Saturday Open Thread

I hope you enjoy this weekend with family and friends.

This week, the President wrapped up a trip to Panama, held a historic meeting with President Raul Castro of Cuba, grooved with Gospel artists, held a town hall about working families, and kicked off a Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride. That’s April 10th to April 16th or, “The Quintessential Sounds.”

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70 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Jeb Bush Was Born On Third Base. Does He Think He Hit a Triple?

    Jeb Bush, you may or may not be aware, spent much of his adult life as a “businessman.” I put that word in quotes because from what we’ve learned so far Bush doesn’t seem to have risen in the business world the way we normally think of people doing, by creating some kind of product or service that can be sold to people, by managing a growing operation, and so on. Instead, his work, such as it was, consisted of opening doors and making deals, something a succession of partners brought him in to do because of his name.

    Which isn’t in itself a sin. I’ll get to that in a minute, but first, an article in today’s Times discusses some of Bush’s deals that didn’t turn out so well, and how he reacted:

    Yet a number of his ventures before he entered politics have invited criticism that Mr. Bush traded on his family’s name and crossed ethical lines. His business involvement, as the son of a president, was inevitably vetted in public view, subjecting Mr. Bush to so many questions that he angrily accused the news media of treating him unfairly.

    “By definition, every single business transaction I am involved with may give the appearance that I am trading on my name,” Mr. Bush wrote in The Wall Street Journal during the final days of his father’s re-election campaign in 1992, responding specifically to stories about his involvement with the sale of M.W.I.’s water pumps. “I cannot change who I am.”

    Months earlier, he had written a 1,400-word defense of his business dealings in The Miami Herald in which he condemned reporters for having “gone too far in delving into the private lives of the families of public figures.”

    “Being part of America’s ‘First Family’ is both wondrous and challenging,” he wrote in the newspaper, adding that he desired to have his successes or failures “measured by his own performance and behavior, not those of his parents.”

    There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with making money the way Bush did. He had a famous name and connections that that name produced, and people were willing to give him large quantities of money to use it to their advantage. Every once in a while we hear of some wealthy heir who gives away all their inheritance and makes a fresh start with nothing, but most of us wouldn’t have the guts to do that. Connections and renown were Bush’s inheritance, an invaluable currency that could be traded for riches and power. He accepted that inheritance, like most people would.

    But what I’d like to know is how Bush himself thinks of his career, and how self-aware he is today. At the 1988 Democratic convention, Jim Hightower said of Jeb’s father that he “was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.” What does Jeb think he hit?

    I’m sure he would like to believe that every dollar he ever made came because of his skills, smarts, and hard work. But it didn’t. Like his brother George (who had a similar business career in which people lined up to give him money), Jeb had opportunities that are available to almost no one else in America.

  2. rikyrah says:

    This Is How The Republican Party Plans To Gain Ground With Latino Voters
    A substantial increase in budget, double the staff focused on Latino outreach, and a blueprint based off big 2014 wins in Florida and Colorado. But will starting earlier than ever in Latino communities be enough to fix its damaged brand with them?

    posted on April 17, 2015, at 11:33 a.m.
    Adrian Carrasquillo
    BuzzFeed News Reporter

    Maria del Carmen Weese, a retired volunteer with the Colorado Republican Party, was skeptical.
    It was June 2014 and she was getting ready to hear the Republican National Committee (RNC) blueprint for reaching Latino voters in the state in the midterm elections. She had seen this before, of course, the word outreach being thrown around, but then as soon as elections are over, everyone packs their bags and leaves. So her request was simple: she would volunteer and work her ass off for the party if they would commit to staying past election day.
    Jennifer Sevilla Korn, the RNC’s deputy political director, who presented the blueprint, told her they would.
    So Carmen Weese, 58, went to work. Colorado Republicans went to everything from the Peruvian festival to county fairs and events with churches and businesses, together totaling 70 events reaching 223,000 people between June and November, according to records the local party kept.
    Republicans across the country won in a wave election for the party, but Colorado boasted two wins the RNC attributes to their strong Latino outreach. Cory Gardner defeated incumbent Mark Udall in the U.S. Senate race by less than 50,000 votes, but made a 10,000 vote improvement in a place like Pueblo county, which is 42% Hispanic. Rep. Mike Coffman defeated Andrew Romanoff in a district that became majority-Democratic after 2010 redistricting, learning Spanish, and taking part in Univision’s first-ever Spanish-language debate in the state.
    The Cuban-American Carmen Weese, who put 1,900 hours into Latino outreach was elated, but resigned to the national party high-fiving and leaving town. Then she got a call a week after the election.
    “They called me and said we’re here through 2016,” she said. “I knew then that all the efforts and the hours that I put in did not go to waste.”
    Buoyed by victories in Colorado and in Florida, the RNC feels it has a blueprint for how to win support from Hispanic voters. Of the $10 million strategic initiative announced after the 2012 election for the midterms aimed at Hispanic, black, and Asian voters, the largest chunk was spent on Latino outreach, with more than 40 staffers spread across 10 states including the Southwest battlegrounds, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, and Texas.

  3. rikyrah says:

    What Elizabeth Warren Has That Hillary Clinton Needs

    The Fiscal Times
    April 17, 2015

    “Rules are not the enemy of markets,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren told me yesterday, on the heels of her major address on the unfinished business of financial reform at the Levy Institute’s Hyman Minsky Conference. “Rules promote innovation and competition. Rules prevent markets from blowing up. We learned that in 1929 and we should have learned it again in 2008.”

    That comment captures what distinguishes Warren from so many of her congressional and political colleagues. Any lawmaker can create a laundry list, and in her Minsky speech Warren did some of that, presenting specific steps needed to bolster financial regulation, which in its current state still puts the country at risk. But Warren has garnered attention because she actually has a worldview for how to best structure the economy, one which has become impossible for any Democrat, even the former Secretary of State winding through our nation’s Chipotles, to ignore.

    Warren’s governing philosophy can be boiled down to one simple sentiment: Actions must have consequences. The way to build functioning markets is to lay out ground rules and actually hold market participants accountable to them. That allows everyone in a market the same set of chances to succeed if they can attract enough customers. “This is about building competitive capitalism instead of crony capitalism,” Warren told me.

    – See more at:

  4. rikyrah says:

    Battle over Florida Medicaid expansion is a big, big deal

    By Greg Sargent April 15
    You really should be paying attention to the ongoing battle over the Medicaid expansion in Florida. If supporters of Obamacare get their way, it could help weaken the blockade of opposition that conservatives have successfully used to stall the expansion in multiple states this year, after it seemed to be progressing last year.

    Now there’s been a new development in the Florida battle: The Obama administration appears to be playing hardball with Florida governor Rick Scott, who opposes expanding Medicaid, sending him a new letter increasing the budgetary pressure on him to take the Medicaid expansion money.

    To catch you up, Florida had been in talks with the administration over expanding Medicaid to 800,000 or more Floridians. But Scott recently reversed his previous support for the expansion. Scott did this because the federal government is close to nixing some of the billions in Medicaid funding for another program — the Low-Income Pool, or LIP — which funnels money to hospitals for low-income patients. Scott says this shows the feds can’t be trusted to honor their commitment under the Medicaid expansion.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Below the Medicare “Doc Fix” Surface: President Obama’s Big Liberal Health Care Rout No One Noticed

    Spandan Chakrabarti April 17, 2015
    Yesterday, President Obama signed a pretty important and progressive reform to Medicare that no one is talking about. The bill President Obama signed sailed remarkably smoothly with bipartisan votes in both the House and the Senate. But that’s not the reason it was a rather significant liberal achievement. We will get to why it was, but first, let’s review what exactly the President just signed into law.

    The legislation’s primary purpose was to fix the “doc fix” in Medicare, forever. What on earth is the “doc fix?” As part of a deficit reduction package in the 90s – in 1997 to be exact – the then-Republican Congress and then-Democratic president (Bill Clinton) enacted something called the Medicare “Sustainable Growth Rate” formula, or the SGR. If Medicare costs exceeded per-capita economic growth, providers would be punished by cutting reimbursements. That, they said, would make Medicare “sustainable.”

    Of course the cost growth of Medicare quickly outstripped economic growth, and the first SGR cuts were to have kicked in for 2003. It didn’t. None of the cuts did, because Congress enacted yearly fixes, either keeping provider reimbursements the same or slightly increasing them. They paid for it by taking money from other areas of health care spending.

    But Congress never before deficit spent to do these fixes. So where exactly did all that extra money come from? From the Committee for a Responsible Budget – who lamented the just-enacted legislation because it didn’t cut enough, we have an overall picture:
    “Mr. Adler’s recent analysis found that cuts to other Medicare programs made up about 61 percent of the doc fix’s cost. Cuts to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act made up about 29 percent. “Pension smoothing” and other time-shifting maneuvers that Mr. Adler classifies as true budget gimmicks made up 7 percent of the savings, and 3 percent of the cost came from a fee on certain financial services.”

    While a lot of these cuts were “benign”, a lot of it affected the poorest and those who need help the most. Curiously enough, Medicaid acceptance has trended downward, and more and more pressure has been put on Medicaid providers and beneficiaries. Republicans had also hoped to use the yearly “doc fixes” to bleed the Affordable Care Act to death.

  6. rikyrah says:



    such beauty


  7. rikyrah says:

    Orphan Black is back!!

  8. rikyrah says:

    President Obama was related to George Washington?

    • Kathleen says:

      Golly, I don’t have a clue why that would be. Oh, wait, it must be because President Obama is not doing enough aisle reaching across or something. Yeah. That’s it. //snark.

  9. rikyrah says:

    jonathan jackson @thejacksonfile
    Nobody criticized “Chicagoland” but Rahm is all over Spike Lee for calling Chicago a name it has earned, “Chiraq.” @rainbowpush @SpikeLee

  10. Ametia says:

    Man charging police with knife shot and killed overnight

    POSTED 6:53 AM, APRIL 18, 2015, BY GEORGE SELLS, UPDATED AT 08:06AM, APRIL 18, 2015

    JENNINGS, MO (KTVI)-St. Louis County police are investigating after a deadly officer involved shooting in Jennings. One man was killed after an armed standoff.

    The incident began about 9:20pm Friday, on Riverwood Drive in a residential neighborhood off Jennings Station Road. Police say Thaddeus McCarroll, 23, had barricaded himself in the house with access to knives and a samurai sword. The man’s mother was locked out and called 9-1-1, wanting her son removed from the home. She called his behavior “not normal.”

    • Ametia says:

      apparently, the cops told Thaddeus they weren’t there to harm him, YET THEY KILLED HIM.

      Please tell me how does someone like James Holmes who goes into a theater and slaughter TWELVE PEOPLE and gets to live?

  11. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Rikyrah, your morning postings are great and so refreshing to the spirit! Thanks so much! :)

  12. rikyrah says:

    this is so cute

  13. rikyrah says:

    The Revolution is Not Over, My Friends

    By: Hrafnkell Haraldssonmore from Hrafnkell Haraldsson
    Saturday, April, 18th, 2015, 8:04 am

    Liberalism is, I think, resurgent. One reason is that more and more people are so painfully aware of the alternative.”
    ―John Kenneth Galbraith
    Elisabeth Hasselbeck complained last week during a segment on a school that actually dared to teach its students about Islam, that,

    A couple of years ago, the same high school fell under critique, by the way, for passing out a crossword puzzle to students that defined conservatism as “the political belief of preserving traditional moral values by restricting personal freedoms.
    She was laughing by the time she finished saying this, as though in disbelief that anyone could suggest something so outrageous.

    But it’s true.

    Liberalism is about liberty. Conservatism is about defending the status quo, and, as Timothy Ferris writes in The Science of Liberty (2010), conservatives are “upholders of tradition.” As for liberalism, “Liberty means the observance of human rights and freedoms.”

    No document in history is more dedicated to the idea of rights and freedoms than the United States Constitution. And to the idea that we all have these rights and freedoms.

    Now granted, as Ferris points out, there are liberals and there are liberals – classical (“original”) liberals versus “leftists” – American liberalism that as often as not includes progressives, and they are not identical because, as Ferris points out, progressivism values equality over liberty, outcome over freedom of choice.

    To define the two, Ferris provides examples of their accomplishments: for liberalism, “women’s suffrage and the thwarting of racial and sexual discrimination”) and for progressivism, “universal health care and state pension plans such as Social Security.” And of course, as with most things, the lines are blurred. Many of us are more or less liberal or progressive or conservative in different areas. The case of socially liberal conservatives is well known (today they are called RINOs).

    But the truth is, most of us don’t think about whether or not wanting environmental regulations in the first place, and demanding they actually be enforced in the second, makes us liberal or progressive. We just want clean air and water for us and our children. Definitions are secondary – and often confusing. We just know that if we grant corporations the freedom to do what they want, they will make us serfs and poison our air, water, and food.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning,Everyone :)

    Off to swim and run errands.

  15. annahkonda says:

    Wow! No mention of Percy Sledge’s passing.

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