Monday Open Thread | Free Ride

Edgar WinterEdgar Holland Winter (born December 28, 1946), is an American musician. He is famous for being a multi-instrumentalist. He is a highly skilled keyboardist, saxophonist and percussionist. He often plays an instrument while simultaneously singing. He was most successful in the 1970s with his band, The Edgar Winter Group. He has albinism.

Edgar Holland Winter was born to John Winter II and Edith Winter on December 28, 1946 in Beaumont, TX. Both he and his brother Johnny are albino, and both were required to take special education classes in high school. Edgar states, “In school I had a lot of friends. I wore a lot of white shirts to, like, blend in I guess. No one really gave me a hard time about being albino or taking special education classes. Then again, I wasn’t really popular.” After recording with his brother, Johnny Winter, Edgar was signed to his own Epic Records contract in 1970 and recorded two R&B flavored albums, Entrance and Edgar Winter’s White Trash.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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62 Responses to Monday Open Thread | Free Ride

  1. Ametia says:

    Roydell Shannon So You Think You Can Dance Audition Video: Crumper Called As Good As Winner Russell Ferguson

    Waatch his son “Bam Bam’ dance Too cute!

  2. rikyrah says:

    Because this is who they are.


    Fox News contributor: Hillary Clinton’s call to expand early voting is just ‘bogus race baiting’
    David Edwards
    08 Jun 2015 at 13:07 ET

    Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich argued on Monday that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was “race baiting” by calling for greater access to the polls before election day.

    Speaking to students at the historically-black Texas Southern University last week, Clinton called for a nationwide standard of at least 20 days of early in-person voting.

    What is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people and young people from one end of our country to another,” Clinton said, noting that GOP hopefuls Rick Perry, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush had all signed laws designed to stifle voting rights.

    On Monday, Fox News host Gregg Jarrett asked Pavlich if Clinton was “playing the race card and the poor card simultaneously.”

    “Let’s not pretend Hillary Clinton doesn’t know exactly what she’s doing here,” Pavlich replied. “She needs black voter turnout in 2016 in order to win. And the way that she’s going to do that is by perpetuating this bogus, race-baiting narrative that somehow voter ID laws disenfranchise minority voters.”

    “First of all, it’s not true. Second of all, it’s shameless,” she continued. “It’s a losing issue for her. Unfortunately, she’s decided to go down that race-baiting route in order to get that demographic to come out and vote for her because she’s hurting for votes at this point.”

  3. rikyrah says:

    The Worst Article of the 2016 Election Cycle: June 7, 2015 Edition

    [ 164 ] June 7, 2015 | Erik Loomis

    Beltway elites love the myth of the undecided voter. By which of course they mean white voters who lean conservative. That Hillary Clinton is following Barack Obama’s path of understanding the American electorate and focusing on getting out the base rather than appeal to voters in West Virginia and North Dakota who are going to vote Republican anyway is the topic of this fretting New York Times article.

    This early in the campaign, however, forgoing a determined outreach effort to all 50 states, or even most of them, could mean missing out on the kind of spirited conversation that can be a unifying feature of a presidential election. And it could leave Mrs. Clinton, if she wins, with the same difficulties Mr. Obama has faced in governing with a Republican-controlled Congress.

    Yes, clearly a spirited conversation is going to convince heavily gerrymandered districts in Texas and Pennsylvania and Georgia to vote for Democrats! That’s clearly the ticket for Democrats to retake the House. How come no one has thought of that one before?

    To the architects of the Obama strategy, Mrs. Clinton’s approach is not mere homage: It is unavoidable, given that there are few genuine independents now and that technology increasingly lets campaigns pinpoint their most likely voters.

    “If you run a campaign trying to appeal to 60 to 70 percent of the electorate, you’re not going to run a very compelling campaign for the voters you need,” said David Plouffe, a top Obama strategist who has consulted informally with Mrs. Clinton.

    Yes. That’s because the people who ran Obama’s campaigns were not stupid.

    Mrs. Clinton has said repeatedly that she does not want a lonely victory in 2016; she wants to elect Democrats down the ballot. A group of her senior aides met recently with officials at the Democratic House, Senate and governor campaign arms to brief them on the aides’ research and plans for her message and organization. And Senate Democrats are hopeful that she will lift their prospects, because there is considerable overlap in crucial states: The results in Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin will almost certainly determine both who wins the White House and which party controls the Senate.

    Oh, so this is a super smart strategy Hillary is using then?

    “Go ask Al Gore,” Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, said about the risk of writing off states such as his, where Democratic presidential candidates prospered until 2000. “He’d be president with five electoral votes from West Virginia. So it is big, and it can make a difference.”

    Centrist Democrats also worry that focusing on liberal voters could lead to a continuation of the problems Mr. Obama has faced with a Congress elected by a vastly different subset of the nation.

    “That’s not good for the country,” Mr. Manchin said, adding that he hoped Mrs. Clinton would “come to the middle” if she became president.

    Of her campaign, he said, “If they get her too far over, it’s going to be more difficult to govern, it truly is.”

    Other rural-state Democrats are sending not-so-subtle messages.

    “I think that we always appreciate when people want to kind of talk to the whole country and listen to concerns, and I think farm country is critically important,” said Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat of North Dakota.

    Yes, clearly Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp are the real Democrats Hillary should be listening to. After all, their states with a combined 8 electoral votes are clearly going to put Hillary over the top. I mean, sure Al Gore could have gotten over the top with West Virgina’s votes. And he could have also gotten over the top if Ralph Nader didn’t have an ego the size of Texas or if, I don’t know, the Supreme Court didn’t throw the election to George W. Bush. And note that none of this has anything to do with strategy. Manchin says “it’s not good for the country.” Why not? Heitkamp says “farm country is critically important.” To what? Certainly not to Hillary Clinton getting elected president.

  4. Liza says:

    Right here in the USA, not Guantanamo, not a CIA black site. God help us.

    Traumatized by 3 Years at Rikers Prison w/o Charge as Teen, Kalief Browder Commits Suicide— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) June 8, 2015

    • rikyrah says:

      I wept reading the story last night. The pain in my heart just overwhelmed me about this baby.

      • Liza says:

        I first heard about this when Amy Goodman reported it and I was so hoping that this young man could recover and be okay. I have just one question. Why? What in the blazing hell is accomplished when children are tortured within the criminal justice system? Why did they do this? And what else is going on that we don’t know about right now?

  5. rikyrah says:

    Why the fate of Virginia’s congressional map matters
    06/08/15 10:44 AM—UPDATED 06/08/15 11:28 AM
    By Steve Benen
    When voters in Virginia went to the polls in 2012, a narrow majority backed President Obama’s re-election bid, just as they’d done four years earlier. In a closely watched U.S. Senate race, the commonwealth’s voters also elected Sen. Tim Kaine (D) over former Sen. George Allen (R) by about six points.

    But just a little further down on the ballot is where things get tricky. If you add up all the votes case in each of Virginia’s U.S. House races, roughly 49% of Virginians voted for Democratic candidates, while about 51% supported Republican candidates. The state has 11 congressional districts, so if there was some kind of parallel between voter preferences and partisan results, we might expect to see five Democrats head to Congress from the state, along with six Republicans.

    Except that’s not what happened. Of Virginia’s 11 U.S. House seats, Democrats ended up with three victories to the GOP’s eight. Dems may have won nearly 49% of the vote, but they also won about 27% of the representation.

    This gap, while obviously discouraging to Democrats, was entirely predictable. After the 2010 Census, Virginia’s Republican-dominated state government carefully crafted a district map intended to maximize GOP victories. How? Step one, of course, was drawing lines in such a way as to keep as many African-American voters together as possible, effectively creating noncompetitive districts.

    Late last week, this map ran into some trouble. The Washington Post reported:
    A panel of federal judges issued a ruling Friday that Virginia lawmakers illegally concentrated African American voters into one congressional district to reduce their influence elsewhere, bringing the state a step closer to being forced to redraw its election map.

    The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia affirmed its earlier decision and ordered the Virginia House of Delegates to redraw the state’s 11-district congressional map by Sept. 1.
    It’s not yet resolved – an appeal is inevitable – but this has the potential to be a pretty big deal.

  6. rikyrah says:

    GOP still balks at Obama’s successful auto-industry rescue
    06/08/15 11:24 AM—UPDATED 06/08/15 11:39 AM
    By Steve Benen
    The success of President Obama’s auto-industry rescue was a pretty important issue in the 2012 campaign. It was effectively encoded into the Obama campaign’s DNA – “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive” – and the issue became a cudgel with which to beat Mitt Romney throughout the Midwest.

    In light of the president’s retirement, it seems unlikely the policy will as important in 2016, but as the Huffington Post’s Jonathan Cohn explained over the weekend, the relevance of the industry rescue clearly hasn’t faded entirely.
    If you want to understand the temperaments and governing philosophies of the Republican presidential candidates, pay close attention to the way they talk about an iconic moment of President Barack Obama’s tenure: His decision, in the spring of 2009, to rescue Chrysler and General Motors.

    Most of the top GOP contenders have said the decision was a mistake. The latest to do so was Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, who boasted Friday during MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he was against all bailouts – including the one for General Motors. “When corporate leaders make bad mistakes, they need to be held accountable, whether they are on Wall Street or on Main Street,” Perry said.
    You can watch the full Perry interview here. Note, the former governor notes in his comments that Texas is home to an important GM manufacturing facility, though that apparently didn’t affect his opposition to the White House policy.

    If Perry’s posture seems familiar, there’s a good reason: plenty of Republican presidential hopefuls have expressed their skepticism, if not their unreserved opposition, to the policy that restored and strengthened the American automotive industry. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has voiced his opposition to the administration’s policy, as have former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has generally refused to talk about the issue at all.

    They do realize Obama’s policy worked, don’t they?

    As we discussed in April, by every metric, Obama’s policy worked. The industry – the backbone of American manufacturing – was on the verge of collapse. Without effective action, at the height of the economic crisis, hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers were poised to lose their jobs as the doors closed permanently on storied American companies.

  7. rikyrah says:

    MI GOP State Rep Says Detroit Public Schools Should Be Dissolved

    State Rep. Tim Kelly said today that Detroit Public Schools is so troubled that he would support dissolving it.

    Speaking during a taping of the WKAR-TV public television show “Off the Record,” the Saginaw Township Republican said DPS is “bound for elimination one way or another anyway.”

    “They’ve hemorrhaged kids — started with 150,000 and we’re down to 47,000… They’ve had their opportunity and quite honestly, they’ve squandered that opportunity, and not only for the last 15 years,” he said.

    Kelly, chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on education, also acknowledged the state bears some responsibility for DPS’ financial mess.

    The state has controlled DPS for much of the last 15 years. It has been run by governor-appointed emergency managers since 2009, and was under state control from 1999 until 2005.

    “I think there is culpability here, we have been involved in the last 15 years in Detroit,” Kelly said. “While I would suggest it would be worse if we hadn’t intervened, we have some blood on our hands. And I don’t know if it’s worth $500 million or $50 million a year for 10 years, but there is some bit of culpability

    The “charter schools” can’t want to get their hands on the DPS money.

  8. rikyrah says:

    I don’t have any words.
    Only one question.

    would three BLACK 20somethings been awarded a MILITARY CONTRACT?


    How These Stoner Kids Landed a $300 Million Pentagon Arms Contract

    “Arms and the Dudes” exposes the sordid underbelly of the military’s weapons trade.
    Mon Jun. 8, 2015 6:00 AM EDT

    In early 2007, three stoner twentysomethings won a Defense Department contract to supply the Afghan military with $300 million worth of ammunition. “The dudes,” as they came to be known—a ninth-grade dropout, a masseur, and a low-level pot dealer, all with little or no experience but plenty of nerve—had begun bidding on Pentagon arms contracts and winning out over massive international conglomerates. The Afghan contract wasn’t their first, but it was by far their largest. They would have to source thousands of tons of mortar rounds, grenades, rockets, and 100 million rounds of AK-47 ammunition and deliver all of it to Kabul at a particularly fraught time for the Afghan war effort.

    To fill the order, though, the dudes secretly repackaged millions of rounds of decades-old, surplus Chinese ammo—illegal under the contract terms—before shipping them to Afghanistan. It was all going fine until they got caught by Pentagon investigators and wound up with their mugshots spread across the front page of the New York Times.

    Their story is detailed in Guy Lawson’s new book, Arms and the Dudes, a wildly entertaining saga with dual narratives. The first involves blackmail, criminals, hustlers, corrupt government officials, and three kids in way over their heads. The other, and for Lawson more important, side of the story, concerns how the Pentagon came to use private contractors like the dudes as proxies—and eventual fall guys—to secure weapons from gray market arms dealers, the only people who could supply what it needed.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Behind Scott Walker, a Longstanding Conservative Alliance Against Unions
    JUNE 8, 2015

    ADISON, Wis. — Less than a week after he was elected governor of Wisconsin in 2010, Scott Walker went to Milwaukee at the invitation of his political patron, Michael W. Grebe.

    Mr. Grebe was Mr. Walker’s campaign chairman. He was also president of the Bradley Foundation, a leading source of ideas and financing for American conservatives. And the bankers, industrialists and public intellectuals on the foundation’s board wanted to honor the state’s next governor over dinner at Bacchus, a favorite restaurant of the city’s elite.

    While the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation could not endorse candidates outright, it provided more than $2 million in grants to think tanks that implicitly championed Mr. Walker’s small-government platform, and $520,000 to Americans for Prosperity, a national group that held Tea Party rallies at which Mr. Walker spoke.

    Addressing the assembled conservatives who had laid the groundwork for his transformation from county executive to governor, Mr. Walker did not disappoint, pledging to “go big and go bold” in office. In the months that followed, he would deliver on that promise, breaking Wisconsin’s public employee unions in a bitter battle, surviving a recall effort led by angry Democrats and making his fight the centerpiece of an as-yet-unannounced presidential campaign.

  10. rikyrah says:

    How Barack Obama is shaping the GOP presidential primaries
    By Paul Waldman June 4
    Rick Perry enters the presidential race today, bringing the list of announced Republican candidates to 10, with five more expected soon. There are any number of ways you could organize this unwieldy field in order to understand it, but it may be most useful to divide it into two kinds of GOP contenders: the pre-Obama candidates, and the Obama-era candidates.

    Perry straddles those two groups (we’ll get to him in a moment), but this division plays out in ways that are more complicated than simply more conservative versus less conservative. The truth is that the policy differences between the candidates are minimal. What defines those who came to national prominence since 2008 is the fact that they positioned themselves within a Republican Party that defines itself by its opposition to Barack Obama.

    Yes, today’s GOP is even more conservative in policy terms than it was a decade ago, but it’s also characterized by an intense partisanship that often places standing up to the other side (and to Obama in particular) as a higher value than actually accomplishing conservative goals. A pre-Obama politician like Jeb Bush may have advantages that make his road to the nomination clearer than an Obama-era politician like Ted Cruz. But he’ll have to spend much of his time explaining himself and reassuring primary voters that he can adopt a sufficiently Obama-era — i.e., anti-Obama — posture.

    Let’s look at it another way. Governors often have an advantage because they’re seen as leaders who have records they can point to. In the past, the fact that governors sometimes have to make pragmatic compromises and work with the other side to keep their state running hasn’t been disqualifying. But if there’s a prototypical Obama-era Republican governor, it’s Scott Walker, who has essentially acted like a tea party Republican in office. He has not only advanced conservative policies, he has waged total war on his state’s Democrats and their constituencies, seeking to destroy labor unions and not bothering to seek Democratic votes.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Plum Line
    Morning Plum: In battleground states, voters don’t want Supreme Court to gut subsidies

    By Greg Sargent June 8 at 8:57 AM
    As your humble blogger has tirelessly reiterated, the states with the highest numbers of people who stand to lose subsidies if the Supreme Court guts them also happen to be the main presidential and Senate battleground states. That overlap could increase the political stakes in the battle that will follow any Court ruling against the ACA.

    Now a new Washington Post poll confirms the stakes here. It finds that in many key battleground states, a majority says the Court should not end subsidies for those on the federal exchange.

    The Post poll finds that among Americans overall, 55 percent oppose a Court decision killing the subsidies, while only 38 percent support it. Independents oppose such a decision by 57-36, while Republicans are alone in supporting a decision against the ACA by 55-34.

    Among the states in which the largest numbers of people may lose subsidies are Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin and Ohio. Those are key presidential battlegrounds, and Republicans are defending Senate seats in five of them.

    The Post polling team tells me that in all of those states taken together, 52 percent of respondents oppose the Court nixing subsidies, while only 38 percent support it.

    Obviously supporters of the lawsuit will point out that these numbers are irrelevant to the substantive legal dispute before the Court. But they are relevant to the political fight that will come after any ruling against the law. It seems likely that similar percentages will support action to keep the subsidies going — indeed, one recent poll found broad majority support for such action.

    So vulnerable GOP Senators in these states will likely be pressed to say whether they think Congressional Republicans should pass a simple fix to keep the subsidies going. The GOP presidential candidates will also be asked the same. And in those states, not only is there majority opposition to the Court gutting subsidies, but very large numbers of people — hundreds of thousands in some states, and 1.3 million in Florida — will be directly impacted.

  12. BREAKING: Charleston County Grand Jury has indicted #MichaelSlager for the murder of #WalterScott.

  13. rikyrah says:

    This Is the Way to Win Elections (But It Makes Governing Harder)

    by Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann

    This is how you win elections. But it makes governing harder

    On Sunday, the New York Times observed that Hillary Clinton plans to follow Barack Obama’s general-election playbook — competing in the same battleground states Obama contested (and mostly won) in 2008 and 2012. But that means not playing in some of the southern states that Bill Clinton won in 1992 and 1996 (like Arkansas, Louisiana, and Kentucky). David Plouffe, Obama’s former top political strategist, summed it up this way: “If you run a campaign trying to appeal to 60 to 70 percent of the electorate, you’re not going to run a very compelling campaign for the voters you need.” In today’s highly polarized political world, this is how you win elections — by motivating your base and by recognizing there are few swing voters left. But it also makes governing harder, especially when the parties are trading electoral victories every two years (with Democrats benefitting from presidential turnouts, and with Republicans benefitting from midterm turnouts). When you have data-driven candidates appealing to win 51% of voters, it means that a president’s job-approval rating is never going to get much higher than that, and it means that bipartisan policy goals (like the TPP free-trade agreement) are the exception rather than the rule.

  14. rikyrah says:

    yes, clutch those pearls. A Democrat deciding to run as a Democrat.


    Sunday, June 7, 2015
    Last Call For Village Idiocy 101
    Posted by Zandar

    You guys, Red State Dems are really concerned that Hillary is running as a Democrat and not a Republican, and that’s making a lot of people very, very nervous.

    Hillary Rodham Clinton appears to be dispensing with the nationwide electoral strategy that won her husband two terms in the White House and brought white working-class voters and great stretches of what is now red-state America back to Democrats.

    Instead, she is poised to retrace Barack Obama’s far narrower path to the presidency: a campaign focused more on mobilizing supporters in the Great Lakes states and in parts of the West and South than on persuading undecided voters.

    Mrs. Clinton’s aides say it is the only way to win in an era of heightened polarization, when a declining pool of voters is truly up for grabs. Her liberal policy positions, they say, will fire up Democrats, a less difficult task than trying to win over independents in more hostile territory — even though a broader strategy could help lift the party with her.

    OK, right off the bat, Bubba won 20 years ago through triangulation because the electorate was different. His reward was impeachment by “moderate” Republicans Two, describing Obama’s path to victory as “narrow” is also stupid as both times he won by huge electoral vote margins, 192 in 2008 and 126 in 2012.

    And as usual, Hillary’s biggest detractors are Red State Dems who want her to be the moderate Republican in the race.

    • Ametia says:

      This is a NO BRAINER CASE. And I’m sorry to say, but I don’t trust the SCOTUS’ motives for some of these rulings, leading up to ACA. They’re giving our POTUS what he rightfully should be executing here.

      ALL EYES ON THE ACA-OBAMA CARE CASE. Because that’s were I’m thinking the SHADES WILL BE PULLED DOWN

  15. rikyrah says:

    Walker aims high, delivers low
    06/08/15 10:00 AM—UPDATED 06/08/15 10:09 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) sat down with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl yesterday and made some news, though not necessarily the kind that will help his unannounced presidential campaign.

    It was striking to hear the Republican governor say, for example, that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality this month, he believes the appropriate response would be “ultimately to consider pursuing a constitutional amendment.” As for what such an amendment might say, Walker added that he envisions a policy in which states would have the constitutional authority to block same-sex couples from getting married.

    On foreign policy, Karl asked the governor if he would “rule out a full-blown U.S. re-invasion of Iraq and Syria.” Walker initially hedged, but refused to rule out the possibility.

    Taken together, those two positions alone may give pause to much of the American electorate. But consider the significance of this other exchange:
    KARL: So one of your central promises was that you were going to create 250,000 private sector jobs in Wisconsin. When I asked you about that two years ago, you said you would get it done…. But you haven’t done it. You fell quite a bit short.

    WALKER: Yeah, we set a big bold goal. We created over 150,000 jobs in these first four years…. We’re going to continue to aim high both in our state, and if I were a candidate for president of the United States, I would aim high there as well.
    As a gubernatorial candidate five years ago, Walker offered Wisconsin a specific metric of success: he was so confident in the strength of his economic plan that he told voters that he would create 250,000 jobs in four years. He even said this should serve as the standard upon which he should be judged.

    And Walker failed miserably to deliver. Infeed, he struggled to create half of the job totals he promised. His defense is that he “aimed high,” but that’s not a credible argument for a national candidate. Those who make bold promises about ambitious goals and then fail to deliver don’t get to brag about their success.

    The ABC interview soon added:
    KARL: But that was a central promise. You fell significantly short, so should we expect you to fall short of the promises you’re making now?

    WALKER: Well, you look at all the other promises we made….
    No, let’s not look at the other promises. That’s the whole point. Walker’s vow of 250,000 jobs in four years was the central plank of his statewide candidacy, and he failed to deliver. Saying, “Yeah, but I delivered some other stuff!” isn’t a satisfying rejoinder.

  16. Hey Chicas!

    This is the single version of Free Ride! It’s the bestest! Classic rock!!

  17. rikyrah says:

    KAY KAY KAY!!!



    Barack Obama poised to hike wages for millions

    The Labor Department could propose a rule that would raise the current overtime threshold — $23,660 – to as much as $52,000.

    By Marianne LeVine

    6/8/15 5:04 AM EDT

    Updated 6/8/15 6:30 AM EDT

    The Obama administration is on the verge of possibly doubling the salary levels that would require employers to pay overtime in the most ambitious government intervention on wages in a decade. And it doesn’t need Congress’s permission.

    As early as this week, the Labor Department could propose a rule that would raise the current overtime threshold — $23,660 – to as much as $52,000, extending time and a half overtime pay to millions of American workers. The rule has already come under fire from business and Republican opponents who say it will kill jobs and force employers to cut hours for salaried employees.

    “The minimum wage they can’t do,” said Bill Samuel, director of legislative affairs for the AFL-CIO. “This is probably the most significant step they can take to raise wages for millions of workers.”

    Read more:

  18. Good morning, Chicas!

    Last night I received a call that my sister was being taken to the hospital by ambulance and as I was driving along to the hospital out jumps a deer and hits my truck. Tore it up! It looks pitiful. Bent up. Light gone.

  19. rikyrah says:

    ONCE AGAIN, I say….you voted these mofos BACK into office. And now, he’s threatening the funding for the JUDICIAL BRANCH?


    Courts Budget Intensifies Kansas Dispute Over Powers
    JUNE 6, 2015

    The fight between Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas and the state’s judicial branch has escalated, with the governor last week signing into law a bill that could strip state courts of their funding.

    The measure, at the end of a lengthy bill that allocated money for the judiciary this year, stipulates that if a state court strikes down a 2014 law that removed some powers from the State Supreme Court, the judiciary will lose its funding.

    The 2014 law took the authority to appoint district court judges from the Supreme Court and gave it to the district courts themselves. It also deprived the state’s highest court of the right to set district court budgets. Critics said the law was an attempt by Mr. Brownback, a Republican, to stack the district courts with judges who may be more favorable to his policies.

    The budget bill that Mr. Brownback signed on Thursday was related only to the judiciary. He said he wanted to ensure that the courts would remain open while lawmakers sparred over the larger budget issues. Lawmakers have been debating how to fill a $400 million shortfall, which will most likely require tax increases that Mr. Brownback and many in the conservative-dominated Legislature oppose. If a budget is not passed by Sunday, state workers may be furloughed.

    But in passing a separate budget bill to keep the third branch of government from shutting down, Republican lawmakers took the opportunity to insert language that would shield the 2014 law.

    “I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Matthew Menendez, counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York, which is helping to represent a Kansas judge who is challenging the constitutionality of the 2014 law. “It seems pretty clear that these mechanisms have been an effort by the governor and the Legislature to try and get a court system that is more in line with their philosophy.”

    Richard E. Levy, a constitutional law professor at the University of Kansas, likened the measure in the judiciary budget bill to Congress’s passing a law outlawing abortion and then telling the judicial branch that it will lose its funding if it finds the law unconstitutional.

    “That kind of threat to the independence of the judiciary strikes me as invalid under the separation of powers principle,” Mr. Levy said in an interview on Friday.

  20. rikyrah says:

    but, Kansas voted both these phuckers back into office. You get what you get.


    Brownback May Empower Kris Kobach To Prosecute ‘Voter Fraud’ Cases Himself

    Published JUNE 4, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

    Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has five days before he must decide whether to sign a bill expanding the power of Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) to prosecute voter fraud cases.

    If Brownback does sign the legislation, which has already passed both chambers of the state legislature, Kobach would be given the power to prosecute voter fraud cases even when, according to critics, local prosecutors had opted against moving forward with those cases.

    Kobach is a prominent figure in conservative “voter fraud” circles, loudly declaring that voter fraud is rampant and pushing new laws that have the effect of restricting access to voting, especially among voters who tend to favor Democrats. Voting experts, on the other hand, point to studies that show voter fraud is relatively rare with negligible impact on election outcomes.

    “I very much worry about Kobach getting additional prosecutorial authority, as he seems to be someone who is willing to make false or exaggerated claims of voter fraud to fit his political narrative,” election law expert Rich Hasen told TPM in an email.

    Under current Kansas law, Kobach must refer cases of voter fraud to local prosecutors. Under the bill sitting on Brownback’s desk, those prosecutors would still handle voter fraud cases but Kobach’s office could move criminal charges on its own. “The bill also would upgrade penalties for several voting offenses to felonies from misdemeanors,” according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

    Brownback’s office is mum about whether the governor will sign the legislation.

    “The Governor has not signed the bill. We received the bill on May 29. By law the Governor has 10 days to either sign the bill, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature,” Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley told TPM in an email on Wednesday. “We carefully review all bills that come to the Governor’s desk.”

  21. rikyrah says:

    ‘What’s the matter with Kansas?’ gains new urgency
    06/08/15 09:20 AM
    By Steve Benen
    If the spectacular failures of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) economic experiment, and the ensuing budget crisis, were the only stories dominating the state, it would be more than enough to put the Sunflower State on national front pages.

    But recent developments in Kansas go much, much further. Consider this New York Times report from the weekend:
    The fight between Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas and the state’s judicial branch has escalated, with the governor last week signing into law a bill that could strip state courts of their funding.

    The measure, at the end of a lengthy bill that allocated money for the judiciary this year, stipulates that if a state court strikes down a 2014 law that removed some powers from the State Supreme Court, the judiciary will lose its funding.
    Think about that for a minute. Elected state officials in the Republican-led capital want state courts to endorse a policy on the makeup and budget of Kansas courts. But before the judges decide, those same officials have said the courts’ funding hangs in the balance.

    As Rachel noted on the show two weeks ago, before Brownback signed the measure late last week, “ ‘You rule one way, you’re fine. You rule the other way, we will abolish the courts.’ So go ahead and consider that case, Kansas judges. Enjoy your judicial independence.”

    And just when it seemed conditions in Kansas couldn’t become more politically absurd, Brownback found yet another way to push the envelope. TPM reported late last week on the Republican governor’s plan to expand Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s (R) authority “to prosecute voter fraud cases.”

  22. rikyrah says:

    Some Supreme Court decisions will be coming down today.

  23. rikyrah says:

    One Year Later-Racial symposium at Colerain High School

    Mending community after teens’ constitutional rights violated.
    Kate LeDonne

    15 Apr 2015, 14:02 GMT

    Imagine a group of teenage boys in high school making a music video for a digital media class. The music video gets an “A”. They post it online in typical teenage fashion with teenage boy swagger.

    Then, the next thing they know, they’re being put in a room with armed police and their phones and bags confiscated.

    Are you puzzled? Confused? Outraged?

    What if they were white? How do you feel? What if the teens were Hispanic? How would you feel? What if the group was Asian? Would your feelings or thoughts change?

    Sadly, a year ago, in April 2014, this is what happened in Colerain High School. In the aftermath, the parents of four of the African-American teenagers filed suit against the Northwest Local School District and several Colerain Police officers for violating their children’s Constitutional rights.

    The following is a basic summary of the events that took place.

    School administrators accused more than a dozen African-American teens of making so-called “street” signs and being member of a gang. Local police and school administrators had scoured social media sites and gathered photographs of the accused. The administrators said the postings made several unidentified parents feel uncomfortable. Police Chief Mark Denney saw rounding up the students as a proactive way to squash the rumors of gang activity at Colerain High School.

    These students were scapegoated and criminalized because of the ignorance of a select few members of the community. School administrators and police rounded the kids up, and detained them in a windowless room without telling them why. The room was secured by armed police and the students’ phones, backpacks and bookbags were confiscated. Some of the kids were held for up to 5 hours in this manner, without bathrooms breaks, food or water. There were no attorneys present, nor any parents present.

    One of the accused students became upset, and when he raised his voice, a school administrator who was guarding the teen said,”Now we have our infraction!” A police officer then placed the teen in handcuffs.

    The kids were expelled from school. Their trust in the school administration irretrievably broken. Ultimately, the teens were expelled. They lost more than 10 days at school. One lost employment as a videographer. One lost access to the weightlifting equipment. The real loss was mutual trust and respect in the community between kids and those in positions of authority.

    The local police started harassing them over the summer. One teen was given a jaywalking ticket for an address that didn’t exist. They were banned by local police from going to a local festival “Taste of Colerain”. The teens became frightened to go anywhere without a parent, understandably.

    Since last year, the expulsions have been removed from their record and all involved are working toward mutual respect. I sincerely hope they are successful.

  24. rikyrah says:

    What it was like to cover Beau Biden’s funeral

    By Juliet Eilperin June 8 at 8:00 AM

    Sometimes the most important thing a journalist can do is bear witness to grief.

    I learned this years ago, when I wrote my first obituary for The Washington Post. It can provide comfort to an individual’s most intimate friends and family while simultaneously conveying that same person’s significance to total strangers. It is a moment to say why someone mattered now that they are no longer here.

    On Saturday morning I joined a small cadre of reporters all charged with that duty, and something a little more complicated. We had to share, in real time, how a family and the broader community surrounding them were coping with the sudden loss of someone central to their lives. And we were doing that from the vantage point of the president of the United States, whom we would trail for several hours with our laptops, iPhones and recording equipment in tow.

    Pool reports are a way to capture what the president is doing when not every reporter can witness it firsthand. Journalists from every medium — print, wires, television, radio and photo — accompany him whenever he leaves the White House and describe what he’s doing so others can incorporate it into their own coverage. Nothing in a pool report is proprietary: journalists can use it as if they witnessed it firsthand, without attribution. You cannot store away a particularly nice detail for yourself while pooling; instead, you put it all in a series of emails that are distributed to thousands of people while you are with the president.

    Sometimes White House reporters try to pawn off pool duty on their colleagues: it can be a bear, especially if you are also trying to file a story on the event that you’re pooling. Not this time. Every single member of the print pool volunteered to go. Some of them, including Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev and AP’s Josh Lederman, had covered the vice president for years and know him well.

    Some aspects of the morning were routine: the ride to Joint Base Andrews, the military bus transport to the terminal and the security sweep take place each and every time we take off on Air Force One. But it was clear this was not an ordinary assignment: all the reporters — just like the members of the first family — were dressed in black.


    But even as I and other reporters typed away, there were moments when there was no way to keep the sheer impact of the Bidens’ public expression of pain at a distance. The raw emotion of Hunter Biden’s recollection of his brother holding his hand in the hospital after a car crash when they were toddlers, saying “I love you” over and over again, Ashley Biden’s description of the sleepovers she spent as an eight year-old in her brother’s college apartment; it was impossible to stay aloof. Every single journalist in that back pew cried at some point.

  25. TyrenM says:

    Good Morning 3Chics,
    SG2. I know I don’t visit everyday, but I’m glad to see you back. Hope you and yours are alright.
    Have a good day all.

  26. rikyrah says:

    The 10 Senate seats most likely to switch parties in 2016 elections

    By Chris Cillizza June 7 at 10:06 AM
    Senate Democrats are well positioned in 2016 both in terms of the landscape — they are defending just 10 seats compared with 24 for Republicans — and the early-recruitment wars. So much so that it’s clear they have at least a shot at winning back the Senate majority in November 2016.

    In places such as Illinois and Wisconsin, Republican incumbents start as, at best, even-money bets to win. And in the case of Illinois, the odds are probably slightly worse.

    The key for Democratic chances at the majority lies in landing top-tier recruits such as Gov. Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire and former senator Kay Hagan in North Carolina. In Pennsylvania, where national Democrats have been clearly unhappy with the prospect of former congressman Joe Sestak as their nominee, keep an eye on Katie McGinty, the chief of staff for Gov. Tom Wolf (D).

    Republicans have very few pickup chances and have yet to land solid recruits in their two best opportunities: Colorado and Nevada. There is optimism about Rep. Joe Heck running in Nevada, but the recent no-go decision by Rep. Mike Coffman in Colorado leaves Republicans without one of their best options to take on Sen. Michael Bennet (D).

  27. rikyrah says:

    people finally getting hip to the fact that their access to healthcare is being threatened.


    Public to Supreme Court: Don’t gut Obamacare
    by Peyton M. Craighill June 8 at 7:00 AM

    The Affordable Care Act hangs in the balance in the Supreme Court for the second time in three years, but the public has rendered a judgment ahead of the court’s ruling. By a margin of 55 percent to 38 percent, more people say the court should not take action to block federal subsidies in states that didn’t set up their own exchanges, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    At issue in King v. Burwell is whether low- and moderate-income Americans living in certain states should be allowed to receive tax subsidies to buy health insurance. The challengers say a straightforward reading of the law means the credits are available only for those who buy insurance in marketplaces, or exchanges, that are “established by the state” — rather than on the federal marketplace. If the court agrees, millions of people in 34 states that didn’t set up their own exchanges could lose federal subsidies, which could undermine the entire law.

    Public opinion on providing subsidies splits in predictably partisan ways — but not overwhelmingly so. Nearly two-thirds of Democrats (65 percent) say the court should not take action to block health insurance subsidies. Fifty-five percent of Republicans say the court should rule against the subsidies. Independents side with keeping subsidies, 57 percent to 36 percent.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Carson campaign faces turmoil, staffing shake-up
    06/08/15 08:40 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Every national campaign is all but certain to go through some staffing changes over the course of several months, usually for predictable reasons. But the staffing shake-up at Ben Carson’s headquarters is anything but routine. The Washington Post first reported:
    The presidential candidacy of Ben Carson, a tea party star who has catapulted into the top tier of Republican contenders, has been rocked by turmoil with the departures of four senior campaign officials and widespread disarray among his allied super PACs.

    In interviews Friday, Carson’s associates described a political network in tumult, saying the retired neurosurgeon’s campaign chairman, national finance chairman, deputy campaign manager and general counsel have resigned since Carson formally launched his bid last month in Detroit. They have not been replaced, campaign aides said.
    The Post piece added that Team Carson “has been marked by signs of dysfunction and amateurism.”

    To be sure, at this point, there’s nothing to suggest the behind-the-scenes tumult is undermining the far-right candidate’s support. At least for now, polls show Carson running fourth in the Republican presidential race, and he’s actually seen his backing grow in recent weeks, not shrink.

    But when a White House hopeful loses that many top members of his team, very quickly, and struggles to replace them, it suggests there’s something very wrong with the campaign – and that real troubles lie ahead.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Review: ‘The Summoning’ Is a Significant Step for African American-Oriented Genre Fare on a Cable Network (Premieres Tomorrow, June 6)

    Shadow and Act
    By Ashlee Blackwell | Shadow and Act

    June 5, 2015 at 4:24PM

    TV One original movie, “The Summoning,” premieres tomorrow Saturday, June 6 at 8 p.m. ET on TV One, directed by Charles Murray, and starring Paula Jai Parker, Terrell Tilford, Dorian Missick, Darius McCrary, Storm Reid, and Diandra Lyle.

    In the past, TV One has not been good at executing genre work. “Fright Night” and “Fear Files” have bordered on being unwatchable, and, in a word, lazy. So much so that I feared deeply for the viewers who are largely African American adults, assuming that more than a few would imagine the horror/thriller genre as nothing but cheap, gimmicky, ridiculous fare. If these projects that are written by, directed by, and star us, maintain a level of lethargy and just plain cheesiness, people who aren’t directly fans of these genres won’t take the time to further see how entertaining, informative, and transformative these genres can be. We will remain the butt of the joke and not be taken seriously as active participants in these spaces.

    I’m glad to lay an opinion down that implies TV One is finally steering in the right direction, nearly washing away the stench of the former, with their latest in the speculative universe, “The Summoning” (2015).

    “The Summoning” is both engaging and delightfully dark, taking its time to develop characters and hitting beats that consistently stay true to the theme without ever feeling cheapened. It is a more serious attempt at tackling genre storytelling, with virtually an all people of color cast, and nods to Black cultural signifiers, while remaining universal. “The Summoning” prompts ideas of loss, pain, second chances, and family that are cleverly manipulated by supernatural antagonists, placing it under the “horror/thriller” tent quite nicely.

  30. rikyrah says:

    The FIFA scandal is a ridiculous movie script

    By Spencer Hall  @edsbs on Jun 2, 2015, 3:20p


    This Swiss guy is named Sepp Blatter. He somewhat stereotypically got his start at a watch company, and then turned his sights to running a corrupt sports nonprofit named FIFA that sold a giant soccer tournament that only happens once every four years, but involves the entire world. He also had a stint as head of the World Society of Friends of Suspenders, an organization that advocated for women to stop wearing tights and go back to stockings and suspenders.

    The tournament (and a few others sponsored by the soccer organization) are popular enough to suck in money from everyone and everything imaginable: shoe companies, airlines, sports beverages empires, possibly evil giant Russian gas conglomerates, and television networks small and large. The Swiss guy made it all fantastically profitable at little cost to the soccer organization, often by getting host countries to build and run most everything for them. He made money.

    The Swiss guy made a lot of money. He made a million dollars a year by his own accounts, though that number is believed to be much, much higher in reality. He made enough money to fund a feature-length movie about this organization, and to pay Tim Roth to play the corrupt Swiss guy despite bearing no resemblance to him whatsoever. He paid out bribes to maintain power, exacted bribes from those sports companies and countries desperate to host that huge tournament, and used all that solidarity and momentum to win elections, build bigger tournaments, and construct other things like a giant scary meeting room that looks exactly like the war room in Dr. Strangelove.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Likely Not on Your Radar Film Opening Today: Cuba Gooding Jr/Sharon Leal Underground Railroad Drama ‘Freedom’

    Photo of Tambay A. Obenson
    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act

    June 5, 2015 at 1:23PM
    A project we first profiled in 2012, and previously thought was dead… Cuba Gooding Jr. stars in a drama that was initially titled “Something Whispered,” was later retitled “Carry Me Home,” and is now being released as “Freedom,” which tells a tale set in 1850, of a man named Samuel (Gooding), who attempts to free his family from institutionalized slavery, heading north towards Canada, via the famed Underground Railroad, intent on escaping from the tobacco plantation they have been forced to call their home for two generations.

    Sharon Leal plays Cuba’s wife in a cast of many that also includes William Sadler as one of the other more prominent names. David Rasche, Terrence Mann and Michael Goodwin also feature.

    Director Peter Cousens’ resume is full of lots of TV work, so I previously automatically assumed that it would likely be a made-for-TV movie, possibly going to one of the cable TV networks; but with a June 5 theatrical release date later set, the film is now out in theaters, in a limited release, via Arc Entertainment, with a VOD and digital component along with it.

  32. rikyrah says:

    N.C. governor abandons abortion-rights promise (again)
    06/08/15 08:00 AM—UPDATED 06/08/15 08:14 AM
    By Steve Benen
    One of the most important times of any week is late on a Friday afternoon. That’s often when politicians – those who want to make a controversial move but hope no one notices – quietly take their most provocative steps.

    Take the latest developments in North Carolina, for example. WRAL published this report at 7:45 p.m. (ET) on Friday evening.
    Gov. Pat McCrory says he has signed legislation that makes North Carolina one of several states with 72-hour waiting periods for an abortion.

    McCrory’s office sent an email Friday evening which announced that he had signed pardons for two brothers wrongfully imprisoned for three decades in the killing of an 11-year-old girl. At the bottom of the email, it was noted that McCrory had also signed nine bills, listing each bill by their number without referring to their specific title.
    Just so we’re clear, North Carolina’s Republican governor signed a new law requiring women in the state to wait 72 hours before they exercise their right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, which is a problem for reasons we’ll get to in a minute.

    But McCrory did so late on a Friday, without a bill-signing ceremony, and announced his actions by tacking on a vague reference to his actions to the bottom of an email, as if to say, “By the way, no need to make a fuss, but I just imposed new abortion restrictions statewide. Nothing to see here. Move along.”

    And if it seems as if the GOP governor might be a little ashamed of himself, signing a bill in the quietest way possible, there’s a very good reason for that.

    Just two weeks before Election Day 2012, then-candidate McCrory was asked at a televised event, “If you are elected governor, what further restrictions on abortion would you agree to sign?” He replied, simply, “None.”

    That’s literally the entire quote. I didn’t truncate this for space – he was asked a straightforward question and the Republican offered a one-word answer. There were no caveats or addendums, and McCrory left himself no wiggle room. He made a vow and it was reasonable to expect him to keep his word.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  34. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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