Tuesday Open Thread | Black Child Prodigies | Rochelle Ballantyne

Today’s featured child prodigy is Rochelle Ballantyne.


At 17, Rochelle Ballantyne is one of the top chess players in the world. This Brooklyn, N.Y., native is a high school senior now, but her name is still at the top of Intermediate School 318′s list of best players. She is on the verge of becoming the first black American female to earn the title of chess master. Source: huffingtonpost




rochelle brooklyn castle

From Brooklyn Castle to Ivory Tower: A Young Chess Master Celebrates Her Teachers
OCTOBER 15, 2013

Rochelle Ballantyne in a scene from the documentary film “Brooklyn Castle”
Image credit: Katie Dellamaggiore

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41 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | Black Child Prodigies | Rochelle Ballantyne

  1. rikyrah says:

    are you kidding me?

    who THE FUCK rejects a check for 974 MILLION DOLLARS?


    • eliihass says:

      A wife who knows her despicable ex is worth 10x that amount and is doing his darnedest to shortchange her in their divorce settlement. That’s who.

  2. Ametia says:

    Good Hair McDonnell’s going to the POKEY!

    The Washington Post
    The most important stories of the day • Tue., Jan. 6, 2015

    Robert F. McDonnell sentenced to two years in prison
    A federal judge sentenced former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell to two years in prison Tuesday — a term far lower than what prosecutors had sought and one that means the popular politician will be free before his 63rd birthday.

    Read full article »

  3. Hey 3chicspolitico! Please pray for Jesse. He’s in the hospital in Austin Tx. A truck carrying a trailer T-Boned him. Help if you can, if not share this so others may donate.


  4. rikyrah says:

    A ‘governing majority’ that doesn’t know how to govern
    01/06/15 10:06 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the other day that he hopes the Republican-led Congress can prove to the electorate that his party can be a responsible “governing majority.” And on the surface, that’s a perfectly worthwhile goal.

    But it’s been quite a few years since GOP policymakers actually tried to govern effectively, and there’s reason to believe the party no longer remembers how. This week, for example, Republican lawmakers will get right to work, pushing the Keystone oil pipeline and a measure to redefine a full-time worker under the Affordable Care Act. Jonathan Weisman had a good piece on the latter.
    The House will take up legislation on Wednesday, the first major bill of the 114th Congress, that would change the definition of a full-time worker under the health law from one who works 30 hours a week to one who works 40 hours. A vote is scheduled for Thursday.
    Weisman’s report did a nice job noting that even conservatives seem to realize this is a bad idea, with National Review’s Yuval Levin arguing over the weekend that the legislation “seems likely to be worse than doing nothing.”

    Republicans, at some level, must understand this. Indeed, they pushed this exact same idea 11 months ago – in a bill they called the “Save American Workers Act” – and it was deemed ridiculous at the time.
    An analysis of the bill, released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation, found that it would cause 1 million people to lose their employer-based insurance coverage. The report projected that more than 500,000 of them would end up getting coverage through Medicaid, the Children’s Health Care Program or the Obamacare exchanges. The rest, CBO and JCT said, would become uninsured.

    The legislation would also lower the amount the federal government collects in penalties from businesses who don’t abide by the employer mandate. As a result, the report found, the deficit would go up by $74 billion over 10 years.
    Jonathan Cohn explained a while back, “The Congressional Budget Office just taught the Republican Party a lesson. Governing is hard…. [T]hat’s the reality Obamacare’s critics are never willing to confront. They’re great at attacking Obamacare. But they’re lousy at coming up with alternatives that look better by comparison. There’s a reason for that. The downsides of Obamacare are real, but, in many cases, they make possible the upsides. Take away the former and the latter go away, too.”

    Faced with this knowledge, the new, massive House Republican majority has effectively declared, “Well, let’s just pass it anyway.”


  5. rikyrah says:

    And I’m supposed to care BECAUSE?


    Jim Webb and the Democrats’ white-man problem
    By Nia-Malika Henderson January 5 at 5:01 PM

    Some think Jim Webb could be the liberal Democratic alternative to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Perhaps it’s more likely, though, that Webb could position himself as something the Democratic Party — or any party, really — hasn’t seen in some time: the vocal champion of the working-class white man.

    The former Virginia senator offered this critique of his party to Matt Bai over at Yahoo!, and it sounds like something that you might hear on the campaign trail going forward.

    “I think this is where Democrats screw up, you know?” Webb said. “I think that they have kind of unwittingly used this group, white working males, as a whipping post for a lot of their policies. And then when they react, they say they’re being racist.”

    Rather than run as a liberal (which he is not, in a whole host of ways), Webb could run as a kind of anti-Hillary. He would be an explicit counter to the sort of progressive, feminist narrative that would inherently undergird a Clinton run. He would also be the anti-Obama, a break from the sort of identity politics around race, gender and ethnicity that have, in Webb’s telling, excluded working-class white men.

    (A white woman running for president after the nation’s first black president could certainly underscore the “what about us” feeling among this demographic.)

    This group has been something of the topic du jour lately, with a decades-long decrease in manufacturing jobs and an identification with the Republican Party so apparent in the midterms that it has left Democrats looking for answers (again).

    President Obama weighed in on the plight of the working-class whites in an NPR interview, saying: “There’s a legitimate sense of loss, particularly among men, who have seen manufacturing diminish; construction has been in the tank.”


  6. rikyrah says:

    Secure Scalise survives scandal
    01/06/15 12:55 PM—UPDATED 01/06/15 01:41 PM
    By Steve Benen
    A week ago, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was found to have spoken at a white-supremacist event and his career was in jeopardy. A week later, Scalise’s fate is secure – he’ll not only keep his seat, but the far-right Louisianan won’t even face a challenger for his leadership post.

    Dave Weigel talked to some of the congressman’s colleagues, one of whom is inclined to blame news organizations for the whole mess.
    “He’s a friend of mine, and I’ve never known anything about Steve that suggested views of that sort,” said Representative John Fleming of Louisiana. “It was distant in the past.”

    “I think the media moves too fast on a lot of things, whether it’s that or it’s racial tension in Ferguson,” said South Carolina Representative Jeff Duncan. “Everyone’s trying to scoop everyone else, and with the 24-hour news cycle, whoever gets the ‘scoop’ gets the most views. That was what happened with ‘hands up, don’t shoot.’ They took an eyewitness account, and it turned out not to be from an eyewitness.”
    I’m not even going to try to decipher what Jeff Duncan is trying to say, though the notion that journalists weren’t supposed to be interested in a House GOP leader talking to a white-supremacist group seems bizarre, even for him.

    Regardless, what congressmen like Fleming and Duncan are willing to say on the record is hardly a surprise – exactly zero Republican lawmakers publicly criticized Scalise and/or called for him to step down from his leadership post.


  7. White House says President Obama would veto Keystone pipeline legislation.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Jeb Bush tries to thread a needle on marriage rights
    01/06/15 09:28 AM—UPDATED 01/06/15 10:31 AM
    By Steve Benen

    As marriage equality arrives in Florida, the Miami Herald asked former Gov. Jeb Bush, an apparent Republican presidential candidate, for his thoughts on the developments.

    “It ought to be a local decision. I mean, a state decision,” Bush said on Sunday. “The state decided. The people of the state decided. But it’s been overturned by the courts, I guess.”

    In a written statement yesterday, Bush offered a little more depth.
    “We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law,” Mr. Bush said in a statement. “I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue – including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.”
    To be sure, this represents an evolution in the former governor’s approach. During his 1994 gubernatorial campaign, Bush’s first bid for public office, he wrote an op-ed that wasn’t respectful at all. On the issue of gay rights, Bush wrote, “We have enough special categories, enough victims, without creating even more,” he wrote. Bush added, “[Should] sodomy be elevated to the same constitutional status as race and religion? My answer is No.”

    A spokesperson for the former governor said yesterday that the 1994 piece “does not reflect Gov. Bush’s views now.”

    And while that’s a nice shift in posture, it leads to the obvious question: what are Bush’s views now? The answer tells us something important about the kind of national candidate Bush will likely try to be.

    The substantive difference between the 1994 Jeb Bush and the 2015 Jeb Bush effectively does not exist – he opposed marriage equality then and he opposes marriage equality now.

    What’s changed is his tone. During his first gubernatorial campaign, Bush saw no need to be respectful of the LGBT community, but during his first presidential campaign, the Florida Republican apparently sees value in a more measured temperament. What we have, in other words, is a GOP candidate trying to thread a needle – Bush doesn’t want to be a moderate, he just wants to sound like one.

    As was true in 1994, Bush has no qualms about denying same-sex couples equal-marriage rights, and if he had his way, the gay couples tying the knot today throughout Florida would be prohibited from making their vows. The difference is, Bush believes he can deny Americans their basic rights in a “respectful” way. While some Republican presidential candidates oppose marriage equality on ugly terms, Bush will oppose marriage equality in a more polite way.


    • Liza says:

      Jeb Bush is a neo-conservative, a former member of the Project for the New American Century. His favorite things are war and the disenfranchisement of Democratic voters.
      But from a wing nut’s point of view, he is probably electable in 2016. The Democrats need to do a helluva lot better than Hillary Clinton, but they are convinced she will win if she runs.

  9. rikyrah says:

    I’m a Black Gentrifier, But My Success Is Invisible
    ByKashana Cauley

    On a typical night in 2009, I finished work around 10 p.m., collapsed into a cab I’d expense the next morning with my work laptop and a set of legal files in hand, took off my Manolos so they’d stop crushing my feet, watched baseball on my phone to signal to the driver that he shouldn’t bother starting a conversation on my ride home to New York City’s East Village, and grimaced when he asked me halfway through our unwanted chat if I grew up in my neighborhood.

    I always rolled my eyes before saying no and returning to my baseball. It was objectively clear that, in 2009, a young black lawyer probably wasn’t originally from the East Village. After the neighborhood’s crime rate went down in the nineties, its rents skyrocketed, which encouraged lawyers and hedge fund traders to move in, and established residents and punk/beatnik/bohemian transplants to leave. Nowadays, the East Village is about 8 percent black, a combination of new arrivals like me and longtime residents of the Avenue D projects. At that point, East Village natives were being priced out of the neighborhood because of the astronomical rents people like me paid willingly.

    While I’d practiced law long enough to understand that as a black lawyer, I was pretty rare, I had assumed my suits, shoes and demeanor made it clear that I was a professional. Especially in 2009—NYC had suffered enough recession casualties that people looking for cabs outside Sixth Avenue corporate towers at 10 p.m. were either tourists or billing their companies.

    So when cabbies and bodega owners and random people on the street repeatedly asked me if I was an East Village native, they erased my profession and demeanor and mentally stuck me out on Avenue D instead of calling me what I was: a black gentrifier. While I wasn’t proud to be part of a demographic that kicked people out of their apartments, I had trouble feeling guilty about being my family’s first college graduate, first lawyer, and first person who was financially able to call a desirable New York City neighborhood home.


  10. rikyrah says:

    Governor Deval Patrick reflects on the journey


  11. rikyrah says:

    Eric Boehlert @EricBoehlert · 1h1 hour ago
    Jerry Jones’ biz deal w/ Port Authority expected to generate $800M in annual revenue. and gee, why don’t i fly yr and family to Cowboys game
    Jerry Jones’ estimated tab for flying @govchristie and family to Cowboys game? $150K+. http://on.wsj.com/1KgxqRW #mustbenice

  12. rikyrah says:

    this is so sad


    Mother mourns the death of two sons gunned down in less than a month

    by theGrio | January 5, 2015 at 8:56 AM

    In less than a month, one Indiana mother lost not one but two sons in separate shootings.

    19-year-old Donovan Williams was the first member of his family to go to college. He was home on break when he ended up a victim of homicide. What’s worse — he had just come home to console his mother over the loss of his brother, Dominique Wright.

    Dominique had been exchanging gunfire with another man on the highway. Police later found the man, Terrill K. Fenderson, dead in an alley.

    Dominique had been involved in a previous shooting, in 2012, but he was working to better his life by taking classes online. He had also just welcomed a new baby into his world eight months prior to his death.

    After his brother’s death, Donovan arrived home from college to comfort his mother, and that’s when, according to his mother, he “just got caught up in a horrible incident.”

    Andrew Wright, the boy’s mother, said that he was quick to smile and a bright young man. “He was a loving, supportive young man with a bright future ahead of him,” she said. “He was warm, funny, and affectionate. He loved to give hugs. College had always been a goal for him. He was just trying to get his life started.”

    She does not believe Donovan’s death is linked to his brother’s.

    The family has had to launch a GoFundMe campaign to pay for the funeral so soon after Dominique’s


  13. rikyrah says:

    Duke threatens to expose connections to House over Scalise punishment
    Rachel Maddow reports on the threat made by noted racist David Duke to reveal his connections to sitting members of the House if Rep. Steve Scalise is punished for addressing a neo-Nazi group associated with Duke in 2002.


  14. rikyrah says:

    Richard Hine @richardhine
    After 6 years of calling it the “Obama economy,” GOP panics as Obama economy really takes off http://nyti.ms/1xrjpMb
    6:02 AM – 5 Jan 2015

  15. rikyrah says:

    S&A 2014 Highlights: Tim Story, the Top-Grossing Black Director Many Still Aren’t Familiar With

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act
    January 5, 2015 at 6:22PM

    Will “Think Like A Man” Put Tim Story On Hollywood’s A list?

    That’s what the Los Angeles Times asked in a piece that was published 2 years ago, after that film shocked the industry with an impressive opening weekend, en route to a near-$100 million box office cume. His latest effort, Ride Along, opened this weekend to an impressive $41 million box office take, easily winning the number 1 slot of the weekend.

    The short answer to the question posed by the Los Angeles Times, two years later? Probably not.

    The long answer…

    Don’t get me wrong, my short answer isn’t a knock on the film or Tim Story’s abilities as a director.

    Investigate the system within which he works, and its history, and you’ll find all you need to know there.

    Consider this: the fact that the question was being asked in 2012, after Story had made 5 studio pictures, all of them relatively successful in the long run (compared to budget), is telling of how much work still needs to be done in terms of equal opportunities for black filmmakers compared to their white contemporaries.

    The 5 studio movies directed by story as of that LA Times 2012 piece, had then collectively grossed close to $900 million worldwide (around $1 billion if adjusted for inflation – although, the 5 studio pictures are now 6, including this weekend’s number 1 movie, Ride Along, which added an impressive $41 million to that growing tally). I’d say that there aren’t many directors of ANY COLOR working today who can boast those stats. And even still, he’s the only director of African descent working within the studio system that can claim to be a member of that elite club – his main competition being the prolific Tyler Perry, who’s made twice as many films (13) in about the same period of time, but yet lags behind Story in terms of total worldwide box office.

    Yes, Story’s total worldwide box office gross leads the short list of black directors working within the studio system today – more than Antoine Fuqua, F. Gary Gray, Spike Lee, John Singleton and others – a list that I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out its lack of black women directors.

    Granted Story’s figures are helped thanks to the 2 Fantastic Four movies he helmed (I believe he’s the ONLY African American director to be given a shot at directing a mega-budgeted superhero movie) – films that I found underwhelming, and certainly didn’t rake in anywhere near Avengers- or Iron Man-style numbers; but I can’t blame him entirely for the under-performance of both films; it starts with the script (neither of which he wrote), and the casting (which I thought lacked, starting with Jessica Alba). Both films felt more like Saturday morning series on some Kids TV network.


  16. rikyrah says:

    Political Thriller ‘War Book’ Will Open Rotterdam – Sophie Okonedo & Nathan Stewart-Jarrett Co-Star

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act
    January 5, 2015 at 5:44PM

    International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) will open on Wednesday January 21, with the international premiere of Tom Harper’s political thriller “War Book,” which tells the story of a war game between a group of government officials, which reaches boiling point.

    Further, the film “takes place over 3 days as 9 civil servants gather in a government building to take part in a policy shaping scenario. They are there to take decisions on Britain’s reaction to an international nuclear attack. At first the participants are casual, playing out the scenario against a backdrop of their own petty squabbles and personal ambitions. Only 2 participants know the truth – that the country is secretly facing a real nuclear threat, and that their theoretical responses may become reality sooner than they can know. As the scenario escalates and the group begins to address the breakdown of civil order, the reality that they are deciding our futures dawns. When personal politics crash irrevocably into the room, each is forced to look closely at what they really believe, and how much their decisions are actually worth.”

    As you can see in the official cast image above, the film’s starring cast includes 2 familiar faces in Sophie Okonedo and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett of “Misfits” fame. They are joined by Ben Chaplin, Phoebe Fox and Shaun Evans.


  17. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, January 4, 2015
    Last Call For Return Of The Greek Fire

    Posted by Zandar

    Long time readers know of my Greek Fire series of posts running through 2012 involving Athens and how much trouble the Eurozone would be if it defaulted. Germany managed to get a handle on Greece in late 2012 and stabilized the country for a couple years.

    In 2015, with the Greek government now falling apart and snap elections scheduled for three weeks, the prospect of a Greek collapse and exit for the Eurozone is again on the radar.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel came under fire Sunday over a magazine report suggesting she would be prepared to let Greece exit the euro should a far-left party win a snap Greek election.

    Der Spiegel news weekly quoted government sources as saying Berlin sees a Greek exit from the eurozone as “almost inevitable” should the radical leftist Syriza party win the vote and abandon Athens’ current austerity course.

    Both Merkel and her finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had come to consider that Greece’s departure from the single-currency bloc would be “manageable”, the magazine said.

    The recovery underway in other formerly problem economies such as Ireland and Portugal, the establishment of a permanent eurozone bailout fund and the creation of a banking union had all bolstered Berlin’s belief that the contagion from a fresh Greek crisis would be limited, it added.

    Greece’s parliament was dissolved Wednesday after the assembly failed to agree on a successor to outgoing President Karolos Papoulias in three successive votes.

    A snap election has now been called for January 25. Syriza is currently ahead in opinion polls.

    German media saw the Spiegel article as an attempt by Merkel and Schaeuble to put pressure on Greeks and Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, who has vowed to end austerity policies.

    Neither Merkel’s office nor Schaeuble’s finance ministry would confirm or deny the Spiegel report, which drew condemnation from members of both Merkel’s conservative CDU party and the Social Democrats (SPD), the junior partners in her coalition government.


  18. rikyrah says:

    The right’s confused celebration about Harvard healthcare
    01/06/15 08:45 AM
    By Steve Benen
    If you pay attention to conservative online media, you know that one story yesterday became The Most Hilarious Article Ever for conservatives nationwide. The piece, of course, was this New York Times report on Harvard’s health care system.
    For years, Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will now be applied to the Harvard faculty, and the professors are in an uproar.

    Members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the heart of the 378-year-old university, voted overwhelmingly in November to oppose changes that would require them and thousands of other Harvard employees to pay more for health care. The university says the increases are in part a result of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, which many Harvard professors championed.
    For the right, the news was nothing short of delicious: liberal, Ivy League eggheads celebrated the Affordable Care Act, right up until they were confronted with higher premiums, caused by “Obamacare.” Now, conservatives declared, those Harvard elitists are starting to realize their precious ACA is awful, just as Republicans have warned all along.

    Conservative media, feeling vindicated, spent the day celebrating the Harvard faculty’s discontent. And that’s a shame because the right’s crowing reinforced suspicions that conservatives still don’t understand what they’re talking about.

    Let’s note at the outset that the Harvard faculty aren’t exactly facing hardship as a result of the Affordable Care Act. As Sarah Kliff noted, the scholars will transition from an extraordinarily generous health care plan to a still-amazing health care plan.
    [T]he Harvard plan is still really generous. Professors will have better, more robust insurance coverage than most other people who get insurance at work. And they’ll definitely have better plans than the people buying coverage through Obamacare’s marketplace.

    The New York Times story reports that the new Harvard plan will cover, on average, 91 percent of enrollees’ costs…. A plan that covers 91 percent of enrollees’ costs is not unprecedented. But it is definitely better than what most workers get offered.
    To enjoy these wonderful benefits, Harvard faculty will now have to pay an annual deductibles of $250 – which is more than the well-compensated scholars are used to paying, but far less than most American consumers are accustomed to.

    In other words, those who see this story as proof of the ACA “punishing” people are badly confused


  19. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

    Been up before 5 am, shoveling snow so that I could get to work today.

  20. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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