Friday Open Thread | The Baby Makers Week: John Legend

John Legend-5

We end up our romance week with John Legend.


John Roger Stephens (born December 28, 1978), better known by his stage name John Legend, is an American singer, songwriter and actor. He has won nine Grammy Awards, one Golden Globe and one Academy Award. In 2007, Legend received the special Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.[1]

Prior to the release of Legend’s debut album, his career gained momentum through a series of successful collaborations with multiple established artists. Legend added his voice to those of other artists, assisting in them becoming chart-topper hits. He lent his voice to Magnetic Man’s “Getting Nowhere,” Kanye West’s “All of the Lights”, on Slum Village’s “Selfish” and Dilated Peoples’ “This Way”. Other artists included Jay-Z’s “Encore”, and he sang backing vocals on Alicia Keys’ 2003 song “You Don’t Know My Name”, the Kanye West remix of Britney Spears’ “Me Against the Music”, and Fort Minor’s “High Road”. Legend played piano on Lauryn Hill’s “Everything Is Everything”. He has gained chart topping hits from his solo work as well, including the Billboard Hot 100 number-one single, “All of Me”. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2015 for writing the song “Glory” from the film Selma.

John Legend-1

2004–2007: Get Lifted and Once Again[edit]
Legend released his debut album, Get Lifted, on GOOD Music in December 2004. It featured production by Kanye West, Dave Tozer, and, and debuted at number 7 on the US Billboard 200, selling 116,000 copies in its first week.[15] It went on to sell 540,300 copies in the United States and was certified gold by the RIAA.[16][17] An international success, Get Lifted also reached number one of the Norwegian Albums Chart and peaked within the top ten in the Netherlands and Sweden, resulting into worldwide sales of 850,000 copies.[10] Critically acclaimed, it won the 2006 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album, and earned Legend another two nominal awards for Best New Artist and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. Altogether, the album produced four singles, including debut single “Used to Love U,” which entered the top 30 of the New Zealand and UK Singles Chart, and Grammy Award-winning “Ordinary People” which peaked at 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. John Legend also co-wrote Janet Jackson’s “I Want You”, which was certified Platinum and received a nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards.[18]

A highly sought after collaborator, Legend was featured on several records the following years; he appeared on albums by Fort Minor, Sérgio Mendes, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, The Black Eyed Peas, Stephen Colbert, Rich Boy, MSTRKRFT, Chemistry, and Fergie, among others. Legend also tentatively worked with Michael Jackson on a future album for which he had written one song.[19] In August 2006, Legend appeared in an episode of Sesame Street. He performed a song entitled “It Feels Good When You Sing a Song”, a duet with Hoots the Owl.[20] He also performed during the pregame show of Super Bowl XL in Detroit and the halftime show at the 2006 NBA All-Star Game.[21][22]

In October 2006, Legend’s second album, Once Again, was released. Legend co-wrote and co-produced the bulk of the album, which saw him reteaming with West and but also spawned production from Raphael Saadiq, Craig Street, Sa-Ra, Eric Hudson, Devo Springsteen, Dave Tozer and Avenue. Released to major commercial success, it reached number three on the Billboard 200 and debuted on top of the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It was eventually certified platinum by the RIAA, and reached gold status in Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. At the 2007 Grammy Awards ceremony, the song “Heaven” was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, while lead single “Save Room” received a nod in the Best Male Pop Vocal category. Legend won a second Grammy that year for “Family Affair,” a collaboration with Sly & The Family Stone, Joss Stone and Van Hunt, for the former’s Different Strokes by Different Folks album.

John Legend-2

2008–2010: Evolver and Wake Up![edit]
In January 2008, Legend sang in a video for Barack Obama, produced by called “Yes We Can”.[23] The same year, Legend had a supporting, singing-only role in the 2008 movie Soul Men, where he plays the deceased lead singer of a fictitious soul group that includes Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac. In October, he released his third studio album, Evolver.[24] Speaking about the reasons for calling the album Evolver, he stated: “I think people sometimes come to expect certain things from certain artists. They expect you to kind of stay in the same place you were at when you started out. Whereas I feel I want my career to be defined by the fact that I’m NOT gonna stay in the same place, and that I’m always gonna try new things and experiment. So, as I think this album represents a manifestation of that, I came up with the title ‘Evolver’.”[25] The album was preceded by dance pop-influenced uptempo single “Green Light” which featured rapper Andre 3000 of OutKast and became his highest-charting single since “Ordinary People”; it was also released for the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.[26]

In 2009, Legend performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.[27] Also in 2009, Legend and The Roots teamed up to record a collaborative album, Wake Up!, which was released on September 21, 2010.[28] The first single released from the album was “Wake Up Everybody” featuring singer Melanie Fiona and rapper Common.[29][30] In February 2011, Legend won three prizes at the 53rd Annual Grammy Music Awards. He was awarded Best R&B Song for “Shine”, while he and The Roots won Grammy Awards for Best R&B Album and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “Hang On in There”. In March 2011, Legend and The Roots won two NAACP Image Awards – one for Outstanding Album (Wake Up!) and one for Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration.

John Legend-3

2011–present: Tour, Duets and Love in the Future[edit]
On July 5, 2011, songwriter Anthony Stokes filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against John Legend in United States District Court, in the District of New Jersey, alleging that Legend’s song “Maxine’s Interlude” from his 2006 album Once Again derives from Stokes’ demo “Where Are You Now”.[31] Stokes claimed he gave Legend a demo of the song in 2004 following a concert at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[32] Legend denied the allegations, telling E! Online, “I never heard of his song until he sued me. I would never steal anyone’s song. We will fight it in court and we will prevail.”[33] However, nearly 60,000 people took a poll that compared the two songs and 65% of voters believed that Legend’s “Maxine’s Interlude” is a rip-off of Stokes’ “Where Are You Now”.[34] A year later, Legend confirmed that he settled the lawsuit with Stokes.[35]

Also in 2011, Legend completed a 50-date tour as a guest for British soul band Sade. In the San Diego stop, Legend confirmed that he is working on his next studio album and played a new song called “Dreams”.[36] Later, via his official website, he revealed the official title of the album to be Love in the Future, and debuted part of a new track called “Caught Up”. The album has been executive-produced by Legend himself, along with Kanye West and Dave Tozer – the same team who worked on Legend’s previous albums Get Lifted and Once Again. Legend has stated that his intention for the record was “To make a modern soul album – to flip that classic feel into a modern context.”[37]

Legend was granted an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Howard University at the 144th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 12, 2012.[38] Legend was a judge on the ABC music show Duets along with Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Nettles and Robin Thicke. Legend’s spot was originally for Lionel Richie but he had to leave the show due to a scheduling conflict. Duets debuted on Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 8/7c.[39]

John Legend-4
He released his fourth studio album, Love in the Future, on September 3, 2013, debuting number 4 on the Billboard 200, selling 68,000 copies in its first week.[40] The album was nominated for Best R&B album at the 2014 Grammy Awards.[41] Legend’s third single from the album, “All of Me”, became an international chart success, peaking the Billboard Hot 100 for three consecutive weeks and reaching the top of six national charts and the top ten in numerous other countries, becoming one of the best-selling digital singles of all time. It was ranked the third best-selling song in the United States and the United Kingdom during 2014. The song is a ballad dedicated to his wife and was performed at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.

In 2014, Legend paired with the rapper Common to write the song “Glory”, featured in the film Selma, which chronicled the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches. The song won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song as well as the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Legend and Common performed “Glory” at the 87th Academy Awards on February 22, 2015.

Legend was featured on Meghan Trainor’s debut studio album on track 6 “Like I’m Gonna Lose You.” On Feb. 1, 2015, he sang “America the Beautiful” in the opening ceremony of Super Bowl XLIX. He also co-wrote and provided vocals for French DJ David Guetta’s song Listen, as part of the album of the same name.

This entry was posted in Music, Open Thread, Politics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Friday Open Thread | The Baby Makers Week: John Legend

  1. rikyrah says:

    Watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives…

    A BLT with thick cut bacon and fried green tomatoes.

    Oh my

    oh my


  2. Amanda Knox got away with it, y’all.

    Italy’s top court clears Amanda Knox and Italian ex-boyfriend of Meredith Kercher’s murder.

  3. Breaking: Hillary Clinton won’t turn over server; deleted emails.

  4. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    New Book:

    Womanpower Unlimited and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi (Politics and Culture in the Twentieth-Century South)” by Tiyi M. Morris

    Description from Amazon’s page:

    “In ‘Womanpower Unlimited and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi’, Tiyi M. Morris provides the first comprehensive examination of the Jackson, Mississippi–based women’s organization Womanpower Unlimited. Founded in 1961 by Clarie Collins Harvey, the organization was created initially to provide aid to the Freedom Riders who were unjustly arrested and then tortured in Mississippi jails. Womanpower Unlimited expanded its activism to include programs such as voter registration drives, youth education, and participation in Women Strike for Peace. Womanpower Unlimited proved to be not only a significant organization with regard to civil rights activism in Mississippi but also a spearhead movement for revitalizing black women’s social and political activism in the state.

    ” ‘Womanpower Unlimited’ elucidates the role that the group played in sustaining the civil rights movement in Mississippi. Consistent with the recent scholarship that emphasizes the necessity of a bottom-up analysis for attaining a more comprehensive narrative of the civil rights movement, this work broadens our understanding of movement history in general by examining the roles of “local people” as well as the leadership women provided. Additionally, it contributes to a better understanding of how the movement developed in Mississippi by examining some of the lesser-known women upon whom activists, both inside and outside of the state, relied. Black women, and Womanpower specifically, were central to movement successes in Mississippi; and Womanpower’s humanist agenda resulted in its having the most diverse agenda of a Mississippi-based civil rights organization.”

  5. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    deray mckesson @deray · 21m 21 minutes ago
    “TSA Airport Pat-Downs Of Black Women’s Hairstyles Deemed Discriminatory”

  6. rikyrah says:

    Growing Up White Until a Family Secret Revealed She Was Not
    In the documentary Little White Lie, filmmaker Lacey Schwartz spins a compelling story about embracing her racial identity.

    Posted: March 22 2015 3:00 AM

    Lacey Schwartz grew up as a white, Jewish girl in the predominantly white community of Woodstock, N.Y., raised by Peggy and Robert Schwartz. But what she didn’t know at the time was that her biological father was black.

    The idea of “passing” for white has long been a part of African-American culture. But Schwartz’s story isn’t one about passing. She truly believed that she was white.

    How she came to embrace her biracial identity and confront her parents about the family secret is the subject of her documentary, Little White Lie, which airs Monday on PBS as part of its Independent Lens series.

    Judging someone’s racial identity by appearance alone can be tricky—the recent story about Nancy Giles’ reaction to Jay Smooth makes that point fairly obvious. But when Schwartz was a child, her light-brown skin and curly hair elicited comments from people outside her immediate family circle: At her bat mitzvah, a woman from the synagogue mistook Lacey for an Ethiopian Jew.

    When Schwartz questioned her parents, her father showed her a portrait of her Sicilian great-grandfather, whose darker skin seemingly provided an explanation for her own. Schwartz, like everyone around her, bought this story.

    “To me, one of the big themes of my story and the film is about the incredible power of denial,” said Schwartz, 38, speaking from her home in Montclair, N.J., where she lives with her husband and 18-month-old twin boys. “And one of the things I was very interested in looking at is what I consider to be the anatomy of denial.”

    That denial allowed her parents to convince themselves that the great-grandfather story was true. Still, Schwartz couldn’t shake that feeling of otherness. When she began attending a more diverse high school, she would get stares from black girls and didn’t understand why. Her parent’s divorce, right before she turned 16, only led to more unanswered questions.

  7. rikyrah says:

    this never fails to make me laugh

  8. rikyrah says:

    Black Women March to Senate Leader’s Office in Protest Over Loretta Lynch
    The female leaders demanded to know why Attorney General-designate Loretta Lynch has waited 138 days for confirmation.

    Posted: March 27 2015 8:01 AM

    “We will not be moved, we will not go back, we will not stop,” said Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner as she led a prayer outside the door of the U.S. Capitol office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), as staff and U.S. Capitol police officers stirred nearby.

    About 20 prominent black women arrived at the ornate office suites of McConnell Thursday morning, asking to meet with him—even if for only a few minutes in the hallway—over the delay in confirming Attorney General-designate Loretta Lynch. They were told McConnell was too busy. The women did meet with McConnell’s chief of staff for about 20 minutes.

    The group that arrived at his door included Williams-Skinner; attorney Barbara Arnwine, president of the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights; Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; Sheila Tyson, a city councilwoman from Birmingham, Ala.; and Marcia Dyson, CEO of the Women’s Global Initiative.

    They asserted that the treatment of Lynch was a double standard rarely if ever applied to any other nominee for attorney general. Lynch, a career prosecutor who earned a degree from Harvard Law in 1984, has already been confirmed by the Senate twice before. If confirmed currently, Lynch would be the first African-American female attorney general of the 82 individuals who have been confirmed over 225 years.

    Lynch has now waited longer for confirmation than any other attorney general nominee in 31 years and longer than the last five nominees combined. The average wait time for an attorney general nominee is 18 days. Lynch, who has nominated by President Barack Obama Nov. 8, has now waited 138 days.

    The delay on Lynch’s nomination has nothing to do with qualifications or personal problems. Her confirmation saga is yet another unprecedented event during the Obama presidency, an event which many argue is about Lynch’s race and gender.

    “If it looks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck. The duck is that she’s being treated differently. That’s a standard that allows some people to call this both racist and sexist,” Williams-Skinner told reporters a few feet from McConnell’s door.

  9. John Legend is so handsome.

  10. rikyrah says:

    First Lady Michelle Obama Slated to Appear at This Year’s Black Girls Rock!

    Mar 27, 2015

    By Rhonda Nicole

    First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to appear at this year’s “Black Girls Rock!” celebration, which tapes Saturday, March 28 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

    FLOTUS will be on hand to honor the “Black Girls Rock!” M.A.D. GIRL honorees—three pioneering teen girls making great strides in education and blazing trails for others. “Black Girls Rock!” founder Beverly Bond said in a statement, “‘Black Girls Rock!’ works fervently year round to develop the leaders of tomorrow through arts education, cultural literacy, technology, and group mentoring programs. I am so excited to welcome First Lady Michelle Obama, whose Reach Higher initiative encourages young people to pursue and complete their education past high school, to join us here for the first time!”

  11. rikyrah says:

    they are NOT playing with these yahoo police in Alabama


    Yahoo News ✔@YahooNews

    Fired Alabama police officer now facing federal charges over arrest that left Indian grandfather paralyzed

  12. rikyrah says:

    McMorris Rogers gets an earful on ACA
    03/27/15 11:16 AM
    By Steve Benen
    For much of 2013 and 2014, Republicans were on a quest to discover “Obamacare victims.” GOP officials were convinced the Affordable Care Act was wreaking havoc on families’ lives, and Republicans everywhere were hunting for horror stories.

    In nearly every instance, those stories fell apart in the face of routine scrutiny, and most of the “victims” were actually far better off with the ACA than without it. One of the more notable examples arose early last year when Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the House Republican Conference chair, used her party’s official response to the State of the Union to introduce America to “Bette in Spokane.”

    Predictably, the story unraveled and McMorris Rodgers was pressed for an apology after pushing a misleading story. A year later, the Republican congresswoman hasn’t given up.
    Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the House GOP conference, took to Facebook to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act by asking to hear real-life horror stories from real people.
    This did not go according to plan. McMorris Rodgers generated plenty of responses, most of which were from people who see the ACA as a lifesaver for their families.

    I’m not altogether sure what the point of the endeavor was supposed to be. What exactly did the Republican congresswoman hope to accomplish?

    But even putting that aside, this little incident should be a reminder to GOP lawmakers that their assumptions about “Obamacare” may not be in line with Americans’ reactions in the real world. In fact, if Republicans on the Supreme Court gut the law, consumers will be looking to folks like McMorris Rodgers to prevent systemic chaos.

  13. rikyrah says:

    The education of a future First Lady

    In 1988, a group of black students at Harvard Law School compiled a report designed to recognize the growing achievements of black students on campus and share their wisdom with newcomers. The longest essay in the 50-page newsletter was written by a 24-year-old third-year student named Michelle Robinson, who devoted more than 3,000 words to an appeal for greater faculty diversity. “The faculty’s decisions to distrust and ignore non-traditional qualities in choosing and tenuring law professors,” she wrote, “merely reinforce racist and sexist stereotypes.”

    Harvard Law was a lofty perch, as privileged as it was competitive. It was no accident that the future Michelle Obama pressed ahead with her application after being waitlisted, or that she set out to make a difference. Raised in a working class Chicago family and educated at Princeton, she had lived the roiling discussions about inequality that were taking place at Harvard and around the country. At the law school by that year, “all the talk and the debates were shifting to race,” said Elena Kagan, a recent graduate and future Supreme Court justice.

    During her three years on campus, Michelle represented indigent clients, worked on a law journal focused on African-American perspectives and sought to inspire a greater sense of purpose in her fellow students. Her friends were not surprised. “Michelle always, everything she wrote, the things that she was involved in, the things that she thought about, were in effect reflections on race and gender,” said Charles Ogletree, a Harvard professor and mentor to Michelle. “And how she had to keep the doors open for women and men going forward.”…

    … Michelle contributed an essay headlined “Minority and Women Law Professors: A Comparison of Teaching Styles.” She argued that women and people of color connected with students in fresh and valuable ways…

    When given the chance, she maintained, minority and women faculty were able to innovate and deliver new perspectives. “Now, unlike before, students are being made to see how issues of class, race and sex are relevant to questions of law. Not only do students find that these issues are relevant, they are finding them interesting,” Michelle wrote. She called for new approaches to the recruitment and assessment of law school faculty, emphasizing hands-on teaching and the human side of education, rather than intellectual heft for its own sake. Let others count angels on the head of a pin; she cared about outcomes, a trait that would long define her.

    Michelle’s interests and, indeed, her orientation to the world, were close to the ground—and they would stay that way, all the way to the White House. An emerging professional skeptic, she wanted to know how the law connected to real lives, not least to African-American ones. Describing her approach, David Wilkins, who taught her in class, said she listened to others, but spoke up, “strong on what her opinions were. She was always the person who was asking the question, ‘What does this have to do with providing real access and real justice for real people? Is this fair? Is this right?’ She was always very clear on those questions.”…

    • eliihass says:

      I knew I loved this First Lady so dearly and hold her in the highest regard, for very good reason. She’s not only always very proudly and steadfastly lived her truth as a descendant of slaves, but she’s always taken to heart her solemn responsibility to the ancestors who paid the ultimate price, to use her life every day acting to effect a fairer and more equal environment where all have the same opportunities and are treated as equals – and different perspectives, representative of our various differences, are reflected and equally considered. She’s always been unafraid not only to speak up for, but to be there and act on behalf of the voiceless and downtrodden.

      And even as very few – less than 60 students at any given time – volunteered at the not so glamorous Harvard’s Legal Aid Bureau, that’s where she opted to spend what little free time she had as a full-time law student. Assisting indigent families living around her University community, who couldn’t afford attorneys to work on their legal matters.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Mayoral challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia came out smoking Thursday, putting Mayor Rahm Emanuel on his heels in their second debate for presiding over a government by fiat and press release that is “out of touch” with the priorities of everyday Chicagoans.

    From the red-light cameras he has vowed to eliminate to the appointed school board “riddled with conflicts of interest” that he has vowed to replace with an elected school board, Garcia portrayed himself as a champion of the neighborhoods with his finger on the pulse of everyday Chicagoans.

    RELATED: Emanuel, Garcia address black community’s issues at Chicago State forum

    The clear-cut aggressor in their second debate, Garcia even flattened Emanuel when the mayor tried to claim credit — as he did in one of his earliest campaign commercials — for a landmark achievement in Garcia’s backyard.

    “Let’s take the neighborhood of Little Village that Chuy’s represented for 30 years. Working with community leaders, I finally closed the coal plant that was there spewing pollution,” Emanuel said during the debate on Fox32 Chicago.

    Garcia was so incensed by Emanuel’s attempt to claim credit, he literally laughed out loud.

    “You single-handedly closed it? People worked on it for 10 years before you were ever elected. You were still in Washington,” Garcia said.

    “Before the mayor ever moved into Chicago right before he ran for mayor, people worked in Little Village in Pilsen and in Canaryville and Bridgeport to close the coal-burning plants. They protested. They testified. They signed petitions. . . . The park that he claims credit for? He’s claiming credit because he got to go and cut a ribbon. That’s not how you build communities in Chicago. He’s grandstanding. He’s trying to claim credit for work that he didn’t do.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    ‘You Are Not the King of the City,’ Chuy Tells Rahm at Debate

    By Ted Cox on March 26, 2015 7:18pm | Updated on March 26, 2015 7:27pm

    DOWNTOWN — The mayor and his top challenger tangled anew Thursday in the second televised debate ahead of the April 7 runoff election, with Jesus “Chuy” Garcia telling Rahm Emanuel, “You are not the king of the city.”

    Garcia, a Cook County commissioner who has received strong support from the teachers and service employees unions, also vowed he would “tell the unions lots of bad news” in the face-off at WFLD-TV Channel 32. Although the debate taped at 6 p.m. Thursday, it was set to air at 9 p.m.

    As the challenger widely considered to be behind in the polls, Garcia tried to seize and hold the initiative, while Emanuel was more measured.

    Garcia explained his switch of positions on using Chicago Park District property for the Obama Presidential Library by saying, “I think we have to protect parkland,” but adding that he bowed to community sentiment in favor of the swap.

    Yet he dismissed the same for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, calling it “a monument to Darth Vader.”

    Garcia said the lakefront property between Soldier Field and McCormick Place wasn’t Emanuel’s to give away.

    “You don’t make these decisions by fiat. You are not the king of the city,” he said. “If you want to put it there, ask the voters.”

  16. rikyrah says:


    I watched Scandal. I loved last night’s show. I thought there was a lot going on. I love Cyrus. Cyrus is a goon. A straight up goon, but I love him. He’s not a good man, but I love him. And, the actor is phenomenal. The moment when Cyrus went into the dinner with the parents, fully intending to leave Michael as roadkill, and then listening to them talk about:
    A) how they were getting paid to be there
    B) how mad they were that they spent all that money on those ‘ camps to fix him’

    If they had been in a private setting, Cyrus would have cursed their azzes out on GP.

    I thought his monologue to Michael right before the marriage was the most honest he’s been with ANYONE, and I include James in that. So powerful.

    I loved last night’s show.

    • Ametia says:

      Michael had me in tears. All he wants is to be validated, to be loved. Cyrus too, it’s really all we all want, to be recognized for who we are, warts and all. Very powerful.

      I loved Mellie’s takedown of NCC Elizabeth North. Mellie was like, I’M LARGE & IN CHARGE in this here WH, you’re working for me, bitch! LOL

  17. rikyrah says:

    Vulnerable Republicans discover the value of liberal ideas
    03/27/15 08:00 AM—UPDATED 03/27/15 08:26 AM
    facebook twitter 0 save share group 3
    By Steve Benen
    A little after 3 a.m. eastern this morning, the Republican-led Senate approved a far-right budget plan, slashing public investments and dismantling social-insurance programs like Medicare. The final vote, 52 to 46, did not come as a surprise – the question was when, not if, GOP senators would approve their budget blueprint.

    What did come as a surprise, however, was a vote late yesterday on a top progressive priority.

    The reason it takes so long for the upper chamber to vote on a budget is that members introduce hundreds of proposed amendments – 739, to be exact – several dozen of which reach the floor as part of a process affectionately called the “vote-a-rama.” The measures, like the budget itself, is non-binding, but members see value in getting senators on the record, voting up or down, on a wide range of priorities.

    One of those measures was championed by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who pushed a proposal for paid sick leave. Oddly enough, it passed – and the way in which it passed tells an interesting story.
    Just a few weeks ago, the Healthy Families Act – which would allow employees to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave – seemed like just another White House proposal doomed to die in the newly Republican Senate. But this afternoon, it gained a surprise vote of confidence: 61 senators voted for an amendment to the budget that would do essentially the same thing.

    That doesn’t mean it will become law. Budget resolutions are not binding, so it’s a largely symbolic move. But it’s important: If family-friendly policies gain enough bipartisan support, they could end up substantially improving conditions for millions of workers who’ve long gone without any paid time off at all.
    As the Washington Post piece makes clear, the finally tally wasn’t particularly close: it passed with 61 votes, including 12 Republicans. In fact, every GOP incumbent who’s worried about re-election next year – Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) – threw their support behind paid sick leave.

    Yes, it was non-binding, but the broader salience of the vote was hard to miss: vulnerable Republicans sometimes see value in embracing progressive ideas. Paid sick leave may be a top priority for President Obama and congressional Democrats, but much of the GOP also realizes it’s a very popular idea with the American mainstream.

    In fact, note that when the vote was held yesterday afternoon, Johnson and Toomey initially opposed the amendment, but then changed their minds.

    Will this encourage Murray and other Senate Dems to keep the focus on this idea in the coming months? You bet it will.

  18. Liza says:

    Headlines March 25, 2015
    Study: U.S. Wars Have Left Over 1 Million Dead in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan

    A new report has found that the Iraq War has killed about one million people. The Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and other groups examined the toll from the so-called war on terror in three countries — Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The investigators found “the war has, directly or indirectly, killed around one million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan (i.e. a total of around 1.3 million). Not included in this figure are further war zones such as Yemen. The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware. … And this is only a conservative estimate,” they wrote. They say the true tally could be more than two million.

  19. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    deray mckesson @deray · 58m 58 minutes ago
    “93 percent of nurses are women — and the 7 percent who are men still make more money”

  20. rikyrah says:

    Who wins and loses in Rahm’s TIF game?

    Under Mayor Emanuel, most economic development funds are spent downtown while neighborhood investments lag behind.
    By Ben Joravsky@joravben and Mick Dumke@mickeyd1971

    Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a huge scam to take dollars and allocate with no representation. This is how the black, Latino and working class neighborhoods have gone into serious decline. Daley and Emanuel have created a 21st Century version of Jim Crow communities. My Chicago brothers and sisters need to vote their interest and survival in this election.

    Who wins and loses in Rahm’s TIF game?

    Under Mayor Emanuel, most economic development funds are spent downtown while neighborhood investments lag behind.

    In the first runoff debate, Mayor Rahm Emanuel conceded that Chicago struggles with economic disparity. But he argued that “it is a false choice to pit one part of the city of Chicago against another.”

    Since Emanuel took office, though, the city’s primary economic development tool is doing just that—favoring gentrifying neighborhoods downtown over the rest of the city.

    Nearly half of the $1.3 billion in tax increment financing funds allocated by Mayor Emanuel since 2011 have gone to the Loop and surrounding areas, according to city records.

    It was much the same five years ago, when we examined the TIF program under former mayor Richard M. Daley. As a candidate for mayor in 2011, Emanuel promised to make it more fair.

    But about 48 percent of what he has committed to spend in TIF funds over the last four years has gone to these same favored communities, an area stretching roughly from the Gold Coast on the north to McCormick Place on the south and from the United Center on the west to the lake.

    Those neighborhoods account for about 5 percent of Chicago’s geographical area and 11 percent of its population.

    In contrast, the south side received about 16 percent of the TIF haul, the northwest side 10 percent, the north side 9 percent, the west side 9 percent, the southwest side 4 percent, and the far south side—which includes some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods—just 4 percent.

    Even some of the mayor’s council allies say it’s time to change the TIF program so that more resources go to struggling neighborhoods.

    “Would I be much happier if I could get some of those dollars? Absolutely,” says Alderman Willie Cochran (20th). “Do the regulations have to change? I would be in favor of it.”

    The TIF program was created to eradicate blight by subsidizing development in communities that would not be developed “but for” the assistance.

    The irony, as Cochran points out, is that it’s governed by a formula that collects more money for rapidly gentrifying communities than anywhere else, including the city’s poorest, most blighted areas.

    When the mayor and the City Council create a TIF district, they basically limit the amount of property taxes within that district that go to the schools, parks, county, and other taxing bodies. As property values rise, the increased property tax yield flows into a TIF account controlled by the mayor.

    That means a community undergoing rapid gentrification—like the area around McCormick Place—will have more money flowing into its TIF coffers than poor communities like Woodlawn, which Alderman Cochran represents. Under state law, the city has little ability to move the funds from one part of town to the other.

    In essence, the TIF program is like a competition for a limited amount of money. But it’s not a fair fight—it’s more like a 100-yard dash in which one guy starts at the 50 and everyone else is trying in vain to catch up.

    For instance, Mayor Emanuel approved spending $87 million in the LaSalle/Central TIF district in the Loop—and nothing at all in the 126th/Torrence district on the southeast side. In fact, no money was spent in 23 of the 149 TIF districts across the city.

    And more than half of the city isn’t in a TIF district, which means those excluded areas don’t receive any investment from the program either.

  21. Ametia says:

    Comments section is interesting

    What happens when gray mixes with brown in America
    By Catherine Rampell Opinion writer March 26 at 8:37 PM

    Many older Americans may not like — or at least empathize with — Kids These Days. But there are selfish reasons to spend more taxpayer money on the young all the same.

    This is the framework I wish Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam had emphasized in his new bestseller, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis.” He intersperses tear-jerking anecdotes with hard-nosed statistics to illustrate how children from poor families today have fewer chances for upward mobility than their counterparts from yesteryear. Poor kids and young adults, he argues, are the innocent victims of a widening “opportunity gap.”

  22. Ametia says:



    Prosecutor: Co-pilot on doomed flight hid ongoing ‘medical treatments’

    German prosecutor: Germanwings co-pilot may have tried to hide psychological issues
    The co-pilot suspected of intentionally crashing Germanwings Flight 9525 may have tried to hide his psychological troubles from the airline, including possibly tearing up a note about ongoing issues on the day of the crash, a German prosecutor said Friday.

    • eliihass says:

      He was a dastardly coward who decided to hijack, terrorize and take over a hundred innocent people – including babies and children – with him because he was too scared to die alone.

    • yahtzeebutterfly says:

      This has touched my heart……may our country hear it it and realize that today thousands are singing it. Our country can be better.

      Praying for justice and equality, for community and togetherness

    • Ametia says:

      Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, announced Friday he will not seek reelection in 2016, in a video posted online.
      n a prepared statement, Reid thanked his supporters and cited his recent exercise accident.

      “This accident has caused Landra and me to have a little down time. I have had time to ponder and to think. We’ve got to be more concerned about the country, the Senate, the state of Nevada than about ourselves. And as a result of that, I’m not going to run for re-election,” he said.

      Reid will end a political career that spans three decades. Nevada voters first elected him to the U.S. Senate in 1986. He has served as the Democratic leader of the Senate since 2007. Before coming to Congress, Reid worked as a state lawmaker and chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission.

      Senator Reid says he will serve the remainder of his term, which will last approximately 22 months.

    • eliihass says:

      I like Harry. I wish him and his wife well.
      I worry about the Democratic party. We are losing and have not groomed solid replacement candidates who are politicians but more importantly, dedicated public servants who care deeply about the issues and the people they represent. Instead we have a lot of bought and paid for self-promoters who just want to climb the ladder for their own purposes. And too afraid to do the work for the people, because it not only interferes with their advancement agenda, but it usually contradicts the agenda of the wealthy corporations and political donors who own them.

  23. rikyrah says:

    this makes me sad


    Harry Reid Says He Won’t Seek Re-ElectionThe New York Times


    44 mins ago

    WASHINGTON — Senator Harry Reid, the tough tactician who has led Senate Democrats since 2005, will not seek re-election next year, bringing an end to a three-decade congressional career that culminated with his push of President Obama’s ambitious agenda against fierce Republican resistance.

    Mr. Reid, 75, who suffered serious eye and facial injuries in a Jan. 1 exercise accident at his Las Vegas home, said he had been contemplating retiring from the Senate for months. He said his decision was not attributable either to the accident or to his demotion to minority leader after Democrats lost the majority in November’s midterm elections.

    “I understand this place,” Mr. Reid said. “I have quite a bit of power as minority leader.”

    He has already confounded the new Republican majority this year by holding Democrats united against a proposal to gut the Obama administration’s immigration policies as well as a human-trafficking measure Democrats objected to over an anti-abortion provision.

    “I want to be able to go out at the top of my game,” said Mr. Reid, who used a sports metaphor about athletes who try to hang on too long. “I don’t want to be a 42-year-old trying to become a designated hitter.”

  24. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

Leave a Reply