Monday Open Thread | Holiday Spirit

Christmas Candles30White Christmas is an Irving Berlin song reminiscing about an old-fashioned Christmas setting. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the version sung by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales in excess of 50 million copies worldwide.[1][2][3][4]

Accounts vary as to when and where Berlin wrote the song.[4] One story is that he wrote it in 1940, in warm La Quinta, California, while staying at the La Quinta Hotel, a frequent Hollywood retreat also favored by writer-producer Frank Capra. He often stayed up all night writing — he told his secretary, “Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I’ve ever written — heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody’s ever written!”

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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43 Responses to Monday Open Thread | Holiday Spirit

  1. eliihass says:

    Hope everyone had a lovely weekend.

    I want to share this video a friend of mine in London sent me over the weekend. He used it to buttress an argument that had to do with some Americans obsession with their royal family, and the fuss been made over William and Kate by our media, even as they allow and fuel the denigration of our own President and first Lady.

    He argues that we have an accomplished couple that we tear down as the world watches, but Americans would rather elevate and cheer on their young royals who’ve down pretty much nothing to deserve the accolades. He also wanted to know why Mrs Obama who like me, he’s a big fan of, isn’t utilized more.

    He cites this powerful and inspiring speech she gave in South Africa which he says could as easily be given to the young people on the streets of Ferguson and New York. Of course he understands the dynamics of race in America, and the role race has played in the time of the Obamas in the White House. But still. Here’s the video of speech. Mandela’s wife Graca introduces Mrs Obama at the start – Mrs Obama starts at about 9:45.

  2. Rikyrah, check your email.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Col. Morris Davis @ColMorrisDavis
    “@MotherJones: The dark-money network has been turning to spinmeister Frank Luntz”

  4. rikyrah says:

    Support for Medicaid expansion still steadily growing
    12/08/14 11:25 AM
    By Steve Benen

    For family advocates hoping to see Medicaid expansion reach more struggling Americans, the 2014 midterms were heartbreaking. In states like Maine, Georgia, Florida, Wisconsin, and Kansas, voters elected Republicans who will guarantee a longer Medicaid gap for at least another four years.

    But against this discouraging backdrop, there are signs of gradual progress. In September, Pennsylvania became the 27th state to accept Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act, and as Reid Wilson reported the other day, the list is still growing.
    Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R) was once among the handful of state executives to sue the federal government over the Affordable Care Act. Now, he says he wants his state to expand Medicaid under the ACA to cover thousands of low-income residents.

    In a Monday press conference, Mead said he would press the state legislature to act on a Medicaid expansion plan put forward last week by the state Department of Health.
    “I agree it is not a good piece of legislation, but, as I see where we are, I think we have to be realistic and say this is the current law of the land and we need to either go forward with this or if the legislature wants to come up with a different plan, I certainly would be open to that,” Mead said last week. “But I don’t think we can say to those people in Wyoming who are working who cannot get insurance that we’re not going to do anything.”

  5. rikyrah says:

    Arapaho415 @arapaho415
    RNC and Koch i360 announced file-sharing plans in August.
    Dems filed suit with FEC in Oct.–gop-tech-efforts-show-mixed-results-012608178.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory
    12:37 PM – 27 Oct 2014

  6. rikyrah says:

    Josh Greenman ✔ @joshgreenman
    Read the @nydailynews analysis of the use of lethal force since 1999 by America’s largest police department:
    10:10 AM – 8 Dec 2014

    • They neglect to mention the killing of little Clifford Glover in Queens, back in 1973. A ten year old with a toy gun. His father was driving a taxi cab was stopped and his son was killed because the cop thought he had a real gun. We protested and marched just like we’re doing today. I remember this incident because it was 5 blocks from where I lived and Clifford was only 3 years younger than me.

  7. rikyrah says:

    it’s Monday.

    The Government will shut down on THURSDAY, unless the House GOP gets its act together.

  8. rikyrah says:

    GOP’s 2014 gains will help fuel culture war fights
    12/08/14 10:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    In 2010, Republican candidates didn’t invest too much energy in talking about culture-war issues. The public was broadly unsatisfied with the pace of the economic recovery; Democratic voters felt listless despite breakthrough progressive accomplishments; and Republicans spent much of the election year asking, “Where are the jobs?”

    But once successful GOP officials took office, they got right to work – passing legislation to curtail reproductive freedoms.

    Fast forward a couple of years, and Republican candidates didn’t talk too much about hot-button social issues in 2014, either. Indeed, the party seemed well aware of the fact that the right’s culture war was out of step with the American mainstream, so the GOP did its best to avoid the subject, at times even pretending to be pro-choice and pretending to love birth control, just to improve their electoral chances.

    But now that the elections are over, Republicans are once again reverting to the norm.
    [F]or the first time since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act was passed in 2003, outlawing a late-term procedure, the antiabortion movement sees opportunity on Capitol Hill as the GOP prepares to take charge of the U.S. Senate.

    At the top of the agenda: legislation that would ban abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later, pushing the legal boundaries set by the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Activists on both sides of the debate are gearing up for a fight that will demonstrate the consequences of Republican gains in the 2014 election.

    Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told the Wall Street Journal last week, “There’s no reason our constituents should be kept from having their voices heard on the issue in the Senate, as well. I look forward to having the Senate consider similar legislation in the next Congress.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    8 December 2014 Last updated at 09:40 ET
    Shrien Dewani murder case thrown out by South African judge

    British businessman Shrien Dewani has been cleared of murdering his wife during their South Africa honeymoon, after the judge threw out the case.

    Judge Jeanette Traverso said the evidence presented by the prosecution fell “far below the threshold” of what a reasonable court could convict on.

    She said the evidence of the prosecution’s main witness was “riddled with contradictions”.

    Anni’s family said they had been failed by the justice system.

    Announcing her ruling, the judge said the only reason not to grant the application would be in the hope that Mr Dewani would implicate himself if he gave evidence.

    But to do so would be a “manifest misdirection”, she said.

  10. rikyrah says:

    meta @metaquest
    The Supreme Court did this: The Koch Brothers are building a vast political empire to OWN the United States.
    8:59 AM – 8 Dec 2014

  11. rikyrah says:

    cjfarley ✔ @cjfarley

    .@mistyonpointe (Misty Copeland) performs ‘The Nutcracker’ @WSJ, talks body image, ballet & Under Armour … #WSJCafe

  12. rikyrah says:

    India taxi rape allegation: Uber booking service banned in Delhi
    Authorities in the Indian capital, Delhi, have banned international taxi-booking service Uber after a driver allegedly raped a female passenger.

    A transport department official said the company had been “blacklisted” for “misleading customers”.

    The 26-year-old woman used the smartphone app to take a taxi home on Friday but says she was taken to a secluded area and raped.

    The driver has been remanded in custody for three days.

    He was arrested on Sunday and appeared in court on Monday afternoon.

    Some who had gathered outside the court tried to attack him as he was brought out, but police rushed him to a waiting van and took him away.

    Police say will charge him with raping the finance company employee on Friday night when she used the taxi to take her home from a restaurant.

    Uber, which is growing in popularity in India, has been accused of failing to conduct adequate checks on its drivers.

  13. rikyrah says:

    The Prison Reform Blues

    Chris Epps wanted to reform Mississippi’s harsh, decrepit prison system. Now he’s facing three centuries in the slammer.

    Albert Samaha BuzzFeed Staff
    To prison reformers, Christopher Epps was a savior. Mississippi’s notorious prison system was overcrowded and inhumane when Epps took over as corrections commissioner in 2002. He reduced sentences for nonviolent offenders, shrunk the prison population, and took hundreds of inmates out of indefinite solitary confinement. Prison reformers called it the “Mississippi Miracle.”

    By the time he turned 53, Epps was America’s longest-serving prison commissioner, the first in Mississippi’s history to be appointed by both Democratic and Republican governors. His peers thought so highly of him that he was elected president of two prison administrator professional associations: the American Corrections Association and the Association of State Correctional Administrators.

    In short, Chris Epps knew prisons. He’d spent four decades working in the system. Starting as a guard in Mississippi’s oldest prison in 1982, he worked his way to the top of Mississippi’s Department of Corrections in just two decades. Over the next 12 years he became a star.

    Prisoner’s rights advocates liked him. Correctional officers liked him. Defense lawyers liked him. Prosecutors liked him. Reporters liked him. Politicians liked him. There might not have been a more universally respected and admired public official in all of Mississippi than Chris Epps.

    Then on Nov. 5, he quit his job abruptly, without saying why.

    The next day the news broke: allegations of kickbacks for nearly $1 billion worth of private prison contracts. More than $1 million in bribes. A federal investigation, a federal indictment, “a major blow to the systemic and evasive corruption in our state government,” U.S. Attorney Harold Britain said on the steps of the federal courthouse.

    Chris Epps knew prisons. Now he faces up to 368 years in one.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Boris Zilberman @rolltidebmz
    Russia Is Feeling the Pinch of Sanctions
    8:23 AM – 7 Dec 2014

  15. rikyrah says: @TheObamaDiary
    Best thing re Obama-hating Blackademics: They accused Obots of thinking he had magical powers

    And now they blame him for not curing racism
    1:59 PM – 7 Dec 2014

  16. rikyrah says:

    Kasai™ @Kahsai
    Racism was here before the 1st Black President..Only difference is Media gave a platform to those who hate PBO..and Now blame him 4 it.
    1:27 PM – 7 Dec 2014

  17. rikyrah says:

    LiberalPhenom @LiberalPhenom
    No, @nbc and @cbs we will not allow you to blame YOUR racism on President Obama. U enabled the birthers, and others racists. Now own it!
    1:52 PM – 7 Dec 2014

  18. rikyrah says:

    We Officially Live in the Era of the “Obama Economic Boom”

    Bob Cesca on December 08, 2014

    Unless you enjoy looking really stupid, you can’t logically blame the president for the $1.4 trillion deficit in 2009 and then refuse to give him credit for reducing the deficit to $500 billion at the end of this year. Likewise, you can’t shout, “Where are the jobs, Mr. President?” then refuse to give him any credit for a solid jobs report. But that’s almost exactly what Speaker John Boehner did, and he looks really stupid doing it. Here’s what Boehner tweeted at the beginning of the year

    This was clearly directed at President Obama. How do we know for sure? It was included in a press release specifically targeting the president’s economic policies. Boehner went on to say:

    Every American has a right to ask the question ‘Where are the jobs?’ Today’s disappointing report shows, once again, that the president’s policies are failing too many Americans, many of whom have simply stopped looking for work.

    Fast forward 11 months.

    The Daily Banter‘s Tommy Christopher reported on Friday that the November jobs report defied expectations, showing the addition of 321,000 new jobs. That means 50 consecutive months of job growth. The previous record of 48 consecutive months ran from 1986 to 1990, and the last time there were more back-to-back months of job creation was World War II. It’s now been 10 months in a row of 200,000 or more jobs added.


  19. rikyrah says:

    Jim Roberts ✔ @nycjim
    Oil prices drop to 5-year low; report suggests they could hit $43/barrel by next year.
    6:36 AM – 8 Dec 2014

  20. rikyrah says:

    Arapaho415 @arapaho415
    AG Holder will aggressively impose broader ban on racial/ethnic profiling as a model for state and local authorities.
    7:35 AM – 8 Dec 2014

  21. rikyrah says:

    Right continues to blame cigarette taxes for Garner death
    12/08/14 08:35 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Just one day after we learned that a New York grand jury would not indict the police officer responsible for Eric Garner’s death, Sen. Rand Paul talked to msnbc’s Chris Matthews about the developments. As far as the Kentucky Republican was concerned, Americans should “blame the politicians” who raised cigarette taxes.

    Soon after, Jon Stewart, highlighting Paul’s comments, replied, “What the f*** are you talking about?” It was a normal, human reaction to the senator’s explanation, but apparently, the GOP lawmaker was talking about the increasingly common explanation on the right for Garner’s killing.

    Here was Rush Limbaugh on Fox News’ Sunday show yesterday:

    “This all misses the point. What was Eric Garner doing? He was selling cigarettes, loose cigarettes. And the police in New York, because they’re so eager for tax collection – what is being done here with regard to taxes and the state’s desire to collect them no matter what, how many cops were descended on that situation for cigarettes? […]

    “You’ve got $13 a carton, $13 a pack in New York City, over $6 of that is taxes. And the authorities are telling the cops, ‘You go out and you stop that,’ because they’re so intent on collecting tax revenue. I think the real outrage here is that an American died while the state is enforcing tax collection on cigarettes. This is just absurd. And it, you know, people talk about the left, they want a big state. They want a powerful state. Well, here it is. You’ve got to take all of it. If you want a powerful state, there’s your police force acting on demands of the authorities to go out and make sure that every dime of tax is collected particularly from tobacco. Look how we stigmatize tobacco.”

    As ridiculous as this may sound, it’s not just Rand Paul and Limbaugh – two Fox News hosts and a Washington Times columnist have made the exact same argument in recent days.

  22. rikyrah says:

    GOP domination of the South is now complete
    12/08/14 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen
    There’s some debate about the exact wording Lyndon Baines Johnson used after he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the most common version of the story, LBJ referenced the future of the Democratic Parry and said, “There goes the South for a generation.”

    Fifty years later, that prediction is holding up quite well. Zach Roth reported over the weekend:
    Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy defeated incumbent Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu in the Louisiana Senate runoff election Saturday night, giving the GOP its 54th seat in the upper chamber when Congress reconvenes next year.

    The Republican Party now holds every statewide office in the swath of seven states that used to make up the Solid South for Democrats: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
    That phrase, “Solid South,” used to describe Democratic control of the South, which was completely dominant in the generations that followed the Civil War. It now has the exact opposite meaning – it took a half-century, but the region has completely flipped.

    Indeed, as Nate Cohn reported, “In a region stretching from the high plains of Texas to the Atlantic coast of the Carolinas, Republicans control not only every Senate seat, but every governor’s mansion and every state legislative body.”

  23. rikyrah says:

    Drug testing for welfare recipients looks even worse
    12/05/14 03:46 PM—UPDATED 12/05/14 03:47 PM
    By Steve Benen

    One of Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) big ideas in his first term was mandating drug tests for welfare applicants. It was based on a dubious proposition, which Republicans found compelling: the state could save money by forcing drug users to withdraw from the public-assistance system.

    As regular readers may recall, in practice, Scott’s policy was an embarrassing flop. Only about 2 percent of applicants tested positive, and Florida actually lost money when it was forced to reimburse everyone else for the cost of the drug test, plus pay for staff and administrative costs for the program.

    Adding insult to injury, Florida’s experiment continues to fail in the courts, too (thanks to my colleague Kent Jones for the heads-up).
    A federal appeals court on Wednesday dealt another blow to Gov. Rick Scott’s crusade to conduct drug tests on welfare applicants when it upheld a lower court ruling that the practice was unconstitutional.

    The unanimous ruling from a bipartisan panel of judges concluded that the state failed to show any evidence as to why it was necessary to force applicants seeking Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to surrender their constitutional rights as a condition of receiving the aid.

    “We have no reason to think impoverished individuals are necessarily and inherently prone to drug use, or, for that matter, are more prone to drug use than the general population,” the court said in its 54-page ruling.

  24. rikyrah says:

    La Koch-a Nostra
    Posted by Zandar at 8:18 am Dec 082014
    As Team WIN THE MORNING points out, in a post-Citizens United world, the Koch brothers have figured out the game more quickly than everybody else in either party and they’re playing it even more skillfully. Why bother with buying national party machinery when you can just bring your own people in to run things?

    The Koch brothers and their allies are pumping tens of millions of dollars into a data company that’s developing detailed, state-of-the-art profiles of 250 million Americans, giving the brothers’ political operation all the earmarks of a national party.

    The move comes as mainstream Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, are trying to reclaim control of the conservative movement from outside groups. The Kochs, however, are continuing to amass all of the campaign tools the Republican National Committee and other party arms use to elect a president.

    The Koch network also has developed in-house expertise in polling, message-testing, fact-checking, advertising, media buying, dial groups and donor maintenance. Add mastery of election law, a corporate-minded aggressiveness and years of patient experimentation — plus seemingly limitless cash — and the Koch operation actually exceeds the RNC’s data operation in many important respects.

    “The Koch operations are the most important nonparty political players in the U.S. today, and no one else is even close,” said a top Republican who has been involved in the last eight presidential campaigns

  25. rikyrah says:

    Health law impacts primary care doc shortage

    Associated Press

    By KELLI KENNEDY, Associated Press

    MIAMI — When Olivia Papa signed up for a new health plan last year, her insurance company assigned her to a primary care doctor. The relatively healthy 61-year-old didn’t try to see the doctor until last month, when she and her husband both needed authorization to see separate specialists.

    She called the doctor’s office several times without luck.

    “They told me that they were not on the plan, they were never on the plan and they’d been trying to get their name off the plan all year,” said Papa, who recently bought a plan from a different insurance company.

    It was no better with the next doctor she was assigned. The Naples, Florida, resident said she left a message to make an appointment, “and they never called back.”

    The Papas were among the 6.7 million people who gained insurance through the Affordable Care Act last year, flooding a primary care system that is struggling to keep up with demand.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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