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This 1983 Clip of Star Wars Star Mark Hamill Is Just Creepy and Eerily Prescient

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

So here’s the setting. It’s 1983. Filming on Return of the Jedi has wrapped up that year and the film, the final in the original Star Wars trilogy, is a huge hit. Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker is a global star.

There is already speculation that creator/director George Lucas is working on prequels and sequels to the trilogy that Jedi completed. The prequels waited a long while but debuted in 1999 with The Phantom Menace.

In the 1983 talk show clip below, Mark Hamill aka Luke Skywalker casually mentions a discussion that he had recently had with Lucas.

“He at one time said, ‘Would you consider playing an Obi-Wan type character handing Excalibur down to the next generation?’” Hamill says Lucas asked him.

“I said ‘When would that be?’ and at the time he said, ‘Oh, around 2011.’”

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Lucas was only about four years off. Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens comes out a year from now. Hamill/Skywalker is in the film, but not in a starring role.

Disney announced the film just one year off from Lucas’ prediction, in October 2012.

More: 

What’s With That New Lightsaber in The Force Awakens Trailer?

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‘There has been an awakening…’

Monday, December 1st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens is destined to hit theaters in December 2015. It will be the first J.J. Abrams Star Wars launch, and the first full live-action SW movie made since Disney bought the franchise from creator George Lucas.

In case you missed it, over the weekend the official teaser trailer for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens was released. And here it is.

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It took less than 24 hours for that teaser to be turned out in Lego.

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I have to admit, the Lego troopers look pretty good.

The movie’s international teaser also rolled out, and here it is. One of its key moments: The off-screen voice of Han Solo asks if there’s “room in this battle for an old war horse?”

Of course there is.

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Harrison Ford was injured during the production of SW7. The “old war horse” broke his leg on the set, and filming had to be delayed while he recuperated.

This frame from the first teaser-trailer is causing an Internet uproar. What’s up with the little jets off to the side of the red Sith lightsaber blade?

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That thing appears to be the Star Wars version of a greatsword.

The teasers and trailers for The Force Awakens look amazing. But I’m approaching the new SW films from the perspective of an adult who was burned by great teasers for The Phantom Menace. Even though it’s a new era, and Lucas isn’t directing, cautious pessimism is the way to go.

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Where’s Our Mockingjay?

Monday, November 24th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 opened in theaters around the world over the weekend and earned a hefty $275 million. In a year where domestic box office has been down overall, the film also earned more money in its opening weekend than any other film in 2014. The popularity of the Hunger Games series can’t be disputed, and has prompted a handful of similar franchises like the Divergent series and this year’s The Maze Runner and The Giver.

With plucky rebellion against dystopian tyrannies all the rage, an opportunity exists to draw some comparisons between these popular fictions and the real world. Indeed, the film has become a touchstone for protestors in Thailand. Fox News reports:

“The Mockingjay movie reflects what’s happening in our society. … When people have been suppressed for some time, they would want to resist and fight for their rights,” Nachacha Kongudom, 21, one of [three students detained at a screening], told AP. “Going to the cinema is the basic rights of the people. I’m here today to call for and to protect my rights.”

On Wednesday, five university students were arrested in northeastern Thailand after giving the three-fingered salute [from the film] during a speech by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led the coup [against the elected government] as army commander.

It’s easy to see parallels between the Hunger Games stories and reality when you live under a military dictatorship. Panem, the fictional nation where these tales are set, operates as a fascist state where the individual languishes under subjugation. Dissent is brutally put down, and the enslaved populace is forced to offer up their children in tribute to a capitol which pits them against each other in a vicious death match.

Life in the United States is far from that portrayed in Panem. However, when the root issues at stake in the Hunger Games saga are identified, it becomes clear that Americans have much worth rebelling against.

At the core of nearly every policy pursued by the current administration has been a profound subjugation of the individual to the will of the state. Young people stand particularly victimized, forced to sacrifice their present and future happiness to fund promises made to the sick or the old, promises which actually benefit those in power. How does the individual mandate in Obamacare differ fundamentally from the slave labor in Panem? Sure, instead of the lash, we have the IRS. But the effect proves the same, individuals forced to feed the state.

In these years between elections, the opportunity exists to define the stakes in such terms. Young people may be socially liberal, a fact not likely to change. But they retain a sense of individual liberty which fiction like The Hunger Games stokes into conviction. Let’s build on those themes to present a vision for the nation where the pursuit of happiness becomes sacrosanct again.

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Vaclav Havel Honored by ZZ Top in U.S. Capitol

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson
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The House honored late Czech President Vaclav Havel on Wednesday with the unveiling of a bust in Statuary Hall — and ZZ Top.

The ceremony was timed to also mark the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.

Havel, a playwright, poet and foe of communism, was the first president of the newly liberated Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic after the fall of the Soviet Union.

“It is a poetic but also paradoxical honor for a man who, in his own words, lived ‘a paradoxical life.’ Here was a writer who exposed the communists using one weapon they could not match: the truth. For this, he received three stays in prison, countless interrogations, and constant surveillance,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said at the ceremony.

“But he kept on writing, hiding pages of his manuscripts throughout his home. Offered a chance to flee to the West, he’d refuse, saying, ‘I’m simply a Czech bumpkin through and through.’ Treated like a hero wherever he went, he’d beg off, saying, ‘I’m simply a playwright and it’s irrelevant whether I’m a dissident.’ When one of his friends joked that one day he’d lead a revolution and become president, he responded, ‘That would be the worst thing that could happen to me.’”

Boehner mused that one can “imagine what Havel would have said if told his bust would not only stand in the United States Capitol, but go right alongside the likes of Lincoln, Churchill, and Washington.”

He was also a fan of the blues, hence the performance from ZZ Top bandleader Billy Gibbons.

“Today we celebrate the struggle on the part of Havel and so many others in his time. In Poland, an electrician who climbed up on a crate in a shipyard, said to his fellow workers ‘you know me,’ and the Solidarity movement was born. And in East Germany, there was a priest who opened the doors of his 800-year old church every Monday for meetings that started out with no more than a dozen people and turned into the epicenter of a national protest,” Boehner said.

“It takes guts to do these things. Especially when you don’t know how long it will take or how it will end. These men and women proved that the thirst for liberty never dies and that, with drive and sacrifice, it can transform the fortunes of a whole continent.”

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The One Network to Air the Prez’s Speech: Univision

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Obama speaks on immigration via Univision in 2012.

The Big Four may not be airing the president’s infamous immigration speech tonight, but one channel sure is – Latino-geared Univision:

President Barack Obama will finally make public tomorrow night his plan to overhaul immigration. However, while his primetime speech will postpone part of Univision’s 15th annual Latin Grammysit will not be covered by the Big 4.

…Although Obama’s speech will be seen on cable news siblings Fox News and MSNBC, Fox and NBC are not carrying it live on their broadcast networks; CNN will show it live. A CBS News division spokesperson says the network will also not be showing Obama’s approximately 15-minute address on Thursday night. (UPDATE, 2:34 PM: An ABC spokesman “ABC is not carrying the president’s address on the television network —  it will be carried on all our ABC News digital platforms, including Apple TV, and radio.” Which means it is still Shondaland on ABC on Thursday.)

In the biz that’s called “target marketing.” In politics, it’s called playing to your demographic. In America, it’s called race-baiting.

Keep it classy, B.O.

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Montana KKK Says Gays, Blacks, Hispanics & Jews Need Apply

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Totally NSFW.

Dave Chappelle’s black white supremacist Clayton Bigsby was a blind man, but according to the Daily Mail, the Rocky Mountain Knights have taken their blinders off. The Montana chapter of the infamous white supremacist group has decided to “rebrand” and “stand for a strong America instead of irrational hatred.” Founder John Abarr hopes Jews, blacks, Hispanics and gays will be pounding down the doors for membership.

What inspired the attitude change? He met with the NAACP, of course. According to the report, “…some black people have apparently already expressed an interest in joining”.

“‘White supremacy is the old Klan. This is the new Klan. The KKK is for a strong America,’ said Mr Abarr.”

Not according to Imperial Wizard Bradley Jenkins. “That man’s going against everything the bylaws of the constitution of the KKK say. He’s trying to hide behind the KKK to further his political career.” According to Think Progress, “This is the same Abarr who in 2011 ran for Congress ’to draw attention to the fact that white people are becoming a minority and losing our political power and way of life.’”

The one thing that won’t change is the wardrobe. Members, regardless of race or sexual orientation, “…will still have to wear the white robes, masks and conical hats and take part in rituals.” The organization’s main goal: to fight against the “new world order”.

While it is unclear whether or not women are welcome into the Rocky Mountain Knights, Abarr is already taking a cue from the anti-feminist playbook: “Last week, he tweeted, ‘#notallklansmen,’ a hashtag based on the meme ‘#NotAllMen,’ which became popular on Twitter earlier this year to symbolize ‘mansplaining’ rebukes to feminist arguments.”

According to the New York Daily News, Abarr’s 15 minutes of fame may boil down to all talk and no action.

According to Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League, Abarr likely is the only member of the Rocky Mountain Knights.

The Ku Klux Klan has not officially existed since 1944, but anyone can create their own Klan group just by saying they created one, Pitcavage says. That’s exactly what Abarr did.

“He’s one guy, pretending to start a Klan group,” Pitcavage told the Daily News.

While the Klan is strongest in the South and Midwest, there are few people in the Western part of the U.S. with KKK views, Pitcavage says. Abarr’s only goal seems to be to draw attention to himself.

The only question is, which cable network will be pitching a reality show his way: TLC, looking to fill the vacancy created by Honey Boo Boo’s Mama June, or E!? I hear Kris Kardashian is dating again, and this guy is apparently very racially cool.

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Jon Stewart Skewers Obama’s ‘No Boots On the Ground to Fight ISIS’ Promise

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Since President Obama promised that there would be “no boots on the ground” to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq, he has ordered two major increases in the number of boots on the ground in Iraq. American forces’ numbers jumped up to 3,000 so-called “advisers” shortly after the mid-term elections.

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart has noticed. In a monologue Monday night, he ripped Obama from the anti-war left and called the president’s promises “bullsh*t.”

In the segment, Stewart plays clips of Obama promising not to put “boots on the ground” to fight ISIS, and juxtaposes them with announcements that more troops are being sent into Iraq to serve as “advisers” to the Iraqi military. Stewart then skewers that.

“Oh, I’m sorry, that was my mistake,” Stewart mocked. “I’m sorry. So it’s not 3,000 troops, it’s 3,000 advisers. Okay. Well, you know, that’s a lot of advisers. (laughter) I feel like after the first 2,000 give their input, it’s mostly going to be like ‘I just want to reiterate what Tony said.’”

At one point, Stewart jokes that at the rate Obama keeps increasing the number of U.S. “advisers” in Iraq, “By 2016, everyone on earth will be in Iraq fighting ISIS!”

Stewart’s angry comedic riff helps explain why Obama delayed announcing the troop increase until after the elections. Had it come before the elections, the Democrats’ base would have been infuriated, and the nationwide bloodbath that saw Republicans re-capture the Senate may have been even worse for the Obama Democrats.

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First Drone Film Festival Set for New York City Debut

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

On Feb. 21, New York will host the first film festival featuring only movies that have been shot by drones.

The New York City Drone Film Festival will showcase the “most famous viral drone videos alongside original content, offering the only opportunity to see the ‘best of the best’ in drone and unmanned aerial vehicle cinema on the big screen,” according to organizers, including “sensations” that have racked up some 28 million views on YouTube.

Festival prizes will be awarded for Most Beautiful Shot, Most Technically Difficult Shot, Most Epic Dronie and more.

“I’m tired of drones being synonymous with questionable legality and FAA regulation,” festival founder Randy Scott Slavin, a director and photographer, said in a statement. “The goal of the festival is to celebrate the art of aerial cinematography.”

Drone-rights attorney Paul Fraidenburgh will deliver a keynote address to the festival.

Entries must be submitted to the festival by Nov. 30.

Over the summer, the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International lobbied the Department of Transportation to accelerate the use of drones in the film and television industry. The Federal Aviation Administration announced in May that certain “low-risk” commercial endeavors utilizing drones could be fast-tracked to approval.

“The seven production companies seeking exemptions have outlined at least an equivalent level of safety over the use of a manned aircraft and have adequately addressed the safety requirements in a number of federal aviation regulations,” AUVSI argued in its statement to the government. “In fact, the use of small UAS will likely lead to increased safety over manned aircraft and allow production companies to get new shots that have never before been possible.”

At the end of September, the FAA granted the request.

“The FAA’s announcement represents another important milestone in unlocking the commercial potential of UAS technology. The film and television industry has safely used UAS technology abroad for years in the productions of movies such as ‘Skyfall’ and ‘The Hunger Games.’ With this decision, Hollywood will now be able to capture the unique perspectives of UAS closer to home,” Michael Toscano, president and CEO of AUVSI, said at the time.

“Still, the FAA can and must do more. Several other companies and industries have requested exemptions to fly for various low-risk, commercial purposes such as precision agriculture and mining surveys. The FAA should grant these exemptions to not only help businesses harness the tremendous potential of UAS, but also help unlock the economic impact and job creation potential of the technology.”

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Lena Dunham Drives the Nail into the Coffin of Steinem-Feminism

Friday, November 7th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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News just surfaced on Jezebel of Robert Downey, Jr’s excellent response to a Cambridge student who asked, ”Scarlett Johansson has never had her own superhero movie. Would you call yourself a feminist?”

“You bastard,” Downey, a new father to a baby girl, replied. “Yeah, that’s all make believe, son.”

Responding with appropriate shock and awe, Jezebel  provided further evidence that they’re forever stuck in the ’90s (a.k.a. the Bill “I’d give him oral sex for keeping abortion legal” Clinton years) by referring to the Iron Man star as an “Ally McBeal guest star.”

RDJ wasn’t the only celebrity whose anti-feminist statement hit the news this week.

“I am not a feminist,” she said. “If men were going through the things women are going through today, I would be fighting for them with just as much passion. I believe in equality.”

That’s Salma Hayek speaking to People magazine at Equality Now’s “Make Equality Reality” event in Beverly Hills. Why was Hayek there? To be “honored as a women’s rights advocate.” A co-founder of the group Chime for Change, ”a global campaign to convene, unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women around the world,” Hayek is far from anti-girl power. She simply defines equality differently than contemporary feminists like Gloria Steinem, who also attended the event.

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Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley Lit Up the CMAs with Jokes About Ebola and Dems Losing the Senate

Thursday, November 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In case you missed it, here’s country superstars Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley’s routine from the Country Music Awards Wednesday night. The crowd ROARS when Underwood jokes about the Democrats losing the Senate.

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Lena Dunham Cancels* Her Book Tour, Because People Actually Read Her Book

Monday, November 3rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Actress Lena Dunham has published a memoir in which the 28-year-old uses two charged words to describe a pattern of behavior that she demonstrated as a seven-year-old girl.

Those two words are “sexual predator.”

As her pal Barack Obama might say, let’s be clear. No one accused Lena Dunham of being a sexual predator. Dunham uses those words against herself, in her own book about herself, which she wrote.

In her newly published collection of personal essays, Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham describes experimenting sexually with her younger sister Grace, whom she says she attempted to persuade to kiss her using “anything a sexual predator might do.” In one particularly unsettling passage, Dunham experimented with her six-year younger sister’s vagina. “This was within the spectrum of things I did,” she writes.

So it’s not the “right wing” accusing Dunham of anything that Dunham did not in fact admit doing.

 

Now Dunham is outraged, and Jimmy Kimmel has leaped to her defense.

Dunham is pretty clearly exhibiting the exhibitionist, outrageous behavior that has made her famous. Kimmel probably just doesn’t have a clue. Like most of the people who have facilitated Dunham’s rise to fame, he hasn’t checked the story for himself. That’s what he has producers for.

Dunham has now called off hour book tour, probably the first time ever that a celebrity’s book tour has been canceled because people actually read and responded to that book and what its author chose of her own free will to put in it.

Dunham lobbed serious charges at her 7-year-old self — that she frequently and repeatedly molested her younger sister — that she is now trying to blame on others.

Which is what sociopaths do.

As for Kimmel’s claim that a 7-year-old cannot be accused of molesting younger children, of course they can. Especially if they confess, as Lena Dunham has. Is her brand one that Kimmel wishes to remain attached to? It’s his choice now.

It’s sickening that, at this point, commentary about Dunham’s confessions are largely limited to blogs on the right. Does the so-called mainstream press have nothing to say about any of this? The leftwing Huffington Post has jumped into the fray — on Dunham’s side. Tellingly, the HuffPo left out the part in which Dunham actually used the phrase “sexual predator” against herself.

It would be a service to the country and culture if the modestly talented and very immodest Lena Dunham would now fade away from fame and get help. But that’s not likely. The edgy actress reveals in her book that she loves being famous and she loves wealth and she loves shopping and buying things. The confessed child molesting leftwing actress is quite the materialist.

*To clarify, Dunham hasn’t canceled her entire book tour based on the allegations that she wrote about in her own book. She has canceled part of her book tour, because of the allegations that she engaged in sexually predatory behavior across about 10 years, that she wrote about in her own book.

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Ivy League Students to Earn College Credit for Wasting Time. Seriously.

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Note: This class did not make it into the sales pitch video.

Apparently technology has created a “new morality” and it’s up to University of Pennsylvania creative writing students to shame the hell out of it next spring:

Next semester at the University of Pennsylvania, students will walk into a classroom, pull out their laptops, their smartphones, their tablets, and sit there, for three hours, doing what they no doubt do pretty often: Waste time on the internet.

The Ivy League school’s newest creative writing class is trying to remove the stigma from an activity that millions of people do on a daily basis, in an attempt to explore how our minds might work when we’re totally aimlessly clicking through reddit or Facebook or Buzzfeed or watching porn or doing whatever the hell people do in their free time.

I’m very tired of reading articles in the New York Times every week that make us feel bad about spending so much time on the internet, about dividing our attention so many times,” Kenneth Goldsmith, a world-renowned poet and the course’s professor, told me. “I think it’s complete bullshit that the internet is making us dumber. I think the internet is making us smarter. There’s this new morality built around guilt and shame in the digital age.”

Parents, before sending your children to college please watch PCU. It’s a cute little flick from the mid-90′s in which a group of misfits essentially throw a massive party to overcome PC culture. It also contains a lot of great commentary on the waste of time that college has become, especially for liberal arts majors. For instance, one guy spends the entire movie stuck in front of a television doing research for his senior thesis. The “Caine-Hackman Theory” argues that, at any time during the day or night, you can find a movie with either Michael Caine or Gene Hackman running on the tube. I’m convinced he now has more academic validity than 21st century Ivy Leaguers. That’s right, this ain’t state school material. G-chat, Facebook, and Reddit are now the stuff of the future “dreamers of dreams”.

So, his students will explore what, exactly, wasting time even means. Is it a waste of time to tap out some forum posts or internet comments? Is it a waste of time to gchat with your friends? Is it a waste of time to click through YouTube videos? Can we consciously or even unconsciously channel the things we do on the internet to make a work of art or the next great American novel or an autobiography?

His students will be tasked with trying. For much of the class, they’ll be wasting time online, sure, but at some point, they’re going to have to take the raw material of all that time wasting—browser histories, text messages, screenshots, who knows what else—and turn it into a “compelling and emotional work of literature.”

You’ve been warned. The next time you’re browsing for a good read and pick up something by an author with an Ivy League education, you may just wind up reading snippets of a Reddit feed. Suddenly Lena Dunham having drugged out sex with a college Republican and putting pebbles in her year 1 year-old sister’s vagina is high art, indeed.

 

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Holder, Rice Pick Their Movie Doppelgängers

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

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National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Attorney General Eric Holder had no problem coming up with actors to portray them in the movie version of the administration.

Rice and Holder were separately asked the question at Wednesday’s Washington Ideas Forum.

“Halle Berry,” Rice quickly answered, adding, “I should be so lucky.”

“There’s only person,” Holder replied. “Denzel.”

The last movie Holder saw? “I re-watched The Godfather. The greatest movie of all time.”

He also admitted he likes to “binge watch not-too-serious television.”

“Boardwalk Empire, I’m going to be working on that pretty soon,” Holder said of the HBO series that just ended its five-season run. “Homeland. These are the things that I just love to sit down, and, you know, just go for like hours.”

Asked which political series “gets Washington mostly right” — Homeland, Scandal, Veep, or House of Cards — Holder picked the Netflix series.

“Depending on the administration, I’d say House of Cards,” he said. “There was a pretty bad vice president in House of Cards, but I’ll leave it at that.”

“And I like Joe Biden, so I’m not talking about him,” Holder added.

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Aaron Lewis Messes Up the National Anthem at the World Series and the Internet Freaks Out

Monday, October 27th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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“Aaron Lewis Screws Up National Anthem At World Series Game,” the Huffington Post headline read.

Mediaite said that Lewisbollocksed up the National Anthem before Sunday evening’s World Series game. Lewis has DON’T TREAD ON ME tattooed on his neck, in case you were in the market for a handy political metaphor.”

Twitter was also abuzz with criticism of the lead singer of the rock group, Staind.

 

 

Eric Burke, a reporter at Fox 4 in Kansas City tweeted:

 

 

MLB Yahoo! sports columnist Jeff Passan also brought up the prominent tattoo on Lewis’ neck.

 

 

Deadspin was a little less tactful: “World Series National Anthem Botched By That A**hole From Staind, said their headline. ”This is Aaron Lewis of the shi**y noise band Staind, and don’t ask us why he’s singing in San Francisco tonight because Staind is from Massachusetts,” Deadspin complained. “Huey Lewis is still available, jerks, and he knows the words.”

After singing the opening line, “O say can you see by the dawn’s early light, what so proudly we hailed,” Lewis flubbed the next line. Instead of “at the twilight’s last gleaming” he sang ” were so gallantly streaming.” He handled it professionally, not missing a beat and continuing the song without any further problems. The crowd didn’t seem to mind, cheering as he finished with “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

 

So did Lewis deserve the scorn of the Internet for desecrating our National Anthem on Sunday night?

 

It’s not as if he disrespectfully shouted the lyrics and grabbed his crotch like Roseann Barr did at a 1990 San Diego Padres game. And he didn’t screech out the tune like Steven Tyler did at the 2001 Indianapolis 500.  Nor did he sing a soul version, a la R. Kelly, at a boxing match, asking the crowd to clap along.

 

Nothing quite so dramatic. He just messed up a line.

 

Not that anyone would ever judge Deadspin’s motives because surely, they’re motives are purely patriotic and no doubt the writers there feel great anguish at hearing someone flub a line of the National Anthem, but I suspect the writers there have heard that Lewis describes himself as a “Constitutionalist.” The gun-loving singer told MassLive in 2011, shortly after the release of his solo country CD,” I believe in the Constitution, the powers that it sets forth, I believe in the limited powers that it sets forth. I believe that the government – on both sides – is just as responsible and just as out of control.” Lewis added, “The fact of the matter is that the federal government is supposed to be doing 18 things efficiently and properly. Most of these things don’t even get looked at because they’re so busy doing stuff that they’re not even supposed to be doing. Everything is supposed to be on the state and local level.”

 

Lewis’ hit single from that CD, “Country Boy” features guns, hunting, and the American and Gadsden flags. “I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, cuz’ I’ve never needed government to hold my hand,” Lewis sings. At the end of the song country singer George Jones, who is featured along with Charlie Daniels says, “I love my guns. I love my family. I love the way it is now. And anybody that tries to change it has to come through me. That should be all of our attitudes.”

 

After the game, Lewis posted a heartfelt apology on his Facebook page:

 

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Gloria Steinem Has a Short Memory

Friday, October 24th, 2014 - by Leslie Loftis

Democrats are worried about the election. They are shunning the President and the First Lady as political poison. They are political poison because Obama’s policies and positions have unerringly failed.

With time running out, Democrats need someone to inspire their base. So they are going for women and the War on Women meme. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had Gloria Steinem do an email blast to supporters in which she makes this inexplicable statement:
Instead [Republicans are] relying on tired, sexist tropes to appeal to us. Women will only vote if voting is like dating, getting married, or breaking up. At least that’s what Republicans seem to think.
That’s what Republicans think?! Republicans are relying on tired, sexist tropes?! I seem to recall a highly praised get-out-the-vote ad by the Democrats that compared voting to sex, first time sex actually, as in your first time should be with someone you can trust. As The Guardian covered the story at the time:

“Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy,” Dunham begins. It sounds like she’s talking about one thing, but it soon becomes clear she’s talking about another thing, a comedic technique as pathbreaking as we’ve come to expect from the 26-year-old writer and director of HBO‘s Girls.

“It should be with … someone who really cares about women. Who cares about whether you get health insurance, and specifically whether you get birth control. The consequences are huge. You want to do it with a guy who brought the troops out of Iraq… My first time voting was amazing. Before, I was a girl. Now I was a woman.”

Clearly, Democrats hope to motivate college-age first-time voters, but it’s hard not to wonder if they also just wanted to enjoy the predictable spectacle of the furious response from people whose fury can only fuel Obama’s support.

So if the Democrats engage in sexist pandering, it’s a “pathbreaking” “comedic technique” to motivate young female voters. If Republicans object to that sexist pandering, it just goes to show we are a bunch of prudes. And if Republicans engage in sexist pandering—allegedly, does Steinem provide an example?—then it is a tired trope.
Besides the contrived confusion over whether the offense is being sexist or not being a Democrat, I wonder how those young women feel now about that first time guy they trusted, you know, the one who brought the troops out of Iraq.

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Little Girls F-Bomb the Internet, Social Media Goes Wild

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Serious content warning. Serious enough that the original video was pulled from YouTube.

There’s a great episode of Modern Family in which Cam and Mitchell have to explain to their four year old daughter Lily that she can’t use the f-word. Every time Lily drops the f-bomb, Cam starts compulsively laughing, making it very hard to convince the child that using the f-word is inappropriate. Horrified, Mitchell rebukes Cam throughout the episode until Lily drops a big, fat f-bomb while standing in front of a church full of people, dressed as a flower girl in a wedding party. At that point everyone laughs. Point being: Adults get a perverse kick out of watching innocent little kids use bad words.

It’s probably why Will Ferrell made a series of videos for Funny or Die featuring his creative partner Adam McKay’s toddler daughter repeating loads of foul, inappropriate language in adult-like scenarios. Commenting on his child’s foul-mouthed role, McKay remarked:

“Fortunately she is in this great stage now where she repeats anything you say to her and then forgets it right away, which is key,” says McKay, who has two daughters by his wife of 11 years, actress Shira Piven (Jeremy’s sister).

Adds McKay, “She has not said the B-word since we shot the thing.”

Rumor had it that the videos ceased production once the toddler was old enough to realize what she was saying and repeat it.

Adults find kids cursing to be funny. The younger the kid, the better. So, when FCKH8 decided to have a load of little girls dress up as princesses and drop the f-bomb all over the Internet, they basically decided to give adults everywhere (except those with some sense of moral fiber) a laugh.

And mock feminism at the same time.

I laugh at the War on Women mythology quite frequently. The idea that beauty is somehow associated with helplessness, that abortion translates to career equality, and the whole 77 cents-to-a-dollar thing all really tickle my funny bone. But I do take feminism seriously. And I wonder, if the folks at FCKH8 really took feminism seriously, would they have chosen to market it by employing one of the gags that makes adults laugh the most?

Apparently, FCKH8′s real goal is to say American Feminism, with it’s slavish attachment to the War on Women is a complete joke best understood by those with the intellect of a 5 year old. Which is a shame, both for FCKH8 and American feminism, because, for the women facing real issues of inequality and gender-based persecution, feminism is no laughing matter.

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College Students Can Now Get Schooled in ‘Rihanna Womanism’

Monday, October 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Chicks on the Right, women working to take back feminism from the pro-choice crowd, discovered yet another way for parents and students to flush the cost of three college credits down the drain. Last spring, it was Rutgers University’s “Feminist Perspectives: Politicizing Beyoncé.” This coming spring, it’s UT Austin’s “Beyonce Feminism, Rihanna Womanism.”

The course description reads:

By comparison, this class has a very eye-catching title. Whether or not you are a Beyoncé Bey or part of the Rihanna Navy, it will cause you to do a double take while scrolling through electives. The one downside, students may not realize the type of academic inquiry or material that will be covered in the course.

Students in this class will learn that there is far more than catchy melodies to Beyoncé’s and Rihanna’s music. They will not be simply listening to Beyoncé and Rihanna for fun or even comparing the roles of Beyoncé and Rihanna in popular culture, rather, students will be studying how the lyrics, music videos, and actions of these women express various aspects of black feminism such as violence, economic opportunity, sexuality, standards of beauty, and creative self-expression. The instructor hopes for students to understand the role black feminism plays in popular culture as well as everyday life.

For any student interested in women’s and gender studies or how popular culture reflects social studies, this is a class that will make them fall crazy in love.

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Bono Apologizes for Giving You Free Music

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

U2 and Apple engaged in a heinous conspiracy to give millions of people a free copy of a terrific music album. Alright, not everyone agrees with the “terrific” part. U2 remain popular enough to fill huge arenas, but not everyone likes them.

But the album was free, and a whole lot of people complained about the fact that Apple made owning it an opt-out rather than an opt-in.

In a fan Q&A video posted on Facebook, lead singer Bono was asked by a site user to never release an album in the way that the band and Apple released Songs of Innocence ever again. “It’s really rude,” the Facebook user wrote.

Bono replied, “Oops. I’m sorry about that. Had this beautiful idea. Might’ve got carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that kind of thing. Drop of megalomania. Touch of generosity. Dash of self-promotion. And, deep fear that these songs, that we poured our life into over the last few years, mightn’t be heard.”

U2, still among the biggest bands in the entire world, fears that their songs might not be heard? It’s quite human to feel that one is toiling in obscurity, so much so that even Bono can’t escape it.

Bono continued: “It’s a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.”

As a large-scale social experiment, the release of Songs of Innocence might teach us quite a bit about human nature. Free gifts are not always received with gratitude, are they?

True story: My TV provider called me up yesterday out of the blue. The man on the line said that, as a way of thanking me for subscribing, they were turning on a bunch of premium channels for a few months, for free. I thanked him, set a note in my calendar for when the free period expires so I could cancel if I want, and then checked my listings. None of the free premium channels were there. And I was annoyed at my TV provider.

Putting all of the First World complaints about getting free music forced onto phones aside, Songs of Innocence is an awesome rock album that ought to have had no trouble cutting through the noise with lots of good noise of its own. If you like U2, which I happen to. It rates among U2′s best work, easily.

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Confirmed: Baldwin & Brand Are Putin’s Spambots

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Need a laugh? Check out Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin’s sit down on Russia Today’s Keiser Report. Make sure there’s no food in your mouth  before I tell you the episode’s title.

Ready?

It’s called “Meeting of Megaminds”.

The pair make an excellent duo of on-air Putin spambots. Russell Brand, better known as the former Mr. Katy Perry, is attempting to carve out a niche for himself as a comedian-cum-conspiracy theorist who makes Carrot Top look appealing. Alec Baldwin has devolved from Hollywood megastar to angry old man in a way that makes you wish a combo of Nicolas Cage and Clint Eastwood would magically appear every time he opens his tired old mouth. He promised to immigrate if George W. Bush were elected in 2004, but I guess pre-production for 30 Rock got in the way (thanks, Tina Fey). Fitting right in with the acting crowd, Russia Today host Max Keiser plays the typical role of upper crust yuppie-turned-commie (wouldn’t Alger Hiss be proud). He was an NYU theater student before working in stand up comedy, radio, and as a broker on Wall Street before making it rich with his creation, the Hollywood Stock Exchange. Until 2012 he was a regular on Iran Press TV. Now, when he isn’t on Russia Today, he busies himself making documentaries for Al-Jazeera and writing for the Huffington Post.

Think he might just have a bit of a bias? Then you’re the biased one, obviously. Capitalist pig.

You have to slug through most of the stereotypical socialist hyperbole to get to any actual meat in the discussion. Still, the inflated theoretical dialogue (calling it “intellectual” would be an insult to those with actual, functioning brain cells) provides a great learning experience for young folk looking to understand what Soviet propaganda sounded like before the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s nice to know this kind of pompous hot air still floats around in our atmosphere. Perhaps Al Gore should start tagging it as the real cause of global warming.

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Republican Gardner Buries the War on Women in Colorado Senate Race

Monday, October 13th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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GOP Rep. Cory Gardner is taking the lead over Democrat Sen. Mark Udall in a hot mid-term race in the purple state of Colorado. Ellen Carmichael explains what Republicans can learn from Gardner’s strategic campaign over at the Federalist. As it turns out, the lessons revolve around the Right’s tendency to play defense in the face of the Left’s only real weapon of choice, character assassination:

Udall’s fallacious accusations, misrepresentation of his record, or mischaracterization of his beliefs don’t shake Gardner. Instead, he redirects the debate to meatier issues, such as the economy and health care, without getting “in the weeds” on less pressing matters, like whether Julia’s birth-control pills should fall from the sky like Skittles. …Gardner’s consistency and restraint give Udall few openings for attack. When asked about his positions on birth control and abortion, Gardner responds clearly, calmly and with conviction. …We also know there’s no better way to frustrate a bully than to refuse to be bothered by him. Gardner’s disinterest in even entertaining Udall’s wild accusations demonstrate a political maturity. He knows he doesn’t have to fight every battle or feed a troll—even if that troll is a sitting U.S. senator.

Imagine, a politician that stays on point, refusing to waste voters’ time addressing baseless accusations. Could it be that, in the pot state of all places, electioneering hasn’t fallen to the level of a Real Housewives reunion?

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Start Your Weekend with a Video Montage of TV Talking Heads Complaining About Barack Obama

Friday, October 10th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

At this point, there is probably enough of this kind of material out there to fill a feature-length film.

Enjoy, everyone.

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Gwyneth Paltrow Gushes to Obama at Fundraiser: ‘You’re So Handsome I Can’t Speak Properly’

Friday, October 10th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama hung out with Gwyneth Paltrow at her Brentwood home Thursday night for a $15,000 a plate dinner benefiting the Democratic National Committee.

Paltrow introduced Obama to the crowd of about 200, including Julia Roberts and Bradley Whitford, gushing, “I am one of your biggest fans, if not the biggest.”

The actress, who announced the “conscious uncoupling” from her husband Chris Martin in March, also told the president, “You’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly.”

Citing equal pay and sustainable energy, Paltrow stressed, “It would be wonderful if we were able to give this man all of the power that he needs to pass the things that he needs to pass.”

With occasional references to her children Apple and Moses, Obama thanked Paltrow for her 2012 effort raising funds for his re-election among expats in London. “I wanted to go, but they said there are no voters that I can knock on doors in London,” he quipped.

The president called it “an interesting time in American history,” with headlines “dominated by news overseas.”

“We’re seeing a lot of tumult all around the world. The Middle East is moving away from an existing order towards something new, but that process is messy and dangerous,” he said. “And what we’re seeing with ISIL I think is an expression of some of the challenges we have in societies that have divided along sectarian lines, and young people who aren’t seeing any other opportunity other than hoisting a rifle, and a breakdown in basic order. And we are looked to to try to make sure that we rebuild something that can sustain itself.”

“And when I was at the United Nations last week, or two weeks ago, it was the United States that had to mobilize the world community to make sure we were going after ISIL and putting an end to the kind of barbaric killing that we’ve been seeing there.”

Obama moved to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, “where children not much older, and in some cases younger, than Apple and Moses, are dying on the streets alone.”

“Although I want to assure everybody that the likelihood of any epidemic in the United States is extraordinarily small,” he stressed.

Obama also said his administration had “mobilized the world community to blunt Russian aggression.”

“So what was striking when I was at the United Nations General Assembly is, despite sometimes the complaining that you get about the United States, and despite folks liking or enjoying picking out flaws and problems in our policies, when there’s a crisis around the world they don’t call Moscow, they don’t call Beijing — they call the United States of America,” he continued.

“We remain the one indispensable nation not just because we have capabilities that nobody else has, not just because of the strength of our military and our reach, but because of our values and because of our principles and ideals, and the things that we stand for.”

Obama said he was out campaigning because “imagine what we could do with a Congress that operated on some common sense.”

“Imagine what we could do not just on any particular issue — although it would make a huge difference for us right away to be able to pass comprehensive immigration reform, or to pass a minimum wage law, or pass a fair pay law — but just in terms of the mood of the country; in terms of people believing that once again we can do something in common,” he said. “Believing that we can rise above narrow, ideological interests. Believing that we can match the decency and common sense of the American people with our politics.”

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Millennial Actress Refuses to Hyphenate her American Identity

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Millennial actress Raven Symone has dared to de-hyphenate her identity in the face of the goddess O:

“I’m tired of being labeled. I’m an American. I’m not an African-American; I’m an American,” Raven said.

“Oh, girl, don’t set up Twitter on fire,” Oprah said. “You’re going to get a lot of flak for saying you’re not African-American.”

“What I really mean by that is I’m an American. That’s what I really mean,” Raven replied. “I have darker skin. I have a nice, interesting grade of hair. I connect with caucasian. I connect with Asian. I connect with black. I connect with Indian. I connect with each culture,” Raven said.

“You are a melting pot in one body,” Oprah said.

“Isn’t that what America is supposed to be?” Raven declared.

The former child star, best known for her role on The Cosby Show caused television’s Goddess-in-Chief to nearly jump out of her chair. Perhaps generational difference is playing a key role in the Symone’s patriotic identification. According to a recent NPR story titled Why You Should Start Taking Millennials Seriously:

“Forty-three percent of millennials are nonwhite,” says Eileen Patten, a research analyst at the Pew Research Center (and a millennial herself). “When we look at older generations — boomers and silents — less than 3 in 10 were nonwhite.”

Because millennials look different en masse than generations past, the future is going to look different too. They’ve already led the country to massive shifts in opinion on social issues over the past decade.

As Symone illustrated, not every social issue is about sex or pot. Her willingness to step outside the box confronts the political correctness of Oprah’s Baby Boomers exactly the way it should: With a peaceful, confident, fresh perspective.

Perhaps Millennials should be given a second look after all.

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What a Boob: Al Sharpton Promos ‘National Breast Awareness Month’

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Al Sharpton’s war with his own mouth continues, and he continues to lose. Today he did a segment on “National Breast Awareness Month.”

It wasn’t what it sounds like. He evidently intended to talk about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But he left out an important word.

Likely no one needs a month to be reminded of breasts. I mean, we still have Kate Upton just a Google image search away.

Reminder: Sharpton is helping Obama pick the next attorney general of the United States.

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Rage Against the Maitre D’ Or, Celebrity Commies Are Full of It, Tom Morello Exhibit

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

A real man of the people.

Following his performance Friday night (September 26) at the El Corazon as part of a benefit concert for 15 Now, the grassroots organization that successfully fought for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle, Morello and his entourage allegedly tried to get “a special room” at The 5 Point Cafe even though the place was already “at capacity” and there was “a line” of people waiting to get in. The restaurant’s doorman apparently told Morello and his crew that he could not accommodate them, after which the guitarist took to his Twitter to blast the eatery, writing: “Five Point restaurant in Seattle is the WORST. Super rude & anti-worker. Sh****st doorman in the Northwest. P***k. Spread the word.”

Morello was one of the more vocal supporters of the Occupy Stink-in, and portrays himself as a real man of the people. Only in the diseased mind of a wealthy commie can being denied a place to sit where there aren’t any mean the person passing along that information is “anti-worker.”

Morello’s Twitter bio beings with: “Feed the poor.” That should obviously have an addendum that reads, “But feed me first, you peasant, because I’m a rock star.”

After being called out by many, Morello isn’t backing down. He does, however, have the gall to offer forgiveness with conditions (thus not really understanding forgiveness) instead of asking for it, which he should be doing. It’s also classic commie-achieving an end through coercion, which is all they’ve got.

 

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FCC Sacks Sports Blackout Rules, But NFL Could Still Have Sway

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Federal Communications Commission ordered the elimination today of sports blackout rules that blocked cable and satellite broadcasts of games blacked out on local stations.
a local broadcast station.

“The action removes Commission protection of the NFL’s current private blackout policy, which requires local broadcast stations to black out a game if a team does not sell a certain percentage of tickets to the game at least 72 hours prior to the game,” the FCC said in a statement.

The FCC’s order found the blackout rules are “no longer justified in light of the significant changes in the sports industry since these rules were first adopted nearly forty years ago.”

“At that time, ticket sales were the primary source of revenue for the NFL and most NFL games failed to sell out. Today, television revenues have replaced ticket sales as the NFL’s main source of revenue, and blackouts of NFL games are increasingly rare.”

Only two games were blacked out last season, the FCC said.

“Today’s action may not eliminate all sports blackouts, because the NFL may choose to continue its private blackout policy. However, the NFL will no longer be entitled to the protection of the Commission’s sports blackout rules. Instead, the NFL must rely on the same avenues available to other entities that wish to protect their distribution rights in the private marketplace.”

The league, which objected to lifting the rules, said in a statement that teams “have made significant efforts in recent years to minimize blackouts.”

“The NFL is the only sports league that televises every one of its games on free, over-the-air television.  The FCC’s decision will not change that commitment for the foreseeable future.”

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) asked the FCC in June to lift the blackout rule, arguing in a letter to the commission that it “unfairly harms consumers by insulating the NFL from market realities and punishing fans in cities with large stadiums and declining populations.”

Today, Blumenthal declared the FCC “officially threw a flag on the NFL’s anti-fan blackout policy.”

“The sports blackout rule unfairly harms consumers by punishing fans in cities with large stadiums and declining populations,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “The FCC did the right thing today by removing this antiquated rule, which is no longer justified by facts or simple logic.”

“Even as the NFL made millions upon millions of dollars off of broadcasting rights, they continued as recently as this season to threaten fans with unnecessary blackout restrictions.”

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Obama’s Creepy 3-Way Date Night

Friday, September 26th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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You’ve heard of “attachment parenting” from moms like Mayim Bialik who breastfeed until the kid is out of high school. Now, thanks to Valerie Jarrett, we know what “attachment advising” truly means, via the headline:

Obama takes Michelle, Valerie Jarrett for downtown Manhattan date night

You can’t make this stuff up.

President Obama ditched his uptown digs at the Waldorf Astoria to sample the offerings of downtown Manhattan.

With the First Lady and his trusty senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in tow, the presidential motorcade took over the Nolita neighborhood on Wednesday night for the first couple’s date night at Estela on E. Houston St.

They dined on burrata with salsa verde and bread, two endive salads, tomatoes and croquettes before they returned to their hotel shortly before 10:30pm, sources told Eater New York.

The restaurant said it was “humbled” by the presidential visit, posting an Instagram shot of the Obama’s order.

Apparently, the restaurant is “beverage driven,” so I guess Valerie Jarrett didn’t need to do a literal public feeding. But, have no doubt, Mommy was still very hard at work scanning the menu for healthy choices for the kids.

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After All the Rage and Screaming, Is U2′s Songs of Innocence Any Good?

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

When Apple released U2′s first new album in years on September 9, the company of the late Steve Jobs surely expected earthwide gratitude. Songs of Innocence was free, after all, it was freaking U2, and iPhone and iPod users didn’t even need to lift a finger or pay anything to get it. It was being pushed to their devices automatically.

Turns out, that was the problem, and one that Apple and U2 should have anticipated. This is the world of the tech-spoiled libertarian socialist millenial and the aging hippy dippy baby boomer. The same people who are too cool to get worked up much over terrorists chopping American heads off in Syria — if they’re even aware of that — scream with bloody rage that a bunch of free songs showed up on their phone without their consent. Hey, life is tough in the First World.

Apple had to roll out a U2 removal tool to quell the volcanic reaction to their decision to give away free stuff.

Had Songs of Innocence merely showed up as a surprise release, but with opt-in instead of opt-out, or with no connection at all to Apple, it would have had a chance to get embraced or rejected on its own merits. That chance was totally lost, and ongoing lack of reaction to the actual music suggests that it will never get a fair shake.

It’s also fair to point out that U2 belongs to the demographic that owns Apple, but not necessarily the demo that’s most passionately in love with the Apple brand. I’d have been annoyed if someone forced music from my parents’ generation onto my phone, despite the fact that I like a lot of it. Give me some Buddy Holly any day — but don’t force it onto my phone without asking, m’kay?

At this point I’ll confess something about U2. The first time I ever heard them, they were still an up-and-coming band. Yeah, I’m that old. A friend handed me the cassette (remember those?) and said “Hey, check this band out. They’re pretty good” or something like that. It wasn’t a particularly memorable conversation and we had had many just like it. He was that guy who knew about the good bands before the rest of us. He introduced me to U2, R.E.M., The Call, Simple Minds and probably a few others that I’ve forgotten. I returned the favor a few times, but mostly with bands that 99.9% of readers will have never heard of — Daniel Amos, and a few others.

The first strains I heard from Bono and company were from Live At Red Rocks. This was in 1983, I think, not long after that album had come out. I was still a kid. I heard U2 early, then, and I absolutely hated them. By the time Bono rang out “How long, how long must we sing this song?” I wondered the same thing. That song seemed to last forever, and not in a good way. That’s right — I immediately hated what has turned out to be one of the great live albums in rock history.

They eventually grew on me, and by the time Joshua Tree came out I was a little wiser and was a confirmed fan. I still remember appreciating the nuances of that album in headphones on my CD player. “Bullet the Blue Sky” still has a visceral edge to it. I missed the tour when it came to Dallas, and have regretted it ever since. I skipped that concert because by then U2 were so huge that everyone was going, and I didn’t want to just follow the crowd. It was pretty stupid, to be honest. They wound up defining the 1980s and the 1990s.

But little did I know at first listen that U2 were bringing a whole lot more to their music than first met the ear. That line, “How long,” was a refrain from a song that the band built atop Psalm 40. What rock band not on an explicitly religious label does that?

Even though Bono titled the song “40,” the reference probably flew past most of his listeners. It flew past me for a while. U2 have had that quality over the years, slipping into deeper waters than most other rockers, while still cranking out hits and successful albums and selling out arenas and reinventing their sound and themselves and kind of gliding around stardom and all that. Rebels with a clue, these guys.

The association with Apple may have finally killed the grander side of U2. Which would be a shame. They’re not just in it to market phones or write hammer tracks for Batman movies.

Unlike most bands who stick around for 30-odd years, U2 really haven’t lost a step. They haven’t gone into nostalgia or self-parody mode. They haven’t replaced their entire lineup with a bunch of sound clones to satisfy suits at a concert-promotion corporation.

They’ve made missteps to be sure — a couple of those experimental 1990s albums and No Line on the Horizon come to mind. Remember when Bono did that Mephisto thing on tour? That was weird. They were into that biggest band in the world thing, no doubt.

But Babe Ruth was baseball’s strikeout king along with being the home run king. U2 have lobbed up some stinkers, but they also created BoyWar, The Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, and now Songs of Innocence. They did “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “With Or Without You” and “Elevation” and “Mysterious Ways” and so many other toweringly great songs. That’s quite a body of success, across a whole lot of time.

I’m not defending them as a fan, and they certainly don’t need me to. It’s just a fact. U2′s body of work is in the conversation as to which is the greatest since rock music came to be. For that, some will love them and some will hate them. That’s life. And they have done it with the same four guys, the same three or four chords (and the truth!) for the most part, and the same or similar visions of life and what music should be.

The title of their last one, the one that generated so much ridiculous rage, probably flies over heads like “40″ once did to teenage me. Bono ripped it off from a guy named William Blake. They probably don’t teach any of his work in public schools anymore, which is a shame, because Blake was a beast of a poet and a monster of an artist. His best stuff was just fun to read. Some of his other stuff is still impenetrable. His art ranged from awe-inspiring to scary.

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Photos, Witness Testimony Should End Django Unchained Actress’ Race Card Claims

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Daily Mail has new photos of the incident that led to Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts’ confrontation with police.

Watts initially claimed that police arrested her for kissing her white boyfriend, Brian James Lucas, in public. But then a tape of her confrontation with police came out — and it’s Watts who plays the race card, even saying that as a black actress she “raises awareness” of race issues.

The police officer simply told Watts that someone called the police about lewd activity taking place in a public area, so he had to investigate, and he had the right to ask for Watts’ identification. She refused to provide that, escalating the confrontation.

The photos in the Mail show Watts sitting on her husband, straddling him, with the car door open as it is parked on the street.

Eye witnesses have come forward to say that Watts was grinding on her boyfriend, and that she had her shirt up and her breasts exposed. See the photo on the next page and just for yourself.

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NOW the NFL Has a Problem: Top Beer Sponsor Is Upset

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Downward spiral.

The top beer sponsor is weighing on the NFL for its handling of a string of highly-publicized abuse scandals involving star players.

On Tuesday, Anheuser-Busch — a big spender in Super Bowl advertising whose Bud Light brand is the official beer of the league — issued a highly critical statement of the NFL.

“We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season,” said the beverage maker in a statement released by a spokesperson. “We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league.”

Those “expectations” were not disclosed in the statement. However, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been widely criticized over his handling of the domestic abuse scandal involving Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice and child abuse allegations leveled at Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson.

The company’s brand, Bud Light, has been the official beer of the NFL since 2010, when it replaced MillerCoors as the premier sponsor. Anheuser-Bush has been a top spending brand with the league from 2009 to 2013, spending $149 million during five Super Bowls, according to Nielsen statistics released in January.

This is where the calls for Goodell’s job will really heat up. His job is to manage the league’s image so the sponsor money keeps rolling in without interruption. If one of its biggest sponsors expresses concern, the problem has become unmanageable.

On a somewhat smaller scale, Radisson “suspended” its sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings after they reinstated Adrian Peterson and another allegation of child abuse surfaced.

If more sponsors begin grumbling soon, all of Roger Goodell’s damage control to save himself will probably be for naught.

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America Can Heal Now: Chris Brown Weighs In on Ray Rice Situation

Friday, September 12th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

What we’ve all been waiting for.

On Thursday, CBS pulled the use of a Rihanna song from the opening of its Thursday Night Football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, avoiding starting the broadcast with the voice of someone who’s been the victim of domestic violence days after a shocking video surfaced of former Ravens running back Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancee.

Many have pointed out that Rihanna’s involvement in the broadcast was an unfortunate choice in light of the scandal over the Rice incident and the NFL’s treatment thereof, which was the focus of most of the pre-game show. Now Chris Brown has linked his 2009 pre-Grammys Rihanna attack to the Ray Rice scandal.

On Thursday, MTV News’ Sway Calloway asked Brown, who was sentenced to five years of probation and one year of counseling after pleading guilty to assaulting Rihanna, what advice he had for Rice.

Brown, who has a history of violent behavior, said it’s all about anger management.

“I think it’s all about the choices you make. With me, I deal with a lot of anger issues from my past — not knowing how to express myself verbally but at the same time not knowing how to cope with my emotions and deal with them and understand what they were,” he said. “For me, dealing with my anger issues and understanding myself and the life I’ve been through, where I’m headed and where I want to be has helped me focus on what’s really important and not F up. For anybody who’s going through that situation or anybody who’s dealing with it — it’s all about the choices. Every situation is different but it’s all about the choices you make and how you control your anger.”

In the never-ending tale of people making stupid decisions during this Rice story, the executive who thought, “Hey-let’s see what Chris Brown thinks…” just jockeyed him or herself into the top ten.

Presumably, MTV was unable to get clearance for an in-cell interview with OJ Simpson to see what sage advice he had for Ray Rice.

Here’s an idea: let’s not give serial abusers a public forum to cover their you-know-whats.

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Actor From Country That Coddles Muslim Rape Gangs Whines About Homophobic ‘Christian Far Right’ in America

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

(h/t The Truth Revolt)

Shut up and read your lines.

There’s still a lot of homophobia in the U.S., as well.

Oh, the Christian far right? Yes. Very homophobic. You need to have a female president next, and then after that, a gay president. That’s the full journey from Obama’s legacy onwards. There’s a great Morrissey lyric from “America Is Not the World” from You Are the Quarry that goes, “In America, the land of the free, they said / And of opportunity, in a just and truthful way / But where the president is never black, female or gay, and until that day / You’ve got nothing to say to me, to help me believe.” It’s quite an old song from before Obama took office, but you’ve done black, then you need to do female, then the next, gay.

Of course, that’s the mature, intellectual approach to picking a leader: based on a quota checklist from Morrissey.

I will wager good money that Benedict Cumberbatch wouldn’t be satisfied with a conservative gay or female (or gay female) POTUS. In the narrow-minded, limited reference world of the average entertainer, such a combination can’t possibly exist. In fact, your average high-profile liberal is basically a savage animal when dealing with powerful conservative females.

So he doesn’t really mean what he is saying.

Or he doesn’t understand it.

Which is why he should stick to scripts.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Finds the Perfect Side Job. You Won’t Believe What Happens Next.

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Look out, Clickhole, you have some competition. First Lady Michelle Obama has joined the original annoying viral content site, Upworthy. I’m not even kidding.

It’s not quite the gig that Chelsea Clinton had at NBC, but it’s something. A start.

The first lady is “guest curating” content at the site that perfected those cliffhanger headlines that even Facebook hates so much.

The first lady has already “curated” her first piece, with a very Upworthy title: “I Really Hope the Parents Of These People Get To See What They Said Here. They’d Probably Cry.”

If I saw what people say, I might cry too, and I’m a guy who has lived through the Jerry Jones Cowboys era without shedding a tear. Or I might run away. Or I might seek psychiatric help. It’s not common to see what people say. Visible words floating around while people are talking to me? That would freak me right out.

In her inaugural piece, Mrs. Obama allows that she is thankful for her three-week orientation at college.

Question: Three weeks? How long does it take to figure out where your classes are and which classes are the most skippable? That’s a week, tops. If you’re a little slow to catch things. Or if you’re distracted by seeing words floating around everybody’s heads.

The first lady’s first conclusion doesn’t really break any new ground.

Because our young people need to know that no matter where you come from or how much money your family has, you can succeed in college, and get your degree, and then go on to build a better life for yourself.

And the sky is blue. Sherlock would be impressed!

Anyway, the First Lady of Irritating Crap Writing That Has Ruined Blogging Forever still has a mountain of cliches and cliffhangers to climb if she wants to stay ahead of Clickhole. They have a stunning video piece up today. You won’t believe what happens next.

Seriously. You won’t.

My jaw…dropped.

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VIDEOS: Has Obama Lost the Late Night Comics?

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

For years, President Obama has enjoyed the protection of the network’s late night talk show hosts. They wouldn’t mock him. Jay Leno would rip on him now and then, but the rest wouldn’t touch him.

That’s changed. Both Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon nailed Obama in their monologues Monday night.

Meyers gigged Obama for not having a plan to confront IS.

Meyers: “Turning to political news, this week, President Obama will announce his plans for addressing the threat posed by ISIS extremists in Iraq. It’s an incredibly difficult situation. I think at this point, you just tell Liam Neeson that they have his daughter. I think it’s ‘Code Neeson.’”

In other words, to get Obama’s attention on a crisis you have to relate it to pop culture. Or get someone else to do the job.

Fallon zinged Obama for spending so much time away from the White House, and popped VP Joe Biden’s habit of being an idiot at the same time.

Fallon: “On Friday, President Obama made a surprise visit to Stonehenge on his way back from the NATO summit in Wales. And even crazier, today he made a surprise visit to the White House. “What are you doing here, man?” Really exciting. That’s right, President Obama visited Stonehenge. It was going well until Biden was like, “Look at the size of these dominoes.” No Biden!”

Speaking of Stonehenge, here’s an Obama moment that the comics missed.

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Joan Rivers: The Woman Who Slayed The PC Police

Monday, September 8th, 2014 - by A.J. Rice

With enemies like ISIS, Hamas, Putin, the Anti-Defamation League, and all things Politically Correct…what’s not to love about the irrepressible Joan Rivers. The 81 year old comedienne passed away last week, and was buried with a star-studded tribute over the weekend. She died following a somewhat routine procedure involving her vocal cords. A month ago she bashed the Obamas mercilessly…today she is gone from a mysterious untimely death. She would have had a field day with that. Coincidence? Does Obama have a list? Did Joan Rivers have a check mark by her name? Was she on Obamacare? Sadly, we are deprived now of her rapier wit. She was ahead of her time. She was politically incorrect before there was a such thing. She made a living with those wonderful vocal cords and caused a lot of joy followed by controversy. In the entertainment industry few people say what they think, and no one ever accused the great Joan of failing to do that.

On the day she lost consciousness she had just completed a one hour long standup routine. Making people laugh and causing a spark of trouble is what she loved, and no one did it like Joan. She was an American treasure. She had all the right kinds of enemies. There were plenty of people who would’ve loved to permanently silence her razor-sharp commentary that was occasionally described as a bloodletting. She’d slash anyone with her vicious truth. Friend or foe, she was an equal opportunity destroyer. If you weren’t ready for the truth…you didn’t ask Joan Rivers her opinion.

The Anti-Defamation League won’t shed a tear at losing Joan Rivers. They were opposed to virtually everything that came out of her mouth. The PC Police couldn’t stand her unvarnished assessment of the world around her. Her infamous response to the question, “Do you think America will ever see a gay president?” is legendary…”We already have it with Obama, so let’s just calm down,” she said. “You know Michelle (Obama) is a trans.” When asked to clarify she added “A transgender. We all know it.”

The outrage that followed just gave Joan the platform to double down. She was asked what she thought about the Anti-Defamation League calling the remark “vulgar and hideous”. They should’ve known better than to mess with Joan. She responded in her wonderfully Joan way: “I think this is a ‘politically incorrect’ attack on me because I’m old, Jewish, a woman and a ‘hetty’ — a heteosexual.” Bravo.

Women like Joan Rivers are a disappearing breed and that’s why she was so awesome. The PC Police are taking the fun out of life. No one can make a joke…no one can tell it like it is. Joan didn’t care. Joan said whatever Joan wanted and that’s what was so refreshing about her. When you lose the ability to laugh at the craziness of the world, you’ve lost a lot. People of her generation used to laugh at themselves and poke fun at each other…no one cried defamation…or racism…or sexism…no one whined and hired a lawyer. Our perpetually offended generation could learn a thing or two from a gal like Joan.

She loved to get a rise out of anyone and no one could stop her. She didn’t care if the world agreed with her humor or not…it was her prerogative to say whatever came into her head. I read somewhere that she was described as a woman with no edit button, no filter. She proved that assessment again recently when she commented on the war in Israel. “Palestinians in Gaza deserve to be dead…when you declare war, you declare war…they started it. We now don’t count who’s dead. You’re dead. You deserve to be dead. You started it. You started it. Don’t you dare make me feel sad about that.”

With all the young celebrities coming out in support of Hamas and filled with Jew-hate messages, Joan Rivers tells it like it is. I’d like to see one young celebrity speak out like Joan. They only speak out when they are parroting the accepted narrative. I won’t hold my breath. None of them have the stones of Joan Rivers. Joan commented on the dead civilians in Palestine and the fact that the Israeli army issues warnings to get out before destroying an area so as to give residents a chance to escape. “You were told to get out, you don’t get out, then you know you’re an idiot,” she said. “At least the ones that were killed were the ones with very low IQs.”

The world is now denied any more comments from Joan Rivers, and we will miss them dearly. I’m sure during her funeral the terrorists of the Middle East shot their guns in the air rejoicing and the PC Police breathed a sigh of relief as their nemesis is no more.

It took an 81 year old female comedian to tell it like it is. A sad commentary on the state of our media and world. Godspeed Joan, you talked tougher to Islamists than the President of the United States, and we loved you for it.

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