Tuesday Open Thread | Holiday Spirit

PNST-00129160-001Silver Bells” is a classic Christmas song, composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.

“Silver Bells” was first performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the motion picture The Lemon Drop Kid, filmed in July–August 1950 and released in March 1951.[1] The first recorded version was by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards, released by Decca Records in October 1950.[2] After the Crosby and Richards recording became popular, Hope and Maxwell were called back in late 1950 to refilm a more elaborate production of the song.

“Silver Bells” started out as the questionable “Tinkle Bells.” Said Evans, “We never thought that tinkle had a double meaning until Jay went home and his [first] wife said, ‘Are you out of your mind? Do you know what the word tinkle is?'” The word is child’s slang for urination.

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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32 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | Holiday Spirit

  1. rikyrah says:

    Not Such a Big Stick After All
    by BooMan
    Tue Dec 16th, 2014 at 12:25:33 PM EST

    Just for a moment, I am going to reduce the complicated issue of U.S/European relations with Russia down to the basest and most analytically juvenile level possible: measuring peckers with a ruler.

    Putin thought he came in with a huge measurement when he annexed Crimea and started making trouble in Eastern Ukraine.

    Obama shrugged, and then this happened:

    The ruble plummeted into a freefall, losing as much as 19 percent as panic swept across Russian financial markets after a surprise interest-rate increase failed to stem the run on the currency.
    The ruble sank beyond 80 per dollar, a record low, before rebounding to 68 after Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev denied speculation that the government would turn to currency restrictions next to stop Russians from converting their money into dollars. Bonds and stocks also tumbled, with the RTS equity gauge dropping the most in six years.

    “I am speechless,” Jean-David Haddad, an emerging-market strategist at OTCex Group in Paris, said in a message. “What a failure for the central bank. Russia would need to announce capital controls today. That is the last solution.”

    Of course, what precipitated this was the gigantic drop in the cost of oil. This is hurting pretty much everyone in the world that you don’t (or shouldn’t) like.

    There are downsides to everything, but something that kills Putin, bankrupts Iran’s mullahs, wipes out low-level fracking businesses, rips into the energy corporations’ stock values, divides OPEC, and gives a huge stimulus to average American consumers has so much upside that I’ll gladly take it.

    The main downside beyond economic and political turmoil is that cheap oil makes it harder for alternative energies to compete.


  2. rikyrah says:

    Obamas Have a Budget Dressing Moment

    By Vanessa Friedman
    December 16, 2014 8:56 am

    It is possible that no first family has perfected the art of high/low dressing quite as much as the Obamas, and their ability to promote and value both ends of the fashion spectrum is both a big-tent nod to the industry and a point of access with their constituency, Because, hey — isn’t this how we all dress now, to a slightly less obvious degree?

    This particular political skill, in any case, has been on high-def display this holiday season.

    Thus, following her Monique Lhuillier gown at the Kennedy Center Honors, a semi-controversial high-fashion fairy princess moment, the first lady donned a sleeveless floral Talbots fit ‘n’ flare number for a travel blogger summit. Though it was made in a customized print, and she added a crinoline underneath to give it some kick, plus a black belt, similar styles are available online for about $189. (Michelle Obama has, of course, been a Talbots booster since her early days in the White House, wearing the brand on TV as well as on a 2009 Essence cover.)

    Meanwhile, a few days later, during the taping of the Christmas in Washington concert, Sasha Obama wore an ASOS burgundy velvet skater dress, currently on sale for $72.96.

    It made a nice contrast with Rita Ora’s haute Ralph & Russo number at the same event, and perhaps more importantly, got the Twitterati all excited. “You can get your hands on Sasha Obama’s velvet @ASOS dress!” Popsugar told its followers in great excitement, which was probably the point — implicitly suggesting as it did that the first family, like your family, has a holiday budget, too.


  3. rikyrah says:

    C’mon, Stop Blaming Obama For Failing To Cure America Of Racism

    ByPaul KendrickPublishedDecember 16, 2014, 6:00 AM EST 5558 views

          

    A few days ago in a Fox News segment called “Post-Racial President Keeps Dividing America,” Judge Jeanine said “Americans, once hopeful that after electing the first African-American president the issue of race would be a thing of the past, are left with Barack Obama, who stokes the flames of racial hatred, resentment and divisiveness.”

    Obama’s supporters may not be using “post-racial” as a weapon to upbraid him, but they’re still expressing disappointment that we are not further along in moving past racism. The journalist Jorge Ramos recently told the President how the recent police killings of black males show “we don’t live in a post-racial society as many expected when you were elected.”

    Obama interrupted to clarify that he never expected this immediate outcome, explaining, “It’s usually not a single moment when suddenly everything gets solved. It’s a process.”

    In the wake of Ferguson, Eric Garner, and growing national protests, people keep bemoaning the failure of President Obama to move us to a post-racial society. We still hold him to the vision he articulated in his 2004 convention speech of what unites us in America, and the possibility of triumph over racial and other divisions. “Post-racial” gained hopeful momentum in the press during his presidential campaign, as Obama seemed comfortable in all worlds, thanks to his multicultural upbringing and mixed racial identity.

    For the president’s part, our becoming post-racial was never something he claimed he could deliver for us, and certainly not in a term or two. His own optimistic rhetoric expressed the endurance of America’s long struggle against prejudice, but when asked about the notion of his election moving us into a post-racial age, he said in Rolling Stone, “I never bought into the notion that by electing me, somehow we were entering into a post-racial period.” He added, “What happens in the workplace, in schools, on sports fields, and through music and culture shapes racial attitudes as much as any legislation that’s passed. I do believe that we’re making slow and steady progress.”

    That some now hold him responsible for a lack of a racial utopia is actually another indication of how long such an advance will take. No other president has been expected the bear the weight of changing us so radically. As many have pointed out, electing a black president does not make us post-racial—in fact, it has served to bring to the surface long-simmering elements of the American soul.

    How else can we explain the furious reactions, like Judge Jeanine’s, to any attempt by Obama to talk about racially charged incidents? And how else to explain the disdain and dismay of liberals who want Obama to heal us solely by his words?

    To accuse the president of failing to move us past racism is like blaming our doctor when we don’t lose weight—though you made no effort to change our unhealthy habits.


  4. rikyrah says:

    Luvvie watched Sorority Sisters so we don’t have to


    I Watched the First Episode of VH1’s Sorority Sisters
    Luvvie — December 16, 2014 1 40

    VH1 is the den of reality TV shows featuring Black women behaving badly and they stay on-brand with Sorority Sisters. The show has been receiving backlash ahead of its premiere because it is chronicling women from four historical Black Greek-Letter Organizations. They all live in Atlanta and every woman on the show is either a part of Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sigma Gamma Rho and Zeta Phi Beta. People have been raising hell because it’s obvious they their scholarship and greater womanhood is not the reason they will be featured.

    I had to watch it and write this post because if I don’t, I’d need to reply to 35 emails from y’all asking if I saw the foolishment. I did. So here’s my thoughts about it.


  5. rikyrah says:

    Kasich’s poor choice for a signature issue
    12/16/14 12:13 PM—UPDATED 12/16/14 12:36 PM
    By Steve Benen
    About 20 years ago, John Kasich was effectively the Paul Ryan of his day. The Ohio Republican was chairman of the House Budget Committee; Kasich was considered a numbers wonk by the Beltway media; he had national ambitions; and he was wrong about practically everything.

    It was Kasich, after all, who took the lead telling Americans that President Clinton’s economic plan would be an epic disaster for the nation. Oops.

    Two decades later, however, Kasich is the governor of Ohio and eyeing a 2016 presidential campaign. As James Hohmann reported yesterday, he’s also bringing back an idea he liked back during his Capitol Hill days.
    “Republicans have a [national] convention, and all they do is have a debt clock up there and talk about how bad it is,” Kasich said in an interview. “You’ve got to do something about it!”

    Now Kasich is trying to do something about it, something that’s never been done in American history and is all but certain to fail again: He’s launching a national campaign to pass an amendment to the Constitution through the states, in this case to require a balanced federal budget. Success, though, may be almost beside the point: Worst case, Kasich is out there fighting for his cause, and raising his profile, ahead of a potential 2016 presidential candidacy.
    Yes, plenty of ambitious politicians choose a signature issue, and for Kasich, that issue is changing the U.S. Constitution to prevent deficits forever more. The Republican governor seems to realize that Congress won’t approve such a measure anytime soon, so the Ohio governor has an alternative approach in mind.

    Specifically, as Hohmann reported, Kasich has created a nonprofit group called “Balanced Budget Forever,” that intends to amend the Constitution by way of a constitutional convention. He’ll need 34 states to call for such a gathering, and then 38 states to ratify the agreed upon changes.

    To put it mildly, it’s a longshot.

    But it’s important to understand that Kasich’s long odds are a good thing – a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution is among the worst ideas in the history of bad ideas.

    Stan Collender had a good piece in Forbes today, noting, “It’s a bit strange to have to say that Ohio Governor and possible Republican candidate for president John Kasich doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to the federal budget.”


  6. rikyrah says:

    Vitter gears up to fight Lynch’s A.G. nomination
    12/16/14 10:14 AM—UPDATED 12/16/14 10:32 AM
    By Steve Benen
    In early November, President Obama introduced U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch as his choice to be the nation’s new Attorney General, at which point Senate Democrats had a decision to make. Would the outgoing majority hurry up and try to confirm Lynch in the lame-duck session, making it more difficult to tackle other priorities, or would Dems put the nomination on the backburner, confident that Senate Republicans would eventually approve Lynch for the job?

    Democrats ultimately went with the latter approach. One far-right Republican senator believes he can make Dems regret that decision.
    One of the new Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee says next year’s Senate should block President Barack Obama’s attorney general nominee.

    Louisiana Sen. David Vitter is trying to stop the nomination of Loretta Lynch, the current U.S. Attorney based in Brooklyn, over Obama’s recent executive action on immigration.
    In a press release, Vitter characterized his obstructionist plan as retribution for an immigration policy he doesn’t like. “I’m looking forward to providing a check on President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty,” the far-right Louisianan said, adding, “We’ll have the opportunity to push back on executive amnesty with one of our first major battles: the Attorney General nomination. The attorney general is one of the linchpins to Obama’s amnesty plan, and I’ll be working to get the new Congress to block this nomination.”


  7. rikyrah says:

    BJW2 @Freefree0Bobbie

    @PragObots Garner and Brown became mythical monsters to justify their deaths. Trayvon and Tamir youth is erased. #BlackLivesMatter

  8. rikyrah says:

    Anyone watching The Librarians on TNT?

  9. rikyrah says:

    Hannity favorite ‘Witness 40′ in Wilson grand jury is a liar and convicted felon: report
    15 DEC 2014 AT 15:14 ET

    Grand jury “Witness 40,” whose testimony helped Officer Darren Wilson escape criminal charges in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, has been revealed as a virulently racist St. Louis woman with serious credibility issues.

    The Smoking Gun reported Monday that information gathered from the unredacted portions of the grand jury transcript had identified the witness as 45-year-old Sandra McElroy, a divorced mother of five who was diagnosed as bipolar as a teenager.

    She admitted to grand jurors that she had pleaded guilty in 2007 to two counts of felony check fraud, and she also testified that she had suffered from memory problems since suffering serious head injuries in a 2001 car wreck.

    The website, which reported that details from court records matched up with the background of the witness, described McElroy as a “fabulist” whose “law enforcement interviews are deserving of multi-count perjury indictments.”


  10. rikyrah says:

    Special News Quiz | Farewell, 2014

    Note: Clicking each blank in this quiz will take you to the original Times source for that entry so you can check your answer.


  11. rikyrah says:

    Quiet vigil in downtown L.A. protests police violence

    By Samantha Masunaga

    Dressed in dark suits and ties, roughly 50 African American men gathered in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles on Monday for a silent vigil in support of Eric Garner and others who died during confrontations with police..

    The noontime gathering was intended to illustrate that police do not target only youth in low-income neighborhoods, said Kerman Maddox, managing partner at Dakota Communications and the organizer of the vigil.


  12. rikyrah says:

    Pragmatic Obots @PragmaticObot

    ‘Suits in Solidarity’ protest is an effort to show that not every alleged victim of police abuse is poor http://fw.to/qpErzZb
    Retweeted by PragmaticObotsUnite

    Pragmatic Obots @PragmaticObot

    Clad in business suits, African American men protest death of Eric Garner, others who died at hands of police http://fw.to/qpErzZb

  13. rikyrah says:

    Progressives Just Lost a Fight On the Budget. So Why Are They So Happy?
    Paul Waldman

    December 15, 2014

    Some feel the coming of a resurgent left.

    Over the weekend, the “Cromnibus” budget was passed by a coalition that included the GOP leadership and the Obama White House. Neither conservative Republicans nor liberal Democrats were happy with what was in it. So why is it that the conservatives are feeling bitter and betrayed, while the liberals seem positively elated, despite the fact that they both lost?

    We don’t need to work too hard to understand the conservatives’ reaction. The budget doesn’t stop President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, and Republican leaders decided not to force another government shutdown in a vain attempt to do so. As usual, the conservatives are convinced that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are wimps who do nothing more than bide their time between capitulations.

    But what explains the liberal reaction? For the first time in this presidency, liberal Democrats feel as though something like a coherent bloc, outside of and sometimes in opposition to the White House, is beginning to form. Animated by a new sense of purpose, they’re experiencing the flush of hope.

    This is happening not just because the Obama presidency is entering its final phase—when the Democratic Party’s future will be debated and determined—but also because complete control of Congress means that legislation is no longer much of an issue, apart from regularly scheduled crises on the budget and debt ceiling. In the past, liberals have raised objections to parts of Democratic bills—as they did when demanding the inclusion of a public option in the Affordable Care Act—but everyone knew they would come around in the end and join with other Democrats. Because they believe in governing and, as liberals are wont to do, prefer a compromise that gets something to a principled stand that gets nothing, they weren’t in a position to make threats. Since they were with all the other Democrats on all the key fights, they weren’t able to coalesce into a distinct political force.


  14. rikyrah says:

    Liberal state lawmakers form new group to counter growing GOP power

    By Tom Hamburger December 15 at 2:00 PM 

    As Republicans assume greater control over state government than at any time in recent history, a group of left-leaning Democrats gathered this weekend to make plans to fight back in 2015.

    More than 200 state legislators, Democratic consultants, liberal donors and interest group activists gathered for the first national meeting of the State Innovation Exchange, a coalition designed to counter the impact of state-focused groups on the right, including the corporate-backed American Legislative Exchange Council.

    The SiX session at the Omni Shoreham hotel included an address by Gara LaMarche, chairman of the Democracy Alliance, a group of wealthy liberal donors who have turned to state activism as an important new area for political investment.


  15. rikyrah says:

    Here’s a Bargain Republicans and Democrats Could Make on Obamacare

    Paul Waldman

    December 15, 2014

    Both sides could gain something important, and not lose very much.

    Since Congress just passed a budget and we are therefore at the dawn of a new era of bipartisan comity and compromise, I’d like to propose a trade, one that will allow both Democrats and Republicans to gain something significant without giving much up. The topic is the Affordable Care Act, and the trade is this: What if Republicans agree to pass a technical fix to address what it essentially a typo in the ACA, one that threatens to take insurance from millions of middle-class Americans, and in exchange, Democrats agree to repeal the ACA’s employer mandate? Everybody would win.

    Let’s start with the employer mandate. Republicans hate it, because it infringes on the prerogatives of business owners, whom Republicans tend to believe are the most virtuous among us. There is certainly a cost of the mandate, in that some employers who hadn’t offered insurance before will now have to do so. Raise their expenses, and there will be some effect on employment as they don’t hire as many workers. The mandate has been delayed multiple times, and after January 1, employers with more than 100 workers will be required to offer insurance or pay a fine. Companies with between 50 and 99 workers will come under the insurance requirement in a year, and companies with fewer than 50 don’t ever have to offer insurance.

    As it happens, the vast majority of those mid-size and large companies already offer insurance. Here’s the data from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest employer survey:


  16. rikyrah says:

    why is this happening?

    unclear about the reasons


    Global Crude Plunges Through $60 as Producers Fail to Curb Glut

    By Heesu Lee and Grant Smith
    Dec 16, 2014 5:41 AM CST\

    The global price of crude oil plunged through $60 a barrel for the first time in five years with almost no signs producers are ready to tackle a glut.

    Brent futures slumped as much 3.3 percent to its lowest since May 2009 in London. West Texas Intermediate, the New York-traded grade, dropped below $55 for the first time in five years. U.S. drillers are benefiting as costs fall almost as quickly as prices, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. OPEC shouldn’t be expected to cut output while other producers continue to expand, the United Arab Emirates energy minister said.


  17. rikyrah says:

    Monday, December 15, 2014

    What does “breaking up the banks” mean?

    After the recent drama about the 2015 spending bill in Congress, a lot of people are talking about the “disarray” amongst Democrats. I was particularly intrigued by what Greg Sargent wrote about that today.

    There is broad Democratic agreement that the party must come up with a more comprehensive response to stagnating wages and the failure of the recovery to achieve widespread, more equitable distribution. Dems mostly agree on a range of policy responses, such as a minimum wage hike, pay equity, expanded pre-K education, and big job-creating investments in infrastructure.

    But there are clear divisions, too. Democrats like Warren, Sherrod Brown, and Bernie Sanders favor some form of breaking up big banks and back expanding Social Security; Sanders wants major reform to trade policies; and some Democrats oppose the big trade deals now being negotiated.
    I’m going to leave Social Security and trade deals alone for today. That’s because, based on what I wrote earlier about the difference between commercial banks and global financial institutions, I got curious about what people like Warren, Brown and Sanders mean when they talk about “breaking up the banks.”

    Just two days ago Sen. Sanders announced that he will introduce legislation in the next Congress to break up the banks. He doesn’t give any specifics there or in the agenda he announced recently for a potential presidential run. So I guess we’ll have to wait and see.


  18. rikyrah says:

    Police union chief calls killing of 12-year-old justified

    The president of Cleveland’s police union talks exclusively to “All In” about demanding an apology from the Browns’ Andrew Hawkins, who protested the police shootings of Tamir Rice and John Crawford.


  19. rikyrah says:

    Taliban militants dead after killing at least 126, mostly children, in Pakistan schoolBy Sophia Saifi and Greg Botelho, CNN
    updated 8:41 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014

    Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — [Breaking news update, posted at 8:41 a.m. ET]

    All of the militants in Tuesday’s school attack in northwest Pakistan have been killed, Peshawar police official Mohammad Aijaz Khan said.

    The Taliban stormed a military-run school in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, gunning down at least 126 people — most of them children — in one of the bloodiest attacks ever in the history of the volatile Asian nation.

    Hours after the terrorist attack, Pakistani troops were still exchanging gunfire with militants inside the Army Public School and Degree College in the violence-plagued city of Peshawar, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the country’s capital, Islamabad. Two explosions were also heard.

    By around 4 p.m. (6 a.m. ET), the Pakistani military had pushed the attackers back to four blocks of the school, military spokesman Gen. Asim BajwaI tweeted.

    They kept on pushing, with BajwaI reporting over an hour later that six assailants had been killed. This comes after Mohammed Khurrassani — spokesman for the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan, or Pakistan Taliban — said six suicide bombers scaled the school’s walls around 10 a.m. to kill older students.


  20. rikyrah says:

    Arapaho415 @arapaho415
    “Russia doesn’t so much have an economy as it has an oil exporting business that subsidizes everything else.”
    8:48 PM – 15 Dec 2014

  21. rikyrah says:

    Oil Falls as U.S. Producers Seen Standing Ground Amid OPEC Fight

    Oil extended losses from a five-year low amid speculation that U.S. producers may further increase output as they battle OPEC for market share and as a Chinese manufacturing gauge missed estimates.

    Futures dropped as much as 1.2 percent in New York, after closing yesterday at the lowest level since May 2009. U.S. crude drillers are benefiting as costs fall almost as quickly as prices, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Brent in London, the benchmark grade for more than half the world’s oil, may decline to $50 a barrel in 2015, a Bloomberg survey of analysts showed. A preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index in China slid to a seven-month low in December.

    Oil has slumped almost 45 percent this year as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries sought to defend market share amid a U.S. shale boom that’s exacerbating a global glut. The group, responsible for about 40 percent of the world’s supply, will refrain from curbing output even if crude drops to $40 a barrel, according to the United Arab Emirates.

    “It seems like the market is no longer able to respond to the issue of oversupply,” Hong Sung Ki, a commodities analyst at Samsung Futures Inc. in Seoul, said by phone. “On the demand side, the global economy continues to slow while it takes time for U.S. shale production to pull back on the supply side.”


  22. rikyrah says:

    Dr. No is wrapping up his career on a disheartening note
    12/16/14 08:35 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has a nickname that he’s apparently always liked. The right-wing physician-turned-politician is often referred to as “Dr. No” because of his willingness to oppose popular measures with broad support. In fact, Coburn almost seems to revel in his role as a one-man obstruction machine.

    And as the Oklahoma Republican wraps up his final week on Capitol Hill – Cobrun is retiring before his term is up due to health reasons – he’s ending his career in the most disheartening way possible.

    An energy-efficiency bill written by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) already passed the House, but it’s stuck this week because of Coburn’s objections. The Senate is trying to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, but Coburn is blocking that, too.

    And as Rachel noted on the show last night, the Senate is eager to approve the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act, which cleared the House last week with unanimous support, but Coburn is literally the only member standing in the way.
    Veterans groups blasted Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn Monday for blocking a bill intended to reduce a suicide epidemic that claims the lives of 22 military veterans every day.

    “This is why people hate Washington,” said Paul Rieckhoff, CEO and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, an advocacy group. Rieckhoff accused Coburn of single-handedly blocking a bill that could save the lives of thousands of veterans.


  23. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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