Tuesday Evening Open Thread: It’s Always About Human Dignity

Lest we forget.

Apart from SLDE (Same Lies, Different Era), what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Open Thread: “This isn’t Kindergarten”

… If only because kindergarteners are expected to have achieved a higher degree of bladder control than most Congressional Repubs. From Buzzfeed, “Obama Says Republican Concerns About Trump Mean His Supreme Court Pick Should Get A Vote”:

President Obama told BuzzFeed News Monday that the GOP is “looking at a Republican nominee” — Donald Trump — “who many of them say isn’t qualified to be president much less appoint someone” to the Supreme Court. And that, he said, means his nominee should get a vote, which Republicans have vowed not to do.

Obama’s comments came during a live interview with BuzzFeed News Legal Editor Chris Geidner from the White House’s Roosevelt Room.

“it seems to me [Republicans would] be better off going ahead and giving a hearing and a vote to somebody that they themselves in the past have said is well-qualified, is fair, and to treat the Supreme Court with the seriousness and the sense that it’s beyond politics,” Obama said. “Precisely because this election year has been so crazy, precisely because you have a number of Republicans who have said that they’re concerned about their nominee, it shows you why you don’t want to politicize a Supreme Court appointment.”

The issue, Obama said, is that some members of the GOP “are on record saying this is a very well qualified candidate.”

“In that circumstance it is up to them, in terms of their constitutional obligation, to have a hearing and have a vote,” he said. “Now here’s the good news. Originally they said they wouldn’t even meet with the guy. And they heard from a lot of their constituents that said well, this isn’t kindergarten; just because you’re not happy with what’s happened, you don’t do your job.”

“My hope is that the closer we get to the summer, and the more pressure that viewers are putting on senators just to do their job, and to give the guy a hearing, give him a vote, then more and more Republican senators will recognize that the position they’re taking is not tenable,” he said…

When asked why Obama didn’t nominate someone who is not a straight, white man, he said, “I never think about it in terms of ‘this seat is for a Hispanic man, and this seat is for a gay black woman,’ that’s not how I think.” He added he nominated people who are “extremely well qualified.”

“Judge Garland was the perfect candidate for this moment for this seat,” he said. “You’re looking for a judge who will play it straight and apply the law.”…

Seriously, it’s a good interview with a sterling President. Who shows up at approximately the 4min mark on the clip below, if Geidner’s understandable pre-show anxiety is too much for you:



Friday Night Music Open Thread: Unique Spirits

Come together, Boomers and Gen-X. Alyssa Rosenberg, at the Washington Post:

We’re in a moment in American politics consumed by gender panic, from Donald Trump’s menstrual anxieties to the rise of and backlash to a movement for transgender rights. And now we’ve lost two men who had an expansive, almost luxuriant vision of what it meant to be a man and lived out that vision through decades when it was much less safe to do so…

Both Prince and Bowie often seemed more than merely human. Bowie was an ageless vampire in “The Hunger,” a human manifestation of an alien being as Ziggy Stardust, the rock star from “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” Prince left language behind to adopt what became known as the “Love Symbol” as his moniker; his death prompted many people to remark that mortality seemed like the only garment that didn’t fit him, that he had transubstantiated or ascended rather than truly died…

57 is awfully early for anyone to die, but it feels especially so for Prince; he never reminded us that he was growing older by trying to seem young. Now he’s gone before we could possess him as fully as he always invited us to. But we’ll continue on into the weirder, more beautiful world he seemed to be living in decades before the rest of us arrived there.

Link your musical favorites in the comments…



Open Thread: By Request

Because of the above, I’m honoring a request from beloved commentor SiubhanDuinne:

I know you may not (probably do not) (almost certainly do not) share my lifelong fascination with Queen Elizabeth II (I’ve been following her since I was 5 years old and she, as Princess Elizabeth, married her handsome young Prince Philip in 1947), but April 21, is her 90th birthday. Whatever one’s views of the British monarchy, this is a matter for some celebration, yes?

There are several new “Queen at 90” photos making the rounds, but one of the sweetest may be this one. It shows the Queen surrounded by her two youngest grandchildren, and all five great-grandchildren. Check out the adorable little girl solemnly holding her great-granny’s handbag :-)

queen liz at ninety

Best wishes for all the tough old broads, from one who aspires to earn that honorable title.



Monday Morning Open Thread: Positive Thoughts

I’m sure Richard Mayhew will be along to tell us about this in much more detail, but this is good news. Per the NYTimes, “Immigrants, the Poor and Minorities Gain Sharply Under Health Act”

LOS ANGELES — The first full year of the Affordable Care Act brought historic increases in coverage for low-wage workers and others who have long been left out of the health care system, a New York Times analysis has found. Immigrants of all backgrounds — including more than a million legal residents who are not citizens — had the sharpest rise in coverage rates.

Hispanics, a coveted group of voters this election year, accounted for nearly a third of the increase in adults with insurance. That was the single largest share of any racial or ethnic group, far greater than their 17 percent share of the population. Low-wage workers, who did not have enough clout in the labor market to demand insurance, saw sharp increases. Coverage rates jumped for cooks, dishwashers, waiters, as well as for hairdressers and cashiers. Minorities, who disproportionately worked in low-wage jobs, had large gains…

Until now, the impact of the law has been measured mostly in broad numbers of newly insured people — about 20 million by the administration’s most recent account. But the Times’s analysis of census data from 2014, the first year the heart of the law was in full effect, provides a finely detailed look at who the newly insured actually are — by race, education, occupation, immigration status, and family structure…

“From the vantage point of the poor and working poor, Obamacare has been profound,” said Jim Mangia, president of the St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, a federally funded health clinic in South Los Angeles that has enrolled 18,000 new patients under the law, nearly all of them Hispanic or black and the vast majority in Medicaid. The clinic reported a 44 percent increase in cervical cancer screenings, a 25 percent increase in tobacco cessation therapy, and a 22 percent increase in the share of patients with controlled hypertension since 2014, the result, he said, of more patients having insurance.

Having insurance does not necessarily mean better health, but experts hope it could start to ease some of the worst disparities that have kept the United States close to the bottom of health rankings of rich countries…

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Apart from cheering improvement, what’s on the agenda as we start another week?



Open Thread: Uncle Joe Biden, Elder Statesman

This is evidence of a secret WH plot to kneecap Bernie and install Obama’s handmaiden as his replacement, according to certain theorists where the left and the right go so far out they close a circle to embrace each other’s worldviews. I can’t see it, but then of course I wouldn’t. Per Yahoo News:

Vice President Joe Biden waded into the contentious back-and-forth between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders over Clinton’s qualifications to serve as president, telling Mic in an exclusive interview that both candidates are “totally qualified” — adding that he’d “like to see a woman elected.”

The remarks came during an interview with Mic correspondent Antonia Hylton centered on Biden’s crusade against sexual assault, set to be released on Wednesday…

The way the two-time presidential candidate sees it, the Democrats’ war of words is par for the course in national campaigns.

“Look, they’re both totally qualified to be president. They both get in a fight. Campaigns do this. It’s like saying, you know, ‘She’s dead wrong’ or her saying, ‘He’s dead wrong’ on an issue,” the vice president said…

Asked whether he wanted to see a woman elected, Biden responded, “I would like to see a woman elected.”

The vice president’s staff then attempted to cut off discussion of the 2016 race, but Biden insisted he had “no problem” with discussing it — while making clear he would not go down “that rabbit [hole]” of offering a formal endorsement.

“The president and I are not going endorse because we both, when we ran said, ‘Let the party decide.’ But gosh almighty, they’re both qualified,” he said. “Hillary’s overwhelmingly qualified to be president.”…

Not gonna miss this primary season once it’s over, to be honest.



Monday Morning Open Thread

It would be “only” a gesture — but what an important one. The Washington Post, yesterday:

Today… there is growing sentiment inside the White House that President Obama, who in his first year envisioned a world without nuclear weapons, should cap his final year with a grand symbolic gesture in service of a goal that remains well out of reach.

No final decision has been made, but aides have begun exploring the possibility of Obama spending several hours in Hiroshima in May, after attending the Group of Seven Summit in Ise-Shima, halfway between Tokyo and Hiroshima. One senior Obama administration official, in an interview, suggested that the president could potentially deliver a speech there that evokes the nonproliferation themes of his address in Prague in 2009. Such a move would draw international attention in a more emotional fashion than did his nuclear security summit in Washington last week…

White House aides say they are confident that Obama can pay respects to the victims of the war — on both sides of the Pacific — without provoking a major political backlash in the United States. The feeling within the White House is that a Hiroshima visit, while not crucial to the future of the U.S.-Japan alliance, would offer the president another opportunity to recognize history without being, in his words, “imprisoned” by it…

The Post, today:

HIROSHIMA, Japan — Secretary of State John F. Kerry paid an emotional visit Monday to a museum and marker near ground zero in the city where the United States dropped an atomic bomb in the waning days of World War II.

Kerry and his fellow foreign ministers from six other powerful democracies first toured the Hiroshima Peace Memorial museum, where exhibits display the aftermath of the bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” — from charred tricycles and melted roof tiles to cancerous tongues and models of people with melting skin.

Then they walked solemnly to lay wreaths of white and pink carnations at a cenotaph that frames an eternal flame and the skeletal ruins of the one, dome-shaped building left standing. They approached the marker past about 800 elementary schoolchildren from neighborhood schools who cheered and waved the national flags of the visiting diplomats, in a calculated effort to keep the focus on the future and efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons….

“While we will revisit the past and honor those who perished, this trip is not about the past,” Kerry said before a meeting with the Japanese foreign minister. “It’s about the present and the future particularly, and the strength of the relationship that we have built, the friendship that we share, the strength of our alliance, and the strong reminder of the imperative we all have to work for peace for peoples everywhere.”…

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Apart from appreciating, once again, how fortunate we have been to have Barack Obama as our President, what’s on the agenda as we start another week?