Why the Undertaker still matters in 2015


Think about it for a minute. We’re in the year 2015. Hot topics of conversation center on cars that can drive themselves, space tourism and head sets that can put us in virtual worlds. And still, one of the major headlines of the Wrestlemania season is how will the Read more

Birdman flies high for 2015 Academy Awards


It’s a time-honored tradition of mine to provide an Oscar recap the day after the annual Academy Awards gala each year. It’s also becoming a regular ritual to summarize what a bore the telecast was. Outside of a few moments of inspired political and social notice during acceptance speeches, the Read more

Alex's Official Predictions for the 2015 Oscars


The Oscars are set to take place Sunday night, and, as usual, most of the winners seem pretty clear-cut before the ceremony even starts. Despite the minor drama in Best Picture, the Academy’s yearly show should be fairly by the books. Could “Boyhood” win Best Picture? Of course. The BAFTA Read more

Inaugural 2015 Groucho Movie Awards


So over the past several years, as 10-15 of you have seen (thank you!), I've done my top movies of the year lists. I've ranked anywhere from my top 25 to my top 50. Even the year I did my top 50, I semi-embarrassingly felt I had to make some Read more

He Said, She Said TV Review: Better Call Saul


Better Call Saul has premiered its first three episodes. As AMC's latest groundbreaking original series spinning off from Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul has had great reviews and ratings. Joseph is a huge fan of Breaking Bad and Palmer never quite got into it. In the latest He Said, Read more

Oscars 2015: The Year of not taking Risks


This year I’ve written less about the Oscars than ever before. I wondered if the reason for this lack of enthusiasm to cover the 2015 race had to do with personally being overwhelmed by other obligations. After seeing all of the nominees and dwelling on the Academy’s choices, I’ve Read more

Political Passport: Election 2014 Recap & Reflections

Posted on by Joseph Williams in Featured, Politics | Leave a comment

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The votes are cast, most of them have been tallied, and the American experiment lives to see another day. To paraphrase one of the only lines that was any good from Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, “Every two years we drive to a fire station and overthrow the government and there isn’t a policeman in the street.” It’s a beautiful thing and so rare in all of human history. Our structure and our system cannot be lauded enough. For all its many imperfections, it may just be the closest to perfect we can get for self-rule.

Before what many expected to be a good night for Republicans turned into a great night for Republicans, Peggy Noonan shared insight into how both winners and losers could be gracious as we wrap up another election season.

For those who think Mr. Obama has faced unusual levels of rhetoric, consider this question from a reporter to Mr. Bush:

“Thank you, Mr. President. With all due respect, Nancy Pelosi has called you incompetent, a liar, the emperor with no clothes and, as recently as yesterday, dangerous. How will you work with someone who has such little respect for your leadership and who is third in line to the presidency?”

This is how Mr. Bush replied. “I’ve been around politics a long time. I understand when campaigns end and I know when governing begins. And I’m going to work with people of both parties. You know, look, people say unfortunate things at times. But if you hold grudges in this line of work, you’re never going to get anything done. And my intention is to get some things done, and soon—we’re start visiting with her Friday with the idea of coming together.”

That is the sound of political graciousness. It would be nice to hear it from Mr. Obama on Wednesday.

As for the Republicans, if they have as good a Tuesday night as they increasingly expect, it would be nice if they were gracious and big-minded, and a real relief if they didn’t look smug and get that curled smile that says “We got it back, baby, and Harry Reid will soon be out of that pretty office.” Wouldn’t it be nice if they were happy but modest, and made it clear they’re aware of the fix we’re in? “It is not about me and it’s not, my hardworking friends, about you. It’s about this thing we were given called America. It needs our help. So we are happy tonight, but it’s work in the morning, and the kind of work that is the most important, saving our country.”

Or, more pointedly: “I know what this is. It’s the base giving the party one last chance. They are telling us we better do something. That’s the meaning I take. and I mean to come through.”

That is what the GOP should be thinking this morning. Honestly, that is what every elected official of every party should be thinking this morning. That’s what the losing candidates should be thinking as they consider next steps. And, more importantly than all of them, it is what ordinary Americans, you and me, should be thinking. It’s not about our political parties, although that’s important. It’s not about who won and lost, although I believe that is also vitally important.

It’s not about us. It’s about this thing we were given called America. It’s about the responsibilities we have to each other and to the world, as we see historic levels of evil on the move, raping, beheading, and enslaving. It’s about truly caring for the most vulnerable members of our society, both those who are born and those who are unborn.

This means we will have to forego the easy answers that do more about making ourselves feel good and self-righteous than actually empowering those who feel hopeless. It will mean pragmatism and compromise, but not without standing up for principles and truth. It will mean knock down, drag out debates, but hopefully a focus on the ones that truly matter and insisting upon dignity for all, even those we feel argue for the least dignified positions.

If you read all of this reflection as more empty rhetoric about hope and change, then you misread me. The time for talking and wishing away our country’s problems is over. There is real work to do. I hope the 2014 election results show our President that it’s time to get down to business. I pray that the President and the new GOP congressional leadership focus on getting real work down to create economic growth and opportunity for all Americans of every socioeconomic class, race, and community.

Christopher Nolan’s latest masterpiece, Interstellar, is ultimately about hope in the midst of hopelessness. I hope our new elected officials and every single American now realize that hope does not descend from D.C., but must be nourished in our families, neighborhoods, and communities.

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A Lesson on Weddings and Friendships

Posted on by Alex Beene in Assorted Wisdom, Bright Spots, Featured | Leave a comment

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One of my best friends from college, Clint Rosenblatt, is getting married on Saturday. It’s the latest in a series of walks-down-the-aisles those closest to me have taken over the last few years. Those of you in your mid-to-late-twenties, especially in the early commitment-heavy Southern states, undoubtedly know the feeling of constant marital ceremony bombardment that occurs at this age. Read more

Political Passport: Jeb Bush & 2016

Posted on by Joseph Williams in Featured, Politics | Leave a comment

Jeb Bush fist pump

We’re less than a week before the 2014 midterm elections, in which the GOP is trying its best to increase its majority in the House of Representatives, gain a majority in the Senate, and continue its strong leadership in state governments in every region of our nation.

But the news cycle knows there are bigger stories on the horizon, because in the aftermath of next Tuesday, presidential candidates move from informal speculation to formal declarations and moves towards official candidacies to become the 45th President of the United States.

For the Democratic Party, everyone seems to officially be “Ready for Hillary”, the name of the independent SuperPAC forming grassroots networks for another Hillary run at The White House. As Bill and Hillary tour the nation stumping for congressional candidates, other Democrats prepare and scurry in the shadows, wondering if the Clinton Machine will be well-oiled to make history or whether the Clinton Machine will prove itself too clunky once again just like its collapse in 2008, opening a window for Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Martin O’Malley, or a Castro brother from Texas. Movement progressives seem to teeter between wanting Hillary to lock it up early and wanting Elizabeth Warren to compete with Hillary in case she stumbles or to at least pull Hillary to the left.

For the Republican Party, there is no frontrunner. As parties out of power traditionally do, factions jockey for the future of the party. As Rand Paul attempts to take libertarianism mainstream while also reaching out to establishment Republicans in addition to college students, African Americans, and other demographics drastically lacking in our party, other potential 2016 hopefuls like Scott Walker are merely trying to win tough reelection bids. Chris Christie is attempting to shake the shadow of BridgeGate and show why he was an early frontrunner for so long with his real talk and strong executive leadership.

Then there’s Bobby Jindal, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, and so many others in D.C., in the states, and outside politics altogether. But there is one name that could shake up the 2016 GOP primary more than any other. It’s a name that’s as familiar as it is controversial. That name is Jeb Bush. And after hearing Jeb Bush talk about the future of America for over an hour last night at Vanderbilt University, I’m more confident than ever before that he is the Republican Party, conservatism, and America’s best hope in 2016.

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A Blessing for Jack Williams

Posted on by Alex Beene in Bright Spots, Featured | Leave a comment

1908434_10100691448388728_7720191023515241917_nFriday afternoon, Wise Guise founding members Joseph and Palmer Williams became parents. As with all substantial news in the social media era, the revelation of this birth came from a collage in my Instagram feed of two clearly exhausted young parents cradling a small baby in their arms. Read more

Concert Review: Katy Perry – The Prismatic World Tour at the FedEx Forum, October 2014

Posted on by Alex Beene in Entertainment, Featured, Music | 1 Comment

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Alex: Should you invest in tickets to see Katy Perry? I use the word “invest” because the act of purchasing tickets to most pop spectacles now go beyond “buying.” Attendance costs per person now are worth a heavy chunk of change, especially if you want premium seating and merchandising to commemorate the whole expensive experience. Read more

The Lower Broadway Gazette: 2nd Edition

Posted on by Jeremy Wilson in Assorted Wisdom, Featured, Lower Broadway Gazette, Weekly Posts | Leave a comment

The Lower Broadway Gazette

Editors note: Each week I will be sharing the three hottest stories coming out of the Nashville area. These stories have been hand-selected due to the importance of the community. This is absolutely not a spinoff of The Onion — the only similarities are the general story ideas, the way they are written, and the format. -Jeremy Wilson

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