Monday Open Thread: Tony Winners of the 1950’s

They announced the nominations for the Tony Awards this week. Thought we would go back in time and visit Tony winners for Best Musical of the 1950’s.


1950: South Pacific

south pacific - cinema quad movie poster (todd ao) 1.jpg

South Pacific is a musical composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The work premiered in 1949 on Broadway and was an immediate hit, running for 1,925 performances. The story is based on James A. Michener’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific, combining elements of several of the stories. Rodgers and Hammerstein believed that they could write a musical based on Michener’s work that would be financially successful and, at the same time, would send a strong progressive message on racism.

The plot centers on an American nurse stationed on a South Pacific island during World War II who falls in love with a middle-aged expatriate French plantation owner but struggles to accept his mixed-race children. A secondary romance, between a U.S. lieutenant and a young Tonkinese woman, explores his fears of the social consequences should he marry his Asian sweetheart. The issue of racial prejudice is candidly explored throughout the musical, most controversially in the lieutenant’s song, “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”. Supporting characters, including a comic petty officer and the Tonkinese girl’s mother, help to tie the stories together. Because he lacked military knowledge, Hammerstein had difficulty writing that part of the script; the director of the original production, Logan, assisted him and received credit as co-writer of the book.

The original Broadway production enjoyed immense critical and box-office success, became the second-longest running Broadway musical to that point (behind Rodgers and Hammerstein’s earlier Oklahoma!), and has remained popular ever since. After they signed Ezio Pinza and Mary Martin as the leads, Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote several of the songs with the particular talents of their stars in mind. The piece won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950. Especially in the Southern U.S., its racial theme provoked controversy, for which its authors were unapologetic. Several of its songs, including “Bali Ha’i”, “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair”, “Some Enchanted Evening”, “There Is Nothing Like a Dame”, “Happy Talk”, “Younger Than Springtime” and “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy”, have become popular standards.

The production won ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Libretto, and it is the only musical production to win Tony Awards in all four acting categories. Its original cast album was the bestselling record of the 1940s, and other recordings of the show have also been popular. The show has enjoyed many successful revivals and tours, spawning a 1958 film and television adaptations. The 2008 Broadway revival was a critical success, ran for 996 performances and won seven Tonys, including Best Musical Revival.

1951: Guys and Dolls

guysanddolls poster

Guys and Dolls is a musical with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. It is based on “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown” and “Blood Pressure” – two short stories by Damon Runyon,[1][2] – and also borrows characters and plot elements from other Runyon stories – most notably “Pick the Winner”.[3]

The premiere on Broadway was in 1950. It ran for 1200 performances and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. The musical has had several Broadway and London revivals, as well as a 1955 film adaptation starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine.

Guys and Dolls was selected as the winner of the 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. However, because of writer Abe Burrows’ troubles with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the Trustees of Columbia University vetoed the selection, and no Pulitzer for Drama was awarded that year.[4]

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57 Responses to Monday Open Thread: Tony Winners of the 1950’s

  1. eliihass says:

    Flying home tonight and was watching Alan Dershowitz (who taught law at Harvard from 1967 until his retirement in 2013 – and more recently is dealing with accusations of sex with an underage prostitute courtesy of Bill Clinton’s wealthy buddy Jeffrey Epstein), with his WTF out of left field attacks on State Attorney Ms Mosby, and condescending scoffing at her ‘premature’ indictment of and ‘overcharging’ the 6 corrupt and murderous Baltimore police officers in the Freddie Gray case, is a scary peek into the workings of the mind of many a perverse elite law professor. When even Nancy Grace makes so much more sense than you do and is unimpressed and mocking you and your 2 million years of tenure and fellowship at Harvard law and thinks you’re just out and out ridiculous, corrupt and crazy, you know you really ought to disappear.

    Alan Dershowitz embodies precisely the culturally narrow, callous, insensitive and skewed perspective typically brought to bear previously in the teaching and interpretation of law at elite havens like Harvard Law for far too long.

    Precisely what our brilliant, insightful, clear-eyed, straight-shooting and fearless first black FLOTUS, as a young and highly conscious law student at Harvard Law, very accurately pin-pointed, raised red flags about, advocated against, and sought to at a minimum, neutralize in that disturbing trend and mindset prevalent among the predominantly white faculty.

    FLOTUS in arguing for a more diverse faculty wrote a 1988 essay, entitled ‘Minority and Women Law Professors: A Comparison of Teaching Styles’ in which she argued for the inclusion of women and people of color in a mostly lily white Harvard Law faculty. She advocated for the hiring of minority and female instructors who did not necessarily embrace or conform to the Kingsfield model of imperious superiority. She believed that the image of law school cultivated in the movie The Paper Chase among others, constrained student outlook and expectations, influenced faculty teaching styles, and impacted the way law was interpreted and packaged beyond Harvard for general consumption —and not in a good way.

    Here’s an excerpt from the Peter Slevin Politico article shared by Rikyrah last month:

    “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.”

    Read more:

    (Sorry for the long post…)

    • Ametia says:

      Well Americans can’t have Black folks like First lady Michelle Obama with that kind of VISION & asking those kinds of questions!

      This is another reason the beltway crowd are HATIN’ You’re coming CORRECT with FLOTUS, or you aren’t COMING.

  2. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    deray mckesson @deray · 1h 1 hour ago
    “#FreddieGray arrest documents drawn up for wrong people”

  3. Ametia says:

    Lauryn Hill cancels Israel concert

    Americcan hip-hop singer Lauryn Hill has cancelled her upcoming May 7th performance in Rishon Lezion, she announced on Monday.

    “When deciding to play the region, my intention was to perform in both Tel Aviv and Ramallah,” the R&B hitmaker said on her website. “Setting up a performance in the Palestinian Territory, at the same time as our show in Israel, proved to be a challenge.”

    Ms. Hill was scheduled to rock the stage this Thursday at the Rishon Lezion Park Live Amphitheater, but has recently come under pressure to cancel her tour to the region.

  4. rikyrah says:

    This is a damn shame


    Kimmie Jean @KimBrownTalks

    5 months on, Tamir Rice isn’t buried, the investigation into his death is incomplete & his mom has moved to a shelter

  5. rikyrah says:

    April @ReignOfApril

    I hope y’all are watching what’s happening. Numerous tweets from eyewitnesses, who have no connection to each other, are being discounted.

  6. rikyrah says:

    The White House ✔ @WhiteHouse

    “You matter. You matter to us.” —President Obama to young boys and men of color #MyBrothersKeeper

  7. rikyrah says:

    from POU:


    Morgan Freeman and Don Lemon stating that they are living proof that race pretty much no longer matters. They’re prominent, so to hell with people who don’t have the wealth to shield themselves from the worst effects of discrimination. “I got mine, too bad for you.”

    I don’t agree with Oprah on everything, but I respect the way that she does not use her superlative life and wealth to promote a narrative that racism is over. She at least has the courage to admit what people are dealing with.

  8. Ametia says:


    Updated: Monday, May 4, 2015, 2:16 PM

    Days after their indictment in the George Washington Bridge lane closings scandal, two people close to Governor Christie appeared in federal court Monday morning and formally denied they were part of a conspiracy to exact political vengeance against the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing the governor’s re-election in 2013.

    Seated at the defense table before the hearing began, Bill Baroni, put his hand over his heart and clasped the hand of Bridget Anne Kelly. About 20 minutes later, after the courtroom was cleared of spectators, they briefly embraced, then headed downstairs.

    Lawyers for Kelly, a former deputy chief of staff to Christie, and Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, entered not guilty pleas on their clients’ behalf during the brief initial appearance and arraignment before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark.

    The judge set bail at $150,000 unsecured bond for each — meaning that they do not have to post money or property — and scheduled their trial for July 7.

    Read more:

  9. rikyrah says:

    because this is who they are


    Video shows 4 black officers held at gunpoint by police Lee Higgins, (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News

    RAMAPO, N.Y. — Four black parole officers on official business were held at gunpoint and detained by police last year, videos recently obtained by The Journal News show.

    Black law enforcement leaders are criticizing Ramapo police for the incident last April, saying it highlights a larger problem with how police treat members of the black community.

    “If these guys aren’t safe, imagine what a young black man feels about interacting with the police,” said Damon Jones, the New York representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America. “They have no chance.”

    The state parole officers have a federal lawsuit pending against the town, its police department and others, alleging racial profiling and civil rights violations. Jones said Ramapo police need to explain “why they held the parole officers after they were identified.” Town officials maintain police did nothing wrong.

    On a cloudy morning last April, just as the commuter rush was beginning to die down, at least five police officers surrounded the parole officers’ car at a busy intersection in Airmont near restaurants and often crowded shopping plazas.

  10. rikyrah says:

    I will repeat this Govenor Krispy Kreme…

    Ain’t nobody going to jail for you except for your Mama…and, don’t trust her to do it either.


    Outside the courthouse on Monday, Ms. Kelly’s lawyer vowed a “full airing of \the facts” and to call as witnesses “everyone who was involved,” suggesting as he has before that Ms. Kelly was neither the architect of the lane closings, nor the one driving the monthslong campaign to cover them up as a traffic study
    instead of retribution against the Fort Lee mayor.

    “The longer you have Bridget Kelly on the stand, you will obviously come to the conclusion we are saying today and have said all along, that she is not guilty,” said her lawyer, Michael Critchley.

    Asked by reporters if he intended to call the governor himself, Mr. Critchley
    did not answer directly. “We’ll find out,” he said, then walked away with his

    Mr. Baroni, who has made no public statements on the lane closings since he
    resigned from the Port Authority in December 2013, stood before a bank of
    microphones in front of the federal courthouse in Newark and described himself as “an innocent man.”

    “I have spent my career trying to do the right thing,” he said, recalling how as a New Jersey state senator he had voted against the advice of his fellow Republicans in favor of family and medical leave, and medical marijuana, and proudly sponsored the legalization of same-sex marriage, a move that many believe cost him his seat.

    “I would never risk my career, my reputation,” Mr. Baroni said, on something like a scheme to close lanes to a bridge to punish a politician.

    Mr. Baroni took no questions, but in his brief statement, he vowed to testify on his own behalf at trial.

    Ms. Kelly, who read a forceful statement in her own defense at a news conference Friday, stood silently by her lawyer as he spoke to reporters outside the federal courthouse Monday.

  11. rikyrah says:

    It’s time to name major landmark for Margaret Taylor Burroughs

    Posted: 04/27/2015, 06:21pm | Mary Mitchell

    Naming the 31st Street Harbor for the late Margaret Taylor Burroughs should be a done deal.

    Burroughs, who died in 2010 at the age of 93, co-founded the DuSable Museum of African-American History and was known internationally for her art and poetry. She also helped establish the South Side Community Art Center, which brought renowned African-American artists to Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood.

    Burroughs used her creative talents in so many arenas — including at Cook County Jail, where she taught poetry to female inmates — it is impossible to define her.

    And as if her many cultural pursuits didn’t keep her busy enough, Burroughs served as a Chicago Park District commissioner for 25 years. If that kind of cultural imprint isn’t worthy of a public monument, then I don’t know what is.

    But it has been nearly three years since U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush, D-Ill., proposed the idea to the Chicago Park District officials, and two years since the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board agreed, and absolutely nothing has happened.

    The editorial board even gave the city an out, adding: “If somebody can give us a compelling reason for not doing so, then Chicago should name something else for Burroughs — something of equal or greater presence and permanence.”

    On Monday morning, Rush convened a group of African-American activists to give the campaign a push. Peggy Montes, founder of the Bronzeville Children’s Museum, and Conrad Worrill, director of the Jacob Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, agreed to serve as co-chairs of the renewed effort.

    “We’re going to include community activists and religious groups. It will be a much more broadly based initiative. We want to get this done soon, and very soon,” Rush said.

  12. rikyrah says:

    uh huh

    uh huh


    Alderman wonders where is new $60M elite high school?

    Posted: 05/04/2015, 01:01pm |


    More than a year ago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel unveiled plans to use $60 million in tax-increment financing (TIF) to build Chicago’s 11th selective enrollment high school on the Near North Side and name it after President Barack Obama.

    Emanuel subsequently dropped the Obama name saying he “made a mistake” in his “rush to honor” his former boss. Black elected officials had taken offense, citing the President’s roots on the South Side.

    Now, the local alderman is wondering whether the showcase North Side high school, whatever it ends up being called, will ever be built.

    Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) expressed his fears four days after CPS notified the Chicago Teachers Union that it would not exercise its option to extend the teachers contract for another year because it does not have the $105 million needed to fund the one-year, 3 percent pay raise.

    CPS is facing a $1.1 billion shortfall and a $9.5 billion pension crisis.

    “We have TIF money for the capital stuff [to build the school], but TIF money can’t be used to run it and staff it. That may be the challenge,” said Burnett, who helped the mayor get re-elected.

  13. Liza says:

    Today is the 45th anniversary of Kent State. That was a one hell of a sad day, deserving of Neil Young’s anthem, Ohio.

    • Ametia says:

      The more things change the more they stay the same. This is frightening, even today.
      One of my favorite songs by CSN & Y, SADLY though.

      • Kathleen says:

        While I live in Ohio and abhor what happened at Kent State, 11 days after that 2 students were killed at Jackson State. That incident deserves as much of a memorial as Kent State.

        I was in college then and I remember my dad saying, “It must be open season on college students” regarding both of these tragedies. Unlike many dads of that day, he was more sympathetic to students than most of his peers.

      • Liza says:

        Kathleen, I am in disbelief that I don’t remember the killings at Jackson State. I know we didn’t talk about it in school, but I do remember Kent State when it happened and years later I read James Michener’s book about Kent State. I think that Neil Young’s “Ohio” kept Kent State in the national consciousness for awhile, but now it’s mostly forgotten, kind of a blip on the screen of everything related to the Vietnam War. You are absolutely right that the police actions at Jackson State, very similar to what the National Guard did at Kent State, deserve the same level of recognition.

      • Liza says:

        Actually, what I mean is that both of these tragic events, when the National Guard in Ohio and the police in Mississippi opened fire on protestors, should have a prominent place in the history of the Vietnam War in this country.

  14. rikyrah says:

    May 04, 2015 12:08 PM
    Means-Tested Spending and Recessions

    By Ed Kilgore

    In his latest column Paul Krugman makes one explicit and one implicit point with respect to conservative claims that the U.S. has been throwing vast and increasing quantities of money down countless rat-holes in fighting poverty:

    [F]ederal spending on means-tested programs other than Medicaid has fluctuated between 1 and 2 percent of G.D.P. for decades, going up in recessions and down in recoveries. That’s not a lot of money — it’s far less than other advanced countries spend — and not all of it goes to families below the poverty line.

    The implicit point involves the fluctuations in spending on means-tested programs. They are by design counter-cyclical, both because more people meet eligibility standards when they are out of work, and because policy-makers wisely add resources to ensure the need is met. But to hear a lot of conservatives, the temporary rise in means-tested spending during and in the wake of the Great Recession was some sort of sickening and permanent lurch down the Road to Serfdom, or over some imaginary tipping point where the takers outnumbered the makers and would henceforth just take over the country and shut down the private-sector economy entirely.

    It’s interesting that the same sort of people who tend to think that way are also by and large violently opposed to fiscal or monetary stimulus to keep the economy out of recession. Even if you think all non-defense government spending is bad, surely the programs that entrap people in the satanic hammock of dependency are worse than, say, infrastructure spending that might keep the unemployment rate down, right? But if there is some sizable body of conservatives out there supporting stimulative spending (or non-austerity monetary policy) to keep down anti-poverty spending, I’ve missed it.

  15. rikyrah says:

    GOP tries to flip ‘Party of No’ label
    05/04/15 01:02 PM
    By Steve Benen
    President Obama’s veto pen hasn’t had much use in recent years. There was one veto in 2009 and another in 2010, but they were both technical objections, not evidence of a genuine conflict between Congress and the White House. From 2011 to 2014, when congressional productivity collapsed to historic low, Obama didn’t have anything to veto – in part because very few bills reached his desk at all.

    This year, we’ve already seen two vetoes, but just as interesting is the number of veto threats. The president issued four such warnings last week, and the Washington Times’ count puts the total for 2015 so far at 26 veto threats, “by far the most of any president at this point in a new legislative session,” at least since political scientists started keeping track 30 years ago.

    Apparently, it’s getting on Republicans’ nerves.
    Republicans have taken aim at the president’s reliance on veto threats, which usually are spelled out in official White House documents known as “statements of administration policy.” GOP leaders say Mr. Obama has proved he’s not interested in working with them on bipartisan goals and instead is intent on blocking Republicans’ agenda at every turn.

    “Despite Republicans reaching across the aisle to pass good legislation, the president has responded with veto threats President Obama has shown time and again that he is unwilling to work with Congress by threatening to veto bills before they even get a chance to reach his desk,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, wrote on his website last week. “The American people don’t want vetoes. They want Washington to work. But it can only work if the President stops his obstruction and starts cooperating with Congress.”
    The House Majority Leader wasn’t kidding – he’s actually accusing the White House of “obstruction.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Fox News have recently used similar rhetoric.

    You can almost hear irony crying somewhere in a corner.

    It’s understandable that Republicans are a little sensitive on the point. Democrats have gone after the GOP repeatedly in recent years as the “Party of No,” after conservative lawmakers effectively ruled out the possibility of bipartisan governance – at times even rejecting their own ideas after the president endorsed them.

  16. Ametia says:

    Hubby and I went to see “The Avengers” Saturday. I enjoyed being with him, but this time around the Marvel movie didn’t resonate with me as before. There was entirely too much DESTRUCTION.

    After a week of Freddie Gray murder revelations in Baltimore, it wasn’t a movie I would normally have chosen to watch.

    That said, the one thing I took from the movie, particularly “Hulk’s character is that EMOTIONAL ANGER can do some real DAMAGE.

  17. Ametia says:

    White people want to find heroes among their ancestors and this shapes marketing campaigns, archival practices

    May 3, 2015 • Jessie Daniels • slavery

  18. rikyrah says:

    May 04, 2015 10:28 AM
    Some Historical Perspective On Baltimore, Please

    By Ed Kilgore

    Jelani Cobb offers a very timely reminder at the New Yorker:

    With the exception of the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., every major riot by the black community of an American city since the Second World War has been ignited by a single issue: police tactics. (The explosion in Baltimore occurred in the same week as the twenty-third anniversary of the Rodney King riots, in Los Angeles.)

    But you have to go back a long longer than the 1960s, as becomes evident when you look at the connections between what happened in Ferguson and what’s happening in Baltimore:

    Between 1980 and 2010, the population of Ferguson flipped from eighty-five per cent white to sixty-nine per cent black. At some point soon, Ferguson, like Baltimore, may have more proportional black representation, but the socioeconomic trends in that city won’t automatically change. Gray died twenty-eight years after Baltimore’s first black mayor took office, yet the statistical realities at the time of his death—a twenty-four-per-cent poverty rate, thirty-seven-per-cent unemployment among young black men—show how complicated and durable the dynamics of race and racism can be.

    Uh, yeah. And it’s probably not a complete coincidence that Ferguson and Baltimore are both in former slave states where de facto segregation persisted nearly as long as it did in the Deep South. History matters.

  19. rikyrah says:

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to announce that they have named their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.

  20. rikyrah says:

    May 02, 2015 6:10 PM
    No, There’s No Comparison Between the Freddie Gray and Duke Lacrosse Cases

    By David Atkins

    Shortly after the indictments dropped against the police officers allegedly responsible for killing Freddie Gray, a number of conservative blowhards from Sean Hannity to Alan Dershowitz have shared their outrage of the supposed injustice of it all. But the most hilarious case involves Milwaukee County sheriff David Clarke who compared it to the Duke Lacrosse case.

    Obviously, most of this backlash is purely racially motivated by racist agitators. The prospect of black female state’s attorney indicting six police officers for murdering a black male without threat or probable cause causes short circuits of outrage in the brains of many white racists. They view poor blacks as dangerous inferiors to be kept in line by authorities by any means necessary, including but not limited to murder.

    But the comparison to the Duke Lacrosse case is particularly stupid. There was plenty of reason to be skeptical in that incident. I myself took my lumps within the progressive blogosphere for urging caution on it from the start, and I ended up being right. From the beginning there was no physical evidence of rape, and the accuser’s story was filled with inconsistencies. That admittedly happens frequently in cases where rape has actually occurred, of course, so it’s not surprising or objectionable that charges were brought in the case. But justice eventually followed its due course in the case as the evidence presented itself, with the greatest damage being that inflicted by the media on the defendants, as well as the damage inflicted on real victims of rape by the public example of a false accuser—since only a small fraction of rape accusations turn out to be false.

    The Freddie Gray case, on the other hand, is pretty open and shut as far as the evidence is concerned. The knife carried by Mr. Gray was legal in Maryland, so the police had no reason or probable cause to stop him. They failed, against regulations, to put a seat belt on Mr. Gray. They have a longstanding tradition of punishing suspects by roughriding them unsecured in vans, and have been sued for millions of dollars for doing just that. The evidence strongly suggests that Mr. Gray (if he was not beaten beforehand) was likely shackled hands and feet, tossed into the back of the vehicle and roughrided until a particularly forceful impact severed his spine.

    That is murder, and the evidence is very clear on the matter. The only question will hinge on whether the police can be reasonably expected to have thought that the roughriding would do severe physical damage to Mr. Gray—and not even that point is seriously in question. A bevy of lawsuits for physical injury against the Baltimore PD demonstrates that they knew very well the kind of harm that Mr. Gray’s treatment could do to him.

    To compare that incident to the Duke Lacrosse case is to exercise a kneejerk racist prejudice against any white person accused of doing harm to a less powerful black person. Justice was done in the Duke case by finding the defendants innocent, and it will very likely be done in Baltimore by finding the defendants guilty.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Location, Location, Location

    Posted by
    at 9:06 am

    May 042015

    A major new study adds to the evidence that where
    you grow up plays a major role in how far you get in life
    , and of course
    it’s the worst for kids growing up in poverty-stricken urban counties.

    The feelings heard across Baltimore’s recent protests — of being trapped in poverty — seem to be backed up by the
    new data. Among the nation’s 100 largest counties, the one where children face the worst odds of escaping poverty is the city of Baltimore, the study found.

    The city is especially harsh for boys: Low-income boys who grew up there in recent decades make roughly 25 percent less as adults than similar low-income boys who were born in the city and moved as small children to an average place.

    Beyond Baltimore, economists say the study offers perhaps
    the most detailed portrait yet of upward mobility — and the lack of it. The findings suggest that geography does not merely separate rich from poor but also plays a large role in determining which poor children achieve the so-called American dream.

    How neighborhoods affect children “has been a quandary
    with which social science has been grappling for decades,” said David B. Grusky, director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Stanford University, who was not involved in the research. “This delivers the most compelling evidence yet that neighborhoods matter in a really big way.”

    So yes, after decades of white flight, gated communities,
    exurbs, urban gentrification, and taking schools, infrastructure, and jobs with them, are we surprised that kids who grow up with multiple structural advantages do better than those who grow up with nothing?

    Why, it’s almost like the people who keep pointing out
    that there are structural barriers to the American dream for an entire class of people, and those barriers are not a
    product of nebulous “morality” as some would have it
    but a
    distinct feature of our broken system (if not the desired outcome
    of that system that’s not broken at all, but working as intended.)

    In America we stack the deck so high that it blots out the
    sun and people still wonder why the grass doesn’t grow very well. The redistribution screamers are perfectly fine with the wealth remaining in the giant Scrooge McDuck money bins that exist now. The rest of us are just there to get crushed under all that loot, I guess.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Obama to unveil private-sector initiative for young African-American men
    By NICK GASS 5/4/15 6:17 AM EDT

    President Barack Obama will announce a new private-sector initiative on Monday aimed at sustaining his My Brother’s Keeper program beyond his time in the White House.

    The effort, backed by more than $80 million in commitments to date, includes initiatives intended to help young African-American males throughout childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

    The announcement will come during an event at Lehman College in the Bronx, New York, where Obama will deliver remarks and participate in a roundtable discussion with young men from New York and across the United States.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Race, Class and Neglect

    MAY 4, 2015

    Every time you’re tempted to say that America is moving forward on race — that prejudice is no longer as important as it used to be — along comes an atrocity to puncture your complacency. Almost everyone realizes, I hope, that the Freddie Gray affair wasn’t an isolated incident, that it’s unique only to the extent that for once there seems to be a real possibility that justice may be done.

    And the riots in Baltimore, destructive as they are, have served at least one useful purpose: drawing attention to the grotesque inequalities that poison the lives of too many Americans.

    Yet I do worry that the centrality of race and racism to this particular story may convey the false impression that debilitating poverty and alienation from society are uniquely black experiences. In fact, much though by no means all of the horror one sees in Baltimore and many other places is really about class, about the devastating effects of extreme and rising inequality.

    Take, for example, issues of health and mortality. Many people have pointed out that there are a number of black neighborhoods in Baltimore where life expectancy compares unfavorably with impoverished Third World nations. But what’s really striking on a national basis is the way class disparities in death rates have been soaring even among whites.

    Most notably, mortality among white women has increased sharply since the 1990s, with the rise surely concentrated among the poor and poorly educated; life expectancy among less educated whites has been falling at rates reminiscent of the collapse of life expectancy in post-Communist Russia.

    And yes, these excess deaths are the result of inequality and lack of opportunity, even in those cases where their direct cause lies in self-destructive behavior. Overuse of prescription drugs, smoking, and obesity account for a lot of early deaths, but there’s a reason such behaviors are so widespread, and that reason has to do with an economy that leaves tens of millions behind.

    It has been disheartening to see some commentators still writing as if poverty were simply a matter of values, as if the poor just mysteriously make bad choices and all would be well if they adopted middle-class values. Maybe, just maybe, that was a sustainable argument four decades ago, but at this point it should be obvious that middle-class values only flourish in an economy that offers middle-class jobs.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Morning Plum: Republicans don’t want to be the party of ‘job creators’ anymore

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    By Greg Sargent May 4 at 9:33 AM 

    After organizing the 2012 Republican National Convention around President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” speech — which Republicans pointed to as proof of Obama’s hostility towards small business people’s hard work and innovation — Republicans appear to think their rhetoric was too tailored towards the “job creators” and are looking to change that for 2016.

    Jeremy Peters of the New York Times reports that Republican presidential hopefuls are increasingly focusing their rhetoric on wooing the middle class, with the explicit goal of moving away from the idea that “job creators” and business owners are the “drivers of economic opportunity”:

    Senator Marco Rubio of Florida praises his parents, a bartender and a Kmart stock clerk, as he urges audiences not to forget “the workers in our hotel kitchens, the landscaping crews in our neighborhoods, the late-night janitorial staff that clean our offices.” Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a preacher’s son, posts on Twitter about his ham-and-cheese sandwiches and boasts of his coupon-clipping frugality. His $1 Kohl’s sweater has become a campaign celebrity in its own right…

    Republicans’ emphasis on poorer and working-class Americans now represents a shift from the party’s longstanding focus on business owners and “job creators” as the drivers of economic opportunity. This is intentional, Republican operatives said.
    In the last presidential election, Republicans rushed to defend business owners against what they saw as hostility by Democrats to successful, wealthy entrepreneurs.

    “Part of what you had was a reaction to the Democrats’ dehumanization of business owners: ‘Oh, you think you started your plumbing company? No you didn’t,’ ” said Grover Norquist, the conservative activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform.

    But now, Mr. Norquist said, Republicans should move past that. “Focus on the people in the room who know someone who couldn’t get a job, or a promotion, or a raise because taxes are too high or regulations eat up companies’ time,” he said. “The rich guy can take care of himself.”

    So, the “job creators” aren’t the main focus anymore, but the primary obstacles to economic mobility are high taxes and too many regulations on “companies”?

    Whatever the focus of Republican rhetoric, most signs right now are that the 2016 GOP hopefuls are sticking to the same economic philosophy that shaped the Republican agenda in 2012: That perhaps the leading economic problem we face is big government getting in the way of an unshackled free market showering everyone with broadly shared prosperity from runaway growth. Until we get more detail from the GOP candidates — in fairness, it’s very early, and Hillary Clinton has been short on detail, too — it’s impossible to know whether this will change.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Elijah Cummings praises Baltimore response to Gray death

    By Ben Schreckinger
    5/3/15 10:36 AM EDT

    Rep. Elijah Cummings on Sunday praised Baltimore’s response to the death of Freddie Gray and the state’s attorney who charged six police officers in the incident.

    “We did pretty good,” said the Maryland Democrat, whose West Baltimore congressional district has been the center of unrest in the wake of Gray’s death in police custody.“We had a lot of problems on Monday, but overall it’s been a lot of peaceful protests, and that’s a good thing

    The hopelessness felt by many Americans, he said, was encapsulated by a young man who recently said to him, “Mr. Cummings, I feel like I’m in my coffin trying to claw my way out.”

    Read more:

  26. rikyrah says:

    heaven forbid that the public actually gets a chance to fight against pollution. can’t have that.


    Texas Legislature Attacks Citizens’ Rights to Contest Pollution Permits

    April 15, 2015 by Maren Taylor

    UPDATE: SB 709 passed in the Senate on Thursday, April 16 and then passed in the House on Thursday, April 30.

    Texas legislators have once again taken aim at the long-standing contested case hearing process that provides opportunity for public participation in ensuring an environmental permit is protective of public health and the environment.

    Senate Bill 709 by Senator Fraser and its companion House Bill 1865 by Representative Morrison reduce public participation and rights in a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) contested case hearing for an environmental permit application.

    The changes to the state’s permitting process proposed in SB 709 reduce the rights of Texans to participate effectively in the permitting process on the basis that the contested case process has become burdensome to the state’s ability to competitively attract businesses due to the uncertainty created by the threat of a lengthy permit process.

    However, the truth is that there are just not that many permit applications that are affected by the contested case hearing process. In 2014, there were 1,960 applications received by TCEQ. Of those applications, only 10 were referred to the State Office of Administrative Hearings – that’s only one half of one percent of applications received in that calendar year. The other 99.5% of permit applications to the TCEQ go uncontested and are processed and issued in time-frames similar to or even faster than our neighboring states that we compete closest with for business.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Deputy fired after posting racial comment on Facebook
    May 01, 2015 11:12 PM EDT

    LEE COUNTY, FL – The Lee County Sheriff’s Office wasted little time firing an employee who admitted to using racist language on-line. According to an internal affairs report, Deputy Jean Lopez was fired in April for posting racial comments on his Facebook page.

    The report said Lopez posted a video in March of a black man talking about his company and his competitors using explicit language and street terms. The report said Lopez wrote, “Can someone please tell me what the [expletive] this monkey is saying?”

    The report also stated Lopez wrote, “Get a real life [expletive] monkey.”

    The video was originally posted on Facebook by Street FX Motorsport & Graphics. According to the report, Lopez told investigators he and his friends used the term to describe “something stupid.” Lopez said he would never use the term in uniform.

    Officials with the sheriff’s office said the post violated their policy.

    “It’s not acceptable and that’s why he’s out of a job,” Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott said.

    It’s not Lopez’s first time being investigated at work. An internal affairs report shows Lopez and another officer were placed on administrative leave for the officer-involved shooting of Joshua Young in March 2014. Investigators said Young tried to run the deputies over. The actions of both deputies were found to be within the policies and procedures of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

    Lopez was also accused of having sex with a prostitute in 2013, but a report said an investigation found those claims to be unfounded.

    In 2009, Lopez was reprimanded for getting involved in a domestic dispute between his two neighbors while he was off-duty.

    In 2008, a report said investigators concluded Lopez improperly handled a suspect’s money. Then again in 2008, Lopez was arrested but not charged for threatening to kill his wife. The sheriff’s office determined Lopez violated policies and procedures by losing his temper and threatening his wife.

    Despite his past, Lopez’s neighbor said he does not believe he should have been fired for the post.

  28. rikyrah says:

    because Texas is ridiculous


    Texas Senate Votes to Abolish Renewable Energy Programs

    April 14, 2015 by kaibawhite

    Today, the Texas Senate passed Senator Fraser’s anti-renewable energy Senate Bill 931. If passed by the House, this bill will abolish two of Texas’ few renewable energy programs – the renewable portfolio standard and building of competitive renewable energy zone transmission lines.

    Job growth, economic development, stable business climate – I thought those were conservative bread and butter. The wind industry should have earned the good graces of Texas lawmakers. Wind farms annually pay over $85 million in taxes to rural Texas counties, plus about $65 million in lease payments to landowners.

    And the solar industry is rapidly becoming a significant driver of Texas job growth as well. As of November 2014, there were almost 7,000 solar jobs in Texas. That’s a 68% increase from 2013, a job growth rate 24 times greater than in the Texas economy overall.

    And yet, the Texas Senate has decided that Texas should have no renewable energy goal and that it should be more difficult for the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) to build transmission lines to prime areas for wind and solar energy development.

  29. rikyrah says:

    May 03, 2015 2:55 PM
    Republicans Want $194 Billion More in Cuts to Federal Government Employees

    By David Atkins

    Among the numerous outrages of the proposed Republican budgets including privatizing Medicare and Social Security and slashing food stamps, comes this more minor but still appalling development:

    The House and Senate Republican budget plan announced this week would continue hits on government workers, as expected, with cuts that could lighten their wallets by up to $194 billion.

    It oversees federal employee issues in its broad portfolio. But the agreement gives no instructions on reaching the budget savings. Just where the ax might fall remains to be seen. Given the committee’s oversight, however, federal pension benefits and the Federal Employees Health Benefits program are likely targets.

    It would be one thing if the wealthy in the U.S. were dramatically overtaxed somehow. But they aren’t, of course. It’s very much the opposite. Income inequality has never been higher, and the top 1% (and in particularly, the top tenth of the top 1%) are doing better now than they ever have—largely at the expense of all the rest of us.

    There’s an argument to be made that federal employees aren’t hurting as much in this economy as many other Americans, given that the median salary for federal employees stood at $74,714 in 2013. And it’s certainly true that the metro D.C. area has become one of the nation’s wealthiest—although that’s mostly due to the meteoric growth of the corporate lobbying sector.

    Still, particularly in large cities with their skyrocketing housing costs, that median salary makes federal workers squarely middle class workers. A great many of them could command higher salaries and benefits in the private sector doing less beneficial work.

    Ultimately, cutting these benefits is bad for the economy. Slashing healthcare, pensions and salaries for middle-class workers means that these workers will be forced to tighten their own belts, delay necessary medical care and take food out of their own kids’ mouths, which raises external costs and depresses consumer demand.

    And all so that billionaires can pay even less money in taxes. It’s perverse.

    • rikyrah says:

      good comment:


      “…the median salary for federal employees stood at $74,714 in 2013.”

      It is important to remember that there are essentially no low paid jobs in the fed gov’t because we have outsourced housekeeping, food service, and other traditionally low wage jobs. There are plenty of people working in fed facilities making subsistence level wages but they are on someone else’s payroll and their wages are considered contract costs and not factored into the median salary calculation.

    • Ametia says:


  30. rikyrah says:

    May 04, 2015 8:57 AM
    The GOP Field Expands

    By Ed Kilgore

    By the end of the day tomorrow the official Republican presidential field will have doubled, with Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee joining Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio announcing candidacies. With Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum and Lindsey Graham already on the campaign trail with their tongues lolling out, it now seems certain we’ll have a double-digit field, with the only doubtful entrants being the perennial showman Donald Trump, a couple of midwestern governors (Kasich and Snyder), and someone probably campaigning to become Secretary of State, John Bolton. Forgive me if I’ve forgotten anybody; it’s going to happen now and then.

    The odds are very high against the appearance of this week’s freshly minted candidates at the Inauguration in 2017 in anything other than a supporting caste capacity. Nobody’s going to push Carson or particularly Fiorina out of the race, even if they are going nowhere fast; with Republicans continuing to rely disproportionately on older white men as their electoral base, having this demographic group’s pieities articulated by an African-American and a woman will be more valuable to the GOP’s “optics” than ever. In Carson’s case, the main question may be whether he can keep the gaffes to one or two a month. In Fiorina’s, it may be whether she can show enough support to justify her inclusion in the debates, where Republicans need herto break up the male monotony while saying things about Hillary Clinton that will inevitably sound piggy coming from anybody else.

    Huck may be the candidate hardest to measure at present. An awful lot of people thought he’d eventually give the contest a pass, as he did in 2012. He’s definitely not the man he was in 2008, when he charmed the MSM with humor, a break from the speech-behind-a-podium protocol by way of musical performance, and an occasional hint of what passes for “populism” in the GOP. Now he is a full-on full-time culture warrior in a field full of them, counting on his now a bit superannuated connection with Iowa voters and with the Old Guard of the Christian Right. We also have no evidence beyond his own word for it that he’s overcome his 2008 achilles heel, the inability to raise money. I’d say the thing to watch for with Huck is whether a Super-PAC with an identifiable sugar daddy pops up on his behalf very quickly. Otherwise he’s going to be constantly subject to the suspicion that he’s in the race to build his email list, the better to scam his supporters.

  31. rikyrah says:

    May 03, 2015 7:12 PM
    Dear Dan Balz: Deficits Did Not Necessitate Austerity

    By David Atkins

    In an otherwise well-argued piece about the demographic and ideological difficulties faced by the Conservative Party in Britain, Washington Post columnist Dan Balz reiterated the following bit of false conventional Village wisdom:

    The other obstacle turned out to be the economic problems and big budget deficits Cameron inherited from the last Labor government. Those realities necessitated austere fiscal policies that prevented more spending on some programs for the middle class, giving the party image a hard edge. The economy has improved, but as in the United States, the unequal distribution of those gains has left many feeling left out and looking for someone to blame.

    No, no and no. All wrong.

    First, the last Labor government wasn’t responsible for Britain’s budget deficits: the Great Recession was. Any government would have been left in uncomfortable fiscal straits after the financial sector crashed the world economy and was bailed out by taxpayers, thus privatizing the profits and socializing the risk of capitalism.

    Second, as Paul Krugman and others have long pointed out, it’s not a “reality” that national governments must close their deficits, particularly during recessions. Any government with a vibrant intinsic economy and the ability to print its own money can run deficits for long periods without repercussions.

    Most importantly, recessions are the absolute worst time to close deficits. Reality dictates that deficits be large during poor economies in order to boost private sector consumer demand, and then shrunk during good years in order to stabilize currencies and satisfy capital markets. This is basic, proven countercyclical economics, and to be unaware of its wisdom by now is to be unworthy of an editorial spot at a major newspaper.

    Finally, on a more minor note, the impersonal nature of the phrase “unequal distribution of those gains has left many feeling left out” is jarringly inadequate. While globalization and mechanism have certainly taken their toll on the value of labor and will continue to do so, by no means has the unequal distribution of rewards been a naturally occurring phenomenon. The rewards were rigged to be distributed by the richest elites through Thatcherite/Reaganite economic policy. If nothing else, the policy of shoring up financial institutions and their executives while doing little to shore up middle class workers was a direct giveaway to the top 1%, perpetuating an asset-heavy financial system wherein stock market and housing values have been decoupled from middle-class economic reality, and that has shown itself totally unworthy of defending.

    The middle class that has been abused by those policies isn’t “looking for someone to blame” any more than victims of armed robbery are. They’re looking to hold the crooks accountable at the ballot box. It’s just that the conservatives, as usual, tend to wrongly blame immigrants and the poor for the robbery.

    So no, Mr. Balz. Labor didn’t cause the deficits, “reality” didn’t demand austerity or deficit closures during a recession, unequal distribution of incomes didn’t just happen on their own, and voters aren’t just lashing out for someone to blame.

  32. rikyrah says:

    For Hillary Clinton, a trust deficit to surmount

    By Chris Cillizza Reporter May 3 at 10:14 PM 

    Is Hillary Clinton honest enough to be president?

    That question — phrased in a thousand different ways but always with the same doubts in mind — sits at the heart of a campaign that will span the next 18 months and on which billions of dollars will be spent

    It speaks to the seemingly contradictory reality of Clinton as a candidate: She is her own best asset. She is also her own worst enemy.

    There is little doubt among the electorate — with the exception of conservative Republicans who will never vote for Clinton under any circumstances — that her life experiences and résumé have prepared her to do the job. First lady, senator from New York, secretary of state — no one in the field (on either side) can match those credentials.

    Clinton is universally known and, generally, regarded as hyper-competent. That’s her as her best asset.

    Then there is the other side of being Hillary Clinton, the not-so-good side if you are running to be the next president. Yes, she has rolled up an unmatched résumé over the past two-plus decades in national public life. But, in that same period, she and her husband have been dogged by a general perception that they don’t always play by the rules and, in the most negative reading, don’t think the rules apply to them.

    From Whitewater to Travelgate to Monica Lewinsky to the Marc Rich pardon (and beyond), the Clintons’ time in and around Washington has been defined by questions of propriety — of bending (some would say breaking) the rules to benefit them and their friends.

    And it has left a mark.

  33. rikyrah says:

    As Ben Carson bashes Obama, many blacks see a hero’s legacy fade

    By Robert Samuels
    May 2 

    The black man courting crowds of white conservatives doesn’t seem like the same guy that H. Westley Phillips once idolized. Phillips still relishes the day he heard Ben Carson inspire minority students at Yale University with his story of persistence. He can still feel the nervous anticipation he had while waiting in line to shake Carson’s hand.

    After the speech, Phillips followed Carson’s path and began to study neurosurgery.

    “I had come from a public school in Tulsa and came from a single-parent household and thought I was the admissions mistake,” said Phillips, now 27. “But he gave me the comfort to know that if I did struggle — and I thought I would — that I wouldn’t have been the first, and there are ways to handle it. The message he gave was this backup artillery when times were hard.”

    For many young African Americans who grew up seeing Carson as the embodiment of black achievement — a poor inner-city boy who became one of the world’s most accomplished neurosurgeons — his emergence as a conservative hero and unabashed critic of the United States’ first black president has been jarring.

    Carson has been a black icon since 1987, when he became the first person to successfully separate twins conjoined at the backs of their heads. He was a rare and much-desired role model: a black man who became known for his intellect, not for telling jokes or shooting basketballs.

  34. rikyrah says:

    uh huh

    uh huh


    The Clintons, a luxury jet and their $100 million donor from Canada

    The Washington Post

    Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman and Anu Narayanswamy

    2 hrs ago

    Bill Clinton was planning a charity trip to Latin America and needed a big plane.

    For Frank Giustra, who had never met the former president, this was an opportunity. The Canadian mining magnate and onetime Hollywood studio owner stepped up to let the former president borrow his luxurious passenger jet. There was just one condition: Giustra would come along for the ride.

    That 2005 trip was the start of an intense, mutually beneficial friendship — one that has helped propel the Clinton Foundation into a global giant and established Giustra’s reputation as an international philanthropist while helping him build connections in countries where his business was expanding.

    Giustra has since committed more than $100 million to the work of the Clinton Foundation, becoming one of the largest individual donors to the family’s charities.

    Clinton has also gained regular transportation, borrowing Giustra’s plane 26 times for foundation business since 2005, including 13 trips in which the two men traveled together. The numbers on Clinton’s use of the plane, never previously reported, were provided by a spokeswoman for Giustra.

    The relationship has gained attention as Hillary Rodham Clinton has launched her presidential campaign amid questions about whether the Clinton Foundation has served as an avenue for wealthy interests to gain entree to a powerful family.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  36. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone!

    Looking forward to Tonys Week. South Pacific was groundbreaking, having the courage to deal with complexities of race.

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