Friday, September 6, 2013

Divided vote foreshadows Obama challenge on Syria ...

Senate Divided on Syria

A Senate panel’s deep divide over giving President Barack Obama the authority to use U.S. military force against Syria underscores the commander in chief’s challenge in persuading skeptical lawmakers and wary allies to back greater intervention in an intractable civil war.

The administration was pressing ahead Thursday with its full-scale sales job, holding another round of closed-door meetings for members of Congress about its intelligence on Syria. On another continent, Obama was certain to face questions from world leaders when he arrives in St. Petersburg, Russia, for an economic summit.

The event’s host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, stands as a reminder of resistance to U.S. pleas for Moscow to intervene with its ally Syria and President Bashar Assad.

Obama has called for military action after the administration blamed Assad for a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 that it says killed more than 1,400 civilians, including at least 400 children. Other casualty estimates are lower, and the Syrian government denies responsibility, contending rebels fighting to topple the government were to blame.

Responding to Obama’s request, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7 Wednesday to authorize the “limited and specified use” of the U.S. armed forces against Syria, backing a resolution that restricts military action to 90 days and bars American ground troops from combat.

Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Tony Blinken, picked up the sales pitch for the absent president Thursday, appearing on several morning news shows.

In an appearance on MSNBC, Blinken said he believes the American people will be more supportive of Obama’s request once they see the Syrian situation as a separate and distinct problem as opposed to viewing it “in the prism of the last decade” of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“This is not open-ended. This is not boots on the ground. This is not Afghanistan. This is not Iraq. This is not even Libya,” Blinken said.

He said that if the United States does not stand up to Assad and against the use of chemical weapons, some world figures will believe “it’s OK to use them with impunity.”

Secretary of State John Kerry, testifying for the second consecutive day before Congress, insisted that the U.S. military response would be restricted as Americans fatigued by more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan show little inclination to get involved in Syria.

“I don’t believe we’re going to war, I just don’t believe that,” Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee, citing the ground troops and long-term commitment that he said wars entail. “That’s not what we’re doing here. The president is asking for permission to take a limited military action, yes, but one that does not put Americans in the middle of the battle.”

In the Senate, five Republicans, including potential presidential candidates Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, and two Democrats opposed the resolution, which is expected to reach the Senate floor next week. The timing of a vote is uncertain.

“I believe U.S. military action of the type contemplated here might prove to be counterproductive,” Rubio said. “After a few days of missile strikes, it will allow Assad, for example, to emerge and claim that he took on the United States and survived.”

Paul, a Kentucky conservative with strong tea party ties, has threatened a filibuster, although he acknowledged that proponents have the votes to prevail in the Senate, and he pinned his hopes on the House.

The notion of a contained operation has failed to sway many Republicans and Democrats in the House, who question why the U.S. should get involved now in a Syrian civil war that has killed an estimated 100,000, displaced millions and is in its third year. While House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., have expressed support for military action, but rank-and-file Republicans remain reluctant or outright opposed.

Republican Rep. Chris Collins said voters in his western New York district are “overwhelmingly against involvement.” The freshman congressman is undecided.

“Really, I’m looking for the president to justify limited military strike and establish what are the objectives he’s seeking and what is the mission,” Collins said in a phone interview.

Kerry told the Foreign Affairs Committee that he believed Obama would address the nation on Syria in the next few days. The president returns home from overseas Friday night.

Speaking in Sweden on Wednesday, Obama left open the possibility he would order retaliation for the deadly chemical weapons attack even if Congress withheld its approval.

“I always preserve the right and responsibility to act on behalf of America’s national security,” he told a news conference. In a challenge to lawmakers back home, he said Congress’ credibility was on the line, not his own, despite saying a year ago that the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line.”

The Senate panel’s vote marked the first formal response in Congress, four days after Obama unexpectedly put off an anticipated cruise missile strike against Syria and instead asked lawmakers to unite behind such a plan.

The vote capped a hectic few days in which lawmakers first narrowed the scope of Obama’s request and then widened it.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a proponent of aggressive U.S. military action in Syria, joined forces with Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware to add a provision calling for “decisive changes to the present military balance of power on the ground in Syria.”

At their urging, the measure was also changed to state that the policy of the United States was “to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria so as to create favorable conditions for a negotiated settlement that ends the conflict and leads to a democratic government in Syria.” McCain, who long has accused Obama of timidity in Syria, argued that Assad will be willing to participate in diplomatic negotiations only if he believes he is going to lose the civil war he has been fighting for more than two years.

Tupac Musical Fueling Up For Broadway

Tupac is coming to Broadway.

You heard it correctly — Kenny Leon, the theater director responsible for versions of "A Raisin in the Sun," "Gem of the Ocean," "The Mountaintop" and "Stick Fly," is preparing his first musical, dubbed "Holler If Ya Hear Me."

Director Kenny Leon says a full cast is ready for the production, which is looking for a home in NYC.

Although the musical won't be biographical, the director tells the Wall Street Journal that it's an anti-violence, "unconditional love story" featuring Shakur's music. It's based on the book by Todd Kreidler.
"When you look at the lyrics of his music, he was always talking about universal things like honor, betrayal, family," Leon told WSJ about the rapper, who was fatally shot in 1996 at 25 years old. "[Tupac] was just trying to talk about life and say something about the country and being an American and raising a family here."

First news of the musical broke in June, but since then, Leon says he has gained a full cast of 24 actors. Leon says the musical has already been workshopped three times.

"We had to have a group of actors that could sing, that could rap, that could dance — that could do hip-hop dance as well as straightforward Broadway musical dance. We had to have a good mix of 24 people who could do it all, but above all we needed actors who could tell the story," he said.

Leon has gotten permission from the late rapper's mother, Afeni Shakur, who is producing the musical with Eric Gold, to use the music. Earlier this year, she announced she would be releasing his full body of work, saying, "My son left many incomplete pieces and even more unfinished ideas. Using the blueprints he gave us, I am committed to fulfilling this duty."

The musical is most likely on its way to the 2013-2014 season, but is still in search for a theater to house it.

Lollapalooza Expands to Argentina, Buenos Aires Fest Planned for 2014

Lady Gaga crowd surfs at g Lollapalooza festival in Grant Park 2010 in Chicago, Ill
Lollapalooza organizers will announce today the expansion to Buenos Aires with Lollapalooza Argentina, a partnership between Lolla founder Perry Farrell, festival co-owner William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, Austin-based promoter/producer C3 Presents, and Latin American promoter Fenix Entertainment Group.  The date and venue for 2014 are yet to be announced, as well as the lineup and ticket pre-sale information. 

Lollapalooza first landed in South America in 2011 in Santiago, Chile, and in 2012 expanded to São Paulo, Brazil. Lollapalooza is the only international festival brand of its kind, including its flagship event at Chicago’s Grant Park. In addition to a diverse slate of music, the festivals also feature local restaurants, green art and vendor markets, a commitment to environmental sustainability, and the rock culture that Lollapalooza has been known for since it was founded by Farrell as a multi-act touring event headlined by his band Jane’s Addiction in 1991. The last Lolla tour was in 2004, and the brand was resurrected in 2005 when Austin-based C3 Presents partnered with WME and Farrell to launch Lollapalooza as a festival in Chicago.

“In the same way that each child is unique born into a family, each Lollapalooza that we spawn is unique,” Farrell says. “I look forward to getting to work with the newest members of our musical family -- Argentina!”

Hartford Mayor Responds To Dave Chappelle: "He Needs To Quit Whining, Do His Job & Try Some Yoga"

The mayor of Hartford has responded to dicey comments shot at his residents from comedian Dave Chappelle after a reported meltdown in Connecticut last week.
Mayor Pedro Segarra let loose on Chappelle for calling out Hartford during a stand-up show this week in Chicago.
"Dave Chappelle should quit whining, do his job and try some yoga. #HartfordHasIt P.E.S.," Pedro tweeted September 5. (Mayor Pedro Segarra's Twitter)
During a Chicago stand-up show Tuesday night (September 3), the former Comedy Central star came clean on what really went down in Hartford.
"F*ck Hartford," Dave said to the audience. "I swear to God, f*ck that whole city. Thank-you for being here. Oh my God, it's off the chain. If I would have known it'd be like this, I'd have dressed up. What's up you guys? Good to see you all. ... I know you guys read the paper, I took a nasty spill the other night. But I swear to God, it wasn't my fault - I'm not on drugs. ... This is so much better than Hartford. I'll never go back. I won't even go to Hartford for f*cking gas. I don't want anything bad to happen to the United States, but if North Korea ever drops a nuclear bomb on this country, I swear to God I hope it lands in Hartford, Connecticut. ... It was a room full of torturers -- young, white, alcoholics." (Da Laughing Barrel)
Dave also referenced the now-infamous Laugh Factory 2006 incident when former "Seinfeld" actor Michael Richards went on a racist tantrum during his stand-up show.
"I wanted to pull a reverse Kramer and call them all crackers or something crazy like that," Chappelle added. "I know that sh*t would be on YouTube. 'Dave Chappelle calls a room full of white people crackers.' Couldn't do that. I felt bad when Kramer did that sh*t to us. I did. I was a f*cking Seinfeld fan to the end. I saw that sh*t and was like, 'Kramer, you f*cked up. You lost me, baby.' That was the black in me. The comedian in me was like, 'Woo, this n*gga's having a tough set! Hang in there, Kramer! Don't let 'em break you!' That sh*t in Hartford was bad. And you know that crowd's lucky they got to see me freak out. Sh*t's like being at a f*cking tiger show the night Sigfried and Roy got their throats bit out by the tiger. It's f*cked up and I know deep down that's why you go to the tiger show. You don't go to the tiger show to see somebody be safe. You guys are thinking in the back of your mind, 'This motherf*cker might get bit. I'd like to see that for $35.'" (Da Laughing Barrel)
Buzz behind Dave's Hartford experience heated up the Internet last week.
A week into his comeback tour, Dave Chappelle either had a "meltdown," was "booed off the stage," or was treated like a black-face minstrel by a crowd of "fucking animals" last Thursday in Hartford, Connecticut. The incident has made for a bloggery buffet of commentary on race, comedy and corporate culture, but what happened really wasn't all that dissimilar from what drove Chappelle from comedy in the first place back in 2005: heckling from audience members demanding the iconic "I'm Rick James, bitch!" one-liner. (Denver Westword)

Irving Azoff, MSG's James Dolan on $300 Million Joint Venture

In what amounted to his exit interview from his chairman post at Live Nation, mega manager Irving Azoff said his “biggest regret” was selling Front Line Management, the management company rollup that created the world’s largest management firm, to Ticketmaster in 2008.

 “I really wish we would have kept it a pure management play,” he told Billboard at the time. 

Now, with Azoff MSG Entertainment (AMSGE) the new joint venture between Azoff Music Management and the Madison Square Garden Company, Azoff has his management play, along with a publishing play, a multimedia play, a digital play, and a live entertainment play.

And, according to MSG Executive Chairman James Dolan, a VC play. “From MSG’s point of view, we see this as a venture capital play,” Dolan tells Billboard, “not run by us, but taking advantage of our position, of all our venues and combining it with great artists managed by Azoff Music.”

MSG has purchased half of “all of my companies,” Azoff says, and formed a new company (AMM continues on with clients such as the Eagles and Christina Aguilera) that will, in effect, fulfill the vision and leverage promised when Azoff first began consolidating management companies more than a decade ago. “[Dolan] was an early investor in Front Line, he stayed with me all the way through, and this has been our dream, to do something like this together,” says Azoff. “These days, to make an impact you need clout and financing and brains, and we think we have all three of those.”

That could include acquiring other firms as well as signing new artists. Asked whether the AMSGE venture (Azoff says, “that’s what we’re calling it for now, unless you come up with a better name before we go to print”) would be acquisitive, Dolan says, “Yes we will, using the assets of both Azoff Music Management and MSG, and a bunch of cash.”

Azoff says management will be “a core business” of the new venture, but the company could be hindered in the early going by the terms of Azoff’s exit agreement with Live Nation, which has since rebranded Front Line as Artist Nation. Those terms say Azoff can sign an “established artist” (more than $5 million in revenues the previous year) in limited circumstances, and can represent up to five new “less-established” (less than $5 million) artists in both 2013 and 2014, and an unlimited number of emerging artists. Asked about the Live Nation non-compete, Azoff says, “there’s a beginning and end to everything.”

More importantly is AMSGE’s status as a privately held company, at least for Azoff, who made clear his distaste for steering a public company after he left Live Nation. So, while MSG has been public since spinning off from parent Cablevision in 2010, its venture with Azoff is private, with Azoff as CEO.
“What I like about it is that it doesn’t go through the public company process,” Dolan says. “Irving is the first and last call with the decisions at this company. He will be able to move quickly, he doesn’t have boards to answer to on this. It’s just going to be him, and I have great faith, as does everybody here at MSG, that he’s going to produce a lot of winners for us in this partnership.”

As head of MSG and Cablevision, Dolan is well versed in all the various interests of AMM-MSG, save one: publishing. Asked what is intriguing to him about entering the performing rights space, Dolan says, “What intrigues me most about it is Irving thinks it’s a good idea, and when he thinks something is a good idea, that generally means it’s gonna make some money,” he says. “I will tell you that [with] this company, I feel we’re setting the tiger loose in Mr. Azoff. We’re going to be riding on his coattails, and that’s one of the big advantages of the way we’ve constructed this.”

Live entertainment, venues, and old and new media are familiar territory to Dolan and MSG, and, in marrying content and distribution, AMM-MSG seems a familiar concept, if one with powerful leaders behind it. Madison Square Garden is no ordinary venue brand, just as Azoff is no ordinary manager. Both are entrenched in the live business, and that will be the case in this partnership, as well. 

“We obviously run some of the most important music venues in the world and, along with that, have a company that has been involved in the entertainment and sports business for decades, and all the infrastructure that goes along with that,” says Dolan. “Irving will have all of that available to him to leverage. I think he will find there are opportunities in those venues in terms of developing content and having a place to play, developing new ways for artists to relate to audiences inside the venues. We bring the bricks and mortar of the business, and he [brings] the content and the artists, and together they are powerful.”
The industry should expect live entertainment components along the order of special events or touring properties, but not outright concert promotion or artist touring deals. “We’re not going to be promoters, we’re not going to be a ticketing company,” says Azoff, “but, yeah, we’re interested in live events.”
As strong as the management, live entertainment and venue components seem here, it is their melding with the publishing quotient that sets AMM-MSG apart from other major players in the music business.  “We’re in several spaces here, so nobody’s in this space,” is how Azoff weighs the venture’s place in the industry. “Everybody in the business whines about ‘there’s no place to go, there are only three record companies and Live Nation and AEG,’ well, hopefully, people will think of us as a place equal to one of those [companies] to come to with a great idea or a great project.”

Real Housewives of New Jersey First Look: Teresa Giudice and Joe Gorga Come to Blows

No one does sibling rivalry like Real Housewives of New Jersey.

In this exclusive sneak peek at next week's episode, Caroline Manzo attemps to air out all the drama among the families to try and make peace. Well, we all know what those conversations usually turn into.

As expected, drama goes down almost instantly. Joe Gorga claims his sister Teresa Giudice has been spreading lies about him and his wife Melissa Gorga, an accusation Teresa brutally denies. Teresa's husband tries to defend his wife, and that's when the you-know-what really hits the fan. Joe absolutely loses it on his sister, but in the usual entertaining Housewives kind of way.

Beyoncé & Jay Z Swimsuit Pic Turns Into Internet Hit?

Rap mogul Jay Z is now experiencing the same fate as boxer Manny Pacquiao and singer Miguel as a new photo of himself and wife Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has turned into an instant Internet gag.
 The photo, which features Jigga and Bey hopping into a pool, has caught widespread attention this week.

Jay Z and Beyonce are on vacation for Bey's birthday right now in Stromboli, Italy. But while the two were enjoying each other's company on a luxurious yacht with Blue Ivy, some paparazzo nabbed a photo of Jay jumping into the pool. The photo is hilarious. Mostly because Jay tends to look extremely awkward when he's doing anything besides rapping. But he's so good at rapping and is always looking and acting so damn cool it's extra funny whenever he looks uncool. Which is probably why Twitter reacted, of course, because no Jay, you cannot live. You cannot have nice things. (Complex)
A few days ago photos started circulating online of the music couple heading out to Spain for some holiday weekend fun.

The Carters spent Labor Day weekend at home and abroad. Following Beyoncé's headlining set at Saturday's Made in America festival in Philly, the jet-setting couple kicked back and enjoyed performances from Solange, Miguel, and Nine Inch Nails on Sunday. Hours later, they hopped a plane to Spain for some R&R. The famous family was seen boarding a yacht in Ibiza with Blue Ivy Beyoncé carried her adorable daughter in her arms as she strut up the ramp in her stilettos. Bey has a few more days to rest before she kicks off the Latin American leg of "The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour" on Sept. 8. (Rap-Up)
Bey dominated the opening Made In America night with performances of hit songs like "Run the World (Girls)" last weekend.

Beyonce rocks out on stage wearing a brand new outfit to close the evening at the 2013 Budweiser Made in America Festival held at Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday evening (August 31) in Philadelphia, Penn. The 31-year-old entertainer performed her full Mrs. Carter Tour set for the crowd. The first two songs of her show - "Run the World (Girls)" and "End of Time" - were live streamed online. (Just Jared)
Back in May, R&B singer Miguel turned into a meme sensation following a televised Billboard Music Awards accident.

During R&B star Miguel's performance of his hit "Adorn" at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards the singer attempted to jump over a crowd of screaming fans but didn't quite stick the landing. Needless to say, one fan got a face full of Miguel and knows him better than any one else in the audience. Thanks to the internet moments like this don't just go away, they live on forever in a stream of memes that won't end until another celebrity does something embarrassing. (The Urban Daily)

Mix It Up: Prince Meets Miguel

Have you ever wondered how the artists of today would fare against their counterparts from past generations? How would Marvin Gaye sound up against Frank Ocean? Who wins when you pit Minnie Ripperton against Mariah Carey?

Well, wonder no more. 

JET asked the incredible DJ Averi Minor aka Mr. Mixshow to slice and dice an epic sonic stew of Prince aka The Purple One and his suggested contemporary, Miguel.

Check out the mixing magic, get your desk dance on and then let us know what you think of it.  We’d also love suggestions for more old to new school splices.

Drizzy posts his NWTS track list Thursday morning

Drake started out Thursday morning (September 5) with a question he already knew the answer to, tweeting, "Would You Like The Tracklist."

Of course we would like the Nothing Was the Same track list, Drake; we've only been clamoring for details surrounding your new album since you announced the title on the 2013 Grammy Red Carpet in February.
Drizzy's tweet came complete with a link to his new OVO Sound website, which presented to us 16 song titles, some of which we already knew. When fans download the album on September 24, they will start with "Tuscan Leather," a track where a single Whitney Houston sample is flipped in three different ways, according to Drake's right-hand Noah "40" Shebib.

Of course there is "Started From the Bottom," "Hold On, We're Going Home" and on the deluxe there is the Big Sean and 2 Chainz-assisted "All Me." The track list also reveals that YMCMB producer Detail appears on a song called "305 to My City" and Jay Z will appear on a track titled "Pound Cake." 

There don't appear to be any Wu-Tang features, but there is a song titled "Wu-Tang Forever."
Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj, who both lent their vocals to Drake's first two albums, aren't credited on the track list that Drake posted, so it doesn't look like they'll appear. It is important to note that 2 Chainz and Big Sean aren't credited on the previously released deluxe track "All Me" either.

After releasing the cover art for the upcoming album featuring two profile portraits of himself — one current and one when he was a child — he told MTV News the cover reflects his music, saying, "This is my most clear, concise thoughts from now and my best recollection of then."

Papoose Rips Big Sean's Head Off W/ New Diss

New York rapper Papoose has unleashed some fury on G.O.O.D Music's Big Sean after recently being taunted by him in an interview with the release of "First Chain" remix. 

Without holding back, Pap delivers onslaught to Sean with a combination of disses.
"Big Sean's album is trash, it sound wicked /In fights I be swinging like Will and Jada Pickett /"Papoose, who?" Boy, I'll give you faceshots /I'll leave your eye puffy like the n*gga who made Ma$e hot /All of your dogs is straight dogs, y'all get straight shots /Bastards, I spit ACID they need mallocks/ /Kanye wore a skirt what was he trying to prove /Y'all be following them illuminati rules /Carry yourself like a man, and you will fail /Play a b*tch, you prevail /The only time they want the black man to show his strength /Is during sports, outside of that they want us to be soft /So Big Sean speak like a woman when he talk /When he having a seat he keeps his legs crossed /We can't blame him, it's really not his fault /This is the feminization that he was taught /You ain't a man take that M from your mannerism /You brain dead, I just gave you aneurysm /True and living, god cipher divine, use your widsom /Whenever I'm reciting a rhyme the proof is given Using Biggie's name, who gave you permission? You look like Ralph Tresvant from New Edition" ("First Chain" Remix)
Pap took things a bit further by clowning Sean's verse on "Control" in light of guest feature Kendrick Lamar sparking so much attention from the track.
"Every time they play Control they skip your verse /Little b*tch how much change you got in your purse? /I'm 'bout to lift your skirt /It's a different between great music and good music /Y'all ain't good with me /How the f*ck they put your album out before Pusha T? /I figured out why you're so skinny then I got over it /Pusha must be selling the crack and you smokin' it /Anorexic describe the way that you spit /On your album cover it look like you taking a sh*t /Behind the green curtain, the same color as Kelis' dress- /On Nas album cover, you a complete mess /Is that a indirect or you just a copycat? /Cause he killed you on your own album, he bodied that /Got the audacity to say your better than Drake /And out rap Jay Z, what level of hate /Those artists made you hot, go ahead and give grace /Worst Clique verse, they should spit that in your face /Your biggest record was called A-S-S /Nicki Minaj made it hot, you way less fresh /I heard you Ye yes man who get paid less checks /So when Ye ask a question you just say "yes yes" /You cocky for no reason like you making mad noise /You got your style from the original Bad Boy /B-I-G, why you said that sh*t? Always saying "Boi!" that's Craig Mack's sh*t" ("First Chain" Remix)
Last week, Sean wrote off Papoose when asked about him dissing Lamar over the "Control" track.
"Yeah right," Sean said when told his "Control" record ultimately sparked tensions between J. Cole and Diddy. "I don't believe it. Rumors is rumors, you know. It is funny. I feel like people are taking it way too serious. People turning up, especially people who didn't even get named. You know what I'm saying? Who cares? [Papoose threw bars?] Who? Who? Nah -- it's sportsmanship. I look at this whole industry like it's wrestling, you feel me? It's basketball. Kendrick hit me up before we did 'Control' and said, 'You got any songs to let me hop on, man? Send some sh*t through.' It just shows how cool we are but it's crazy 'cause just like basketball players, we'll go on the court and score 30 on each other but afterwards we'll go get a beer. But that's what it is. It's competitive. Just like he think he's the best, Drake thinks he's the best and I think I'm the best and Jay Z thinks he's the best and Kanye thinks he's the best, we're all dudes trying to be the best at what we do. Period." ("The Breakfast Club")
During a Hot 97 radio interview in August, Pap told host Peter Rosenberg why he could not take back dissing Kendrick.
"Nobody is going to disrespect New York City like that, man, and kick dirt on New York City and say you the 'King of New York' when you not even from New York," Pap said in an interview. "It doesn't get no more disrespectful that that. Then, you're a Muslim who eats pork. Are you kidding me? You don't say that, you don't say you're a Muslim who eats pork. What's that? ... Nobody is going to disrespect New York while I'm breathing -- that means when you disrespect New York, everything goes. It is what it is. This is hip-hop, don't get it twisted, I'm going to go on the record and say that." (Hot 97)