Prez Bush on Bono

Bono is the real deal. He has a huge heart and a selfless soul, not to mention a decent voice. @laurawbushand I are grateful he came to the ranch to talk about the work of @thebushcenter, @onecampaign, @PEPFAR, and our shared commitment to saving lives in Africa.

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Bono on Prez Bush

More than 11 million people are alive today thanks to this man’s creation of PEPFAR, the U.S. AIDS program that has been saving lives and preventing new HIV infections for over 10 years, with strong support from political leaders right, left, and center. That progress is all at risk now with President Trump’s budget cuts, which will mean needless infections and lives lost. – Bono

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U2’s Adam Clayton in kimono in Houston Whataburger after big show

You know you’re the bass player of one of the most legendary bands in the world when you’re hanging out in a kimono in a Whataburger parking lot at midnight in Houston with your drummer and a police officer. Rock it, Adam. (Photo via Twitter)

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Bono celebrates at Whataburger after big show in Houston

After celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Joshua Tree album at NRG Stadium in Houston, Bono was asked, “What’s next?” His response, “I’m going to Whataburger!” (Kidding, but the photo’s legit. Photo from Twitter.)

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U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”

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Meeting up with Danny Trejo

Great honor to run into actor and restauranteur Danny Trejo while hanging out with mom at the UCLA Medical Center last week in Westwood.

Trejo had his life flipped upside down during the Cinco de Mayo riots at San Quentin when he found himself in solitary confinement facing three gas-chamber penalties. In an interview with Risen, a San Diego-based magazine I used to edit, Trejo explains why he has dedicated his life to speaking to at-risk young people about avoiding drugs and alcohol.

“So we went to the hole. I was in the hole, and someone had written in feces ‘God sucks’ on the wall. And I thought, ‘This is what my life has come to.’ I knew in my heart that I wasn’t a bad person, but something’s wrong here. I mean, ‘God sucks’ is written in s-t. So I remember saying, ‘God if you’re there, everything is going to be okay. If you’re not, I’m screwed.’ That was it. That was my prayer.

“From that day forward, I took alcohol and drugs out of my life. I think that is one of the biggest things for our youth. It’s hard to do right when you are drinking and using. If you get up in the morning and you’re planning on going over to a friend’s house and drinking, you’re already wrong. Alcohol and drugs are the biggest deterrent from doing right.”

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With ‘Lowriders,’ peek into East L.A.’s custom-car culture

Mister Cartoon, center, is flanked by Estevan Oriol, right, and Ricardo de Montreuill, of “Lowriders.” (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

By Tre’vell Anderson, Los Angeles Times

On any given day, Angelenos can be treated to traveling art galleries rich with uniquely American culture and California-grown talent — if only they viewed lowriders, the custom old-school cars tricked out with candy-colored paint, the shiniest chrome and hydraulics, as the artistry in motion they are. That’s all that Estevan Oriol and Mister Cartoon really want.

“I want people to realize that these cars are a work of art and our expression,” says Cartoon, a.k.a. Mark Machado.

“To us,” Oriol adds, “it’s an art piece with an engine and wheels.”

But when many people see lowriders cruising through the city, thoughts of gangs, drugs and violence come to mind. Such expectations, often rooted in stereotypes about the men and women found in the driver’s and passenger seats, rob the long-standing tradition from the familial roots at its core. There truly is more to lowriding than meets the eye.

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Born Again: With help from friends, Mavis Staples takes us there again

Sixty-five years into her recording career, Mavis Staples’ incomparable voice and infectious spirit are truly wonders to behold.

Born in 1939 to Oceola and Roebuck “Pops” Staples, Mavis got her start early, singing in church and at home in Chicago. Pops put together a family band, and Mavis, the youngest, soon became the star of the Staple Singers. With them, she lit up the world with songs like “I’ll Take You There,” “Let’s Do It Again,” “Respect Yourself,” and so many others.

Over the decades since, both the Gospel and the song have stayed intrinsically linked in her heart, even as she has spread her musical wings wide, working with an eclectic group of collaborators, from Jeff Tweedy to Joan Osborne, Prince to Patty Griffin. Though she has long released her own albums, it was 2011 before she won her first Grammy Award — Best Americana Album for the soul-stirring, Tweedy-produced You Are Not Alone.

But acclaim was never her game. Staples’ pull to the music seems unattached to anything other than the pure pleasure and emotional expression of the music itself. If she weren’t “Mavis Staples, the much-lauded gospel singer,” no doubt she’d still be “Mavis, that lady with the amazing voice in the church choir.” That unadulterated joy is why M. Ward, Ben Harper, Valerie June, Aloe Blacc, Justin Vernon, Neko Case, and others carved out time to write the songs for her new album, Livin’ on a High Note. The set is funky and spunky and raring to go … just like Staples herself.

To read complete No Depression interview, click HERE.

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This woman preacher is schooling the Christian boys club on the crucifixion

“Fleming Rutledge, 79, is a theologian and one of the first women ordained in the Episcopal Church. Her book, ‘The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ,’ is a magisterial 669-page tome that has garnered the attention and respect of some unlikely religious leaders,” writes Jonathan Merritt, columnist for Religion News Service.

Below are a few excerpts from Merritt’s interview with Rutledge.

RNS: I know churches that feel uncomfortable about discussing the cross in all its bloody violence. Why do you think churches avoid preaching about the cross?

FR: One significant reason, as I explain in my book, is reaction against overemphasis on a particular version of “penal substitution,” which became an idée fixe in some Protestant circles. Other reasons may be cultural, since many mainline Protestant churches have associated the preaching of the cross with supposedly less-educated, right-wing Christians — and also, a bloody corpus on the cross was more typical of Spanish and Latino Roman Catholic imagery. A third factor is American optimism, a preference for what makes us feel good, and an unwillingness to talk about the power of Sin — in spite of the persistence of Sin throughout the world.

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A Muslim cook wanted to stop the hate. So she started inviting strangers to dinner.

Amanda Saab shares her point of view on religion during the “Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbor” she co-hosted in Seattle. (Meryl Schenker /For The Washington Post)

Was struck by this story from Rebekah Denn in the Washington Post because of the tenacity, vulnerability, and hospitality of Amanda Saab and her husband Hussein. One need not agree with Islam (or Buddhism or Hinduism or Atheism) to know that respectful conversations over dinner are a possible first step in promoting a generous pluralism and neighborliness.

Here is an excerpt:

Her face framed by a delicate floral-print headscarf, Amanda Saab stepped into a Safeway. Ninety minutes later, the cashier rang up her groceries: $218.45 between Amanda’s brimming cart and the one steered by her husband, Hussein. The couple called an Uber and loaded the bags into the trunk. The driver asked their plans.

A dinner party, Amanda replied: “Would you like to come?”

Inviting strangers was one point of the feasts that Saab, 28, prepares for what she calls “Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbor.” She cooks — often in her own home and sometimes, as on this vacation trip, in a borrowed kitchen — and the couple answers any questions guests might have about their religion.

Amanda has had exposure to such questions, and the uncomfortable rise in fears about Islam, on a national stage. She’s learned that the answers — and any changes to hearts and minds — best unfold one tableful at a time.

Reality TV devotees know the cooking part would be a breeze for Amanda, a fan favorite on Season 6 of Fox’s “MasterChef” in 2015. Friends and relatives knew it, too. Advancing from an Easy-Bake Oven at age 5 to a Kitchen­Aid mixer at 16, she baked tiered cakes and piles of pastries for her extended family’s weekly gatherings in her home town near Detroit, where the Muslim population is among the nation’s largest. On weekends, she stayed up past her bedtime to watch “Iron Chef America.”

To read full story, click HERE

To check out Dinner with Your Muslim Neighbor, click HERE


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