Thursday Open Thread | The Baby Makers Week: Luther Vandross

Luther Vandross-4

Can’t have romance without Luther Vandross.


Luther Ronzoni Vandross, Jr.[1] (April 20, 1951 – July 1, 2005) was an American singer, songwriter and record producer. Throughout his career, Vandross was an in demand background vocalist for several different artists including Chaka Khan, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, David Bowie, Barbra Streisand, Ben E. King, and Donna Summer. He later became the lead singer of the group Change, which released its certified gold debut album, The Glow of Love, in 1980 on Warner Bros. Records. After Vandross left the group, he was signed to Epic Records as a solo artist and released his debut solo album, Never Too Much, in 1981.

His hit songs include, “Never Too Much”, “Here and Now”, “Any Love”, “Power of Love/Love Power”, “I Can Make It Better” and “For You to Love”. Many of his songs were covers of original music by other artists such as “If This World Were Mine” (duet with Cheryl Lynn), “Since I Lost My Baby”, “Superstar” and “Always and Forever”. Duets such as “The Closer I Get to You” with Beyoncé, “Endless Love” with Mariah Carey and “The Best Things in Life Are Free” with Janet Jackson were all hits in his career.

During his career, Vandross sold over 25 million records worldwide,[2] and received eight Grammy Awards[3] including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance four different times. He won a total of four Grammy Awards in 2004 including the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for a song recorded not long before his death, “Dance with My Father”.[4] The song was co-written with Vandross’ friend and protégé, Richard Marx.

In high school, Vandross performed in a group, Shades of Jade, that once played at the Apollo Theater.[1] He was also a member of a theater workshop, Listen My Brother,[1] which released the singles “Only Love Can Make a Better World” and “Listen My Brother”. He also appeared in the second and fifth episodes of Sesame Street in November 1969.[citation needed] Vandross graduated from William Howard Taft High School in 1969,[10] and attended Western Michigan University for a year before dropping out to continue pursuing a career in music.[12]

His next hit credit was on an album by Roberta Flack in 1972.[which?][citation needed]

Vandross founded the first-ever Patti LaBelle fan club, of which he was president. LaBelle confirmed this in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. This ‘Oprah Prime’ interview first aired in America on November 3, 2013.[13][citation needed][when?]

Vandross sang on Delores Hall’s Hall-Mark album (1973). He sang with her on the song “Who’s Gonna Make It Easier for Me”, which he wrote, and he contributed another song, “In This Lonely Hour”.[citation needed] Having co-written “Fascination” (1974) for David Bowie’s Young Americans (1975), he went on to tour with him as a back-up vocalist in September 1974.[citation needed] Vandross wrote “Everybody Rejoice” for the 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz.[12]

Vandross also sang backing vocals for artists including Roberta Flack, Chaka Khan, Ben E. King, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Carly Simon, Barbra Streisand, and Donna Summer, and for the bands Chic and Todd Rundgren’s Utopia.[citation needed]


Before his solo breakthrough, Vandross was part of a singing quintet in the late 1970s named Luther, consisting of former Shades of Jade members Anthony Hinton and Diane Sumler, as well as Theresa V. Reed, and Christine Wiltshire, signed to Cotillion Records. Although the singles “It’s Good for the Soul”, “Funky Music (Is a Part of Me)”, and “The Second Time Around” were relatively successful, their two albums, the self-titled Luther (1976) and This Close to You (1977), didn’t sell enough to make the charts. Vandross bought back the rights to those albums after Cotillion dropped the group, preventing their later re-release.[citation needed]

Vandross also wrote and sang commercial jingles from 1977 until the early 1980s, for companies including Mountain Dew, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, and Juicy Fruit.[8] He continued his successful career as a popular session singer during the late 1970s.[citation needed]

In 1978, Vandross sang lead vocals for a disco band called Greg Diamond’s Bionic Boogie on the song titled “Hot Butterfly”.[1] Also in 1978, he appeared on Quincy Jones’s Sounds…and Stuff Like That!!, most notably on the song “I’m Gonna Miss You in the Morning” along with Patti Austin.[14] Luther also sang with the band Soirée and was the lead vocalist on the track “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”; he also contributed background vocals to the album along with Jocelyn Brown and Sharon Redd, each of whom also saw solo success. Additionally, he sang the lead vocals on the group Mascara’s LP title song “See You in L.A.” released in 1979. Vandross also appeared on the group Charme’s 1979 album Let It In, most notably on a remake of Toto’s hit single “Georgy Porgy”.[citation needed]

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Vandross finally made his long desired career breakthrough as a featured singer with the vaunted pop-dance act Change, a studio concept created by French-Italian businessman Jacques Fred Petrus. Their 1980 hits, “The Glow of Love” (by Romani, Malavasi and Garfield) and “Searching” (by Malavasi), both featuring Vandross as lead singer, opened up the world for Vandross. And there was no doubt about whether Vandross liked the song “The Glow of Love”. In an interview that Vibe Magazine did with him in 2001 Vandross said, “This is the most beautiful song I’ve ever sung in my life.” Both songs were from Change’s debut album The Glow of Love.

Vandross was originally intended to perform on their second and highly successful album Miracles in 1981, but declined the offer as Petrus didn’t pay enough money. Vandross’ decision led to a recording contract with Epic Records that same year, but he also provided background vocals on “Miracles” and on the new Petrus-created act, the B. B. & Q. Band in 1981. During that hectic year Vandross jump-started his second attempt at a solo career with his debut album, Never Too Much. In addition to the hit title track it contained a version of the Burt Bacharach / Hal David song “A House Is Not a Home”.

The song “Never Too Much”, written by himself, reached number-one on the R&B charts. This period also marked the beginning of songwriting collaboration with bassist Marcus Miller, who played on many of the tracks and would also produce or co-produce a number of tracks for Vandross. The Never Too Much album was arranged by Vandross’s high school classmate Nat Adderley, Jr., a collaboration that would last through Vandross’s career.[15]

Vandross released a series of successful R&B albums during the 1980s and continued his session work with guest vocals on groups like Charme in 1982. Many of his earlier albums made a bigger impact on the R&B charts than on the pop charts. During the 1980s, two of Vandross’ singles reached #1 on the Billboard R&B charts: “Stop to Love”, in 1986, and a duet with Gregory Hines—”There’s Nothing Better Than Love.”[16] Vandross was at the helm as producer for Aretha Franklin’s Gold-certified, award-winning comeback album Jump to It.[17] He also produced the disappointing follow-up album, 1983’s Get It Right.[18]

In 1983, the opportunity to work with his main music influence, Dionne Warwick, came about with Vandross producing, writing songs, and singing on How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye, her fourth album for Arista Records.[19] The title track duet reached #27 on the Hot 100 chart (#7 R&B/#4 Adult Contemporary),[20] while the second single, “Got a Date” was only a moderate hit (#45 R&B/#15 Club Play).

Vandross wrote and produced “It’s Hard for Me to Say” for Diana Ross from her Red Hot Rhythm & Blues album.[21] Ross performed the song as an a cappella tribute to Oprah Winfrey on her final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show. She then proceeded to add it to her successful 2010–12 “More Today Than Yesterday: The Greatest Hits Tour. Vandross also recorded a version of this song on his Your Secret Love album in 1996. He made two public appearances at Diana Ross’s Return to Love Tour at its opening in Philadelphia at First Union Spectrum and its final stop at Madison Square Garden in 2000.[citation needed]

In December 1985, the singer filed a libel suit against a British magazine after it attributed his 85-pound weight loss to AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Vandross said he weighed 325 pounds when he started a diet in May that year.[22]

In 1985, Vandross first spotted the talent of Jimmy Salvemini, who was fifteen at the time, on Star Search. Vandross thought Salvemini had the perfect voice for some of his songs, and contacted Salvemini, who was managed by his brother Larry. A contract was negotiated with Elektra Records for $250,000 and Vandross agreed to produce the album. He contacted his old friends Cheryl Lynn, Alfa Anderson (Chic), Phoebe Snow and Irene Cara to appear on the album. After the album was completed, Vandross, Jimmy, and Larry decided to celebrate. On January 12, 1986, they were riding in Vandross’s 1985 convertible Mercedes-Benz on Laurel Canyon Boulevard, in the north section of Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles. Luther was driving at 48 mph in a 35 mph zone when his Mercedes veered across the double yellow center line of the two lane street, turned sideways and collided with the front of a 1972 Mercury Marquis that was headed southbound, then swung around and hit a 1979 Cadillac Seville head on.[22][23][24][25] Vandross and Jimmy were rushed to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Larry, who was in the passenger seat, was killed during the collision. Vandross suffered three broken ribs, a broken hip, several bruises and facial cuts.[1][22] Jimmy, who was in the back of the car, had cuts, bruises and contusions. Vandross faced vehicular manslaughter charges as a result of Larry’s death, and his driving license was suspended for a year. There was no evidence Vandross was under the influence of alcohol or other drugs; he pled no contest to reckless driving. At first, the Salvemini family was supportive of Vandross, but later filed a wrongful death suit against him. The case was settled out of court with a payment to the Salvemini family for about $630,000.[26] The album, Roll With It, was released later that year.

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Vandross also sang background vocals in Stevie Wonder’s 1985 hit “Part Time Lover”. In 1986, Vandross voiced a cartoon character named Zack for three Saturday morning animated PSA spots for ABC Television called ‘Zack of All Trades’.[citation needed]

The 1989 compilation album The Best of Luther Vandross… The Best of Love included the ballad “Here and Now”, his first single to chart in the Billboard pop chart top ten, peaking at number six. He won his first Grammy award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1991.

In 1990, Vandross wrote and sang background for Whitney Houston in a song entitled “Who Do You Love?” which appeared on her “I’m Your Baby Tonight” album.[citation needed]

More albums followed in the 1990s, beginning with 1991’s Power of Love which spawned two top ten pop hits. He won his second Best Male R&B Vocal in the Grammy Awards of 1992, and his track “Power of Love/Love Power” won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in the same year. In 1992, “The Best Things in Life Are Free”, a duet with Janet Jackson from the movie Mo’ Money became a hit. In 1993, Vandross had a brief non-speaking role in the Robert Townsend movie The Meteor Man. He played a hit man who plotted to stop Townsend’s title character.[citation needed]

Vandross hit the top ten again in 1994, teaming with Mariah Carey on a cover version of Lionel Richie and Diana Ross’s duet “Endless Love”. It was included on the album Songs, a collection of songs which had inspired Vandross over the years. He also appears on Frank Sinatra’s posthumous Duets album. At the Grammy Awards of 1997, he won his third Best Male R&B Vocal for the track “Your Secret Love”.

A second greatest hits album, released in 1997, compiled most of his 1990s hits and was his final album released through Epic Records. After releasing I Know on Virgin Records, he signed with J Records. His first album on Clive Davis’s new label, entitled Luther Vandross, was released in 2001, and it produced the hits “Take You Out” (#7 R&B/#26 Pop), and “I’d Rather” (#17 Adult Contemporary/#40 R&B/#83 Pop). Vandross scored at least one top 10 R&B hit every year from 1981–1994.

In 1997, Vandross sang the American national anthem during Super Bowl XXXI at the Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana.

In September 2001, Vandross performed a rendition of Michael Jackson’s hit song “Man in the Mirror” at Jackson’s 30th Anniversary special, alongside Usher.

In 2002, he performed his final concerts during his last tour, The BK Got Soul Tour starring Vandross featuring Angie Stone and Gerald Levert.[citation needed]

In the spring of 2003, Vandross’ last collaboration was Doc Powell’s “What’s Going On”, a cover of Marvin Gaye from Powell’s 2003 album 97th and Columbus.

In 2003, Vandross released the album Dance with My Father. The title track, which was dedicated to Vandross’ memory childhood dances with his father, won Vandross and his co-writer, superstar Richard Marx, the 2004 Grammy Award for Song of the Year. The song also won Vandross his fourth and final award in the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance category. The album was his only career #1 on the Billboard album chart. The video for the title track features various celebrities alongside their fathers and other family members. The 2nd single released from that album, “Think About You” was the Number One Urban Adult Contemporary Song of 2004 according to Radio & Records.

In 2003, after the televised NCAA Men’s Basketball championship, CBS Sports gave “One Shining Moment” a new look. Vandross, who had been to only one basketball game in his life, was the new singer, and the video had none of the special effects, like glowing basketballs and star trails, that videos from previous years had. This song version is in use today.[27]

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105 Responses to Thursday Open Thread | The Baby Makers Week: Luther Vandross

  1. Rikyrah, you and Ametia find the most gorgeous pics EVER!

  2. eliihass says:

    Our nation’s top security and intelligence and very married man, David Howell Petraeus, provides the silly girl he’s having an affair with, unfettered access to himself and everything else including the most sensitive national security and intelligence documents and information; He regales her with tales of top secret negotiations during their romps, putting the United States and its allies in serious jeopardy. He gets away with a slap on the wrist. So how are we expected to get all worked up over this news today that DEA agents partied with prostitutes hired for them by drug cartels in Colombia – and had their phones and other government issued equipment in the vicinity of these prostitutes? And the drug lords too of course..

    • rikyrah says:

      tell me about it. he gave to his piece on the side, CLASSIFIED INFORMATION.

      how he’s not in jail is ridiculous.

      • eliihass says:

        And how can they expect to address the DEA agents misconduct properly when the Petraeus the CIA director did as much – and worse, and got away with it. What standards are the irresponsible DEA agents going to be held to: that which was used in covering up for and absolving Petraeus? Or the usual heavy duty standard for such grievous offenses that jeopardize our national security?

  3. eliihass says:

    It’s too tragic to contemplate the hopelessness and disconnect from their country that would propel these two young black men from Illinois, to want to go join ISIS – a terrorist group of madmen – in a foreign land where they aren’t still guaranteed respect or acceptance either because of the color of their skin.

    • Ametia says:

      Mellie just told that bitch that as FLOTUS, she has a position, and you my dear have a job. Get to doing it!

      BWA HA HA HA reminds me of that florist at the WH,

      Eiihass, where are you? Scandal episode putting the WH florist on front street. Shonda don’t play. That witch thought First Lady Michelle was interviewing to step in as FLOTUS.


  4. Liza says:

    I’ve noticed that the msm articles always mention that Martese called the cops “racists” as though they are grasping at straws for a valid reason for the kind of beating they gave him.

    • rikyrah says:

      yes, they keep on grasping.

      after all, they tried to justify why that unqualified cop shot Tamir Rice.

      • Liza says:

        The prosecutor should have dropped the charges against Martese and that is what I hoped would happen. But they never want to admit that any of these cops are wrong no matter how unnecessarily brutal they are, and even if they ended up killing the person who was not committing a crime. I just hope that Martese Johnson eventually gets a huge settlement, enough for graduate school or law school or whatever he wants to do.

  5. rikyrah says:

    March 26, 2015 1:16 PM
    Walker’s “Think Locally, Act Globally” Standard of Foreign Policy Experience

    By Ed Kilgore

    Conservative gabber Hugh Hewitt interviewed Scott Walker on foreign policy issues yesterday, and the ensuing headlines involved Walker’s commitment to nullify any U.S.-Iran nuclear deal “on day one” if he is elected.

    But a different item caught my attention: the Wisconsin governor seems to be side-swiping his Republican rivals in his rather unorthodox claim that only someone with executive experience can be trusted to know his ass from page eight on foreign policy and national security issues. Speaking of Obama, he said:

    [T]he unfortunate reality is this is what happens when you put someone in office who’s never led before. He’s not listening. When you’re a governor, you’re a mayor, you’re a county executive wherever you’re at, and when you have a cabinet and you have to act on behalf of not just the people who elected you, but the whole group, the whole constituency as we talked about a little bit at lunch. You’ve got to lead, and you’ve got to listen to people who hopefully are smart or smarter than you are on any given topic. You ultimately have to make the decision. This president, unfortunately, having been a senator, a state senate, and community organizer, never led anything. And so he’s never been in a position to make those sorts of judgments.

    So presumably his 2016 rivals Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and yes, foreign policy maven Lindsey Graham, are all to be disqualified on national security grounds. And by Walker’s standard, any random county executive or small-town mayor is likely to have better “judgment” on international issues than 2008 Republican presidential nominee and current Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain.

    Fortunately for Senate Republicans, they can also rely on Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker, who gained his critical experience as mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    Walker needs to be mocked about this often. It’s fine if he wants to make the case that people like him with zippo foreign policy experience could still serve effectively as Commander-in-Chief. But trying to argue he is uniquely qualified is just stupid.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Mongering The War In The Times

    In which we learn that John Bolton wants to kill people for freedom.

    Sometimes I wonder about the instant reaction of certain editors when something like John Bolton’s piece in the Thursday New York Times first shows up on their screens. Before settling down to make sure all the subjects and verbs are in agreement, and before wondering what software is out there that makes blood drip off every syllable, the editor, who likely is an educated person, must think for just a second,”Geez, this man ka-ray-zee.”

    Kill for peace, baby.

    Rendering inoperable the Natanz and Fordow uranium-enrichment installations and the Arak heavy-water production facility and reactor would be priorities. So, too, would be the little-noticed but critical uranium-conversion facility at Isfahan. An attack need not destroy all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, but by breaking key links in the nuclear-fuel cycle, it could set back its program by three to five years. The United States could do a thorough job of destruction, but Israel alone can do what’s necessary. Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran’s opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran.

    Let me see if I understand the subleties here. The United States assists Israel in bombing the living isotopes out of two uranium-enrichment plants and a reactor. Leaving aside the pre-emptive nature of the attack, it unleashes a public health catastrophe with untold ongoing consequences on a country where the public-health system is rudimentary at best. Which results in a population that is so excited about being bombed and sickened that it rises up and overthrows the government and installs one more likely to be friendly to the powers that have bombed and sickened them.

    Do these people know any actual…you know…people?

  7. rikyrah says:

    discsussing Iran over at BJ and saw this comment. Makes sense to me:

    Archon says:

    March 26, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Part of all this is obviously to undermine the President. But I also think part of it is an understanding by neo-cons that politically only Obama “can go to Iran”. There is absolutely no way a Republican or Hillary Clinton could rally enough domestic support for a first strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, not after WMD Iraq.

    Neo-Cons know that Obama might be their last chance to get the war they always wanted.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Go back to slavery’: Georgia lecturer goes berserk, punches Uber driver during n-word rant
    26 MAR 2015 AT 09:36 ET

    A Kennesaw State University business lecturer is under investigation by Georgia authorities for yelling racist epithets and assaulting a local Uber driver.

    Chiddi Stober, who teaches history in Rockdale County, told WSB-TV that he was working at his part-time job as an Uber driver earlier this month when a passenger refused to get out of the car.

    “It was just getting from bad to worse and that is just when I needed to call 911,” Stober explained.

    In audio of the 911 call obtained by WSB-TV, the passenger can be heard repeatedly calling Stober the n-word.

    “The customer just assaulted me,” the driver tells the 911 dispatcher.

    “Go back to slavery, man,” the passenger says.

    “The customer just damaged my vehicle!” Stober exclaims. “The customer is assaulting me, the customer is assaulting me… He just punched me in the face.”

    Stober explained to WSB-TV that the suspect “reached forward, he was sitting right behind me, that’s the point where he hit me right then.”

    “I couldn’t understand why a person who doesn’t even know me could be using such kind of language,” he added.

    Dunwoody police were reportedly investigating the incident, but no charges had been filed.

    Stober said that the man worked as a lecturer at Kennesaw State University, where he taught students about business. WSB-TV declined to identify the suspect because he had not been charged.

  9. rikyrah says:

    State asks to withdraw petition for receivership of York City schools

    ERIN JAMES 505-5439 @ydcity

    Posted: 03/25/2015 11:34:40 AM EDT

    Updated: 03/26/2015 01:17:04 AM EDT

    The state Department of Education has taken a major step toward ending its attempt to seize control of the York City School District.

    On Tuesday, the department – with the support of the district, its employees’ unions and the York NAACP – filed a stipulation asking the Commonwealth Court to remand the case back to a York County judge.

    The stipulation further asks the Commonwealth Court to direct York County President Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh to allow the state to withdraw its petition for receivership, said Tom Scott, an attorney representing the district’s unions.

    “And then I would expect the secretary (of education) to withdraw the petition,” Scott said. “I don’t think it’s going to take a long time.”

    The education department under former Gov. Tom Corbett filed a petition in December asking Linebaugh to appoint chief recovery officer David

    Meckley as the district’s receiver – a role that would have given the Spring Garden Township businessman nearly all authority over the district.

    Meckley, who resigned as the district’s chief recovery officer earlier this month, had advocated a full conversion of district schools to charter schools operated by a for-profit company.

    After a series of hearings, the judge named Meckley receiver but also granted the district’s right to appeal.

    In November, Pennsylvania voters elected Gov. Tom Wolf, whose approach to education policy differs greatly from that of his predecessor.

  10. Ametia says:

    anybody else wondering about the German guy who took deliberately took down that plane with over 120 folks- it’s been called a MASS-MURDER

    TERRORISM = only dark-skinned folks!

  11. rikyrah says:

    Pope Frankie’s coming to the White House!!!!

    Can you do a State Dinner for a Pope?

  12. rikyrah says:

    PragmaticObotsUnite @PragObots

    I bet if the #Germanwings co-pilot had dark skin, an Arabic name & purposely crashed a plane w/o a suicide note,it would be called terrorism

  13. rikyrah says:

    March 25, 2015 11:03 AM
    Between the Idea of Jeb Bush and the Reality…Falls the Shadow

    By Ed Kilgore

    I’m not usually a big fan of Josh Kraushaar, the in-house Republican at National Journal. But he has performed a public service with a column that carefully marshals all the evidence that the Elites-Have-It-All-Wired faction of political scientists could be wrong about Jeb Bush.

    Much of this has to do with what might be called the “dogs don’t like it” objection to the obviously superior dog food Bush represents in the political kennel:

    He’s underperforming in early public polls and is receiving a frosty reception from Republican focus groups. His entitled biography is at odds with the Republican Party’s increasing energy from working-class voters, who relate best with candidates who have struggled to make ends meet. The Bush name is a reminder of the past at a time when GOP voters are desperate for new faces. And after losing two straight presidential elections, Republican voters are thinking much more strategically—and aren’t nearly as convinced as the political press that Bush is the strongest contender against Hillary Clinton.

    It would be foolish to over-read the results of focus groups, but it’s equally egregious to ignore their findings—especially given that they’re paired with polls that show Bush’s candidacy a tough sell among voters. Last week, Bloomberg and Purple Strategies cosponsored a New Hampshire panel of 10 Republicans, most of whom were hostile to a Bush presidential bid. “I know enough to know I don’t need to keep voting for a Bush over and over again,” one participant said. Several laughed at the notion that he’s the front-runner. Not a single one said they’d support him for president.

    The line about voters not buying Bush’s electability argument is especially important, and one I’m not sure anybody’s adequately made before Kraushaar’s column. Electability is supposed to be the Republican Establishment’s ace-in-the-hole, the argument carefully conveyed over time that wears down “the base’s” natural desire for a True Conservative fire-breather. In your head you know he’s right is the not-so-subtle message. But Jeb’s electability credentials are as baffling to regular GOP voters as they are obvious and unimpeachable to elites. And unless Jeb’s backers can supply some more convincing evidence than “trust on on this,” these doubts may never be quelled, particularly when you’ve got somebody in the field like Scott Walker who can boast of three wins in four years in a state carried twice by Obama—and without compromising with the godless liberals like Jeb wants to do.

    Looking at it more generally, the jury is out as to whether the appropriate precedent for Jeb is somebody like Mitt Romney, who gradually won over intraparty skeptics by dint of money, opportunism, and a ruthless ability to exploit rivals’ vulnerability, or somebody like Rudy Giuliani, a guy who looked great until actual voters weighed in. And even that contrast may not capture Jeb’s problem: Rudy did well in early polls.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Richard Mayhew at BJ breaks down Rafael’s healthcare choices:


    Cruzzing for a deal

    Posted by Richard Mayhew at 9:09 am

    Mar 26, 2015

    My assignment editors (you) have asked me to write about the
    irony of the Cruz family relying on the Obamacare exchanges for health insurance now that the Senator’s wife has taken a leave of absence from the vampire squids at Goldman Sachs. Her family coverage through GS is now terminated until she goes back on the payroll.

    The Cruz family has some choices for health insurance.

    1) COBRA… For the next eighteen months, the Cruz family could COBRA the Goldman Sachs coverage. They would be responsible for the entire premium (roughly $40,000 per year) plus a 2% administrative fee. They would receive no government or employer subsidy for this coverage.

    2) Run naked — as conservatives have been fond to incorrectly argue by misinterpreting studies, health insurance has no relationship to health status, so it is smart for the Cruz’s to not be covered as it would not impact their health, and if they need any services, they can trade chickens or bargain for good cancer treatment the day they get a diagnosis. Free Markets bitches.

    3) Buy off-Exchange coverage. These would be Obamacare compliant policies without any government subsidy.

    4) Join a healthcare sharing ministry with limited lifetime caps and
    significant pre-exisiting condition exclusions.

    5) Get coverage from the other employed adult’s employer

    a) The Cruz 2016 campaign will buy group health insurance policy for at least senior aides and field workers, so the Cruz family can get in on this.

    b) Ted Cruz is eligible for the Federal Employee Health Benefit. For
    non-Congresscritters, FEHB is a private exchange with private insurers offering minimally qualified policies. The federal government will kick in a signifcant portion of the costs as a hidden employer subsidy. For Congresscritters, the FEHB outsources the plan selection and exchange functionality to the Washington DC SHOP exchange. The employer contribution follows the employed to the Washington DC exchange.

    6) Get on-exchange coverage from a Texas insurer but since the Cruz family has access to affordable healthcare in 5B and family income is above 400% FPL for a family of four, they are not eligible for subsidies.

    5b is the case where the Cruz family has to use Obamacare. The most likely scenario that I can see the Cruz family use to get coverage is 5A with an outside shot at joining a healthcare sharing ministry to cement their right wing

    • eliihass says:

      Wifey couldn’t possibly be one of Goldman’s best or most valued, or Goldman Sachs would have worked to accommodate her even if on to stay on on a part-time basis – and in such a way that she at least keeps her health coverage and it isn’t interrupted.

      Doesn’t speak too well of her as an employee – or her employers impressions of her husband as a presidential candidate. If such a high profile employer isn’t willing to work with you for something as simple as keeping your health coverage, not good.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Chicago Folks and Suburban Cook County Voters:

    Remember, EARLY VOTING IS NOW!!!

    Also Grace Period, where unregistered voters can register to vote and vote at the same time.

    Chicago Board of Elections Info:

    There are 51 sites

    All sites will be open every day from March 23 through April 4
    Mon-Sat: 9 am-5 pm
    Sun., March 29: 9 am-3 pm

    Early Voting Locations: Suburban Cook County
    March 23 – April 4, 2015

    There are 43 Sites


  16. rikyrah says:

    from SCOTUSBlog about that Alabama redistricting case


    Richard Hasen Guest

    Posted Wed, March 25th, 2015 12:33 pm

    Email Rick
    Bio & Post Archive »

    Opinion analysis: A small victory for minority voters, or a case with “profound” constitutional implications?

    Posted Wed, March 25th, 2015 12:33 pm by Richard Hasen

    It is easy to read the Supreme Court’s five-to-four decision in Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama and Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama as a mostly inconsequential case giving a small, and perhaps only temporary, victory for minority voters in a dispute over the redrawing of Alabama’s legislative districts after the 2010 census. Indeed, although the Supreme Court sent this “racial gerrymandering” case back for a wide and broad rehearing before a three-judge court, Alabama will be free to junk its plan and start over with one that may achieve the same political ends and keep it out of legal trouble. But Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissent sees the majority as issuing “a sweeping holding that will have profound implications for the constitutional ideal of one person, one vote, for the future of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and for the primacy of the State in managing its own elections.” Time will tell if Justice Scalia’s warning against the implications of what he termed a “fantastical” majority opinion is more than typical Scalian hyperbole. And we may know soon enough as these issues get addressed in racial gerrymandering cases from Virginia, North Carolina and elsewhere.

    * * *

    As explained in this case preview, this case concerns a challenge to state legislative districts drawn by the Alabama legislature after the 2010 census. The legislature, newly controlled by Republicans, drew a redistricting plan that contained the same number of majority-minority Senate districts and one additional majority-minority House district compared to the 1990s plan drawn by a court and the 2000s plan drawn by a Democratic legislature. Because of population shifts and declines, as well as the composition of the original 2001 districts, the African-American districts were the most underpopulated of all the districts, meaning that many voters had to be shifted into these districts to comply with “one person, one vote” requirements.

    The state legislative leaders in charge of redistricting set as a goal a deviation in population of no more than two percent across districts. Further, the leaders instructed the consultant charged with redistricting to maintain not only the same number of majority-minority districts in the two state houses but also the same percentage of African Americans within each district. The leaders and consultant indicated they kept the same percentage of African-American voters in each majority-minority district in order to comply with the non-retrogression principle of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

    The result of these two commands led to the shifting of many more African Americans into these majority-minority districts. The upshot of these changes in the context of Alabama was to pack more of the state’s African Americans, the state’s most reliable Democratic voters, into fewer districts, thereby strengthening Republican voting power in districts throughout the rest of the state.

    Black and Democratic legislators, voters, and groups brought a number of challenges to the state redistricting plan, including a vote dilution challenge under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and racial and partisan gerrymandering claims. A three-judge federal court divided two to one on the racial gerrymandering claim, the only claim currently before the Supreme Court. To win on a racial gerrymandering claim, the plaintiffs need to show that race was the “predominant factor” in redistricting, more important than traditional redistricting principles. If the state can show it complied with traditional districting principles or even that its intention was purely partisan, not racial, the state would win.

  17. rikyrah says:

    March 25, 2015

    Ted Cruz Is Signing Up for Obamacare. That’s Not Hypocritical, But It Is Heartless.

    By Brian Beutler  @brianbeutler

    As a meting out of cosmic justice, it’s satisfying to learn that Ted Cruz and his family will be signing up for Obamacare. The Texas senator escaped the yoke of Obamacare last year because Goldman Sachs, where his wife works, provided his family with an exorbitant, untaxed health plan. Now that she’s taking unpaid leave to help him campaign for the presidency, the Goldman plan is at least temporarily suspended, and that leaves the Cruzes two main choices: go uninsured, or sign up through his employer, the federal government.

    But thanks to Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, the Affordable Care Act prohibits members of Congress from obtaining insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) program, the way most federal employees do. Instead, their benefits run through Obamacare.

    “We’ll be getting new health insurance and we’ll presumably do it through my job with the Senate, and so we’ll be on the federal exchange with millions of others on the federal exchange,” Cruz told CNN.

    Whether Cruz will shop on a federally facilitated exchange, as he suggested, or on D.C.’s health insurance exchange is a surprisingly important question, to which I’ll return. But in either case, the Cruz brood will be depending on Obamacare, and on its fifth anniversary no less. Haha, karma and so forth, yes. But some of his critics are treating his decision not to leave his family exposed to extreme medical duress and financial hardship as evidence of “opportunism and hypocrisy.”

  18. rikyrah says:

    Scott Walker fundraises off voter ID victory

    03/25/15 01:40 PM—Updated 03/25/15 02:18 PM
    By Benjy Sarlin

    If you want to understand the meat of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s electoral strategy, the best place to start might be voter ID.

    Walker emailed supporters on Wednesday asking for donations to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision this week to allow Wisconsin’s voter ID law to go forward, despite protests from critics who argue it will keep eligible voters from the polls in response to a negligible number of in-person voter fraud cases.

    “It’s a fact of life: There are cheaters who vote multiple times and they tarnish democracy’s most precious gift … the security of the ballot box,” Walker wrote in the email. “It saddens me that some people are so caught up in their radical fringe ideology that they think they can flaunt the rules and get away with it. The next time they try, they WON’T get away with it because of our photo-ID-to-vote law.”

    The email was to supporters of his gubernatorial campaign, but Walker has made his support for voter ID laws a major part of his emerging presidential run as well. One of his biggest applause lines in his breakout speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January was about his success passing the Wisconsin law.

    Critics argue the voter ID crusade is a solution in search of a problem. One national study found just 31 incidents of reported fraud out of over 1 billion votes cast since 2000 that would have been stopped by ID laws. A federal judge who ruled against the ID law last year noted in her decision that Wisconsin officials defending the law “could not point to a single instance of known voter impersonation occurring in Wisconsin at any time in the recent past.”

    Voter ID laws enjoy almost universal support among Republicans, but Walker’s choice to emphasize them so heavily speaks to a broader electoral strategy. Few positions are more viscerally toxic with black voters, many of whom view them as one part of a broader national strategy to suppress minority votes that includes cutting back early and weekend voting days.

    Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, after embarking on a listening tour of minority communities nationally, urged Republicans to at least downplay their enthusiasm for such laws if they want to make any inroads in 2016.

    “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people,” Paul told The New York Times last year, while clarifying afterward that he supported voter ID laws himself.

    The difference in tone, if not support, speaks to a difference of electoral strategies. Paul has made the case that the GOP needs to attract new voters to win, especially younger voters and minorities who have sided strongly with Democrats in recent elections. Walker, by contrast, has tended toward a more base-focused approach both in Wisconsin and in his early national run that emphasizes firing up loyal conservatives with standard GOP positions to overrun the other side rather than rocking the boat too much internally.

    In a statement, Democratic National Committee spokesman Michael Tyler criticized Walker for fundraising off the court decision.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Mockery of Ted Cruz on ACA is Justified
    by BooMan
    Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 11:43:57 AM EST

    Jonathan Chait is uncomfortable with the tone of progressive mockery.

    “You signed up for your employer-sponsored health insurance” is a pretty weak gotcha to throw at Ted Cruz.

    — Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) March 24, 2015

    It seems like everyone on the left is making fun of Senator Ted Cruz for signing up for ObamaCare. But, is it really ObamaCare if Cruz is only accepting his employer-provided (or -sponsored) health insurance? Even if it is technically ObamaCare, is this really an analogous situation to someone who loses employer-provided health care and must seek insurance on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges?

    Are we lefties being a little too clever in calling Ted Cruz a hypocrite?

    The answer is ‘no,’ not really. The mockery of Ted Cruz is basically fair.

    If he wants insurance through his employer, which is his right, he has to get it through the exchanges, but his experience is still the same as anyone else whose spouse loses the family’s health coverage. You go see what is available on the exchanges and what, if any, subsidies will be available to you and your family. If Cruz doesn’t want any benefit from being a member of Congress or any kind of subsidy, nothing is stopping him or his wife from calling up an insurance company directly and getting insurance outside of the exchanges.

    It’s obligatory for me to mention that the reason that Ted Cruz had to get his congressional health care benefit through the exchanges is because Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced an amendment to the Affordable Care Act compelling members of Congress to use the exchanges. He thought the Democrats would vote his amendment down, but they happily accepted it. The price for that is that, now, whenever a Republican member of Congress uses their health benefit we get to point at them, laugh, and call them hypocrites.

    But it is more than just a game of Gotcha!

    Members of Congress have great health benefits, and they get their insurance off exchanges used by ordinary citizens. Ted Cruz will be perfectly satisfied with his coverage but, by his own rhetoric, his whole family should be in the gravest peril.

    When people lose their jobs, they can now get good insurance because of ObamaCare. That’s what Ted Cruz will be doing, and it’s what he doesn’t want tens of millions of Americans to be able to do.

    Cruz deserves this mockery. It is making the points it is supposed to make, both about the politician and the health care law.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Mitch McConnell has a plan to derail Obama’s climate agenda. It might actually work.

    By Greg Sargent March 23 

    Late last week, it was reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has launched a broad campaign to block President Obama’s proposed new plan to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, a likely centerpiece of his legacy. McConnell has sent a letter to governors across the country urging them not to comply with the plan’s new rules — which direct states to set up their own plans to reduce emissions or face the imposition of a federal plan — on the grounds that they are unconstitutional and may soon be blocked in the courts.

    And this deserves more attention: McConnell’s campaign is explicitly designed to undermine the administration’s efforts to negotiate a global climate treaty, by sowing doubts as to whether the U.S. could uphold its end of any carbon-emissions-reducing bargain, according to Coral Davenport of the New York Times.

    McConnell’s argument that Obama’s new proposal, the Clean Power Plan, is unconstitutional has the support of law professor Laurence Tribe, a onetime Obama mentor. Tribe says its rules commandeer the states in violation of core principles of federalism by forcing them to choose between setting up a plan according to federally mandated goals and methods, or submitting to the federal government imposing those goals in its own way — under threat of losing federal funds such as highway money. A dozen states have already filed suit to block the rules on these grounds, as have industry groups; the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear several challenges next month in a preliminary hearing. The administration argues that the Clean Air Act authorizes the rules, a final version of which will be released this summer.

    One of the most prominent defenders of the administration’s position is Richard Revesz, the director of the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University law school. I asked Revesz to respond to McConnell’s arguments and to discuss the broader implications of his campaign; an edited and condensed version of our conversation follows.

    • TyrenM says:

      Good Morning 3Chics,
      Didn’t Reagan do this with highway funding – blood alcohol limit of .10 or else? Maybe it was speed limits? Either way. The above seems moot, but knowing our Courts anything is possible. Have a good day all.

  21. rikyrah says:

    This Chinese restaurant in Kenya is open for dinner, as long as you’re not African
    By Ishaan Tharoor March 24
    According to local media reports, a Chinese restaurant in the Kenyan capital Nairobi has adopted a rather unsavory practice. After 5 p.m., most African patrons are barred from entering the premises

    Reporters from the Daily Nation newspaper recently approached the establishment — which has the unimaginative name of “Chinese Restaurant” — only to be turned away by a guard who told them the hours when Africans could frequent the restaurant were over. “Only taxi drivers or Africans accompanied by Chinese, European or Indian patrons are allowed into the compound,” reports the newspaper.

    According to the Daily Nation’s story, restaurant representatives claimed the policy came into effect last year after a brazen robbery by armed gunmen.

    “We don’t admit Africans that we don’t know because you never know who is Al-Shabaab and who isn’t,” said Esther Zhao, the restaurant’s “relations” manager, referring to the al-Qaeda-linked terror group based in neighboring Somalia. “The Chinese people who stay here or come to dine want to feel safe.”

    The newspaper reports that a few “loyal,” well-heeled African patrons are allowed entrance–others may be admitted provided they’re willing to shell out upwards of $200. (It should be noted there are plenty of other Chinese restaurants in Nairobi that are probably far more friendly than this one.)

    A Kenyan government official quoted in the article claims that, whatever the restaurant’s justification, the no-Africans-after-dark policy “amounts to racial and ethnic profiling, which is unconstitutional.” Not long after the Daily Nation was published, authorities arrested the restaurant’s owner, Zhao Yang, on charges of operating a restaurant without a valid license.

    It’s a small indication of the larger tensions that underlie China’s vast footprint in Africa. China is the continent’s biggest trading partner — racking up to $160 billion in trade in goods each year. More than 1 million Chinese, the majority of whom are low-level traders and laborers working on Chinese company projects, have moved to Africa in the past 10 years, according to the Economist.

    But parallel to this well-documented boom are a chorus of critics, deeming China’s presence in Africa to be a new form of imperialism.

    • eliihass says:

      Wow! No surprise though. I’ve read so many horror stories about the Chinese invasion of Africa and the wanton destruction of the land and exploitation of its people with the backing of greedy, corrupt African governments. Stories of slave labor under the most oppressive and harshest of conditions, including a horrific story about a Chinese factory owner who locked these poor African workers inside the factory each night and left with the keys for fear they would steal. One night the factory catches fire and these poor Africans are burnt to death. The Chinese factory owners bribe the corrupt African government and case is closed without trial. And then they returned to business as usual.

  22. rikyrah says:

    GOP Will Never Stop Coming for Obamacare
    Even if the Supreme Court sides with the administration in Burwell v. King, the GOP will stop at nothing to repeal Obamacare.
    Obamacare turned 5 on Monday, a birthday achieved despite sustained and repeated efforts to smother the law in its cradle.

    The law has taken some hits, including a 2012 Supreme Court decision that buckled the knees of the bill’s backers but seemed to make the Affordable Care Act the settled law of the land.

    Now the Supreme Court has again taken up another challenge to the law.

    King v. Burwell hinges on whether or not four words buried deep in the text of the law contain the seeds of Obamacare’s destruction by eliminating tax subsidies for people living in states that declined to set up their own insurance exchanges.

    But even if they lose again at the court, conservatives say that they will continue to try to undo the law through the courts.

    Michael Cannon, a health-policy expert at the Cato Institute, said the most promising challenge to the ACA comes from the state of Maine, which, after the Roberts court ruled in 2012 that the federal government was limited in how much it could compel states to expand Medicaid, sued to roll back its existing Medicaid coverage.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Why the House Republican budget plan matters
    03/26/15 08:00 AM
    facebook twitter 0 save share group 3
    By Steve Benen
    “A budget is a moral document,” Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) said two weeks ago. “It talks about where your values are.”

    Those comments from a conservative member of the House Budget Committee happen to be entirely accurate. Indeed, Woodall’s description serves as a reminder of why it matters that House Republicans passed their budget blueprint late yesterday.
    Normally quarrelsome House Republicans came together Wednesday night and passed a boldly conservative budget that relies on nearly $5 trillion in cuts to eliminate deficits over the next decade, calls for repealing the health care law and envisions transformations of the tax code and Medicare.
    There were a variety of competing plans, but the approach endorsed by the House GOP leadership narrowly prevailed – overcoming 26 defections from within their own ranks.

    Republican leaders, who’ve had some trouble corralling GOP votes for GOP bills in recent months, breathed a sigh of relief, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was seen hugging members of his whip team in celebration last night. It was a reminder of just how far expectations have fallen – House Republicans have their largest majority in generations; they struggled mightily to narrowly pass their own budget plan; and this is somehow seen as a great victory for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the rest of the GOP leadership team.

    The Senate Republican majority will now try to wrap up work on its budget blueprint – which will include key differences – before members eventually head to a conference committee to hammer out a bicameral agreement.

    Note, budgets cannot be filibustered and are not subject to a presidential veto. In fact, much of this process is symbolic – a congressional budget does not lock in spending levels for policymakers; the appropriations process does. The entire budget fight is a less case of understanding what will happen and more a case of appreciating what congressional Republican would like to see happen if all the power were in their hands.

    But if the practical effects are limited, why should people care? Because “a budget is a moral document; it talks about where your values are.”

    This recent analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities struck a chord.
    The budgets adopted on March 19 by the House Budget Committee and the Senate Budget Committee each cut more than $3 trillion over ten years (2016-2025) from programs that serve people of limited means. These deep reductions amount to 69 percent of the cuts to non-defense spending in both the House and Senate plans.

    Each budget plan derives more than two-thirds of its non-defense budget cuts from programs for people with low or modest incomes even though these programs constitute less than one-quarter of federal program costs.
    Right. If “a budget is a moral document” that reflects lawmakers’ “values,” the House Republican budget approved yesterday tells us, in frightening detail, that GOP morality is predicated on the assumption that low-income families have it too easy – and high-income families have it too tough.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Now, these are whiners.

    Where is my tiny violin.


    In 2016 campaign, the lament of the not quite rich enough

    By Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger March 25 at 6:00 PM

    At this point in the 2012 presidential race, Terry Neese was in hot demand.

    “Gosh, I was hearing from everyone and meeting with everyone,” said Neese, an Oklahoma City entrepreneur and former “Ranger” for President George W. Bush who raised more than $1 million for his reelection.

    This year, no potential White House contender has called — not even Bush’s brother, Jeb. As of early Wednesday, the only contacts she had received were e-mails from staffers for two other likely candidates; both went to her spam folder.

    “They are only going to people who are multi-multimillionaires and billionaires and raising big money first,” said Neese, who founded a successful employment agency. “Most of the people I talk to are kind of rolling their eyes and saying, ‘You know, we just don’t count anymore.’ ”

    It’s the lament of the rich who are not quite rich enough for 2016.

    Bundlers who used to carry platinum status have been downgraded, forced to temporarily watch the money race from the sidelines. They’ve been eclipsed by the uber-wealthy, who can dash off a seven-figure check to a super PAC without blinking. Who needs a bundler when you have a billionaire?

    Many fundraisers, once treated like royalty because of their extensive donor networks, are left pining for their lost prestige. Can they still have impact in a world where Jeb Bush asks big donors to please not give more than $1 million to his super PAC right now? Will they ever be in the inner circle again?

  25. rikyrah says:

    because that is who they are


    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

    Cut Until You Can’t Bleed Anymore

    Posted byZandar

    The House GOP budget proposal is not only lunacy, but dangerous. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have crunched the numbers and found that Republicans want a budget that cuts more than $3 trillion from programs for working and middle class over ten years, and the biggest victim would be health care.

    More than $2.9 trillion in health care reductions for low- and moderate-income people. The plan would convert Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program into a single block grant with drastically reduced funding levels. It also would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including health reform’s subsidies to make coverage affordable for people with low or modest incomes and its Medicaid expansion. To date, the ACA coverage expansions have extended coverage to 16.4 million previously uninsured people and strengthened coverage for millions of others.

    $125 billion in cuts to SNAP (formerly food stamps). The House plan block-grants SNAP starting in 2021 and cuts SNAP funds by $125 billion, or more than a third, over 2021 to 2025. States would be left to decide whose benefits to reduce or terminate, but cuts of this magnitude would end food assistance for millions of low-income families, cut benefits for millions of such households, or do some combination of the two, according to a new CBPP analysis.[3]

    $159 billion[4] in cuts to tax credits for low- and modest-income working families. The House Budget Committee plan would allow critical provisions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) to expire at the end of 2017, which would increase the number of people in poverty by an estimated 1.8 million, including 1.0 million children — and deepen poverty for another 14.6 million people, including 6.7 million children, in 2018. The House plan would also allow the American Opportunity Tax Credit to expire at the end of 2017, which would cause millions of low- and moderate-income families to lose some or all of the tax credits they receive to help offset college costs.[5]

    Roughly $300 billion in cuts in other mandatory (i.e. entitlement) programs serving low-income Americans, much of which is unspecified. Aside from the cuts in SNAP and refundable tax credits discussed above, the House plan cuts more than $550 billion from mandatory programs just in the education and income security categories of the budget. The Budget Committee provided few specifics here, but we conservatively estimate that about $300 billion would come from low-income programs in these areas. The Budget Committee made clear that the plan eliminates the mandatory portion of funding for Pell Grants, which help students from families with modest incomes afford college. The reduced Pell Grant funding would necessitate cuts in the program. Despite the fact that Pell Grants already cover a much lower share of college costs than they used to, the Budget Committee said its plan would freeze the maximum grant level for ten years, even as tuition and room and board costs continued to rise. Other mandatory programs in these areas that would also be candidates for significant cuts under this vague part of the plan include child nutrition programs, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the elderly and disabled poor, and possibly the underlying refundable portion of the EITC and the underlying low-income (or refundable) component of the Child Tax Credit (CTC). In calculating the size of the cuts in programs targeted on people of modest means, we assumed that low-income program (other than SNAP) would bear their proportionate share of the remaining $550 billion in cuts in mandatory programs that the budget plan makes in the education and income security categories.

    About $160 billion, and maybe more, in cuts to low-income non-defense discretionary programs. On top of the significant cuts already enacted as a result of the BCA’s discretionary caps and sequestration, the House Budget Committee cuts non-defense discretionary programs about $970 billion[6] below their post-sequestration levels. About two-thirds of these cuts are located in portions of the budget that have little or no low-income programs, such as scientific research, natural resources, and transportation infrastructure. But the rest are essentially unspecified or occur in areas where low-income programs reside. Here, too, we make the conservative assumption that low-income programs would bear a proportionate share of the cuts, which is how we derive our estimate of $160 billion in reductions.

  26. rikyrah says:

    For White TV Writers Who Have Considered Racism When *Ethnic* Diversity Is Too Much

    By Jai Tiggett | Shadow and Act
    March 25, 2015 at 1:00PM

    Many of you alerted us to the recent irresponsible article from Deadline Hollywood asking whether an increase in ethnic* lead roles included in the current pilot season is “too much of a good thing.”

    Typically it’s best to avoid click bait like this. Personally, I tend to save my black outrage for projects that the general public doesn’t care about and that media outlets are afraid to share, because quite frankly it’s more edifying than ranting about racism**, which is clearly here to stay. But it’s a constant struggle in the mind of the writer as to whether to disregard poorly written, poorly thought-out work in order to give it less of a platform, or to address it directly in hopes of shedding light on the situation and having a productive dialogue. Here, we’ll try the latter.

    The outcry on social media over this particular article was swift and biting, with many listing the ways in which actors of color have been historically shut out of lead roles in television and film, and how the strides made in TV in the past few years are only beginning to crack the surface of diversity in entertainment.

    – Kerry Washington was only the first black woman to lead a network drama in nearly 40 years.

    – There is only a handful of shows on television today with diverse leads. That those shows are wildly successful (see: “Empire,” “Black-Ish,” “Fresh Off the Boat”) doesn’t change the fact that there is still only a handful.

    – Characters of color continue to be marginalized and relegated to supporting roles, and are often treated as disposable (see: “Sleepy Hollow,” “The Walking Dead,” et al).

    Those are just a few facts, and we could list many more to argue that casting diverse actors should always be seen as a positive. We could also argue that the number of actors of color in any given cast should not matter to an industry that claims to be color-blind.

    But I’ll argue another point: that focusing on color in casting is simply a diversionary tactic to get us all to forget what an abysmal year this has been for diversity in Hollywood in general. If we focus on the handful of actors of color that are actually working right now, we don’t have to think about all the “ethnic” writers, directors and producers still struggling to get their work made and seen.

  27. rikyrah says:

    OWN Draws Largest-Ever Nightly Audience Tuesday With Tyler Perry Dramas
    March 25, 2015 | 07:16PM PT

    Rick Kissell
    Senior Editor@ratesrick

    A strong finish by “The Haves and the Have Nots” and the return of “If Loving You is Wrong” — a pair of soapy dramas created by Tyler Perry —combined Tuesday to give OWN its most-watched night on record.

    Nielsen estimates that the midseason finale of “Haves and Have Nots” averaged a 1.1 rating/4 share in adults 18-49 and 3.5 million viewers overall — up nearly 20% in both categories from the previous week. Among cable programs, it was No. 1 in its 9 o’clock hour in 18-49 and No. 1 among all cable programs for the night in total viewers.

    It was followed by the second-season premiere of “If Loving You is Wrong” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall), which set series records across the board. It retained a strong 85% of its “Haves” lead-in among women 25-54 (1.56 rating vs. 1.84), and the programs ranked as cable’s top two for the night in OWN’s target demo.

    For the night, which included a repeat “Haves” in the 8 o’clock hour, OWN averaged 2.77 million viewers, according to Nielsen, making it cable’s most-watched primetime network for firstrun programming. The network’s previous high for a night (2.44 million) came in March 2012 with a “Oprah’s Next Chapter” installment featuring Bobbi Kristina.

  28. Ametia says:

    Levi Pettit’s PARENTS should be standing beside him, not the black folks!

    How much are those NEGROES standing behind this punk being paid?

  29. rikyrah says:

    his crime…being a Black man in a Cadillac


    Video shows police beating man during traffic stop

    The attorney for auto worker Floyd Dent said he was targeted because he is black.
    March 25, 2015

    Fighting back tears, a Detroit man and longtime auto worker with no criminal history, described how Inkster police officers dragged him from his car one night in January, choked him, beat him and Tasered him during a traffic stop that was caught on patrol car video.

    “He was beating me upside the head,” Floyd Dent, 57, told a hoard of reporters and TV crews during a press conference at his attorney’s office Wednesday afternoon, as tears trickled his cheeks. “I was trying to protect my face with my right arm. I heard one of them say, ‘tase the M…F. ‘”

    The Jan. 28 incident was caught on police video cameras and is making national news It shows Inkster police pulling over Dent in his 2011 tan Cadillac near South River Park Drive and Inkster Drive shortly before 10 p.m. The two officers approach with their guns drawn. As Dent opens the door, they pull him out and shove him to the ground. Dent does not appear in the video to be resisting arrest.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Va. Gov. Orders Retraining for ABC Police in Wake of U.Va. Arrest

    Updated at 6:35 PM EDT on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2015

    Gov. Terry McAuliffe ordered state liquor agents retrained Wednesday following a high profile arrest that left a University of Virginia student bloodied and shouting allegations of racism.

    The executive order requires Virginia’s approximately 130 Alcoholic Beverage Control agents to complete additional training on the use of force, cultural diversity, community policing and interaction with youth by Sept. 1.

    It also establishes a law enforcement panel to review ABC practices and make recommendations by Nov. 1 and requires the agency’s law enforcement arm to work with police in college towns to improve operations.

    McAuliffe previously ordered the Virginia State Police to investigate the March 18 arrest of Martese Johnson outside a bar across the street from the U.Va. campus. Photo and video images of Johnson, who is black, being pinned to the pavement by an ABC agent spread quickly on social media.

    In the video, Johnson can be heard repeatedly calling officers racists and asking why he is being detained.

    Johnson, whose lawyer said he needed 10 stitches to close a gash on his head, was charged with public intoxication or swearing, and obstruction of justice without force. His lawyer, Daniel Watkins, has said Johnson will plead not guilty to the two misdemeanors Thursday in Charlottesville.

    • Liza says:

      I pray to God that the judge at the hearing this morning is not as f***ed up as the racist cops who assaulted this child. They are damn lucky they didn’t kill him, but as I’ve been saying, these assaults that do not result in death need more attention. The human head was not designed to be FORCEFULLY BASHED INTO BRICKS OR ASPHALT OR CONCRETE.

      Stupid Jim Crow cops start harassing this kid because they probably didn’t have anything else to do and then were pissed off when he called them “racists.” So they assault him. I hope the judge at the hearing this AM isn’t a Jim Crow judge. We’ll see.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Cincinnati talk radio host sentenced to 60 days of time served after shooting wife during dispute
    25 MAR 2015 AT 16:34 ET

    A former Cincinnati talk radio host who admitted shooting his wife during a dispute was sentenced to 60 days of time already served on Wednesday.

    Blake Seylhouwer, the former host of Small Business Sunday on 55 WKRC (AM Radio), was accused of intentionally shooting his wife, Misty, last year and then telling police that the rifle had accidentally discharged.

    Investigators later determined that Seylhouwer fired the rifle on purpose when his wife turned her back on him to walk away. The shot struck the driveway of the couple’s home, sending bullet and concrete fragments into her chest, leg, neck, and head.

    The two had been arguing that day after his wife demanded that he move out of the house. Seylhouwer told a court last month that he “must have hit the trigger,” but he didn’t mean to.

    “I would never point a rifle at something,” he said. “You know, I mean, that’s just — that’s crazy.”

    On cross-examination, Seylhouwer admitted saying that he had a “.30-06 [rifle] with a goddamn scope on it. If I wanted to hit a f*cking freckle on her forehead, I could hit it.”

    A jury found Seylhouwer guilty on two counts of negligent assault, but it declined to find him guilty of felonious assault. Jurors were also hung on a domestic violence charge.

    On Wednesday, Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Winklersentenced Seylhouwer to 60 days in jail. But he was allowed to remain free because he had already served three times that amount while waiting for trial.

    Prosecutors said that Seylhouwer could face trial again on the domestic violence charge.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  33. Ametia says:


  34. Ametia says:

    Yes, but will the white boy Schook serve jail time?


    Former Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was released from federal prison Thursday after serving less than a year and a half of his two-and-a-half-year sentence for spending $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items. Ex-Congressman Patrick Kennedy said Jackson is going to spend the remainder of his sentence at a halfway house. “But a halfway house means he’s half way [home],” said his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson. “I won’t be satisfied until he’s totally free.”

  35. Ametia says:



    Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525, locked the pilot out of the cockpit and intentionally crashed the plane, according to Marseille public prosecutor Brice Robin. In a press conference Thursday, Robin said that audio recordings from the uncovered black boxes show a normal conversation between the pilot and co-pilot, followed by “laconic” responses from the latter. Once the plane reached cruising altitude, the black box data recorded the pilot asking the co-pilot to take over controls, and sounds indicate that the pilot left the cockpit at that point. At that point, Robin said, the co-pilot appears to have taken “completely voluntary” actions to make the plane descend.

    The pilot is later heard knocking on the door and attempting to gain entry to the cockpit, without success. The co-pilot also did not respond to calls from a control tower in Marseilles, asking him to issue a distress signal. “We hear human breathing within the cabin and we hear this breathing up until the final point of impact,” Robin said, further suggesting that the co-pilot was alive. Robin said he believes the crash was the result of voluntary actions on the part of the co-pilot.

  36. Ametia says:

    Loo-fah! Yes, I believe in the POWER OF LOVE. Good Morning, Everyone. :-)

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