

    Chris, a 2014 graduate whose education was funded by a program called Oliver Scholars, a program for New York City students of African and Latino descent, said Peterson won because “she really cares about people and their best interests.” To Chris, a transgender student, Peterson “came off as somebody who would advocate for us.”

    One of Peterson’s first acts as president was to institute a “diversity representative” on the student council board to eliminate tension on campus when talking about race and gender issues. But her diversity initiatives were not widely welcomed; a push for gender neutral bathrooms was particularly controversial. And Peterson herself was viewed with suspicion by a significant number of students, mostly white and male, who opposed her candidacy from the start. Some even thought the school had rigged the election so that a woman would win; only two women served as student body president before Peterson.

    “There was outcry for Lawrenceville to release the voting data for her presidency, because popular opinion was that she was not actually elected,” said David, a 2014 graduate. “I’d still like to see those numbers, is all I’m saying.” (The numbers were, in fact, released.)


  28. rikyrah says:

    Christie Signs $32.5 Billion Budget, With Vetoes

    Dramatically cuts pension payments for public workers

    By Heather Haddon
    June 30, 2014 8:17 p.m. ET

    Gov. Chris Christie signed a $32.5 billion budget Monday that dramatically slashed a pension payment for public-sector workers and vetoed tax increases passed by the Democrat-controlled Legislature on incomes and businesses.

    Mr. Christie’s budget was slightly smaller than the $34.1 billion fiscal plan that the Legislature sent him Friday, and included reduced spending for family-planning services and tax credits for working families….


  29. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  30. Ametia says:

    Hey have you ever tried, really reaching out for the other side.

    I may be climbing on rainbows but baby here goes.

    Dreams are for those who sleep. Life is for us to keep. But if you’re wondering what this song is leading to… I WANT TO MAKE IT WITH YOU

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