Friday Open Thread | George Michael Week

Happy Friday, Everyone!



Whitney Houston, George Michael – If I Told You That

george whitney

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73 Responses to Friday Open Thread | George Michael Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    Can you imagine the phone call?

    ” Hello, this is the White House. The President would like to bring his daughters for a visit…can you stay open a little longer?”

  2. rikyrah says:

    I love this for kids


    Outdoor Afro: Busting Stereotypes That Black People Don’t Hike Or Camp

    JULY 12, 2015 7:48 AM ET

    In 2009, Rue Mapp was thinking about business school, weighing the pros and cons, and wondering if it was the right choice. The former Morgan Stanley analyst turned to her mentor for advice. But rather than give her an answer, her mentor asked a question: If you could be doing anything right now, what would it be?

    Rue Mapp started Outdoor Afro in 2009 with a blog and Facebook. The organization spans 18 cities and has 7,000 active members across the country.Rue Mapp

    Just like that, Mapp knew an MBA wasn’t in her near future. Instead, she decided to combine everything she loved — from nature to community to technology — into an organization that would reconnect African-Americans to the outdoors.

    A mere two weeks after her mentor asked that one simple question, Mapp launched Outdoor Afro using Facebook and a blog. She started writing about her love of nature, and her experience of being the only black person at many hiking and camping activities. That story resonated with a lot of other African-Americans, who would write her to say that they, too, were tired of being the “only one.”

    Mapp set out to change that. Outdoor Afro uses social media and volunteers to organize outdoor recreational activities — like camping, hiking, birding, biking and skiing — for African-Americans all over the country. Six years after its launch, there are 30 trained leaders in cities across the United States and 7,000 active members. The group’s tagline says it all: “Where black people and nature meet.”

    Training new volunteers and leaders, Mapp insists, is a core element of the program. “I think in order for us to really see a more diverse and representative population of people in nature that looks like America, it’s necessary to have leadership that looks like America,” she says.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Amarlie ‏@marabout40 7h7 hours ago

    “Black people are the most forgiving because they’ve had so much practice at it.” PBO quoting his wife, Michelle.

  4. Liza says:

    Why does Cornel West want to be such an a$$?

    Cornel West Delivers Blistering Takedown of Ta-Nehisi Coates—Michael Eric Dyson Responds
    By Matthew Kassel | 07/16/15 6:21pm

    Cornel West took to his Facebook page on Thursday afternoon to deliver a blistering takedown of Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose new book, Between the World and Me, came out this week.

    Mr. West seemed to take issue particularly with Toni Morrison’s endorsement of the book—which addresses the issue of race in America in the form of a letter to Mr. Coates’ son—and the fact that she had compared Mr. Coates to our generation’s James Baldwin.

    “In Defense of James Baldwin – Why Toni Morrison (a literary genius) is Wrong about Ta-Nehisi Coates,” Mr. West, a professor emeritus at Princeton University, begins. “Baldwin was a great writer of profound courage who spoke truth to power. Coates is a clever wordsmith with journalistic talent who avoids any critique of the Black president in power.” (Mr. West originally referred to a “Tony” Morrison in his digital diatribe, though he has since corrected his mistake.)

    He continues:

    Baldwin’s painful self-examination led to collective action and a focus on social movements. He reveled in the examples of Medgar, Martin, Malcolm, Fannie Lou Hamer and Angela Davis. Coates’s fear-driven self-absorption leads to individual escape and flight to safety – he is cowardly silent on the marvelous new militancy in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, Oakland, Cleveland and other places. Coates can grow and mature, but without an analysis of capitalist wealth inequality, gender domination, homophobic degradation, Imperial occupation (all concrete forms of plunder) and collective fightback (not just personal struggle) Coates will remain a mere darling of White and Black Neo-liberals, paralyzed by their Obama worship and hence a distraction from the necessary courage and vision we need in our catastrophic times. How I wish the prophetic work of serious intellectuals like Robin DG Kelley, Imani Perry, Gerald Horne, Eddie Glaude commanded the attention the corporate media gives Coates. But in our age of superficial spectacle, even the great Morrison is seduced by the linguistic glitz and political silences of Coates as we all hunger for the literary genius and political engagement of Baldwin.

    “As in jazz, we must teach our youth that immature imitation is suicide and premature elevation is death,” Mr. West concludes (though it’s unclear if he has listened to very early John Coltrane recordings, in which the great saxophonist sounds, sort of embarrassingly, like a bad Charlie Parker). “Brother Coates continue to lift your gifted voice to your precious son and all of us, just beware of the white noise and become connected to the people’s movements!”

    Mr. Coates did not respond to an email request asking for comment, but Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University who wrote a withering takedown of Mr. West in the April issue of The New Republic, was more than happy to weigh in.

    He described Mr. West’s Facebook post as an “acrimonious dirge,” a “bitter, nasty, sorrowful blue note,” and “despotically and willfully intolerant of the gifts and talents of those who may potentially eclipse him.”

    “It shows the vast ineptitude of professor West’s scholarship,” Mr. Dyson told the Observer in a phone conversation. “The point I made in my piece is that he doesn’t keep up, he doesn’t read the freshest, newest, most insightful scholarship, nor does he write about it in any serious fashion or teach it in his curriculum, and it shows here.”

    Mr. Dyson called Mr. Coates, who writes about race for The Atlantic, a “greatly gifted writer” who forms “sentences and thoughts that sing on the page and stick to the mind.”


  5. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    deray mckesson ‏@deray 32m32 minutes ago
    <em"The Charlotte news is fear-mongering.
    "I'm not the enemy, racism is."

  6. rikyrah says:

    awe…so sweet


    A #BlackTwitter Love Story: It Started From a Tweet and Now They’re Married
    In 2012, Karla Stover tweeted that she wanted to visit an aquarium. Three years later, she married the man who offered to take her.

    Posted: July 17 2015 12:59 PM

    Black Twitter is a lot of things, from activism to shenanigans, Denzel Washington memes to #IfIDieInPoliceCustody. But one aspect a lot of people overlook is the fact that your soul mate could be one tweet or direct message away.

    Looking for love online isn’t anything new. There’s Tinder, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish and Match, but Twitter has its possibilities, too—just ask Dave and Karla Johnson.

    In 2012, Karla Stover relocated from the Michigan area to Maryland. She’d been in the area for two weeks when she hopped on Twitter one night. While she was tweeting and watching television, a commercial for the Baltimore National Aquarium came on, and she tweeted that she’d like to go one day.

    And because of the magic of Twitter’s advanced-search features, nothing is ever lost:

    • Ametia says:

      Josh, dude, we’ve been saying this forever and a day.

      You might get paid for it, but you don’t get credit for writing PBO has “NO FUCKS TO GIVE.”

  7. Ametia says:

    David Axelrod: Hillary Clinton and Democrats can win the Iran debate
    By Greg Sargent July 17 at 1:48 PM

    Ever since the Iran deal was announced, it has been widely presumed — by Republicans, and some neutral observers — that the battle over it in Congress will inevitably be a political winner for the GOP. The Iran debate just seems risky for Democrats — it involves negotiating with the enemy! — and Beltway punditry often assumes that debates over national security always favor Republicans, because, well, partly because Republicans are very good at saying so.

    But in an interview with me, David Axelrod — the chief strategist of Barack Obama’s two successful presidential campaigns — made the opposite case. He said the Iran debate actually could favor Hillary Clinton and Democrats, and put the GOP presidential nominee in a politically untenable spot. That is, if Democrats prosecute it correctly.

    “Broadly, I don’t think it’s at all clear that Americans are opposed to this,” Axelrod said. “Americans recognize that a verifiable agreement is a better option than war.”

    “The key question here is, If you walk away from this, then what?” Axelrod continued. “It’s the responsibility of every single politician, Republican and Democrat, to answer the what’s-the-alternative question. And ‘let’s go to tougher sanctions’ is not a real answer.”

    • Liza says:

      But Hillary just loves that Benjamin Nett’n-Yahoo and Israel and she has vowed to defend them. So how does this work for her? Benjamin says no deal for Iran and more military aid from the US for Israel. I think she’s boxed in.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Bush ‘woefully misinformed’ on overtime policy
    07/17/15 11:31 AM
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    By Steve Benen
    With Congress unwilling to pass meaningful economic measures, President Obama’s recently unveiled overtime policy is one of the year’s biggest stories on the domestic economy. Jeb Bush, not surprisingly, doesn’t like it, but he may not fully understand it, either.

    To briefly recap, under the status quo, there’s an annual income threshold for mandatory overtime: $23,660. Those making more than that can be classified by employers as “managers” who are exempt from overtime rules. The Obama administration’s Labor Department has spent the last several months working on the new plan, which raises the threshold to $50,440 – more than double the current level.

    The policy doesn’t just nibble around the edges; its scope includes roughly 5 million American workers. NBC’s Kristin Donnelly reported the administration’s move constitutes “the most ambitious intervention in the wage economy in at least a decade.”

    Campaigning in Iowa this week, Jeb Bush said the policy would result in “less overtime pay” and “less wages earned.” The Guardian did some fact-checking.

    Numerous economists attacked Bush’s statement, calling him woefully misinformed. And several studies on the rule contradict Bush’s assertion that the overtime rules would “lessen the number of people working”.

    Daniel Hamermesh, a University of Texas labor economist, said: “He’s just 100% wrong,” adding that “there will be more overtime pay and more total earnings” and “there’s a huge amount of evidence employers will use more workers”.

    Indeed, a Goldman Sachs study estimated that employers would hire 120,000 more workers in response to Obama’s overtime changes. And a similar study commissioned by the National Retail Federation – a fierce opponent of the proposed overtime rules – estimated that as a result of the new salary threshold, employers in the restaurant and retail industries would hire 117,500 new part-time workers.

    The Economic Policy Institute’s Ross Eisenbrey added that Bush “should be embarrassed about how misinformed he was.” Noting that the Republican presidential candidate also said Obama’s policy would also prohibit many bonuses, Eisenbrey added, “All of that is exactly wrong – and pretty much nonsense.”

    On a surface level, it’s problematic that Bush would flub the issue so poorly, but it’s even more significant in the context of related confusion about economic policy.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Why a congressman would say, ‘This interview didn’t happen’
    07/17/15 10:15 AM
    By Steve Benen
    By now, the basic outline of this week’s Planned Parenthood controversy is probably familiar to most news consumers. A right-wing group released a sting video – as right-wing groups are wont to do – featuring a Planned Parenthood official talking candidly about fetal tissue, which prompted a conservative uproar.

    Soon after, we came to realize that the right-wing group edited the video in a misleading way– as right-wing groups are wont to do – and the “controversy” didn’t amount to much of anything. It’s not clear why the Washington Post put the story literally on the front page, since there are no credible allegations of wrongdoing. Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum called it a “nothingburger,” adding, “In the end, this is just another sad attempt at a sting video that goes nowhere once you get beyond the deceptive editing.”

    Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards officially responded to the story yesterday, explaining that the organization did nothing wrong, though she acknowledged that the Planned Parenthood official featured in the sting video spoke with a “tone” that was “unacceptable.”

    In theory, that should effectively end the controversy, such as it was, and since my wife works for Planned Parenthood – her work is completely unrelated to fetal tissue and she played no role in this report – I was prepared to look past it altogether. But a Roll Call article yesterday pushed the story in an unexpected direction: some congressional Republicans have known about the video for weeks.
    Rep. Tim Murphy, a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus and chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee looking into the video, said at a Wednesday news conference he’d seen the clip weeks before.

    Asked afterward why he and others waited until this week to take action, Murphy struggled for an answer before abruptly ending the interview with CQ Roll Call, saying he should not be quoted and remarking, “This interview didn’t happen.”
    Well, actually, it did happen, and members of Congress can’t talk to reporters, then retroactively pretend they didn’t.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Walker sidesteps scandal, but questions linger
    07/17/15 08:40 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Given our previous coverage of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) “John Doe” controversy, it’s only fair to note that as of yesterday, by order of the state Supreme Court, the investigation is no more. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported:
    Dealing Gov. Scott Walker a victory just as his presidential campaign gets underway, the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a sweeping decision Thursday ruled the governor’s campaign and conservative groups had not violated campaign finance laws in recall elections in 2011 and 2012.

    The ruling means the end of the investigation, which has been stalled for 18 months after a lower court judge determined no laws were violated even if Walker’s campaign and the groups had worked together as prosecutors believe.
    That last phase – “even if Walker’s campaign and the groups had worked together as prosecutors believe” – is of particular interest. Conservative judges have concluded that even if the Republican governor and his team did exactly what they are accused of doing, it doesn’t matter.

    To briefly recap the controversy, Wisconsin election laws prohibit officials from coordinating campaign activities with outside political groups. There is, however, ample reason to believe Walker and his team were directly involved in overseeing how outside groups – including some allegedly non-partisan non-profits – spent their campaign resources.\

  11. Ametia says:

    BWA HA HA HA HA I Miss John Dingell!

    • Ametia says:

      This is so true. These folks are losers, if they think that EXTREME policies will get them elected. The majority of Americans who vote are NOT EXTREMIST.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Is Paris Still a Haven for Black Americans?

    The City of Light once drew thousands of black expats across the Atlantic, but does it still have the same appeal?
    By Thomas Chatterton Williams

    April 23, 2015

    My father, a bookish black man old enough to be my grandfather, grew up in Texas while it was still a segregated state. As soon as he could, he got himself far enough away from there to cover the walls of his study with photographs of his travels to destinations as exotic as Poland and Mali. As far back as I can remember, he was insistent that the one place in the world truly worth going was Paris. Being a child, I accepted the assertion at face value—mostly because of the way his eyes lit up when he spoke of this city that was nothing but two syllables for me—I assumed he must have lived there once or been very close to someone who had. But it turned out this wasn’t the case. Later, when I was older, and when he was finished teaching for the day, he would often throw on a loose gray Université de Paris Sorbonne sweatshirt with dark blue lettering, a gift from his dearest student, who had studied abroad there. From my father, then, I grew up with the sense that the capital of France was less a physical place than an invigorating idea that stood for many things, not least of which were wonder, sophistication, and even freedom. “Son, you have to go to Paris,” he used to tell me, out of nowhere, a smile rising at the thought of it, and I would roll my eyes because I had aspirations of my own then, which seldom ventured beyond our small New Jersey town. “You’ll see,” he’d say, and chuckle.

    Read more:

  13. rikyrah says:

    Charles Johnson @Green_Footballs

    Here it comes, folks – the GOP is preparing a massive push to defund Planned Parenthood

    • sunshine616 says:

      The hypocrisy is outstanding. Don’t tell me what to do with my gun, no matter who I kill. But let me tell you what to do with your body. Gtfoh!!! Always effing with planned parenthood.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Despite GOP opposition, ‘Obamacare’ continues to expand
    07/17/15 08:00 AM—UPDATED 07/17/15 09:23 AM
    By Steve Benen
    For much of the year, policymakers were in a holding pattern when it came to the Affordable Care Act. The health care system continued to improve, and consumers continued to benefit, but officials were hesitant about adopting major changes, unsure what the Supreme Court might do to the law.

    That period, of course, is now behind us. The court case is over; the system is intact; and “Obamacare” expansion is back on track. Take yesterday’s developments in Alaska, for example. The NBC affiliate in Anchorage reported:
    Gov. Bill Walker has announced unilateral plans to expand Medicaid in Alaska, after the state Legislature stymied his attempt to pass it during this year’s regular session and a special session he subsequently called.
    Ordinarily, when a state legislature balks at a legislative proposal, governors can’t simply adopt a statewide policy unilaterally. But Alaska’s Gov. Walker – a former Republican who ran as an Independent with a Democratic running mate – told reporters that state law empowers him to move forward with Medicaid expansion, with or without lawmakers’ support.

    “This is the final option for me – I’ve tried everything else,” the governor said He added, “Thousands of Alaskans and more than 150 organizations, including chambers of commerce, local hospitals, and local governments, have been waiting long enough for Medicaid expansion. It’s time to expand Medicaid so thousands of our friends, coworkers, neighbors, and family members don’t have to make the choice between health care or bankruptcy.”

    The Alaska Dispatch News added, “Walker’s decision to expand Medicaid without legislative approval is not common but it’s also not without precedent.”

    Barring a reversal in the courts, Alaska will be the 30th state to accept Medicaid expansion through the ACA, and while estimates vary on the number of beneficiaries, the move will reportedly expand health security to roughly 42,000 working-class Alaskans.

  15. rikyrah says:

    I wish I could like this comment 100x from BJ:

    Kay says:

    July 17, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I have zero patience with his mourning the loss of “community” for low income white people, BTW. He’s right, it is grim for them out there from what I can see but “community” was more than church and good feelings. It was a shot at something better and some security and David Brooks has supported each and every step that got them to this hopeless place. Fuck him with his yearning for “community”. Maybe conservatives shouldn’t have blown it up without offering a replacement. I don’t know what white men who lack college degrees are going to do, and that’s where his fear comes from, that those people are falling fast. I wouldn’t have put them in this place to begin with. Brooks ignored them until he started to notice it was fucking falling apart.

  16. rikyrah says:

    A comment at BJ about Coates’ new book:

    shortstop says:

    July 17, 2015 at 8:55 am
    @Kay: White artists are, of course, constantly being asked to pigeonhole themselves for the mental convenience of all, and good on the ones who refuse to play ball. (I’m reminded of a professor of mine who heard Robert Frost answer a “What does it mean?” question by reciting the poem in entirety and adding, “It means that.”) But minority and especially black artists and writers face daily demands to reinforce the entire racial status quo, and if they don’t, the next demand is for immediate “solutions.” The balls of asking the citizens on the receiving end of racism to fix racism — it fries me.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Alaska will become the 30th state to accept Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion, after Gov. Bill Walker (I) announced on Thursday that he will use his executive power to bypass the GOP-controlled legislature and implement the policy on his own.

    Walker — a former Republican who has since become an Independent — has been advocating for Medicaid expansion for over a year. Implementing this particular Obamacare provision, which was ruled optional by the Supreme Court in 2012, would extend health coverage to an estimated 40,000 low-income residents in his state.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Alaska expanded Medicaid yesterday. GOP Governor said phuck it and took the money and expanded it himself.

  19. rikyrah says:

    PragmaticObotsUnite @PragObots

    Oh dear => De Blasio’s press secretary Karen Hinton reveals Bill Clinton hit on her when he was Arkansas governor

  20. rikyrah says:

    Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem: Why People of Color Aren’t Feeling the “Bern”

    Spandan Chakrabarti | July 16, 2015

    Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders has been drawing a lot of crowds, a lot of cheers, and a lot of media attention. His followers are adamant that not only can he win the Democratic primary, he can be the next president of the United States. National polls – which mean exactly nothing in primary contests – are showing him gaining on Hillary Clinton fast.


    I mean it. Sanders has been drawing crowds, and large ones at that. But the composition of his crowds could make the Republican National Convention look diverse by comparison. Very few faces of color occasionally get captured on the cameras within seas of white – generally older – faces. While his supporters cheer his ability to draw large white crowds in large white cities and states – including the “first in the nation” and very very white states of Iowa and New Hampshire, this is a problem for the self-described socialist.

    Why? The last two elections have conclusively shown that no Democrat – and probably no candidate – can win the White House without large, and preferably overwhelming, support from minorities. The reason this is particularly important for the Democratic nominee is that regardless of the palpable white (older) liberal adulation of Sanders, 55-60% of whites are likely to vote for the Republican nominee in November of 2016. Mitt Romney, as you may recall, not only won 59% of the white vote nationwide, he won the white vote almost everywhere in 2012.

    Support among minorities is even more critical in the Democratic primary. With only 25% of whites identifying as Democrats, the Democratic party is more diverse than the Americans as a whole. Without deep appeal that brings minorities to the voting fold for Sanders, it may end up being the Vermont socialist who ends up “feeling the bern” in the end.

  21. rikyrah says:

    The money race leaves some candidates behind
    07/16/15 01:10 PM
    By Steve Benen

    There’s no shortage of money circulating in the 2016 presidential race. NBC News’ First Read, taking note of the official second-quarter fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, reports $385 million has already been donated to either candidates or affiliated entities like super PACs.

    Given that the actual presidential election is still 69 weeks away, that’s a pretty striking figure.

    Of course, the money isn’t divided evenly. I put together the above chart to show how the most competitive candidates are doing, omitting candidates who’ve raised below $3 million.

    Note, the lighter colors – red for Republicans, blue for Democrats – show how much money the candidates have raised through their campaigns, while the darker colors show how much has been raised by the candidates’ allied, outside groups.

    For some, it’s not a pretty picture. The race for votes is obviously paramount, but at this stage in the election cycle, the race for donors matters, too.

    Some caveats are in order, just to help add some context to all of this:

    * Some candidates, most notably Rand Paul, have not yet said what their super PACs have raised – the FEC deadline is July 31 – while other candidates, most notably Bernie Sanders, do not have super PACs or affiliated outside groups.

    * The chart points to second-quarter fundraising, but Ted Cruz and Ben Carson announced earlier than most and both raised a little more in the first quarter.

    * Marco Rubio has transferred $3.2 million from his Senate account, which is added to his overall totals.

    * Scott Walker is expected to be a top-tier candidate, but he wasn’t in the race in the second quarter, and he hasn’t yet announced his super PAC tallies, so he is not included in the above image.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  23. Ametia says:


  24. Ametia says:


    Picture of the day:

    NASA posted a photo of the far side of the sun taken by Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory Ahead (STEREO-A) spacecraft. The image shows the sun in wavelengths that are colorized blue:

  25. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone. TGIF!

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