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Talkin' 'bout girls, talkin' bout trucks
May 15, 2014

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." Matt K. Lewis

Revolting
1:06 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Late Tuesday, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) filed a "motion to vacate the chair," a parliamentary measure seeking to unseat House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). In his motion, Meadows accused Boehner of having "endeavored to consolidate power and centralize decision-making" and using "the power of the office to punish Members who vote according to their conscience instead of the will of the Speaker."

Meadows should know — he was briefly stripped of his chairmanship of a House subcommittee after voting against a measure Boehner backed, being reinstated only after fellow House conservatives caused a ruckus. But he says he isn't sure he will ever try to bring his motion to a vote, intending it more as the "impetus to have a discussion, a family discussion," among House Republicans about "how we can make sure that every voice, every vote matters."

The move is extremely rare but not unprecedented. In March 1910, Rep. George Norris (R-Neb.) tried to oust Speaker Joe Cannon (R-Ill.), but failed after a two-day marathon session that ended with Cannon himself moving to declare his chair vacant and winning the vote when it failed to pass. Cannon was reputedly much more domineering than Boehner, but the failed coup did succeed in greatly curbing his power in the House. As Meadows is surely aware. Peter Weber

last night on late night
12:20 a.m. ET

Harry Potter, the fictional boy wizard, turns 35 on July 31. To wish him an early happy birthday, and scar any Harry Potter fans watching The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon had Simon Pegg on to imagine the mess that would be a 35-year-old inebriated Ron Weasley. "Drunk Ron Weasley" draws pretty heavily from the Dudley Moore school of drunk Britons, but Pegg's "10 points for Gryffindor!" ad-lib is pretty good. Watch the debauchery and shattered childhood dreams below. Peter Weber

election 2016
July 28, 2015
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The top 10 Republican presidential candidates, as determined by Fox News polling, will still appear on stage for the prime-time Aug. 6 debate in Cleveland. But thanks to a modification to its rules announced Tuesday evening, Fox News will allow all of the second-tier candidates to participate in the happy hour debate earlier that evening, at 5 p.m. ET. Previously, only candidates polling at 1 percent or greater were allowed in the 5 p.m. debate.

The change in requirements means that you can watch former HP chief executive Carly Fiorina, ex-New York Gov. George Pataki, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) face off against Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Rick Santorum, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, according to Politico's tally. The nine Republicans competing for air time with Donald Trump from 9 to 11 p.m. are Jeb Bush, Gov. Scott Walker (Wis.), Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.), Rick Perry, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, and Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Ted Cruz (Texas), and Rand Paul (Ky.)

The "kid's table" debate will also be moderated by lower-profile moderators, Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum. The later one will feature Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, and Chris Wallace. Peter Weber

Whatever You Say
July 28, 2015
Steve Jennings/Getty Images

Mark Cuban — billionaire, investor, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks — has weighed in on the 2016 election, and he's giving two thumbs up to Donald Trump.

According to Cuban, Trump is "probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time," although apparently that has nothing at all to do with Trump's actual politics and everything to do with his bombastic personality.

"I don't care what [Trump's] actual positions are," Cuban clarified. "I don't care if he says the wrong thing. He says what's on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything any candidate has done in years."

More important than anything? Okay, if you say so!  Jeva Lange

Deflategate
July 28, 2015
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The NFL issued a 20-page statement Tuesday announcing that it would uphold the four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after he was found "at least generally aware" of team employees tampering with game balls during the 2015 playoffs. The NFL originally suspended the star signal-caller back in May after a league-commissioned report found "credible evidence" that he was involved in the scheme.

The NFL said its decision was based in part on the fact that Brady destroyed a cell phone he used the week of the Patriots' January 18 playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, The New York Times reports, during which it is alleged members of New England's staff deliberately deflated Patriots footballs to make them easier to grip. The cell phone apparently contained potentially incriminating evidence in the form of texts between Patriots staff members that seem to suggest Brady was aware of team employees adjusting the air pressure in footballs. Brady has consistently denied knowledge of tampering, and appealed his original suspension in June, which set the stage for the league's ruling Tuesday. Kimberly Alters

This just in
July 28, 2015
Matthew Busch/Getty Images

Donald Trump's personal aide Michael Cohen claimed he was speaking during a moment of "shock and anger" when he told a Daily Beast reporter that "You cannot rape your spouse." Cohen made the comment while defending Trump against a Daily Beast exposé, which claimed that Trump's ex-wife Ivana had used the word "rape" to describe an incident that occurred between the couple while they were still married.

"Rarely am I surprised by the press, but the gall of this particular reporter to make such a reprehensible and false allegation against Mr. Trump truly stunned me," Cohen said in a statement. "In my moment of shock and anger, I made an inarticulate comment — which I do not believe — and which I apologize for entirely."

Ivana Trump has since added that The Daily Beast's story is "totally without merit," and that her comments were made during a time of "very high tension." Jeva Lange

This just in
July 28, 2015
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Jonathan Pollard, the U.S. intelligence analyst who was sentenced to life in prison in 1985 for passing classified documents to the Israeli government, will be released on parole on November 21, the United States Parole Commission announced Tuesday.

Pollard was scheduled to become eligible for parole in 30 years, granted the government did not show he was still a threat to national security. Pollard will be required to remain in the U.S. for the next five years following his November release from a North Carolina prison. Becca Stanek

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