Mixed Media

The "Batman v Superman" Trailer Just Leaked—And It's Dark As Hell

| Fri Apr. 17, 2015 12:10 AM EDT

Hello, darkness my old friend.

I've come to watch this trailer again:

via io9

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Watch Siskel and Ebert Defend the Original Star Wars Films

| Thu Apr. 16, 2015 3:06 PM EDT

The latest trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakening was released Thursday. It is good. It is reallllllllllyyyyyy good. There may have been audible yelps of excitement in the Mother Jones office upon first, second, and third viewings.

There are people living and breathing in this world who are Star Wars haters. They dismiss Star Wars as drivel intended for children, meaningless entertainment that should be discarded in favor of Intellectual Foreign Language Films. These people are wrong, cold-hearted individuals who should be shunned from civil society. "But but but," one might argue, "Episodes I, II, and III were utter garbage, truly horrible, horrible films." This is true. Just erase them from your memory, as I have done. The original three films (Ewoks and all) are masterpieces that should be enjoyed by those of all ages.

Need further proof? Watch Ted Koppel interview Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert in 1983. The pair eviscerate a snooty film critic who thinks the movies make children stupid.

You are missed, Siskel and Ebert. You are missed.

Lincoln Died 150 Years Ago Today and If He Were Still Alive He Wouldn’t Have Been a Republican

| Wed Apr. 15, 2015 12:03 AM EDT

On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth while attending a play at Ford's Theater in Washington, DC. Lincoln died the following morning, just six days after General Robert E. Lee had surrendered and the Civil War, which lasted four years and killed an estimated 750,000 soldiers, officially ended.

JT Vintage/Glasshouse/Zuma

As the country commemorates the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's death, the debate over how the Republican Party has changed since then has been renewed. Lincoln, the first Republican president, has long been a source of pride for modern-day conservatives who still claim to be part of the "party of Lincoln." His legacy is regularly cited by GOP politicians when they find themselves having to defend the party against charges of gutting civil rights and holding racist attitudes towards minorities. But as Salon notes this week in a piece titled, "Abraham Lincoln would despise you all: Race, the South and the GOP’s most delusional fantasy," attempts to invoke Lincoln in present-day Republican ideology are ultimately futile. The party's staunch opposition to gay marriage, for example, clearly distances itself from Lincoln's to the fundamental "proposition that all men are created equal."

One perfect example of what the GOP once was and what it became can be seen in then-Senator Jim Jeffords' explanation of why he was moved to leave the party in 2001. In his speech, which came shortly after George W. Bush became president, Jeffords said his initial decision to declare himself a Republican was largely rooted in principles that aligned with the "party of Lincoln." But Bush's shifting principles ultimately changed that for him:

In the past, without the presidency, the various wings of the Republican Party in Congress have had some freedom to argue and influence and ultimately to shape the party's agenda. The election of President Bush changed that dramatically.

Looking ahead, I can see more and more instances where I'll disagree with the president on very fundamental issues—the issues of choice, the direction of the judiciary, tax and spending decisions, missile defense, energy and the environment, and a host of other issues, large and small.

Of course, Republicans aren't exactly pleased with this perspective. A peek into that mindset is offered in this editorial in the Wall Street Journal published on Tuesday:

On a Lincoln anniversary that will no doubt bring even more lectures about how the GOP has abandoned its first president, we do well to remember that Old Abe was a man who enforced his red lines (e.g., no expansion of slavery). Before that, he was a corporate lawyer who rose from poverty through hard work and ambition—and wanted an America where everyone had the chance to do the same.

If America's progressives wish to embrace this Lincoln legacy, more power to them.

One hundred fifty years later, it's understandable why both parties are eager to claim Lincoln's legacy.

This CEO Just Raised His Company's Minimum Salary to $70,000 a Year

| Tue Apr. 14, 2015 11:04 AM EDT

Inspired by research suggesting that the emotional well-being of many of his employees could be improved by a raise, the owner of a Seattle credit card payment processing company has just announced that he will boost their minimum salary to $70,000.

The New York Times reports Gravity Payments founder Dan Price will slash his own $1 million salary to $70,000 and use a majority of the company's forecasted $2.2 million profits this year to help pay for the bold move. Many of the workers affected by the raise include sales and customer service representatives.

Of the company's 120 employees, 30 will see their salaries almost double.

"The market rate for me as a CEO compared to a regular person is ridiculous, it's absurd," Price told the Times. "As much as I'm a capitalist, there is nothing in the market that is making me do it."

In the rest of the country, the wage gap between top executives and well, everyone else, is staggering: In 2014, Wall Street bonuses alone amounted to nearly double the combined income of all Americans working full-time minimum-wage jobs.

Publicity stunt or not, Price's plan is a unique story about one CEO's effort to directly address income inequality and create liveable wages for his workers. If successful, we can only hope this turns into a Times trend piece.

This Kid's Reaction To Hillary Clinton's Campaign Video Is So Amazing

| Mon Apr. 13, 2015 1:42 PM EDT

Hillary Clinton announced her presidential bid yesterday. There were a lot of reactions! Conservatives had reactions! Liberals had reactions! Lions, tigers, and bears had reactions! All of those reactions were garbage. This is the one true reaction.

 

Zeke is ready for Hillary. Just not in the way she'd probably expect...(This was Z's immediate reaction to viewing HRC's announcement video. Instant meltdown.)

Posted by Erin Celello on Sunday, April 12, 2015

Children are our future.

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Watch John Oliver and Michael Bolton Serenade the Unsung Heroes Working for the IRS

| Mon Apr. 13, 2015 8:51 AM EDT

Everyone hates the IRS. And as Tax Day nears, complaints about the much-despised agency grow louder and angrier. On the latest "Last Week Tonight," John Oliver dedicated his show to defending the IRS and its employees, who are subjected to working a thankless, challenging job everyday.

"Blaming the IRS because you hate paying your taxes is a bit like slapping your checkout clerk because the price of eggs has gone up," Oliver said. "It's not her fault, she's just trying to help you get out of the store."

Recent budgets cuts, coupled with constant changes to complicated tax laws only make the situation worse.

Of course, asking viewers to sympathize with the IRS is a difficult task. To help, Oliver recruited singer Michael Bolton to serenade a wonderful ode to the agency, "the anus of our country." Because as the lyrics note, you'll never "miss your anus till it's gone." Watch below:

The Mountain Goats' New Album Takes On the Noble Warriors of Professional Wrestling

| Mon Apr. 13, 2015 6:00 AM EDT

The Mountain Goats
Beat the Champ
Merge

Don't be fooled by the easygoing folk-pop melodies and likable everyday-guy vocals: John Darnielle, leader of California's long-running Mountain Goats, writes some of the sharpest, most thoughtful songs around. On Beat the Champ, he turns to professional wrestling, one of his cultural fixations (another being death metal), and as usual, treats his characters with perceptive compassion, savoring the orchestrated drama of the "sport" without a hint of condescension. While "The Legend of Chavo Guerrero" ("I need justice in my life") highlights the uplift that wrestling's morality plays provide for the fans, more often Darnielle depicts the daily struggles, emotional and physical, of its participants in and out of the ring. From "Choked Out" ("I can see the future, it's a real dark place") to "The Ballad of Bull Ramos" ("Get around fine on one leg/Lose a kidney, then go blind/Sit on my porch in Houston/Let the good times dance across my mind"), his noble hard-luck warriors are not soon forgotten.
 

Gwyneth Paltrow Confuses Her Latest Master Cleanse with Attempt to Relate to the Poor

| Sun Apr. 12, 2015 10:21 AM EDT

Who better to speak to the struggles of food stamp recipients than Gwyneth Paltrow? The actress and founder of GOOP, the oft-ridiculed lifestyle blog that peddles everything from $900 throw blankets to $50 sunscreen, was recently summoned by chef Mario Batali in an Ice Bucket-esque challenge to join him in the fight against food stamp cuts.

A worthy cause for sure. But judging by the items she cobbled together to last her an entire week alone, it's difficult to take Paltrow's good intentions seriously:

I am no chef, but it looks to me as if the above snapshot would fail miserably in feeding a whole family for even just one meal, let alone a whole week. It does, however, look like the makings of an excellent detox recipe—if you happen to enjoy that kind of thing.

Out of touch is just how we like you, Gwyneth! Stay golden.

(h/t Jezebel)

Elizabeth Warren Explains How Washington Corruption Protects the "Tender Fannies" of The Rich

| Fri Apr. 10, 2015 9:54 AM EDT

During a spot on the "Daily Show" Thursday night, Senator Elizabeth Warren broke down the ways in which big banks and large corporations have rigged Washington politicians in order to ensure "the tender fannies of the rich and the powerful are always carefully protected."

"Powerful corporations, rich people, have figured out that if you can bend the government to help you just a little bit, it’s a tremendous payoff," Warren told host Jon Stewart. "And if you can bend it to help you just a little bit more, and a little bit more, the playing field just gets more and more tilted, and the rich and the powerful just do better and better."

The Massachusetts senator, whose appearance was tied to her book A Fighting Chance, went on to explain how both the steady circulation of money and the constant presence of lobbyists in Washington have worked together to create a culture in which such corruption is the norm. Watch below: