Tuesday Open Thread | Mariah Carey Week

More of Mariah Carey.

Mariah Carey-6


1993–96: Music Box, international breakthrough, and Daydream

During early 1993, Carey began working on her third studio album, Music Box.[49] After Emotions failed to achieve the commercial heights of her debut album, Carey and Columbia came to the agreement that the next album would contain a more pop influenced sound, in order to appeal to a wider audience.[49] During Carey’s writing sessions, she began working mostly with Afanasieff, with whom she co-wrote and produced most of Music Box.[48] On August 31, Music Box was released around the world, debuting at number-one on the Billboard 200.[50] The album was met with mixed reception from music critics; while many praised the album’s pop influence and strong content, others felt that Carey made less usage of her acclaimed vocal range.[51] Ron Wynn from AllMusic described Carey’s different form of singing on the album: “It was wise for Carey to display other elements of her approach, but sometimes excessive spirit is preferable to an absence of passion.”[52] The album’s second single, “Hero”, would eventually come to be one of Carey’s most popular and inspirational songs of her career.[53] The song became Carey’s eighth chart topper in the United States,[53] and began expanding Carey’s popularity throughout Europe. With the release of the album’s third single, Carey achieved several career milestones. Her cover of Badfinger’s “Without You” became her first number one single in Germany, Sweden,[54] and the United Kingdom.[55]

Music Box spent prolonged periods at number one on the album charts of several countries,[56] and eventually became one of the best-selling albums of all time, with worldwide sales of over 32 million copies.[48] After declining to tour for her past two albums, Carey agreed to embark on a short stateside string of concerts, titled the Music Box Tour.[57] Spanning only six dates across North America,[57] the short but successful tour was a large step for Carey, who dreaded the hassle of touring.[58] Following Music Box, Carey took a relatively large period of time away from the public eye, and began working on an unknown project throughout 1994.[59] In October 1994, Billboard announced that Carey would release a holiday album later that year.[59] That 1994, Carey recorded a duet with Luther Vandross; a cover of Lionel Richie and Diana Ross’s “Endless Love”.[60] Carey’s album Merry Christmas was released on November 1, 1994, on the same day that the album’s first single, “All I Want for Christmas Is You”, was released.[61] The album eventually became the best-selling Christmas album of all time, with global sales reaching over 15 million copies.[62][63][64] Additionally, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” was critically lauded, and is considered “one of the few worthy modern additions to the holiday canon.”[62] Rolling Stone described it as a “holiday standard”, and ranked it fourth on its Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs list.[65] Commercially, it became the best-selling holiday ringtone of all time,[66] and the best-selling single by a non-Asian artist in Japan,[67] selling over 2.1 million units (both ringtone and digital download).[68][69] By the end of the holiday season of 1994, Carey and Afanasieff had already begun writing material for her next studio album, which would be released late the following year.[70]

Released on October 3, 1995, Daydream combined the pop sensibilities of Music Box with downbeat R&B and hip hop influences.[71] The album’s second single, “One Sweet Day” was inspired by the death of David Cole, as well as her sister Alison, who had contracted AIDS.[72] The song remained atop the Hot 100 for a record-holding 16 weeks, and became the longest-running number-one song in history.[73] Daydream became her biggest-selling album in the United States,[74] and became her second album to be certified Diamond by the RIAA, following Music Box.[47] The album again was the best-seller by an international artist in Japan, shipping over 2.2 million copies,[75] and eventually reaching global sales of over 25 million units.[32] Critically, the album was heralded as Carey’s best to date; The New York Times named it one of 1995’s best albums, and wrote, “best cuts bring R&B candy-making to a new peak of textural refinement […] Carey’s songwriting has taken a leap forward and become more relaxed, sexier and less reliant on thudding clichés.”[76] Carey once again opted to embark on a short world tour titled Daydream World Tour. It had seven dates, three in Japan and four throughout Europe.[77] When tickets went on sale, Carey set records when all 150,000 tickets for her three shows at Japan’s largest stadium, Tokyo Dome, sold out in under three hours, breaking the previous record held by The Rolling Stones.[77] Due to the album’s success, Carey won two awards at the American Music Awards for her solo efforts: Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist.[78] Daydream and its singles were respectively nominated in six categories at the 38th Grammy Awards.[79] Carey, along with Boyz II Men, opened the event with a performance of “One Sweet Day”.[80] However, Carey did not receive any award, prompting her to comment “What can you do? I will never be disappointed again. After I sat through the whole show and didn’t win once, I can handle anything.”[80] In 1995, due to Daydream ’​s enormous Japanese sales, Billboard declared Carey the “Overseas Artist of the Year” in Japan.[81]

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44 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | Mariah Carey Week

  1. Liza says:

    Racial bias in Ferguson? Yes, water is wet.

  2. Liza says:

    Like this would surprise anyone?


  3. eliihass says:

    The idea that the P.M of a country we pretty much finance and protect will be given the podium and microphone to undermine and insult our President before our Congress and by our Congress, blows the mind.

    Notwithstanding the blatant condescension and the fake graciousness that was as empty and hollow as it was insincere, even as the foreign P.M plainly said that he was speaking out because our President was too naive, too unintelligent, to know how to tackle the job he was elected to do.

    Netanyahu all but told the world standing before our Congress – at the invitation of our Congress, that he knows better than our President.

    Are we just going to stand by and once again and tolerate this?

  4. rikyrah says:


    Governor Tom Wolf ✔ @GovernorTomWolf
    “So the 1st thing my budget does is restore the $1 billion in cuts to public education that occurred under the previous admin.” – Gov. Wolf
    10:45 AM – 3 Mar 2015

    • eliihass says:

      Are we *all* really? Or is this just another one of those flatter the *women*, a la Ann Romney, give them a false sense of belonging and sisterhood purely for the purposes of rallying for and electing Hillary as the metaphor for all women – even when she is not and never was.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Morning Plum: Fight over Netanyahu and Iran could split Democrats
    By Greg Sargent
    March 3 at 9:30 AM 

    In his speech to Congress today, Benjamin Netanyahu will reiterate his argument that President Obama’s push for an international deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program is naive and dangerous for Israel. The Obama administration argues that a well-defined, enforceable deal is actually the best hope for preventing Iran from gaining nukes.

    But the theatrics attending the conflict between the two leaders — standing ovations in Congress; Democrats skipping the speech; etc. — will eventually fade from the headlines. And the talks with Iran could ultimately lead to another conflict: A split among Democrats, with ramifications for the 2016 presidential race.

    Consider: If the Obama administration and other world powers do reach a deal with Iran, Hillary Clinton — the all-but-certain Democratic nominee — will presumably have to take a clear position on it.

    In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg last August, Clinton said that Israel’s position in opposition to any Iranian enrichment capacity is “not an unrealistic position,” seemingly laying down a harder line than the Obama administration. However, Clinton had previously claimed some enrichment is acceptable under certain circumstances, and last month she came out against legislation to impose new sanctions on Iran, which the administration fears could scuttle the nuclear talks.

    The bottom line is that a deal with Iran would likely exert pressure on her to firm up her position. While it seems likely Clinton would back any such deal, any hedging is likely to provoke anger on the left.

    Indeed, in another piece of Iran-related news, two major progressive groups — MoveOn and CREDO Action — are vowing a campaign against any Democrats who undermine a nuclear deal with Iran. The heads of the two groups write:


  6. rikyrah says:

    Pelosi ‘near tears’ at Bibi ‘insult’

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hammered Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday, saying the Israeli prime minister’s speech to Congress was an “insult” to the country.

    “The unbreakable bonds between the United States and Israel are rooted in our shared values, our common ideals and mutual interests,” Pelosi said in a statement just after the speech.

    “That is why, as one who values the U.S. — Israel relationship, and loves Israel, I was near tears throughout the Prime Minister’s speech — saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5 +1 nations, and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.”

    More than 50 House Democrats skipped the speech, in part to protest Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) decision to invite Netanyahu without first notifying the White House. Democrats were also upset that the address was scheduled close to the Israeli elections.

    Pelosi made a point of declining to join several of the standing ovations during Netanyahu’s speech and often took longer than other lawmakers to rise from her seat. She also kept commenting to her seat-mate, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), using forceful gestures.


  7. rikyrah says:



    Petraeus Mistress Got Black Books Full of Code Words, Spy Names, and Obama Briefings

    The one-time CIA director didn’t just disclose secrets to his mistress. He shared with her some of the most sensitive information the Pentagon has.
    David Petraeus, a retired four-star general and former director of the CIA, pleaded guilty Tuesday to giving highly classified information to his ex-mistress. The information came in the form of eight black books that contained everything from identities of covert officers to discussions with President Obama.

    The Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation alleged back in 2012 that Petraeus gave secret information to Paula Broadwell, but the seriousness of the information wasn’t clear until now.

    While he was commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, Petraeus “maintained bound, five-by-eight inch notebooks that contained his daily schedule and classified and unclassified notes he took during official meetings, conferences and briefings,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina writes in a statement of fact regarding the case.

    The notebooks had black covers with Petraeus’s business card taped on the front of each of them.

    All eight books “collectively contained classified information regarding the identifies of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level national Security council meetings…and discussions with the president of the United states.”

    The books also contained “national defense information, including Top Secret/SCI and code word information,” according to the court papers. In other words: These weren’t just ordinary secrets. This was highly, highly classified material.


    • eliihass says:

      And this was the guy they told us was our smartest and our best in intelligence and security! All it took was a largely plain and not even marginally intelligent woman to get him to turn over the most sensitive security codes and documents.

      • majiir says:

        I know you remember when many on the right were pushing him to run for POTUS a few short years ago, too. They were tripping over themselves to defend his being married and having an affair, all while claiming that they’re some of the world’s “bestest” Christians, and that they use Christianity to “determine how they live” in all situations. Their selective use of Christianity sickens me.

        Now that they’ve been made aware of the ways in which Petraeus betrayed his country for sex, he should serve as a kind of cautionary warning system to many on the right about the danger of elevating America’s homegrown enemies to important positions just because they “like” them, but who am I fooling?

        Any group of persons who can believe that Newt Gingrich, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Chuck Norris, Dinesh D’Souza, Donald Rumsfeld, and other self-serving, vicious, nutty, warmongering, persons in the GOP/TP are “fine fellows” and “very patriotic” Americans who have our nation’s best interests at heart can be convinced that anyone they like is the same.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Walker embraces a familiar anti-intellectualism
    03/03/15 10:08 AM—UPDATED 03/03/15 10:34 AM
    By Steve Benen
    As president, George W. Bush had an annoying habit of telling one specific joke over and over again: “I remind people that, like, when I’m with Condi, I say, ‘She’s the Ph.D. and I’m the C student and just look at who’s the president and who’s the advisor.’”

    Republican audiences invariably laughed whenever Bush told the joke, but the humor always struck me as misplaced. It’s not exactly a positive message to young people: study, get good grades, and work hard in school, and someday you too can take orders from a guy who struggled to graduate.

    In 2011, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) made similar jokes, poking fun at his poor grades and boasting about what a lousy student he was in school. “I graduated in the top 10 of my graduating class – of 13,” Perry bragged, invariably prompting laughter and applause from GOP audiences.

    This year, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) isn’t yet offering similar punch-lines, but he is keeping the anti-intellectual strain alive.
    Walker responded by ticking through his recent itinerary of face time with foreign policy luminaries: a breakfast with Henry Kissinger, a huddle with George P. Shultz and tutorials at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution.

    But then Walker suggested that didn’t much matter. “I think foreign policy is something that’s not just about having a PhD or talking to PhD’s,” he said. “It’s about leadership.”
    I don’t much care that Walker dropped out of college and never got a degree. I do care, however, about him dismissing those with doctorates, as if vague platitudes about “leadership” are a meaningful substitute for actual expertise.

    America has, of course, had plenty of great presidents who lacked post-graduate degrees, but note Walker’s specific claim: a president even “talking to” those with a PhD, he said, isn’t especially important.

    “It’s about leadership”? That’s fine, I suppose, but leadership based on what? If an inexperienced leader with limited policy expertise is faced with an international crisis, maybe he or she would benefit from a discussion or two with folks who’ve studied foreign policy for much of their adult lives?

    The substitute would be an overconfident president who believes his “gut” is determinative. I think we know how well this turned out the last time the country tried this route.

    Way back in 2008, Paul Krugman complained that “know-nothingism” has become too common in Republican circles: “[T]he insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise – has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: ‘Real men don’t think things through.’”


  9. rikyrah says:

    Boehner to Allow Clean Homeland Security Vote (Updated)
    March 3, 2015

    Speaker John Boehner “told his restive flock Tuesday that he will allow a vote on a clean Homeland Security spending bill later today, citing concerns about terrorism and pinning blame on the Senate for failing to pass limits on President Obama’s immigration actions,” Roll Call reports.

    “The Ohio Republican told his members the Senate’s DHS bill would be brought up for a vote after it arrives back in the House later today, according to a source in the room. That effectively leaves it up to the courts to rein in Obama — or not.”

    Said Boehner: “Unfortunately, the fight was never won in the other chamber. Democrats stayed united and blocked our bill, and our Republican colleagues in the Senate never found a way to win this fight.”


  10. rikyrah says:

    Hacked emails indicate that Hillary Clinton used a domain registered the day of her Senate confirmation hearings
    By Philip Bump March 2 at 10:15 PM

    The New York Times reported Monday night that, during her tenure at the State Department, Hillary Clinton never used her official email account to conduct communications, relying instead on a private email account. As the Times notes, only official accounts are automatically retained under the Federal Records Act, meaning that none of Clinton’s email communication was preserved.

    In March 2013, an adviser to Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal, had his email hacked by “Guccifer” — the Romanian hacker perhaps best known for revealing George W. Bush’s paintings to the world. At the time, Gawker reported that Blumenthal was communicating with an account that appeared to belong to Clinton at the “clintonemail.com” domain. The content of some of those emails was published by RT.com.

    Examining the registry information for “clintonemail.com” reveals that the domain was first created on January 13, 2009 — one week before President Obama was sworn into office, and the same day that Clinton’s confirmation hearings began before the Senate.


  11. rikyrah says:

    elections have consequences

    Sen. Kathleen Vinehout: Another awful Scott Walker idea: privatizing Family Care
    March 02, 2015 5:30 am

    “You have got to be kidding!” a Chippewa Valley advocate responded when I told her about a plan to potentially turn Family Care over to a for-profit insurance company.

    Family Care and its fee-for-service sister, IRIS, provide thousands of Medicaid-eligible frail elderly and disabled people the help they need to remain in their homes. Services could include help getting places, keeping a job, managing money, preparing meals, keeping healthy, bathing and dressing.

    People who benefit from Family Care or IRIS might easily end up in an expensive institution. Personal care and other workers help them stay in their own home and — many times — stay gainfully employed.

    If the current version of the governor’s budget becomes law, it will mean big changes to care for frail elderly and disabled people of modest means. For the rest of us, it could mean many more of our neighbors and family members end up in expensive institutions. Worse yet, folks could be stranded at home without the services they need to independently live and work.


  12. rikyrah says:

    No One to Blame But Herself
    Posted by John Cole +0 at 10:42 pm Mar 022015 WTF is wrong with HRC:

    Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.

    Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.

    It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.

    Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.

    “It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.

    A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, Nick Merrill, defended her use of the personal email account and said she has been complying with the “letter and spirit of the rules.”

    Under federal law, however, letters and emails written and received by federal officials, such as the secretary of state, are considered government records and are supposed to be retained so that congressional committees, historians and members of the news media can find them. There are exceptions to the law for certain classified and sensitive materials.

    Not only is it not secure and a breach of that protocol, but since she will never turn over her full personal email, now she fuels speculation that she is withholding emails. Just idiocy. Can she doing anything without an unforced error?

    She needs to declare her candidacy now, we need other to come forward to challenge her, and she needs to get her shit together and win or lose or the Democrats are screwed in 2016.


  13. rikyrah says:

    Go Wesley!

    Wesley Snipes Inks First-Look Development Deal with Sony Pictures Television

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act

    March 2, 2015 at 2:12PM

    I expected that, after his release from prison last year, Wesley Snipes would be in heavy demand! But that hasn’t quite been the case – at least, not yet. Other than “Expendables 3,” which was released last summer, he doesn’t really have any definite big screen commitments, which may be why he’s making a move to the small screen.

    After signing up for what could be his first TV regular series role (assuming it’s picked up as a full series), in NBC’s thriller pilot “Endgame,” Mr Snipes has inked a first-look deal with the studio behind the pilot, Sony Pictures Television, that will see the actor develop and produce a diverse slate of projects, via his Maandi Media shingle, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    “It’s very exciting to be putting on my producing hat again,” the actor said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to reuniting with the studio responsible for the success of my film ‘The Fan.’”

    In “Endgame,” which hails from the producers of “Leverage” and “The Blacklist, the series is set in Las Vegas, where a former sniper turned security expert (played by Philip Winchester) is drawn into a conspiracy that forces him to complete a series of heroic challenges, which are all part of a game he has to play in order to save innocent lives.

    Snipes has signed up to play a character named Johnson, who is described as the highly intelligent, analytical, and unflappable “pit boss” of the game that Winchester’s character is caught up in.


  14. rikyrah says:

    Up Next for Carmen Ejogo: 1960s-Set Jazzy Love Story ‘Born to Be Blue’ w/ Ethan Hawke

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act
    March 2, 2015 at 4:22PM

    With “Selma” now behind her, actress Carmen Ejogo will next be seen alongside Ethan Hawke in “Born to Be Blue,” a film based on the life of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker.

    Hawke stars as Baker in the film, which is set in the 1960s, when his career was seemingly over after he lost his teeth in a violent attack. The film follows his comeback attempt with the support of the tough love of his partner, played by Carmen Ejogo.

    As you might assume, race is of importance in the film, with writer/director Robert Budreau describing it as the story of “a beautiful, white West Coast icon” (who happens to be married to a mixed-race woman) whose goal is to “get the respect of his black idols,” like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie.

    He adds that it’s “a mature love story,” comparing it to “Walk the Line,” the 2005 film based on the early life of Johnny Cash, and his romance with June Carter.

    Hawke reportedly learned to play the trumpet for the film, and all the performances in the film are his own.


  15. rikyrah says:

    Towards Defining the Black Film: The Genuine, the Compromised, and the Token

    By Andre Seewood | Shadow and Act
    March 2, 2015 at 6:06PM

    To put forth a definition about any kind of a film outside of its dramatic genre might strike one as both pedantic and unnecessary, particularly the notion of defining something so visually self-evident as a Black film. But the ideological complexity of our times, as well as, the increasingly socially acceptable cognitive dissonance that often requires us to hold on to two or more contradictory perspectives depending on the social context or the people with whom one is interacting, makes such a definition of a Black film necessary.

    Since the color of one’s skin is in no way indicative of one’s ability to empathize, support, protect, respect and/or love another Black person or any person of color as a whole, it could be productive to define what is a Black film for the benefit of both the spectators who watch Black films and for those who make or intend to make Black films.

    The definition of a Black film that I will put forth here has two interdependent parts. Although I will for the sake of analysis discuss these two parts separately, it should be maintained that the two parts are always at work in tandem during our viewing of films that the American Entertainment Complex defines as Black films and even those films that can be defined as White. The ultimate goal of the definition of a Black film is so that critics, theorists, causal viewers and most importantly filmmakers can better discern when Black actors are merely being used as tokens to feign racial inclusiveness as opposed to when certain filmmakers are using Black actors to be critical of the status quo, encourage racial empathy, tolerance, diversity and/or attack the general power imbalance that exists along the lines of race and class within a highly stratified society.

    Of course by defining a Black film I will be, ipso facto, defining a White film and any other kind of film that is not Black. I believe that the subsequent conclusions drawn from the definition of a Black film can aid us on the path to true racial inclusivity through the multiple perspectives upon a single film or a genre of films that such definitions will provide. These multiple perspectives can only enrich our discussion of film as an art form that can be seen through many different opposing and parallel perspectives.

    The first part of the definition of a Black film can be expressed as: a Black film is a film with a majority Black cast that situates Whites, if any, in peripheral or non-influential roles where the narrative resolves itself by giving more dramatic attention to the emotions and circumstances of the Black character(s). The second part of the definition of a Black film is a consequence of the first part in that the concept of dramatic agency (the ability of the character(s) to directly influence and change the circumstances within a story and survive the outcome of those circumstances) is explicitly exercised by the Black characters who are integral to the film’s plot and theme. By contrast a White film is a film with a majority White cast or co-leads that situates Blacks and other minorities, if any, in peripheral or non-influential roles where the narrative resolves itself by giving more dramatic attention to the emotions and circumstances of the White character(s). Dramatic agency is explicitly exercised by Whites in the White film.


  16. rikyrah says:

    go Idris!!

    get those $$$$


    Netflix Really Wants Idris Elba Drama ‘Beasts of No Nation’ & May Spend as Much as $12 Million for it

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act

    March 2, 2015 at 7:53PM

    It made my list of 15 films that might receive some Academy Award consideration this year (read that post, published this morning, here); and now it just might become a Netflix title, as Deadline is reporting that the online streaming platform is nearing a deal to acquire Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of no Nation,” which stars Idris Elba in an onscreen tale that’s based on the novel by Nigerian author, Uzodinma Iweala, which tells the story of a child soldier fighting in the civil war of an unnamed African country.

    Elba plays the leader of the guerrilla group that the boy is forced to join, when civil war tears his family apart and militants kill his father. A complex tale, the novel is explicit, and doesn’t shying away from the harsh stuff – a confrontational, immersive first-person narrative.

    Netflix’s deal, which Deadline says could cost them a whopping $12 million, will obviously also include a theatrical component (if Oscar consideration is of any importance to them, and I’m sure it is), alongside an expected streaming release (globally).

    Assuming an agreement is reached, it’ll be just another expensive pickup for a company that continues to invest quite heavily in producing and acquiring content in a bid to keep, as well as attract new customers, all over the world, in what is becoming an even more competitive environment. Previous comparisons to cable TV network HBO may no longer make sense, as Netflix’s ambitions seem to lie beyond just serial TV, as it makes a push to become what is essentially a full-blown production and distribution studio.


  17. rikyrah says:

    2016 Oscar Outlook – 15 Black Actors, Actresses, Directors, Films That May Be in Contention Next Year

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act
    March 2, 2015 at 12:20PM

    So without further ado, here’s what we have thus far, as the 3rd month of 2015 begins. First, these are films that have definite 2015 release dates (unless the releasing studios push back dates for any of them, later on).

    1 – Will Smith will probably make another run at Oscar with “Concussion,” a drama on based on a GQ article titled “Game Brain,” written by Jeanne Marie Laskas, which follows Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic neuropathologist, who single-handedly made the first discovery of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) in a pro football player, raising public awareness for the degenerative disease. It’s kind of a whistle-blower tale, humanizing the price paid by professional athletes in impact sports, and the political, cultural and corporate interests that fuel the business of professional sports. I imagine it could be something in the mold of Michael Mann’s “The Insider,” which received numerous Academy Award nominations, and in key categories; although it won non of them. Gugu Mbatha-Raw co-stars, playing Will Smith’s wife in the movie which is directed by Peter Landesman (only his second feature directorial effort; although he has screenwriting credits that won a few awards, as did his first film, “Parkland”). But Will and Gugu may act their way into awards season chatter. “Oscar” has eluded Will Smith, despite 2 previous nominations. Playing what will likely be a meaty role in Dr Omalu, in what will also probably be a weighty, dramatic, hopefully finely-crafted project, tackling a very topical subject, just might mean a 3rd. The film is set for a December release.

    2 – Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan re-team for boxing drama “Creed,” after a winning much acclaim for their first pairing, “Fruitvale Station” in 2013. The “Rocky” spin-off also co-stars Tessa Thompson and Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone. The film will see Rocky Balboa acting as a trainer and mentor to the son of one of his previous opponents, Apollo Creed. All eyes will probably be very interested in seeing what Coogler does next, so I anticipate that this won’t be a project lacking in press and critical attention when it’s released in November. The month of its release (typically when studios unload their Oscar-worthy material) is also noteworthy. And the Academy seems to love a good boxing drama (see “Rocky,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Raging Bull,” and “The Fighter” to start). This year will see the release of at least 2 of them that just might be in contention for Oscars (2 are on this list, including “Creed”). There could be Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor nominations in the film’s future. At the very least, I expect that it’ll be a crowd-pleaser.


    • Kathleen says:

      Can’t wait to see Miles Ahead. It was shot in Cincinnati. Plus Don Cheadle.
      Also, too, I thought Eddie Murphy was terrific in Dream Girls. I do believe that was an Oscar worthy performance. He’s quite versatile.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Monday, March 2, 2015
    A Big Retirement In A Small State
    Posted by Zandar

    The news today that Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland won’t seek re-election in 2016 has both parties scrambling, and the list of her possible replacements includes former Gov. Martin O’Malley. He’s now faced with the question of a very winnable Senate contest versus a long shot Oval Office bid in 2016.

    Several of the seven Maryland Democrats in Congress are expected to consider jumping into the race, including Reps. Chris Van Hollen, Elijah Cummings, Donna Edwards, John Delaney and possibly Rep. John Sarbanes, whose father also served in the Senate.

    Many in Maryland and on Capitol Hill have long viewed Van Hollen, a former aide on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who lives in Montgomery County, as a likely candidate for Senate once Mikulski stepped aside.

    In the last six years, however, Van Hollen has become an increasingly loyal understudy of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has at times considered retiring herself. That means a Van Hollen bid for the Senate could also upend the eventual race to replace Pelosi.

    The Senate seat could also be tempting for O’Malley (D), who left office because of term limits in January and is weighing a 2016 presidential bid that has yet to get any traction.

    O’Malley has been close to Mikulski for decades. He worked as the field director on her 1986 campaign, and O’Malley’s 87-year-old mother continues to serve as Mikulski’s receptionist.

    Mikulski has been cool to the idea of an O’Malley presidential bid, however, announcing she intends to support Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination if the former secretary of state runs.

    At the same time, O’Malley has served in an executive role for the past 15 years — a stint that includes his tenure as Baltimore mayor — and advisers have previously said that he has limited appetite for legislative service.

    Other names being talked about on the Democratic side include Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake; U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, a former Montgomery County Council member and state-level Cabinet secretary; and former Montgomery County delegate Heather Mizeur, who ran unexpectedly strong in last year’s Democratic primary for governor on the strength of progressive support.

    As with Sen. Barbara Boxer’s seat in California, this is a solid blue state where a lot of Dems have been waiting in the wings to claim the prize for a long time. Mikulski has been serving for 29 years in the Senate and 12 in the House before that, making her the longest-serving woman in Congress, but the retirement wasn’t entirely out of the question either as she will be 80 on Election Day in 2016.


  19. rikyrah says:

    Hard Cases

    By Jeffrey Toobin

    he great Supreme Court cases turn on the majestic ambiguities embedded in the Constitution. It is not a simple thing to define and apply terms like “the freedom of speech,” or “equal protection of the laws,” much less explain how much process is “due.” Still, the Justices, in their best moments, have explicated these terms in ways that ennobled the lives of millions. This week, the Court will hear arguments in a momentous case, King v. Burwell, a challenge to a central feature of the Affordable Care Act. But, in contrast to other landmarks in Supreme Court history, the King case is notable mostly for the cynicism at its heart. Instead of grandeur, there is a smallness about this lawsuit in every way except in the stakes riding on its outcome.

    Shortly after the A.C.A. passed, in 2010, a group of conservative lawyers met at a conference in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, and scoured the nine-hundred-page text of the law, looking for grist for possible lawsuits. Michael Greve, a board member of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian outfit funded by, among others, the Koch brothers, said, of the law, “This bastard has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene. I do not care how this is done, whether it’s dismembered, whether we drive a stake through its heart, whether we tar and feather it and drive it out of town, whether we strangle it.” In time, lawyers hired by the C.E.I. discovered four words buried in Section 36B, which refers to the exchanges—now known as marketplaces—where people can buy health-insurance policies. The A.C.A. created federal tax subsidies for those earning less than a certain income to help pay for their premiums and other expenses, and, in describing who is eligible, Section 36B refers to exchanges “established by the State.” However, thirty-four states, most of them under Republican control, refused to create exchanges; for residents of such states, the law had established a federal exchange. But, according to the conjurings of the C.E.I. attorneys, the subsidies should be granted only to people who bought policies on the state exchanges, because of those four words in Section 36B. The lawyers recruited plaintiffs and filed a lawsuit; their goal is to revoke the subsidies provided to the roughly seven and a half million people who were left no choice by the states where they live but to buy on the federal exchange.

    The claim borders on the frivolous. The plaintiffs can’t assert that the A.C.A. violates the Constitution, because the Justices narrowly upheld the validity of the law in 2012. Rather, the suit claims that the Obama Administration is violating the terms of its own law. But the A.C.A. never even suggests that customers on the federal exchange are ineligible for subsidies. In fact, there’s a provision that says that, if a state refuses to open an exchange, the federal government will “establish and operate such Exchange within the State.” The congressional debate over the A.C.A. included fifty-three meetings of the Senate Finance Committee and seven days of committee debates on amendments. The full Senate spent twenty-five consecutive days on it, the second-longest session ever on a single piece of legislation. There were similar marathons in the House. Yet no member of Congress ever suggested that the subsidies were available only on the state exchanges. This lawsuit is not an attempt to enforce the terms of the law; it’s an attempt to use what is at most a semantic infelicity to kill the law altogether.

    During Obama’s remaining time in office, more challenges to his legacy, like the King case, will work their way through the courts. Even before Republicans took full control of Congress earlier this year, the legislative process had basically come to a halt; now, if the G.O.P. manages to pass laws in both houses, they will likely be met by Presidential vetoes. So Obama’s adversaries have taken their agenda to federal judges, who are nearly as politically polarized as the legislators in Congress. Last month, Republican officeholders in twenty-six states chose to bring a challenge to the President’s immigration plan before Judge Andrew S. Hanen, an outspoken conservative in Brownsville, Texas. On procedural rather than constitutional grounds, Hanen ordered a nationwide hold on the plan, which is a crucial element of the President’s program for his second term.

    In a human sense as much as in a legal one, the stakes in King v. Burwell dwarf those of the immigration lawsuit and, indeed, most cases in the history of the Supreme Court. If the Justices rule for the plaintiffs, the seven and a half million people on the federal exchange who receive tax subsidies will lose them immediately, which means that most of them will also lose their insurance, because they can no longer afford it. Insurance companies will then likely raise rates for the remaining policyholders, many of whom would drop their coverage, leading to even higher rates, and so on; this sequence is known as the A.C.A. death spiral. A remarkable coalition of state officials, insurance companies, hospitals, physicians, and nurses—many among them less than friendly to the Obama Administration—have filed briefs in the case warning of the consequences if the subsidies are withdrawn. A brief written by the deans of nineteen leading schools of public health states with bracing directness that, if the plaintiffs win this case, nearly ten thousand Americans will die unnecessary deaths each year.


  20. rikyrah says:

    Hillary Clinton at the center of email flap
    03/03/15 08:40 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Congress’ latest Benghazi committee asked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to make available emails from her official State Department account. There was just one problem: Clinton never used email through her official State Department account.
    Likely presidential candidate Hillary Clinton may have run afoul of federal record keeping regulations by using only a personal email account during her entire tenure as secretary of state, according to a new report from The New York Times. […]

    Clinton did not have an official government account while at State, using a personal email account to conduct all her business, the Times reported Monday evening.
    A spokesperson for Clinton told the New York Times her use of the personal account is consistent with the “letter and spirit of the rules,” though it’s not yet clear how.

    There’s no shortage of problematic angles to this. Obviously, there’s the question of transparency and compliance with the Federal Records Act. Clinton wasn’t the first Secretary of State to make use of a personal email account – Colin Powell did the same thing during his tenure in the Bush/Cheney administration – but preservation rules have changed and Clinton apparently faced more stringent requirements.

    There’s also the matter of security: as Secretary of State, Clinton sent and received highly sensitive information on a daily basis, including classified materials, from officials around the world. By relying on private email, instead of an encrypted State Department account, Clinton may have created a security risk.

    Politically, though, Republicans find themselves in an awkward position. The RNC issued a statement asking, “[I]t all begs the question: what was Hillary Clinton trying to hide?”

    Putting aside the misuse of “begs the question,” the Republican track record makes this a difficult question to ask.

    Eight years ago, for example, the Bush/Cheney White House ran into trouble when its officials were found to have routinely ignored the Federal Records Act. Among others, Karl Rove, who was accused of widespread abuses, used private email accounts instead of official accounts to conduct administrative business. At the time, Republicans en masse said the controversy wasn’t important.


    • eliihass says:

      It’s not an ’email flap’ try as they may to downplay this. This is a serious breach , one that was carefully calculated and designed to circumvent a standard process – and only to protect her from scrutiny and the consequent fall-out.

      Hillary is the most choreographed and spoon-fed person out there. Without her million and one formal and informal and highly remunerated advisers, she could not function or have a thought in her head. Even the most mundane of issues are chewed up and spit in her mouth. And we are all supposed to think she’s this ‘brilliant’ person when she merely recycles (poorly and stiffly), the thoughts and words of a throng of advisors who think for her.

      We were not supposed to be privy to these back and forth’s that exposed her lack of knowledge and underwhelming performance despite all the superior resources at her disposal. And her people want at any cost to protect their cash cow and access to power and wealth.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Where Congress excels: manufactured crises
    03/02/15 12:40 PM
    By Steve Benen

    Since the Republican victories in the 2010 midterms, Congress has become dysfunctional on a historic scale. Lawmakers have no meaningful legislative accomplishments since the Democratic majorities of 2010, and tasks that were once simple are now nearly impossible.

    But since January 2011, Congress has excelled in one area: manufacturing avoidable crises. If there’s one thing a GOP majority has guaranteed, it’s that the nation’s legislative branch will careen, over and over again, from one self-imposed crisis to the next.

    * April 2011: House Republicans threaten a government shutdown unless Democrats accept GOP demands on spending cuts.

    * July 2011: Republicans create the first-ever debt-ceiling crisis, threatening to default on the nation’s debts unless Democrats accept GOP demands on spending cuts.

    * September 2011: Republicans threaten another shutdown.

    * April 2012: Republicans threaten another shutdown.

    * December 2012: Republicans spend months refusing to negotiate in the lead up to the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

    * January 2013: Republicans raise the specter of another debt-ceiling crisis.

    * September 2013: Republicans threaten another shutdown.

    * October 2013: Republicans actually shut down the government.

    * February 2014: Republicans raise the specter of another debt-ceiling crisis.

    * December 2014: Republicans threaten another shutdown.

    * February 2015: Republicans threaten a Department of Homeland Security shutdown.

    I suspect for many Americans who only passively follow current events, the crisis cycle has become exasperating, and they’re right – great nations can’t expect to function this way indefinitely. But it’s important to realize this isn’t just the result of historic differences between the two major political parties. Rather, it’s the result of a deliberate approach to modern governance – and it’s quite new in historic terms.

    Partisan bickering and gridlock are timeless, but there’s never been an era in the American tradition in which the legislative branch of government stopped working on legislation and started creating one crisis after another, on purpose.

    That is, until 2011.

    It’s not, however, an accident. Republicans came to a realization a few years ago that hostage-taking may be an effective approach to governance. They could, in theory, choose a priority – spending cuts, taking away families’ access to medical care, stripping immigrants of legal protections, etc. – and draft legislation to advance their goals, but why bother? As GOP lawmakers quickly discovered, (a) writing and passing bills is hard work; (b) President Obama probably wouldn’t sign partisan, far-right bills into law; and (c) Republicans weren’t willing to compromise or accept concessions that would bring them closer to those goals incrementally.

    So, they embraced a shortcut: GOP officials told Democrats to accept Republican priorities or Republicans would impose a hardship on the nation. GOP leaders and lawmakers assumed Dems would care too much about the real-world consequences of the Republican tactics, so Republicans could get what they want through radical and unprecedented brinkmanship – legislating is hard; threatening is easy; so why invest energy in the former when the latter is largely effortless?

    A new staple of GOP governance was born: hostage crises, all of a sudden, were a credible substitute for the traditional legislative process.

    Historically, neither party dared governing this way for fear of a public backlash. But modern Republicans have no such concerns – they assume the public won’t know, won’t care, and/or won’t remember the extremism of these GOP tactics. And for the most part, their assumptions have been correct. (Look at the above list and you’ll notice none of the crises came in the months immediately preceding an election. This, too, is not an accident.)

    Americans may say they’re tired of these tactics, but they’re not, at least not tired enough to vote against those who keep taking hostages in exchange for unreasonable demands. The result, just two months into the new Congress, is a potential shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security this week, which will very likely be followed in the months to come with new crises surrounding the debt ceiling, the Highway Trust Fund, and in the fall, the federal budget.


  22. rikyrah says:

    Morning Plum: Republicans won’t have any contingency plan if Court guts subsidies for millions

    By Greg Sargent March 2 at 9:15 AM 

    With the Supreme Court set to hear oral arguments this week in the lawsuit that could do severe damage to the Affordable Care Act, some Republican lawmakers are working hard to convey the impression that they have a contingency plan for the millions who will likely lose subsidies — and coverage — if the Court rules with the challengers. Senators Orrin Hatch, Lamar Alexander, and John Barrasso have published a Washington Post op ed with an oh-so-reassuring title: “We have a plan for fixing health care.”

    The good Senators, amusingly, cast their “plan” as something that will protect people from “the administration’s” actions and from Obamacare itself, not from the consequences of the legal challenge or a Court decision siding with it. The plan vows to “provide financial assistance” for a “transitional period” to those who lose subsidies, while Republicans create a “bridge away from Obamacare.” Of course, anyone who watched last week’s chaos in the House knows Congressional Republicans are unlikely to coalesce around any “transitional” relief for those who lose subsidies (that would require spending federal money to cover people) or any permanent long-term alternative. This chatter appears transparently designed to make it easier for conservative Justices to side with the challengers.

    Yet even if this game works on the Justices in the short term, any eventual failure to come through with any contingency plan could saddle Republicans with a political problem, perhaps even among GOP voters.

    A poll taken by Independent Women’s Voice — a group that favors repealing Obamacare in the name of individual liberty — found that in the nearly three dozen states on the federal exchange, 75 percent of respondents think it’s very (54) or somewhat (21) important to restore subsidies to those who lose them. In the dozen main presidential swing states, 75 percent of respondents say the same.


  23. rikyrah says:

    are my ears the only ones stinging from the dogwhistles in just this short excerpt?
    racism..it’s what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner with this crowd.


    The Struggle Over Who Is ‘American’
    MARCH 3, 2015

    What does it mean to be a genuine American?

    That question has gotten a prominent airing in the past several weeks. It has been raised once more by some conservatives about President Obama, who, facing fringe but persistent attacks in his first term about his legitimacy, had to go so far in 2011 as to release his full birth certificate to tamp down speculation that he had not actually been born in the United States.

    And now it is being directed in a slightly different form at, of all people, the former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the son of one president, the brother of another and the grandson of a senator.

    A stinging article in National Review, a leading organ of American conservatism, argued that Mr. Bush would, if elected, be the second “post-American president,” after Mr. Obama, because of his “dissatisfaction with America, and desire to change it to be more to his liking.” The writer,Mark Krikorian, seemed particularly ruffled by Mr. Bush’s repeated suggestions that immigrants can refresh America, because, in Mr. Bush’s view, they’re “more entrepreneurial,” “more fertile,” and prone to “more intact families” than the native-born.

    But the article also went on to argue that Mr. Bush wished to remake America in the image of his personal cosmopolitanism: his marriage to a Mexican-born woman,his early work experience in South America, his self-styled “bicultural” household. Mr. Krikorian accused Mr. Bush of having “so little affection for and grounding in his own heritage that he wanted to assimilate into a Latin-American milieu” — and of now seeking “to ‘fix’ America by making it more like Miami.”


  24. rikyrah says:

    The terrible, horrible, no good start for the Republicans
    By Scott Wong – 03/03/15 06:00 AM EST

    The opening weeks of the 114th Congress have been nothing short of a disaster for Republicans, who declared upon taking control of both chambers last fall that the era of governing by crisis and fiscal cliffs was over.

    Since their declaration, House GOP leaders have yanked several high-profile bills from the floor after rebellions from rank-and-file members.

    Counting an emergency measure to keep the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) running through Friday, Congress has sent President Obama a total of only four bills, even as

    Republicans promised to get off to a fast start this session.

    The low point came Friday, when more than 50 conservative Republicans revolted against Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and opposed a bill to fund the DHS.

    It was a humiliating defeat for Boehner, who had to turn to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to bail him out with only hours to spare before a shutdown at the agency.

    “The revolters effectively put Nancy Pelosi in charge of the House,” the right-leaning Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote Monday. It questioned whether the setback meant the end of legislating for the Republican-controlled Congress just more than halfway through “its first 100 days in office.”


  25. rikyrah says:

    Bibi boycott grows prior to speech
    By Mike Lillis – 03/02/15 08:40 PM EST

    Almost a quarter of House Democrats will boycott Tuesday’s congressional address by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    The defections, which point to the increasingly strained relations between the White House and the Israeli government, have injected a partisan edge to the issue of U.S. support for Israel, which has historically been overwhelming from both sides of the aisle.

    At least 55 Democrats — eight senators and 47 House members — are vowing to skip the speech, in which Netanyahu is expected to deliver a stinging rebuke of President Obama’s Iran strategy even as the administration is attempting to wrap up delicate talks with Iranian leaders over the future of their nuclear program.

    Vice President Biden, who is traveling abroad, will be another glaring absence. Late Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) added her name to the list, according to the Boston Globe.


  26. rikyrah says:

    this mofo here


    Menendez to escort Netanyahu to congressional speech that Watson Coleman and Payne will skip

    By Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
    on March 03, 2015 at 7:30 AM, updated March 03, 2015 at 7:43 AM

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez plans to help escort Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the House chamber today to address a joint session of Congress.

    Some other members of the New Jersey congressional delegation won’t be there. Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12th Dist.) and Donald Payne Jr. (D-10th Dist.), both members of the Congressional Black Caucus are staying away, accusing House Republicans of playing partisan politics and disrespecting President Obama, the first black U.S. chief executive.


  27. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  28. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

    I’m loving Mariah week!

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