Mixed Media

Have Plans Tonight? Cancel Them. Sarah Palin Is Interviewing Donald Trump.

| Fri Aug. 28, 2015 11:41 AM EDT

Fed up with media bullies attacking Donald Trump's purported Bible fanaticism, Sarah Palin announced she will be interviewing the GOP front-runner and nonactive church member for what's sure to be a circus of a conversation. In a Facebook post today, the former vice presidential candidate and fired Fox News host explained her plans:


WTH, LAMESTREAM MEDIA! STAY OUT OF MY BIBLEWTH? Lamestream media asks GOP personal, spiritual "gotchas" that they'd...

Posted by Sarah Palin on Friday, August 28, 2015

What exactly is One America News? Unclear, but here's how to access it.

It's all happening.

Update: Here is a link to the interview.

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Virginia News Station Pays Tribute to Slain Journalists

| Thu Aug. 27, 2015 10:05 AM EDT

A day after Virginia journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward were fatally shot while filming a live broadcast, their colleagues at WDBJ went on air to pay tribute with a moment of silence.


Please take a moment today to pause and reflect to remember Alison Parker and Adam Ward. Gone, but never forgotten.

Posted by WDBJ7 on Thursday, August 27, 2015

"We want to pause and reflect and share with you once again what made these two so special, not just to us, but to all of our hometowns that WDBJ serves," Kimberly McBroom, who was anchoring from the station when the shooting erupted, said while fighting back tears.

On Wednesday morning, Parker and Ward were killed during a live interview at a shopping center. The suspected gunman is Vester Flanagan, a former coworker at the local news station. The segment's interviewee, Vicki Garndner, was also injured. She went through emergency surgery and has reportedly recovered from stable condition to good condition.

Marshall Crenshaw Plays Superior Guitar Pop

| Mon Aug. 24, 2015 5:00 AM EDT

Marshall Crenshaw
#392: The EP Collection
Red River Entertainment


A worthy heir to Buddy Holly (who he portrayed in the biopic La Bamba) and John Lennon (who he played in a production of Beatlemania), Michigan-bred, New York-based Marshall Crenshaw has made superior guitar pop for more than three decades. Folks with long memories will recall such early faves as "Someday, Someway" and "Favorite Waste of Time," also recorded by Bette Midler. Compiling highlights from six recent EPs, #392 showcases Crenshaw's gift for blending razor-sharp melodies and wistful vocals that have just enough grit to avoid any suggestion of cheap sentiment. This 14-track set also offers some savvy covers, including a lovely, un-ironic take on the Carpenters' "Close to You" and a crackling, previously unreleased version of the Everly Brothers' "Man with Money." If you're new to Crenshaw's work, consider yourself lucky: A great back catalog awaits.

It's Time to Separate the South From the Confederacy

| Sat Aug. 22, 2015 8:00 AM EDT
The statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in Memphis, Tennessee

On Wednesday, the Memphis City Council cast its final vote to remove a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest from a downtown park. Despite the considerable pushback against the decision, I can't help but feel a little hope that progress is being made in my home state.

Not to be mistaken for the garish Forrest statue in Nashville, this one is a tarnished bronze likeness of the Confederate general, slave trader, and first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. The statue tops a concrete burial vault that houses the remains of Forrest and his wife. The memorial has stood in Health Sciences Park (formerly Forrest Park) since 1905, when, 28 years after Forrest's death, a group of wealthy, white Memphians dug up the general and his wife and entombed them in a vault beneath this statue in downtown Memphis. Astride his horse, Forrest faces north, positioned so he doesn't seem to be retreating.

In the aftermath of the Charleston massacre and a renewed push to take down Confederate flags and other symbols of the Confederacy, the Memphis City Council voted to remove the statue and return the remains to Elmwood Cemetery, where Forrest was originally buried in accordance with his will. Surprisingly, much of the indignant outcry has surrounded the idea of moving the remains rather than removing the statue. In some of my recent personal conversations, people have expressed their outrage at such an "extreme" move.

A Confederate flag is draped over the base of the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest at a celebration of his 194th birthday in July. Mike Brown/The Commercial Appeal via AP

Indeed, they do. At the ceremony unveiling the statue in May, 1905, nothing was said of Forrest's order to massacre more than 300 African-American Union soldiers who had already surrendered at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, in 1864. His role as a leader in the KKK was never mentioned. Instead, the Forrest Monument Association spoke of his chivalry, and of heritage and honor. As Nate DiMeo notes in a recent episode of his podcast, The Memory Palace, the statue was unveiled "at a specific moment in time": The city's African-American population was increasing, and racial tensions were building. The memorial was a tip of the hat to an idealized past, and those who supported it hoped the symbol would inspire a similar future. "Memorials are not memories," DiMeo says. "They have motives."

The emphasis on tradition, heritage, and honor sounds familiar to me. I grew up in a tiny farming community about an hour and a half east of Memphis, in a place where those values tended to come before equality and the respect for anyone who isn't white. My history classes were full of winding excuses about how the Civil War wasn't really about slavery. It was a struggle over state's rights, and economic power. Obviously. Dixie was a place of hospitality and heart—if you were white. Nathan Bedford Forrest's name was everywhere. It was attached to a nearby state park, a handful of statues, and even the ROTC building on my college campus. DiMeo sees the current controversy as a collision between the present and history, but I've been staring at that collision since I was too young to know what it was.

DiMeo says that despite Forrest's alleged regret at the end of his life for his actions, he's no American role model. He imagines adding a plaque to the Forrest statue and others like it. "Maybe [the plaque] should just say, maybe they should all say, that the men who fought and died for the CSA, whatever their personal reasons, whatever was in their hearts, did so on behalf of a government, formed for the express purpose that men and women and children could be bought and sold and destroyed at will," DiMeo says. I tend to agree.

There are people I've known my whole life who are fiercely protective of the Confederacy and its symbols. They mean well when they speak of heritage and honor, but their pride comes at the expense of those who have suffered far worse than we ever have. Their refusal to recognize that perpetuates a racism that is so insidious that it is confused with cultural values.

I love where I came from. I love the mile-wide stubborn streak I inherited from my deeply Southern grandmother, a woman who is strong and outspoken, because as the daughter of poor sharecroppers, she had to be. I love the syrupy sound of our accents, and I love dark, heady summer nights filled with fireflies. I love being part of a community that is armed with casseroles whenever tragedy catches someone unaware. I do not love the Confederacy, and I do not stand for its murderous agenda or its skewed racial hierarchy. We cannot change the past, but as Memphis removes the statue and tries to move forward, so should the South. It's time to separate the South from the Confederacy.

Listen to The Memory Palace episode on the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue, "Notes on an Imaginary Plaque…"

Undocumented Immigrant Bravely Calls Out His Racist Employer, Donald Trump

| Wed Aug. 19, 2015 2:52 PM EDT

In a new series for New Left Media, a 24-year-old undocumented immigrant who works as a busser at Donald Trump's Soho hotel recently opened up about what it's like to work for a man whose immigration platform rests on characterizing Mexican immigrants like himself as criminals and rapists.

"I know I could lose my job for just talking about Trump, but it doesn't make me proud everyday to go to work under his name," Ricardo Aca said in a video profile.

Aca reveals that he crossed the border at the age of 14 with his family and has been living in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn for almost ten years. He went to high school in New York City and earned an associate's degree in commercial photography. Having been here for most of his adolescent to adult life, Aca has grown accustom to the negative stereotypes many have against immigrants.

"I feel like Republicans think Mexicans are lazy, but I personally work three jobs, my stepfather works two jobs," Aca said. "Everything that my family has we have earned it by working."

While other Republican presidential hopefuls have attempted to distance themselves from Trump's anti-Mexican rhetoric, Aca said their own immigration platforms aren't much different from those of the real-estate mogul.

"I may have an accent, but I'm not stupid," he said.

Aca's bold statements provide a personal spotlight on the growing anxiety some immigrants are experiencing as they witness Trump maintaining his position as the Republican front runner.

"We don't know if we should laugh or if we should cry,” Mexican columnist Guadalupe Loaeza told the Washington Post earlier this week. "We think he's really a nightmare."

But Aca offers a more hopeful outlook, saying he doesn't believe most Americans share the same views as Trump. After the video's publication, the payroll department at Trump's hotel restaurant ordered Aca to bring the renewal of his working permits. When he walked entered through the kitchen, he told the Times his fellow co-workers, sushi chefs, and line cooks applauded him.

In Fort Benning, US Army Shuts Down Misogynist Trolls

| Wed Aug. 19, 2015 10:31 AM EDT

This coming Friday, two female lieutenants will become the first women to graduate from the US Army's grueling Ranger program—an honor that requires all candidates to complete an intense, 62-day training course at Fort Benning in Georgia.

Training includes running at least five miles several times a week, swimming for miles in a combat uniform, finishing a 15-mile march carrying a 65-pound pack, and doing an astonishing number of push-ups in two minutes. Women had been historically excluded from Ranger school because it was thought they lacked the strength and stamina to complete the program.

Like clockwork, Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver's history-making achievements have prompted skeptics to question whether their training might have been tweaked to defer to their feminine frailties. Did Griest and Hayer receive favorable treatment? Is the whole thing just some politically correct publicity stunt?

Thankfully, the individual behind the US Army Fort Benning's Facebook account is proving to be quite the dauntless social media staffer, expertly shutting down the misogynist trolls who have been commenting on the page.

(h/t @nycsouthpaw)

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Palehound's Debut Album Is Smart And Engrossing

| Tue Aug. 18, 2015 5:00 AM EDT

Dry Food
Exploding in Sound

It's hard to pin Ellen Kempner down. Recording as Palehound, the Boston native just produced a smart, engrossing debut album (following a strong EP), which deftly juggles skittish rockers and woozy ballads, covering a dizzying amount of ground in less than a half-hour. Her lyrics can be intriguingly oblique, than come into sharp, funny focus for tart stories of desperate need and fumbled connections. "I'm pushing back your tongue/With my clenched-teeth home security system," she croons languidly on "Easy," fending off a "swollen, sickly guest"; in the toe-tapping "Cushioned Caging," which would be a big hit in a better world, she concedes, "I knew you were a close call/I loved you/It's all my fault." Throughout Dry Food, Kempner's quietly emphatic voice is subtly compelling, inspiring great expectations for whatever she does next.

John Oliver Calls Out Televangelists Who Exploit Religion to Make Millions

| Mon Aug. 17, 2015 8:43 AM EDT

On Sunday, Last Week Tonight took on the shady world of televangelism, an industry that—unlike actual congregations doing real work to help others—is built on promises to "heal through faith" in exchange for hefty, tax-free donations. As John Oliver described, the business thrives on the premise that "wealth is a sign of God's favor and donations will result in wealth coming back to you."

The most vulnerable people are often targeted, while celebrity televangelists rake in millions.

To help expose the industry's fraudulent doings, the show conducted a seven-month correspondence with leading celebrity televangelist Robert Tilton that revealed a disturbing set of tactics he employed to convince people to send money his way. Oliver even established his own satirical church to show just how easy it can be to scam worshipers. Welcome to Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption.

Janelle Monáe Has Your New Black Lives Matter Protest Chant

| Thu Aug. 13, 2015 2:39 PM EDT

Janelle Monáe and her badass record label, Wondaland, led a Black Lives Matter march in Philadelphia yesterday, and today she released a powerful new mix of her bonus track, "Hell You Talmbout," off her latest effort, The Electric Lady. On the new version, Monáe is accompanied by labelmates Deep Cotton, St. Beauty, Jidenna, Roman GianArthur, and George 2.0. The track features chants of "Say his/her name" along with the names of recent victims of police brutality over a heart-pounding drumbeat.

And if you're looking for more protest tunes, check out our playlist here.

3 Times Sesame Street Has Hilariously Parodied an HBO Series

| Thu Aug. 13, 2015 11:56 AM EDT

HBO just announced that it has struck a deal to air Sesame Street for the next five years on the network. The iconic show, which has aired on PBS for 45 years, will start running on HBO later this fall. Don't worry: The show will continue airing on PBS following a nine-month window during which HBO has exclusive rights to run it. Big Bird and co. have have had an ongoing relationship of sorts with the premium cable network, producing amusing spoofs of some of HBO's most popular shows under the moniker "GrouchBO." Expect more hilarious send-ups like these when Sesame Street officially joins the HBO lineup.

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