Heart & Soul: How My Friend Kirsten Ott Palladino Publicly Shamed Blue Cross Blue Shield Into Doing The Right Thing And Saving Her Life
I met and became cool with Kirsten Ott Palladino at media events, back when I was the editor of Thrillist Atlanta and she was Life & Food editor for the alternative weekly Sunday Paper. Beyond cool, she is a dedicated professional and genuine good-hearted person. But also, not really. Let me explain...
Regardless of who was actually responsible for the snow (God), weather predictions (meteorologists), Atlanta traffic (population growth/outdated infrastructure/racist politics/Cobb County/rural Georgia voters), readiness and maintenance of interstates (Governor Nathan Deal), late closing of schools and shutdown of school buses (school superintendent), everyone's blaming Kasim Reed for this whole ATL #SnowJam2014 thing. I know why.
Ha! Just kidding; I contributed to Mayor Kasim Reed's campaign (which, let's just be real, is not in danger of failing) because the man has done a great job, especially when you consider that Mary Norwood seemed to have a good chance to beat him when he first ran (causing Lisa Borders to bow out to give Mayor Reed the clear path to victory), and now she's content to take a city council position, because duh.
Since he's done well in his first term, creating a working relationship with Governor Nathan Deal and bringing ATL's budget from -$10 million to +$100 million (thanks, Shirley!), I think Mayor Reed deserves another four years at least. I also love the fact that he's brought a gang of next-generation Atlantans into his cabinet, which has helped get more of my peers into prominent roles in city and county government. Without naming them just now, I will say that seeing friends and fellow A.U.C. alums at his reelection fundraiser party at the old Luckie Lounge (now Suite Food Lounge) means a lot. I speak from no part of racial preference when I say that I love seeing the black intelligentsia representing proudly at a political event in Atlanta. The same way I love to see the white/Indian/Native American/Asian/Latino/miscellaneous intelligentsia representing. I love it when smart, responsible people take part in the political system; at the very least it cancels out those who might support the ATL version of Ted Cruz.
Truth be told, I can't vote for Kasim anyway, since I live in East Point (and we won't even get into East Point's local politics right now...). But I support what he's done and I hope to see him run Atlanta for another four years of progress, especially if we can see the housing market continue to climb, the tech/entertainment/design sectors continue to invest in the city, and the school system get its act together.
Support Mayor Reed. And get ready for Kwanza. Or Ceasar.
UPDATE: My check must not have bounced! Here are freshly received photos of Mayor Reed and I. See him A) peeping the MJ business card; B) embracing me in appreciation of the sheer awesomeness of the MJ business card; and C) proudly posing for a photo with that "I'm Kasim Reed, and I approved this business card" look. Politics.
A couple months ago I got to attend a listening party for the new Goodie Mob album, Age Against The Machine, at Tree Sound Studios in the suburbs of Atlanta. Also in attendance were a few handfuls of ATL's elite hip-hop journalists who like me have been around since the '90s, when The Dungeon Family ruled The South and the music was full of black magic.
Fast-forward to 2013, and Cee-Lo Green is a certified celebrity and household name, thanks to his universally popular hit "Crazy" as half of Gnarls Barkley, his equally successful single "F*ck You", and his role as a judge on the televised music competition The Voice. Cee-Lo allegedly started off as an original member of OutKast along with Andre 3000 and Big Boi, before being placed in a four-man rap outfit and being instantly recognized as a standout talent among fellow GM members Khujo, T-Mo, and Big Gipp. His hyper-conscious street sense, inimitable voice, gospelicious singing ability, and bulky, bald-headed, "Trill"-tattooed appearance made him unique to say the very least.
LaFace Records released Goodie Mob's first album, Soul Food, in 1995, and the critical response was immediately and overwhelmingly positive, along with the reception from an adoring public very curious of what these crazy sonic southerners were doing. The album sold over 500k units and was certified gold within a year, which back then was unequivocally considered a success. Next came Still Standing, which almost everyone considered to be artistically separate yet equally as good as their debut. Although the album was also certified gold, it was considered a commercial disappointment to many that expected heftier sales now that they were established and adored. Full disclosure: I'm a former employee of LaFace Records, and as someone that worked for the company before and after Still Standing was released, I recall plenty of blame and speculation as to why it didn't reach platinum (over a million sold) status, from L.A. Reid's absence during the album's rollout -- he was taking a summer course at Harvard as part of the process of being groomed to replace Clive Davis at Arista Records -- to the absence of a commercially viable crossover hit, and even a possible issue with the song "Fly Away", in which member Khujo wholeheartedly rejected homosexuality and invited gays to invite themselves elsewhere than near himself.
What came next was World Party, which one might have assumed before hearing it was a reference to global politics, since Goodie was always very vocal about the inequality, poverty, and the lack of proud and positive influences available in the slums of America. Yeah, but no. World Party was quite simply a reference to the decision from the group, or at least certain members, that it was time to abandon the more hard-core elements of their message and to take a break for the sake of good times. You know, don't worry -- be happy. Ironically, no one was with their third album, and it marked the beginning of Cee-Lo's distanced relationship with the rest of the Mob. Coincidentally, it was not long after the release of World Party that LaFace Records closed and L.A. ascended to the presidency of the record company that funded and distributed his own label's music.
Several projects followed, including two Arista album releases from Cee-Lo, Big Gipp's Mutant Mindframe, One Monkey Don't Stop No Show (essentially a Goodie-minus-Cee-Lo album), 'Lo's "Crazy"-spawning album with Danger Mouse, Khujo and T-Mo releasing an album under the moniker The Lumberjacks (Goodie's original name before the inclusion of Gipp and Cee-Lo), and Cee-Lo's most recent LP, The Lady Killer, which set him up for renewed popularity via "F*ck You" and made him legitimately and unarguably famous.
Now, here we are in the first week of the release of Age Against The Machine, a new album that clearly recognizes Cee-Lo's status but marks an assumed return to where he began, including the rest of the Mob. And the result is a somewhat-unfamiliar voyage into territory where growth is apparent, chemistry is evident but sometimes strained, and the core message still in existence albeit in a friendlier package for those unfamiliar with their revolutionary and rebellious origins.
But is it good? Read more and find out after the jump, and feel free to listen along to the streaming album at Amazon.
Today's POTUS press conference is below, pulled from The Blaze.
Thank you and much respect due to President Barack Obama for answering the call. May the national conversation continue until cultural understanding, tolerance, and respect are achieved. That probably means forever, but that just makes it ongoing change we can believe in.
Or actually, if we're going to use correct English, "change in which we can believe."
Hire me, Obama. You'll not only keep doing good things under my critical advisement, you'll also never have a grammatical error in a campaign slogan again, ever. Not that you're running for anything again anyway, but still, hire me anyway. Just sayin'.
This is where Michael B. Jordan shares his thoughts on the world with the world. Share yours back.