If you're sick of what has become of America's music, you're not alone. Country music star Collin Raye is speaking out about it on Fox News. Here's an excerpt:
There appears to be not even the slightest attempt to "say" anything other than to repeat the tired, overused mantra of redneck party boy in his truck, partying in said truck, hoping to get lucky in the cab of said truck, and his greatest possible achievement in life is to continue to be physically and emotionally attached to the aforementioned truck as all things in life should and must take place in his, you guessed it... truck.
Like Raye, I'm not inherently opposed to this strain of country music, but it has become dominant and ubiquitous. "I didn't mind the first two or three hundred versions of these gems," said Raye, "but I think we can all agree by now that everything's been said about a redneck and his truck, that can possibly be said."
The beauty of country music is that it is honest and authentic. It tells us stories we can identify with. That doesn't mean it can't sometimes also be fun and silly — and occasionally employ an obvious double entendre, or two. Johnny Cash managed to do it all pretty darn well.
But at some point, modern country became a parody of itself, often reinforcing or overemphasizing country stereotypes. The pendulum has swung too far to the silly "bro" side of things. When it comes to today's country, "They sound tired, but they don't sound Haggard" — or, as my colleague Eric Keefeld lamented, at some point, "modern country became Cheap Trick with trucker hats."
President Obama's forthcoming budget proposal will include a request for $478 billion for vast infrastructure improvements, to be funded with a 14 percent tax on $2 trillion in corporate earnings held abroad. The six-year plan is a more robust version of a policy Obama has proposed in the past. Obama is to unveil his budget on Monday.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday stood by his harsh criticism of protesters who last week interrupted a Senate hearing with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
"I was outraged and I'm still outraged," McCain said on CNN, arguing that the protesters were physically threatening Kissinger. "I think they're terrible people that would do that to a 91-year-old man with a broken shoulder," he added.
Last week, McCain called protesters from the anti-war group Code Pink "low-life scum" after they brandished banners and handcuffs during the hearing. —Jon Terbush
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Sunday said homosexuality is a "lifestyle" choice, adding that while he disagreed with it personally, he was accepting of people with different beliefs.
"I don't drink alcohol, but gosh, a lot of my friends, maybe most of them, do," he said on CNN. "I don't use profanity, but believe me I've got a lot of friends who do. Some people really like classical music and ballet and opera. It's not my cup of tea."
Deflategate may have been a bunch of hot air.
The NFL's investigation into the New England Patriots' alleged ball tampering has determined that the footballs used in last month's AFC Championship were not as underinflated as previously believed, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. Though previous reports said 11 of 12 footballs were each underinflated by two pounds per square inch, the league actually found many to be only "a few ticks" under the minimum allowable PSI; only one was two pounds under the limit.
The Patriots denied tampering with the balls in any way, and team owner Robert Kraft demanded an apology from the NFL should it find no evidence of wrongdoing.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Sunday that the U.S. had to be "prepared to put boots on the ground" in Syria and Iraq to battle ISIS. In an appearance on ABC's This Week, the potential 2016 candidate said that he did not consider it an "immediate plan," but that it should remain on the table.
Also Sunday, a Des Moines Register poll showed Walker leading a hypothetical GOP field in Iowa one year out from the Iowa caucuses. Walker declined to say Sunday if he was indeed preparing a White House run, though he said he "wouldn't bet against me on anything."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday condemned the Islamic State's apparent killing of journalist Kenji Goto, calling it a "despicable and horrendous act of terrorism."
ISIS on Saturday released a video purporting to show Goto's decapitated body after its demand of a prisoner exchange went unmet. Though the video has yet to be authenticated, both Japan and the U.S. have released statements tacitly confirming it is real.
"To the terrorists, we will never, never forgive them for this act," Abe said.
As you may have heard, the Super Bowl is finally here. So ahead of the big game, Saturday Night Live showed what it would be like if the Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman hosted their own talk show. Incredibly, a special guest even got he media-averse Lynch (played by Kenan Thompson) to crack a smile and open up a little bit. — Jon Terbush
Egypt on Sunday said it freed Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste and would soon deport him to his native Australia.
Greste was arrested in December 2013 and accused of publishing false news, sparking an international outcry from free press advocates who considered the charges bogus. Egypt has not said what it plans to do with two other Al Jazeera reporters, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, who were imprisoned along with Greste.
Novak Djokovic on Sunday defeated Andy Murray in four sets — 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-0 — to claim a record fifth Australian Open title.
The top-ranked player in the world, Djokovic remained perfect in Australian Open finals while claiming his eighth Grand Slam. Murray, who has never won the event, settled for his fourth second place finish in Melbourne.
Japanese officials said they are attempting to authenticate a video released on Saturday which shows the apparent beheading of Kenji Goto, a hostage of Islamic State militants, The Associated Press reports.
The video, titled "A Message to the Government of Japan," shows an apparent ISIS militant with a British accent, along with Goto, who kneels in an orange jumpsuit and does not speak in the minute-long video.
The militant speaks directly to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying that Abe's "decision to take part in an unwinnable war," is to blame for Goto's beheading.
"Let the nightmare for Japan begin," he adds.
Japanese and Jordanian officials had been attempting to negotiate through indirect channels for the release of Goto and Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh.