Luke James and Lee Ann Womack

Luke James – Luke James Hanging around the edges of the biz for years writing songs for Chris Brown and Bieber, Luke James learned what not to be. He feels deeply and wants listeners to know it. Eschewing the trad trappings of Anthony Hamilton and John Legend, he cushions his material with synthesized block chordsContinue reading “Luke James and Lee Ann Womack”

‘The evidence in those papers is very strong’

Five groups of researchers confirm what many suspected: Australia was aflame in 2013 thanks to emission-fueled climate warming. Because this is 2014 and there are stupid people, the New York Times had to dot its i’s this morning: For several events in 2013, they were able to rule out such a link. Even though theContinue reading “‘The evidence in those papers is very strong’”

Charlie Crist: A Republican with ‘varying degrees of empathy’

If Jeb Lund’s story about the Rick Scott-Charlie Crist gubernatorial race consisted of links to stories about both these creatures, it would be valuable; but Lund also stitches a narrative showing how, rising sea levels aside, Florida is deeply fucked. The fact is that Crist at best has the chance to impotently pursue an inertContinue reading “Charlie Crist: A Republican with ‘varying degrees of empathy’”

‘Muscular economic populism’ and its discontents

Rick Perlstein, interviewed while promoting The Invisible Bridge, on the rightward turn of the Democratic Party: One of its roots was surprisingly enough the New Left’s turn away from New Deal politics and union politics. And it comes out of the extraordinary prosperity of the 1960s. It just doesn’t seem as important to have aContinue reading “‘Muscular economic populism’ and its discontents”

Britney: ‘an infinitely recombitant instrument’

“Britney Spears” came to me as a heterosexual love object. At my college newspaper the male editors lusted after her early ’99 Rolling Stone cover, for which I loathed them.. She wasn’t a person — she was, to quote Billy Idol, flesh for fantasy. “…Baby One More Time” mattered less to me than “Believe” andContinue reading “Britney: ‘an infinitely recombitant instrument’”

Singles 9/26

Nickleback is in third place, OK? In this electoral season and after two weeks’ worth of news I’m ready to reward any effort at contemporary relevance (spare me the “dated” references chatter: music is dated the moment it’s released), and Nickleback’s generalizational overemoting tickled the right dialectical bellybutton. I dunno. Better this thing than NickContinue reading “Singles 9/26”

‘You find glory by yourself’: Memphis

His name is Willis Earl Beal, and he’s in every frame of Memphis. Thin, quick with a smile, wearing a brimmed hat, he moves through the abandoned strip malls and rural pockets with confidence, buoyed by the music he hears in his head and which he occasionally records with a crack band. Writer-director Tim SuttonContinue reading “‘You find glory by yourself’: Memphis”

Eric Holder: the legacy

Eric Holder criticized the Supreme Court’s voting rights decision. He is working on reducing mandatory life sentences for certain offenders. He refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act and yesterday filed court papers challenging election laws in Wisconsin and Ohio. The usual air raid sirens on the right blamed Holder and the Obama administrationContinue reading “Eric Holder: the legacy”

‘Congress has utterly failed its constitutional responsibilities’

When you’ve lost the NYT, etc. There isn’t a full picture — because Mr. Obama has not provided one — of how this bombing campaign will degrade the extremist groups without unleashing unforeseen consequences in a violent and volatile region. In the absence of public understanding or discussion and a coherent plan, the strikes inContinue reading “‘Congress has utterly failed its constitutional responsibilities’”

‘Miami probably not used to being compared unfavorably to Detroit’

Gail Collins on the, excuse the pun, sea change in political alignment regarding climate change. Guess which city is the test case: Miami is probably not used to being compared unfavorably to Detroit. But there you are. “We’re going to wander around shin-deep in the ocean — on the streets of Miami,” said Senator SheldonContinue reading “‘Miami probably not used to being compared unfavorably to Detroit’”

‘I want honesty in my classroom’

The best news I’ve read this week: students and parents resisting the imposition of rightist and corporatist propaganda on Denver curricula: A new conservative school board majority here in the Denver suburbs recently proposed a curriculum-review committee to promote patriotism, respect for authority and free enterprise and to guard against educational materials that “encourage orContinue reading “‘I want honesty in my classroom’”