celebrities

When celebrity luster gives cover to how America judges its own
Jessye Norman and Diahann Carroll remind us of the unfair burden placed on icons of color

People who hold up the late Jessye Norman, left, or Diahann Carroll as exemplifying America’s promise, that hard work will inevitably lead to reward, ignore the women’s own struggles , Curtis writes. (Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images file photos)

OPINION — I am not one of those folks who see celebrities as larger-than-life icons to be worshipped and admired. Usually. But the recent deaths of Jessye Norman and Diahann Carroll hit me in the gut because those two amazing women were at once larger than life and so very real. The reactions to their accomplishments also illustrate an American or perhaps universal trait — the ability to compartmentalize, to place certain citizens of color or underrepresented citizens on a pedestal, at once a part of and apart from others of their race or gender or religion or orientation.

It allows negative judgment of entire groups to exist alongside denials of any racist or discriminatory intent. There are a lot of problems with that way of thinking. It places an unfair burden on the icons, a need to be less a human being than a flawless symbol. And it uses them as a rebuke to others who never managed to overcome society’s obstacles.

#MAGAWood comes to Trump’s defense as impeachment talk ramps up
Randy Quaid has some thoughts on Adam Schiff

Actor Randy Quaid having a great time (Courtesy @RandyRRQuaid/Twitter)

As impeachment talk accelerates in Washington, it should be no surprise that some Hollywood celebrities are weighing in as well. The entertainment capital of the world sometimes gets a rap as liberal and anti-Trump, but there’s still love for the president in Tinseltown.

President Donald Trump is facing mounting scrutiny from congressional Democrats, including House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, who Trump said should be “questioned at the highest level for Fraud and Treason.”

It’s almost time for The Jacket to invade Capitol Hill
How the Barbour jacket took over Capitol Hill and D.C.

Kate Middleton is the latest British royal to rock the Barbour jacket, which has now become a signature look on Capitol Hill too. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images file photo)

Between late October and early May you can’t swing a dead cat in this city without hitting a Capitol Hill bro decked out in The Jacket.

You know the one I’m talking about.

Far from being ignored, Andrew Yang receives too much attention
So do Gabbard, Williamson and Sanders, given their likelihood of winning nomination

Democratic presidential candidate and entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks at the Iowa State Fair in August. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More than 250 people running for the Democratic presidential nomination are polling within a couple of points of Andrew Yang, but that won’t stop his Yang Gang and some members of the media from calling for the press to pay more attention to their candidate.

Blaming a losing candidate’s lack of traction on the media is a time-honored tradition. But Yang, Marianne Williamson, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and even Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders get more attention than they deserve given their likelihood of winning the Democratic nomination.

Comedian Hasan Minhaj rankles, entertains at student debt hearing
Congressional hearings can be dry but not today

Things got a little testy between Rep. Sean Duffy, seen here, and Hasan Minhaj at Tuesday's hearing. (CQ Roll Call Screenshot)

You may not think a hearing on solving the $1.6 trillion student loan debt crisis would provide many laughs, but comedian Hasan Minhaj racked up a few, to the annoyance of some Republicans, while testifying before the House Financial Services Committee.

Tuesday’s hearing wasn’t short on tense exchanges, either, even from the jump.

Why talking about Trump isn’t enough to motivate minority voters
DCCC partnered with minority-owned firms to listen to African American voters in North Carolina

Democrat Dan McCready talks with Lauretta Humphrey at Home Game Sports during his education tour in Fairmont, N.C., on Aug. 10. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Democrats are going to flip North Carolina’s 9th District this week, they need minority voters in the rural, eastern part of the district to vote.

That’s why the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has spent more than a million dollars on this toss-up race through its independent expenditure arm, has also been doing more under-the-radar work to study these voters and find effective ways to talk to them.

‘American Idol’ tryouts test patience of DC federal workers
Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this. Others think it’s ‘bulls---’

The American Idol bus parked outside the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. (Clyde McGrady/CQ Roll Call)

If you enjoy hearing people randomly shout-sing ballads and practice Mariah Carey-like vocal runs, then Wednesday morning at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington was your own personal heaven.

“American Idol,” now in its 18th (!) season, held open auditions at the federal building named after a president who knew a thing or two about performance.

Suicide prevention hotline to get three-digit phone number
FCC chairman says he will move ahead following legislation, staff report

Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, plans to move ahead with establishing a three-digit suicide prevention hotline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It should soon be easier to call a suicide prevention hotline.

The Federal Communications Commission plans to move forward with establishing a three-digit number for the federally-backed hotline.

Trump urged unity after shootings. But White House is hitting Dems hard
President heads to Dayton and El Paso as his team criticizes political opponents

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will take Air Force One to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday after mass shootings in both cities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s warnings about political divisions hindering efforts to stave off future mass shootings began to erode Tuesday at his own White House, as he and senior aides took not-so-veiled shots at Democrats.

The president will spend time Wednesday with some family members of the victims of deadly weekend shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, and others, 48 hours after warning of the dangers of political division and calling for unity.

9/11 victims bill heads to Trump‘s desk after clearing Senate
Final action on the measure came after months of emotional lobbying by ailing first responders and their families

Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show, smiles as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks by at the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. The Senate will be voting later today on HR 1327: Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate cleared a measure Tuesday that would extend a financial lifeline to thousands of victims suffering health problems from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

By the lopsided vote of 97-2, the Senate agreed to a House-passed bill that would effectively make permanent a special compensation fund for first responders and other victims of the 2001 attacks, while providing however much money is needed to pay all eligible claims filed by Oct. 1, 2090.