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As Fox News mourns, the rest of us have an Independence Day to celebrate.


Marriage equality arrives! The Confederate flag (almost) departs! Toast with some #oreillytears, and enjoy the 4th.


Joan Walsh, Salon



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bree_newsome_fireworks-620x412.jpgBree Newsome removes the Confederate flag at a Confederate monument at the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., June, 27, 2015. (Credit: AP/Bruce Smith/photowings via Shutterstock/Photo montage by Salon)

Friday, Jul 3, 2015  | July 4 has always been a time for aggrieved progressives to remind the world that most Americans weren’t liberated on that first Independence Day. Enslaved Africans; dispossessed native Indians; women of every race; white men without property; LGBT Americans; the rights claimed in the stirring Declaration of Independence didn’t fully belong to most of us for many years.

That’s still a real, historic truth. But maybe, at least this year, we can celebrate the genuinely liberating, animating ideals of a country that came close to living up to them in a dizzying 24 hours last week.

Joan Walsh is Salon's editor at large and the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America."

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To get love, you give love. Let a woman from San Francisco show you how she does it.

  • Shannon Weber knows a thing or two about the power of a simple love note.
  • Hugs. Gifts. Snuggles. High fives. Smiles. It's often simple gestures that have the power to truly make a person feel special, important, remembered, appreciated.

Mary Rindlesbach, Upworthy

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Med-efe0269d5b6b885f910f03a8bceb19c9.jpgFor Shannon Weber, it all started with a simple love note on a fridge.

A mom of three, Shannon wanted her kids to have a little reminder of her love all the time, so she stuck a note on her fridge. Seeing it every day made her (and her kids!) feel so great that she started placing love notes all over town; she wanted others to feel the same amazing positive mojo. "I feel alive when I do it. I feel connected to myself, to my kids, to the greater world."

Mary Rindlesbach I'm a pug-loving, red-headed feminist who spends her days traveling to the furthest edges of the Internet. I'm a sometimes college instructor, an all-the-time spouse and parent, a running enthusiast, and an armchair movie critic.

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The Hunger Games: New CBS reality show exploits poor families by making them grovel for $101,000.


  • A corporate behemoth has found yet another way to profit off of poverty. It’s not a new trick, but it’s a particularly bold display. One (from which) I hope most of us choose to turn.
  • The United States of Cruelty

Kali Holloway, AlterNet

Screen-Shot-2015-05-30-at-6.57.09-AM-800x430.gif 30 May,  2015 | As if to prove there are new depths to be plumbed in the world of reality television (because who knew?), CBS just debuted The Briefcase, a show which takes poverty porn, class anxiety, emotional manipulation and exploitation and packages them all neatly into a pretty despicable hour of primetime television. Kicking off each episode with the question, “What would you do with $101,000?” the show then deep-dives into a competition that asks two unwitting, financially strapped families to choose between two no-win options: being financially solvent yet appearing heartless and greedy, or drowning in debt yet having audiences recognize them as selfless and giving.

It’s hard to imagine a network executive didn’t get the idea for this show from the “Button, Button” episode of the Twilight Zone. The Briefcase focuses on two “middle-class” families—a questionable but highly American take on the phrase, since both are debt saddled, with one primary breadwinner, and essentially living on the edge of financial ruin. Both are told they’ll be participating in a documentary about money. Instead, a producer from the show unexpectedly comes to their house with a suitcase full of cold, hard cash: $101,000 to be exact. That could be a life-changing – and in the case of families so near the financial cliff, nearly life-saving – sum of money. But this being reality TV, instead of just giving them the cash, there’s a major catch.

Kali Holloway: Associate Editor, Media and Culture at AlterNet

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The United States of Cruelty, Charles P. Pierce, Esquire

  • We are cheap. We are suspicious. We will shoot first. It does not have to be this way. Like Lincoln before us, it is time to do something about it.
  • GOP Descent into Mindless Meanness


The lyrics of recent No. 1 singles average at a third grade reading level.

  • New study examines lyrics from Beyoncé, Foo Fighters, Adele, Eminem, and others. 
  • The dumbing down of American culture continues.

Alex Young, Consequence of Sound

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screen-shot-2015-05-18-at-3-24-57-pm.png?w=771May 18, 2015 | No one would ever dare to compare the writing prowess of artists like Macklemore, Nicki Minaj, and Katy Perry to Chaucer and Ginsberg, but a new study from Andrew Powell-Morse reveals just how dumbed down the lyrics are for songs currently dominating the Billboard charts.

Powell-Morse analyzed the reading levels for 225 songs that spent three or more weeks atop Billboard’s Pop, Country, Rock, and Hip-Hop song charts.

Whereas chart-toppers in 2005 read between a third and fourth grade level, a decade later that average is declining, and fast. In 2014, the reading level of a Billboard No. 1 single averaged between a second and third grade reading level, with the bar trending downward in five of the last 10 years.

Alex Young, Publisher, founded Consequence of Sound in 2007 and continues to spearhead many of the website's day-to-day activities, including editorial content and business development.

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B.B. King and our blatant racial revisionism: The South still denies the roots of "America's music"

Southern states celebrating "America's music" should remember the direct line between our original sin & the blues.

Tony Fletcher, Salon



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obit-bb-king.jpeg1-1280x960.jpgKing plays during his 10,000th career performance in an appearance at his club in New York in 2006. (Credit: AP/Richard Drew)

May 15, 2015 | We all have to go sometime. And hopefully, B. B. King was able to reflect in his twilight years that he had lived a longer, greater and more illustrious life than he ever might have imagined when he was born in the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta back in 1925. He has passed away at the grand old age of 89.

I have found myself listening extensively to the blues over this past year or so. There is not a direct musical connection here to my biography of Wilson Pickett, who went straight from gospel to R&B and soul. But it has helped further inform my understanding of the culture of the deep South, the music that came out of the slavery experience, and how it then traveled, via the Great Migration, to the big cities of the industrial North. Just recently, I found myself listening to B.B. King’s classic “Why I Sing the Blues” and had to stop what I was doing to truly register the opening verse.

Tony Fletcher's many books include "Dear Boy," a biography of Keith Moon; "A Light That Will Never Go Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths" and "R.E.M.: Perfect Circle."

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