Thursday Open Thread | William Shakespeare Week : Black Actors

We take a look at Black Actors who have played

Angela Bassett

basset as lady macbeth-1

Though best known for her critically acclaimed portrayals of real-life women (she earned an Oscar nomination for her depiction of Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It and an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Rosa Parks in The Rosa Parks Story), Bassett has also made her mark bringing classic fictional characters to life. In 1998 she portrayed Shakespeare’s best known, and most feared, female character, Lady Macbeth, in an all-star production of Macbeth with Alec Baldwin. Variety called her performance “electrifying.”

basset as lady macbeth-2

Denzel Washington

denzel as brutus-1
Caption: Denzel Washington as Brutus, Patrick Page as Decius Brutus

Washington starred as Brutus in the 2005 hit Broadway revival of Julius Caesar. This was not Washington’s first foray into classical theater. He starred in the 1990 Shakespeare in the Park production of Richard III.

much ado about nothing
Much Ado About Nothing

Adrian Lester

Rory Kinnear (Iago) and Adrian Lester (Othello)
Adrian Lester as Othello

Though best known to American audiences for his stint as Ellis, Joan’s actor boyfriend on Girlfriends, in London Lester is known as a celebrated classical theater actor. In 2000, early in his career, Lester received a British Independent Film Award for his appearance in the film version of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost. He portrayed Othello in a 2013 production at the National Theatre in England. In 2012 Queen Elizabeth appointed him an officer of the Order of the British Empire for his accomplishments in the creative arts.

Harry Lennix

harry lennix

Lennix has appeared in major roles in films like The Five Heartbeats and on television shows like Commander in Chief but in 1999 he landed a coveted role in the film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, in which he starred alongside Academy Award winners Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. Lennix earned raves for his portrayal of Aaron the Moor.


Keith David

1989 Titus Andronicus
Keith David and Kate Mulgrew in the 1989 Shakespeare in the Park production of Titus Andronicus at the Delacorte Theater, directed by Michael Maggio.

David is best known to mainstream audiences for his character roles in films like There’s Something About Mary and Barbershop, but he is also an acclaimed classical actor. He has appeared in Titus Andronicus and as Othello in Shakespeare in the Park productions.

Keith David and Liev Schreiber in OTHELLO
Keith David in Othello

Laurence Fishburne

fishburne as othello

In 1995 Fishburne made history by becoming the first black actor to portray Othello in film.

Tamara Tunie


Tunie is well-known for her performances on television programs like Law & Order: SVU but she is also an accomplished classical actor. Tunie appeared alongside Denzel Washington in the Broadway revival of Julius Caesar and has appeared in many productions with the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, including All’s Well That End’s Well, Antony and Cleopatra and Two Gentleman of Verona.


Paul Robeson


When it comes to African-American classical actors, Robeson was a trailblazer. He became the first black actor of the 20th century to portray Othello on Broadway. Much like James Earl Jones, Robeson is best remembered for his authoritative baritone voice, which made him a standout theater actor as well as acclaimed singer. Though his career was cut short by the political witch hunts of the McCarthy era, Robeson’s performances of the standard “Ol’ Man River” from the musical Showboat in the Broadway production and the film are still considered some of the greatest musical performances of all time.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste

marianne jean-baptiste

She earned an Academy Award nomination for her 1996 performance in Secrets and Lies and widespread international recognition for her co-starring role in the series Without a Trace, but Jean-Baptiste is also an acclaimed stage actor. A graduate of the prestigious classical training ground the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, her performance in Measure for Measure early in her career earned her an Ian Charleson Award nomination, an honor reserved for the most talented English stage actors under the age of 30.

The Winter's Tale Public Theater/Delacorte Theater
Marianne Jean-Baptiste in The Winters Tale

Lisa Gay Hamilton


Though best known for her co-starring role in the long-running series The Practice, Hamilton is a widely respected classical actor. She made her debut in the New York Shakespeare Festival in Measure for Measure in 1993. A graduate of the Juilliard School, she also appeared in Two Gentlemen of Verona and Henry IV.

Sabrina Le Beauf


Many wondered whatever happened to the actress who played Sondra from The Cosby Show. The short answer is she became a classical actress. Le Beauf regularly appears in productions at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., where Broadway veterans and Hollywood stars flock to perform the classics. Le Beauf’s recent starring roles were in productions of Taming of the Shrew and Love’s Labour’s Lost. (Fun fact: The actor who played her on-screen husband, Elvin, in The Cosby Show, Geoffrey Owens, co-stars with Condola Rashad in Romeo and Juliet.)

Jeffrey Wright


Wright has established himself as an actor with a flourishing career in theater as well as film and television. Like Jones, Wright has turned in multiple critically acclaimed performances in the New York Shakespeare Festival. In addition to appearing in Othello (though not in the title role), he also appeared as Marc Antony in Julius Caesar. As a testament to Wright’s emergence as one of the most respected classical actors, he was among the notables selected to appear in Shakespeare in the Park’s 50th-anniversary gala staging of Romeo and Juliet alongside Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline in 2012.

j wright in julius caesar

James Earl Jones

james earl jones in othello
James Earl Jones in Othello

Jones is known for having one of Hollywood’s most recognizable and distinguished voices, which made him well-suited to portray legendary film villain Darth Vader, as well as a host of Shakespeare’s leading men. For years Jones, who has won two Tonys and an honorary Academy Award, was a staple of the New York Shakespeare Festival, also known as Shakespeare in the Park. He appeared in The Merchant of Venice, King Lear and Hamlet but is perhaps best known for his performance as Othello. Here you can watch him perform an excerpt from Othello at a celebration of poetry at the White House in 2009.

james earl jones in king lear
James Earl Jones in King Lear

Timon of Athens
Pictured: James Earl Jones and Harris Yulin in TIMON OF ATHENS by William Shakespeare. Directed by Lloyd Richards, 1979.

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Playing Othello

Ejiofor has already generated Oscar buzz for his performance in the forthcoming 12 Years a Slave. If he does receive an Academy Award, he can add it to the other honors he has already earned. He won an Olivier Award (the English equivalent of a Tony) for his portrayal of Othello in 2008. That same year, the Nigerian-English actor was appointed an officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth — one of the highest-ranking honors available to an English citizen — for his contribution to the arts in the United Kingdom. Ejiofor started his classical career in 1999 as Romeo. He earned a nomination for an Ian Charleson Award, which honors the most gifted stage actors under 30 in England.

Condola Rashad


Before the age of 30, Rashad has already earned more accolades in her brief acting career than some do in a lifetime. Rashad has appeared in two Broadway productions, 2012’s Stick Fly and 2013’s Trip to Bountiful, and earned Tony nominations for both performances. Her track record has made her latest Broadway production one of the most buzzed-about of the season. She is currently starring in a modernized production of Romeo and Juliet, which features a multiracial cast, including English film heartthrob Orlando Bloom as Romeo. Rashad joins a long line of black actors who have tackled the classic works of Shakespeare.

condola rashad in romeo and juliet2

Theater Review Romeo and Juliet

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44 Responses to Thursday Open Thread | William Shakespeare Week : Black Actors

  1. rikyrah says:




    Texas High School Sophomore Turns Out to Be 31-Year-Old Woman

    Charity Anne Johnson, 31, posed as 15-year-old high school student “Charity Stevens.”

    High school sophomore Charity Stevens wasn’t who she claimed to be.

    It turns out that 15-year-old “Charity Stevens” was actually Charity Anne Johnson, a 31-year-old woman.

    Jezebel notes a KLTV report that Johnson enrolled in New Life Christian School in Long View, Texas, in March, posing as Charity Stevens. Before enrolling, Johnson convinced Tamika Lincoln to become her guardian.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Why Newark Turned From Booker to Baraka

    A majority of voters chose a longtime city insider to wrestle with the city’s chronic woes.

    When I grew up in Newark, N.J., in the 1970s and early 1980s, Kenneth Gibson held office as the city’s first black mayor. He had a famous quote: “Wherever American cities are going, Newark will get there first.” In his postelection speech Tuesday, Newark Mayor-elect Ras Baraka thanked Gibson for the phrase and repeated it.

    But that was Tuesday. The Saturday before the election, I was sitting in an IHOP on Bergen Street, a main thoroughfare through the city’s center. I was in the lobby, counting the minutes until candidate Baraka’s feed-the-volunteers event began.

    These kinds of feed-the-workers, feed-the-seniors events work well in such a small city. And Newark—24 square miles containing approximately 277,000 people—is a small city, electorally speaking: There are only 150,000 registered voters, and it’s not unusual to become mayor with just 30,000 votes in the winner’s column.

    I started chatting up some of the campaign workers, one of whom said she worked for the city under Cory Booker, the former Newark mayor who is now a U.S. senator for New Jersey. Booker stepped down from the mayor’s chair last year to climb to the Senate after the death of longtime stalwart Frank Lautenberg. In the Washington, D.C., circles I’m now accustomed to since leaving Newark 22 years ago to attend graduate school in the metro-Washington area, it’s assumed that Booker will become the second black president.

    So I had the perfect excuse to ask the question I’d been wanting to ask since I’d come back home more than two weeks ago to cover this election: Why Cory Booker? What was up with that?

    It was the money, the promise of investment, she replied. But he was a disappointment, she and some Newarkers told me, in almost asides: attempting to privatize the city’s water supply; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million gift to Newark schools that didn’t trickle down past the bureaucracy; the idea, if not reality, that he was more available to NBC’s Meet the Press than he was to citizens in City Hall; his imported New York staffers and consultants; and on and on. To the national and Washington, D.C., press corps, he’s a real-life Captain America, rescuing neighbors from fires and giving powerful speeches. But to Newarkers, he was as illusory as that Marvel film image.

    We voted for him for Senate to get him out of here,” she said with such seriousness that I couldn’t keep from laughing. Since there are no power brokers or bourgeoisie to offend, Newarkers—virtually all either poor or working-class Northerners—tend to be quite blunt and direct. So I believed every word she said.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Here’s Why That School Principal Tells Young Black Men to Wear Ties

    It’s true—attire counts for only so much. But in a judgmental world, young black men should have a clear understanding of just how much appearances count.
    By: David Swerdlick
    Posted: May 15 2014 4:28 PM

    If you want to read a compelling defense of the individuality of spirit and mind in young black men—and their right to choose the normal range of teenage self-expression—look no further than this week’s Race Manners column, in which The Root’s Jenée Desmond-Harris explains why she’s skeptical about a school principal who stresses “dress for success” life advice for the black boys that he mentors.

    The bottom line, she writes, is that young black men, all too frequently stereotyped, have the same humanity at their core as any other kids—and that teachers, parents and society at large ought to “treat these students like people with potential, not problems that need to be repackaged.” I don’t disagree.

    And there really should be no debate that the put-a-tie-on principal’s No. 1 priority should be his students’ scholastic development.

    But even if it’s wrong, appearances count. And young black men—too often written off as low-achievers by those unwilling to deal with them as individuals—should have the benefit of knowing exactly what’s at stake when they start to make choices about how they present themselves.

    Of course, as Desmond-Harris notes, it’s a flagrant double standard that America somehow “leaves room for white male success to come in the form of scruffy facial hair and jeans or shorts worn around the pingpong table at a startup company’s headquarters,” while most young black men, by contrast, enter the job market under considerably stricter scrutiny.

  4. Ametia says:

    What is this Hillary Clinton 24/7 now on the cable networks?

  5. Ametia says:

    This is some messed up ISH right here

    #BlackBiopics: Twitter’s Roast of Bad Casting Choices
    [ 4 ] May 15, 2014 | Luvvie

    New pictures of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone in the unauthorized biography just got released and folks are mad all over again at the ridiculousness of that casting choice. I’ve already blogged about why Zoe playing Nina was a terrible choice. Of ALLLLL actresses that could have played Nina, they went with Zoe and chose to paint her skin darker. WHY NOT JUST USE ONE OF THE MANY GIFTED DARK-SKINNED ACTRESSES IN HOLLYWOOD??? Ughhhhh! Just look at this picture:

    • Ametia says:

      Hire black actress to play black singer and blackens black actress, instead of hiring BLACKER ACTRESS. Fucked up

      • rikyrah says:

        I have no sympathy. A darker-skinned Sista should have played this role


        What’s next?

        Halle Berry as Harriet Tubman?

      • Ametia says:

        Hollywood wants to keep those European features in the mix, when it comes to Black actors.

        Remember all those white Hollywood actresses including Liz Taylor playing Cleopatra?

  6. Ametia says:

    Big FAN of Chipotle

    Chipotle Cups Will Now Feature Stories by Jonathan Safran Foer, Toni Morrison, and Other Authors

  7. rikyrah says:

    Black Canseco @BlackCanseco

    the more we learn about Abramson’s firing, the more summa yall gonna regret not keeping your capes in the phonebooth till at least Monday.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Billy Rae Valentine @fromraewithlove

    QOTD: You get a phone call. You have 1 hour to pack and get your passport. You have 3k spending money. Trip is paid for. Where to?

  9. rikyrah says:



    8 p.m. The Originals*

    9 p.m. Jane the Virgin


    8 p.m. The Flash

    9 p.m. Supernatural


    8 p.m. Arrow

    9 p.m. The 100


    8 p.m. The Vampire Diaries

    9 p.m. Reign


    8 p.m. Whose Line is it Anyway?

    8:30 p.m. Whose Line is it Anyway? (repeat)

    9 p.m. America’s Next Top Model

  10. Hey Chicas!

    Watch this little boy in wheel chair enjoy the song “Happy” by Pharrell. It’s the SWEETEST thing EVER!

  11. rikyrah says:

    May 14, 2014 1:05 PM
    U.S. Mental Health Policy Comes of Age

    By Keith Humphreys

    From the very first days of the U.S. health insurance system, the stigma of mental illness was formally codified into benefit design. Both public and private insurers provided inferior coverage for mental health care, if they even provided it at all. For decades, this was not remotely controversial. Labor unions were quite happy to trade “mental for dental” when negotiating fringe benefits for their workers, politicians suffered no electoral consequences for passing insurance legislation that discriminated against people with mental illness, and families who needed better health benefits for mentally ill loved ones were typically too ashamed to speak up. But thanks to brave advocates, inspiring bipartisan political leadership and cultural changes in perceptions of mental illness, dramatically improved mental health insurance coverage has at last arrived on the American scene.

    Three laws have transformed the landscape of mental health insurance policy in the span of only a half-decade.

    In 2008, a sweeping reform of Medicare passed which righted an injustice that had plagued the program since its inception. Medicare originally covered outpatient mental health and addiction treatment at a far lower rate (50%) than other outpatient care (80%). The backbreaking 50% outpatient co-pay effectively prevented most enrollees from accessing outpatient mental health care. The 2008 law phased this payment disparity out over time, eliminating it entirely as of January 1, 2014. Medicare now covers 80% of outpatient mental health care costs, which is good news for its 50 million current enrollees and the 150,000 new enrollees it gains each month.

    Also in 2008, Congress passed and President G.W. Bush signed the Wellstone-Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. Named for its two leading Senatorial advocates (interestingly, the proudly liberal Paul Wellstone and the staunchly conservative Pete Domenici) the law requires companies with more than 50 employees as well as Medicaid managed care plans to make their offered mental health benefits comparable to those for other illnesses. These parity protections apply to over 100 million Americans.

    The 2010 Affordable Care Act aka “Obamacare” went even further. It extended parity protections to individuals who receive insurance from small businesses and to those who purchase it in the individual market (e.g., on a state or federal health insurance exchange). It also defines mental health as an essential health care benefit that all plans it regulates must offer. Last but not least, the law of course also provides insurance to the uninsured population, which has a high rate of psychiatric disorders. Over 60 million Americans will receive improved mental health insurance coverage because of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Fox News Reveals Their Real Agenda By Congratulating Karl Rove On Hillary Clinton Smear

    By: Jason Easley

    Wednesday, May, 14th, 2014, 7:14 pm

    Fox News is revealing their true agenda by congratulating Karl Rove for smearing Hillary Clinton by claiming that she has brain damage.

    Video of Fox News praising Rove:

    Eric Bolling said on The Five, “I think he’s an evil genius. I love Karl…Look, he planted a seed, and now the left and the right are watering it like crazy, and guess what? It’s starting to sprout, and you have to ask the question. Is she capable? Is she okay? What’s with the lens on that left eyeglass after her head bump? Bolling went on to claim that Rove was actually wrong, because President Clinton said she was injured for 6 months, not three.

    However, former President Clinton never said that his wife was injured for six months.

  13. Ametia says:

    WHELP! Here goes our RIGHTS to gaining unlimited access on the internet

    Comcast: Usage-Based Billing for All Customers Within 5 Years; ‘We’re Also Allowed to Do Fast Lanes’

    Comcast will introduce usage-based billing on all of its broadband customers nationwide within five years, whether they like it or not.

    Comcast’s executive vice president David Cohen told Variety he predicts the new usage limit will likely be 350GB a month but could increase to 500GB in 2019. Cohen claims consumers in usage-capped test markets prefer a preset usage limit and an overlimit fee of $10 for each additional 50GB of usage.

    But Stop the Cap! has learned at no time has Comcast surveyed customers about whether they want their Internet usage metered or capped. That question is evidently not an option.

    If Time Warner Cable territories are merged under the Comcast brand, usage billing would likely immediately follow.

    Usage caps will go a long way to protect Comcast’s cable television package from online video, which if viewed in significant amounts could put customers over their monthly usage limit and subject them to higher fees.

    “We’re trying to go slowly, not out of a regulatory concern (but because) we have no desire to blow up our high-speed data business,” he said.


  14. Ametia says:

    FCC approves plan to allow for paid priority on Internet

    The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted in favor of advancing a proposal that would dramatically reshape the way consumers experience the Internet, opening the possibility of Internet service providers charging Web sites for higher-quality delivery of their content to American consumers.

    The plan, approved in a three-to-two vote along party lines, could unleash a new economy on the Web where an Internet service provider such as Verizon would charge a Web site such as Netflix for the guarantee of flawless video streaming.

    Smaller companies that can’t afford to pay for faster delivery would likely face additional obstacles against bigger rivals. And consumers could see a trickle-down effect of higher prices as Web sites try to pass along new costs of doing business with Internet service providers.

    The proposal is not a final rule, but the three-to-two vote on Thursday is a significant step forward on a controversial idea that has invited fierce opposition from consumer advocates, Silicon Valley heavyweights, and Democratic lawmakers.

  15. Shameful!!!!!!!!!!

    Sudan judge sentences Christian woman to death for apostasy

    A Sudanese judge on Thursday sentenced a Christian woman to hang for apostasy, despite appeals by Western embassies for compassion and respect for religious freedom.

    “We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death,” Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa told the woman, addressing her by her father’s Muslim name, Adraf Al-Hadi Mohammed Abdullah.

    Her Christian name is Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag.

    Khalifa also sentenced her to 100 lashes for “adultery”.

    Ishag, who rights activists say is pregnant and 27 years old, reacted without emotion when Abbas delivered the verdict at a court in the Khartoum district of Haj Yousef.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Florida Couple Fined $746 For Crime Of Feeding Homeless People

    By Scott Keyes
    May 12, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    After feeding the hungry in a Daytona Beach park every weekend for more than a year, it’s just as easy to imagine Chico and Debbie Jimenez given a ticker-tape parade as what they actually got: a slew of citations and a permanent ban from the park.

    Chico and Debbie Jimenez, a husband and wife team, aren’t handing out food in the Florida heat every Wednesday because of a court order or for a paycheck. They do it because they believe helping the poor is their religious duty. The pair run a Christian outreach group, Spreading the Word Without Saying a Word Ministry, that gives food to the needy every week, pointing to Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:40: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

    Every Wednesday, the Jimenezes feed more than a hundred people a hearty lunch with dishes of chicken patties, macaroni salad, and fresh vegetables, among others. The meals are entirely funded by private donations and staffed with volunteers.

    However, Daytona Beach is one of a handful of cities that enacted ordinances barring individuals from serving food in public. Last week, nearly a half-dozen police officers showed up at Manatee Island Park, where a long line of people had queued to get a meal, and served citations to the Jimenezes and volunteers.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Judd Legum @JuddLegum
    The Pope read the bible and says it demands a redistribution of wealth
    11:25 AM – 9 May 2014

  18. rikyrah says:

    For Harriet @ForHarriet
    Paulette Brown to Become the First Black Woman President of the American Bar Association
    2:18 PM – 14 May 2014

  19. rikyrah says:

    Et Tu, Jet Blue? The Airlines’ War on the 99%

    Harold Meyerson

    May 14, 2014

    Yes, air travel is getting even worse for regular people. That’s because the wealthy are taking up all the space.

    Next month, JetBlue is adding a first-class section to its hitherto classless—but relatively classy—planes. By virtue of not having a first-class section, JetBlue has been able to provide something that most airlines have long since abolished: legroom for its passengers.

    But the egalitarian seating plan has long since disappeared from nearly every airline, and JetBlue is a decided latecomer to the prevailing model of airline seating, which we will term the Piketty-Saez Seating Plan, or PSSP.

    To be sure, airlines are in no way responsible for the polarization of income and wealth that defines our time. Increasingly, however, their seating plans reflect that polarization, with more and more space and amenities showered on their first-class passengers (whose fares rise accordingly), while less and less space and fewer – increasingly, no – amenities are provided to coach passengers.

    In Capital in the 21st Century, economist Thomas Piketty provides data that show conclusively that our current level of economic inequality now is comparable to that at the start of the 20th-century—before two world wars, a Great Depression, and the reforms of the New Deal and European social democracy produced a more broadly shared prosperity.

    A comparison of today’s airliners with the great fin-de-siècle passenger ships would reveal a similar disparity in their treatment of passengers—lavish accommodations for first class, and the bulk of the passengers in steerage. As a socio-economic tract, Titanic could be remade today set on an airliner

  20. rikyrah says:

    Scott Brown Urged GOP Senators To Kill Jeanne Shaheen’s Energy Efficiency Bill

    Posted: 05/14/2014 3:33 pm EDT Updated: 05/14/2014 4:59 pm EDT

    New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown called Senate Republican leadership to urge them to stop a bipartisan energy efficiency bill, so as not to give Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), the bill’s Democratic sponsor and his Democratic opponent, something to run on.

    The Huffington Post first reported on Tuesday that Brown, a former senator from Massachusetts, lobbied against the bill as recently as last week. The Shaheen-Portman bill failed to clear a procedural hurdle Monday despite enjoying broad bipartisan support. Although the legislation had 14 co-sponsors — seven from each side of the aisle — just two other Republicans ultimately voted with Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) to end debate on the measure: Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Susan Collins (Maine).

    A spokeswoman for Brown, who did not return HuffPost’s request for comment, did not deny the report in a statement to Politico. “Scott Brown was concerned that Senator Shaheen was refusing to allow a vote on the Keystone pipeline, a commonsense and bipartisan project that would immediately create thousands of jobs and lessen our dependence on foreign oil,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Guyton said.

    Brown is running in the New Hampshire GOP primary, set for Sept. 9, for the opportunity to challenge Shaheen in November.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Honest Work

    Why the GOP argument against raising the minimum wage is really an argument against having a minimum wage at all.

    By Jamelle Bouie

    On the surface, this trend looks like a GOP shift to the center. But these men are outliers. For the large majority of Republican lawmakers, there’s no reason to raise the minimum wage. And when Democrats raise the issue, they push back with the usual reactionary rhetoric.

    “[W]hen you raise the cost of something, you get less of it,” said House Speaker John Boehner, after the White House revealed its plan to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers. He continued: “We know from increases in the minimum wage in the past that hundreds of thousands of low income Americans have lost their jobs.”

    Likewise, after voting to block cloture on a minimum wage bill in the Senate—thus killing the proposal—Indiana Sen. Dan Coats, the senior Senate Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, said, “Raising the minimum wage creates winners and losers—it will raise the wages of some but result in job losses for many low-income workers. The true problem plaguing impoverished Americans is not low wage rates but a lack of good job opportunities.”

    But none of this mattered to Republicans who read the report. For them, it was vindication. “Raising the minimum wage could destroy as many as one million jobs, a devastating blow to the very people that need help most in this economy,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, all but speaking for most of the Republican Party, and echoing decades of rhetoric against increasing the minimum wage.

    All of this doomsaying raises a question: If raising the minimum wage destroys jobs and prevents employment, then lowering it would do the opposite. And if you gain from lowering the minimum wage, then why have one at all?

    At least a few Republicans—including two presidential contenders—seem to have wondered as much, and have gone to where that logic leads: Complete opposition to the minimum wage.

  22. rikyrah says:

    May 13, 2014 5:24 PM
    On Account of It Works

    By Ed Kilgore

    The MSM will presumably soon forget about Karl Rove’s incredible statement insinuating that Hillary Clinton might be suffering from some brain injury that would diminish her capacity to serve as president. But we need to remember it. Why? Because he keeps doing this sort of thing and getting away with it, as Peter Beinart points out at The Atlantic.

    Karl Rove now denies reports that he said Hillary Clinton may have brain damage. “I never used that phrase,” he said on Fox News. True. What Rove said was, “Thirty days in the hospital? And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what’s up with that.”

    In other words, Rove didn’t say Hillary Clinton has brain damage. He hinted it, thus giving himself deniability while ensuring that the slur lingers in the public mind. Which is what he’s been doing his entire career.

    In 2004, Joshua Green reported in The Atlantic that Texas insiders accused Rove of spreading allegations that his rival, Republican consultant John Weaver, had made a pass at a young man at a GOP event. Green also quoted an aide to a 1994 state Supreme Court candidate in Alabama who accused Rove of having quietly insinuated that his boss was a pedophile. Similarly, when George W. Bush ran for governor of Texas that same year, rumors swirled about the sexual orientation of incumbent Ann Richards. “No one ever traced the character assassination to Rove,” wrote Bush biographer Louis Dubose, “Yet no one doubts that Rove was behind it.” Most famously, when Bush was fighting for his life against a surging John McCain in South Carolina in 2000, fliers, emails, and push polls accused McCain of having fathered an African-American “love child” (he had actually adopted a girl from Bangladesh) and of suffering from mental instability as a result of his incarceration in Vietnam. McCain staffers, and McCain’s daughter, have accused Rove of orchestrating the rumors; Rove denies any involvement.

    Why does Rove allegedly smear his opponents this way? Because it works.

  23. rikyrah says:

    May 14, 2014, 12:40 pm
    Republican Titanic: immigration reform and Hillary

    By Fernando Espuelas

    While Republicans battle each other, they are blind to the iceberg they’re about to ram — with catastrophic consequences.
    In spite of being warned of the existential danger they face if Latinos continue to vote by wide supermajorities for Democrats, Republicans insist on isolating themselves by serially blocking immigration reform, thereby provoking mass-scale anger among the fastest-growing voter group in America.

    According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 50,000 American Latinos turn 18 years old each month. There are now about 23 million voting-eligible Hispanics in the country.

    Arturo Vargas, executive director of the nonpartisan National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, recently told me on my show that if Latinos’ voter participation continues to grow cycle after cycle, eventually reaching the level of non-Hispanic white and African-American voters, the Latino vote would be decisive in California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.

    In other words, Hispanics will be in the position to stop Republicans from being elected to statewide office (as has already happened in California) – or ever again reaching the White House.

    Republicans, meet your iceberg.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

  24. rikyrah says:

    Federal Judge Denies Governor’s Motion To Put Idaho Gay Marriages On Hold
    ASSOCIATED PRESS – May 14, 2014, 1:38 PM EDT

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal magistrate judge has refused to put gay marriages on hold in Idaho pending an appeal from the state’s governor.

    U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale wrote Wednesday morning that Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s appeal isn’t likely to succeed, and so there’s no reason to keep same-sex couples from seeking marriage licenses or marrying on Friday.

    On Tuesday, Dale struck down Idaho’s same-sex marriage ban in response to a lawsuit from four Idahocouples.

    Dale said Idaho’s law unconstitutionally denies gay and lesbian couples their fundamental right to marry and wrongly stigmatizes their families. She said the state must start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Friday morning.

  25. rikyrah says:

    A Shameful Victory for Obamacare’s Opponents Lots of people don’t even realize they are eligible for assistance

    By Jonathan Cohn

    McKinsey and Company has published a new report about the Affordable Care Act. It’s getting attention, but not entirely for the right reasons.

    The report attempts to address a few different questions—among them, how Obamacare is affecting the uninsured. Research from organizations like Gallup, Rand, and the Urban Institute have made it clear that the proportion of Americans without coverage is coming down. But they don’t show by how much. McKinsey has bene taking surveys of its own and, according to this new report, only about a quarter of the people getting coverage through the new marketplaces were previously uninsured. That’s a pretty low number and it would seem to suggest the law isn’t having such a big impact. “The upshot of that figure was that of the people shopping for coverage on their own who had actually enrolled in a new plan in 2014, the vast majority had been previously insured,” as Avik Roy wrote in Forbes. “Another way to say that is that for all of the talk about 7-million this and 8-million that, the Obamacare exchanges’ expansion of coverage to the uninsured was far smaller.”

    The second part of that quote makes a valid point that, presumably, few people grasp. Of the 8.1 million Americans signing up for insurance in the new marketplaces, many would have had coverage anyway. But, even with the information that McKinsey has provided, it’s difficult to know how many people fall into that category—or how that really reflects on the law’s overall performance.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Time to revisit conventional wisdom about politics of Obamacare

    The initial conventional wisdom about the Arkansas Senate race — that incumbent Mark Pryor is the nation’s preeminent Dead Dem Walking — is rapidly getting revised in the wake of new polls showing him ahead of GOP Rep. Tom Cotton.

    So perhaps, in the context of the Arkansas race, it’s also worth revisiting the conventional wisdom that Obamacare is nothing but a hideous liability for Democrats, and can only shower Republicans with political gold from now until election day.

    One of Senator Pryor’s senior campaign strategists tells me Pryor will not shy away from making the case that the state’s “private option” — its version of the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare — represents Pryor’s brand of good governance, and that Cotton’s repeal stance is extreme and bad for the state.

    This is particularly relevant right now, as a fascinating new report from David Ramsey of the Arkansas Times demonstrates. Ramsey reports that the bipartisan private option — which uses Medicaid funds to expand private coverage to 150,000 Arkansans — has become a major issue in several state legislative Republican primaries.

    Tellingly, the primaries turn on whether or not the private option actually constitutes Obamacare. Conservative candidates challenging Republican legislators over their support for the private option charge that it is, indeed, the hated law. One challenger derides his opponent for supporting the “implementation of Obamacare.”

    Those legislators who support the private option maintain that it isn’t really Obamacare at all. ”I am against Obamacare,” one says. “We can debate the private option, but saying I am for Obamacare — that’s just a lie.”

    The private option, of course, is funded by Obamacare. And as Rachel Maddow points out in a good segment on the Arkansas Senate race, Democratic governor Mike Beebe has astronomically high approval ratings after fighting a bruising battle to get the private option passed.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Obama reminds Congress about infrastructure, jobs

    05/15/14 08:02 AM

    By Steve Benen

    It was just last weekend when Republican officials took a break from talking about Benghazi to demand to know why Democrats aren’t talking about job creation. In theory, then, GOP lawmakers should have been delighted by President Obama’s event in New York yesterday.

    President Obama on Wednesday called on Congress to act swiftly to approve billions of dollars in funding for the nation’s aging roads, bridges and rail systems, warning that a failure to do so may cost the economy 700,000 jobs.

    Speaking on the banks of the Hudson River, Obama said no sector suffered more in the recession than the construction industry, arguing that new public works projects would help put many back to work and attract businesses deciding whether to locate in the United States or overseas.

    For those who missed the speech, it’s worth watching because the president had a pretty compelling pitch.

    “Building a world-class transportation system is one of the reasons America became an economic superpower in the first place,” Obama said. “But over the past 50 years, as a share of our economy, our investment in transportation has shrunk by 50 percent. Think about that. Our investment in transportation has been cut by half.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Japan Lawmakers Signal 2020 Olympics Window Closing for Casinos

    By Vinicy Chan and Yuki Yamaguchi
    May 15, 2014 12:27 AM CT

    Japanese lawmakers supporting a bill to legalize casinos said it would be tough to pass the law by next month, a sign that the opportunity to link approval with the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo is diminishing.

    “Passing the casino bill in the current session of parliament will be tough,” Sakihito Ozawa, a lower house member, said today at a forum in Tokyo. Japan’s parliament, or Diet, meets until June 22 and the bill must be sent to the upper house at least 20 days before the session ends, he said.

    The country’s ruling party and business leaders including Lawson Inc. Chairman Takeshi Niinami have promoted casinos as a tourism-boosting complement to the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. The current Diet session offers the last chance for passage of a casino bill in time to have gambling resorts open by then.

    “We are doing our utmost to start deliberations on the bill this month,” Takeshi Iwaya, secretary general of the pro-casino group of lawmakers, said today at the Japan Gaming Congress in Tokyo.

    Iwaya is in Tokyo with executives from global casino resort operators including Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), MGM Resorts International (MGM) and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. (MPEL), who are supporting passage of the bill to end Japan’s ban on casinos

  29. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014
    Last Call For Spies Like Us

    This Jack Devine piece in Politico sums up every problem I have with Team Dudebro Defector:

    In his new book, No Place to Hide, Glenn Greenwald tells how Edward Snowden once confided to him, “with a hint of embarrassment,” how much he had learned from playing video games. In the black-and-white world of video games, “the protagonist is often an ordinary person, who finds himself faced with grave injustices from powerful forces and has the choice to flee in fear or to fight for his beliefs,” Greenwald writes.

    But Edward Snowden’s video-game world is not the real world. I see Snowden in a very different light. My colleagues and I spent our careers in the CIA looking for people like him—on the other side, that is. We worked hard to locate the kind of person who could be persuaded to give up his country’s secrets: narcissistic, often delusional under-achievers whom we could hope to turn into loose-lipped sources in our enemies’ camps and other hostile locations. We understood just how valuable it was to every aspect of our foreign policy to know the plans and intentions of our enemies; the best way to do this was to look for a source and exploit people like Snowden, the National Security Agency leaker, ­ to target for this purpose.

    The Russians weren’t slouches either in searching for sources of classified information. They were looking for their Snowdens too. You don’t have to go back too far to see their success in recruiting American spies with unique access – John Anthony Walker, Aldreich Ames, and Robert Hanssen – who did immense damage to our national security. Moreover, Ames and Hanssen’s compromises led to the death of many of our top Russian sources. Walker’s compromise, by contrast, allowed the Soviets to know the locations of U.S. submarines around the world. One shudders to think what more could have been done against us if they had had Snowden’s access to sensitive communications and his technical know-how on how to extract it from the system. Some people think of Snowden as a latter-day Daniel Ellsberg, a noble whistle-blower. Clearly I do not.

    Once again, if your goal was to do as much damage as possible to the intelligence capability of the US, Edward Snowden could not have done a more crushingly thorough job. The debate over the NSA’s role and oversight is something that needs to happen and continues to be ongoing. But the debate over whether or not the actions taken by Snowden, Greenwald and others caused lasting harm to the country is over, and we lost.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

    • Ametia says:

      Good Morning, Rikyrah & Everyone! :-)

      Love, love, LOVE this week’s series.

      And I’m giggling with delight at the sight of these fine Black Actors.

      Don’t judge me, but I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me to see these Othellos with their hands around IAGO’s neck!!! LOL

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