Mixed Media

Music Review: "The Claw" From Barrence Whitfield & the Savages' Under the Savage Sky

| Fri Sep. 25, 2015 4:35 PM EDT


"The Claw"
From Barrence Whitfield & the Savages' Under the Savage Sky

Liner notes: Powered by honking sax and brutal beats on this raunchy raveup, Barrence Whitfield commands listeners to stop "flapping your jaw" and start dancing.
Behind the music: Born Barry White—no relation to the soul legend—the Bostonite has fronted various versions of the Savages since the '70s.
Check it out if you like: Greasy rock and roll, from Little Richard to the Sonics and Nick Curran.

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The Criminal Investigation of FIFA's Sepp Blatter Is Finally Here

| Fri Sep. 25, 2015 12:50 PM EDT

On Friday, Swiss officials opened a criminal investigation into embattled FIFA president Sepp Blatter "on suspicion of criminal mismanagement" and "misappropriation."

In September 2005, Switzerland's Office of Attorney General said in a press release, Blatter signed a television contract with the Caribbean Football Union deemed "unfavorable to FIFA" during former FIFA executive Jack Warner's tenure as league president.

Blatter was also accused of making a "disloyal payment" of 2 million Swiss francs to UEFA president Michel Platini "at the expense of FIFA" for work conducted between January 1999 and June 2002.

The criminal probe comes five months after 14 top soccer officials and corporate executives, including Warner, were indicted for widespread corruption spanning the past two decades.

Here's a short recap of what has happened in the Blatter orbit since the indictment came down:

May 27: The US Department of Justice indicts 14 top soccer officials and corporate executives on charges of racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering for a massive corruption scheme that spanned two decades and totaled more than $150 million. Plainclothes officers raided the five-star Baur au Lac hotel in Switzerland, where FIFA executives gathered for the league's annual meeting. The charges focus on the buying and selling of votes for the 2010 World Cup in Africa. A separate Swiss investigation hones in on the bidding for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

May 29: Blatter wins election for the fifth time and promises to "take the responsibility to bring back FIFA."

May 31: Blatter says he has an idea why the indictments went down two days before the FIFA election: "No one is going to tell me that it was a simple coincidence, this American attack two days before the elections of FIFA. It doesn't smell right. This has touched me and FIFA…There are signs that cannot be ignored. The Americans were the candidates for the World Cup of 2022 and they lost. The English were the candidates for 2018 and they lost, so it was really the English media and the American movement."

June 1: The New York Times reports that Jérôme Valcke—the FIFA secretary general and Blatter's right-hand man—is linked to a $10 million transaction between FIFA and another soccer official, a central part of the bribery scandal. On June 10, Valcke concedes that he authorized the transaction, but denied any wrongdoing.

June 2: Blatter announces he will resign as head of FIFA after 17 years and calls for a special election. "FIFA needs a profound overhaul," he said in a statement at the time. "While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football—the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football as much as we all do at FIFA."

June 15: A federal judge in Brooklyn unseals a plea agreement of former FIFA executive Chuck Blazer, who pleaded guilty in November 2013 to 10 counts of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion. Blazer cooperated with federal investigators in secret for two years before his plea, providing information that is believed to have helped lead to the arrests of the 14 officials. That same day, a Swiss newspaper reports that Blatter is reconsidering his resignation from FIFA's top post.

September 17: FIFA places Valcke on leave "until further notice." Swiss authorities accused Valcke of selling tickets to the 2014 World Cup for more than face value.

September 25: Swiss authorities open criminal investigation into Blatter.

Air Travel Is About to Get Way More Annoying

| Wed Sep. 23, 2015 4:06 PM EDT

Didn't think air travel could get more obnoxious? Well, if you're a resident of New York, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Louisiana, or American Samoa, abandon such wishful thinking, because starting next year you may need a passport to get on a plane—regardless of whether you're flying domestic or international.

Thanks to the Real ID Act passed back in 2005, these five places, in which a obtaining a driver's license does not require proof of citizenship or residency, according to Travel+Leisure, have been deemed "non-compliant" with the act's security standards. Therefore, residents will need to remember to bring their passports along for air travel or obtain an Enhanced Driver's License for an extra $30.

One small problem: Only New York and Minnesota offer EDL's.

The policy, which was proposed in response to the 9/11 Commission's guidance, seeks to beef up counterterrorism measures. According to the Wall Street Journal, 22 states' driver's licenses already comply with the new law, while 24 other states have received extensions.

The act will be enforced starting sometime in 2016. New York has already applied for an extension.

“We have submitted a request for an extension to the Real ID Act and our discussions with the Department of Homeland Security have been very productive,” a spokeswoman from the New York Department of Motor Vehicles said. “We have no reason to believe that any New Yorker will have a problem using their current state-issued ID card to get on a plane come January 2016.”

Watch This Boston Bro Totally Lose His Shit Over a Weird Fish

| Wed Sep. 23, 2015 11:11 AM EDT

This is what happens when a guy from Malden, Mass., sees a weird-looking fish in Boston Harbor, and decides to record his reaction, bro.

"I don't know, man. I went nuts. We didn't know what the hell it was," Michael Bergin told the Boston Globe. "It was scaring me to death, it was like a dinosaur. It was so ... ugly."

H/t to Business Insider's Facebook page (features some NSFW salty Boston language):


Today was a great way to end summer thank u

Posted by Michael Bergin on Thursday, September 17, 2015

By the way, it's an ocean sunfish, which, to be fair, looks pretty damn weird:

Wikimedia Commons

It's a strong contender for the new Double Rainbow:

Happy Wednesday.

Donald Trump Was Just On Stephen Colbert—and It Was Bonkers

| Tue Sep. 22, 2015 11:30 PM EDT

"Knock knock"

"Who's there?"


"Donald who?"

"Donald Trump."

"Oh hey, Donald Trump. Come on in. America is in the living room, waiting to see how ridiculous you are."

Check out the full episode here:

Stephen Colbert Shuts Down Ted Cruz Over Ronald Reagan Legacy

| Tue Sep. 22, 2015 1:01 PM EDT

If there was one clear winner that emerged from last week's Republican presidential debate, it was Ronald Reagan, whose legacy was repeatedly invoked and showered with 45 instances of praise from his admiring disciples, including Sen. Ted Cruz.

The Texas senator's Reagan fandom was tested during an appearance on the "Late Show" last night, when host Stephen Colbert pointed out that Reagan famously supported both an amnesty program for immigrants and raising taxes—two policies Cruz has vehemently railed against throughout his own campaign for president.

"Reagan raised taxes," Colbert said. "Reagan actually had an amnesty program for illegal immigrants. Neither of those things would allow Reagan to be nominated today. So to what level can you truly emulate Ronald Reagan?"

"Could you agree with Reagan on those two things?" he asked.

Cruz was then forced to admit that no, contrary to his previously uncritical adulation of Reagan, he wouldn't be able to endorse two of Reagan's major positions.

The two continued to spar on policy items, including gay marriage. During one point, Colbert asked members of the audience to stop booing Cruz, who appeared visibly uneasy in his guest chair. We can't wait to see how Donald Trump will fare when he swings by the "Late Show" tonight. Stay tuned.

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Viola Davis Becomes the First African-American to Win Emmy for Best Actress in Drama

| Mon Sep. 21, 2015 7:23 AM EDT

Last night, Viola Davis made history by becoming the first African American to win the award for best actress in a drama series. In her acceptance speech, the How to Get Away with Murder actress delivered a stirring message on diversity and the lack of opportunity women of color face in Hollywood.

"In my dreams, I see a line," an emotional Davis said. "And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can't seem to get there no how, I can seem to get over that line."

"That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s. Let me tell you something—the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You can not win an Emmy for roles that simply are not there."

Both her historic win and speech were met with congratulations on social media:


Go-Betweens Frontman Delivers Witty, Melodic Pop

| Mon Sep. 21, 2015 5:00 AM EDT

Robert Forster
Songs to Play

Robert Forster was one of two gifted singer-songwriters in the jangly, beloved Australian band The Go-Betweens, which disbanded in 2006 following the death of co-leader Grant McLennan. On his first album in seven years, Forster continues to make witty, melodic pop that etches vivid portraits of everyday people in uncomfortable situations. Songs to Play sets his understated, gently sardonic voice against sleek instrumental textures, adding tart violin (and even a little trumpet) to the usual sprightly electric guitars.

As always, Forster's inventive tunes offer plenty to chew on, from the breezy "I'm So Happy for You," which may not be as affirmative as it insists, to the brash "I Love Myself (And I Always Have)," which finds the arrogant narrator proclaiming, "I hold myself in high regard," adding, "No, I'm not an only child" in the manner of Randy Newman's more obnoxious characters. Nearly four decades after the debut of The Go-Betweens, Robert Forster remains a smart, sneaky auteur who bears careful observation.

There Is New Evidence That Football Destroys Brains—and It’s Terrifying

| Fri Sep. 18, 2015 2:03 PM EDT

A new joint study by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University found that 87 out of 91 former NFL players who donated their brains for examination showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease also known as CTE. The report out of the nation's largest brain bank, which received a $1 million research grant from the NFL in 2010, supports prior research suggesting that playing football could have long-lasting neurological effects over the course of an athlete's life.

As reported first by Frontline:

In total, the [Boston University] lab has found CTE in the brain tissue in 131 out of 165 individuals who, before their deaths, played football either professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school.

Forty percent of those who tested positive were the offensive and defensive linemen who come into contact with one another on every play of a game, according to numbers shared by the brain bank with FRONTLINE. That finding supports past research suggesting that it's the repeat, more minor head trauma that occurs regularly in football that may pose the greatest risk to players, as opposed to just the sometimes violent collisions that cause concussions.

CTE can only be accurately identified posthumously, and it's important to remember that many of the ex-players who donated their brains to BU did so because they thought they might have the disease. Still, the results are more bad news for the NFL, which for years has been criticized over its handling of concussions and brain research. The league has long denied a link between the sport and long-term brain disease—in its annual health and safety report, the league reported a 35 percent decline in concussions in the course of two regular seasons—but in April it gained approval for a $1 billion settlement with about 5,000 retired players, resolving concussion-related lawsuits. (The Will Smith film Concussion, which recounts the story of the doctor who first discovered CTE in the brain of a former NFL player, debuts on Christmas.)

An NFL spokesperson said in a statement to Frontline on Friday: "We are dedicated to making football safer and continue to take steps to protect players, including rule changes, advanced sideline technology, and expanded medical resources. We continue to make significant investments in independent research through our gifts to Boston University, the [National Institutes of Health] and other efforts to accelerate the science and understanding of these issues."

Dr. Ann McKee, who is the chief neuropathologist at the brain bank, told Frontline: "People think that we're blowing this out of proportion, that this is a very rare disease and that we're sensationalizing it. My response is that where I sit, this is a very real disease. We have had no problem identifying it in hundreds of players."

Fox News Wants New American Citizen Emily Blunt to Leave Town

| Tue Sep. 15, 2015 2:40 PM EDT

Appalled by Emily Blunt's recent remark that she regretted becoming an American citizen after watching the first GOP debate—a joke that has since sparked the hashtag #GoHomeEmily on Twitter—Fox News is now telling the actress to remove her ungrateful, Anglophile self from Hollywood.

"Why don't you leave Hollywood, California, and let some American women take on the roles that you're getting, because Americans are watching your movies and lining your pockets," Anna Kooiman said, barely containing her hurt and anger, during a segment of Fox & Friends on Monday.

Kooiman's colleagues agreed. One even went so far as to open up old conservative wounds (and create a new verb in the process) when he compared Blunt to the once beloved, since branded traitorous Dixie Chicks.

"You know what Emily Blunt just did?" Steve Doocy said. "She just Dixie Chicked herself. She has alienated half the country that now will think twice about going to one of her movies."

The Dixie Chicks, you may recall, were outspoken in their opposition to George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq. In a 2003 concert in London, lead vocalist Natalie Maines said, "Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas." The group never recovered.

Harsh, Doocy. Fox News did, however, credit Blunt for being "very pretty."