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Monthly Archives: April 2016

The most striking thing about Rep. Keith Ellison’s podcast is how little he talks.

Members of Congress are a notoriously loquacious bunch. You’d talk a lot, too, if keeping your job depended on ensuring everyone in your district knew you were working as hard as possible to advance their interests. On a platform like podcasting, which could easily turn into an opportunity for grandstanding so excessive it borders on solipsism, there’s something supremely satisfying about listening to Ellison sit back and let someone else do the talking.

To be sure, Ellison’s voice is all overWe The Podcast, a series the five-term Democratic congressman from Minneapolis has been producing and hosting for about a year. He introduces segments, frames each episode’s argument, and interrogates his interview subjects, who range from an ex-con trying to turn his life around by working at a recycling center to an award-winning Harvard political scientist studying demographic patterns in voter turnout.

Ellison started the podcast after his frustration with scant attention the mainstream media paid to the issues affecting poor people reached a breaking point.

We’re always trying to figure out how to refocus the public’s attention on issues that concern working people.

We’re always trying to figure out how to refocus the public’s attention on issues that concern working people. If you look at the ordinary corporate press, what you see is some stuff on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and maybe a few stats on unemployment. But there’s really not that much news on the economic realities of working people, he told the Daily Dot in a phone interview. When was the last time you saw a story about payday lending? Or home health-care workers who take care of our … aged loved ones and who don’t make enough money to live on? They qualify for food stamps as they’re making sure our mothers and grandmothers have what they need.

Podcasting wasn’t Ellison’s first choice. He tried writing op-eds for newspapers. He published one in the New York Times in 2015 arguing that the government needs to take action tofacilitate the flow of cash remittances from the United States to Somalia, as the shifts in the banking industry have closed off avenues for Somali Americans to send money to their friends and family members. He penned another in the Washington Post the year prior urging the Israeli government toend its blockade of Gaza. The impact of those articles was, he said, limited.

Ellison noticed that, over the last few years, the frequency with which he popped in his headphones to listen to music while driving in the car or sitting on an airplane had decreasedreplaced by podcasts like This American Life, Serial, and The Young Turks. He figured he’d give podcasting a shot.

When Ellison decided to turn his congressional office into a podcasting studio, none of his stafferswho he recruited to help produce the showhad audio editing experience. It was a lot of on-the-job training over here, he said with a laugh

That isn’t to say Ellison was entirely flying blind. Prior to running for elected office, Ellison was the unpaid host of a public-affairs talk show on the Minneapolis R&B station KMOJ for eight years. Nor is he the first sitting elected official to host a show in the media. California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who became a national figure after temporarily legalizing same-sex marriage while mayor of San Francisco, hosted a show on Al Gore‘s Current TV until the network was sold to Al Jazeera. Ellison’s House colleague, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), did his own podcast for 17 episodes starting in 2013, but he abandoned the effort in 2015.

Within lefty political circles, Ellison is something of a rising star. The first African-American sent by Minnesota to the House of Representatives and the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, the Detroit native is co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucasus. At 71 members, the Progressive Caucus is the largest congressional caucus within the Democratic Party and one of loudest organized inside-the-Beltway voices pushing the party to the left. A fixture on left-leaning news outlets like MSNBC, Ellison wasone of the first members of Congress to endorse the 2016presidential bid of Vermont Sen.Bernie Sanders.

Ellison is an old-school liberal whose core messages largely revolve around advocating for governmental solutions to the issues facing the poor and middle class. He’s sponsored bills toprotect tenets against foreclosure,allow for same-day voter registration, andeliminate government subsidies to fossil-fuel producers.

That advocacy is what drives We The Podcast. Each episode of Ellison’s show follows a general format: The congressman introduces the show’s narrowly focused topic with a short monologue, and then the rest of the program, which can last from about six minutes to the better part of an hour, consists of clips from interviews Ellisonwho does everything on the shows from writing the scripts to choosing the musicconducted with his guests.

The first episode was about how companies can retaliate against employees involved in union organization.

In the episode, Ellison interviews Leslie and Jim, a couple who ran a Subway franchise in Northern California. When their eldest daughter, Chelsea, was diagnosed with cancer, they needed to sell the store to raise funds. Even though they had multiple offers, which came in around $500,000, the pair charged that the Subway development manger, whose approval was required for the sale to go through, rejected them all because he wanted to buy the franchise himself for a reduced price. As a result, the couple was forced to sell their family home shortly before Chelsea passed away.

The franchise system, and the way it is constructed, is horrible and needs to be change, Jim told Ellison, who just so happened to have a pair of billsaimed at reforming the franchise system, which he introduced around the same time the podcast aired.

Ellison notes that every single podcast is related to some form of advocacy work he’s doing. It becomes another tool to help people understand why I’m pushing a piece of legislation. It’s another tool to understand what the whole story is, he said. We want to get people to understand the issues, and then at the end we might say, Oh we got a bill. We want people to get why we’re doing this so that by the time they get done listening to it, they’re saying that somebody ought to propose a bill. And them I’m like, Funny you asked.

Even so, references to Ellison’s job are infrequent enough on the podcast that, listening through multiple episodes at a time, it’s a little jarring when he mentions, in passing, that voting for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was one of the proudest moments of his congressional tenure.

The podcast’s audience is small, but it’s growing. We The Podcast‘s 15 episodes have attracted about 9,000 total listens.

Ellison’s policy goals are served by the congressman telling the story he wants to tell. He conceptualizes what he does as the equivalent of long-form audio op-eds where people who are more eloquent or more persuasive make Ellison’s case better than he could in his own words. In the course of a single day, Ellison says he could go from talking to someone living in a homeless shelter in the morning to chatting up the Masters of the Universe at the ritzy Minneapolis Club in the afternoon. That diverse network of connections give Ellison the ability to easily find someone to say exactly what he needs said.

In a way, the endeavor reads as an act of modesty. In another way, it reads as an act of journalismalbeit a biased one.

They are tools of democracy. They belong to everyone, like libraries and parks and the ability to reason.

Ellison insists what he’s doing isn’t journalism, because he doesn’t make an attempt to hide or counteract his biases. I’m not trying to take both sides of the story. I’m not trying to get the billionaires saying they should get more subsides and then the poor folks saying they need a little but of help too, he said. I’m trying to help people what its understand what its like for the working poor. We’re not trying to go for balance, which a journalist is duty-bound to do. Not in an editorial, but in a storyyou’ve got to have the other side.

NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen argues that, regardless of whether Ellison sees himself as practicing journalism, the tools he’s using to put the podcast together are ones that are inherently journalistic.

I refer to things like conducting an interview, making an argument, finding facts and statistics to support your case, asking good questions (and listening to the answers to form better questions), interrogating experts so that what they know can be brought to bear on a public debate, telling stories that illuminate larger problems, Rosen explained. I hear Ellison doing all of these things. Professional journalists are supposed to be especially good at themand they arebut these are skills all of us need to participate in politics as persuasion and public problem-solving.

They are tools of democracy, Rosen continued. They belong to everyone, like libraries and parks and the ability to reason.

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I wont apologize for the fire in my eyes, sings the embattled pop star in her anthemic new collaboration with EDM star Zedd

Im not afraid, Kesha declares in True Colors, her first song in three years. Not to be confused with Cyndi Laupers 80s classic, True Colors is less danceable than Keshas last single, Timber, her 2013 collaboration with Pitbull but its no less addictive.

First debuted at Coachella with EDM artist Zedd, True Colors finds the pop star in an urgent and defiant mood. Given all thats transpired since Kesha brought a lawsuit against her former mentor for sexual assault in 2014 (most recently, a judge in New York dismissed her case), the tone couldnt be more appropriate. Consider True Colors her #FreeKesha anthem.

Notoriously, Kesha is still under contract with Dr Lukes Kemosabe Records and the RCA label group, unable to release records with anyone else. However, she and Zedd say they received permission from those parties to record and release True Colors.

All my life, one page at a time/ Ill show you my, my true colors/ No, I wont apologize for the fire in my eyes/ Let me show you my, my true colors/ It aint no rainbow, Kesha declares on the chorus.

Despite the singles transparent relevance to the singers situation, its in fact a cover version of a song of the same name released by Zedd, which featured Rock Mafias Tim James on vocals. The lyrics remain the same, but Keshas audible rage lends the track a fire that was missing in its earlier incarnation.

Kesha has long been a pop dance queen, thanks to the barnstorming success of her breakout single TiK ToK, and subsequent chart-toppers Blow and Take It Off. Her last album, 2012s Warrior, showcased a rawer side: on single Dirty Love, Kesha embraced her inner rocker convincingly by wailing alongside Iggy Pop. True Colors is still by all means a pop song, but theres grit in her delivery.

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(CNN)Here’s some background information about Cinco de Mayo which commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on May 5 every year.



    Cinco de Mayo: What you need to know


Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for the fifth of May.
    The Mexican army won the battle despite being smaller and ill-equipped.
    Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence day from Spain, which occurred in 1810 and is celebrated on September 16.
    In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is observed with political speeches and battle reenactments.
    In the 1960s and 1970s, the day became identified with the Chicano rights movement in the United States, especially in the state of California.
    The day became one to celebrate Hispanic heritage.
    In many cities in the United States, there are parades and festivities featuring mariachi music, dancing, and Mexican food.
    Cinco de Mayo has been criticized for becoming too commercialized in recent years.

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    Nobody can compare to Beyoncand this comedian is up front about that in her attempts to channel Queen Bey.

    In a “Great Value” version of Beyonc’s music video for “Hold Up,” from the singer’s new albumLemonade, Internet comedian @LaLaSizaHands89brings a true budget aesthetic to the song but adds tons of laughs.

    She has no cute little downtown area full of stores to stroll through; just the parking lot of an apartment complex. And her dress might be the same color as Bey’s, but that’s all they have in common. She can’t even get a real bat, let alone send it crashing through a man’s car window without getting called out for what she’s about to do.

    This video might simply be “great value,” but that face she makes right before she drops the bat is priceless.

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    There are lots of moments in history that our nation should be proud of. For example:

    The signing of the Declaration of Independence.

    But no other moment in American history is as important as this one.

    Thats right. Its the 8-year anniversary of a not-so famous Bruno Mars fangirling over an already famous Pete Wentz.

    It feels like it was just yesterday when we all first witnessed this iconic snapshot. Its crazy to think that there was a time when Pete Wentz was more famous than Bruno Mars. I mean, Pete is still pretty famous, but Bruno performed at the Super Bowl with Beyonc, which means that he’s now in a different echelon entirely.

    Things were different in 2008. Bush was still president.

    But most importantly, a pre-fame Bruno Mars wasnt afraid to show his thirst for Pete Wentz. So happy 8-year anniversary of Bruno Mars stanning for Pete Wentz in a candid photo. We thank you for reminding us to never hold back about our celebrity crushes.

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    Will the real Becky please stand up?

    As you’ve probably heard,

    While many have speculated that the mistress is either Rachel Roy or Rita Ora (both have denied), could Karrine Steffans be the woman in question?

    On Friday, Columbus Short‘s maybe-wife (read the complicated story HERE) wrote an entry on where she says she hooked up with the rapper 15 years ago.

    The 37-year-old said :

    “Over 15 years ago, I had Beyonc’s husband. Yes, I was one of Jay Z’s Beckys back in the year 2000 for about three minutes, which is about as long it takes me to satisfy a man in the back of a Maybach while overlooking the beaches of Malibu.”

    Holy smoke! She is spilling some tea!

    According to Miz Steffans, she met him while working as a music video actress.

    “I was a 21-year-old California transplant who’d been tossed into my first music video after a fateful meeting with director Hype Williams. A single mother raising my son on my own, I jumped at the chance to make $2,500 a day to dance around and look pretty next to the artist – Jay Z.”

    She continues:

    “Chauffeured away from the set, down the winding road, and closer to the shoreline, Jay and I feasted on our attraction to one another – rabidly and quickly. After just a few minutes, I lifted my head from his lap, wiped my lips, and knew we’d made a mistake.”

    But before she faces the wrath of the Beyhive, this encounter happened BEFORE he was married to Queen B.

    “This was pre-Yonc, of course, but the fact is that a Becky is a Becky, and I was the Becky for many men, and they were all my salvation and my destitution. They were my reason and my rationale, my life and my death, and eventually, my fame and my infamy.”

    We just hope all of this Becky drama comes to an end!

    [Image via WENN.]

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    So exciting!!!

    As we previously reported, Adele revealed this week that her latest single off of her hit album 25 would be Send My Love (To Your New Lover). LOVES it!

    However, during her concert in Stockholm, Sweden the Grammy winner dropped some deets about the music video for the new single.

    Related: Adele Worships Beyonc Just Like The Rest Of Us!

    She shared:

    “And, um, this is actually my next single. And I just did my video for it, I know, I did one single and I’m like ‘Thanks, bye. See you in ten years.’ I did want to do one for When We Were Young — and we had an idea for it, but we couldn’t get it right and I was like ‘I can’t do any old video for When We Were Young.’ Because that’s like my favorite song I’ve ever written. But for this one we’ve got a really cool video, we did it on Monday…And you’ll not believe it, but I’m DANCING in it. Can you believe it? Lost all of my inhibitions.”

    AH-Mazing! Unfortunately, that’s about all the A-lister was willing to give away as she noted:

    “It was actually really fun, I’ve this great — actually I’m not going to give it all away because someone is probably filming this.”

    Merp! Nonetheless, we are so amped to see the mother of one break out her sick moves.

    Do YOU think Adele is a good dancer? SOUND OFF in the comments (below)!

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    On Friday,

    The blonde beauty posted:

    Tissues, anyone? In case you forgot, the Tik Tok artist was stuck in music limbo when she attempted to get out of her contract and accused Dr. Luke of sexual and verbal assault.

    While Kesha may’ve lost her fight against Luke and Sony, it appears that the pop starlet hasn’t given up on making music as she dropped her new song True Colors with Zedd this week. Bravo!

    After so much strife, we’re just happy to see the A-lister back at it making music for her fans. Snaps all around!

    [Image via Kesha/Instagram.]

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    might be one of the most private musicians in the world!

    According to a report from The Sun, the acclaimed singer has lived like a recluse for YEARS despite achieving major global success and a great deal of wealth. In fact, the creative is so private that she rarely sees her relatives.

    Related: Enya Drops New Music!

    Instead of going out around town, the beauty prefers to hole up in her expensive castle in Ireland. The icon must really like her digs because she has only been spotted in public TWICE over the last ten years!

    While some people might feel sorry for Enya, there really is no need. Not only does the 54-year-old have her beloved cats to keep her company, but she prefers to lead a solitary life focused solely on her music.

    A source said of the artist’s sanctuary:

    “People come looking for it from all over the world but you can’t see through the gates. You wouldn’t even know there was anyone there most of the time.”

    Well, if that’s the way the superstar likes it, then so be it!

    Enya’s uncle Noel Duggan added:

    “We don’t see much of her. She lives like a queen. She is a recluse.”

    Considering the Irish gal has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide and has a $132 million dollar fortune, we’d say this “recluse” life is really working out for her.

    Summing up her mysterious life, a music industry insider revealed:

    “Throughout the music business there’s no one else who is so successful about whom so little is known. She doesn’t socialise, she’s barely seen out of the house, there aren’t any clues in her lyrics about her life. Even at her album launches, label bosses will hold a large event rather than ask her to do individual interviews, as they make her so uncomfortable. She’s a huge question mark. With the exception of the Ryans, even people who have worked with her for years know nothing about her.”

    Wow, this actually sounds refreshing! It’s nice to see a successful person not so obsessed with the idea of celebrity for once.

    So, could YOU live like a recluse?

    [Image via WENN.]

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    Alfred Jackson

    is simply destroyed over Prince‘s death.

    Speaking to Entertainment Tonight about his loss, Alfred recalled some fond memories of his half-brother and what the singer meant to him. The sit down comes on the heels of reported tension between Jackson and the icon’s sister Tyka Nelson.

    Related: Police Search Prince’s Pharmacy

    Confiding his heartbreak to the outlet, Alfred stated:

    “I miss my brother, because my brother was everything in the world to me. God bless Prince, God bless the world. He’s a legend, he really is.”

    So sad. We can’t agree more that Prince was an absolute “legend”.

    The devastated bro added:

    “He was so busy on the road because he had so many engagements with his music. So, he had to travel, all around the world. I always saw him on television, read the magazines, and said, ‘There’s my brother, Prince.’ I was so happy he was making it for himself, I really was.”

    Aww. We bet the 57-year-old appreciated the support.

    Summing up the musicians creative talent, Alfred revealed:

    “He was a genius. Wherever he heard music, he could copy it just like that — like he had a photographic memory or something.”

    Yep, that sounds like Prince! The beloved singer had no lack of talent!

    You can watch the full interview with A.J. HERE.

    [Image via Entertainment Tonight.]

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