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Brian Normoyle
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Brian Normoyle is an independent writer and political commentator from Los Angeles who has lived in several US states and London. He began contributing to the Huffington Post in 2008 and he also has been a frequent guest on national and international radio and television news.

He received his M.F.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where he also taught as an instructor, and his B.F.A. from Southwestern University in Texas.

His career also includes 20 years as a professional theatre artist and, most recently, as a producer for new media.

Entries by Brian Normoyle

The Debate Is Over on Repealing Obamacare

(8) Comments | Posted April 2, 2014 | 1:36 PM

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act who criticize it as socialist or liberal either don't have a meaningful understanding of those terms or of the law, or both.

Beyond vague platitudes about Obamacare being a massive government takeover of health care (it isn't) or an oppressive tax (it's not that...

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Music for Social Change: Fancy Reagan's 'Say Something' Helps LGBTQ Teens

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2014 | 12:46 PM

The potential for music to effect social change, or at least to be a meaningful catalyst for it, was one of the more salient takeaways of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' performance of "Same Love" at the 2013 Grammys. From the antebellum South to the cultural revolution of the 1960s and beyond, music has agitated the national consciousness, shaped public perception and directly affected the lives of millions.

But can independent artists performing cover versions of mainstream hits have the same capacity for affecting lives? A new collaboration by an emerging pop/rock band and a Top 20 Billboard recording artist suggests they can.

NYC-based indie band Fancy Reagan recently released a cover of A Great Big World's "Say Something" featuring singer/songwriter Kelly King. All proceeds from the recording, which is available for download on iTunes, benefit the Ali Forney Center, the nation's largest and most comprehensive housing program for homeless LGBTQ youth.

LGBTQ teen homelessness is an often-overlooked aspect of the national struggle for equality. Of the nearly 2 million teens affected by homelessness each year, an estimated 40 percent of them identify as LGBTQ. The mission of the Ali Forney Center is "to protect [them] from the harm of homelessness, and to support them in becoming safe and independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood."

For Fancy Reagan frontman Sean Michael Murray, it's an issue that's close to everyone in the band:

Some have gay and lesbian relatives and we all have gay friends. We have seen firsthand the struggles they have gone through to gain acceptance, not just in society at large or with their families but being able to accept themselves and be comfortable in their own skin.

The track and accompanying music video have garnered a lot of attention. As of this writing, the video had more than 48,000 views on YouTube with an average of nearly 3,500 new views each day. And it's not hard to understand why.

If the original recording, which featured an uncommonly restrained Christina Aguilera, struck a subdued and almost mournful emotional tone, Fancy Reagan's "Say Something" pulls no punches. The understated, desolate piano of its predecessor still haunts, but here it bookends a stirring rock narrative -- once the stuff of great power ballads now decidedly and disappointingly absent from much of today's popular music.

Soaring vocals and tight harmonies also punctuate this version, which makes grand use of Murray's impressive range and agility and particularly of King's impeccable mix and trademark whistle-tone register.

This is the first collaboration between the two vocalists, but it needn't be the last. The duo, romantic partners in life, have instruments as well matched as any of the better-known pop/rock collaborators that have preceded them, and the band has a robust complement in King's versatility.

I obviously have a huge fight in the LGBTQ equality battle. We ultimately felt [the Ali Forney Center] was a perfect fit for our overall message of tolerance and anti-bullying content... The struggle that LGBTQ youth faces is devastating.

The project was produced entirely in-house, according to Murray. The track was arranged/produced/recorded/mixed by keyboardist Jason Krebs, and the video was directed/shot/edited by bassist Bobby Kay.

Many prominent and successful musical artists serve as straight allies and advocates for LGBTQ issues through their creative work and activism, and the value of that work cannot be overstated. But there is something especially significant about up-and-coming artists devoting the full scope of their talent and limited resources to the service of a dramatically underserved community of children.

"It's important to us to recognize we're all equals and to do our part, however little, to help," Murray said. "Even if it's just through raising awareness."

  • Fancy Reagan: Sean Michael Murray (Vocals/Guitar), Jason Krebs (Keys) Rich Fuchs (Guitar) Chris Tsaganeas (Drums/Percussion) Bobby Kay (Bassist)
  • Featured video appearances by Austin Bradley, Injoy Fountain, Jarvis Durell, Michael Cusamano, Jenna Miller, Chris Martens, James & Ryan Hunter, and Marti Gould Cummings.
  • Download "Say Something" by Fancy Reagan featuring Kelly King on...
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    D*ck Dynasty: Phil Robertson's Unenlightened Views and the Scourge of Reality TV

    (26) Comments | Posted December 20, 2013 | 1:41 PM

    I care less about the predictably unenlightened comments of a reality television star -- and I use "reality" and "star" very charitably -- than I do about the fact we even know who he is and are discussing it.

    Reality television: a medium that too often consecrates shattering mediocrities...

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    This Shutdown Is About Extortion, Not Stalemates

    (27) Comments | Posted October 4, 2013 | 11:48 AM

    Those following or reporting on the U.S. government shutdown should refrain from using terms like "impasse" or "stalemate." These words imply two honest parties negotiating in good faith have arrived at a temporary but surmountable deadlock. That's not even remotely the case here.

    Instead, two parties--the Senate Democrats and the...

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    'No Words' for Senseless Newtown Tragedy

    (2) Comments | Posted December 14, 2012 | 11:31 PM

    Earlier today I posted a Facebook status update that said simply, "No words." Perhaps it would have been more accurate to have said, "Inadequate words." And so it is.

    I agree with others who have said that the time will -- or should -- soon come for reasonable discussions on...

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    Romney Was a Clumsy Neophyte on Foreign Policy Tour

    (68) Comments | Posted August 3, 2012 | 3:12 PM

    The 2012 presidential election is the first in nearly half a century in which the Democratic nominee consistently outpolls the Republican on issues of foreign policy. Indeed, a recent Gallup poll shows presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney trailing President Barack Obama by 12 points on that metric.

    ...
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    In Romney, GOP Has a John Kerry of Their Very Own

    (127) Comments | Posted July 19, 2012 | 5:10 PM

    As George W. Bush accepted his party's nomination at the 2004 Republican National Convention, attendees gleefully chanted "Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop!" when the president addressed John Kerry's vote on an $87 billion funding bill for the Iraq War. For months, the Bush campaign depicted the Democratic challenger as an aloof, equivocating,...

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    Liberals Celebrating Breitbart's Death Should Rise Above Such Nonsense

    (73) Comments | Posted March 2, 2012 | 9:32 AM

    Many friends and colleagues asked today about my thoughts on the sudden and shocking death of conservative blogger and activist Andrew Breitbart. My reaction first amounted to surprise and condolence and has grown to include disappointment with the less-measured and indecorous reaction from some progressives.

    While several on the left,...

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    Santorum's Wrong: There Is Such a Thing as a 'Liberal' Christian. His Name Was Jesus

    (184) Comments | Posted February 23, 2012 | 2:02 PM

    Buzzfeed reported Tuesday that Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum claimed in a 2008 interview for the Oxford Center for Religious Life that there is no such thing as a liberal Christian. He was and is wrong.

    Every election cycle, we see more of this callow silliness...

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    Santorum 'Theology' Quip a Sign of Fear-Based GOP Politics

    (408) Comments | Posted February 19, 2012 | 9:46 PM

    On Saturday Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum tossed a healthy portion of old but still-red meat right into the ravenous, foaming mouths of the rabid right when he told a Tea Party crowd in Columbus, Ohio that President Barack Obama's agenda was "a phony 'theology'... based [not] on...

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    "Phall-X" Commercial Spoofs Male Enhancement Drugs

    (2) Comments | Posted March 2, 2011 | 12:04 AM

    Here's an early taste of what to expect from me and the other series creators of the upcoming Servitude: The Series, a scripted comedy about six servers in search of their dignity.

    WATCH: A commercial for fictional male-enhancement supplement Phall-X, the unofficial/inappropriate "sponsor" for Servitude. The spot is...

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    'Vote No on Everything' Urges Changes to California Proposition System

    (56) Comments | Posted May 26, 2009 | 7:04 AM

    In the special election held last week in California, five ballot initiatives designed to temporarily fix the state's crippling budget crisis failed by an overwhelming 2:1 margin. The voters of California sent yet another unequivocal message to Sacramento that they want their leaders and legislators to do the jobs they...

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    Gathering Storm: Miss California Trying to Redefine Traditional Breasts for the Rest of Us

    (807) Comments | Posted May 2, 2009 | 8:29 AM

    Miss California Carrie Prejean ostensibly lost the coveted first prize of the Miss USA Pageant due to an honest, but clumsily delivered, response to a question about same-sex marriage equality. Thanks, however, to the juvenile grandstanding and self-aggrandizing douchebaggery of Perez Hilton, she earned a seemingly more lustrous and lucrative...

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    Coleman Should Concede to Victorious Senator Franken

    (43) Comments | Posted January 3, 2009 | 11:34 PM

    On the morning after the November 2008 election in Minnesota, incumbent Senator Norm Coleman prematurely declared victory in his long, hard-fought reelection bid against opponent Al Franken.

    After stressing on national television the importance of a "healing process" and the costliness of a recount, the Republican tried...

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    Prop 8 Makes Wrong Kind of History

    (37) Comments | Posted November 11, 2008 | 12:49 AM

    True or False:

    1) We should eliminate civil rights through popular vote, as long as a very narrow majority of voters agree.
    2) Special interests and citizens from other states should be allowed to fund political campaigns that affect your rights in your state.

    If you answered "true" to...

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    Bob Novak Just Doesn't Get It

    (35) Comments | Posted November 6, 2008 | 1:05 PM

    In the Wednesday edition of the Chicago Sun-Times, conservative columnist Robert Novak claimed Barack Obama's historical election last night was not "a broad mandate from the public" and the ensuing Democratic wave did little to change the political alignment in congress. Given recent history and the evidence of a...

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    Liberal Media to Blame? Not This Time: Apostate Conservatives Nail Coffin Shut

    (6) Comments | Posted October 30, 2008 | 8:47 PM

    Nearly two years of presidential politics are finally coming to an end and it appears John McCain--out of "gimmicks du jour"--has decided to spend much of the final stretch blaming his failing bid on the Republicans' favorite whipping post: the media.

    The campaign this week accused the LA...

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