Saturday Open Thread

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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33 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Published on Feb 7, 2015
    Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton, Mott Hall Bridges Academy principal Nadia Lopez, and 13-year-old student Vidal Chastanet interview President Obama in the Oval Office.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Michelle and Malia Obama tour colleges in NYC
    by theGrio | February 7, 2015 at 11:20 AM

    On Friday, Malia and Michelle Obama were spotted around New York City touring campuses. It seems Malia, who is a junior in high school, is already looking ahead to maybe follow in her father’s footsteps.

    The pair were spotted touring NYU, Barnard College and the president’s alma mater, Columbia University.

    With such big names touring the university, it would be nearly impossible for the students not to notice, and several took to blogs and Twitter to relay their First Family sightings.

  3. rikyrah says:

    William Cala, superintendent of schools in Fairport, Néw York, wrote a scathing critique of Governor Cuomo’s plan to increase charter schools, fund “tax credits” for private and religious schools (vouchers), and increase the importance of test scores in teacher evaluations.

    This is what he wrote:

    Dr. Bill Cala
    Superintendent, Fairport Central School District

    Good Morning!
    This week’s State of the State address by Governor Cuomo was what most of us expected. It was an all-out assault on public education, teachers, children, families and local control. It appears that breaking teachers is his solution to poverty, income inequality and inadequate school funding.
    As we have experienced on a first-hand basis over the past few years, the APPR system is indeed a fatally flawed proxy for genuine evaluation done at the local level. The governor’s solution is to up the ante by increasing the tenure period to 5 years and making state test scores 50% of a teacher’s evaluation. Given the already bogus cut score setting process for the state exams, we are assured of a whole new wave of unreliable ratings designed to crush teachers, close schools and open the door to his other “reforms,” such as lifting the cap on charter schools and creating a tax credit for private schools and charters and increasing the amount the state gives charters per pupil. This last item of increasing charter aid is especially interesting as there are no strings attached. The regular public schools will only get an increase in aid if the legislature approves all of his draconian measures mentioned above. Two major studies have demonstrated with great clarity that charters perform worse than public schools and only 17% of charters perform equal or better to publics (CREDO 2013). Apparently, that’s fine….they get increases in spite of their failing performance.
    Let’s be clear that the governor’s agenda has nothing to do with what is good for kids. Far from it. It is what is good for his financial supporters: the corporations who are making billions of dollars on the tests, the texts, the technology, the corporate professional development and the data collection, retrieval and distribution.
    As this country gets poorer and poorer and the few get richer and richer the pride of our nation, its public schools, are being disassembled while Bill Gates, The Walton’s, The Koch Brothers, Eli Broad and other scavengers are feasting at the table of greed.
    While the situation may seem hopeless, I believe parents are able to bring this tyranny to a screeching halt. Assessments should be used only for the benefit of students…..nothing else. Last year over 60,000 parents in New York refused the 3-8 tests. This year it is expect that number will triple. The refusal movement will indeed collapse the evaluation system and the governor’s plan to dismantle public education.
    Parents will play a critical role. What role will we play? How will we speak out? This is our profession. These are our children. This is our responsibility.
    Action and activism takes courage. Last week I spoke of my hero Rosa Parks. Let her courage and actions inspire us. I will close with the wisdom and inspiration of Frederick Douglass.

  4. rikyrah says:

    One Video Sums Up the Harrowing Talk Parents Often Have With Black Children
    By Derrick Clifton February 06, 2015

    The past six months of news coverage have been nothing short of a nightmare for parents of black kids.

    That’s a sentiment underscored by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who in a December interview recounted the advice he shared with with his biracial son, Dante. Shortly after a Staten Island grand jury voted not to indict the officer who killed Eric Garner in a chokehold, he told ABC News, “What parents have done for decades who have children of color, especially young men of color, is train them to be very careful when they have … an encounter with a police officer.”

    Black parents and young people alike are doing just that in a new video that offers 10 rules of survival. The two-minute PSA-style video from the SALT Project walks through some basic but potentially life-saving tips for handling any police stop. And each of the rules were given with tender, yet pointed words of advice: “Your goal is to get home safely.”

  5. Liza says:

    Ms. Anne Moody’s autobiography is one of the best books ever written by an American author, in my opinion.

    Anne Moody, author of ‘Coming of Age in Mississippi,’ has died
    Jerry Mitchell, The Clarion-Ledger 12:32 p.m. CST February 7, 2015

    Anne Moody, who wrote the classic memoir, “Coming of Age in Mississippi,” has died.

    “She had determination,” recalled the Rev. Ed King, the former chaplain of Tougaloo College. “That determination carried on in her work in the civil rights movement, gave her strength to stand up to things.”

    Born in 1940 in Wilkinson County, she attended segregated schools and worked to help her poor family.

    While attending Natchez Junior College, she became involved with the civil rights movement. She then attended Tougaloo College, where her involvement grew deeper.

    On May 28, 1963, she took part in the sit-in at Woolworth’s in downtown Jackson. A mob attacked her, Joan Trumpauer and Tougaloo professor John Salter Jr. and others, hitting them and pouring flour, salt, sugar and mustard on top of them.

    It was the most violent response to a sit-in in the 1960s in the U.S.

    In 1968, she wrote a memoir about her involvement in the movement, “Coming of Age in Mississippi.”

    She went on to write more stories for books and magazines.

    “In the beginning I never really saw myself as a writer,” she said. “I was first and foremost an activist in the civil rights movement in Mississippi.”

    Salter will never forget her.

    “Her book, ‘Coming of Age in Mississippi,’ guarantees her immortality,” he wrote. “But more than that, we shall always remember a brave and plucky and committed human being who, despite the many and various vicissitudes, continued toward the Sun.”

  6. Ametia says:

    WOW! Just catching up with story. Brian Williams must have really pissed off some folks!

    • Ametia says:

      “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams says he has “decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days” amid questions over claims to have been under fire in Iraq.

      He added in a statement posted on that “it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions.

      Williams, the anchor of “NBC Nightly News,” apologized on Wednesday for claiming — as recently as last week — that in the early stages of the Iraq War he’d been on a helicopter that was “forced down after being hit by an RPG.”

      Stars and Stripes reported on Wednesday that “Williams arrived in the area about an hour later on another helicopter,” one that “took no fire and landed later beside the damaged helicopter due to an impending sandstorm from the Iraqi desert.”

      Williams blamed the differing accounts on a foggy memory

      • majiir says:

        He lied, and he knows he lied. He just didn’t expect to get challenged about his lies. Imo, getting caught lying is the only thing he regrets.

  7. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    At the LBJ Library:

    ……warm-up robe (1983.61.1) worn by Heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman. The lettering reads “George Foreman – The Fighting Corpsman.” In a letter to Lady Bird, George said, “I wore the robe with pride because it had been President Johnson’s Job Corps which had changed my direction in life. By wearing it, I thought all those Job Corpsmen out there would see that one among them was making it, and maybe it would help them believe they could as well.”

  8. The Foolish, Historically Illiterate, Incredible Response to Obama’s Prayer Breakfast Speech

    People who wonder why the president does not talk more about race would do well to examine the recent blow-up over his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. Inveighing against the barbarism of ISIS, the president pointed out that it would be foolish to blame Islam, at large, for its atrocities. To make this point he noted that using religion to brutalize other people is neither a Muslim invention nor, in America, a foreign one:


    The “all too often” could just as well be “almost always.” There were a fair number of pretexts given for slavery and Jim Crow, but Christianity provided the moral justification. On the cusp of plunging his country into a war that would cost some 750,000 lives, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens paused to offer some explanation. His justification was not secular. The Confederacy was to be:


    Stephens went on to argue that the “Christianization of the barbarous tribes of Africa” could only be accomplished through enslavement. And enslavement was not made possible through Robert’s Rules of Order, but through a 250-year reign of mass torture, industrialized murder, and normalized rape—tactics which ISIS would find familiar. Its moral justification was not “because I said so,” it was “Providence,” “the curse against Canaan,” “the Creator,” “and Christianization.” In just five years, 750,000 Americans died because of this peculiar mission of “Christianization.” Many more died before, and many more died after. In his “Segregation Now” speech, George Wallace invokes God 27 times and calls the federal government opposing him “a system that is the very opposite of Christ.”

    More at the link above

  9. Ametia says:

    Republicans cut and pasted their ‘new’ Obamacare alternative
    By Dana Milbank Opinion writer February 6 at 8:21 PM

    Congressional Republicans took a novel approach to announcing their Obamacare alternative this week: out with the old and… well, back in with the old.

    On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee put out a news release announcing “Burr, Hatch, Upton Unveil Obamacare Replacement Plan.” The three men, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (Utah), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (Mich.) and Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.), are well-regarded legislators, and the press went along with this “news.”

  10. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning Everyone.
    Off to swim and run errands.

  11. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Rikyrah earlier posted a tweet about the case being taken up by the Supreme Court that could threaten the Fair Housing Act. I feel we need to watch this case very, very closely.

    Here is another article on the case:
    “Supreme Court’s Latest Race Case: Housing Discrimination”
    Many fear Texas case could gut the landmark Fair Housing Act.

    January 21, 2015

    This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will take up one of the most important civil rights cases of the last decade. If you’ve never heard of Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, you have company. The issue of housing segregation has never captivated the nation’s attention like affirmative action or voting rights.

    But today, two days after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the court will hear arguments in the Texas case that many fear could gut the Fair Housing Act, the landmark 1968 law that was passed just days after King’s assassination.

    “This case has as broad of a reach as anything the court has decided in the last 10 years,” said Myron Orfield, director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota Law School, because housing segregation is the foundation of racial inequality in the United States.

    The case concerns whether the Fair Housing Act, which sought to end the longstanding segregation of America’s neighborhoods, should be read to only bar intentional discrimination. For four decades, federal courts have held that the law should be interpreted more broadly, ruling again and again that if the policies of governmental agencies, banks or private real estate companies unjustifiably perpetuate segregation, regardless of their intent, they could be found in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

    All 11 of the federal circuit courts that have considered the question have seen it that way. As well, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the agency charged with administering the act, issued a regulation enshrining the principle in 2013.

    The nation’s highest court does not typically intervene in cases unless there’s been disagreement in the lower courts. But this court has been determined to have its say on the housing issue and the legal theory that has come to be known as “disparate impact.” The Texas case marks the third effort in as many years by the current justices to consider the intent and reach of the housing act. The other two cases were withdrawn or settled in deals reached before oral arguments, as fair housing advocates feared they would lose before the Roberts Court.

    “It is unusual for the Court to agree to hear a case when the law is clearly settled. It’s even more unusual to agree to hear the issue three years in a row,” said Ian Haney López, a University of California, Berkeley law professor.

    The Texas case involves a nonprofit organization that works to promote integrated communities and the Texas state housing authority. The nonprofit, Inclusive Communities, showed that nearly all the affordable housing tax credits approved by the Texas housing agency had been assigned to Dallas’ black neighborhoods and almost none of it to white neighborhoods. A federal judge did not find intentional discrimination on the part of Texas officials, but held that the outcome unacceptably increased housing segregation and that the housing agency could have taken steps to ensure that affordable housing units were allotted more equally.

    Texas appealed the ruling, raising the stakes when it decided to challenge whether the Fair Housing Act allowed such “disparate impact” rulings at all.

    For many, the Supreme Court’s persistence signals a determination to install intentional discrimination alone as the standard for such cases. The Roberts Court is considered by a host of scholars and others to be the most conservative since the 1930s, and so such an outcome would be consistent with its more narrow interpretations of laws governing voting rights and school segregation.

    “Those who care about eradicating housing discrimination have to be very concerned about the Supreme Court taking this case,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California School of Law, where he is a constitutional scholar.

    Elizabeth Julian, president of the Inclusive Communities Project and the former Assistant Secretary of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at HUD, is among those who are worried.

    “Reversing essentially four decades of case law would send a message that is very concerning,” Julian said.

    A few generations ago, most housing discrimination was overt. Banks openly refused to lend to black homebuyers. Public housing officials used to announce that certain developments were for white residents, others for Latinos. But the nature of housing segregation has evolved over the years, and the fight against it has had to change as well. Today, banks may well charge higher loan rates in certain communities, but they can also insist it has nothing to do with those neighborhoods being black or Latino. Local planning boards can concede that most affordable housing efforts have been placed in black neighborhoods, but maintain that it was not by malicious design.

    The theory of disparate impact, then, has often been the only tool to address ongoing housing discrimination. Landlords or lenders who implement policies or practices that disproportionately impact racial minorities can be found in violation of civil rights law if they cannot justify those practices – even if no one can show they acted out of racial animus.

    The U.S. Department of Justice has used disparate impact to win record settlements from banks that charged higher rates to black and Latino borrowers with similar credit histories as white borrowers, but could not justify the practice.

    A fair housing group used disparate impact to topple a “blood relative” ordinance passed by nearly all-white St. Bernard’s Parish in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The ordinance barred homeowners from renting to anyone who was not kin. Civil rights lawyers were convinced officials passed this law to keep out black renters, but could not prove racist motivations. But when St. Bernard’s Parish could not come up with a plausible justification for the ordinance, a court struck it down.

    This tool, for the first time, is in real jeopardy.

    The Supreme Court has been weakening many civil rights protections for decades. The Rehnquist Court, for instance, was known for getting the courts out of the business of addressing racial inequities. But the Roberts Court has gone a critical step further, severely curbing efforts undertaken by Congress and the executive branch to address our nation’s long history of discrimination.

    In 2007, the Roberts Court came down against two school districts that were trying to maintain gains in integration. In 2009, the court ended the attempts of New Haven, Conn., officials to ensure that the city’s promotion practices were fair after no black firemen passed a promotion exam, saying the efforts discriminated against white firefighters. In 2013, it held that a key provision of the Voting Rights Act intended to address the disenfranchisement of black voters had expired. And last year, it upheld Michigan voter-approved ban on affirmative action.

    “The Supreme Court is newly aggressive in the area of race,” said Haney López. It is targeting efforts by other branches of society to remedy segregation and is striking them down.”

    Strikingly, if it ultimately rules against Inclusive Communities, in under a decade the Roberts Court will have limited pivotal protections in each of the three landmark civil rights laws passed in the 1960s: the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

  12. Good morning, all!

    Pour a little sugar on it, honey
    Pour a little sugar on it, baby

    I’m gonna make your life so sweet, yeah, yeah, yeah…

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