Monthly Archives: May 2015

Tea Party president in Stop Common Core shirt denied access to Kasich event

The president of the Cincinnati Tea Party says she was denied admittance to a get-out-the-vote campaign stop by Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich Monday night and threatened with arrest because she intended to ask a question about the governor’s support for Common Core.

Tea partier @annbecker1999 ejected from @JohnKasich #ohgov rally. Disruptive, or just wearing anti #CommonCore shirt? http://t.co/DmC2FnEXDW

— Chrissie Thompson (@CThompsonENQ) October 14, 2014

The Cincinnati Enquirer’s state capital reporter, Chrissie Thompson, reports:

Ann Becker, tea party president and a Butler County voter, said she was wearing an “Ohioans Against Common Core” T-shirt when private security stopped her from entering the event at Voice of America MetroPark and asked if she was invited.

The security officer went inside to confirm the invitation with Butler County GOP officials, who hosted the rally, while about eight other people got into the event without being stopped, Becker said.

Becker, who served as a Butler County GOP central committee woman until May, said she was told she was not on the guest list, even though she showed the officer the email RSVP she had sent to the Butler County GOP earlier in the day.

“He said I had to leave the premises immediately or I would be removed,” said Becker, who was among a group of T-shirt wearing protesters who were denied access to the event.

UPDATE: @JohnKasich campn spox @conniewehrkamp says local tea party hed @annbecker1999 ejected 4 being 'disruptive,' http://t.co/4S4b3bzZT6

— Carl Weiser (@cweiser) October 14, 2014

Becker posted a photo of her “disruptive” group to her blog:

ann-becker-group

Well, at least someone tried to talk some sense to the governor about Common Core.

@annbecker1999 Welp, so much for that guy.

— Eric Silver (@EricSilverUSA) October 14, 2014

@annbecker1999 Way to go, Ann! Keep up the good work! #CommonCore must go! Ohio voters deserve answers from Gov. Kasich.

— Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard) October 14, 2014

@annbecker1999 @OhioAgainstCCSS I hope you got the police officers name who stood with this fascist government. Shame on you @JohnKasich

— ✝Joe B✝ (@NRA_LIFER) October 14, 2014

@NRA_LIFER @OhioAgainstCCSS @JohnKasich Officer was just doing his job. Knew it was wrong.The Butler Co GOP/Kasich staff pulling the strings

— Ann Becker (@annbecker1999) October 14, 2014

@annbecker1999 Ejected from a .@GOP Rally by a Republican Governor who we got elected in 2010. & These people expect us to send $ & Vote

— Roy Wagner (@royw07) October 14, 2014

Lil’ Ham! Brit Hume tweets pic of Mary Katharine Ham’s baby (with bonus)

Cute emergency! As Twitchy reported, Mary Katharine Ham and her husband Jake Brewer welcomed their baby girl Georgia into the world as only they could. On Wednesday the darling baby girl made her first visit to Fox News.

Fox News’ Brit Hume tweeted out a photo of beautiful Georgia:

Aww! Adorable overload!

Truth.

Congratulations continue to come in and Mary Katharine Ham responds in her signature, and awesome, style:

Snicker.

What won’t the new mama take a break from?

Thank goodness!

As for Hume, he took a break from baby-visiting to slam an article about Roger Ailes, which was tweeted out by Karl Rove. Note the classic and classy Brit Hume insult:

Claptrap! We love it.

Keep the tweets and the photos coming, Mr. Hume.

Related:

‘Baby: Nailed it!’ Mary Katharine Ham has baby girl; Announces it Hammer-style [pic]

Full Twitchy coverage of Brit Hume

Howard Dean threatens to leave the Democratic Party

http://twitter.com/#!/GovHowardDean/status/323602323425353728

The article that sparked Dean’s threat asserts that President Obama’s budget will “rescue the Pentagon”:

Although the White House doesn’t advertise this fact in the six-page budget overview it put out this morning, the new budget eliminates nearly all of the cuts that sequestration imposes on the Pentagon. Instead of $500 billion in cuts, Obama proposes only $100 billion, and you have to look closely to spot it (“$200 billion in additional discretionary savings, with equal amounts from defense and nondefense programs”).

Poor spelling aside, Dean’s tweet is significant. Just four years ago, Dean was chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

This Father Took Photos Of All The Places His Little Boy Fell Asleep. And It’s Hilarious.

When reddit user Scevans09 posted a gallery of his son sleeping, I expected it to be boring. We’ve all seen kids sleeping. But I’m pretty sure you’ve never seen a kid fall asleep in this many awkward, crazy positions. His naps are basically an artform – and one I’m jealous of. I want to fall asleep literally anywhere.

Just like him:

Sitting up in a chair.

Laying awkwardly.

On the kitchen chairs.

In the car, thinking.

Under his brother.

Mostly on the bed.

In a Jean Claude Van Damme split.

In mid-lunch.

While playing.

On the wrong part of the couch.

On the other wrong part of the couch.

Still on the wrong part of the couch.

Getting his haircut.

Still playing.

While reading.

On hardwood floors.

Here.

There.

How?

While waiting on food.

Interesting.

This is just talent.

Nice arm position.

This is physically possible?

Stop showing off.

While tuning out his parents. It worked.

Classy.

In the dirty clothes because why not?

Sitting up. He’s still got it.

While getting ready to play.

Awwwww.

Awwwwwwwwww.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Okay, kid. You win at sleeping.

Source: reddit

Before you jump to conclusions that this kid is narcoleptic or has some serious other issue, his dad said the following:

“He had problems sleeping at night for awhile and then finally got his tonsils and adenoids out and has slept so much better since. I think that is why he would just crash all the time during the day.”

So, he’s all better but thankfully we have 34 brilliant photos of his epic nap-taking abilities. Share them with others below.

Protest outside of Paul Ryan’s speech at Georgetown Univ lacks actual protesters

Oh, our aching sides! This is what happens when you rely on slackers.

They are the .00000000000000001% RT: @McCormackJohn: Huge protest outside of Paul Ryan speech at Georgetown University pic.twitter.com/PDDDvNHU

— DrewMTips (@DrewMTips) April 26, 2012

Inside the venue, the protest is even more pitiful.

Massive protest swarms Ryan inside speaking venue. pic.twitter.com/Fx5aQK3e

— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) April 26, 2012

Over/under on the media reporting it as a “huge” protest?

I count 1.2 million. RT @McCormackJohn: Huge protest outside of Paul Ryan speech at Georgetown University http://t.co/JMNdLplA

— daveweigel (@daveweigel) April 26, 2012

Even the Lefty professors couldn’t get the slacktivists to actually show up.

90 Georgetown profs sign letter objecting to Paul Ryan's misuse of Catholic social teaching on poverty to advance agenda that harms poor.

— John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) April 24, 2012

Occupy didn’t have much luck either with their call to arms.

MEDIA ADVISORY: #Catholics to Protest Paul Ryan at #Georgetown University tomorrow @occupydc http://t.co/9gYbUheE 9:45 AM @Occupy_DC

— catsrimportant (@catsrimportant) April 25, 2012

The “media advisory” bit is particularly hilarious. Quick, media, to the bat vans! A massive protest … of 5 people … is about to start! Mayhem!

You can watch the speech live on-line, if you can hear it through that massive protest and all.

.@RepPaulRyan discusses his #budget plan at @Georgetown University – LIVE online here: http://t.co/0WhebF5x

— CSPAN (@cspan) April 26, 2012

This “Death Map” Will Tell You How You’re Most Likely To Die Based On Your Location.

My fellow Americans, prepare to find out how you’re going to die. Well, how you’re probably going to die.

Slate staff writer Ben Blatt sifted through data to find out how the people of each state are most likely to kick the bucket and presented the information in map form.

Assuming you know what state you live in, you should be able to discover how you’re seemingly going to meet your demise. Heart disease and cancer were excluded from the map because they were the top two killers in every state. Boring!

That’s some seriously tough news to swallow. Don’t get too upset, though. Try laughing the fact that you know how you’re most likely to die, which you inevitably will someday, by looking at this parody of the above map that was created by Moe Lane.

These causes of death are way more entertaining than heart disease.

(via Slate, Moe Lane)

Forget all of this “dying” business, I’m going to go live forever up in Canada! … Eh, not worth it.

Were you surprised by how people in your state usually die? Share your state’s cause of death with others by clicking on the button below.

These 25 People Won So Hard At Life You Can’t Help But Tip Your Hat. #15 Though… LOLOL.

Not everyone win at life. It’s a sad fact, but one people must accept. Sometimes, there are people in the world that win so hard at life, they stop everyone else from having even minor victories. Instead of finding extra french fries at the bottom of their fast food bag, they find $100 bills. Take these people for example. They just pulled off epic wins so incredible, they may never top it in life. Talk about pressure (and #WINNING).

1.) Oh, you’re going to pan to the audience? PERFECT.

2.) Disaster imminent? Nah.

3.) This dog knows what’s UP.

4.) Just dunking, no big deal.

5.) This guy can turn into a chair. You’re welcome.

6.) This is how you REALLY hockey.

7.) Walking down the stairs takes too much time.

8.) She just took cheerleading up a notch.

9.) Troll cat is winning.

10.) This is what a close call looks like.

11.) Normal bowling is just too boring.

12.) Protesting for the WIN.

13.) This is a hero among heroes.

14.) Epic recovery, kid.

15.) ONWARD, MIGHTY STEED!

16.) Because gymnastics wasn’t hard enough.

17.) Even putting on clothes can be cool.

18.) Cone of shame? More like cone of awesome.

19.) This kid is going places.

20.) Juggling or eating… why not do both?

21.) Don’t. Mess. With. Her.

22.) No one has a better reaction than this kid.

23.) PSYCHE.

24.) Double-psyche!

25.) Oh look, a truck! Let me ramp off of it.

(H/T Ebaumsworld) It just doesn’t get any better than narrowly avoiding disaster and then coming out so far on top, you look like some kind of mind-reading, incredible wizard. Share these people’s awesome victories and cross your fingers some day in the future you can nail it like they did.

Man of the people? Cory Booker kicks off campaign, kills live feed during Q&A

It’s official: Surprising no one, Newark Mayor Cory Booker is running for U.S. Senate in New Jersey.

He was introduced by former Sen. Bill Bradley at an event closed to the public.

And just as he offered to take questions …

If you were watching the live video feed on his campaign website, here’s what popped up before the first question from reporters:

cory-booker-live-feed

Cory Booker: Working for you! Well, maybe if you hit him up on Twitter:

The Books That Made Me Who I Am

I am the product of endless books.

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

Nearly every day, a friend or acquaintance tags me on Facebook, asking me to share a list of 10 books that have influenced me. Nearly every day, I read such lists from the same circle of friends and acquaintances. I understand the tidy pleasures provided by such an exercise, but in truth, I am not merely influenced by books. I could not limit a list of important books to a number or a neatly organized list. The list, whatever it might look like, would always be changing because I too am always changing. I am not influenced by books. Instead, I am shaped by them. I am made of flesh and bone and blood. I am also made of books.

The sweetest, most wide-eyed parts of me are made from the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. They were some of the first books I read, and as a young girl in Nebraska, I loved knowing there were interesting stories to be told about life on the plains. This is also where my imagination began to swell. I imagined making candy with snow and maple syrup. I could hear the timbre of Pa’s voice as he teased Half-Pint. I envied Mary’s grace under pressure. I loved Almanzo Wilder. I loved him fiercely, that country boy. When he began courting Laura, I imagined what it would be like to ride in his sleigh with him, my face chilled against the brisk winter air, the rest of me warmed beneath heavy blankets and the rushing blood of Almanzo next to me, the thrill of his hand in mine.

The sweetest, most wide-eyed parts of me are made from Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, Lucy Maude Montgomery and Little Women, Louisa May Alcott.

I was a shy girl, but when I read, I was adventurous. Books made me bolder. I read stories, the titles of which I can no longer remember, about young girls embarking on thrilling adventures on wagon trains and fending for themselves, panning for gold. The Chronicles of Narnia made me believe I could slip into a wardrobe and emerge in a completely different world. Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time helped me embrace my intelligence, showed me how I was not merely bound to this world, not at all. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory made me believe anything was possible if I allowed myself to believe.

With Forever and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Judy Blume held my hand as my body changed and my heart changed and I began to feel less like a girl and more like a young woman.

My yearning was stoked by Sweet Valley High. My yearning was stoked by the lives of Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, their seemingly perfect lives, how everyone loved them and wanted to be them. I was nothing like them, but I wanted to be them or I wanted to be in their golden circle. Through these stories, I understood, intimately, what it meant to be on the outside looking in, utterly unable to look away. I understood what it meant to be enthralled.

As I realized I would never be like those girls, I read The Outsiders and learned there was fierceness in not fitting in.

Boarding school intrigued me, so I read about The Girls of Canby Hall, all 33 books, and then I went to boarding school and it was nothing like The Girls of Canby Hall — but I was a girl from Nebraska, and Shelly Hyde, one of the main characters from the books, was a girl from Iowa. Even though I was a stranger in a strange land, something about boarding school was familiar. As has always been the case, I was not alone because I had so many stories making the inside of me.

Something terrible happened to me so I began to read voraciously about terrible things that happened to other women. This is where I learned gratitude when I did not think it would be possible. This is how I taught myself to believe I was lucky. In Perfect Victim, a young woman is kidnapped by a couple and held prisoner in a box beneath a bed for seven years. What she endures is unfathomable. I took no pleasure in reading this book but I found comfort in knowing our bodies and minds are built to endure. I read this book so often the spine is now white and softened, the pages yellowed with age and the ministrations of my tear-stained fingers.

Something terrible happened so I read Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I learned that there was strength inside me if I could just hold on, if I could just find my way to reach my strongest place. I learned how to write what I could not speak, and how even if I could not use my voice, it was still there, waiting, waiting, waiting.

Something terrible happened and I needed a different way of being in my body. I read Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg and for a while, I was able to live in my own skin on my own terms. In the stories of Macho Sluts by Pat Califia I found swagger. I turned to ink and marked myself with a new skin. I was able to live in my own skin on my own terms.

Lo-li-ta. Lolita. Vladimir Nabokov. From a novel about a pedophile and his unnatural lust for a young girl, I stared down the ugliest parts of what people do to one another and saw the faint, unbearably compelling glimmer of humanity in that hideousness.

The sharpness of my tongue was keened by Edith Wharton and the wit of The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth — novels about social graces and the burdens of class and caged hearts, how passion stifled only deepens.

I found irreverence and quiet anger and the ability to laugh at the unfairness of the world in How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired by Dany Laferrière, a writer with whom I share Haitian blood.

The most romantic parts of my heart flourished among the pages of Pride and Prejudice and A Room With a View. Zora Neale Hurston opened mine own eyes through Their Eyes Were Watching God, showing me love in a voice unlike any I had ever known.

My understanding of desire rose out of The Lover, Marguerite Duras, lush and sensual prose, the words thickly wanton. I closed my eyes and wished for the narrator’s prescient arrogance. I closed my eyes and lamented these lovers who could never truly be together, their impossible passion, sweaty bodies coming together in the salt and sweltering heat of Indochina. And in those words there was a line that has always, always stayed with me. “My memory of men is never lit up and illuminated like my memory of women.” My reading and writing have long been illuminated by the stories of women. I carry these stories with me.

Or my desire rises out of The Story of O by Pauline Réage, a novel about darkness and submission, of allowing yourself to be entirely subsumed by the want and will of another. In this book I learned how submission is terrifying and freeing, how submission allows you to be on the outside looking in on yourself until you lose yourself. The Story of O made me want to get lost in myself or someone else or both.

My empathy grew when I began to understand how vastly the world extended beyond what I thought I knew. I read Once Were Warriors, by Alan Duff — a novel about a Maori family in New Zealand struggling through violence and addiction and loving one another too hard. I read Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance and understood the resilience of even the most abandoned among us. I read The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros and The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor and Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich and Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat and For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange and Passing by Nella Larsen and Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin and this is a list that could not possibly end.

My writing ambition was sharpened by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale, an unapologetically political novel that reminds us of what it costs to be a woman in this world or the next. My ambition, that toward which I aspire to write, has long been guided by Toni Morrison, Beloved, and through her words, seeing how a novel can be mysterious and true, mythical and raw, how a novel can honor memory even when we want to look away or forget. My ambition has long been sharpened by Alice Walker, willing to tell the stories of black women without apology, willing to write politically without apology — Possessing the Secret of Joy, a haunting, gorgeous novel about female genital mutilation that keeps me transfixed and heartbroken and helpless each time I read it, because sometimes the only way to tell the truth is to tell a story.

Today my writing ambition, my heart, and my mind are expanded by my peers who are writing the books I read with breathless anticipation and envy: Normally Special by xTx, Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones, The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison, Prelude to Bruise by Saeed Jones, The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez, Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter, Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce, Salsa Nocturna by Daniel José Older, A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar, Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung, Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman. I take in these stories and become more of myself.

In all these books and in so many more, I find the most essential parts of myself. I become more myself. I learn what to hold most necessary when using my voice. I learn and continue to learn how to use my voice.

I am made of flesh and bone and blood. I am made of books. A list could not contain me.

***

Roxane Gay‘s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, West Branch, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOON, the New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Time, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Salon, and many others. She is the co-editor of PANK. She is also the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, Bad Feminist, and Hunger, forthcoming from Harper in 2016.

9 Places To Move If You Want Wall Street As Your Landlord

In the years following the recession, hedge funds and private equity firms snapped up cheap residential real estate across the country. Here’s where to move if you want to send Wall Street a rent check.

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

In the years since the recession, Wall Street has capitalized on the housing crisis it helped create, snapping up properties in stalled or distressed residential developments across the country and renting them out for a profit.

Most recently, New York-based private equity firm Cerberus Capital joined the Wall Street landlord trend, purchasing more than 1,500 houses in Florida, Illinois, and Texas.

Since 2012, private equity firms, hedge funds, and real estate investment trusts or their affiliated business have bought north of 150,000 houses and spent more than $25 billion to do so, according to investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. And the online real estate database RealtyTrac has a tracker by county that shows where the largest institutional investors own the most rental properties.

Here’s a look at where Wall Street is buying: the places where a hedge fund, REIT,* or private equity firm could potentially end up as your landlord.

*Real Estate Investment Trust, a tax-friendly way to create a publicly traded company that owns real estate.

1. Minneapolis

Superior Imagery by Jim Ericson/Superior Imagery by Jim Ericson

Sylvan Road Capital initially set its sights on suburban Atlanta, looking to invest more than $1 billion in rental properties throughout the city.

Now, HavenBrook, a subsidiary of the firm, founded by a former Morgan Stanley analyst and backed by private equity dollars, has turned to Minneapolis for its next investment, specifically the city’s North Side, which has been plagued by poverty and mortgage fraud in the last few years. Sylvan Road recently purchased 40 homes there and quickly began renting them out, worrying the City Council about the company’s ability to manage the properties.

2. Tampa, Florida

joeymasterworks/joeymasterworks

One of the earliest and most aggressive members of the Wall Street Landlord Club is Blackstone, the private equity giant. It jumped at the chance to buy residential developments in the recession’s wake and at one point was spending more than $100 million per week on property.

In suburbs and neighborhoods across Tampa, Blackstone subsidiary Invitation Homes began spending at a rate of $800,000 per day on rental homes in 2013, including foreclosed properties or those nearing foreclosure. Neighborhoods include Riverview and Spring Hill.

3. Phoenix

ChrisBoswell/ChrisBoswell

Pretty much anywhere you move within the Phoenix city limits, you’re likely to have at least one Blackstone-owned home on your block. And Maricopa County, in which Phoenix exists, has the highest number of rental properties owned by the four largest institutional investors, according RealtyTrac’s database.

Blackstone and other private equity giants’ investment in Phoenix is so rampant that it has driven up housing prices in the city.

4. Chicago

mpaskvan/mpaskvan

While Blackstone focused its home-buying spree on properties in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Atlanta, California, Miami, and Orlando, one of its more concentrated rental home investments is in the Chicago area.

In 2013, the company’s Invitation Homes subsidiary accounted for 18% of all single-family homes sold in Oak Forest, a Chicago suburb.

In the neighboring suburb of Oak Lawn, Blackstone’s home ownership rose to 20% of all 2013 sales, and in nearby Galewood, Blackstone purchased 22.4% of all homes on the market.

5. Dayton, Ohio

Globe Turner, LLC/Globe Turner, LLC

In Dayton’s northern Huber Heights suburb, Magnetar Capital, one of the major hedge funds that made a killing by betting correctly against the housing market in the economic crisis of 2008, bought around 1,500 single-family homes in 2013.

That purchase meant the $9 billion hedge fund now owns 1 in every 11 homes in Huber Heights.

6. Houston

Shobeir Ansari/Shobeir Ansari

On the northern side of the city’s sprawling metro area, The Woodlands is one of the fastest growing suburbs of Houston, nearly 28 miles from the city center.

Howard Hughes Corp. is a commercial and residential real estate development and property management firm created, in part, by hedge fund mogul Bill Ackman. Pershing Square, Ackman’s hedge fund, owns more than 25% of Howard Hughes, which he spun off from General Growth Properties in 2010, making it a stand-alone business.

Howard Hughes has big plans for The Woodlands, with a company representative telling the audience at Ackman’s Harbor Investing charity conference earlier this month that it plans to build 4,600 residences across 28,000 acres in The Woodlands, an area larger than that of Manhattan.

7. Atlanta

graphiknation/graphiknation

Blackstone, Colony Capital, and other investment firms have been on a buying spree in the Atlanta suburbs, waging battles at auctions for foreclosed properties across the metro area.

Blackstone claimed 1,400 properties in what was its largest buying spree in recent years in the Atlanta suburb of Flowery Branch and the Gwinnett County towns of Snellville, Sugar Hill and Dacula, where Colony also bid on foreclosed properties to convert to rentals.

8. Las Vegas

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Blackstone and Colony have also heavily raided the Las Vegas housing market in the last few years, buying up 10% of all homes sold between 2012 and 2013.

Like in Atlanta, the two investment giants are putting the properties up for rent, amounting to 55,000 single-family homes throughout the city and surrounding towns like Henderson and Summerlin, both of which have been plagued by foreclosures since the recession.

9. Williston, North Dakota

Jim Gehrz/Minneapolis Star Tribune / MCT

Among the big private equity firms on Wall Street, KKR sits very close to the top. Though it is based in New York, the firm set out in late 2012 to capitalize on the North Dakota oil boom and develop housing units in Williston.

KKR set out to invest up to $150 million on the project, which included 737 single-family homes and 810 apartments.