Friday Open Thread | Mariah Carey Week

I hope you have enjoyed this week with Mariah Carey.

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Carey’s vocal style and singing ability have significantly impacted popular and contemporary music. As music critic G. Brown from The Denver Post wrote, “For better or worse, Mariah Carey’s five-octave range and melismatic style have influenced a generation of pop singers.”[289] According to Rolling Stone, “Her mastery of melisma, the fluttering strings of notes that decorate songs like “Vision of Love”, inspired the entire American Idol vocal school, for better or worse, and virtually every other female R&B singer since the Nineties.”[290] Jody Rosen of Slate wrote of Carey’s influence in modern music, calling her the most influential vocal stylist of the last two decades, the person who made rococo melismatic singing.[291] Rosen further exemplified Carey’s influence by drawing parallel with American Idol, which to her, “often played out as a clash of melisma-mad Mariah wannabes. And, today, nearly 20 years after Carey’s debut, major labels continue to bet the farm on young stars such as the winner of Britain’s X Factor show, Leona Lewis, with her Generation Next gloss on Mariah’s big voice and big hair.”[291] Sean Daly of St. Petersburg Times wrote, “Depending on how you feel about public humiliation, the best/worst parts of American Idol are the audition shows, which normally break down into three distinct parts:(1) The Talented Kids.(2) The Weird Kids.(3) The Mariahs.” Daly further commented, “The Mariahs are the hardest ones to watch, mainly because most of them think they’re reeeaaally good. The poor, disillusioned hopefuls plant themselves in front of judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson – then proceed to stretch, break and mutilate every note of a song, often Mariah’s Hero, a tune that has ruined more throats than smoker’s cough.”[292] New York Magazine’s editor Roger Deckker said that in regarding Carey as an influential artist in music, he commented that “Whitney Houston may have introduced melisma (the vocally acrobatic style of lending a word an extra syllable or twenty) to the charts, but it was Mariah—with her jaw-dropping range—who made it into America’s default sound.” Deckker also added that “Every time you turn on American Idol, you are watching her children”.[293] Despite her vocal prowess, Carey’s vocal technique particularly with the use of melisma and belting, has been subject to public scrutiny mainly because of young singers such as from talent shows have been overly imitating her singing technique in which critics commented “Mariah Carey is, without a doubt, the worst thing to happen to amateur singing since the karaoke machine”.[292] As Professor Katherine L. Meizel noted in her book, The Mediation of Identity Politics in American Idol, “Carey’s influence not just stops in the emulation of melisma or her singing amongst the wannabe’s, it’s also her persona, her diva, her stardom which inspires them…. a pre-fame conic look.”[294]

Among the hip hop, pop, and R&B artists who have cited Carey as an influence are; Aneeka,[295] Ariana Grande,[296] Britney Spears,[297] Beyoncé,[62] Christina Aguilera,[298] Jessica Simpson,[283] Rihanna,[299] Grimes,[300] Kelly Clarkson,[301] Nelly Furtado,[302] Leona Lewis,[303] Brandy Norwood,[290] Pink,[304] Mary J. Blige,[305] Melanie Fiona,[306] Missy Elliott[62] and Jessica Sanchez[307] According to Stevie Wonder, “When people talk about the great influential singers, they talk about Aretha, Whitney and Mariah. That’s a testament to her talent. Her range is that amazing.”[112] Beyoncé credits Carey’s singing and her song “Vision of Love” as influencing her to begin practicing vocal “runs” as a child, as well as helping her pursue a career as a musician.[62] Rihanna has stated that Carey is one of her major influences and idol.[299] Christina Aguilera said in the early stages of her career that Carey was a big influence in her singing career and one of her idols.[298] According to Pier Dominguez, author of Christina Aguilera: A star is made, Aguilera has stated how she loved listening to Whitney Houston, but it was Carey who had the biggest influence on her vocal styling. Carey’s carefully choreographed image of a grown woman struck a chord with Aguilera. Her influence on Aguilera also grew from the fact that both are of mixed heritage.[308] Philip Brasor, editor of The Japan Times, expressed how Carey’s vocal and melismatic style even influenced Asian singers. He wrote that Japanese singer Utada Hikaru “sang what she heard, from the diaphragm and with her own take on the kind of melisma that became de rigueur in American pop after the ascendance of Mariah Carey.”[309]

Mariah’s life changed forever with the birth of her twins: Moroccan and Monroe (“Dem Babies”)
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In an article titled “Out With Mariah’s Melisma, In With Kesha’s Kick”, writer David Browne of The New York Times discusses how the once ubiquitous melisma pop style suddenly lost in favor of the now ubiquitous autotune in which the former was heavily popularized by the likes of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. Browne had commented “But beginning two decades ago, melisma overtook pop in a way it hadn’t before. Mariah Carey’s debut hit from 1990, “Vision of Love,” followed two years later by Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You,” set the bar insanely high for notes stretched louder, longer and knottier than most pop fans had ever heard.” Browne further added “A subsequent generation of singers, including Ms. Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson and Beyoncé, built their careers around melisma. (Men like Brian McKnight and Tyrese also indulged in it, but women tended to dominate the form.)”[310]

Carey’s usage of melisma throughout the song was credited with inspiring several vocalists and performers throughout the turn of the century, and is considered to have brought the usage of the vocal technique to modern day singers and talent competitions around the world to date.

Carey is also credited for introducing R&B and hip hop into mainstream pop culture, and for popularizing rap as a featuring act through her post-1995 songs. Sasha Frere-Jones, editor of The New Yorker commented, “It became standard for R&B/hip-hop stars like Missy Elliott and Beyoncé, to combine melodies with rapped verses. And young white pop stars—including Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Christina Aguilera, and ‘N Sync—have spent much of the past ten years making pop music that is unmistakably R&B.” Moreover Jones concludes that “[Carey’s] idea of pairing a female songbird with the leading male MCs of hip-hop changed R&B and, eventually, all of pop. Although now anyone is free to use this idea, the success of The Emancipation of Mimi suggests that it still belongs to Carey.”[62] Judnick Mayard, writer of The Fader, wrote that in regarding of R&B and hip hop collaboration, “The champion of this movement is Mariah Carey.” Mayard also expressed that “To this day ODB and Mariah may still be the best and most random hip hop collaboration of all time”, citing that due to the record “Fantasy”, “R&B and Hip Hop were the best of step siblings.”[311]

Mariah Carey Kids-3

Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times wrote, “In the mid-1990s Ms. Carey pioneered a subgenre that some people call the thug-love duet. Nowadays clean-cut pop stars are expected to collaborate with roughneck rappers, but when Ms. Carey teamed up with Ol’ Dirty Bastard, of the Wu-Tang Clan, for the 1995 hit “Fantasy (Remix)”, it was a surprise, and a smash.”[312] Aside from her pop culture and musical influence, Carey is credited for releasing a classic Christmas song called “All I Want for Christmas Is You”.[313] In a retrospective look at Carey’s career, Sasha Frere-Jones of The New Yorker said, the “charming” song was one of Carey’s biggest accomplishments, calling it “one of the few worthy modern additions to the holiday canon”.[62] Rolling Stone ranked “All I Want for Christmas Is You” fourth on its Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs list, calling it a “holiday standard.”[314] In a review of her Greatest Hits album, Devon Powers of PopMatters writes that “She has influenced countless female vocalists after her. At 32, she is already a living legend—even if she never sings another note.”[315] While reviewing a concert of Carey in Sydney, Elise Vout of MTV Australia wrote that “it’s not amazing choreography or high production value you’re going to see, it’s the larger than life personality, unique voice, and legend that is Mariah Carey.”[316]

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40 Responses to Friday Open Thread | Mariah Carey Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    In Anti-Obamacare Case, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Questions the Foundation of the Lawsuit
    The Supreme Court justice zeroes in on whether the plaintiffs even have a basis to sue.
    —By Stephanie Mencimer | Wed Mar. 4, 2015 2:00 PM EST

    During the Supreme Court oral arguments Wednesday morning in King v. Burwell, the case that threatens to destroy Obamacare, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wasted no time in grilling the attorney seeking to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act about a significant technical matter that could blow up his case. As soon as Michael Carvin, the Jones Day partner representing the four plaintiffs named in the anti-Obamacare suit, started his opening statement, Ginsburg interrupted him with a slew of questions about whether his plaintiffs had a recognizable injury that would allow the case to proceed. A plaintiff, she declared, “has to have a concrete stake in the question…you would have to prove the standing if this gets beyond the opening door.”

    With these queries, Ginsburg was picking up on a critical issue highlighted last month when Mother Jones broke the news that the four plaintiffs may have dubious claims of standing in this case. According to legal filings in the case, two of the plaintiffs were likely not adversely affected by Obamacare because they could claim an exemption from the law’s requirement to purchase health insurance due to their low income levels and high health care costs. The other two plaintiffs, Doug Hurst and Brenda Levy, would have benefited substantially from the Affordable Care Act had they obtained insurance through an Obamacare health exchange. (Levy said she was paying $1,500 a month for non-Obamacare insurance, which she could have bought on the federal health care exchange for $148 a month. Hurst, according to bankruptcy filings, had been paying more than $600 a month for his insurance in 2010. The ACA would have provided him insurance for $62 a month.)

  2. rikyrah says:

    Sotomayor May Have Saved Obamacare

    How she backed Kennedy and Roberts into a corner.

    By Cristian Farias

    In a dispatch on King v. Burwell, the closely watched Obamacare challenge, NPR’s Nina Totenberg observed that the plaintiffs’ attorney, Michael Carvin, argued before the Supreme Court with “red-faced passion.” Indeed, Justice Sonia Sotomayor hadn’t even finished the preamble to her first question when Carvin interrupted her to finish an earlier thought. He then caught himself and apologized, at which point Sotomayor tempered him: “Take a breath.”

    Carvin needed that moment, because Sotomayor was about to ask a bombshell question about federalism, a subject that later dominated a key portion of the hearing. In setting it up, she said she was “concerned” by Carvin’s reading of the Affordable Care Act—in essence, that Congress wrote it so that only states with their own insurance exchanges receive federal subsidies. The problem with that reading, Sotomayor noted, is that lawmakers gave states a “choice”: set up exchanges of your own, or let the federal government do it for you via

    That choice is not at issue in King. The dual system of federal and state exchanges is a feature of the law. And to Sotomayor, this choice cannot be squared with Carvin’s interpretation that tax subsidies are available only to people participating in state-run exchanges. That’s a constitutional problem. “If we read it the way you’re saying,” she said, “then we’re going to read the statute as intruding on the federal-state relationship, because then the states are going to be coerced into establishing their own exchanges.”

    That’s the bombshell. Because if Carvin is correct and a state chooses not to set up its own exchange—and thus loses federal subsidies—Sotomayor said, “we’re going to have the death spiral that this system was created to avoid.” And she went on to list the parade of horribles that would follow from this so-called choice, including destabilized insurance markets and skyrocketing premiums. “Tell me how that is not coercive in an unconstitutional way?” Sotomayor asked.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Chuy Garcia has them scared



    Gov. Bruce Rauner says the city of Chicago is on the road to bankruptcy.

    Rauner says the city is “going down the drain” financially, and voters must consider the city’s financial state when they go to the polls on April 7.

    While Mayor Rahm Emanuel was in full campaign mode on Friday – shaking hands and greeting voters at a South Side CTA stop – the governor was at an unrelated event in Kendall County, where he weighed in on the state of the city.

    “Chicago is sliding into bankruptcy. They can’t pay their pensions. They can’t pay their bills. The debt has been going up for years,” Rauner said.

    While the mayor and his opponent, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, debate the mayor’s decision to close Chicago Public Schools and whether or not to keep red light cameras, the governor says it’s time for voters to consider the city’s finances.

    “Who is financially sophisticated to deal with the issues? Who is ready to ready to stand up and fight for the taxpayers in the city and take on some of these government union power issues?” Rauner said

  4. rikyrah says:

    Rauner halts funding for CeaseFire
    March 05, 2015

    CeaseFire, the highly regarded but sometimes controversial anti-violence program featured in the documentary “The Interrupters,” is losing state funding, the result of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s executive order freezing spending.

    The program was budgeted to receive $4.7 million from the state in fiscal 2015, which ends June 30, according to Rauner’s proposed budget for fiscal 2016. The Rauner administration has proposed slashing CeaseFire’s funding almost 60 percent, to $1.9 million, in fiscal 2016.

    The freeze in funding is just one of many cuts under Rauner’s order that are likely to anger supporters of popular state initiatives, even as it pleases advocates of his austerity measures. The state is facing a $1.6 billion budget shortfall for 2015 and a $6.2 billion gap for the following fiscal year.

    For CeaseFire, the move means that “all program activities must cease immediately,” according to an email sent yesterday to subcontractors by Jalon Arthur, program director for CeaseFire Illinois, the local affiliate of anti-violence organization Cure Violence.

    Launched in 1995 in Chicago by a public health expert, Dr. Gary Slutkin, CeaseFire has been found by researchers to reduce shootings.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Kory Minx @KoryMinx

    People who are “disappointed” in #Scandal can’t even let poc have fictional justice. The hate runs deep..damn.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Black, Hispanic kids shut out of city’s specialized high schools again as offers come out
    Friday, March 6, 2015, 6:28 AM

    Black and Hispanic kids were once again mostly shut out of the city’s specialized high schools, even as more kids received offers to attend their top high school choices on Thursday.

    Education Department officials said 48% of eighth-graders got offers to their first-choice high schools in 2015, up from 45% in 2014.

    At the city’s eight specialized high schools, 4% of offers went to black students, 6% to Hispanic kids, 30% to white kids and 33% to Asian kids.

    Those are slightly better numbers than 2014 when black and Hispanic kids combined accounted for 9% of offers at the elite schools.

    The number of black kids who took the exam for 2015 fell by 300, to 6,266. Overall, the number of test-takers fell by nearly 700 kids to 27,170. Education Department officials said the drop was due to a slightly smaller incoming ninth-grade class for 2015.

  7. rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s noticeable absences in Selma
    03/06/15 10:08 AM—UPDATED 03/06/15 11:33 AM
    By Steve Benen

    A wide variety of American political leaders will be in Selma tomorrow to honor the 50th anniversary of the events at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Among the attendees will be President Obama and former President George W. Bush.

    Politico reports, however, that the Republican congressional leadership will not be on hand for the event.
    Scores of U.S. lawmakers are converging on tiny Selma, Alabama, for a large commemoration of a civil rights anniversary. But their ranks don’t include a single member of House Republican leadership – a point that isn’t lost on congressional black leaders.

    None of the top leaders – House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy or Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was once thought likely to attend to atone for reports that he once spoke before a white supremacist group – will be in Selma for the three-day event that commemorates the 1965 march and the violence that protesters faced at the hands of white police officers.
    It’s not just the House GOP – Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is also skipping the event.

    In fairness, it’s important to note that, as of yesterday, 23 congressional Republicans have said they’ll be in Selma for tomorrow’s ceremony, so it’d be an obvious overstatement to suggest a complete GOP no-show. But the Republican leadership – all of which was invited to attend – plays a unique role in representing the party overall. And yet, these leaders declined.

    It’s reminiscent of August 2013, when a massive rally was held at the Lincoln Memorial, honoring the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Organizers encouraged the congressional Republican leadership to participate in the event, but GOP leaders declined those invitations, too.

    To be clear, each of the Republican leaders who declined the invitations – both to tomorrow’s event in Selma and to the 2013 commemoration – may have a perfectly good excuse for their absence. There’s no evidence to the contrary.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Loretta Lynch nomination lingers for no reason
    03/06/15 09:27 AM—UPDATED 03/06/15 10:02 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Loretta Lynch was nominated to serve as U.S. Attorney General 118 days ago. Over the last several decades, no A.G. nominee has had to wait this long for a confirmation vote. And yet, here we are, wondering why the Senate’s Republican leadership still won’t allow members to vote up or down on Lynch’s nomination.

    It’s tough to defend, and just as important, it’s evidence of a Senate that’s failing at some rudimentary tasks.

    Specifically on Lynch, the Democratic minority yesterday made clear how absurd it is that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t bring her nomination to the floor.
    Senate Democrats on Thursday intensified their push for a vote on the confirmation of Loretta E. Lynch as attorney general, arguing that her nomination should not be held up because Republicans are angry with President Obama over executive action on immigration.

    “The delay is wrong and it is irresponsible,” Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said during a conference call with reporters. “She should be judged on her merits and not used as a pawn in a proxy fight over the president’s immigration policies.”
    It’s tough to disagree. Lynch sailed through her confirmation hearings; she’s already received the Judiciary Committee’s bipartisan backing; and by all appearances, she has the votes needed to clear the Senate and get to work.

    And yet, McConnell waits. When Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was advanced at the committee level, his nomination was on the Senate floor two days later, and he was confirmed easily. Lynch was nominated before Carter, she cleared committee last week, and yet the whole process is being slow-walked for reasons the GOP has struggled to explain.

    Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, told the New York Times, “[O]n the anniversary of Selma, [Lynch] is being told, just be patient and wait your turn. That’s wrong and beneath the Senate.”

    The problem arguably extends beyond Lynch.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Silence in Ferguson, and defiance elsewhere, in wake of DOJ report
    By Jennifer Mann, Jeremy Kohler

    FERGUSON • A day after the Department of Justice slammed Ferguson’s police and court systems for discriminatory practices that prey on the city’s black population, there was silence from the city and officials in nearby courts were either defiant or said they hadn’t read the report.

    Ferguson Judge Ronald Brockmeyer, who was criticized in the scathing report, said he welcomed a reporter to visit his court in person to “report the actual facts as to how the court operates.” But he didn’t show up to court Thursday night in Dellwood, where he is prosecutor, and otherwise declined to comment through a series of emails.

    There was also no comment from Ferguson Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Karr, who works by day for a private law firm — Curtis, Heinz, Garrett & O’Keefe — whose partners are involved in just about all aspects of the region’s municipal court operations.

    Karr was cited in the report for dismissing Brockmeyer’s red light camera ticket in Hazelwood, where she also serves as prosecuting attorney.

    Matt Zimmerman, Hazelwood’s city manager, said he learned of allegations about Karr fixing Brockmeyer’s ticket through the newspaper. Zimmerman said the city is investigating that and the Justice Department’s report that a court clerk there and in Ferguson worked together to fix about a dozen tickets for others. He said it is too soon to say what the outcome of that investigation might be.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Buki Williams@BukiWilliams

    They hate America. RT @JohnJHarwood: oddly, the stronger the economy gets, the madder some people who talk about the economy get

    Mr. NFTG @Kennymack1971
    @BukiWilliams @JohnJHarwood I wonder why. Why would they be upset about an improving economy? I can’t put my finger on it….
    8:15 AM – 6 Mar 2015

  11. rikyrah says:

    Justin Wolfers @JustinWolfers
    On labor force participation: Demographic trends mean that a flat participation rate signals that the discouraged are returning to workforce
    8:18 AM – 6 Mar 2015

  12. rikyrah says:

    Why Retailers Are Suddenly Desperate to Keep Their Least-Valuable Workers
    7:00 AM EST March 6, 2015

    If the ability to throw a 100-mile-per-hour fastball sits at one end of the human-capital spectrum, stocking shelves and swiping bar codes is at the opposite. But the U.S. economy gets on quite nicely with just a few dozen ace pitchers, while it takes vast stadiums of cashiers—and no small amount of investment in human capital—to keep things humming.

    A modest bidding war has broken out among the retailers who hire from the bottom of the labor pool, buoyed in part by improving sales. Wal-Mart moved to raise the pay for its lowest-level workers to at least $9 an hour, a decision quickly matched by TJX, the parent company of TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Gap, Starbucks, and IKEA had already joined the growing list of service sectors now committed to higher starting wages, with tens of thousands of low-paid workers affected by recent changes.

    These rising wages are sure to be costly for employers: Walmart, for example, warned that its mass raise would chew up an additional $1 billion a year, a figure that spooked investors and drove down the company’s share price. From a labor-market perspective, meanwhile, the U.S. economy would still appear to have plenty of would-be cashiers and clerks sitting on the sidelines. The 5.7 percent jobless rate rose slightly last month because more idle workers started looking for jobs.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Some in Ferguson Who Are Part of Problem Are Asked to Help Solve It


    March 5, 2015

    FERGUSON, Mo. — When Mayor James Knowles III announced Wednesday that one official had been fired and two others were under investigation in connection with racist emails, he said that the behavior was “in no way representative” of the city or its employees.

    On Thursday, however, a city spokesman revealed that the fired official was not a low-level officer but the city’s top court clerk, Mary Ann Twitty. In a court system that the Justice Department found was rife with constitutional violations, Ms. Twitty wielded power nearly on par with a judge. The emails uncovered by the Justice Department included a cartoon portraying President Obama as a chimpanzee and a joke about giving a black woman a crime-prevention award for having an abortion.

    They were circulated widely, Justice Department officials said, and no discipline has been announced for those who received the emails and said nothing.

    While Ms. Twitty was terminated, her involvement in the emails and their wide distribution illustrate how difficult fixing the Ferguson Police Department and municipal court will be when many city officials led, participated in or tolerated the most controversial practices uncovered by the Justice Department. Those city employees include the police chief who authorized arrests without probable cause; the municipal judge who adds new charges when people contest their citations, yet quietly got his own traffic ticket wiped away; and the city manager who was the force behind the financially driven policies that led to widespread discrimination.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Civil Rights Attorneys Sue Ferguson Over ‘Debtors Prisons’

    February 08, 2015 9:03 PM ET

    In a new challenge to police practices in Ferguson, Mo., a group of civil rights lawyers is suing the city over the way people are jailed when they fail to pay fines for traffic tickets and other minor offenses.

    The lawsuit, filed Sunday night on the eve of the six-month anniversary of the police shooting of Michael Brown, alleges that the city violates the Constitution by jailing people without adequately considering whether they were indigent and, as a result, unable to pay.

    The suit is filed on behalf of 11 plaintiffs who say they were too poor to pay but were then jailed — sometimes for two weeks or more.

    NPR got an advance look at the lawsuit, filed by lawyers from Equal Justice Under Law, ArchCity Defenders and the Saint Louis University School of Law. It charges that Ferguson officials “have built a municipal scheme designed to brutalize, to punish, and to profit.”

    In 2013, Ferguson collected $2.6 million in court fines and fees, mainly on traffic violations and other low-level municipal offenses. That was the city’s second-largest source of income, or about 21 percent of its total budget.

    The lawsuit challenges the practice of jailing people when they can’t afford to pay those fines. When tickets go unpaid, people are summoned to court and usually offered a new payment plan. If they fail to show up or make the new payments, the city issues an arrest warrant.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Gov. Walker proposes overhaul of Wisconsin’s long-term care program

    The proposal, which would affect more than $2 billion a year in spending, surprised many of the organizations currently managing care for impoverished people who are elderly or disabled.

    By Guy Boulton of the Journal Sentinel

    Tucked into Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget is a massive overhaul of the system that provides long-term care to more than 50,000 elderly or disabled people in Wisconsin — a dramatic change that blindsided those currently managing the care.

    The proposal, which would affect more than $2 billion a year in spending, would replace a system built over several decades with a new model in which the state would contract with large insurance companies to manage both long-term care and medical care.

    “No one had any inkling this was happening,” said Michael Blumenfeld, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Family Care Association. “We are just scratching our heads. Why would you do this?”

    The governor’s proposal, he said, is the most significant change in long-term care in the state in 20 years.

    It stunned the organizations that now participate in Family Care and other Medicaid programs designed to enable elderly and disabled

  16. rikyrah says:

    Dems vow to protect Boehner from conservative coup
    By Mike Lillis – 03/06/15 06:00 AM EST

    Tea Party Republicans contemplating a bid to oust Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) shouldn’t count on Democrats to help them unseat the Speaker.

    And without their support, there is no chance to topple Boehner in this Congress.

    A number of right-wing Republicans, long wary of Boehner’s commitment to GOP efforts attacking President Obama’s policy priorities, have openly considered a coup in an attempt to transfer the gavel into more conservative hands.

    But Democrats from across an ideological spectrum say they’d rather see Boehner remain atop the House than replace him with a more conservative Speaker who would almost certainly be less willing to reach across the aisle in search of compromise. Replacing him with a Tea Party Speaker, they say, would only bring the legislative process — already limping along — to a screeching halt.

    “I’d probably vote for Boehner [because] who the hell is going to replace him? [Ted] Yoho?” Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) said Wednesday, referencing the Florida Tea Party Republican who’s fought Boehner on a host of bipartisan compromise bills.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Updated: Man fatally shot overnight while taking pictures of snow with his family

    Tasha TsiaperasFollow @ttsiaperas

    Two men are being sought after a recent immigrant was gunned down early Thursday while taking pictures of the snow with his family in far northeast Dallas, police say.

    Ahmed Al-Jumaili, 36, was shot about 12:30 a.m. outside at the Walnut Bend Apartments near Walnut Street and Audelia Road.

    Relatives reported two men fatally wounded al-Jumaili in a hail of gunfire after the family walked past them. He died at Texas Health Presbyterian of Dallas.

    Police are investigating whether the shooting was a hate crime because al-Jumaili was Middle Eastern, Cotner said.

    “That’s certainly something we haven’t excluded, but right now we’re just looking for anything,” he said.

    The North Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on law enforcement to look into his slaying.

    Friends of al-Jumaili’s said on social media Thursday that he had recently emigrated from Iraq.

    Al-Jumaili’s relatives fled to their apartment after the shooting, Cotner said. They could not be reached for comment Thursday.

    Neighbors Asad Obaid, 22, and Omar Khattab, 30, said they plan to move out of the complex because of the shooting.

    Obaid said he heard about seven gunshots — a few that sounded close, then a couple that were more distant.

    He said his roommate, who moved to Dallas from Egypt and loves to take pictures, could just as easily have been the victim.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Lobbyist confronts Topeka teacher, accuses her of disrespecting governor

    Witnesses defend Jenay Weekly’s conduct, describe David Kensinger as ‘badgering,’ ‘hostile’

    Posted: March 5, 2015 – 8:38pm

    By Celia Llopis-Jepsen

    A high-profile lobbyist and former chief of staff to Gov. Sam Brownback confronted a teacher Monday about a reference she made to the governor.

    Witnesses called David Kensinger’s behavior “badgering” and “hostile” and described Topeka Unified School District 501 teacher Jenay Weekly’s conduct as professional.

    Kensinger defended his actions, saying via email he confronted Weekly as a parent. He said he believes she displayed “unprofessional and inappropriate conduct” in a keynote address at the opening session of the 51st annual Model UN competition in Topeka.

    Her speech was a review of the history of the Topeka Model UN, a nonprofit organization that holds an annual competition drawing hundreds of students from across the state.

    According to a copy of her speech, Weekly said: “One year, our keynote speaker was none other than Sen. Sam Brownback. We felt pretty proud when we were able to secure his participation. Who could have known?”

    Teachers who heard the speech said they interpreted the rhetorical question to mean that no one knew Brownback would one day become governor. They said her sentence drew some laughter from the audience.

  19. Liza says:

    Hey, y’all. There is cause for celebration. SG2 has passed 4K followers on Twitter. She’s at 4010 this AM. Congratulations to SG2 and 3Chics, that’s a lot of folks and it’s all based on merit.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, March 5, 2015
    Maryland Crab Bake

    Posted by Zandar

    As I mentioned earlier this week, Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski is retiring after 5 terms in the Senate, and it was a thought at least that Martin O’Malley might put his Presidential aspirations on hold and take a shot at it. Things move quickly in the Old Line State however, as Dem Rep. Chris Van Hollen represents the Maryland suburbs north of DC, and he’s immediately thinking of moving up in the world.

    Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) told supporters Wednesday that he will run for Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s (D-MD) Senate seat.

    “I am writing to let you know that I have decided to run for the United States Senate from our great State of Maryland,” Van Hollen wrote in the email to supporters. “I am very grateful to the citizens of Maryland’s Eighth Congressional District for the opportunity to represent them and want to thank the many Marylanders who, over the last 48 hours, have called, sent text messages, or emailed to urge me to run for the United States Senate. A more formal announcement will come later, but I wanted to let you know of my plans.”

    Van Hollen’s announcement comes just a few days after Mikulski announced that she would not seek a sixth term in the Senate. Van Hollen has long been mentioned in Democratic circles as a rising star in politics and is seen as a possible future leader of the Democratic party in the House or perhaps a United States senator

    That means Van Hollen’s prime real estate is up for grabs in MD-8, and as I said, things move fast.

    Less than 24 hours after Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) announced his candidacy for outgoing Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s (D-MD) Senate seat, there’s already a Democrat running to take Van Hollen’s House seat: Marriott International executive vice president Kathleen Matthews.

    The news that Matthews—who is married to MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews—is running was first announced in Politico’s Playbook on Thursday. Before joining Marriott, Matthews was an anchor for local television station WJLA ABC7.

    She’s been hinting at plans to run for office for a while now and has been outspoken on gay rights and sustainability, according to Playbook.

    Tweety’s wife running for the House? It’s a safe Dem district for sure, but that brings me to Van Hollen’s disastrous run as DCCC chair from 2007-2010. He’s the guy that ran on putting Blue Dogs in the House in 2008, only to lose 63 seats in 2010 when that strategy utterly backfired. And now he’s failing upwards?

    And as far as Kathleen Matthews goes, well…she married Tweety. I already question her judgment.

    Look, I know these seats need to stay blue, but this is a real opportunity to put, you know, actual Democrats into office and not career politicians with dollar signs and fame in their eyes.

    I suppose even that is asking too much

  21. rikyrah says:

    John Ridley May Have Secured His First Emmy, Given Reviews of ‘American Crime’ (Premieres Tonight)

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act
    March 5, 2015 at 11:04AM

    Good luck finding a negative review of John Ridley’s new ABC drama series “American Crime,” which premieres tonight, March 5, at 10pm (taking over the vacated slot that once belonged to Shondaland’s “How to Get Away With Murder,” which wrapped up a very successful freshman season last week). Not that I was looking for negative critiques of the new series; but reading through numerous reviews of it, found via Google, it’s, without a doubt, a critical smash! I didn’t find one that even hesitated slightly in its praise, and I’m even now more interested in seeing what Ridley has given life to here.

    Tonight’s the night!

    American crime,” which Ridley is writing, directing and executive producing, follows a murder case and the trial that follows, as audiences will experience the murder and trial through the eyes of several different people who are, in some way, connected to the events. It frankly tackle matters of race, class and gender politics in the USA.

    Here’s its official synopsis: “All over the news are reports about a young couple in Modesto, California, who were attacked in their home. Matt Skokie, a war vet, was killed, and his wife, Lily, is unconscious, barely hanging on. Both sets of parents are at her bedside hoping for a miracle while four suspects are about to be arrested. The case sends shock waves into the community stirring up tensions across racial lines in this gritty drama—from the point of view of the victims.”

  22. rikyrah says:

    Documentaries on Misty Copeland and Mary J. Blige Are Tribeca Film Festival Spotlight Selections

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act
    March 5, 2015 at 6:13PM

    The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), presented by AT&T, today announced its feature film selections in the Spotlight, Midnight, and Special Screening sections as well as work in progress screenings. The 14th edition of the Festival will take place from April 15 to April 26 in New York City.

    The Spotlight section features 40 films, consisting of 23 narratives and 17 documentaries. Twenty-four films in the selection world premiere at the Festival.

    Included is the world premiere of the documentary “Mary J. Blige – The London Sessions,” which follows Mary as she writes, records, and curates one of her most experimental albums to date. The premiere will take place at the Beacon Theater and be followed by a live performance from Mary J. Blige.

    Also of note is the premiere of Nelson George’s documentary, “A Ballerina’s Tale,” about one of the most notable and trailblazing figures in the ballet world, Misty Copeland. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Misty, and a performance by her protégées from Project Plie.

    “The Spotlight section highlights many familiar faces as well as new ones, while the films’ stories deliver unconventional perspectives and fresh commentary,” said Festival director, Genna Terranova.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Orlando Jones Joins Cast of ‘The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act
    March 5, 2015 at 1:09PM

    Orlando Jones has joined the cast of “The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” from director Bill Purple, from a script penned by Robbie Pickering.

    Starring Jason Sudeikis, Maisie Williams, Jessica Biel, and Mary Steenbergen, the film will tell the story of grieving widower (an architect) who befriends a wisecracking young girl, and agrees to help her build a raft to cross the Atlantic.

    Jones has signed up to play Cornelius Thibadeaux, aka “Dumbass,” according to Variety – a nickname name he received from his strict and disapproving father. The character, who helps the widower (played by Sudeikis) build the raft, is described as likable and loyal.

    Maisie Williams plays the wisecracking young girl; Biel, the architect’s wife who is killed in a car accident; and Steenburgen plays her mother.

    Filming is underway in New Orleans, with Michelle Purple, Jessica Biel, Mike Landry, and Carlos Velasquez producing.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Jobs boom continues, unemployment falls
    03/06/15 08:47 AM—UPDATED 03/06/15 08:54 AM
    By Steve Benen

    By most projections, economists expected U.S. job growth in February to cool a bit, slipping from its fast pace in recent months. Fortunately, the projections were wrong – a proper jobs boom is underway.

    The new report from Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the U.S. economy added 295,000 jobs in February. The overall unemployment rate dropped 5.7% to 5.5%, reaching its lowest level since May 2008 – nearly seven years ago.

    In terms of the recent revisions, the picture looks largely unchanged. December’s totals held steady at 329,000 jobs, while January’s picture was revised down slightly, from 257,000 to 239,000.

    All told, the U.S. has added an amazing 3.3 million jobs over the last 12 months. In fact, we’ve had 12 consecutive months of job growth over 200,000 – the first time Americans have seen this since 1984, more three decades ago.

    What’s more, February was the 53rd consecutive month of positive job growth – the best stretch since 1939 – and the 58th consecutive month in which we’ve seen private-sector job growth, which is the longest on record.

    Above you’ll find the chart I run every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction – red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Kansas’ Kobach breaks new anti-Obama ground
    03/05/15 04:28 PM
    By Steve Benen

    In recent years, we’ve all heard some pretty outrageous allegations surrounding President Obama, and we’ve all heard Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) throw around some pretty ridiculous rhetoric.

    But Right Wing Watch catches the two phenomena coming together in one bizarre story.
    Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, one of the chief architects of the anti-immigrant movement’s legal and legislative strategies, told a caller to his weekly radio program last week that while he thought it was “unlikely,” it would not be a “huge jump” to predict that the Obama administration could call an end to the prosecutions of African Americans for any crime.

    Claiming that “it’s already happened more or less in the case of civil rights laws,” Kobach told listeners that “I’ve learned to say with this president, never say never.”
    It really is as bad as it sounds. Kobach fielded a call from a listener to his radio show, who raised the specter of the president announcing that no African American would be prosecuted for any crime. “We’ve already seen it from Eric Holder in his failure to prosecute the Black Panthers,” the caller said, probably referring to the New Black Panthers and the ridiculous Fox-inspired conspiracy theory.

    Obviously, Kobach isn’t responsible for comments raised by those who call into his show. But Kansas’ Secretary of State, a notorious national figure for his anti-immigration and voter-suppression efforts, is responsible for how he responded to this caller’s concerns.

  26. rikyrah says:

    The Big Bang Theory’ Pays Tribute to Leonard Nimoy

    Leonard Nimoy never appeared in person on “The Big Bang Theory” but his name and that of “Star Trek’s” Mr. Spock are often referenced on the CBS comedy about a group of misfit physicists and engineers.

    As such it is no surprise that the show took the opportunity to pay tribute to the actor, who died Feb. 27 at the age of 83, with Thursday’s episode.

    Nimoy did lend his voice to the 2012 “Big Bang” episode “The Transporter Malfunction.” Another episode involved a storyline where Kaley Cuoco’s Penny gave Jim Parsons’ Sheldon the gift of a napkin used by Nimoy in the restaurant where she worked as a waitress.

    In the end-credits space usually reserved for a message from exec producer Chuck Lorre on his Chuck Lorre Prods. vanity card, a black-and-white picture of Nimoy ran with the caption: “The impact you had on our show and on our lives is everlasting.”

    Simple, direct, unquestionable. Mr. Spock would have found it entirely logical.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Faced with a crisis, Brownback reconsiders ‘Obamacare’
    03/05/15 11:20 AM—UPDATED 03/05/15 12:42 PM
    By Steve Benen

    Plenty of Republican governors, including a few White House hopefuls, are facing alarming budget shortfalls right now, but no one’s in worse shape than Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R). The far-right former senator imposed an “experiment” on his state, and it’s failed spectacularly.

    Massive tax breaks Kansas couldn’t afford have led to debt downgrades, weak growth, and state finances in shambles. Making matters worse, confronted with weak statewide job growth and a deepening budget shortfall, a judicial panel recently ruled that Kansas has been “inadequately funding K-12 education.” Brownback, not surprisingly, can’t afford the fix.

    How dire have things gotten for the beleaguered Republican governor? The Lawrence Journal-World in Kansas reports that Brownback is starting to reconsider his contempt for the Affordable Care Act (via Daniel Strauss).
    Gov. Sam Brownback suggested Wednesday that he might consider proposals to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, provided the Legislature can identify a way to pay for it.

    “I’ve been pushing that anything we do on Medicaid expansion has to be 100-percent paid for,” Brownback said during impromptu remarks to the Kansas Association of Insurance Agents, who met at the Statehouse on Wednesday…. Brownback’s comments, which came in response to a question from one of the insurance agents, stood in stark contrast to his remarks on the campaign trail last year when he said he strongly opposed the federal health care law, also known as Obamacare, and criticized his Democratic opponent Paul Davis for supporting it.
    To be sure, the governor isn’t officially on board, at least not yet. But Brownback was willing to say yesterday, “I haven’t said we’ll take it. I haven’t said we wouldn’t.” In this case, “it” is Medicaid expansion through the ACA.

    And as you’d probably guess, the Kansas Republican has never said anything close to this before.

    In a way, this is an important test of Brownback’s fealty to his own ineffective ideology. He’s committed to his failed economic plan and he’s equally committed to opposing the Affordable Care Act. In this case, however, caving to reality on one front (the ACA) would directly help alleviate his principal problem (the massive budget shortfall the governor caused).

  28. rikyrah says:

    These mofos are crazy and evil


    NRA’s mocking tweet makes sick reference to shooting victim Gabby Giffords in Arizona Democrat’s fight against gun violence



    Published: Thursday, March 5, 2015, 4:25 PM

    Updated: Thursday, March 5, 2015, 10:20 PM

    WASHINGTON — Hitting a new low in its bullying barrage against gun laws, the National Rifle Association on Thursday targeted Gabrielle Giffords in an attack mocking her 2011 shooting.

    “Gabby Giffords: Everyone Should Have to Pass Background Check My Attacker Passed,” the NRA tweeted from its main account.

    The tweet — which one lawmaker called “pathetic” — aimed to argue that background checks don’t reduce gun violence and linked to an article on the right-wing Breitbart website. That story notes Jared Loughner, the crazed gunman who nearly killed Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, is among mass murderers who passed a background check to buy the gun they used.

    Giffords, then a U.S. representative, was among 18 people Loughner wounded. He killed six.

    • Liza says:

      There is no floor that the NRA cannot sink below. I guess they figured that enough time has passed since the Tucson massacre that they can make their filthy right wing jokes about it on Twitter.

  29. Ametia says:

    Mariah week has been FAN-TAB-O-LUS! Thanks Rikyrah.:-)

  30. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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