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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

February 13, 2016
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Donald Trump is backed into a corner in South Carolina, where he has been routinely booed by the debate audience for everything from insulting Jeb Bush to insinuating 9/11 was George W. Bush's fault. Perhaps as a result, when Ted Cruz turned his criticism on Trump, Trump came back swinging with a particular vengeance.

"You are the single biggest liar, you're probably worse than Jeb Bush," Trump said — a mighty insult in his book. Trump added that Cruz is a "nasty guy."

"This guy lied about Ben Carson…and he just continues," Trump went on.

However, Trump was met with what is becoming a familiar sound this Saturday: Boos. Watch below. Jeva Lange

February 13, 2016
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are the only Cuban-Americans on the South Carolina Republican debate stage, and things got especially heated and personal when Cruz criticized a time Rubio went on Univision to speak in Spanish about his immigration policy.

When Rubio was given the chance to respond, he snapped, "I don't know how [Cruz] knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish."

Cruz countered by shouting in Spanish at Rubio. "We can do this in Spanish, if you want," he roughly said.

Some Spanish speakers took issue with Cruz's reply, however:

Nevertheless, Rubio didn't take Cruz up on the challenge, continuing on in English — but it was a moment for the books. Watch below. Jeva Lange

February 13, 2016

Jeb Bush and Donald Trump locked horns for the second time in the South Carolina Republican debate when Trump took a swing at one of his favorite subjects of ridicule — the Bush family.

"I am sick and tired of him going after my family," Bush began in response, going on to say that, "While Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe."

Trump interrupted, pointing out that 9/11 happened while George W. Bush was in office — and was greeted with a round of angry boos.

"He had the gall to go after my mother," Bush went on. "My mom is the strongest person I know."

But Trump, never one to cede the last word, quipped, "She should be running." Jeva Lange

February 13, 2016
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

After Jeb Bush explained his policy for going after ISIS at the GOP presidential debate in South Carolina Saturday night, Donald Trump ripped into the former Florida governor — and was met with ferocious boos from the audience. "Jeb is so wrong, Jeb is absolutely so wrong," Trump said of Bush's call to dispose of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, only to get the audience hissing.

Trump wasn't put off. "You know who that is? That's Jeb's special interest and lobby talking," he said, drawing his second round of boos.

"I only tell the truth, lobbyists," Trump replied. Jeva Lange

February 13, 2016
Twitter/@MashableNews

The opening questions of the CBS Republican debate naturally surrounded the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, with Donald Trump being the first up to bat. Responding to the question of appointing Justice Scalia's replacement, Trump said he believed Obama would pick a successor within the remaining 11 months of his presidency— and if Trump were in the president's shoes, he would do the same.

Nevertheless, Trump had some advice to those interested in protecting Scalia's legacy of conservatism: "Delay, delay, delay." Watch below. Jeva Lange

February 13, 2016
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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died Saturday at the age of 79, had a way with words. In court, those words weren't so much spoken as thundered. And in his memorable dissents or important majority decisions, those words could often be described as biting.

The Catholic, Italian-American justice, the longest-serving on the court, was passionate about his belief in the Constitution and his faith.

"He was a hysteric in cases he cared about most," legal scholar Cass Sunstein told NPR. The cases that fired him up ranged from same-sex marriage and prayer in public school, to the death penalty and ObamaCare.

Scalia so intensely disagreed with the court's 2015 decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act ruling that he voiced his colorful dissent aloud from the bench, with phrases like "jiggery-pokery," "quite absurd," "feeble arguments," and "pure applesauce."

Words were important to Scalia, both in his reading of the Constitution ("The Constitution that I interpret and apply is not living but dead, or as I prefer to call it, enduring.") and in his "carefully crafted" opinions, which will live on long after his death.

Read more about Antonin Scalia's life, career, and legacy at NPR. Lauren Hansen

February 13, 2016
Getty Images/Alex Wong

Following the unexpected death of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday, Republicans and Democrats immediately began fighting over who should select his replacement. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement that "this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president," while Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said President Obama "can and should send the Senate a nominee right away."

Were Obama to nominate Scalia's replacement, it would dramatically refashion the ideological make-up of the court, with the reliably conservative Scalia almost certainly being replaced by a liberal like Obama's other two nominees, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Ben Frumin

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