Tuesday Open Thread: Tony Winners of the 1950’s

We continue with Tony Winners for Best Musical during the 1950’s.

1952: The King and I


The King and I is a musical, the fifth by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon, which is in turn derived from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s. The musical’s plot relates the experiences of Anna, a British schoolteacher hired as part of the King’s drive to modernize his country. The relationship between the King and Anna is marked by conflict through much of the piece, as well as by a love that neither can admit. The musical premiered on March 29, 1951, at Broadway’s St. James Theatre. It ran nearly three years, then the fourth longest-running Broadway musical in history, and has had many tours and revivals.

In 1950, theatrical attorney Fanny Holtzmann was looking for a part for her client, veteran leading lady Gertrude Lawrence. Holtzmann realized that Landon’s book would provide an ideal vehicle and contacted Rodgers and Hammerstein, who were initially reluctant but agreed to write the musical. The pair initially sought Rex Harrison to play the supporting part of the King, a role that he had played in the 1946 film made from Landon’s book, but he was unavailable. They settled on the young actor and television director Yul Brynner.

The musical was an immediate hit, winning Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Actress (for Lawrence) and Best Featured Actor (for Brynner). Lawrence died unexpectedly of cancer a year and a half after the opening, and the role of Anna was played by several actresses during the remainder of the Broadway run of 1,246 performances. A hit London run and U.S. national tour followed, together with a 1956 film for which Brynner won an Academy Award, and the musical was recorded several times. In later revivals, Brynner came to dominate his role and the musical, starring in a four-year national tour culminating in a 1985 Broadway run shortly before his death. Christopher Renshaw directed major revivals on Broadway (1996) and in the West End (2000), and a Broadway revival, directed by Bartlett Sher (2015). Both professional and amateur revivals of The King and I continue to be staged regularly throughout the English-speaking world.

1953: Wonderful Town



Wonderful Town is a musical (1953), book written by Joseph A. Fields and Jerome Chodorov, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Leonard Bernstein. Its origins fundamentally come from the collection of autobiographical short stories by Ruth McKenney published in The New Yorker three years following the incidents portrayed where she and her acting bound sister seek out success from their basement apartment of New York City’s Greenwich Village. Fields and Chodorov’s My Sister Eileen (1940 play) is based on the book and the musical results from the play. The only shared aspects of the book and the 1953 musical play plot are the two final two stories in the book which are heavily modified. The stories also served as the basis of two films and a television series.

Wonderful Town premiered on Broadway in 1953, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and spawned three New York City Center productions between 1958 and 1966, a 1986 West End production and 2003 Broadway revival. It is a lighter piece than Bernstein’s later works, West Side Story and Candide, but none of the songs have become as popular.

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85 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread: Tony Winners of the 1950’s

  1. Rikyrah, check email please

  2. rikyrah says:

    Michigan GOP goes after non-existent Planned Parenthood funding
    05/05/15 10:46 AM
    By Steve Benen
    State policymakers in Michigan are working on the state’s budget, and with Republicans in control of the legislature and the governor’s office, a pretty conservative blueprint is taking shape.

    But there’s one policy fight in particular that caught my eye.
    Organizations like Planned Parenthood wouldn’t be able to contract with the state of Michigan under a $37.86 billion budget passed by the House of Representatives Tuesday. […]

    Amendment WW adopted Tuesday would amend state law to keep the state from contracting “with an organization which provides elective abortions, abortion counseling or abortion referrals.” The amendment also bans organizations under contract with the state from contracting with the same types of organizations.
    The report from MLive Media quoted one GOP leader who said “multiple members of the House Republican caucus expressed concern about state dollars going to support Planned Parenthood.”

    OK, and exactly how much state money is currently going to support Planned Parenthood? Well, in the most recent Michigan budget, the grand total was $0. In the budget before that, it was $0.

    Michigan Republicans, however, are unsatisfied with this, pushing a measure to prevent Planned Parenthood from ever receiving public funds – even for health services that have nothing to do with abortion.

    The proposal comes by way of state Rep. Gary Glenn (R), a right-wing activist known for his fierce anti-gay views.


  3. rikyrah says:

    May 05, 2015 12:48 PM
    No, the Culture Wars Aren’t Over

    By Ed Kilgore

    Regular readers know one of my regular rants is about secular journalists who are so baffled by religion that they are forever projecting the death of the Christian Right or the end of the “culture wars,” basically because they don’t want to deal with any of that weird, superstitious stuff.

    Well, I can’t use that argument about TNR’s Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig, the prodigiously productive writer whose column today on Huckabee’s candidacy is largely based on her own belief that the culture wars are over. Bruenig is a believer herself, albeit a Catholic of Christian Socialist leanings, best as I can tell. But she clearly thinks people like Huck represent the north end of a south-bound Apatosaurus.

    Now for all I know, Bruenig has a different definition of “culture wars” than mine. Maybe for her it means full-on combat against secularism, or conversely, something very narrow like the failing fight against marriage equality. But the faith-based fight against reproductive rights sure isn’t over, by any stretch of the imagination; you can make the argument the bad guys are slowly but surely winning, as a matter of fact, and if a Republican wins the presidency next year, Roe v. Wade will hang by a thread. And if that transpires, and abortion policy is again set at the state level for the first time in more than four decades, we will see “culture wars” sho nuff in pitched battles all around the country.

    Now perhaps Bruenig’s conviction about the culture wars is the product of a justifiable if not self-evident interpretation of the sudden focus of political and culture conservatives on “religious liberty” laws as representing a radical retreat into self-defense, as she suggests today:

    These laws aim, in effect, to create enclaves of protection for the practice of conservative Christianity, a far cry from the aspirations of the evangelical politics of yesteryear, which generated enthusiastic support precisely because they sought to rescue America wholesale, and to stop the evils that begin with the cultural ruptures of the 1960s.

    As is clear from the immense controversy over such laws amid claims that their proponents are seeking to turn the “shield” of self-protection into a “sword” against other people’s rights, it’s not at all clear they are defensive in intent or effect. They could, moreover, serve as a strategic position from which to continue to contest “secularist” laws and practices by denying their applicability in broad areas of American life, and thus challenging their acceptance.

    Whoever is right or wrong about that—and it’s likely there are elements of truth in both interpretations—what strikes me as oddest about Bruenig’s take on Huck and the culture wars is that she treats him as unique, a sort of anachronistic figure running for president in a Republican Party that has largely moved on.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Morning Plum: Hillary pokes GOP’s hornet’s nest on immigration

    By Greg Sargent May 5 at 9:20 AM 

    As your humble blogger has argued before, one of the under-appreciated stories of 2016 is that likely Dem nominee Hillary Clinton has already embraced much of President Obama’s agenda. With the GOP candidates all pledging, to varying degrees, to roll back whatever parts of that agenda are realized, and opposing elements of it that still hang in the balance, many basic contrasts for 2016 are in place.

    Today Clinton will deepen that contrast on an issue that has potentially far-reaching demographic implications for the 2016 battle: Immigration. In remarks today at an event with DREAMers and immigration activists, Clinton will say:

    Undocumented immigrants must have a chance for full citizenship under overhaul of the immigration system, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will demand Tuesday.

    “The standard for a true solution is nothing less than a full and equal path to citizenship,” Clinton’s campaign said in a preview of remarks she is expected to give during a visit to a largely Hispanic high school here.

    “She will say that we cannot settle for proposals that provide hard-working people with merely a second-class status,” the campaign said.


  5. rikyrah says:

    Fresno to South Bend to Louisville: The Elusive Elements of Civic Success

    More cities, more assessments of what works, and why

    James Fallows
    |1:34 AM ET

    Earlier today I mentioned a video that a public-private alliance in Fresno, California, has produced to explain why they want to bulldoze a historic, artsy downtown pedestrian mall and re-open it to cars. Described that way, naturally the project sounds like a sacrilege. But I said that I’d become convinced of the logic behind their plan, in part based on what we’d seen in a number of other revived-downtown cities across the country.

    Just now I log onto the Internet after a long airline trip to find a slew of messages from people saying: That video is the explanation? There is so much they left out! So for anyone who wants more details on the respective (and sometimes complementary) roles of cars and pedestrians in healthy downtown, I offer these.

    1) If you’d like to go into this in the most detail-immersed way imaginable, I encourage you to read the latest version of the Fresno General Plan. It’s right here, in a multi-hundred-page PDF. I wrote briefly about it last month here, but if you want to see the full story, be my guest!

    2) If you’d like an elegant journalistic description of the artistic and urban-life stakes in the decision, please read the extensive and beautifully illustrated story, by Mimi Zeiger, on the decision in Landscape Architecture Magazine. You can read it via an online app of the magazine here. I wrote briefly about it here. This is a look at the opening spread.


  6. rikyrah says:

    New Hampshire Calculus

    Jeb Bush looks weak in Iowa. He can’t count on Florida. So he must win here.

    By Shane Goldmacher

    Two floors above a ballroom filled with GOP activists listening to his 2016 rivals, Jeb Bush was getting down to the real business of the New Hampshire primary. It was there, in a hotel room his PAC had reserved on the third floor of the Crowne Plaza in Nashua, that Bush was courting the New Hampshire brokers who could power his presidential run.

    It wasn’t the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last. For months, Bush has been privately wooing top New Hampshire Republicans in a flurry of phone calls, emails, private meetings, and even hand-scribbled thank-you notes. He has met with top state legislators, local mayors, and, in particular, dialed up a long list of Mitt Romney’s old hands here.


  7. rikyrah says:

    May 04, 2015 4:01 PM
    What Mass Incarceration?

    By Ed Kilgore

    No one can be blamed for fretting the last week or so that the temptations of backlash politics compounded by the tendency to back away from anything the president or Hillary Clinton have embraced might endanger the hard-won conversion of most Republican politicians to at least some interest in criminal justice reform. And now on Fox News we have an attack on HRC on this subject from none other than the 2012 Republican presidential nominee (per Think Progress’ Carimah Townes):

    I was concerned that her comments smacked of politicization of the terrible tragedies that are going on there [in Baltimore]. When she said we’re not going to have mass incarcerations in the future, what is she referring to? We don’t have mass incarcerations in America. Individuals are brought before tribunals, and they have counsel. They’re given certain rights. Are we not going to lock people up who commit crimes?” he asked.

    Aside from the snarky pretense that Mitt doesn’t understand how the word “mass” is being used in this context, it’s a rather different argument than, say, the one Rand Paul made in suggesting her interest in criminal justice reform is a day late and contradicts her husband’s policies.

    For many Republican Establishment types, of course, an argument that can sideswipe both Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul is ideal.

    But I do wonder what’s going on here. Is Mitt being clueless, or is he instead ahead of the curve in denouncing a big change in sentencing policies, sort of like he was in the 2012 cycle when he came out for “self-deportation?” I really hope that is not the case.


  8. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    deray mckesson @deray · 26m 26 minutes ago
    Cleveland Attorney Tim Kucharski charged #TamirRice’s family 4 billable hours for attending attending Tamir’s memorial service. Unreal.

    • yahtzeebutterfly says:

      deray mckesson @deray · 51m 51 minutes ago
      Correction: The lawyer for #TamirRice did include the 4 hours for attending the memorial on the bill and listed it as “no charge.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    More on the Ethiopian Jewish Situation
    Posted by John Cole +0 at 1:38 pm May 052015

    Guest post from Dr. Silverman:

    The anti-Ethiopian Jewish immigrant discrimination and prejudice that that John highlighted last night are part of a larger pattern of discrimination than most Americans, and even most Jewish Americans know. Israel has a serious problem with ethnocentrism and discrimination among its Jewish population. While there are many ways to divvy up Judaism according to religion – by how devout someone is or whether Jewish ritual practice is Ashkenazic (of Western and Eastern European origin) or Sephardic (of Spanish or Portuguese origin), Israeli society has always been stratified by the ethnic origins of its Jewish citizenry. Israelis of European descent, who also use the term Ashkenazi for their ethnicity as well as their religious practice, have always made up the top social, political, and economic positions of Israeli society. Below them were the Jews who came from the Arab states. While there are great differences in the histories and experiences of these different groups, from Moroccan Jews to Iraqi ones, they are often either lumped together either by the non-Ashkenazi religious descriptor of Sephardi or more accurately by themselves as Mizrahi (Eastern) Jews.

    The Mizrahi Israelis were always treated as second class and looked down on by the Israeli Jews who came from Europe. This had to do with a variety of things: the religious chauvinism of Ashkenazi (European) Judaism against other surviving variants – Sephardic Judaism (Jews of Spanish and Portugeuse descent), the Mizrahim, the Kochini (Jews of India’s spice coast), etc. Some of it was the fact (WARNING!- .pdf download) that the earliest Jewish settlers from Europe were engaging in a clear act of ethno-national self-liberation that was at the same time also clearly an act of colonization. These European Jewish immigrants and settlers were themselves from societies that were generating the concepts of radicalized science/biology that would become prevalent in the late 19th and early 20th Century and provide much of the ideological basis for World War II and the Holocaust. They essentially brought their societal prejudices with them.

    One of the best books dealing with these issues of Israeliness is Amos Oz’s Here and There in the Land of Israel. Oz pulls no punches in confronting differences in what it means to be an Israeli, even if his work is now somewhat dated. Another classic attempt to deal with the issue is the Israeli comedy Salah Shabati starring Topol. Salah Shabati is about a Mizrahi Israeli family and its wily patriarch (Topol) who outsmarts the supposedly more sophisticated Ashkenazi Israelis. The reality, however, is that it took until the 1980s to actually have a Mizrahi Jewish Israeli in the Israeli cabinet – David Levy.

    When the Ethiopian Jews got to Israel they were placed into the societal/social space below the Mizrahi Israelis. As a result it is no surprise (WARNING!- .pdf download) that Israelis of Ethiopian Jewish descent are experiencing discrimination and outright racism and prejudice, such as forced birth control. It is also not surprising that some of the members of the Ethiopian Jewish community are finding themselves having trouble jumping through all the various hoops that are being created to keep them from immigrating to Israel. Moreover, Ethiopian Jewish protests against discrimination and prejudice is nothing new, it’s just that this time US news media decided to cover it. What the Ethiopian Jews are facing, like the Arab Jews before them, are problems navigating social integration into Israeli society – many of which are created by other Israelis. This is in marked difference to the experience of the Jews who came from Russia at the fall of the Soviet Union, which clearly shows some of the hypocrisy and prejudice at work.


  10. rikyrah says:

    Watch Full Preview Episode of New Hit Kenyan Dramedy Series, ‘How to Find a Husband’ + Hear From the Woman Behind It

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act
    May 4, 2015 at 2:30PM

    First, a quick recap…

    Here in the USA, we champion the accomplishments of black women creatives in the TV business like Shonda Rhimes, Mara Brock Akil, Courtney Kemp Agboh, Janine Sherman Barroi, and others. Elsewhere, in African countries like Nigeria and Kenya, for example, black women creatives are also blazing their own TV trails, creating TV content that speaks to local audiences; most recently, we’ve highlighted the work of Nigeria’s Mo Abudu (aka “Africa’s Oprah” as she’s come to be known) and her Ebony Life TV network, launched just a few years ago (2013), not long after Oprah Winfrey launched OWN in the USA (2011).

    And late last week, I profiled the latest work from upstart Kenya-based StoryLab Limited production company – a new dramedy series titled, “How to Find a Husband,” that’s currently airing on Tuesday nights, on the Maisha Magic channel on the DSTV network – the digital satellite TV service that serves much of the African continent.

    It is executive produced by Erica Anyadike, who is also showrunner and a director of the series, along with Simiyu Barasa, and is written by Abigail Arunga, Jacque Ndinda, Voline Ogutu, Njihia Mbitiru, Clifton Gachagua, and Benson Njuguna.

    “How to Find a Husband” follows the lives of 3 women and their dating adventures – and misadventures – in the “romantic jungle” that is Nairobi.


  11. Liza says:

    It's official! @shondarhimes and Dee Rees are adapting The Warmth of Other Suns into an FX miniseries. http://t.co/UxooI8r1vd— Isabel Wilkerson (@Isabelwilkerson) May 5, 2015

  12. rikyrah says:

    I guess we’re just supposed to shut our mouths and let her be coronated.

    uh huh

    uh huh



    05.02.1512:01 AM ET

    Hillary and Liberals: Here’s the Deal

    You don’t have to say you love her, because the election isn’t even directly about her. It’s about finally undoing the Reagan revolution.In the last few days, I’ve heard from a couple of relatives who have, or know of friends who have, come down with a case of Hillary Anxiety. Having covered Clinton’s 2000 Senate race closely and spoken at the time with many New York women among whom the malady was first diagnosed, I know the symptoms well.

    They like her, generally speaking, and admire her (I should note that Hillary Anxiety is not limited to women by any means, although it is perhaps more sharply felt by them than by men). They want to see her succeed. They yearn for her to slay the beasts of sexism and gender-role definitions that she has taken it upon herself to battle. Hillary Anxiety, in these respects, is very different from Hillary Distrust or Contempt, which is the more commonly found inflammation among journalists and others inside the Beltway. The Hillary-Anxious are basically on her side.

    But those symptoms: they’re queasy, these folks. The years of charges (valid or not) about corruption, the endless debates about how polarizing she is…it leaves some people feeling exhausted. Before the race has even started, really! Oh, Lord. I like Hillary and want her to be president, but am I really ready to slog through all this…crap again?

    The anxiety is compounded in this case by the natural liberal inclination to want to fall in love, to become besotted. Yes, sure, conservatives want to love their nominees too; but liberals more so. Conservatives have a much more limited agenda; the main changes they really want are lower taxes and to be left alone. But liberals behold a nation and world that is wanting in a thousand ways, and they want their nominee to fix it all! That’s a prodigious faith to place in one person, and a faith that prodigious requires love. Liberals want to fall in love, like they did in 2008.

    All this puts Clinton in a pickle. People aren’t going to love her like they loved Barack Obama. Actually, check that, in part: There are in fact millions of Americans who adore Clinton. I saw them in 2000, too; mothers at upstate county fairgrounds, waiting an hour on the rope line to introduce their daughters to Hillary. You don’t become America’s most admired woman in 17 of the last 20 years without lots of people loving you, but somehow this cohort doesn’t register much on the Washington radar screen.


    • Ametia says:

      UmM NO!

      • eliihass says:

        “..The Hillary-Anxious are basically on her side…” Lol.

      • eliihass says:

        “…They like her, generally speaking, and admire her (I should note that Hillary Anxiety is not limited to women by any means, although it is perhaps more sharply felt by them than by men). They want to see her succeed. They yearn for her to slay the beasts of sexism and gender-role definitions that she has taken it upon herself to battle…” Lol.

        Nope. Nope. Nope.

    • Liza says:

      Well, the Hillary Democrats like to say that she is “thoroughly vetted” and what can we possibly learn about her that we don’t already know? But we already know that isn’t case, and some of what we know is actually quite damaging. And no matter what she does she cannot disconnect herself from Bill’s legacy.

      This “champion of the people” approach just falls flat, in my opinion. It sounds more like Hillary has hired some folks who are crunching the numbers and they can’t see a way to get her elected unless she can build a coalition very close to that of President Obama’s two campaigns. But I just don’t sense much enthusiasm for Hillary as the first woman president. This woman, if elected, would be in her 70s for most of her presidency. She’s been around politics for so long that it’s really difficult to describe who she really is and what she believes in. All I see in Hillary is a woman who desperately wants to be the president, and she’s convinced that the train hasn’t left the station, that she can still do it. But a champion of the people? No, I can’t go for that one.

      Bill and Hillary are royalty in the Democratic Party. I’m afraid that anyone who gets in her way will get kicked to the curb now that she’s declared herself a candidate. I fully expect Hillary to be the Democratic candidate as things stand now.

  13. Liza says:

    Happy Cinco de Mayo, y’all.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Chemi Shalev ‏@ChemiShalev 5h5 hours ago
    in new NBC/WSJ poll, Obama has higher favorability that either Clinton or any of GOP candidates – by far http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/MS… …

  15. Liza says:

    I hope that Martese Johnson sues and wins and gets enough money for law school or graduate school or whatever he wants to do.

    State police find #MarteseJohnson was falsely charged, court date is May 28th http://t.co/K19ZROXyy6— deray mckesson (@deray) May 5, 2015

  16. TyrenM says:

    Good Morning 3Chics,
    Yul Brenner. Mack from wayyyy back! Have a good day all.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Monday, May 4, 2015

    Blood Baiting In Texas

    Posted by Zandar

    I’m not really sure what worse, the fact that two gunmen opened fire on a Texas event to draw the Prophet Mohammad, or the fact the event was designed specifically to provoke this kind of response and that the organizers are thrilled that this happened.

    Texas police shot dead two gunmen who opened fire on Sunday outside an exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad that was organized by an anti-Islamic group and billed as a free-speech event.

    The shooting in a Dallas suburb was an echo of past attacks or threats in other Western countries against art depicting the Prophet Mohammad. In January, gunmen killed 12 people in the Paris offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in revenge for its cartoons.

    Sunday’s attack took place at about 7 p.m. in a parking lot of the Curtis Culwell Center, an indoor arena in Garland, northeast of Dallas. Geert Wilders, a polarizing Dutch politician and anti-Islamic campaigner who is on an al Qaeda hit list, was among the speakers at the event.


  18. rikyrah says:

    Don’t blame Baltimore’s crisis on ‘liberal policies’
    05/04/15 04:34 PM
    By Steve Benen
    On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Chuck Todd asked House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) about the recent unrest in Baltimore. The Republican leader blasted “50 years of liberal policies that have not worked to help the very people that we want to help.”

    On “Face the Nation,” House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) sounded similar notes, saying the United States has “the same poverty rates,” despite “a 50-year war on poverty and trillions of dollars spent.” Ryan rejected the idea of “pumping more money into the same failed system.”

    The comments weren’t exactly surprising. As developments in Baltimore grew more serious last week, plenty of conservatives saw the unrest through a specific lens: the city’s crisis is Exhibit A in the case against progressive social-welfare policies.

    Rebecca Leber made a compelling case that the right has this backwards.
    Conservatives base this logic – that the city somehow proves government investment and social programs are bad policy – on a selective history of Baltimore, noting for instance that its residents have elected only one non-Democratic mayor since the 1940s. But Baltimore’s problems stretch further back, to institutionalized racial discrimination in the early 20th century. Federal and local policymakers of the time redlined areas with “undesirable racial concentrations” to omit them from mortgage insurance programs.

    And over the century, the same neighborhoods faced one destructive policy after another, from mass incarceration to the rise of predatory banks.
    The argument that Democrats share responsibility is grounded in fact, but not in the way Republicans mean – too often Dems, in the name of political expediency, went along with the conservative approach on issues like criminal justice, welfare reform, and generations of red-lining and segregation, which had a brutally detrimental impact on urban areas.

    In other words, don’t blame Democrats for being too progressive; blame them for not being progressive enough.


  19. rikyrah says:

    glad to see him doing something


    John Singleton Sets Up 1980s Crack Cocaine Epidemic Origins Project at FX

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act

    May 1, 2015 at 3:54PM

    A project that was previously set up at Showtime, John Singleton’s 1980s-set crack cocaine era drama titled “Snowfall,” described succinctly, if reductively, as “Boyz n the Hood meets The Wire,” is now heading to FX, with a pilot order from the network.

    The drama will explore what has come to be known as the “American crack epidemic” – the surge of crack cocaine use across the USA (specifically Los Angeles, in this case) during the mid to late 1980s.

    An “origin” story, at the center of the drama will be 3 characters: a young black kid from Compton, CA who will grow to become the world’s first “superstar” drug dealer; as well as a Mexican wrestler; and a CIA agent charged with laundering money for the Contras.

    Singleton will co-write with Eric Amadio, and exec produce the drama, as well as direct the pilot.


  20. rikyrah says:

    UPDATED x4: MI State Senator spews nonsense, Detroit News lets him cover it up

    Posted on Mon, 05/04/2015 – 1:18am

    One week ago I posted en entry titled “Color me shocked: Michigan GOP State Senator spewing nonsense”, which documented an appallingly erroneous Op-Ed by Republican State Senator Patrick Colbeck riddled with basic mathematical errors about the Affordable Care Act.

    Among the many factual errors included in Colbeck’s essay were such gems as:
    •He claimed that the ACA is costing $1.35 trillion per year. It’s actually priced at less than 1/10th that price ($120 billion per year).
    •He claimed that the ACA has insured an additional 19 million people, which is oddly generous as compared with my own estimate of 14 million or even the Obama administration’s estimate of 16.1 million.
    •He claimed that the ACA is “still leaving 36 million people” without insurance, while failing to acknowledge that 4 million of those are stuck in the Medicaid Gap created by Republican-run states, while another 6.3 million are undocumented immigrants who aren’t legally eligible for coverage under the law.
    •He claimed that the ACA is costing over $71,000 per enrollee per year, when the actual number is closer to $5,000 per person.
    •He claimed that a “high quality policy” can be purchased on the non-ACA market for $6,000/year, which may or may not be true depending on the person.
    •He claimed that “159 organizations” which stand “between a patient and a doctor” were created by the ACA, which is utter nonsense.
    •He claimed that the state of Washington launched a program which magically cut both costs and hospitalization rates in half, without citing any source or providing any information about what this mystery program might be.

    So, in my piece I carefully debunked all of these lies (or misstatements, assuming he was just ignorant). My response garnered quite a few retweets and a generally positive response…so positive that several people suggested that I write up a simplified version and submit it to the Detroit News Op-Ed page myself as a rebuttal.


    I submitted a shortened version of my blog entry from that morning to James David Dickson, the Detroit News Op-Ed Editor, at 9:30pm on April 27th.

    I never heard back from the News and was going to dismiss this as just another in a long line of Republican politicians spewing nonsense about the ACA (thus the title).

    Until tonight.

    Tonight, over at Daily Kos, a diarist going by the name “Inflection” posted this diary:


  21. rikyrah says:

    He’s on that cooning stripper pole for real


    Ben Carson’s over-the-top ego
    By Dana Milbank Opinion writer

    May 4 at 1:09 PM

    Ben Carson, who formally announced his run for the presidency Monday, is a brilliant surgeon, gifted storyteller and charismatic speaker. But modesty is not among his talents.

    The retired Johns Hopkins professor’s launch video, nearly five minutes long, positions the aspiring Republican presidential nominee right alongside Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.

    We can once again become the authors of ideas that have such profound magnitude,” proclaims the deep voice-over, while Mount Rushmore appears on-screen. “Great transformations begin from a single event.”

    Such as George Washington crossing the Delaware, or Ben Carson winning the Iowa caucuses.

    The video moves on — to an American flag, the Declaration of Independence, a church, and then the seated stone figure of Lincoln, enthroned at his memorial on the Mall.


  22. rikyrah says:

    Get ready for a lot more ‘dark money’ in politics

    By Greg Sargent May 4 at 3:18 PM 

    Over the weekend, the New York Times published a sobering interview with the head of the Federal Election Commission, who confirmed that she had largely given up on the agency playing a meaningful role in restraining fundraising and spending abuses in the 2016 campaign.

    The commissioners are deadlocked, FEC chair Ann Ravel said, because Republican members of the commission think the FEC should exercise less robust oversight, meaning the agency has become “worse than dysfunctional” at a time when outside money is poised to play an even larger role than it did in the last two cycles.

    There are a number of areas where this could matter — from oversight of candidates who are raising money while not “officially” declaring, to how to treat various types of advertisements. I wanted to focus on this particular problem identified by Commissioner Ravel — the “dark money” problem:

    She said she was particularly frustrated that Republican commissioners would not support cases against four nonprofit groups — including Crossroads GPS, founded by Karl Rove — accused of improperly using their tax-exempt status for massive and well-financed political campaigns.

    A surge in this so-called “dark money” in politics — hundreds of millions of dollars raised by nonprofits, trade associations and other groups that can keep their donations secret — has alarmed campaign-finance reformers who are pushing to make such funding public.


  23. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, May 3, 2015
    Appropriating Black Anger…Don’t Do It!

    Normally I’m a fan of Nicholas Kristoff. He tends to use his editorial column at the New York Times to highlight issues that many Americans would rather ignore. But the opening line in his op-ed today got under my skin a bit.
    The eruptions in Baltimore have been tied, in complex ways, to frustrations at American inequality…

    The rest of the column is not devoted to inequality in terms of law enforcement and our criminal justice system. It’s all about income inequality. And while its true that income inequality disproportionately affects African Americans, that’s also not what he addressed. He talked about the issue more broadly.

    From his previous work, I know that Kristoff is aware of the role that racism plays in our country today. And yet he did what so many white people tend to do when black anger explodes…he appropriated their issues to make his own point.

    It seems pretty clear to me that the “eruptions in Baltimore” had to do with the death of young black men at the hands of police officers and the lack of attention paid to that issue by our criminal justice system (until Marilyn Mosby came along). Perhaps Kristoff covered himself with that phrase “in complex ways,” because the frustrations of black people in Baltimore have obviously been building for a long time due to a complex set of issues. But first things first. As long as police officers think it’s OK to arrest young black men without probable cause and throw them in the back of a van where they meet an untimely death, I seriously doubt that income inequality is at the forefront of a black mother/father’s mind.

    I was actually hesitant to write this because I am a white person who doesn’t live in Baltimore. So the truth is – I can’t speak with any authority on what caused the eruptions. I hope that if I’m off base someone will come along and engage in the conversation to help enlighten me. But I think that talking about what happened in Baltimore without putting the question of racism in law enforcement/criminal justice front and center is an attempt to evade the very discussion we need to have.


  24. rikyrah says:

    Monday, May 4, 2015
    I’ll Be Waiting Over Here, Greta

    Greta Van Susteran unleashed some anger on Facebook.

    And what do I read tonight? Others coming out and critical of anyone using a word that they now claim to be wrong. I am talking about the word thug. Wrong word, really? Thug is now a word I can’t use to call those who set cars on fire, throw rocks at police and burn down senior centers? Really? I would call ANYONE, with any ethnic background a thug who throws rocks at police and sets cars on fire (and yes, I would call a police officer or a lawyer or anyone else who beats up an innocent person a thug, too.)…We need people to work on real problems — not people running around telling everyone what to say and implying they are racists when they are not.

    OK Greta, I’ll just sit over here and wait for that time that you call someone other than a black man (gawd forbid, a police officer) a “thug.” But you know what? Given my survival instinct, I’m not going to hold my breath.

    Personally, I think Greta has every right to use the word “thug.” Of course I also have the right to point out that she uses it selectively, demonstrating a racist intent. And if, after pointing that out, she continues to use it selectively, I have the right to call what she says “racist.” That’s how free speech works.


  25. rikyrah says:


    Resort Was an Oasis for Blacks Until Racism Drove Them Out


    A small green park on the Strand in Manhattan Beach is dedicated to international brotherhood these days, but it began as a beach resort for black Angelenos that was destroyed by racism in the 1920s.

    In its heyday during the 1910s and ’20s, the resort was called Bruces’ Beach. It offered ocean breezes, bathhouses, outdoor sports, dining and dancing to hundreds of African Americans who craved a taste of Southern California’s good life.

    Now the oasis is called Parque Culiacan. Since the 1970s, its name has signified the friendship between the California beach community and its sister city in Mexico’s Sinaloa state.

    No sign in the parque recalls the history of Bruces’ Beach. No monument memorializes one of Manhattan Beach’s founders, developer-benefactor George Peck, or the beach resort’s black founders, Charles and Willa Bruce. When the Bruces built it, there were no resorts on Los Angeles’ coast that welcomed blacks.

    Today, the resort endures only in books, in the memories of a few elderly townsfolk and in faded snapshots of happy summers and weekends. But yellowed clippings in scrapbooks and a 1956 thesis by a local resident, Robert L. Brigham, tell its story.

    When Manhattan Beach was incorporated in 1912, with 600 residents, Peck flouted tradition and set aside a two-block area fronting the ocean between 26th and 27th streets and Highland Avenue for minority residents.

    The Bruces, born during the Civil War in Union parts of the United States, were the first black Americans to buy lots. On their adjoining oceanfront lots they built the resort that bore their name. By 1919, four other black families owned cottages alongside white-owned lots.

    Little is known about the Bruces. Census records of 1920 show that Charles Aaron Bruce had been born in Washington, D.C., and worked as a cook most of his life. Willa, who was sometimes known as Willie, had been born in Missouri. Their son, Harvey, was born in New Mexico about 1888 and had worked as a cook for the railroads.

    In the 1920s, most Los Angeles real estate was bought and sold under racially restrictive covenants that had been enacted to keep neighborhoods white. Hotels, restaurants, beaches and parks barred blacks.

    But Peck, who sold real estate out of a tent, helped the Bruces and their black neighbors build a fishing pier, all the while tossing out fistfuls of coins for black and white children along the boardwalk.

    As coastal land became more valuable and Los Angeles’ black population increased–bringing more African Americans to Bruces’ Beach–so did whites’ hostility and racism.

    The California Eagle, an influential black newspaper in Los Angeles, reported on July 4, 1924, that three blacks had been fishing off the Redondo Beach Pier when several members of the Ku Klux Klan handed them a pamphlet titled “Principles of KKK and Ideals of PURE AMERICANISM.”

    In the margin of one of the pages someone had scrawled: “Colored Folks Beach three miles north”–in other words, telling them to move along to Bruces’.

    Soon the Klan’s bigoted tentacles spread to Manhattan Beach.

    Klansmen organized a 24-hour phone committee to intimidate and terrorize the Bruces anonymously. Blacks who ventured off the Bruces’ roped-off beach were harassed and insulted by hooded white men who slashed or let the air out of their tires. They also torched a house, set fire to a mattress under the Bruces’ deck, and posted “10 minutes only” parking signs. They burned a cross nearby.


  26. rikyrah says:



  27. rikyrah says:

    Arrest of officer could void drug convictions

    The arrest of former city narcotics Officer Christopher Hulmes on perjury charges might lead to the reversal of hundreds of convictions.
    May 5, 2015

    The arrest of former Philadelphia narcotics Officer Christopher Hulmes on perjury charges has forced the review – and possible reversal – of hundreds of convictions in which he was a key witness, the District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

    First Assistant District Attorney Ed McCann said his office would work with the Defender Association of Philadelphia to determine which cases will be affected by the 19-year police veteran’s involvement. Hulmes was arrested April 23 on multiple counts, including lying under oath.

    “It’s not thousands, but it’s hundreds” of cases, said McCann, explaining the impact a single problem officer can have on the city.

    In 2011, Hulmes, 42, admitted to a city judge that he falsified paperwork in a drug arrest. After the admission, Hulmes stayed on the street, making more arrests and testifying in court.


  28. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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