Saturday Open Thread

From OWN:

OWN Honors the Civil Rights Movement with a Monthlong Celebration

20141210-own-selma-legends-1-949x534

It was the civil rights event that helped change the trajectory of America forever. This January, OWN honors the 50th anniversary of the historic marches from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital in Montgomery.

The monthlong celebration will include special editions of Oprah’s Master Class and Oprah: Where Are They Now? as well as a special episode of Oprah Prime featuring Selma actor David Oyelowo and the film’s history-making director, Ava DuVernay. Plus, Tamron Hall hosts a retrospective of 25 years of race on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah will also host a gala honoring some of the legendary men and women of the civil rights movement, and OWN will air Light Girls, a new documentary from award-winning filmmaker Bill Duke in which he continues the conversation around colorism.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/selma50/OWN-Honors-the-Civil-Rights-Movement-with-a-Month-Long-Celebration#ixzz3MqVSzAMZ

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69 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    BBC Breaking News ✔ @BBCBreaking
    Air Asia flight QZ 8501 travelling from Indonesia to Singapore has gone missing – reports http://bbc.in/1ta7cpK

  2. rikyrah says:

    Salary Leaks Causing Chaos

    In Negotiating Contracts

    12/27/2014 1:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

    The Sony hacking has made negotiating contracts with stars and suits almost impossible … TMZ has learned.

    Sony and other industry sources tell us … the salary leaks have triggered intense anger … especially with execs who think they’ve been screwed because the guy in the next office has a sweeter deal.

    We’re told some execs are furious at the bonus structure they got, because they believed they were top of the heap when they weren’t. One source said some contracts have already come up for renewal and “Sony’s getting nailed to the wall.”

    Same principle applies to movie and TV stars, who now have comps to use against the studio.

    Several agents and entertainment lawyers tell TMZ … they feel totally comfortable using the salary comps, but one Sony exec thinks it’s shameful for reps to use stolen information in negotiations.

    Here’s how bad it’s gotten. Sony’s files have been wiped clean, and we’re told the studio is now calling agents and lawyers who represent Sony big wigs, asking them to make copies of deals and proposed contracts that they can send back.

    Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2014/12/27/sony-salary-leaks-hack-contracts-deals/#ixzz3N8WN8lXN

  3. rikyrah says:

    Eric Boehlert @EricBoehlert
    Follow
    As I recall, at Sen Wellstone’s memorial, GOP/RW media went COMPLETELY BONKERS alleging politics had been inserted…NYPD funeral today??

    11:29 AM – 27 Dec 2014

    • rikyrah says:

      Eric Boehlert @EricBoehlert
      Follow
      Press will continue to portray NYPD attacks on mayor as a stinging defeat for him. But is there any evidence NYers support the attacks?

      11:44 AM – 27 Dec 2014

      • rikyrah says:

        Eric Boehlert @EricBoehlert
        Follow
        My hunch is that politically, the NYPD funeral today is a turning point in terms of the mayor’s rebound. (Booing officials at a funeral?)

        11:23 AM – 27 Dec 2014

  4. rikyrah says:

    UP Pastry Plate @UPPastryPlate
    Follow
    By turning their backs to @BilldeBlasio the #NYPD is confirming everything we know to be true about that gang. #unbelievable

    11:04 AM – 27 Dec 2014

  5. rikyrah says:

    Michigan Approves Drug Testing For ‘Suspicious’ Welfare Recipients

    Michigan has become the latest U.S. state to approve the controversial practice of testing welfare recipients for substance abuse. In a one-year pilot program signed into law Friday by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, welfare recipients suspected of substance abuse will be required to submit to a drug test or lose their benefits eligibility for six months.

    The legislation passed the Michigan House of Representatives earlier this month despite pushback from Democrats and criticism from some in the local press who say the concept unfairly stigmatizes the poor as drug addicts.

    The suspicion-based program will be rolled out in three yet-to-be named counties. Under the law, welfare applicants will be screened for suspicion of drug abuse using an “empirically validated substance abuse screening tool,” which the legislation does not describe in detail.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/michigan-approves-drug-testing-for-%e2%80%98suspicious%e2%80%99-welfare-recipients/ar-BBhfBR2?ocid=iehp

  6. rikyrah says:

    this is a sad loss for them..children and their community

    ……………..

    Double Blow for Parents of Jihadists: Losing Children, Then Their Community

    MANCHESTER, England — Everyone at the Alfurqan Islamic Center knows of the parents who tried to rescue their twin daughters after the girls ran off to join the Islamic State.

    They know how Ibrahim Halane and his wife, Khadra Jama, who are immigrants from Somalia, followed their daughters to Turkey. How Ms. Jama, who ventured into Syria after them, was arrested by the militants and detained for more than five weeks. How the parents came back empty-handed, their 17-year-old daughters, Salma and Zahra, already married off to jihadists.

    They know the story, and they sympathize. But they keep their distance.

    “We know he’s upset, and everyone feels sorry for him,” Haji Saab, chairman of the mosque, said of Mr. Halane. But “we leave him alone.”

    It has been very difficult for the community as well, Mr. Saab said. It has “shut itself up.”

    “People are traumatized,” he said.

    About 3,000 men and women are believed to have left Europe since the Syrian war intensified to join up with militant groups like the Islamic State. While their loved ones hope for their safe return, the authorities throughout most of Europe are taking steps to stop them, amid fears that they will recruit others or bring violence back with them.

    But in many cases they have already created turmoil for their families and communities, say those familiar with the people left behind. Not only do parents like the Mr. Halane and Ms. Jama live with the worry that they will never again see their children — many of whom are just teenagers — but they must also endure isolation and fear.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/double-blow-for-parents-of-jihadists-losing-children-then-their-community/ar-BBhgORQ?ocid=iehp

  7. rikyrah says:

    Black children left behind in adoption market

    Opinion

    by David A. Love | April 29, 2010 at 8:46 AM

    ..

    But here is an adoption story that has not received quite as much attention. And it shines the spotlight on the crisis of black children unable to find parents to adopt them. A newly minted study by the California institute of Technology, New York University and the London School of Economics examined the preferences of Americans who want to adopt children. The data were collected between 2004 and 2009, and reflect the views of both straight and gay prospective parents. The study found that adoptive parents have very strong preferences for girls, and children who are not African-American.

    The report found, unexpectedly, that girls are one-third more likely to attract adoptive parents than boys. In the general population, there is a slight preference for boys. Moreover, a baby who is not African-American is seven times more desirable to potential adoptive parents than a black baby. Although all of the parents in the study were white, surprisingly Latino and white children fared about the same.

    In an unseemly way, all of this translates into dollars in America’s $2-3 billion adoption market: Parents were willing to pay $16,000 more for a girl than a boy, but $38,000 more for a non-African-American baby than a black one.

    The real world, it appears, is a far cry from Arnold, Willis and Mr. Drummond of Diff’rent Strokes fame, or the cases of wealthy celebrities who adopt African babies— whether out of the goodness of their heart, as a political statement, for use as fashion accessories, or to generate positive publicity. And in many ways, we should not be surprised, because this is America. This is a society that still equates blackness with inferiority and criminality, even if the president is black.

    As if to make a bad situation even worse, the study pointed to circumstances that are blocking people from adopting children, and causing far too many children to languish in foster care on a road to bad life outcomes. These include the restrictions in some states against same-sex or single-parent adoptions, as well as the 2008 Hague Treaty, which places limitations on foreign citizens who want to adopt children in the U.S. There is a reason why many gay and lesbian families decide to adopt girls from China—often they are barred from adopting here at home.

    In fact, removing foreign parents from the pool—who may prove more open and with fewer cultural and racial hang-ups— reduced the number of successful adoption matches by 33 percent. And eliminating gay parents resulted in a 6 percent drop, with only 18 percent of birth mothers allowing same-sex adoptive parents in the first place.

    http://thegrio.com/2010/04/29/black-children-left-behind-in-adoption-market/

    • eliihass says:

      Issues like these can only be resolved when we begin to tackle the underlying and deeper race issues and destructive stereotypes around race, skin color – and shades of color, that abound.

      Black is problematic as far as society is concerned. Black is not considered cute, pretty, beautiful, attractive or smart. Even when they’re the victims, blacks are never presented or seen as sympathetic.

      Black never seems to have potential – but for the “benevolence” or intervention of someone or some people white or “other”. In much the same way as black is only seen as attractive or appealing when there’s an injection of white or “other” in the gene pool. White parent, grandparent, teacher, mentor, boss, doctor, staff, etc. “Good” hair, “light” skin, “white” features; “responsible” white parent or guardian.The black person only shines when it can be attributed to something white in their life. Outside that, ones out of luck. Hence the clinging to the “part this and part that” mentality that some think will distance them from the heavy burden of being so “problematically” black in a society that remains contemptuous of things black.

      Black women are generally thought of as unattractive, unappealing, stereotypically difficult (controlling Jewish and Italian women “fuss” over their kid and husband – all in “love and passion” of course, but passionate and caring black women are said to “dog” theirs). Black women are unworthy of love, respect or chivalry; while black men are thought of as thugs, dogs, threatening, a blight on society, undeserving of respect or dignity. Labels that will sometimes be softened and tempered if – and only if – the skin isn’t as dark – and the features are not so stereotypically black.

      Black children grow up to become these black men and black women society deems substandard and problematic. Burdened and continually obstructed by the stereotypes and the real implications and limitations these stereotypes and the society that perpetuates them present.

      Sadly, even black people have fed into and embrace these incredibly harmful stereotypes about race, skin color, features, ability – and what we can or should do and be. And we are so much poorer, diminished and far behind for not only allowing it, but for perpetuating it in all its various forms.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Skin tone, adoption and black children: Is colorism an issue?

    by Alexis Garrett Stodghill |
    March 8, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    African-American children make up 30 percent of the 500,000 children currently in the American foster care system, despite being only 14 percent of the U.S. population. On top of being over-represented, these youths are less frequently selected for adoption compared to other kids.

    Could the skin tone of black children play a role in whether they are chosen — especially if the family considering them is black? Mardie Caldwell, founder and CEO of the Lifetime Adoption agency, says this is true — and that this bias is exclusive to African-Americans.

    “We’ve found that many African-American families have definite preferences for the type of children they want, whether it’s newborns [or older children], and also in terms of their physical appearance,” Caldwell told theGrio. The author of seven books on the adoption process, including her latest, Called to Adoption, suggested that the finicky tastes of black families has made private agencies reluctant to work with them.

    “A lot of organizations and other adoption professionals have actually stopped doing African-American adoptions. We’re one of the few centers, Lifetime Adoptions, that does African-American and biracial adoptions, and we’re one of the largest in the United States,” she explained. “When families come to us they will actually give us preferences and say ‘we want to stick with a child that looks like us, and we’re lighter-skinned or we’re darker-skinned.’ It does make it difficult at times.”

    By contrast, “if we have families that may be biracial — one partner is Caucasian and the other is African-American — we can come to them with any black child, and they’re more open,” Caldwell said. “The same is true with Caucasian families, which is why you’re seeing more Caucasians adopting children of color, because they really don’t care about the shade.”

    This color consciousness even affects women adopting out their offspring. “I’ve had birth moms even state that ‘I’m more of a Snickers bar, and I’m looking for more of a family that [my child will] fit in.’ Yet, ”[i]t’s mostly the families, not the parents, which is really kind of sad,” Caldwell commiserated.

    http://thegrio.com/2012/03/08/gloria-king-of-executive/

  9. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 10/12/2012
    Oct 12, 2012 11:00 AM EDT

    The color complex in black communities: It’s time for all shades to unite
    By Marita Golden

    Sitting in one of the new swank restaurants in downtown Washington one evening, I mentioned the subject of colorism to the two African American women dining with me, both successful women of note in their fields, and the memories poured forth, shared with looking-back laughter, regret and sadness that they still see evidence of colorism’s hold on the thinking of young people.

    When I was in high school a girl told me I acted like I didn’t know I was dark-skinned, and wondered where I got my pride and dignity from,” one said. The other told us about her daughter, who has been mistaken for every nationality from Greek to Spanish: “My daughter hears all the time from black boys that they would never marry a girl darker than she is.” My friend’s daughter also attends a respected HBCU and has shared with her mother stories of female classmates physically assaulting one another in the wake of verbal colorist insults.

    And long before our dinner other sisters shared similar stories with me:

    “I was shocked to learn, the day after my grandson was born, that my daughter had been, as she said ‘praying that he’d come out light, like his father, not dark like me.’ ”

    “As a light-skinned woman, brown-skinned women tell me all the time that I’m not a ‘real sister,’ and sometimes even that I can’t be trusted because I’m light.”

    The first comment is a heartfelt revelation shared by a participant in a colorism workshop I led. The second was made by a writer working on an essay about the impact of colorism in her life. Maybe you’ve said or thought in similar ways. I’m sure you’ve heard people talk like that. That is the sound of colorism and the color complex. Back in the day there were paper bag tests, blue vein societies and the orthodoxy that AKAs are light, Deltas are brown, Zetas are black. Fast forward to today and on Twitter there is a #teamlightskinned hashtag and complexion competitions in urban nightclubs, as reported by the St. Louis American via the St. Louis-Post Dispatch. The color complex — or, put simply, the belief in the superiority of light skin and European-like hair and facial features — is, among African Americans, a legacy of slavery. Once practiced and adhered to with nearly unquestioned fidelity, today, despite its persistence, colorism is increasingly being questioned, and in some quarters dismantled.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/therootdc/post/the-color-complex-in-black-communities-its-time-for-all-shades-to-unite/2012/10/11/ab9ebabe-d1b9-11e1-adf2-d56eb210cdcd_blog.html

  10. rikyrah says:

    Gabrielle Union opens up about fertility issues in new interview

    by Blue Telusma | December 24, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    In the latest issue of UPTOWN magazine newly wed Gabrielle Union opens about marriage, being a step mom and her desires to have her own children.

    The actress shares

    I think my brain and my heart are screaming baby fever. My ovaries, however, they’re coughing up dust. Yes, it’s in my heart and in my mind, and we’ll see if my body catches up with that.

    I have really awesome stepkids, so I feel equally as fulfilled. I’ve lasted 42 years without having a human being come from one of my orifices and I feel okay and fulfilled and happy. If it does happen, it’s a miracle—a medical miracle at least. I mean, we’d love to. We’ll see what my ovaries say. Cause right now they’re taking Geritol.

    She also talks about her surprisingly frugal nature and how living below her means has granted her freedom in her career

    I feel like Dwyane provides for us in Miami and I should provide for us in L.A. I bought a really great house and we’re remodeling. What I wanted is really in Bel-Air, but I have a deep Valley budget, so I’m there.

    I live so far below my means that if the career was taken away, I could get a job based on my level of education and my job skills, and I could still afford what I have. I plan ahead for the destruction, my financial ruin. I might borrow some hot shit, but you’re gonna come to my house and be like, ‘What happened to that dope bag that cost as much as a home?’ I borrow that. I give it right back.

    I’m not broke, so I don’t have to take any old thing.

    http://thegrio.com/2014/12/24/gabrielle-union-opens-up-about-fertility-issues-in-new-interview/

  11. rikyrah says:

    Father’s reaction to Christmas gift will move you to tears

    Madison, AL — An Alabama father was moved to tears by his Christmas gift from his family. In a video posted on Vimeo, Bill Garrett can be seen opening his present in front of his wife and kids.

    Much to his confusion he opens the gift to find a bowl of sugar. His wife then asks, “What is it?” Garrett responds, “Sugar.” He’s wife then asked, “Well what’s it in?”

    He responds, “a bowl.” He then sees the tickets inside the box. The Alabama alum is so overwhelmed with joy that he is left speechless by the tickets to the 2015 Sugar Bowl game

    http://thegrio.com/2014/12/27/fathers-reaction-to-christmas-gift-will-move-you-to-tears/

  12. rikyrah says:

    Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Christmas morning jokes ignite pious furor on Twitter
    Scott Kaufman
    26 Dec 2014 at 10:47 ET

    Renowned astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson spent his Christmas morning composing a series of holiday-themed tweets that annoyed and outraged some Christians.

    He began by pointing out the obvious:

    Neil deGrasse Tyson ✔ @neiltyson
    Follow
    QUESTION: ThIs year, what do all the world’s Muslims and Jews call December 25th? ANSWER: Thursday

    9:30 AM – 25 Dec 2014

    Neil deGrasse Tyson ✔ @neiltyson
    Follow
    On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642

    9:38 AM – 25 Dec 2014

    Neil deGrasse Tyson ✔ @neiltyson
    Follow
    Merry Christmas to all. A Pagan holiday (BC) becomes a Religious holiday (AD). Which then becomes a Shopping holiday (USA).

    9:54 AM – 25 Dec 2014

    Neil deGrasse Tyson ✔ @neiltyson
    Follow
    Santa knows Physics: Of all colors, Red Light penetrates fog best. That’s why Benny the Blue-nosed reindeer never got the gig

    10:03 AM – 25 Dec 2014

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/12/neil-degrasse-tysons-christmas-morning-jokes-ignite-pious-furor-on-twitter/

  13. rikyrah says:

    CNN Suddenly Seems to Notice Republican Reliance on Religious Right

    By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson more from Hrafnkell Haraldsson

    Saturday, December, 27th, 2014, 8:18 am

    CNN is reporting that the GOP moves early to court conservative Christians. We are told that, “The first votes of the 2016 campaign won’t be cast for another year but there’s already a race well underway: The Christian primary.”

    Republicans are actively courting white evangelical and born again Christian voters, knowing they will be crucial in early-voting states such as Iowa and South Carolina.

    Leave it to the mainstream media to mangle the truth about the unholy marriage of the GOP and the Religious Right. This is not accurate news. It’s not even really news at all, and hasn’t been for decades. Because these days, the GOP and the Religious Right are the same thing.

    After all, it was a year-and-a-half-ago that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told the Christian Broadcasting Network that the Republican Party was their party, that the GOP was, in fact, a religion.

    Priebus reassured his audience, however, that the GOP is “a party that embraces marriage,” and that he “is a chairman that understands that there’s only one sovereign God and that we ultimately aren’t dependent on what happens in politics, that what ultimately matters in our lives is that we’re salt and light in the world and that we’re honoring God in the things that we do every day.”

    http://www.politicususa.com/2014/12/27/cnn-suddenly-notice-republican-reliance-religious.html

  14. rikyrah says:

    Judge Rules America’s Fastest Growing Industry Is Exempt From Minimum Wage Law

    By: Rmuse more from Rmuse

    Friday, December, 26th, 2014, 7:12 pm

    The term wage slavery is a pejorative term used to criticize economic exploitation and social stratification affecting large groups of a workforce. Wage slavery is a result of unequal bargaining power between labor and capital best represented by workers slaving for long hours and poverty wages in sweatshops. Republicans have given every indication that between their opposition to raising the minimum wage, and desire to abolishing it altogether, nothing would please them or their Chamber of Commerce and corporate funders more than a population earning slave wages.

    It is likely that most big industries would love nothing more than having Republicans pass legislation exempting them from paying the minimum wage and, despite the nation’s labor laws, one of the fastest growing, lowest paying industries in the nation succeeded in not only winning an exemption from paying minimum wage, they were exempted from overtime laws. One law, 1974’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), requires American employers to pay their domestic workers at least the minimum wage as well as extra pay for overtime hours. Earlier in the year, the Department of Labor expanded FLSA to cover home care providers who were left out of minimum wage and overtime laws due to industry leaders designating their work as nothing but providing “fellowship” for elderly sick and disabled people.

    The home care industry interpreted the exemption broadly to deny basic labor rights from all their employees who provide medical care, feed, clothe, and bathe Americans too sick to care for themselves. In 2007, the conservative Supreme Court ruled that an employer forcing a woman to work extremely long hours was within its right to refuse giving overtime pay because regardless the extent of the care the woman provided, it was designated “fellowship and protection.” The Department of Labor issued a new rule forbidding the practice beginning January 1, 2015.

    On Monday, just in time to stop implementation of the Department of Labor’s rule change, a U.S. District Judge, Richard Leon, bowed to industry pressure and struck down the change that would finally give minimum wage and overtime pay protections to home care workers. While the Labor Department’s rule change was meant to protect worker’s rights, the Judge protected Home Care Associates, the International Franchise Association, and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice rights to make bigger profits. The rapidly-growing industry’s leaders convinced the judge that paying the minimum wage, and the outrageous idea of overtime pay, was an abomination and would have a “destabilizing impact” on the nation’s fastest-growing industry.

    http://www.politicususa.com/2014/12/26/judge-rules-americas-fastest-growing-industry-exempt-minimum-wage-law.html

  15. rikyrah says:

    I love this

    …………

    Watch: Girl explodes after getting her acceptance letter from Princeton

    Published On December 17, 2014 | By Staff |

    If you’re any kind of reasonable person of color, you’re going to celebrate the education of your youth. Also, many of us know just how difficult it is to find your way into an Ivy League University, which can open up a vast number of doors and opportunities for young people who get this amazing chance at a special life.

    This video was sent over to us by Susan Patton, “The Princeton Mom,” who has done interviews with us in the past. She wanted us to see it because as a proud Princeton alum, she too was touched by the young lady’s reaction to receiving her acceptance letter.

    As you watch this, try to hold back the tears. You can tell within seconds that this young lady has fulfilled the dream of a lifetime. We wanted to share it with you here at Financial Juneteenth in hopes that you will be encouraged and reminded of the value and importance of making educational investments. In fact, the key to strengthening the black community lies in part with our ability to push our kids to be as excited about learning as they can be about sports and entertainment. This is the future of Black America.

    http://financialjuneteenth.com/watch-girl-explodes-after-getting-her-acceptance-letter-from-princeton/

    http://youtu.be/MQt-F2h9KN8

  16. rikyrah says:

    Aminata Hits Back in New Clip from ‘The Book of Negroes’

    Photo of Tambay A. ObensonBy Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act
    December 26, 2014 at 7:32PM

    Clement Virgo’s much anticipated adaptation of author Lawrence Hill’s award-winning bestseller, “The Book of Negroes,” stars Aunjanue Ellis

    in a film that boasts one of the strongest female characters in recent fiction. The novel’s synopsis reads: “Abducted as an 11-year-old child from her village in West Africa and forced to walk for months to the sea in a coffle—a string of slaves— Aminata Diallo is sent to live as a slave in South Carolina. But years later, she forges her way to freedom, serving the British in the Revolutionary War and registering her name in the historic “Book of Negroes.” This book, an actual document, provides a short but immensely revealing record of freed Loyalist slaves who requested permission to leave the US for resettlement in Nova Scotia, only to find that the haven they sought was steeped in an oppression all of its own. Aminata’s eventual return to Sierra Leone—passing ships carrying thousands of slaves bound for America—is an engrossing account of an obscure but important chapter in history that saw 1,200 former slaves embark on a harrowing back-to-Africa odyssey.”

    Aunjanue Ellis stars as Aminata Diallo, while Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lou Gossett Jr. play Sam Fraunces and Daddy Moses respectively

    http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/aminata-hits-back-in-new-clip-from-the-book-of-negroes-20141226

  17. rikyrah says:

    Friday, December 26, 2014

    Last Call For SCOTUS In 2015

    Posted by Zandar

    Sam Baker at National Journal (which at this point just exists to scold liberals) is warning that SCOTUS will pretty much destroy Obama’s second term. I’ve talked about King v. Burwell before:

    The justices will hear oral arguments March 4 in a lawsuit that threatens to cripple the health care law, just three years after Chief Justice John Roberts helped save it. This time, the challengers want the Court to invalidate the law’s premium subsidies in states that didn’t set up their own insurance exchanges. Most states didn’t establish their own exchanges, and more than 80 percent of enrollees are getting subsidies—so a win for the challengers here would likely make insurance unaffordable for about 5 million people and could make insurance markets unstable in most of the country.

    And there’s the fallout from last year’s Hobby Lobby case and the next set of questions involving religious freedoms that will be answered:

    Religious liberty was the defining issue of 2014’s biggest ruling—the Hobby Lobby decision involving Obamacare’s contraception mandate—and it’s back in a big way this term. The Court has already heard oral arguments in a suit filed by an Arkansas inmate who wants to grow a beard, in accordance with his Muslim faith but in violation of prison rules. During oral arguments, the justices reportedly seemed to be siding with the inmate, questioning whether the prison system could ensure inmates’ safety without such strict rules against beards.

    The Court has agreed to hear a second, similar case, but hasn’t yet scheduled oral arguments. This one concerns a woman who was denied a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch store because the head scarf she wore, as a practicing Muslim, wasn’t consistent with the company’s “Look Policy.” The question in the case is whether a business can discriminate against someone’s religion if it didn’t know that a religious accommodation was needed.

    There are also several free speech issues in front of SCOTUS, one involving what constitutes a threat online, one involving Florida’s ban on judges personally soliciting campaign contributions, and one involving putting a Confederate flag design on Texas license plates.

    A lot on SCOTUS’s plate in the next six months, and the decisions could seriously blow a hole in Obama’s second term if they are decided by that infamous 5-4 bloc involving Justice Kennedy and the four conservatives.

    We’ll see.

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2014/12/last-call-for-scotus-in-2015.html

  18. rikyrah says:

    White People=LARGE FIGHT
    Black People=RIOT

    See this headline….you best believe if this wasn’t Navy Pier and it was the South Side…the headline would be altogether different.

    ………………………………

    One hospitalized, five arrested after ‘large’ fight at Navy Pier
    Posted: 12/27/2014, 02:14am | George Slefo

    pregnant female was hospitalized and five people were arrested after a fight Friday night at Navy Pier, officials said.

    About 7:45 p.m, officers responded to the disturbance involving about 30 people at the popular tourist destination, police said. Five people were later arrested for reckless conduct, police said.

    Fire officials said a pregnant female was taken to a hospital with injuries that weren’t thought to be life-threatening.

    No property was damaged and no gunshots were fired, police said.

    Kushal Sharma, a Navy Pier worker who sells souvenirs, said he saw about 100 teenagers involved in about eight separate fights.

    “It was like Braveheart,” said Sharma, referencing a movie about a medieval war.

    http://chicago.suntimes.com/crime/7/71/238217/officers-respond-disturbance-navy-pier

    • Ametia says:

      Notice how this piece keeps mentioning “pregnant female” That’s to keep reader sympathy, while further white-washing a ‘RIOT’ into 8 seperate fights.

      No tear gas, dogs, or water hoses for these folks!

  19. rikyrah says:

    Traveling while black created a stir in China
    By Dahleen Glanton
    Chicago Tribune

    During a recent trip to China, my family and I caused quite a commotion in the Forbidden City. It also happened at the terra-cotta warriors museum and again in Tiananmen Square..

    In Beijing, we were strolling in the palace courtyard when suddenly we were surrounded by a group of elderly Chinese residents. They had abandoned their tour guide and formed a circle around us. And for several minutes, they blatantly stared us down from head to toe.

    In some parts of China, it seems, African-Americans are a novelty.

    Had it been the first time we’d encountered this kind of reaction by merely showing up someplace, we would have been self-conscious, maybe offended. But after more than a week in China, we’d come to expect the attention.

    Our dark skin, our textured hair and our round facial features intrigued the Chinese people, particularly older ones from the rural areas. In a country where television and the news media are owned by the Communist government, it’s not every day that residents get to see people from other parts of the world.

    For some, it wasn’t enough to walk up and take a good look at us. They also wanted to take a picture with us.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/travel/ct-talk-glanton-china-blacks-20141226-story.html

  20. rikyrah says:

    College hunt looms for first daughter Malia Obama
    By Katherine Skiba
    Chicago Tribune

    December 27, 2014, 5:35 AM|
    WASHINGTON

    Soon first daughter Malia Obama will be the decider, choosing which colleges to apply to and which one to attend beginning in the fall of 2016, as her father’s presidency winds down..

    She wants to be a filmmaker, the president has said. Last summer news outlets said his 16-year-old daughter toured two northern California rivals: Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley.

    UC Berkeley, the state’s flagship public university, is known as a liberal enclave, and it has a Department of Film & Media.

    Stanford, a private university whose Palo Alto campus features towering palm trees, is more buttoned-down and boasts alumnae including first daughter Chelsea Clinton and Supreme Court justices such as the retired Sandra Day O’Connor. Obama’s commerce secretary, Penny Pritzker, is from Stanford — and like the first lady and the Obama daughters, is also from Chicago.

    At Stanford, students can major or minor in film and media studies. The university has more NCAA championships than any other U.S. school. Malia Obama is known as an athlete, especially at tennis, so she might be a good fit in “Nerd Nation,” the unofficial nickname for the school’s sports fans.

    Experts said college searches ramp up midway through a student’s junior year of high school, which is exactly where Malia Obama is now. She attends the elite Sidwell Friends School, which counts Chelsea Clinton as an alumna.

    Malia Obama’s college essay will come from a unique perspective. She’s lived in the Executive Mansion since she was 10. She’s had a front-row seat to her father’s political campaigns. Her passport has been stamped around the globe, and she’s met world figures such as Queen Elizabeth, the late Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani education advocate who won the Nobel Peace Prize (as Malia’s dad did in 2009).

    Expectations for Malia Obama no doubt are high. Her parents are Harvard-educated lawyers with Ivy League undergraduate degrees, the president’s from Columbia and the first lady’s from Princeton

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-malia-obama-college-search-met-20141226-story.html#page=1

  21. rikyrah says:

    This is absolutely pitiful

    ………..

    Little College Guidance: 500 High School Students Per Counselor

    By ELIZABETH A. HARRISDEC. 25, 2014

    A steady stream of teenagers fidgeting with forms and their backpacks flowed through the Midwood High School college office one day this month, all with lists of questions on their minds.

    But one of the school’s two college counselors was nowhere to be found. She had taken refuge in another office, a quieter spot where she tried to pump out as many college recommendation letters as she could.

    “We take turns,” said Lorrie Director, the other college counselor at Midwood, in Brooklyn. “I write at home, at night and on weekends, I squeeze them in when I can, but even then it’s not enough.”

    “There’s really no other way,” she continued. “I tell the kids, there are 766 of you, and there’s two of us.”

    While small private schools can often afford to provide their students with tremendous hand-holding, large public high schools across the country struggle with staggering ratios of students to guidance counselors. Nationally, that ratio is nearly 500 to 1, a proportion experts say has remained virtually unchanged for more than 10 years. And when it comes time to apply to college, all of the students need help at once.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/26/nyregion/little-college-guidance-500-high-school-students-per-counselor.html?smid=tw-nytimes&_r=0

    • Ametia says:

      WTF SYSTEM FAILURE!!!!!

    • Liza says:

      This is so wrong. My relatively small, Catholic high school had one guidance counselor and there were just over 200 in my graduating class. I remember having one session with the counselor that amounted to nothing. Strangely enough, it was my brother-in-law who absolutely insisted that I go to college. It was meant to be a solution to multiple problems but I certainly owe him a debt of gratitude. What happens to kids with absolutely no one in their lives to provide just a little bit of direction and encouragement? We know this is wrong, that it will have a bad outcome, and we do it anyway.

      • Ametia says:

        It’s the system, Liza. But then we know if we don’t do what we can to change it…. The onus falls back on our families to give us the guidance.

        My husband told me the school he went to school in Jamaica, his counselor told him to go for a vocation where he could use his hands, and forget about wanting to become an engineer. WTF? H

  22. rikyrah says:

    The 10 Healthiest and 10 Least-Healthy States in 2014

    How healthy is your state?

    In some ways, Americans today are healthier than they were in 1990, when the United Health Foundation first published America’s Health Rankings, an annual state-by-state assessment of our nation’s health. cardiovascular and cancer deaths are down, and the smoking rate has decreased 36%. Plus, life expectancy is at an all-time high–—78.7 years. “But although we’re living longer, we’re also living sicker, with preventable illness at an alarming level,” says Reed Tuckson, MD, external senior medical advisor to United Health Foundation. The number-one reason: Obesity. “Since 1990, the obesity rate went from 11.6% to 29.4%, — a 153% increase,” Dr. Tuckson says. In the last year alone, it rose 7%. Physical inactivity is also at a new high: 23.5% of Americans do not exercise at all.

    Read on for the states that are doing it right–—and the 10 that have a lot more work to do to improve their health.

    The healthiest states (and the least-healthy), based on obesity and cancer rates, lifestyle factors like smoking and exercise, and more

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/the-10-healthiest-and-10-least-healthy-states-in-2014/ss-BBgAtcp?ocid=HPCDHP

  23. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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