Monday Open Thread | William Shakespeare Week

This is the 450th Birthday of ‘The Bard’ – William Shakespeare.


William Shakespeare Biography
Poet, Playwright (c. 1564–1616)

William Shakespeare, often called the English national poet, is widely considered the greatest dramatist of all time.


William Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. From roughly 1594 onward he was an important member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men company of theatrical players. Written records give little indication of the way in which Shakespeare’s professional life molded his artistry. All that can be deduced is that over the course of 20 years, Shakespeare wrote plays that capture the complete range of human emotion and conflict.
Mysterious Origins

Known throughout the world, the works of William Shakespeare have been performed in countless hamlets, villages, cities and metropolises for more than 400 years. And yet, the personal history of William Shakespeare is somewhat a mystery. There are two primary sources that provide historians with a basic outline of his life. One source is his work—the plays, poems and sonnets—and the other is official documentation such as church and court records. However, these only provide brief sketches of specific events in his life and provide little on the person who experienced those events.
Early Life

Though no birth records exist, church records indicate that a William Shakespeare was baptized at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 26, 1564. From this, it is believed he was born on or near April 23, 1564, and this is the date scholars acknowledge as William Shakespeare’s birthday.

Located 103 miles west of London, during Shakespeare’s time Stratford-upon-Avon was a market town bisected with a country road and the River Avon. William was the third child of John Shakespeare, a leather merchant, and Mary Arden, a local landed heiress. William had two older sisters, Joan and Judith, and three younger brothers, Gilbert, Richard and Edmund. Before William’s birth, his father became a successful merchant and held official positions as alderman and bailiff, an office resembling a mayor. However, records indicate John’s fortunes declined sometime in the late 1570s.

Scant records exist of William’s childhood, and virtually none regarding his education. Scholars have surmised that he most likely attended the King’s New School, in Stratford, which taught reading, writing and the classics. Being a public official’s child, William would have undoubtedly qualified for free tuition. But this uncertainty regarding his education has led some to raise questions about the authorship of his work and even about whether or not William Shakespeare ever existed.


Theatrical Beginnings

By 1592, there is evidence William Shakespeare earned a living as an actor and a playwright in London and possibly had several plays produced. The September 20, 1592 edition of the Stationers’ Register (a guild publication) includes an article by London playwright Robert Greene that takes a few jabs at William Shakespeare: “…There is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tiger’s heart wrapped in a Player’s hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Johannes factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country,” Greene wrote of Shakespeare.

Scholars differ on the interpretation of this criticism, but most agree that it was Greene’s way of saying Shakespeare was reaching above his rank, trying to match better known and educated playwrights like Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Nashe or Greene himself.

By the early 1590s, documents show William Shakespeare was a managing partner in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, an acting company in London. After the crowning of King James I, in 1603, the company changed its name to the King’s Men. From all accounts, the King’s Men company was very popular, and records show that Shakespeare had works published and sold as popular literature. The theater culture in 16th century England was not highly admired by people of high rank. However, many of the nobility were good patrons of the performing arts and friends of the actors. Early in his career, Shakespeare was able to attract the attention of Henry Wriothesley, the Earl of Southampton, to whom he dedicated his first- and second-published poems: “Venus and Adonis” (1593) and “The Rape of Lucrece” (1594).
Establishing Himself

By 1597, 15 of the 37 plays written by William Shakespeare were published. Civil records show that at this time he purchased the second largest house in Stratford, called New House, for his family. It was a four-day ride by horse from Stratford to London, so it is believed that Shakespeare spent most of his time in the city writing and acting and came home once a year during the 40-day Lenten period, when the theaters were closed.

By 1599, William Shakespeare and his business partners built their own theater on the south bank of the Thames River, which they called the Globe. In 1605, Shakespeare purchased leases of real estate near Stratford for 440 pounds, which doubled in value and earned him 60 pounds a year. This made him an entrepreneur as well as an artist, and scholars believe these investments gave him the time to write his plays uninterrupted.
Writing Style

William Shakespeare’s early plays were written in the conventional style of the day, with elaborate metaphors and rhetorical phrases that didn’t always align naturally with the story’s plot or characters. However, Shakespeare was very innovative, adapting the traditional style to his own purposes and creating a freer flow of words. With only small degrees of variation, Shakespeare primarily used a metrical pattern consisting of lines of unrhymed iambic pentameter, or blank verse, to compose his plays. At the same time, there are passages in all the plays that deviate from this and use forms of poetry or simple prose.
Early Works: Histories and Comedies

With the exception of Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare’s first plays were mostly histories written in the early 1590s. Richard II, Henry VI (parts 1, 2 and 3) and Henry V dramatize the destructive results of weak or corrupt rulers, and have been interpreted by drama historians as Shakespeare’s way of justifying the origins of the Tudor Dynasty.

Shakespeare also wrote several comedies during his early period: the witty romance A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the romantic Merchant of Venice, the wit and wordplay of Much Ado About Nothing, the charming As You Like It and Twelfth Night. Other plays, possibly written before 1600, include Titus Andronicus, The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew and The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
Later Works: Tragedies and Tragicomedies

It was in William Shakespeare’s later period, after 1600, that he wrote the tragedies Hamlet, King Lear, Othello and Macbeth. In these, Shakespeare’s characters present vivid impressions of human temperament that are timeless and universal. Possibly the best known of these plays is Hamlet, which explores betrayal, retribution, incest and moral failure. These moral failures often drive the twists and turns of Shakespeare’s plots, destroying the hero and those he loves.

In William Shakespeare’s final period, he wrote several tragicomedies. Among these are Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest. Though graver in tone than the comedies, they are not the dark tragedies of King Lear or Macbeth because they end with reconciliation and forgiveness.

Tradition has it that William Shakespeare died on his birthday, April 23, 1616, though many scholars believe this is a myth. Church records show he was interred at Trinity Church on April 5, 1616.

In his will, he left the bulk of his possessions to his eldest daughter, Susanna. Though entitled to a third of his estate, little seems to have gone to his wife, Anne, whom he bequeathed his “second-best bed.” This has drawn speculation that she had fallen out of favor, or that the couple was not close. However, there is very little evidence the two had a difficult marriage. Other scholars note that the term “second-best bed” often refers to the bed belonging to the household’s master and mistres—the marital bed—and the “first-best bed” was reserved for guests.

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63 Responses to Monday Open Thread | William Shakespeare Week

  1. I’m late with this ..

    Drum Roll Drum Roll she did it again!!!!

    Drum Roll Drum Roll she did it again!!!!

  2. Ametia says:

    For Tim Geithner, Financial Crisis Was Like Landing A Burning Plane
    by NPR STAFF
    May 12, 2014 4:34 PM ET


  3. vitaminlover says:

    Speaking of Shakespeare have any of you heard the interview on NPR with the young man who put parts of Romeo and Juliet to rap with a mix of symphonic music? Wish that I could tell you more.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave, Children of Men) and Thandie Newton (Crash, The Pursuit of Happyness) star in this epic chronicle of family ties and tribal violence from celebrated Nigerian playwright Biyi Bandele.

  5. rikyrah says:

    RiPPa @RippDemUp
    Beyonce should get an Oscar for that performance as Helen Keller in that elevator.

    2:49 PM – 12 May 2014

  6. rikyrah says:

    Marco Rubio Pretends to Be a Dunce
    by BooMan
    Mon May 12th, 2014 at 09:44:11 AM EST

    I grow weary of The Stupid. Really, I do. Presumably, Sen. Marco Rubio thinks he is made of presidential timber. I don’t know why he thinks that, but he doesn’t dissuade anyone from speculating that he will run for president, probably starting sometime next year. He told ABC News that he’s qualified to be president during a recent trip to New Hampshire, which is home to the all-important first primary in the presidential contest. His chief of staff, Cesar Conda, recently stepped down to run Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC, which Robert Costa and Ed O’Keefe interpreted as a sure sign that Rubio is planning to run. I have to assume he thinks he has a chance in hell of winning the nomination and then going on to be the 45th president of the United States. He’s young, telegenic, seemingly smart, handsome, fairly articulate, and he hails from a vital swing state and is a Cuban-American who helped pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate.

    It’s true that he lacks the kind of experience that you want to see in both a candidate for national office and a commander in chief, but he has all these other things working for him. So, why, Sweet Jesus, is he clinging to climate change denialism?

    “I don’t agree with the notion that some are putting out there, including scientists, that somehow there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what’s happening in our climate,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “Our climate is always changing. And what they have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that’s directly and almost solely attributable to manmade activity, I do not agree with that.”

    ABC’s Jonathan Karl pressed Rubio on his belief that humans don’t have anything to do with global warming.

    “But let me get this straight, you do not think that human activity, its production of CO2, has caused warming to our planet?” Karl asked.

    “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it. That’s what I do not — and I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it. Except it will destroy our economy,” Rubio responded.

    I didn’t see the video of these comments, but the way this comes across in print is that Rubio wants to make two distinct arguments. First, he’s expressing doubt that the near-unanimous consensus of climate scientists is correct. But he’s not really all that comfortable making that argument because he knows it makes him sound crazy. So, he makes a different argument, which is that there really isn’t anything we can do about climate change, and even if there were some things we could do, those things would destroy the economy.

    The second argument is at least defensible. The first is not.

  7. Ametia says:

    Solange Tried to Mollywhop Jay-Z in an Elevator and I Haz Questions
    Posted: 12 May 2014 10:28 AM PDT

    Ok. Monday is getting off to an interesting start. TMZ dropped the tea and receipts of how Solange went all Mortal Kombat on Jay-Z in an elevator at the Met Gala as Beyonce watches and her bodyguard Julius intervenes. The video had me like WAYMENT!!! WUT?!

  8. rikyrah says:

    Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans as Antarctic Ice Melts

    MAY 12, 2014

    The collapse of large parts of the ice sheet in West Antarctica appears to have begun and is almost certainly unstoppable, with global warming accelerating the pace of the disintegration, two groups of scientists reported Monday.

    The finding, which had been feared by some scientists for decades, means that a rise in global sea level of at least 10 feet may now be inevitable. The rise may continue to be relatively slow for at least the next century or so, the scientists said, but sometime after that it will probably speed up so sharply as to become a crisis.

    “This is really happening,” said Thomas P. Wagner, who runs NASA’s programs on polar ice and helped oversee some of the research. “There’s nothing to stop it now. But you are still limited by the physics of how fast the ice can flow.”

    Two papers scheduled for publication this week, in the journals Science and Geophysical Research Letters, attempt to make sense of an accelerated flow of glaciers seen in parts of West Antarctica in recent decades

  9. rikyrah says:

    Anyone here watch TURN on AMC?

    I really have gotten into this show. The appearance finally of George Washington has made this very interesting.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Morning Plum: Are Republicans surrendering on Obamacare?
    By Greg Sargent
    May 12 at 8:55 am

    As #Benghazi fever rises among Republicans, the Hill reports this morning that the House GOP has “gone quiet” on Obamacare. There are no scheduled votes or hearings on the Affordable Care Act. Contacted by the Hill, most GOP campaign committees won’t say whether they will be launching any new attacks on the law.

    As the Hill puts it: “The lack of action highlights the GOP’s struggle to adjust its message now that enrollment in the exchanges beat projections and the uninsured rate is going down.”

    At the same time, the Hill notes that GOP operatives overseeing Senate races remain “conscious of the need to keep a drumbeat going against the law.” The question now: If Republican officials really are backing off on Obamacare, will the base go along?

    A new CNN poll illustrates the situation nicely: It finds that far more Americans want to keep Obamacare than repeal it. At the same time, only majorities of Republicans want repeal and only majorities of Republicans think the law is already a failure.

  11. rikyrah says:

    A law by any other name would smell as sweet

    05/12/14 12:38 PM—Updated 05/12/14 01:44 PM

    It’s been nearly a year since Jason Cherkis published it, but his health care anecdote out of Kentucky resonates because of its salience. As Cherkis reported last August, a middle-aged man in a red golf shirt shuffled up to a small folding table at the Kentucky State Fair to hear about Kynect, the state’s health benefit exchange established by the Affordable Care Act. The man liked what he heard.

    “This beats Obamacare I hope,” he said, unaware that Kynect and Obamacare the same thing.

    A year later, as NBC News’ First Read discovered, there’s a lot of this going around.

    When it comes to views of the new health care law, sometimes it’s all in a name. In Kentucky, our NBC-Marist poll found that 57% of registered voters have an unfavorable view of “Obamacare,” the shorthand commonly used to label the 2010 Affordable Care Act. That’s compared with only 33% who give it a thumbs up – hardly surprising in a state where the president’s approval rating hovers just above 30%.

    By comparison, when Kentucky voters were asked to give their impression of kynect, the state exchange created as a result of the health care law, the picture was quite different. A plurality – 29% – said they have a favorable impression of kynect, compared to 22% who said they view the system unfavorably.

  12. rikyrah says:


    8 pm The Voice
    10 pm The Blacklist (STATE OF AFFAIRS premieres Nov. 17; Watch Trailer)

    8 pm The Voice
    9 pm MARRY ME (Watch Trailer)
    9:30 pm About a Boy
    10 pm Chicago Fire

    8 pm THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA (Watch Trailer)
    9 pm Law & Order: SVU
    10 pm Chicago P.D.

    8 pm The Biggest Loser
    9 pm BAD JUDGE (The Blacklist moves to the 9 o’clock hour starting Feb. 5, Watch Trailer)
    9:30 pm A TO Z (Watch Trailer)
    10 pm Parenthood (FINAL SEASON)

    8 pm Dateline
    9 pm Grimm
    10 pm CONSTANTINE (Watch Trailer)

    Encore programming

    7 pm Football Night in America
    8:20 pm NBC Sunday Night Football

    • Ametia says:

      I have to admit, my TV viewing is quite limited. Except for occasional documentary on PBS, Cosmos, The Good Wife, The Voice, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, SYTYCD, and a few NFL games, the tv is off and I watch DVDs.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Fox Fall TV Schedule

    Fox: [link]

    8 pm GOTHAM
    9 pm Sleepy Hollow

    8 pm UTOPIA
    9 pm New Girl
    9:30 pm The Mindy Project

    8 pm Hell’s Kitchen

    8 pm Bones

    8 pm Masterchef Junior
    9 pm UTOPIA

    Fox Sports Saturday

    7 pm NFL
    7:30 pm Bob’s Burgers
    8 pm The Simpsons
    8:30 pm Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    9 pm Family Guy
    9:30 pm MULANEY

  14. rikyrah says:

    GOP Blatantly Manipulates Obamacare News Footage

    By Igor Volsky on May 12, 2014 at 8:43 am

    The Republican National Committee altered a video clip of a local news story about health insurance premiums in North Carolina to imply that rates would increase under the Affordable Care Act, cutting off the segment just before the reporter explained that “not everyone could be in for the sticker shock.”

    The report, aired on the local ABC affiliate last week and posted and tweeted by the RNC, argues that since enrollment of young people did not meet expectations, health insurance would “eventually cost you more.” A small business owner interviewed for the package adds that her family’s premiums have increased since passage of the law and reporter Angelica Alvarez notes that Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state’s largest insurance provider, “is warning customers now about what premium prices can look like in 2015.”

    But just as Alvarez begins to explain that most customers are unlikely to experience significant premium hikes, the RNC clip abruptly ends. In the seconds that follow, a Blue Cross/Blue Shield spokesperson argues that 91 percent of customers receive subsidies and “may not feel the possible rate increases.” He adds that any hikes would apply to a relatively small number of beneficiaries who buy coverage though the individual market

  15. rikyrah says:

    Toxic Tribalism Poisons Hope for Infrastructure Plan
    By Norm Ornstein

    Among the most embarrassing and unconscionable failures of the 113th Congress has been the inability to act in any way to help the economy through an infrastructure initiative, including but not limited to energy. The country’s infrastructure is crumbling, and the energy infrastructure is outmoded. Among the long-term unemployed, there are huge numbers of construction workers and skilled tradespeople who could be given a new lease on life, while energizing a continuing sluggish economy. And the money to pay for a major infrastructure initiative can be borrowed now at the lowest rates imaginable. The business community, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is enthusiastically in favor of it.

    The U.S. political system is dysfunctional; the U.S. economy remains sluggish. Treasury interest rates remain at historic lows. But global demand for U.S.-backed paper is extraordinarily high; we remain the safe harbor of choice everywhere. Bloomberg columnist Barry Ritholtz has a suggestion: Do as Canada has recently done, and introduce a 50-year Treasury bond. As Ritholtz notes, we are currently pursuing the ultra-foolish strategy of financing long-term debt with short-term paper; far, far better to finance it with bonds that lock in lower rates for a long time. And that is especially true when it comes to investments in our economic and energy futures.

    Interestingly, there are bills in both the House and Senate to deal with the problem—and unlike most issues, these have robust bipartisan support. They all rely on the concept of borrowing cheaply now to invest in the future.

    Let me start with the bills introduced in the House by Democrat John Delaney of Maryland (with more than 30 cosponsors from each party), and its counterpart in the Senate, introduced by Democrat Michael Bennet of Colorado and Republican Roy Blunt of Missouri. These bills create a fund that would be capitalized with $50 billion in infrastructure bonds with 50-year terms paying a fixed interest rate of 1 percent. Corporations could repatriate a substantial amount of the profits they have accumulated overseas tax-free if they buy the bonds. The amounts repatriated would be set by what is called a “reverse Dutch auction,” which I will not even attempt to describe. Suffice to say that the process would be a win-win—companies would likely end up paying low tax rates on the repatriated profits and have a substantial amount of the money to reinvest, while also providing a bundle of capital for infrastructure investments, which in turn would be leveraged by the fund into as much as $750 billion in loans or guarantees for infrastructure projects. A substantial share of those projects would be public-private partnerships, with most of the decisions made not by the federal government, but by state and local governments with their own skin in the game.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Admit it…

    when you first saw this, you thought FRIED CHICKEN


  17. rikyrah says:

    ThinkProgress: GOP Blatantly Manipulates Obamacare News Footage

    The Republican National Committee altered a video clip of a local news story about health insurance premiums in North Carolina to imply that rates would increase under the Affordable Care Act, cutting off the segment just before the reporter explained that “not everyone could be in for the sticker shock.”

    The report, aired on the local ABC affiliate last week and posted and tweeted by the RNC, argues that since enrollment of young people did not meet expectations, health insurance would “eventually cost you more.” A small business owner interviewed for the package adds that her family’s premiums have increased since passage of the law and reporter Angelica Alvarez notes that Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state’s largest insurance provider, “is warning customers now about what premium prices can look like in 2015.”

    But just as Alvarez begins to explain that most customers are unlikely to experience significant premium hikes, the RNC clip abruptly ends.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Business Insider: The GOP’s Latest Anti-Obamacare Talking Point Just Went Down In Flames

    Last week, the Republican-led House Committee on Energy and Commerce released information claiming only 67% of enrollees in insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act made their first premium payment. The data was paraded around as a talking point ahead of the Obama administration’s final release of stats from the law’s first open enrollment period.

    On Wednesday, that talking point blew up.

    Three of the country’s largest insurers — Aetna, WellPoint, and Health Care Service Corp., which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in several states — said between 80-90% of new customers who enrolled through Obamacare paid their first month’s premiums. Executives from the companies announced the news in testimony before the very same House Committee on Energy and Commerce where Republicans touted the contrary data last week.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Support for ObamaCare is Artificially Low
    by BooMan
    Mon May 12th, 2014 at 11:36:27 AM EST

    There are areas of the country where the president is unpopular and may well remain so for years after he leaves office. In those places, voters tend to say that they are opposed to “ObamaCare,” sometimes by large margins. But, in Kentucky at least, a plurality of the people polled say that they approve of “kynect.” But kynect is ObamaCare. Specifically, kynect is the Bluegrass State’s state-run health insurance exchange. What’s clear from this is that a huge part of the opposition to ObamaCare is really nothing more than guilt by association.

    So, what happens when President Obama is no longer the president? Presumably, the exchanges and the reforms that go along with them will still be known as ObamaCare, but I assume the partisan opposition to Barack Obama will wither on the vine, much as it did with Bill Clinton.

    It will turn out that there just isn’t that much substantive opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Yes, there are people on the left (including me) who would prefer to put the health insurance companies out of business, and there are people from the whole spectrum of ideological thought who don’t like the mandate. But that group is small, and the single-payer advocates are mostly supportive of doing something rather than nothing at all.

    I think opposition to ObamaCare is artificially inflated and many of the people who are benefiting will become protective of the law once it no longer is associated with the president.

  20. rikyrah says:

    I would be in jail for BEATING HIS ASS


    Sandy Hook truther steals memorial sign, tells victim’s mother her child never existed

    By Tom Boggioni
    Monday, May 12, 2014 9:43 EDT

    A vinyl peace sign installed at a playground in Mystic, Connecticut, dedicated to a victim of the Sandy Hook shooting was stolen last week by a man claiming that the Newtown massacre never happened.

    After stealing the 50-pound sign from the Grace McDonnell playground, the man called McDonnell’s mother saying he did it because he believes the shooting at the school was a hoax, according to CBS2.

    According to the mother, Lynn McDonnell, the man told her that her daughter “never existed.”

    Grace McDonnell was one of twenty children killed by 20-year-old Adam Lanza when he went on a shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, 2012. Lanza also shot and killed six adult staff members and his mother.

    Sandy Hook ‘truthers’ believe that the Newtown shooting never occurred or was part of a ‘false flag’ operation designed to open the door to the confiscation of all guns by the government.

    The Grace McDonnell playground is one of 26 planned playgrounds being built by the Where Angels Play Foundation in honor of all 26 victims.

  21. rikyrah says:

    A Plurality of Kentuckians Like Obamacare, As Long as It’s Called Something Else

    By: Sarah Jones
    Monday, May, 12th, 2014, 11:58 am

    A new NBC-Marist poll found that 57% of registered voters in Kentucky have an unfavorable view of Obamacare, while 33% have a favorable view of it.

    But a plurality of registered voters – 29% – have a favorable impression of Kynect. Kynect is Obamacare, by a different name. Twenty-two percent have an unfavorable impression of it, and 27% have never heard of it while 21% are unsure.

    And just to prove that it’s all in the name, not in what it actually does, a plurality 43% of registered voters strongly think the “health care law” is a really bad idea. Just 27% think it’s a good idea. But they love Kynect.

    I’ll bet if the questions were worded differently in order to explain what it does, the results would be different. For example, “Do you think it is a good idea to have affordable healthcare available for everyone so that everyone pays their share and no one is cut off from medical help due to an inability to pay?” “Do you think it’s a good idea to stop insurance companies from canceling insurance policies when a person gets sick?” “Do you think it’s a good idea to give women free mammograms?” Etc

  22. rikyrah says:

    Racist fliers in northwest Denver spark talks about gentrification
    Molly Hendrickson
    6:34 AM, May 11, 2014

    A group of Denver residents are speaking out after nearly a dozen racist fliers were posted in their northwest Denver neighborhood. The signs posted had offensive messages such as “Get rid of poor Hispanics,” “White Power,” and “This neighborhood belongs to the whites now.”

    “Somebody comes in and says Mexicanos go home, where? I mean this is my home,” said Rosalinda Aguirre who has lived in the area for more than 40 years.

    Local Poet Bobby LeFebre took to the streets Saturday afternoon with a handful of supporters carrying #WeAreNorthDenver signs. He had a message to the person who posted the fliers.

    “To the author of the hate speech spewed across our neighborhood, I invite you to remove your mask and sit at a table with me to discuss your discontent,” LeFebre said at the corner of Tejon Street and West 32nd Avenue, one of the groups many stops.

    LeFebre said gentrification has changed the neighborhood. Affordable homes have been replaced by high-rise buildings and billingual bookstores have been replaced by boutiques, he said.

    “They’re calling it an evolution as if what existed their before was some how subhuman but my neighborhood had history,” LeFebre said.

    Rosalinda Aguirre said she remembered when her neighborhood was a mixture of cultures, but high property taxes and new development forced many people out.

    “We have lost a lot of neighbors, older neighbors who have been living here forever,” said Aguirre.

  23. rikyrah says:

    The Unbearable Whiteness of Liberal Media

    If left-leaning publications value diversity, why don’t they have any?
    GABRIEL ARANA MAY 12, 2014

    On the staff of The American Prospect, I’m the only member of an ethnic minority. That’s not because I bring all the variety the magazine needs, or because the editors don’t think diversity is valuable. Everyone on the masthead of this liberal publication is committed to being inclusive—not just of racial and ethnic minorities but of women; gays, lesbians, and transgender people; and the poor.

    It’s not just the Prospect. Journalism upstarts like Vox Media and FiveThirtyEighthave come under fire recently for lack of diversity in their hires, but that’s largely because they are drawing from the milky-white pool of “existing talent.” In the corner of the publishing industry that caters to college-educated wonks—a slightly fuzzy designation, but I’ve included most of the publications my colleagues and I read on a daily basis—racial and ethnic diversity is abysmal.

    Nearly 40 percent of the country is non-white and/or Hispanic, but the number of minorities at the outlets included in this article’s tally—most of them self-identified as liberal or progressive—hovers around 10 percent. The Washington Monthly can boast 20 percent, but that’s because it only has nine staffers in total, two of whom belong to minority groups. Dissent has none. Given the broad commitment to diversity in our corner of the publishing world, why is the track record so poor?

  24. Ametia says:

    I Went to the Nutritionists’ Annual Confab. It Was Catered by McDonald’s.
    Our national nutrition experts are in bed with Big Food. And we wonder why we’re fat.

    —By Kiera Butler | Mon May 12, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

    One recent Friday afternoon, in a Mariott Hotel ballroom in Pomona, California, I watched two women skeptically evaluate their McDonald’s lunches. One peered into a plastic bowl containing a salad of lettuce, bacon, chicken, cheese, and ranch dressing. The other arranged two chocolate chip cookies and a yogurt parfait on a napkin. “Eww,” she said, gingerly stirring the layers of yogurt and pink strawberry goop. The woman with the salad nodded in agreement, poking at a wan chicken strip with her plastic fork.

    When I asked how they were liking their lunches, both women grimaced and assured me that they “never” go to McDonald’s. So why were they eating it today? Well, they didn’t really have a choice. The women were registered dietitians halfway through day two of the annual conference of the California Dietetic Association (CDA). They were hoping to rack up some of the continuing education credits they needed to maintain their certification. McDonald’s, the conference’s featured sponsor, was the sole provider of lunch. “I guess it’s good to know that they have healthier options now,” said the woman with the salad.

  25. rikyrah says:

    If anyone still watches Revenge..

    About last night..


  26. rikyrah says:

    Marco Rubio, climate denier

    05/12/14 08:42 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) complained last week that when it comes to President Obama’s climate agenda, “none of things he is proposing would do anything” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The criticism didn’t make much sense, though as it turns out, the far-right senator was just getting started.

    “I don’t agree with the notion that some are putting out there, including scientists, that somehow there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what’s happening in our climate,” Rubio said in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC’s This Week. “Our climate is always changing.” […]

    “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,” Rubio told ABC News’ Jon Karl after being asked directly whether humans were contributing to the warming of the planet

    The full transcript of the interview is online here. For context, it’s worth noting that Rubio is a member of the Senate Science Committee, is on the subcommittee that deals specifically with science and space, and represents a state facing an extraordinary threat from rising sea levels, but the conservative senator just doesn’t seem moved by the evidence.

    Given the severity of the climate crisis, and the extent which global warming is already affecting the planet, most Republicans who want to be taken seriously on the national stage tend to avoid full-on, unabashed, unapologetic climate denialism. But Marco Rubio has a Republican base to impress, so he’s left to say dumb things like, “I don’t agree with the notion that some are putting out there, including scientists, that somehow there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what’s happening in our climate.”

    A couple of years ago, Rubio was asked how old he thinks the planet is. The senator replied, “I’m not a scientist, man.”

  27. rikyrah says:

    ACA dead-enders find themselves alone

    05/09/14 03:52 PM
    By Steve Benen

    It was just a few weeks ago when House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) conceded repealing the Affordable Care Act “isn’t the answer.” The same week, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the chair of the House Republican Conference, agreed that ACA framework would persist and future changes would stay within the structure of the law. When House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) unveiled his party’s spring schedule, health care wasn’t mentioned.

    The far-right was not at all pleased. But if conservatives were disappointed in April, they must be even more depressed now. As Igor Volsky explained:

    Since the Obama administration announced that the Affordable Care Act has enrolled at least 8 million people in health care coverage and polls have shown that the ranks of the uninsured are in fact shrinking, the GOP’s four-year campaign against the health care law appears to be losing steam.

    That’s putting it charitably.

    Republicans promised to turn Sylvia Burwell’s confirmation hearings into an anti-Obamacare spectacle, but yesterday, they failed to even try. Republicans held a hearing with insurance-industry witnesses who were supposed to tell the GOP what it wanted to hear, but instead the insurers tore Republican arguments to shreds at their own hearing.

    After months of GOP assurances that 2014 would be all-Obamacare-attacks, all-the-time, Republicans have suddenly discovered what they really care about are manufactured “scandals” and conspiracy theories that Congress chose to ignore right up until the Affordable Care Act looked successful.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Why Thom Tillis Is The Poster Boy For The New Politics of Inequality
    Seth D. Michaels – May 8, 2014, 3:31 PM EDT

    Tuesday night’s primary election in North Carolina set up a critical Senate race this fall – one that could not only decide who controls the Senate, but offers a perfect illustration of the ideology that’s increasingly driving our political debate, even if it goes mostly unmentioned.

    To explain why, let me start with Eric Cantor.

    Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) opposes an extension of unemployment insurance benefits despite a still-rocky jobs situation, yet he wants to extend a set of expiring tax cuts. Danny Vinik at the New Republic calls this hypocritical: Cantor insisted that UI extension be paid for to eliminate any deficit impact, but doesn’t insist on the same for extending tax cuts.

    But the only hypocrisy here is if you actually believe what Cantor is saying about why he opposes the UI extension.

    The baseline value here has zero to do with deficits, and everything to do with who “deserves” our help. Cantor is coming from a standpoint that you shouldn’t punish the “winners” in the business community with taxes and you shouldn’t reward the “losers” with unemployment insurance.

    Republicans get in trouble when they say this explicitly, because it’s not a particularly widespread worldview. So Cantor has to pretend his opposition to extending unemployment insurance is about deficits, even when the argument crumbles when you compare it to his other priorities.

    The standpoint that you can divide the world into successful productive people and meritless moochers, that justice requires us to just get out of the winners’ way, and stop propping up the losers, is the underpinning to Republican economic policy, whatever their public arguments are.

    Conveniently, this philosophy of upward redistribution is very appealing to the tiny sliver of wealthy people who can afford to fund campaigns, and whose priorities drive political debate.

    A recent column by conservative writer Ben Domenech offers a perfect summation of this argument: “Why Inequality Doesn’t Matter.” Domenech says that the extreme economic inequality we see shouldn’t bother us, because market outcomes are determined by “your own knowledge, your own work ethic, and the quality of what you produce,” and that the only possible counter-argument to this is jealousy, or that someone is unfairly using government as an artificial means to get more than they’ve earned.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Foreign Policy Paradox
    —By Kevin Drum
    Fri May 9, 2014 1:19 AM EDT

    Fareed Zakaria is the latest columnist to acknowledge that although President Obama’s foreign policy decisions have been largely correct, they’ve been sadly unaccompanied by any magic powers:

    President Obama has not made a major mistake. He has done a skillful job steering the United States out of the muddy waters he inherited — Iraq, Afghanistan — and resisted plunging the country into another major conflict.

    ….Obama’s strategy of putting pressure on Moscow, using targeted sanctions and rallying support in Europe is the right one — and might even be showing some signs of paying off.

    ….From the Asia pivot to new trade deals to Russian sanctions, Obama has put forward an agenda that is ambitious and important, but he approaches it cautiously, as if his heart is not in it, seemingly pulled along by events rather than shaping them. Once more, with feeling, Mr. President!

    I’ll concede that as a political partisan, maybe I’m cutting Obama too much slack. But I still wonder what all these critics want. I don’t mean the Bill Kristols and John McCains of the world. I know what they want: maximum confrontation, maximum bluster, and maximum military intervention. But what about the others? Like Zakaria, they sort of grudgingly recognize that Obama’s actual foreign policy actions have been about as good as they could have been, and yet they’re still unhappy. They want inspiration, dammit! They want the rest of the world to fall immediately into line. They want victory! That’s how it happens in the movies, after all. The president gives a big speech, and everyone swoons.

    I wonder: Has any president in history been so widely criticized for doing everything right but not crowing loudly enough about it? I mean, it’s nice to think that a silver tongue would have gotten congressional Republicans to support intervention in Syria and Germans to approve harsher sanctions against Russia, but it’s just not so. I think everyone knows this perfectly well, but we find it so frustrating that we blame Obama for it anyway. It’s as if we’re all five-year-olds.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Montana Officials Secretly Negotiating Medicaid Expansion Deal
    Dylan Scott – May 9, 2014, 1:39 PM EDT

    Medicaid expansion was largely left for dead in Montana, but a new report revealed that the state’s Democratic governor and GOP legislators have been secretly negotiating a deal to adopt the key Obamacare provision.

    The Missoulian reported Thursday on the “non-publicized” meetings between Gov. Steve Bullock’s office, Republican lawmakers and private business groups. They’re considering a privatized Medicaid expansion plan, using Medicaid dollars to pay for private insurance, much like Arkansas has done.

    The negotiating parties have met with Arkansas officials to discuss their experience with the so-called private option, according to The Missoulian.

    Expanding Medicaid, which would cover up to 70,000 low-income Montanans, could happen during a special legislative session this year or in 2015. But those involved in the secret negotiations have acknowledged it isn’t a given that they’ll be able to make it work.

    “I think there are a lot of folks trying to come up with a solution,” state Sen. Ed Buttrey (R) a member of the group, told the newspaper. “The goals are cheaper cost, better (medical) service and a healthier population. If we can find a way to do it, we will. If we can’t, we can’t.”

  31. rikyrah says:

    Why the GOP Is Headed for an Obamacare Crack-Up

    There are plenty of reasons Republicans can’t get their opposition to the health care law straight.
    By Dean Clancy May 8, 2014

    More and more, I think Republicans are in for a health care crack-up. After four years of promising to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, without specifying what they would replace it with, GOP leaders find themselves under increasing pressure to put up or shut up. And yet their own internal policy divisions will result either in a failure to unite around a plan, which could diminish their chances of taking the Senate in November, or in a plan that not all Republicans like, which could have the same effect.

    And no matter how the GOP fares in November — even if it should somehow wipe the floor with the Democrats — President Obama’s veto pen will still be there, waiting to stop any plan they can manage to put on his desk. This will make the fainter-hearted among their ranks skittish about the whole “repeal” project. Why not work with the president to “get something done”? Why not — yes — “fix” Obamacare?

    In short, Republicans appear to be damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    New polling by McLaughlin & Associates confirms that, if GOP candidates want to make health care resonate with voters, they need more than a slogan, they need a specific alternative. These new numbers show that, “By a three-to-one margin, 48 percent to 17 percent, voters were more likely to vote for Republicans who would repeal and replace Obamacare if they also proposed a new plan of their own to improve health care.” A hypothetical Republican candidate running on “repeal and replace” beats a Democratic candidate running on “retain but fix,” 47 percent to 43 percent, if he also offers a “replace” plan that voters find appealing and credible.

    Individually, a few Republicans have tried to do this; collectively, the GOP has not. Do you know what the Republican health care plan is? Me neither.

    Up till now, Republicans have had the luxury of not having to be very specific on the “replace” side, because Obamacare had little to show for itself in terms of actual benefits for real people. But that’s starting to change. Democrats are finally getting some good news on the health care front. Over the past seven months, some 8 million Americans have signed up for coverage at or a state-based exchange. Even if only two-thirds of those actually pay their premiums, that’s still more than 5 million. A not-unrespectable 28 percent of exchange enrollees are estimated to be younger adults, ages 18 to 34, whose participation is needed to hold down future premium hikes.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Rand Paul: Benghazi Has ‘Precluded’ Hillary From Being President

    Dylan Scott – May 9, 2014, 3:37 PM EDT

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) took another shot at Hillary Clinton over Benghazi on Friday, saying she had “precluded herself” from being President because of how she handled the attack and its aftermath.

    Paul made the remarks at the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting in Memphis, Tenn.


    UPDATE: 6:00 p.m. ET

    Correct The Record, the pro-Hillary rapid response group, offered a response to Paul’s comments.

    “Rand Paul should be ashamed of playing partisan politics with this tragedy. Secretary Clinton took immediate action to prevent this from happening again,” Adrienne Watson, its deputy communications director, said in a statement to TPM. “This is no secret; it’s public record. Is Rand Paul so focused on partisan gamesmanship he’s lost sight of the facts, or is he willfully playing politics with a tragedy?”

    A Pro-Hillary rapid response group…..uh huh

  33. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, May 11, 2014

    Last Call For The Cantor Buried Tales

    Remember when Eric Cantor was the obvious Tea Party successor to Orange Julius’s post as Speaker of the House? Not so much anymore.

    Just a few miles from his family home, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) felt the wrath of the tea party Saturday, when activists in his congressional district booed and heckled the second-most powerful House Republican.

    They also elected one of their own to lead Virginia’s 7th Congressional District Republican Committee, turning their back on Cantor’s choice for a post viewed as crucial by both tea party and establishment wings in determining control of the fractured state GOP.

    Former lieutenant governor Bill Bolling, pushed out of last year’s governor’s race by a similar party schism, said he was “extremely disappointed” by the results of the vote, in which longtime Cantor loyalist and incumbent Linwood Cobb was unseated by tea party favorite Fred Gruber.

    “Clearly, there is a battle taking place for the heart and soul of the Republican Party,” Bolling said in a statement. “While the voice of every Republican should be heard, our challenge is to figure out how to be a conservative party, without allowing the most extreme voices of the day to control our party and determine its future direction.”

    The tea party faction trumpeted the election results as a victory for core conservative principles of limited government, low taxes and a free-market economy.

    “There’s been an ongoing battle for years between conservatives and establishment, and it’s a sweet victory when you win but you also win on the front porch of Eric Cantor,” said Jamie Radtke, a leader in the state tea party movement and former U.S. Senate candidate.

    Cantor has become a “Washington insider” now, someone who is standing as an impediment to the unleashing the full crazy of the Tea Party. Someone who has failed to repeal Obamacare, who has failed to impeach the President, who has failed to take the country back to 1860. Eric Cantor is now the enemy.

    Of course, Cantor will win his primary and re-election easily. And he’ll still be part of the GOP “leadership” because the notion that the Tea Party is somehow separate from the Republican mainstream is idiotic. They’re all the same. In the end, Republicans will come around, united by their desire to lynch President Obama.

    The rest is merely semantics.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Rachel Maddow 05/09/14

    Green energy opposition traced to Kochs

    Kansas State Representative Steven Becker talks with Rachel Maddow about groups funded by the Koch brothers trying to influence energy policy and the energy market in Kansas by opposing laws that encourage the development of renewable energy.

  35. rikyrah says:

    ‘Democrats argue. Republicans contend. We have no idea.’ A he said, she said at the Times.

    May 11

    Classic forms of he said, she said are not so much a “sin” against high practice as an increasingly crappy level of service for what is supposed to be a high end product: New York Times reporting.

    Saturday the New York Times published on its front page an article by reporter Jeremy W. Peters about Republican Senator Rand Paul criticizing his party for backing laws that make it harder for some people to vote by requiring forms of identification they may not have. Unquestionably, this was news. The Times report included this paragraph:

    Few issues ignite such passion among the base of both parties. Democrats argue that the laws are intended to keep poor voters away from the polls because they often have difficulty obtaining identification. Republicans contend cheating is rife in today’s elections

    Would you happen to know, New York Times, whether fraud at the polls is “rife in today’s elections?” Would that be something I should expect you to know, seeing as you are the high-end product in the national news marketplace? Or is Democrats argue/Republicans contend/We have no idea a good enough standard, and it is my expectations that are out of scale?

    In this article, at least, the Times does not know whether cheating is rife in today’s elections. But it knows of a passion for polarizing the issue among the bases of both parties. This helps makes it a classic in the “he said, she said” genre.

    Look, we have no idea who’s right. How would we? Figure it out for yourselves! Don’t be asking us to sort out what’s real from what’s fiction. We’re just New York Times journalists. We don’t do “there’s no basis for that.” We do “Republicans contend…”

    I’m satirizing but to make a point: this standard isn’t good enough. At least since the launch of in 2007 — which does do “sorry, there’s no basis for that,” sometimes — it’s been clear to mainstream practitioners in the US that the classic forms of he said, she said are not so much a “sin” against high practice as an increasingly crappy level of service for what is supposed to be a high end product in news: New York Times reporting. If you can say (reliably) there’s no evidence for… and you don’t, how well have you done by Times authority?

    Here I hand the mic to a fellow blogger of this one sad but (we think) telling paragraph, Felix Salmon, now of Fusion. Felix broke it down proposition by proposition: False equivalency in the NYT. (“How Jeremy Peters’s voter ID reporting is even more wrong than you think.”) I urge you to read his post and come back to this one. #

  36. Yahtc says:

    Hazel Harrison was born on this day in 1883. From Wikipedia:

    “Hazel Harrison (May 12, 1883 – April 29, 1969) was an African American concert pianist. She was the first fully American-trained musician to appear with a European orchestra.

    “Harrison was born in La Porte, Indiana, and spent most of her childhood home schooled. In her 20s Harrison went to Europe for employment and education. She spent most of her time in Berlin performing recitals and performing with the Berlin Philharmonic. She later returned to the states and while performing in Chicago received sponsorship to travel back to Europe. During the next several years Harrison continued her studies with Ferrucio Busoni in Berlin. She then began performing as a concert pianist both in Europe and the U.S.

    “In 1931, Harrison accepted a job as the head of the piano department at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. In 1936 she moved to Washington, D.C. and accepted a teaching job at Howard University, where she remained until retirement in 1955.”

    Another article here:

  37. rikyrah says:

    Pope Francis ✔ @Pontifex

    Let us all join in prayer for the immediate release of the schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria.

  38. rikyrah says:

    House Republicans’ newly created Benghazi Select Committee has attracted attention to their penchant for using investigations of the Obama administration as a fundraising tool. Most of the criticism, thus far, has concerned the National Republican Campaign Committee’s effort to collect email addresses from those who want to “become a Benghazi watchdog” despite committee chairman Trey Gowdy’s plea that they not do so.

    It is no surprise, though, that the NRCC would use Benghazi to the Republican Party’s financial advantage. To understand just how lucrative these scandals can be, look no further than Rep. Darrell Issa. He has offered Republicans a clinic in the science of converting phony scandal into political cash.

    For most of his career, Issa was a lackluster fundraiser. But through the first five quarters of the 2014 election cycle, his campaign committee has raised $2,573,258. This is an impressive haul, considering he has not faced significant opposition in more than a decade. The two Democrats vying to challenge him this year together have raised less than $50,000 combined. If Issa’s fundraising continues at its current pace, he will raise more this cycle than in his first four terms in Congress combined….

    …[T]he Republican grassroots have padded Issa’s coffers: The key ingredient to his miraculous fundraising turnaround has not been high-dollar gifts from PACs and lobbyists, but ordinary Republican voters thanking him, through their contributions, for being the president’s number one antagonist. Issa has nurtured this relationship with the GOP base by cultivating an enormous direct-marketing operation. Four of his top six campaign expenditures so far this year were to direct mail firms and his third largest expense was $70,684 paid to the Post Office…

  39. Yahtc says:

    Norris Wright Cuney was born on this day in 1846. From Wikipedia:

    “Norris Wright Cuney, or simply Wright Cuney, (May 12, 1846 – March 3, 1898) was an American politician, businessman, union leader, and African-American activist in Texas in the United States. Following the American Civil War, he became active in Galveston politics, serving as an alderman and a national Republican delegate. Appointed as United States Collector of Customs in 1889 in Galveston, Cuney had the highest-ranking appointed position of any African American in the late 19th-century South. He was a member of the Union League and helped attract black voters to the Republican Party; in the 1890s, more than 100,000 blacks were voting in Texas.

    “Establishing his own business of stevedores, he helped to unionize black workers in Galveston, opening jobs for them on the docks. He substantially improved employment and educational opportunities for blacks in the city. He eventually rose to the chairmanship of the Texas Republican Party and became a national committeeman.

    “Cuney is regarded by many as the most important black leader in Texas in the 19th century and one of the most important in the United States. Born into slavery, he was freed by his white planter father and sent to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for his education. The war interrupted his plans to attend Oberlin College, but he continued to learn all his life. He also became active in black fraternal organizations, and was elected by black Masons as the grand master of the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1875.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Master P better get in touch with his inner thug..

    his 14 year old child dating an 18 year old?

  41. rikyrah says:

    The Generic Ballot Poll is Useless for Senate Elections
    by BooMan
    Mon May 12th, 2014 at 12:13:52 AM EST

    Chris Cillizza makes some good points about the differences between House and Senate races and why the generic ballot poll isn’t a very reliable barometer for predicting how the Senate elections will turn out.

    But he misses something that people really ought to keep in mind. It’s well known that the Democrats have a hard time turning out their base in midterm elections, but the Republicans see a drop-off in voter participation, too. So, let me put it this way. If you are Mitch McConnell, would you rather run for reelection in a midterm or in a presidential year in which your party’s nominee carries your state 60.5% to 37.8%, with a margin of four hundred thousand votes?

    If you are Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, would you rather run in a midterm or in an election in which your party’s presidential nominee gets only 36.9% of the vote and loses by over two hundred and fifty thousand votes?

    The truth is, midterm turnout cuts both ways for senate candidates. Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina would definitely benefit from Obama’s turnout machine, but Mary Landrieu and Michelle Nunn are glad not to be running with Obama on the same ticket.

    Another reason that the generic ballot question is kind of useless for predicting how the Senate will turn out is that only a third of the Senate is even up for reelection. It doesn’t matter what people in Florida or Missouri or Indiana or Utah think about the Senate because they won’t be voting for a senator in November, and neither will anyone in New York, Massachusetts, Arizona or California.

    In any case, low turnout elections are bad for Democrats in a general kind of way, but Democratic senators running for reelection in deep red states would find it harder to win in a high turnout election because there are simply more Republicans than Democrats in those states. What they have to do is win over a considerable number of people who vote for the Republicans in presidential elections. That’s easier to do when a presidential election isn’t taking place.

    Yet, as Jon Tester and Heidi Heitkamp just demonstrated in the last cycle, Democratic senate candidates can win in deep red states even in a presidential election year. So, basically, look at the races themselves and the candidates, their campaigns, their fundraising, and the polls. The generic ballot number is only useful for predicting House elections.

  42. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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