Mixed Media

College Athletes Just Lost Another Battle in the Fight to Get Paid

| Wed Sep. 30, 2015 1:28 PM EDT
Former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon in 2010.

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that even though the NCAA violated antitrust law by restricting payments to athletes, the organization can keep colleges from compensating athletes beyond the cost of attending school.

The 78-page opinion struck down a lower court injunction in O'Bannon v. NCAA that proposed that schools pay athletes an additional $5,000 per year in deferred compensation for using their likenesses in video games. It did, however, uphold another decision that granted schools the authority to pay for an athlete's full cost of attendance, which includes covering expenses like home visits and cellphone bills.

The panel found that the NCAA was "not exempt from antitrust scrutiny," and that the association's rules "have been more restrictive than necessary to maintain its tradition of amateurism in support of the college sports market."

The opinion marks a victory for the NCAA at a time when the organization faces repeated challenges regarding the rights of athletes. In a statement, NCAA president Mark Emmert said: "We agree with the court that the injunction 'allowing students to be paid cash compensation of up to $5,000 per year was erroneous.' Since Aug. 1, the NCAA has allowed member schools to provide up to full cost of attendance; however, we disagree that it should be mandated by the courts." 

As Vice Sports' Kevin Trahan notes, Wednesday's decision raises another question at the heart of the debate, at least for gamers: Does it allow EA Sports, and more importantly the NCAA, to cash in on a college sports video game in the future? The answer, Trahan points out, may be yes.

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Lemony Snicket Explains Why He Ponied Up $1 Million to Planned Parenthood

| Tue Sep. 29, 2015 5:23 PM EDT

Daniel Handler, better known as Lemony Snicket and the author of the Series of Unfortunate Events children's books, announced yesterday that he and his wife, the illustrator Lisa Brown, would donate $1 million to Planned Parenthood.

The women's health care provider, which has been the target of multiple suspected arsons this summer, is currently facing potential funding cuts from Congress. We spoke to Handler and Brown about their decision to support the organization.

"Arson and propaganda, not to mention the umpteenth threat of defunding, seemed to demand some counterbalancing."

Mother Jones: Why did you decide to give such a large sum to Planned Parenthood?

Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown: We've been enthusiastic supporters of Planned Parenthood for a long time, and watching their recent deceitful pummelling was frankly more than we could take.

MJ: What's your connection to the organization?

DH & LB: We're Americans and human beings.  We believe in people making their own reproductive choices.  Planned Parenthood has been essential in the lives of many, many people around us.

MJ: Why do you think your donation is needed right now?

DH & LB: Arson and propaganda, not to mention the umpteenth threat of defunding, seemed to demand some counterbalancing.

MJ: Where do you think reproductive rights are headed in the US?

DH & LB: Truth and justice will prevail, but we ought to make it happen sooner rather than later.

Planned Parenthood tweeted back at the couple:

 

Trevor Noah Debuts on the "Daily Show" With Pledge to Continue "War on Bullshit"

| Tue Sep. 29, 2015 8:24 AM EDT

Last night, Trevor Noah premiered as the new host of the Daily Show with a fresh round of jokes about the pope's recent visit to the United States and John Boehner's surprise decision to resign as House speaker late last week.

But before diving into the news of the hour, the South African comedian used his opening monologue to thank Jon Stewart for the opportunity and promised to continue fighting his predecessor's 16-year "war on bullshit."

"Jon Stewart was more than just a late-night host," Noah said. "He was often our voice, our refuge, and in many ways our political dad. It's weird, because Dad has left and now it feels like the family has a new stepdad—and he's black."

"Thank you, John," he continued. "Thank you for believing in me. I'm not quite sure what you saw in me, but I'll work hard everyday to find it. And I'll make you not look like the crazy old dude who left his inheritance to some random kid from Africa."

John Oliver Slams Fox News for Reducing Migrant Crisis to "One Single Stereotype"

| Mon Sep. 28, 2015 9:00 AM EDT

On the latest Last Week Tonight, John Oliver took on the current migrant crisis in Europe to call out the troubling way some world leaders, including "noted swine fellatio enthusiast" David Cameron, and the media choose to characterize the situation.

"When you're dealing with a mass of people that large, you really want to be a little careful with how you describe them," Oliver said.

"Here in the US, some in the media have chosen to reduce the migrant population to one single stereotype," he adds, before showing a Fox News clip featuring the misleading caption, "Terrorists Inbound? Taking refugees could open door to jihadists."

The segment, while continuing to illustrate the extreme racism and economic hardship refugees face when attempting to come to Europe, then turned to the story of a young, wheelchair-bound refugee, Noujain Mustafa, who learned English by watching Days of Our Lives for two years straight.

Watch the segment above for the heartwarming surprise reunion Oliver managed to pull off for Mustafa.

Los Lobos Comes Back With Scorching Boogie and Psychedelia

| Mon Sep. 28, 2015 5:00 AM EDT

Los Lobos
Gates of Gold
429 Records
       

Is there a more versatile outfit in rock? Since the '70s, the LA quintet Los Lobos has displayed a staggering stylistic range beyond the reach of most other great bands, and done everything with soulful verve. On its first album of new material in five years, the group shows its age in the best possible way, segueing effortlessly from scorching boogie to wistful psychedelia to tender Mexican folk, never straining for effect. As always, David Hidalgo tends to sing the romantic songs, while César Rosas tackles the rowdier ones, but either way, Los Lobos runs like the musical equivalent of an impeccably maintained classic car. Long may they roll.

Check out MYZICA, Nashville's Latest Darlings

| Mon Sep. 28, 2015 5:00 AM EDT

With the release of their debut EP in June, Nashville boy-girl pop duo MYZICA offers a synthy dose of sweet indie pop that sticks in your head without the bad aftertaste of bubble-gum pop. Micah Tawlks, a producer who works with the likes of Matthew Perryman Jones, and Isaaca Byrd, a bassist and backup vocalist for a range of artists, cranked out the bulk of the EP in three weeks. Since then, they have toured around Nashville and up the East Coast as MYZICA. Their highlight single, "Ready or Not" was featured in Marvel's latest "Fantastic Four" iteration.

Byrd's silky vocals pair perfectly with such sweet lyrics as "Call it perfect timing, call it fate/ Well, I know this is right, this is love at first sight" from the track, "Wait Just a Minute." The EP is an easy listen, with the occasional '80s keyboard influence and modern melodies enhanced by background vocals in all the right places. As Byrd croons about a love interest on "Believer," MYZICA makes us want to believe.

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Julia Holter's Hypnotic Chamber Pop

| Sat Sep. 26, 2015 5:00 AM EDT

Julia Holter
Have You in My Wilderness
Domino

        

Soothing and gently unsettling at once, Julia Holter's beguiling fourth album could be the elusive music you hear in an intense but puzzling dream. The Los Angeles native's graceful chamber pop is distinguished by an appealing lightness of touch, both in the string-centric arrangements and her placid vocals, with occasional detours into Nico-like gravity. While artfully crafted lyrics abound, they never diminish the primal power of the hypnotic melodies, tending more to delicate allusion—note the recurring aquatic imagery—than literal insistence, aside from the anguished query "What did I do to make you feel so bad?" Offering different subtle pleasures with each hearing, Have You in My Wilderness promises to have a long shelf life.

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

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

TRACK 3

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

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.

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.”