"The Ren & Stimpy Show," "The Goddamn George Liquor Show," "The Ripping Friends" and, of course, the infamous Tenacious D video "F--- Her Gently." There is only one John Kricfalusi, and when the demented cartoon genius turns his pen on you, you better hope he's in a good mood. (See the figurines after the jump!) Read More...
by Rya Backer
Independence Day offers Americans a long weekend, fireworks and summer fun — but it's important to remember what the holiday actually stands for: the freedom provided to us by generations of men and women who have fought for our rights.
Almost 70 percent of young Americans know someone fighting in either Iraq or Afghanistan, and the wars have become a huge factor in what shapes the story of this generation. More importantly, they've become a defining moment in the history of our nation. Unfortunately, media attention on the wars has waned in recent months — and we've decided to do our part in changing that.
It's in this spirit that MTV's Street Team '08 — 51 citizen journalists from every state and the District of Columbia — have compiled "Soldier Stories." These works introduce us to some of the nearly 1 million men and women who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces. These stories can be found at www.chooseorlose.com.
We've also published stories about the GI Bill and Ashwin Madia, an Iraq war vet who's running for Congress.
But don't just take our word for it. Two guys you might've heard of — named John McCain and Barack Obama, a.k.a. the Republican and Democrat presumptive presidential nominees, respectively — have filmed messages urging support for the troops and our efforts to give them the attention they deserve. Take a look at what they have to say, and be sure to let us know what you think.
By Matt Harper
As I write this, rain is pouring down on Western New Hampshire. But this torrential downpour held off for a few hours this afternoon so that a historic union could take place in the sleepy town of Unity, New Hampshire. Of course, I'm talking about of the joint appearance of Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator/presidential hopeful Barack Obama. The two Democratic candidates ran a primary battle for close to a year and half, and with Obama recently stepping up as the presumptive Democratic nominee, there's been a fair amount of speculation as to when and how the Democratic party would unify.
Well, the answer is here: June 27, 2008, in Unity, New Hampshire. You couldn't really ask for a more blatantly symbolic spot for Hillary and Barack to take the stage together. Apart from its name, the minuscule town near the Vermont border was the place where both Democratic candidates received 107 votes apiece during the state primary in January.
As expected, the event was heavily attended and obsessively orchestrated by an army of college-age Obama volunteers. While I waited in the approximately half-mile-long line to get into the event, I was offered fresh-picked strawberries by a lady moving up and down the line, was warned by another lady that Barack was a Muslim and should be avoided at all costs, and had about 10 separate petitioners warn me that MoveOn.org is funded by George Soros, who had apparently made millions from investments in Halliburton. I could tell right away that this event had brought out a diverse crop of passionate New Englanders. Read More...
You can try to push Ron Paul to the sidelines, but you can't tell him he can't play the game. The feisty Republican presidential candidate with the impressive money machine and an anti-war, never-say-die attitude that appeals to the college kids has decided to hold his own convention in September. Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, sez you!
Since the party isn't exactly rolling out the red carpet for him and his way-wired constituents at its official shindig at St. Paul, Minnesota's Xcel Energy Center, Paul says he's setting up shop eight miles down the road at the University of Minnesota's Williams Arena in Minneapolis on the second day of the event, September 2. His spokesperson told The New York Times, "This isn't a protest. ... This is a celebration of limited government and Republican principles." Don't get it twisted, though: He's not doing it because he's angry at his party.
One thing's for sure, you're not likely to see John McCain holding a "Freedom Rally and Ice Cream Social" anytime soon. Details on the parallel convention are expected to be announced tonight, but considering John Mayer has given the good Dr. his stamp of approval, we predict lots of banana splits and guitar face come September 2.
Obama, holla! Eventually Barack Obama will have to initiate a dialogue with the hip-hop community. I was with LL Cool J earlier this week and he told me about a new record he's made concerning the presidential climate. And on Wednesday, my dude Green Lantern hit me off with a brand-new record from Nas called "Black President." In the song, Esco speaks directly to Obama and gives him his outlook and expectations on what changes we need as a country. I'm loving Nas' audacity right now! How bold are you to directly address the man that has a 50/50 chance of being the commander-in-chief? Hip-hop with substance is hip-hop at its essence — hip-hop at its best.
Our Choose or Lose Street Team '08 honcho, Liz Nord, was at Hillary's big event last night with lots and lots of other women. She filed this report from the scene.
NEW YORK — This has been a contentious primary season for the Democrats, but there's one thing everyone agrees on: Many new and formerly disenfranchised voters have come flocking into the fold. Barack Obama's energetic campaign is largely responsible for this positive phenomenon, especially among youth and minority voters. However, if there is one thing I learned at Hillary Clinton's speech last night, it is not just Obama who has inspired new voters to come out to the polls.
Women of all ages, shapes, sizes and colors lined the sidewalks before the event, clamoring for one of the coveted bleacher spots. As a young woman in a male-dominated industry, I have to say that it was inspiring to see so many women feel empowered by Hillary's campaign.
Nairoby Otero, 25, a Clinton supporter, was literally jumping up and down, screaming "I'm so excited!" before her candidate spoke. "I am just excited that this is possible," she enthused, "No matter what happens next, women from age 5 to age 90 will never understand the word 'no' again."
I would like to take a moment to consider the most important aspect of the Puerto Rican primary looming this weekend, and it has nothing to do with the horse race. Nothing to do with whether Hillary adds another reason to stay in this thing; nothing to do with how many elected delegates Barack adds toward that magic number. No -- the most interesting thing about the primary happening on Sunday is that IT’S HAPPENING ON SUNDAY!
While there have been a few states holding primaries and caucuses on weekends this electoral season, the United States remains largely a nation of Tuesday voting. (Yeah, I know, it’s also a country that remains stubbornly out of step with the vast majority of the world on its system of measurement and the way it writes dates as well – but let’s save those issues for another time.) Tuesday? Really? That’s the day you want to mandate for a collective effort, something that we want as many Americans as possible to take part in? What about, oh, day jobs and classes? How did this lunacy come about? Read More...
MTV News is now calling the American Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for Senator Hillary Clinton!
But wait...the election there isn't June 1st, so why are we so confident she'll win? Because Ricky Martin endorsed her, that's why.
See, Puerto Ricans (like Mr. Martin) can vote in party primaries but not in the November elections, since the island is a territory and not a state. We are kind of at a loss on this one, so we will just go straight to the press release:
"These elections will have historic repercussions both in the United States and the world. Senator Clinton has always been consistent in her commitment with the needs of the Latino community. Whether fighting for better education, universal health care and social well-being, as First Lady and Senator from New York -- representing millions of Latinos --she has always fought for what is most important for our families," said the 5-time Grammy award-winning artist.
"I am honored to have Ricky Martin's support," said Senator Clinton. "In addition to his great talent, Ricky is committed to improving the world through his philanthropic work, and I am grateful for his support. He is a very important voice in the Latino community and together we will work to improve the lives of families and children across the country."
Now, we know that Ricky Martin is important to Coldplay, but tell us, Latino members of the MTV community, is he “a very important voice in the Latino community"? Does this endorsement affect your vote?
In honor of the holiday, here's a collection of stories we've done in recent months on U.S. troops and the issues affecting them.
· We've followed the GI Bill, from the debates on the floor of Congress to its approval in the Senate, from the soldiers' gripes to our own.
· We set up an intimate Q&A session between the Democratic presidential candidates and a group of soldiers.
· The cast of "Stop-Loss" told us how their perceptions of the military changed over the course of shooting the movie.
· Some Obama-supporting vets explained what their candidate is doing to address their concerns.
· We looked at a virtual-reality game that's helping soldiers with PTSD.
· We cheered when gay and lesbian soldiers won right to sue the military over unlawful dismissal.
· Our Choose or Lose Street Team '08 members have run several stories about young soldiers, including Iowa correspondent Nathan Leigh's piece on Spc. Nicholas Maranell's take on our presence in Iraq.
· And on the lighter side, four "American Idol" fans — who also happened to be soldiers stationed in Iraq — found the time to write up their opinions about the show. Now that's going above and beyond the call of duty.
Yesterday I got the chance to sit down with one of my favorite musicians on the planet, Conor Oberst.
The setting was a Mexican restaurant in the East Village, about halfway between his house and mine -- though admittedly it was a pretty obvious location choice. You see, earlier this year, Mexico was the place where the nomadic Oberst holed up with a bunch of pals to work on his first solo album in many years, a self-titled release due out August 5th. And yes, he sees a big difference between a solo record and a Bright Eyes record, something he explained in our nearly hour-long conversation.
Conor was in great spirits, and in addition to the new album -- which is more spare and stripped down than last year’s terrific Cassadaga -- we also talked about California (he likes it, I don’t), relationships (not his forte), his aversion to hospitals, and, of course, politics. O, as you might have heard, is a big supporter of O.
So check back with MTVNews.com in the coming weeks for all that -- plus a track-by-track rundown of the entire album...