Tuesday Open Thread | Jazz Week: Duke Ellington

Today’s Jazz figure is Duke Ellington.


Duke Ellington-5

Duke Ellington was the most important composer in the history of jazz as well as being a bandleader who held his large group together continuously for almost 50 years. The two aspects of his career were related; Ellington used his band as a musical laboratory for his new compositions and shaped his writing specifically to showcase the talents of his bandmembers, many of whom remained with him for long periods. Ellington also wrote film scores and stage musicals, and several of his instrumental works were adapted into songs that became standards. In addition to touring year in and year out, he recorded extensively, resulting in a gigantic body of work that was still being assessed a quarter century after his death.

Ellington was the son of a White House butler, James Edward Ellington, and thus grew up in comfortable surroundings. He began piano lessons at age seven and was writing music by his teens. He dropped out of high school in his junior year in 1917 to pursue a career in music. At first, he booked and performed in bands in the Washington, D.C., area, but in September 1923 the Washingtonians, a five-piece group of which he was a member, moved permanently to New York, where they gained a residency in the Times Square venue The Hollywood Club (later The Kentucky Club). They made their first recordings in November 1924, and cut tunes for different record companies under a variety of pseudonyms, so that several current major labels, notably Sony, Universal, and BMG, now have extensive holdings of their work from the period in their archives, which are reissued periodically.

The group gradually increased in size and came under Ellington’s leadership. They played in what was called “jungle” style, their sly arrangements often highlighted by the muted growling sound of trumpeter James “Bubber” Miley. A good example of this is Ellington’s first signature song, “East St. Louis Toodle-oo,” which the band first recorded for Vocalion Records in November 1926, and which became their first chart single in a re-recorded version for Columbia in July 1927.

The Ellington band moved uptown to The Cotton Club in Harlem on December 4, 1927. Their residency at the famed club, which lasted more than three years, made Ellington a nationally known musician due to radio broadcasts that emanated from the bandstand. In 1928, he had two two-sided hits: “Black and Tan Fantasy”/”Creole Love Call” on Victor (now BMG) and “Doin’ the New Low Down”/”Diga Diga Doo” on OKeh (now Sony), released as by the Harlem Footwarmers. “The Mooche” on OKeh peaked in the charts at the start of 1929.

While maintaining his job at The Cotton Club, Ellington took his band downtown to play in the Broadway musical Show Girl, featuring the music of George Gershwin, in the summer of 1929. The following summer, the band took a leave of absence to head out to California and appear in the film Check and Double Check. From the score, “Three Little Words,” with vocals by the Rhythm Boys featuring Bing Crosby, became a number one hit on Victor in November 1930; its flip side, “Ring Dem Bells,” also reached the charts.

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The Ellington band left The Cotton Club in February 1931 to begin a tour that, in a sense, would not end until the leader’s death 43 years later. At the same time, Ellington scored a Top Five hit with an instrumental version of one of his standards, “Mood Indigo” released on Victor. The recording was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. As “the Jungle Band,” the Ellington Orchestra charted on Brunswick later in 1931 with “Rockin’ in Rhythm” and with the lengthy composition “Creole Rhapsody,” pressed on both sides of a 78 single, an indication that Ellington’s goals as a writer were beginning to extend beyond brief works. (A second version of the piece was a chart entry on Victor in March 1932.) “Limehouse Blues” was a chart entry on Victor in August 1931, then in the winter of 1932, Ellington scored a Top Ten hit on Brunswick with one of his best-remembered songs, “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” featuring the vocals of Ivie Anderson. This was still more than three years before the official birth of the swing era, and Ellington helped give the period its name. Ellington’s next major hit was another signature song for him, “Sophisticated Lady.” His instrumental version became a Top Five hit in the spring of 1933, with its flip side, a treatment of “Stormy Weather,” also making the Top Five.

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The Ellington Orchestra made another feature film, Murder at the Vanities, in the spring of 1934. Their instrumental rendition of “Cocktails for Two” from the score hit number one on Victor in May, and they hit the Top Five with both sides of the Brunswick release “Moon Glow”/”Solitude” that fall. The band also appeared in the Mae West film Belle of the Nineties and played on the soundtrack of Many Happy Returns. Later in the fall, the band was back in the Top Ten with “Saddest Tale,” and they had two Top Ten hits in 1935, “Merry-Go-Round” and “Accent on Youth.” While the latter was scoring in the hit parade in September, Ellington recorded another of his extended compositions, “Reminiscing in Tempo,” which took up both sides of two 78s. Even as he became more ambitious, however, he was rarely out of the hit parade, scoring another Top Ten hit, “Cotton,” in the fall of 1935, and two more, “Love Is Like a Cigarette” and “Oh Babe! Maybe Someday,” in 1936. The band returned to Hollywood in 1936 and recorded music for the Marx Brothers’ film A Day at the Races and for Hit Parade of 1937. Meanwhile, they were scoring Top Ten hits with “Scattin’ at the Kit-Kat” and the swing standard “Caravan,” co-written by valve trombonist Juan Tizol, and Ellington was continuing to pen extended instrumental works such as “Diminuendo in Blue” and “Crescendo in Blue.” “If You Were in My Place (What Would You Do?),” a vocal number featuring Ivie Anderson, was a Top Ten hit in the spring of 1938, and Ellington scored his third number one hit in April with an instrumental version of another standard, “I Let a Song Go out of My Heart.” In the fall, he was back in the Top Ten with a version of the British show tune “Lambeth Walk.”

The Ellington band underwent several notable changes at the end of the 1930s. After several years recording more or less regularly for Brunswick, Ellington moved to Victor. In early 1939 Billy Strayhorn, a young composer, arranger, and pianist, joined the organization. He did not usually perform with the orchestra, but he became Ellington’s composition partner to the extent that soon it was impossible to tell where Ellington’s writing left off and Strayhorn’s began. Two key personnel changes strengthened the outfit with the acquisition of bassist Jimmy Blanton in September and tenor saxophonist Ben Webster in December. Their impact on Ellington’s sound was so profound that their relatively brief tenure has been dubbed “the Blanton-Webster Band” by jazz fans. These various changes were encapsulated by the Victor release of Strayhorn’s “Take the ‘A’ Train,” a swing era standard, in the summer of 1941. The recording was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

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That same summer, Ellington was in Los Angeles, where his stage musical, Jump for Joy, opened on July 10 and ran for 101 performances. Unfortunately, the show never went to Broadway, but among its songs was “I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good),” another standard. The U.S. entry into World War II in December 1941 and the onset of the recording ban called by the American Federation of Musicians in August 1942 slowed the Ellington band’s momentum. Unable to record and with touring curtailed, Ellington found an opportunity to return to extended composition with the first of a series of annual recitals at Carnegie Hall on January 23, 1943, at which he premiered “Black, Brown and Beige.” And he returned to the movies, appearing in Cabin in the Sky and Reveille with Beverly. Meanwhile, the record labels, stymied for hits, began looking into their artists’ back catalogs. Lyricist Bob Russell took Ellington’s 1940 composition “Never No Lament” and set a lyric to it, creating “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” The Ink Spots scored with a vocal version (recorded a cappella), and Ellington’s three-year-old instrumental recording was also a hit, reaching the pop Top Ten and number one on the recently instituted R&B charts. Russell repeated his magic with another 1940 Ellington instrumental, “Concerto for Cootie” (a showcase for trumpeter Cootie Williams), creating “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me.” Nearly four years after it was recorded, the retitled recording hit the pop Top Ten and number one on the R&B charts for Ellington in early 1944, while newly recorded vocal cover versions also scored. Ellington’s vintage recordings became ubiquitous on the top of the R&B charts during 1943-1944; he also hit number one with “A Slip of the Lip (Can Sink a Ship),” “Sentimental Lady,” and “Main Stem.” With the end of the recording ban in November 1944, Ellington was able to record a song he had composed with his saxophonist, Johnny Hodges, set to a lyric by Don George and Harry James, “I’m Beginning to See the Light.” The James recording went to number one in April 1945, but Ellington’s recording was also a Top Ten hit.

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With the end of the war, Ellington’s period as a major commercial force on records largely came to an end, but unlike other big bandleaders, who disbanded as the swing era passed, Ellington, who predated the era, simply went on touring, augmenting his diminished road revenues with his songwriting royalties to keep his band afloat. In a musical climate in which jazz was veering away from popular music and toward bebop, and popular music was being dominated by singers, the Ellington band no longer had a place at the top of the business; but it kept working. And Ellington kept trying more extended pieces. In 1946, he teamed with lyricist John Latouche to write the music for the Broadway musical Beggar’s Holiday, which opened on December 26 and ran 108 performances. And he wrote his first full-length background score for a feature film with 1950’s The Asphalt Jungle.

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60 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | Jazz Week: Duke Ellington

  1. eliihass says:

    LOL…I completely agree with this poster’s sentiment..


  2. eliihass says:

    Folks are super fast…they already have snippets of FLOTUS’ scene from NCIS tonight, on Instagram..
    The stuff you can find on social media..


  3. eliihass says:

    Someone captured a woman carrying around one of those FLOTUS bags…LOL
    So cute…


  4. eliihass says:

    Yes!!! Go Bernie!!!

    So, so happy…

    Even after the insidious attempts by the Clinton campaign in collusion with the media to pretend that the primaries were over and to force Bernie out…

    Hillary can keep pretending she’s already the nominee and ignore the rest of the primary states that are yet to vote and have a say in the process…and Bernie will keep racking up and showing the world that even with the system rigged in her favor, and with the establishment and every single establishment apparatus at her disposal, she’s still barely cutting it – even against the lowly, unassuming guy from Vermont…

    Hillary Clinton = Donald Trump = Ted Cruz = John Kasich = Same difference…

    All liars…and all unworthy to occupy the Oval office and the people’s house…And especially not in these times…Honesty, Integrity, Principles…and not beholden to money and the oligarchs who wield it as a way to control the politician and the direction of things…

    No lying liars…

    • eliihass says:

      Yes! Yes! Yes!

      I refused to listen to any more ‘news’ SG….I’ve been so put off by the attempts to depress enthusiasm for Bernie by pretending it’s all over…

      I’m so happy to hear this, I’m actually tearing up…

      can’t wait to cast my vote in our Primary for Bernie…

  5. eliihass says:

    “…“Extra’s” AJ Calloway was recently on set while Michelle Obama shot a scene with Mark Harmon on the hit show “NCIS.”

    As for how it felt to be part of the First Lady’s acting debut, Mark shared, “You know how she was. She’s, like, great, I mean… very real. The subject matter is close with her and it tied in with the show we were doing and she was anxious to do it and we were able to work it out.”

    The episode focuses on military spouses and the struggles they face. To catch Michelle’s episode, tune in tonight on CBS…”


  6. eliihass says:

    Uh oh…

    The right-wingers are going to disown Mark Harmon…He’s supposed to be one theirs and he’s not supposed to be communing with FLOTUS, little less like her…But he did commune with her and he obviously really does like her…LOL..



    I’ve never watched NCIS, but I will be tonight…

  7. rikyrah says:

    For some Republicans, President Trump is a real possibility
    05/03/16 12:57 PM—UPDATED 05/03/16 03:05 PM
    By Steve Benen
    Donald Trump may be lacking in a great number of qualities, but when it comes to self-confidence, his cup runneth over. Naturally, this extends to the Republican presidential frontrunner’s campaign, which he assumes will be a great success.

    The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent noted this morning that Trump told an Indiana audience yesterday that defeating Hillary Clinton in a general election will hardly pose any challenge at all. “Folks, I haven’t even started yet,” the GOP candidate said. “Now I’m going to start focusing on Hillary. It’s going to be so easy.”

    Trump isn’t the only Republican who’s exceedingly, albeit bafflingly, optimistic about a future Trump White House. During an online chat yesterday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), rumored to be eyeing his party’s vice presidential nomination, insisted that “all 50 states could be in play” with Trump at the top of the Republican ticket this fall.

    He did not appear to be kidding. As Gingrich sees it, literally every state – no matter how “blue,” no matter how diverse, no matter how consistently it’s supported Democrats in the recent past – will be competitive thanks entirely to Trump’s broad national appeal.

    What’s more, the Washington Examiner’s Byron York reported last week he’s had “private conversations with several stalwart Republicans,” including a former top party official, former members of Congress, and two former managers of GOP presidential campaigns, and he was struck by some of their hopefulness about November.

  8. Trying day, Chicas.

    • Ametia says:

      God’s love sustains all life, when you feel that you can’t go on.
      God’s love with heal your heart.
      And God’s love will lead you home.

      • Thank you so much. I’ll check in when I can. I have some things to take care of and appointments.

      • Ametia says:


        When you feel alone, or lost, or blue, and you don’t know where to turn.
        Just rest a while in a quiet place, and remember what you have learned.
        Remember, God’s love sustains all life, when you feel that you can’t go on.
        God’s love will heal your HEART.

        God’s love will lead you home.

    • rikyrah says:

      Sending positive thoughts and prayers to you, SG2.

    • eliihass says:

      As long as you woke up today, got out of bed, have all your faculties working – and the love of your family, you’re already way ahead and the evil one try as he may, can’t get you…

      Take care of yourself ok…

  9. rikyrah says:

    Rafael had a Trump meltdown?



    • rikyrah says:

      Man…oh man…

      that was too sweet to read….

      outside of the GOP getting the nominee that they deserve…

      it has been a pleasure, watching that clown lay waste to those urchins.

      Rafael is so arrogant…he can’t believe that TRUMP is stopping his ‘DESTINY’ to be President.


      Cruz: Trump is an ‘utterly amoral’ bully, narcissist, pathological liar

      Ted Cruz laid into Donald Trump with his most personal and toughest criticism since the GOP presidential campaign began, calling him a “pathological liar” on Tuesday who doesn’t understand the difference between the truth and lies.

      Cruz prefaced his comments by saying that for the first time, he wanted to say exactly what he thought of Trump after the front-runner suggested Cruz’s father might have had something to do with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

      The Texas senator accused Trump of being both disingenuous and self-aggrandizing, saying Trump was a “narcissist” at a level “I don’t think this country has ever seen.”

      “Donald Trump is such a narcissist that Barack Obama looks at him and says, ‘Dude, what’s your problem?’ ” Cruz said.

      “Whatever lie he’s telling, in that minute he believes it, Cruz added. “But the man is utterly amoral. Morality does not exist for him.”

      He criticized Trump for tweeting an unflattering picture of his wife, Heidi Cruz, saying it is just one piece of evidence that Trump is scared of “strong women.”

      “It’s why he went after Heidi directly, attacked her and smeared her,” Cruz said. “Heidi isn’t pretty enough for him. … Donald is a bully. … Bullies don’t come from strength, they come from weakness. … There’s a reason Donald builds giant buildings and puts his name on them everywhere he goes.”

      “Donald has a real problem with women,” Cruz continued.

      He then noted that Trump defended boxer Mike Tyson, who was convicted in Indiana on rape charges, and told Trump’s supporters they should not believe their favored candidate.

      “Donald is cynically exploiting that anger, and Donald is lying to his supporters,” he said. He went on to insist Trump would betray his them by not doing what he promises, including his pledge to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

      Cruz’s all-out assault suggested his campaign might be nearing its breaking point.

      Cruz raised the stakes for a one-on-one confrontation with Trump in Indiana last week, signaling he believed he could defeat the GOP businessman in the state. Polls now show that Cruz is behind Trump, who is expected to win the state on Tuesday. With a win in Indiana, Trump will be the presumptive GOP nominee and Cruz’s hopes for a contested convention this summer where he could emerge as the nominee will fade.

      Cruz has appeared frustrated in recent days.

      On Monday, he made the unusual move of confronting a group of Trump supporters outside his campaign stop. As Cruz sought to reason with the men, he was met with derision about being born in Canada, insults about his wife’s employer and doubts about his chances of being the GOP nominee.

      On Tuesday, Trump’s comments about Cruz’s father and the Kennedy assassination appeared to set the Texan off.

      “His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous,” Trump said, calling into “Fox and Friends.” “Nobody even brings it up; they don’t even talk about that.

      “What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death, before the shooting?” Trump asked.

      Cruz said the country is facing the “abyss” with the possibility of Trump as president.

      “If Indiana does not act, this country could plunge into the abyss,” he said.

      He dug into Trump’s past as a Manhattan playboy, savaging Trump for bragging about his infidelities.

      “Donald Trump is a serial philanderer and he boasts about it,” Cruz said. “This is not a secret, he’s proud of being a serial philander. I want everyone to think about your teenage kids. The president of the United States talks about how great it is to commit adultery. How proud he is, describes his battle with venereal disease as his own personal Vietnam. That’s a quote from the Howard Stern show.

      “Do you want to spend the next five years with your kids bragging about infidelity?”

  10. rikyrah says:

    Latinos and Democrats hide in safe houses as right-wing sheriff uses mob rule to take over Texas town
    03 MAY 2016 AT 12:50 ET

    A so-called “constitutional” sheriff is accused of intimidating Democrats and Latinos in her Texas county — which has been thrown into political turmoil since her 2012 election.

    Sheriff Pamela Elliott has created an atmosphere of paranoia in Edwards County that causes her opponents to gather fearfully in “safe houses” to air their complaints, reported Alex Hannaford for the Texas Observer.

    Elliott is a member of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), a right-wing coalition that encourages members to disobey laws they don’t think are constitutional.

    She put out a “standby order for volunteers” during the 2014 standoff at Bundy ranch, which was supported by CSPOA co-founder Richard Mack — a former Arizona sheriff who suggested the anti-government militants use women and children as human shields during the armed confrontation with federal agents over unpaid grazing fees.

    Elliott appears on the cover of Mack’s 2014 book, Are You A David?, which promotes his right-wing, anti-government agenda.

    Hannaford found few Edwards County residents who were willing to be quoted by name out of fear the sheriff would retaliate.

    “I’ve been told to install a camera in my vehicle just in case something happens,” said one man, who would not allow his name to be used in print. “People here, officials included, are very wary of the sheriff.”

  11. Oilwellian says:

    I’m a big fan of and subscriber to your site, and thought you might be interested in reading this comprehensive timeline that Paul Thompson just completed on the Hillary email scandal. I did the illustrative work for it and can personally attest to Paul’s thoroughness on this issue. The timeline will dismay, shock, puzzle, and downright piss you off when you realize how totally incompetent Hillary would be as president.

    Thanks for your time. Here’s a link to the timeline.


    Katie Weddington

  12. rikyrah says:

    Racist Cartoon In Wesley College Newspaper Prompts Students To Take Action
    Students are calling the drawings, one of which depicts a Black Lives Matter protester joking about abortion, offensive and degrading.

    Written By NewsOne Staff

    Students at Wesley College in Dover, Delaware are taking action after the school’s student-run newspaper, The Whetstone, published two racially charged cartoons last week.

    The drawings, which feature a Black woman saying “would you look at the time, I’m late for my abortion” while wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt and another cartoon of a garden hoe asking a Black man “who is you calling a hoe,” have many students speaking out, calling the caricatures offensive.

    The artist, Bryheim Muse, is Black.

  13. rikyrah says:

    The implosion of Ted Cruz
    By Dana Milbank Opinion writer May 2 at 4:19 PM


    But if Fiorina picked investments the way she picked her candidate, you can see why HP stopped requiring her services. She bought Cruz at the peak, when polls showed him close in Indiana. But an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll Sunday found Trump up 15 points.

    And now Cruz and Fiorina have to explain all those things she used to say about him: that “Cruz is just like any other politician”; that “there’s no honor in charging a hill that you know you can’t take, only casualties, although Ted Cruz maybe got name recognition and money”; and that it was “odd that Senator Ted Cruz did not renounce his dual Canadian citizenship until 2014.”

    Cruz now also has to defend Fiorina’s record at HP, where she let go thousands and sent jobs to India and China. “Will the Cruz-Fiorina team do the same thing to Indiana that she did to Hewlett-Packard?” Fox News’s Chris Wallace asked Cruz on Sunday.

    The treatment didn’t improve for Cruz when he took questions from reporters Monday morning in Indiana: How can he possibly beat Trump in California? Is there a path to victory if he doesn’t win in Indiana? Would he drop out of the race before the convention in July?

    “I am competing to the end,” said Cruz, reminding all of his endorsement from Pence — and his running mate. “I am so proud this week to be standing shoulder to shoulder with my vice-presidential nominee, Carly Fiorina.”

    But Fiorina was not standing at his shoulder later Monday, when he waded bravely into a group of Trump supporters outside his event. Cruz bravely tried to engage them in calm discussion. “Donald Trump is deceiving you. He is playing you for a chump,” Cruz said.

    The Trump supporters taunted Cruz: “Do the math. . . . Time to drop out. . . . You are the problem, politician. . . . Where’s your Goldman Sachs jacket? . . . Lyin’ like you always do. . . . Are you Canadian?” America, one said, would be a better country “without you.”

  14. rikyrah says:

    As a Hamilton Fanatic- YEAHHHHHH!!!

    Eyewitness News ✔ ‎@ABC7NY

    BREAKING: Megahit musical “Hamilton” has grabbed a record-breaking 16 Tony Award nominations.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Because, this is who they are.


    House Republican proposal would make it harder for poor schools to feed their students

    By Jared Bernstein and Ben Spielberg
    May 2


    [A] new proposal by congressional conservatives would restrict community eligibility, substantially increasing administrative burdens in more than 7,000 schools and threatening 3.4 million students’ access to school meals. For no good reason that we can see, lawmakers from the Education and the Workforce Committee may vote soon to raise the ISP threshold from 40 percent to 60 percent. Because [Identified Student Percentage] numbers don’t capture low-income students who must typically apply for free or reduced-price meals, this threshold would render all but the highest-poverty schools (generally those in which more than 90 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals) ineligible for community eligibility.

    Raising the threshold would save a little bit of money, as fewer students would qualify for free school meals, but the overall savings of about $1.6 billion over 10 years wouldn’t come close to offsetting the administrative burden, increased social stigma for low-income students, and negative health and academic effects it could create.

  16. rikyrah says:

    UH HUH
    UH HUH

    Michigan Governor Backtracks, Seeking to Meet Obama in Flint

    MAY 2, 2016

    FLINT, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan has a question for President Obama: Want to get together?

    In a rare overture by a Republican governor to the Democratic leader, Mr. Snyder said on Monday that he had made a formal request for a meeting with the president, hoping to sit down with Mr. Obama during his visit to Flint planned for Wednesday.

    Mr. Snyder’s comments reversed a statement he made last week during a trip to Europe when he was asked whether he would meet with Mr. Obama. In response, the governor appeared to give the president the brushoff.

    “I’ve got a pretty full schedule next week,” Mr. Snyder told The Detroit News by telephone from Zurich, adding that he did not plan on being in Flint on Wednesday.

    On Monday, Mr. Snyder seemed eager to amend those remarks, saying that he had made a request to Karen Weaver, the mayor of Flint, to meet with her and Mr. Obama.

  17. rikyrah says:

    This is a damn shame.
    This is MEDICAID funds, people. They should investigate to see if someone got kickbacks from the Nursing Homes that these people were funnelled into….uh huh


    South Dakota Wrongly Puts Thousands in Nursing Homes, Government Says

    MAY 2, 2016

    WASHINGTON — When patients in South Dakota seek help for serious but manageable disabilities such as severe diabetes, blindness or mental illness, the answer is often the same: With few alternatives available, they end up in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, whether they need such care or not.

    In a scathing rebuke of the state’s health care system, the Justice Department said on Monday that thousands of patients were being held unnecessarily in sterile, highly restrictive group homes. That is discrimination, it said, making South Dakota the latest target of a federal effort to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities and mental illnesses, outlined in a Supreme Court decision 17 years ago.

    The Obama administration has opened more than 50 such investigations and reached settlements with eight states. One investigation, into Florida’s treatment of children with disabilities, ended in a lawsuit over policies that placed those children in nursing homes. With its report Monday, the Justice Department signaled that it might also sue South Dakota.

    While the administration has received widespread attention for investigating police abuses and supporting the rights of gay and transgender people, the Justice Department has also steadily made these cases part of its civil rights agenda. The government says that those efforts have allowed more than 53,000 Americans with disabilities to leave institutions or avoid them altogether. It is a small number compared with the 250,000 working-age people who are estimated to be needlessly living in nursing homes, but advocates say the federal campaign has had significant effects.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Republicans’ voter-ID laws ‘work’ as intended
    05/03/16 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    In recent weeks, we’ve seen some high-profile examples of Republicans accidentally telling the truth about voter-ID laws. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.), a far-right freshman congressman, admitted a month ago, for example, that these laws are likely to make a difference boosting Republicans in the 2016 elections.

    Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), now the head of the Heritage Foundation, added last week that Republicans have kept up the crusade in support of this policy “because in the states where they do have voter ID laws you’ve seen, actually, elections begin to change towards more conservative candidates.”

    But what sometimes goes overlooked is the fact that anti-voting policymakers aren’t just spinning their wheels, pushing an idea that may or may not have some effects on the margins. As the New York Times reported yesterday, Republicans are championing voter-ID laws precisely because they have the intended effect.

    Since their inception a decade ago, voter identification laws have been the focus of fierce political and social debate. Proponents, largely Republican, argue that the regulations are essential tools to combat election fraud, while critics contend that they are mainly intended to suppress turnout of Democratic-leaning constituencies like minorities and students.

    As the general election nears – in which new or strengthened voter ID laws will be in place in Texas and 14 other states for the first time in a presidential election – recent academic research indicates that the requirements restrict turnout and disproportionately affect voting by minorities.

    The Times highlighted a study published by Zoltan Hajnal, a UC San Diego political science professor, whose research found that “strict voter ID laws double or triple the gap in turnout between whites and nonwhites.”

    None of this is accidental. It’s a feature, not a bug, of a deliberate assault on democracy. Republicans, frustrated by a series of defeats, had a choice: change and adapt in order to appeal to a larger group of American voters, or take steps to rig the game in order to give GOP candidates a built-in advantage.

    In recent years, the party has preferred the latter, finding it vastly easier than actually earning more public support.

  19. rikyrah says:

    I’m a Rock, You’re Water
    by BooMan
    Mon May 2nd, 2016 at 06:17:42 PM EST

    Right-wing polling of Florida paints the bleakest of pictures for Donald Trump in November, and it’s probably accurate, at least for now. Naturally, the candidates have to have their conventions, pick their running mates, run the gauntlet of a campaign that will last for about 120 days, and see what they can do by why of inspiring organizers to get out in the field to work for them. Things will happen both here at home and in the wider world that could change how the public views their choices.


    Donald Trump currently doesn’t stand a chance in Florida and it’s just as likely to get worse for him than it is to get better.

    A couple of things are really working against Trump. The first is that Hillary Clinton already has net negative numbers in the Sunshine State, and yet she’s still absolutely crushing him. It’s pretty unlikely that Trump can drive her negatives a whole lot higher, so he’s got to do something first and foremost with his gonorrhea-like popularity with key Florida voting blocs.

    The second thing is that she’s disciplined and he’s not. When you combine this with the comparative immutability of her approve/disapprove numbers, it’s clear that Trump is both more likely to make mistakes and more likely to pay a substantial price for them.

    Now, it’s true that Trump could still win without Florida, but that would require an acrobatic feat like somehow winning Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, and Colorado. That would give him the near-bare minimum of 271 Electoral College votes.

    And, let’s face it, some of the reasons that Trump is doing so poorly in Florida would also screw him in other states. His abysmal rating with Latinos would certainly hamper his ability to win in Colorado, and probably Virginia as well. His crap numbers with suburban women would cause big problems not only in Virginia, but also in Ohio. And I just think New Hampshire is a lost cause for him even if he somehow manages to find some other winning combination.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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