Wednesday Open Thread | Music Originals & Covers

HAPPY HUMP day, Everyone! More original & covers. Today’s song “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman.”

“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” is a 1967 single released by American soul singer Aretha Franklin on the Atlantic label. The song was co-written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, with input from Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler. The record was a big hit for Franklin, reaching number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and became a standard song for her. Franklin also included a live recording on the album Aretha in Paris in 1968. Versions have also been performed and recorded by Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, and many others.

Aretha Franklin – (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman [1967]

Carole King – (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman

Celine Dion – Natural Woman [HD]

Whitney Houston – You Make Me Feel ( Like A Natural Woman ) – HQ Live BRAZIL

Mary J. Blige – (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman

Aretha, Mariah, Celine, Gloria Estefan, Carole King & Shania Twain – Natural Woman (Live)

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52 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread | Music Originals & Covers

  1. eliihass says:

    How is it that the very same people who deliberately withheld their voice and support, stood back and idly and gleefully watched as minority voting rights were suppressed and the voting rights act was obliterated, now deign it a matter of priority and urgency to restore said voting rights – and just in time to help Ms Ann in the 2016 elections. Gotta get those minority votes to help boost numbers just in case the ‘hardworking’ white folks don’t come through..

    Where was Ms Ann, where was the media and the now concerned brigade, in 2012? And 2014? Why wasn’t the issue of voting rights deserving of this sudden urgent focus then?

    • rikyrah says:

      Tell the truth

      • eliihass says:

        I can hardly stand it Rikyrah…Important issues that have been front and center and we’ve been confronting and fighting for without any support or help from Ms Ann or her cronies.

        Then lo and behold, Ms Ann is running for president again. And suddenly she’s giving a solitary speech (2 long months after she announces), crafted by 15 senior advisers and punctuated with poll and focus group tested catch phrases and buzz words, at Barbara Jordan’s Alma Mater. And Eureka! It’s declared groundbreaking and novel and taking a major stand, impressive, bold… Oh Puhleeze..

        Never mind that she’s been around and silent all this while as has her usually vocal husband who has no qualms offering unsolicited advice to Romney and Palin, and even less qualms, offering his criticism of and contradicting the President on issues. But we are to believe that one speech and a lawsuit filed just last week by Ms Ann’s campaign to entirely and specifically benefit her, means she’s ‘bold, concerned, and taking an important stand on an important issue’. Bullocks!!!

    • Ametia says:


  2. Ametia says:

    President Obama Says China Could Join Already Huge Asia Trade Deal
    JUNE 03, 2015 3:56 PM ET

    President Obama said Wednesday that China could be open to eventually joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the massive trade deal the White House is hoping to get through Congress.

    “They’ve already started putting out feelers about the possibilities of them participating at some point,” the president told Kai Ryssdal of “Marketplace” from American Public Media.

  3. Ametia says:

    Michael Brelo is Charged with Assault (On His Brother)

    Posted By Sam Allard on Wed, Jun 3, 2015 at 10:51 am
    Four days after his acquittal, Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo got into a violent altercation with his brother Mark in Bay Village. He’s now being charged with assault.

    The Bay Village police picked up a warrant at the Rocky River Municipal Court this morning, according to the court, and Brelo is expected to turn himself in later today.

  4. Liza says:

    #DillonTaylor – unarmed, listening to music, minding his business. MURDERED by police. VIDEO:— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) June 3, 2015

  5. Liza says:

    The video lasts for over 7 minutes and I didn’t make it past 3 minutes. This is extremely graphic.

    #DillonTaylor – unarmed, listening to music, minding his business. MURDERED by police. VIDEO:— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) June 3, 2015

  6. Ametia says:

    The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio has handed over to prosecutors the results of its investigation into the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

    “We have concluded our work and I have turned it over to the prosecutor, who will take it through the next steps,” Sheriff Clifford Pinkney said in a statement.

    In November, Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann fired the fatal shots at Tamir within two seconds of arriving outside a recreation center where the sixth-grader was playing with a pellet gun. The boy died the next day

  7. rikyrah says:

    May 28, 2015 – Five Leaders In 2016 Republican White House Race, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Rubio, Paul Are Only Republicans Even Close To Clinton

    PDF format

    Sample and Methodology detail

    There are five leaders – or no leaders – as Republican voters look at likely GOP candidates in the 2016 White House race, with no candidate above 10 percent and 20 percent undecided, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released today.

    Leading the pack with 10 percent each are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds.

  8. rikyrah says:

    love this

    attorney general lynch harvard magazine

  9. rikyrah says:

    Clinton putting voting rights up front and center
    06/03/15 11:20 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is still in the process of choosing signature issues that will help define her candidacy, though she’s apparently basing many of her priorities on feedback from voters she’s meeting on the campaign trail. And what’s on Democrats’ minds?

    Evidently, voting rights. According to her press secretary, Clinton will deliver remarks tomorrow addressing Republican-imposed restrictions on voting rights, while also urging Congress to take “swift action” on restoring the Voting Rights Act.

    Clinton will deliver the remarks in Houston, Texas – a state that has had more than its share of problems related to new barriers between voters and their democracy.

    But it’s important to note that this pushback goes further than just shining a light on the issue. As msnbc’s Zachary Roth reported this week, the Democratic frontrunner’s top campaign lawyer filed “a new legal challenge to a slew of restrictive voting laws signed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.”
    The complaint, filed Friday in federal court, charges that the “right [to vote] has been under attack in Wisconsin since Republicans gained control of the governor’s office and both houses of the State Legislature in the 2010 election.”

    It seeks to overturn not only the state’s controversial voter ID law, but also a host of other restrictive measures that have largely flown under the radar. All these measures, the suit alleges, have already made it harder for Wisconsinites to cast a ballot, and target “African-American, Latino, young, and/or Democratic voters in Wisconsin in particular,” in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
    The suit wasn’t filed by Clinton for America, per se, but Marc Elias, the campaign’s general counsel, is one of the lawyers who brought the case.

    • Liza says:

      This is an important issue, to be sure. Let’s hope this is not Hillary courting the AA/Latino voters in lieu of taking on police brutality. Which, by the way, I expect her to avoid until it gets forced on her.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Marco Rubio’s ‘house of horrors’
    06/03/15 10:05 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio recently took aim at Hillary Clinton, condemning the impression of “constant scandal” surrounding her candidacy. All things considered, the Florida senator may not be the ideal messenger for this message.

    Recently, some of Rubio’s own controversies have drawn scrutiny. The New York Times reported, for example, on the senator’s ties to Florida billionaire Norman Braman, who hired Rubio and his wife and gave the Rubios access to his private plane. For his part, the Republican policymaker “has steered taxpayer funds to Mr. Braman’s favored causes, successfully pushing for an $80 million state grant to finance a genomics center at a private university and securing $5 million for cancer research at a Miami institute for which Mr. Braman is a major donor.”

    More controversial still are Rubio’s connections to former Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.) and the home Politico’s Marc Caputo calls the “house of horrors.”
    Marco Rubio finally sold his money-pit of a home in Tallahassee on Tuesday, freeing the presidential candidate from a nagging financial liability and allowing him to distance himself from his scandal-plagued co-owner, former Rep. David Rivera, Florida Republican sources familiar with the transaction tell POLITICO.

    Rubio and Rivera closed on the home with an as-yet-unnamed buyer who purchased the home for $117,000 – $8,000 less than the asking price and $18,000 less than the two men paid for it in March 2005 when they both served as state legislators, sources said.

    “Free at last,” one Rubio friend told POLITICO.
    Well, sort of. The GOP presidential hopeful now appears to be free of the house he was desperate to sell, but he’s not yet free of questions surrounding Rivera – an almost comically scandal-plagued politician Rubio has described as his “most loyal friend and supporter.”

  11. rikyrah says:

    IN TOUCH MAGAZINE got their hands on it, and yet, Megan whatsherface isn’t going to ask ‘hard questions.’


    Josh Duggar confessed to his father Jim Bob Duggar on THREE separate occasions to multiple acts of sexual molestation against his sisters and a family friend, according to a new police report obtained exclusively by In Touch magazine.

    The document also makes clear that Josh was 15 years old when he molested his 5-year-old sister and committed at least SEVEN acts of sexual molestation.

    With fewer redactions than the first report, the Washington County Sheriff’s document makes it clear that despite Josh’s chilling confessions the Duggars waited at least 16 months before contacting authorities about the molestations, even though the behavior was continuing and growing worse. During that period they did not get professional counseling for Josh or his victims. Legal experts tell In Touch that Jim Bob and Michelle could have faced six years in prison for their inaction, if the statute of limitations had not expired.

  12. rikyrah says:

    The magazine every Republican wants to be in
    By Steve Benen
    About a year ago, after President Obama imposed another round of sanctions on Russia, Vladimir Putin responded by imposing entry bans on several U.S. officials, including members of Congress. The listed Americans couldn’t have been more pleased.

    Russia’s edict targeted a bipartisan group, including John Boehner, Harry Reid, and John McCain. Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu (D) was included, and she was so happy about it, the incumbent senator actually included the Russian rebuke in one of her re-election ads.

    Soon, much of Congress was filled with lawmakers wondering what they could do to annoy Putin and get included on the same list. It was a badge of honor that lawmakers were eager to wear – “You think Putin hates you? No, no, Putin hates me.”

    A year later, U.S. politicians are less interested in making Putin’s enemies list and more interested in getting noticed by ISIS. BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski reported yesterday:
    Speaking with the Lars Larson Show, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum noted he was featured in ISIS’ online magazine.

    “I don’t know if you know this but last month I was featured in an online, it was the magazine of ISIS,” said Santorum. “They had a picture of me and quote in their magazine under the words, ‘in the words of our enemies.’ That was the headline of the article.”

    “I make the comment, they know who I am and I know who they are,” Santorum added on a phrase he used in his announcement speech.
    Really, can you blame Santorum for trying to exploit this? ISIS radicals may not fully appreciate this, but their condemnation is arguably better than any single endorsement an American presidential candidate can receive from anyone on the planet.

    Santorum is now in a position to turn to any of his 2016 rivals and say, “Sure, we both intend to destroy ISIS, but I didn’t see you identified in an ISIS magazine as their enemy….”

  13. rikyrah says:

    I’d be in jail for beating his ass for calling the cops on me


    June 3, 2015

    How far is too far when it comes to disciplining children?

    Last month, Antonia Antoinette Folsom, 34, was arrested after being accused of forcing her 13-year-old son to sleep outside of her Augusta, Georgia home on a concrete patio. According to WJBF, the mother of four refused to let the teen into her home on the night of Monday, May 27 because he repeatedly stayed out past curfew. Officers responded to the home around 1:30 p.m. the following Tuesday after the boy called and told them that he had been locked out of the home since 9:15 p.m. that Monday.

    The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office says that the teen’s curfew was 9:00 p.m. “but he did not come home on time. When he arrived home the doors were locked and his mother, the subject, would not allow him into the residence even after he knocked multiple times. She came to the door and told him that she was tired of him coming home late and for him to find somewhere else to go. She kept all of the doors as well as windows locked so that he could not get in the residence.”

    At some point Monday night, police say that the teen’s older brother snuck outside and “gave him a pillow and blanket without his mother’s permission.” He claims that he “continued to knock on the door with no response and was forced to sleep on the concrete patio in the back yard.”

    When deputies arrived at the home Tuesday, the boy’s older brother told them that the teen “had come home late and was locked out of the residence for breaking curfew, and that the subject would not let him in even after he knocked on the door numerous times and spoke to her briefly. He also added that the victim told his mother that he was having trouble breathing and she told him ‘Now you know how I feel’ and refused to allow him in.” Folsom returned from work Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. and told investigators that she had not seen or heard from her son since Monday night. She reportedly told police that she had instructed her son to come inside of the house around 11 p.m., but he ignored her and left.

    The Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services was notified of the incident. Folsom’s children were turned over to the grandmother. Folsom was arrested and charged with Deprivation of a Minor. Since her may arrest, mothers in the August area gave joined forces in support of Folsom, who they say is a great mother who made the right decision concerning her troubled son. A Go Fund Me page has also been set up to assist with Folsom’s legal fee’s

    “When you have one that’s out of control and you’re trying to keep him from getting in trouble with the law or going out and committing a crime or either getting killed, you do everything you can to go out of your way to keep them safe,” Folsom’s sister Gena Archer told WRDW.

  14. rikyrah says:

    writing a letter?




    Accuser admits Mo Alie-Cox didn’t punch her; video proves it

    BY BRANDON SHULLEETA Richmond Times-Dispatch

    A woman admitted she falsely accused VCU forward Mo Alie-Cox of punching her in the face in an apology letter referenced in court on Tuesday before a judge dismissed the assault charge against him.

    Alie-Cox had been charged with misdemeanor assault based on Morgan Ashley Kaye’s criminal complaint, but surveillance footage and Kaye’s admission counter her initial claim that Alie-Cox punched her.

    “Please accept my deepest apologies for my false accusations and the subsequent defamation of your character,” Kaye wrote in a letter to Alie-Cox, a copy of which was provided to The Times-Dispatch by Alie-Cox’s defense attorney.

    “It was not my intent to create this situation of embarrassment for you, Virginia Commonwealth University, the basketball team, or myself. After seeing the footage from the night, I clearly mistook your identity and have never felt guiltier about this whole situation,” Kaye’s letter states.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Jamaican Scientist Offered Over $11 Billion [US$100 million] For Cancer Research Patent

    Dr. Lawrence Williams, a research consultant with the Scientific Research Council is certainly one Jamaican who has achieved great things and his hard work and dedication certainly make him worthy of recognition and emulation.

    Williams obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in 1987, after completing undergraduate studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI) with a major in Zoology and a minor in Chemistry.

    He has been studying a compound from the Guinea Hen Weed (scientific name: Petiveria alliacea) for several years which has now reached the patent stage.

    So promising is his breakthrough that he has already been offered over $11 billion (US$100 million) for a patent relating to his cancer research. The offer was however declined because its value is estimated to be greater than what was offered.

  16. rikyrah says:



    How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Built Six Homes

    Even as the group has publicly celebrated its work, insider accounts detail a string of failures
    NPR June 3, 2015

    THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF CAMPECHE sprawls up a steep hillside in Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince. Goats rustle in trash that goes forever uncollected. Children kick a deflated volleyball in a dusty lot below a wall with a hand-painted logo of the American Red Cross.

    In late 2011, the Red Cross launched a multimillion-dollar project to transform the desperately poor area, which was hit hard by the earthquake that struck Haiti the year before. The main focus of the project — called LAMIKA, an acronym in Creole for “A Better Life in My Neighborhood” — was building hundreds of permanent homes.

    Today, not one home has been built in Campeche. Many residents live in shacks made of rusty sheet metal, without access to drinkable water, electricity or basic sanitation. When it rains, their homes flood and residents bail out mud and water.

    The group has publicly celebrated its work. But in fact, the Red Cross has repeatedly failed on the ground in Haiti. Confidential memos, emails from worried top officers, and accounts of a dozen frustrated and disappointed insiders show the charity has broken promises, squandered donations, and made dubious claims of success.

    The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people. But the actual number of permanent homes the group has built in all of Haiti: six.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Black family faces jail time for cheering teen at a Mississippi high school graduation
    03 JUN 2015 AT 08:50 ET

    A black Mississippi family was kicked out of a high school graduation ceremony and charged with disturbing the peace after they cheered for a graduating senior.

    Superintendent Jay Foster asked audience members to hold their cheers and applause until all the graduates’ names were called, but one family said they were unable to contain their excitement, reported WREG-TV.

    Ursula Miller said she called out the first name of her niece, Lanarcia Walker, as she crossed the stage to receive her diploma from Senatobia High School.

    The teen’s father, Henry Walker, shouted, “You did it, baby,” and waved a towel, drawing laughs from the crowd.

    That’s when school officials asked the girl’s parents and two other relatives to leave the ceremony.

    About a week later, they were served with court papers after the superintendent filed disturbing the peace charges against them.

    “It’s crazy,” Henry Walker said. “The fact that I might have to bond out of jail, pay court costs or a $500 fine for expressing my love – it’s ridiculous man. It’s ridiculous.”

    But the superintendent defended his decision, saying he was determined to maintain order during graduation ceremonies.

    The Walkers and their relatives are due in court Monday, and they said they may not be able to afford the fines — which could put them at risk of jail time.

    “I can understand they can escort me out of the graduation, but to say they going to put me in jail for it,” Miller said. “What else are they allowed to do?”

    • yahtzeebutterfly says:

      Every graduation I have ever been to has had quite a few family groups cheer when their children receive their diplomas.

      That superintendent is small-minded. Children graduating is to be celebrated. The superintendent needs to rethink why he is in the field of education.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Underage Girl Brushes Off Cop’s Flirting Attempt, So She’s Swarmed by Cops, Groped and Arrested
    By John Vibes on June 3, 2015

    New York City, NY — A teenager from the Bronx was recently paid $45,000 after she was wrongfully arrested and sexually harassed by a police officer. The officer was also assisted by a number of other NYPD cops who helped him take her into custody.

    The incident occurred on November 4th of 2013 when a young girl named Natalie Erlich, who was 17-years-old at the time, was walking home from school. During her walk, she was approached by Officer José Peinan and another cop who were not in uniform and did not identify themselves as police officers.

    According to court documents, Peinan made several attempts to flirt with the girl but was immediately brushed off, much to his disappointment. After the rejection, Peinan became aggressive with the girl and arrested her on bogus charges. The officer claimed that since the girl asked if he was a police officer, that she had “blown his cover.”

    “I had on a camouflage hat and [Peinan] had on camouflage pants. He said, ‘We match.’ I brushed him off and I laughed,” Erlich told The New York Post. After that, she said that she attempted to walk away and avoid him, and that is when he became more aggressive.

    “He said something slick like, ‘Where are you going?’” she said, adding that she told Peinan that she was going home and asked if he was a cop.

    When the officer replied by saying “maybe,” she then told him that was “a cop answer,” and at that moment a swarm of officers descended upon the girl, and Peinan told them to handcuff her and take her into custody.

    When asked why she was being arrested, Peinan told her that “You know why, you’re being a smartass.”

  19. rikyrah says:

    Kitchen Manager Fired For Giving Lunch To Students Without Money
    June 2, 2015 10:28 AM

    AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Della Curry is out of work, and unashamed, after being fired by the Cherry Creek School District.

    A married mother of two, Curry is the former kitchen manager at Dakota Valley Elementary School in Aurora. She lost her job on Friday after giving school lunches to students who didn’t have any money.

    “I had a first grader in front of me, crying, because she doesn’t have enough money for lunch. Yes, I gave her lunch,” Curry said.

    In the district, students who fail to qualify for the free lunch or reduced lunch program receive one slice of cheese on a hamburger bun, and a small milk.

    Curry says that meal is not sufficient. Many times she paid for lunches out of her own pocket.

    “I’ll own that I broke the law. The law needs to change,” she said.

  20. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Natalie Jackson tweeted this important article:

    “40 Reasons Why Our Jails are Full of Black Brown and Poor People”

  21. rikyrah says:

    the music this week has been giving me life!!


  22. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    ”Grim History Traced in Sunken Slave Ship Found Off South Africa”


    WASHINGTON — On Dec. 3, 1794, a Portuguese slave ship left Mozambique, on the east coast of Africa, for what was to be a 7,000-mile voyage to Maranhão, Brazil, and the sugar plantations that awaited its cargo of black men and women.

    Shackled in the ship’s hold were between 400 and 500 slaves, pressed flesh to flesh with their backs on the floor. With the exception of daily breaks to exercise, the slaves were to spend the bulk of the estimated four-month journey from the Indian Ocean across the vast South Atlantic in the dark of the hold.

    In the end, their journey lasted only 24 days. Buffeted by strong winds, the ship, the São José Paquete Africa, rounded the treacherous Cape of Good Hope and came apart violently on two reefs not far from Cape Town and only 100 yards from shore, but in deep, turbulent water. The Portuguese captain, crew and half of the slaves survived. An estimated 212 slaves did not, and perished in the sea.

    On Tuesday, when Mr. Bunch of the Smithsonian’s African-American history museum will join his counterparts in Cape Town to announce the discovery of the São José, there will be a memorial service near the site where the ship went down. Divers will place soil from Mozambique Island on the underwater site to memorialize the graves of the 212 drowned slaves.

    The officials will announce that recovered objects from the ship, including iron ballast blocks and encrusted shackles, will go on long-term loan to the African-American museum in Washington, from Iziko Museum, which remains the primary owner of the remnants. Mr. Bunch will talk about his recent visit to Mozambique Island, to a fishing village that once held slave pens.

    In the interview, he said he was gratified that he had finally found a slave shipwreck for his museum. “I wanted to find a way for people to remember all those nameless people who died crossing that Middle Passage,” he said, referring to the middle leg of the triangular voyages of European ships that sailed to Africa to collect slaves, transported them to the Americas in exchange for raw materials, and then took the raw materials back to Europe.

    The space in the museum for the items pulled from the sea, he said, will include recordings of voices describing the slave trade — “a place,” Mr. Bunch said, “for you to mourn and to remember.”

    Part of the remembrances, he hopes, will focus on the slaves of the São José who did not die at sea on Dec. 27, 1794. Those people — more than 200 of them — survived the wreck and made it to shore.

    And there, within two days, they were sold again.


    For the [African American] museum — set to open on the National Mall in Washington next year — the find represents the culmination of more than a decade of work searching for the remains of a slave ship, any slave ship, that could help tell the story of the 12 million people who were sold into bondage and forcibly moved, over some 60,000 voyages, from Africa to North America, the West Indies, South America and Europe.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Documentary ‘In Search of the Black Knight’ Dealing with Black Relationships Now Available on DVD and VOD

    Shadow and Act
    By Sergio | Shadow and Act

    June 2, 2015 at 11:50AM

    When it comes to the current state of black relationships you can either laugh or cry or watch Steve Harvey. But if you don’t want to go down that depressing route, you can watch instead filmmaker Tamarat Makonnen’s witty and definitely more uplifting take on the neverending and perplexing issue in his documentary film “In Search of the Black Knight”.

    As the filmmaker says: “The shortage of black men to women is a pretty hot topic in many circles. I thought it would be great to address the issue, but from a humorous perspective…I really wanted to make sure that it was both thought-provoking and entertaining. Combining professional advice, street interviews and sketch comedy helped to bring that balance.”

    As for Makonnen he has had an extensive career as a director with music videos and EPKs for several artists and the feature film drama “Dreams and Shadows”. He has also recently ventured in the web series world directing episodes of the series “The Unwritten Rules”.

    Now after playing the film festival circuit last year In Search of the Black Knight is available now on DVD through Amazon and also on VOD on Amazon Instant Video and Vimeo On Demand.

  24. rikyrah says:

    folks have been talking about the utter messiness of the Clinton Foundaton


    The inside story of how the Clintons built a $2 billion global empire

    by David A. Fahrenthold, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman

    Chevy Chase was on the plane with Bill Clinton. So was a former president of Brazil. The founders of Google. A former president of Mexico. And John Cusack.

    They were all going to Davos, the Swiss resort that holds an annual conclave of the wealthy and powerful. The jet — arranged by a Saudi businessman — provided a luxurious living-room setting for a rolling discussion: Couldn’t the big names at Davos be doing more to solve the world’s big problems?

    In the background, a Clinton staff member named Doug Band had an idea that would change the ex-president’s life.

    “Only Bill Clinton could bring a group like this together,” Band thought.

    Bill Clinton didn’t need Davos. He could do this himself.

    From that revelation came the Clinton Global Initiative — an annual gathering of the wealthy and powerful centered not on a place, but on a man. In the decade since, that program has become the public face of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the sprawling organization that is now at the center of the Clintons’ public and professional lives and a springboard to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign.

    Today, the Clinton Foundation is unlike anything else in the history of the nation and, perhaps, the world: It is a global philanthropic empire run by a former U.S. president and closely affiliated with a potential future president, with the audacious goal of solving some of the world’s most vexing problems by bringing together the wealthiest, glitziest and most powerful people from every part of the planet.

    The evolution of the foundation, which began as a modest nonprofit focused largely on the ex-president’s library in Arkansas, is a nearly perfect reflection of the Clintons themselves. It was not designed as a master plan, but rather has grown, one brainstorm at a time, in accordance with the ambitious, loyal, restless and, often, scattered nature of its primary namesake. Many programs were sparked by chance encounters in Bill Clinton’s life. A meeting with a Harlem shopkeeper. A friend’s plan to fight AIDS. The flight to Davos. Emergency heart surgery.

    In the middle of it all is Bill Clinton, a new kind of post-presidential celebrity: a convener who wrangles rich people’s money for poor people’s problems. In the process, the foundation elevates the wealthy by giving them entrée to one of the nation’s most prominent political families.

    This account of the foundation’s history is drawn from interviews with key players and a review of organization records. Through the foundation, Bill Clinton declined a request for an interview but provided a written statement to The Washington Post.

    At its heart, the Clinton Foundation is an ingenious machine, which could turn something intangible — the Clintons’ global goodwill — into something tangible: money.

    • eliihass says:

      The prototype of what will be the ultimate of foundations – one that makes a real difference to real lives, will be manifest shortly in the Barack and Michelle Obama foundation. No planted positive newspaper articles to distract from accusations of financial mismanagement and corrupt transactions necessary. No beat sweeteners in exchange for access, necessary either..

  25. rikyrah says:

    Interracial marriage threatened by NC Republican anti-gay bill

    Rachel Maddow explains how Republican legislators in North Carolina are poised to override a veto by the governor of an anti-gay marriage bill that would also make it legal for clerks to reject marriage licenses for interracial or interfaith couples. Duration: 6:41

  26. rikyrah says:

    ‘Obamacare’ continues to exceed expectations
    06/03/15 08:41 AM—UPDATED 06/03/15 08:43 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Waiting for bad news about the Affordable Care Act? Keep waiting. The Hill reported yesterday:
    A total of 10.2 million people bought ObamaCare during the most recent sign-up period, federal officials announced Tuesday.

    The Obama administration is now officially on track to meet its self-stated 2015 target of 9.1 million customers, the second year in a row that it has achieved a revised enrollment goal.
    In a press statement, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell noted what is plainly true: “The Health Insurance Marketplaces are working. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans now rely on the health and financial security that comes from affordable coverage through the Marketplaces.”

    For a more detailed look at the latest tally, the estimable Charles Gaba’s report yesterday is a must-read. (Go for the meticulous analysis; stay for the pretty chart.)

    An Associated Press report added the latest data also shows that “nearly 9 out of 10 adults now have health insurance.”

    But the release of the heartening data, welcomed by those hoping to see the American system succeed, came against a scary backdrop: all of this success may be destroyed very soon and there’s very little affected families can do about it.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Rand Paul comes up short, pretends otherwise
    06/03/15 08:00 AM
    facebook twitter save share group 2
    By Steve Benen
    Just 48 hours ago, the conservative Washington Times published a report noting that as far as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was concerned, the debate over the government’s Patriot Act powers was going swimmingly.
    Sen. Rand Paul on Monday hailed a “big victory for privacy” in his fight against the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection program after key provisions of the post-9/11 Patriot Act lapsed late Sunday.

    “Actually, I think we’re winning,” the Kentucky Republican said on Fox News when asked if the legislative fight was over for the moment. “The president will be rebuked and the president will no longer be able to illegally collect our records all the time, so I think it’s a big victory for privacy.”
    It seems as if this is the prevailing attitude right now. President Obama signed the “USA Freedom Act” overnight, effectively ending this phase of the debate, and Paul and his backers seem to believe they, for lack of a better word, won.

    Except that’s really not what happened.

    To be sure, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is left with egg on his face, losing at every step in the process. But his Kentucky brethren ended up with nothing, too.

    Paul boasted to supporters over the weekend, for example, that he would single-handedly derail the Patriot Act. And while he did cause some key provisions of the law to expire, it was a short-lived victory – the provisions only lapsed for a few days.

    But the USA Freedom Act at least scales back the NSA’s surveillance powers a bit, right? Yes, but let’s not forget that Rand Paul opposed the USA Freedom Act throughout the process, deeming it insufficient.

    What’s left is a one-sided ledger:

    * The legislation Rand Paul tried to defeat passed and was signed into law.

    * The amendments Rand Paul tried to add to the legislation were ignored.

    * President Obama, far from “rebuked,” ended up with the exact policy he wanted the whole time.

    * The law Rand Paul derailed for a few days has effectively been restored.

    * Among his own colleagues from his own party, Rand Paul finds himself the most disliked and least respected person on Capitol Hill.

    “I think we’re winning”? I think you’ve lost.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  29. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-))))

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