TIME Music

Music Executives Think Taylor Swift is Amazing and Hate Rap Music

Singer Taylor Swift poses backstage with her awards at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas
L.E. Baskow—Reuters Singer Taylor Swift poses backstage at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nev., May 17, 2015


A new Billboard survey of music executives offers some-not-so-surprising insight into how the industry’s head honchos really feel about the state of music today.

The biggest takeaway? The music industry’s head honchos love Taylor Swift. If the 50 executives surveyed were starting a label today, their must-sign artist would be Ms. Swift, followed by Lady Gaga and Adele.

Not surprising on Swift’s end, given the impressive performance of her last album, 1989—but it certainly speaks to the staying power of Gaga and Adele, both of whom have maintained a foothold even though Gaga’s last album was a duet with Tony Bennett and Adele hasn’t released new music since 2011.

The survey also revealed that executives least-favorite genre is rap music followed only by EDM. The results seem to suggest that the industry has a higher regard for not just one genre, but one demographic.

Read more results at Billboard.

TIME viral

This Little Boy Couldn’t Be More Excited About Becoming a Big Brother

"Is it really in there?"

This little boy was so excited when he found out his mom is pregnant that he asked her if the baby could sleep in his bed.

“I hope you’re not joking,” Ethan Bromby asked his mom, Sarah. “He can sleep in my bed if you want.”

Five-year-old Ethan is so excited about the ultrasound photos his mom shares that he can’t wait to tell his teacher.

“Is it in your belly? Just now? Is it?” Bromby asked her mom, in apparent shock. “I’m going to be a new big brother!”

Watch the full clip above.


TIME legal

This Judge Cited John Oliver in a Court Decision

The Last Week Tonight host's reach has extended to the courtroom

A circuit court judge just took the “John Oliver effect” to a new level.

Judge Marsha S. Berzon, a Clinton appointee, cited the late night host in a recent class action lawsuit that citizens brought against Guam. The citation was first reported by the blog Above the Law.

The suit challenged a Guam tax refund program, and in her decision Berzon mentioned so-called insular cases, a collection of U.S. Supreme Court decisions that say the rights granted citizens under the constitution do not automatically apply to the U.S. territories.

The court said the cases had been “the subject of extensive judicial, academic, and popular criticism,” citing both a law article and an episode of Last Week Tonight in the footnotes.

The blog Above the Law caught the citation, with its tipster noting that somewhere a “law prof is weeping uncontrollably.”

Watch the full clip here:

[h/t Above the Law]

Read next: John Oliver Becomes a Televangelist and Finally Starts His Own Church

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TIME animals

Neglected Horses Had 3-Foot-Long Hooves, Rescuers Say

Days End Farm Horse Rescue

The horses were found with 3-foot hooves

Rescuers discovered two emaciated horses in at least three feet of waste at a neglected farm in Maryland. The Humane Society of Washington County was alerted of the horses last Friday and rescuers took them to the Days End Farm Horse Rescue to recover, according to WUSA in Washington.

The animals reportedly had 3 foot hooves that had to be partially removed in order to transport them to the Farm. According to WUSA, the horses had likely not received medical care in 15 years.

The horses are reportedly recovering slowly, but the neglect was so severe they have to be careful.


Read next: This is What Killed Knut the Polar Bear

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TIME nation

President Obama Celebrates New Orleans on Katrina’s Anniversary

"There's something in you guys that's irrepressible. You know the sun comes out after every storm," Obama said of New Orleans. "You've got hope."

President Obama called New Orleans a beacon of resilience and strength, a city swiftly moving forward in the wake of an epic tragedy just days before the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of the Gulf regions’ most devastating storms.

“You are an example of what is possible when in the face of tragedy, in the face of hardship good people come together and lend a hand,” Obama said on Thursday during a speech at the Andrew P. Sanchez Community Center in the Lower Ninth Ward; an area that was hard hit during Katrina and is still struggling to recover.

At the beginning of his speech, Obama took a moment to call on Congress to pass a budget and avoid a government shutdown.

It has been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina’s wrath ravaged the Gulf Coast, breaking the levees designed to hold back the rising tide and leaving parts of the Crescent City and its surrounding areas underwater. About 80% of New Orleans flooded. Over 1,000 people died. President Obama noted that the structural inequities that plagued the city before the Hurricane only compounded the destruction and displacement the city faced after the storm.

“Like a body weakened, already, undernourished already, when the storm hit there were no resources to fall back on,” Obama said.

Now, the city, as a whole, is well on the path to recovery. According to the city, about 94% of metropolitan New Orleans’ 2000 population has returned and 14 of its 73 neighborhoods have surpassed their pre-Katrina populations. Some 14,000 new jobs have been added from major companies, according to the Katrina 10 website. And many local leaders uphold the city’s charter-school-centric education system as a potential model for the rest of the country. Obama praised New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who was the Lieutenant Governor when the storm hit, for his work to restore New Orleans to a point better than it was when the storm hit and the progress they’ve made thus far. And yet, there’s much work to be done.

“The progress you’ve made is remarkable,” Obama said. “That’s not to say things are perfect.”

Earlier on Thursday, President Obama toured the historically black neighborhood of Tremé , where jazz music’s roots run deep and residents and tourists flock to the famous restaurant Dooky Chase. About 21% fewer residents live in Tremé post-Katrina, according to the White House. The area was home to the Lafitte public housing projects, a 900-unit complex that was demolished after sustaining damage in the storm. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has provided some grant funding for an 812-mixed income unit that’s being constructed in its place. Obama walked down Magic Street in the neighborhood, which housed “two neat rows of sizable and spanking clean single family and duplex homes” donning brightly colored paint and wooden shutters, according to the pool report.

But the image of the new homes wasn’t an indication that the work in New Orleans is done.

“This is a community, obviously, that still has a lot of poverty. This is an area where young people still, too often, are taking the wrong path before they graduate from high school. This is a community that still needs resources and still needs help,” Obama told reporters after the tour in Tremé.

During his speech, Obama noted the disparities in employment between blacks and whites in the city, the lack of public and affordable housing, and the high levels of crime that plague pockets of the city—particularly among African American males.

“You’ve made a lot of progress. That gives us hope. But that doesn’t allow for complacency. It doesn’t mean we can rest,” Obama said. “But there’s something in you guys that’s irrepressible. You know the sun comes out after every storm. You’ve got hope.”


TIME natural disaster

Witness to a Disaster: Journalists Recall Covering Hurricane Katrina

A writer and a photographer who covered the disaster for TIME in 2005 reflect on the experience

In the days leading up to Aug. 29, 2005, the world was watching the Gulf Coast. On that day—ten years ago this weekend—Hurricane Katrina made landfall. It brought winds as strong as 125 mph, nearly a foot of rain, and a 25- to 28-ft. storm surge that destroyed levees in Louisiana, leaving thousands of New Orleans residents underwater and puncturing the soul of the south.

One of those people watching the gathering clouds was Chris Usher, who was at the time a freelance photographer covering the White House for TIME. He told his editor that he would be going down to the Gulf Coast whether the magazine wanted or not. She asked him to please wait, not to put himself in the storm’s way—but he wouldn’t listen.

“I was like, ‘No! I’ve got to be there when it happens, before it happens,'” he now recalls.

Usher packed up his “war-wagon”—a 1985 Toyota Land Cruiser equipped with a lift kit and a roof rack—and headed out. The very next day, he was driving on Interstate 55 in Jackson, Miss., when the storm hit. Driving through the weak side of the storm, he witnessed trees falling and heavy rain, but nothing about the journey hinted at the type of devastation he’d soon witness in New Orleans and in parts of Mississippi.

“Every day, I would walk amongst all of the wreckage and it was just insane. The smells—that’s one that you kind of wipe out and forget about, the smells, especially as it wore on, because I spent three weeks covering it, every day,” he says. “The first couple of days, you know, ‘So what?’ But then, in Gulfport, [Miss.], there were a whole bunch of semi-box containers, filled with chicken that got loose and that was rotting everywhere.”

Meanwhile, TIME’s Brian Bennett—who had reported from post-Sept. 11 conflict zones for TIME and had, at that point, recently returned from a stint as Baghdad bureau chief—was back in Washington, D.C. When Bennett heard reports that journalists on the ground were having difficulty accessing New Orleans, he called around to some helicopter rescue units he’d flown with in Iraq to see if any would let him tag along. A unit in Florida invited him to join them if he could make it to Jackson, Miss. That was how, a few days after the storm had swept through New Orleans, he found himself approaching the city by air. It was immediately clear that something was wrong. “Instead of streets you saw canals,” he recalls. “There was water in a lot of places and there was a lot of roof damage, a lot of debris, no car traffic, the streets were empty.”

Stories with Bennett’s reporting and Usher’s photographs populated the pages of TIME and TIME.com in the days and weeks that followed. In one, Bennett wrote that the helicopter crew wasn’t the only thing the experience shared with his time covering a mission near the Persian Gulf rather than the Gulf of Mexico. Seeing New Orleans was like seeing “Baghdad on the Bayou”:

The scene looks like a war zone, houses blown to splinters, cars abandoned on the roads, crowds of huddled refugees escaping a fallen city. It also smells like a war zone. Flying over the neighborhoods where water reaches the eaves of most houses, my nostrils burn with the fumes of diesel fuel, which swirls in rainbow iridescence in the fetid eddies below. It’s the dry areas of the city that smell the worst, where the water poured in fast and receded. There, the smell is unmistakably of death — the rotting contents of abandoned refrigerators, and the corpses of the drowned.

The scene on the ground is worse. We land on a patch of dry ground at New Orleans Lakefront Airport. For days, rescue teams like this one have been doggedly shuttling survivors from the putrid streets of the city to this desolate airstrip. Hundreds and hundreds of refugees plucked from parking garages, apartment buildings, highway overpasses, the roofs of their homes, whatever high ground they could find, are now stuck standing on the dark runway, waiting for someone to take them somewhere, anywhere but here.

Bennett, who is now a writer at the Los Angeles Times, quickly realized that the landscape of the city would be changed for many years to come. “It was really difficult to see these people’s homes destroyed, emptied out by the tide, these floodwaters that came in and swept out all their belongings, the mold taking over their homes and the places they’d lived for generations in some cases,” he says. On a visit to New Orleans last year, his prediction was proved true: though some neighborhoods seem untouched, he says that other places—even where rebuilding has happened—are just not the same.

For Usher, the emotional impact of covering the devastation was overwhelming. “In a weird way, I was very numb at first and then I was very highly engaged in it and it was draining,” he says. “Especially when you come up on something that’s kind of identifiable—maybe a family photo…or stuffed doll. And then you go ‘Man, that was some little girl’s favorite doll, what happened to her?'”

Even when he returned home after three weeks in New Orleans, feeling that his numbness meant he could no longer do the story justice, the experience made him want to continue documenting the lives of Katrina survivors. He and his wife spent the past decade traveling across the country, finding survivors of Katrina where they were and sharing their stories—particularly the less inherently dramatic ones, the stories that got less attention but might resonate with a larger number of people. The images he’s captured will be on display at a gallery in New Orleans this fall.

“Everyone goes for the jugular when it’s coverage. You want bang for the buck. You want that typical person who’s in the trailer and is not getting FEMA help and whatever. But there’s another side,” he says. “There’s always another side.”

(With reporting by Lily Rothman)

Read next: New Orleans, Here & Now


Black Lives Matter Activist Says Man on Birth Certificate Isn’t His Biological Father

Shaun King addresses scrutiny about his race

A prominent activist in the Black Lives Matter movement denied allegations that he’s been misleading the public about his race Thursday, saying the man listed as his father on his birth certificate is not actually his biological father.

“I refuse to speak in detail about the nature of my mother’s past, or her sexual partners, and I am gravely embarrassed to even be saying this now, but I have been told for most of my life that the white man on my birth certificate is not my biological father and that my actual biological father is a light-skinned black man,” Shaun King wrote on the Daily Kos website.

King has been under scrutiny after conservative bloggers published what was purportedly his government-issued birth certificate, which lists both his father and mother as white. The news evoked for some the controversy of Rachel Dolezal, a former NAACP chapter president in Washington state who said she identified as black even though she is biologically white.

King had not directly addressed the matter until Thursday’s post, in which he revealed that he and his now elderly mother had discussed the affair and his racial identity.

“This has been my lived reality for nearly 30 of my 35 years on earth,” he said. “I am not ashamed of it, or of who I am—never that—but I was advised by my pastor nearly 20 years ago that this was not a mess of my doing and it was not my responsibility to fix it.”


Mexican Authorities Discover 63 Children Working in Terrible Conditons

The children, ages 8 to 17, were reportedly working 15 hour days

Mexican authorities have discovered 63 children toiling under horrible conditions at a vegetable packing company.

Dozens of children were found working for about 100 pesos, or $6, per day with only a half day off per week, the Associated Press reports. The children were living on mats only steps from where they are suspected to have worked 15 hour days. The ages of the children ranged from eight to 17.

Authorities have moved the children and some adults found working with them to a shelter. Their conditions were reportedly discovered when the father of a young girl attempted to pick up his daughter from the company but was prevented from doing so because she hadn’t completed her tasks.

Mexican law allows for children between 14 and 16 to work, although generally not in agriculture. However, the AP reports child labor is common in the country.

[Associated Press]

TIME California

Wolves Have Officially Returned to California

Handout photo of wolf pack in Siskiyou County, California
California Department of Fish and Wildlife/Reuters A wolf pack is shown captured near Mt. Shasta in Siskiyou County, Calif. on Aug. 9, 2015.

And that's a good thing

Wolves are back in the Golden State.

Seven gray wolves have been spotted in California, the California Department of Fishing and Wildlife announced on its official site. The state that hasn’t had a confirmed wolf inhabitant since 2011 and that animal, known as OR7, has been missing from California for more than a year. Before OR7, no known wolf had called the state home since 1924.

The department reports the new group of wolves, dubbed the Shasta Pack, consists of five wolf pups and two adults. The pack was photographed in Northern California.

“This news is exciting for California,” said Charlton H. Bonham, CDFW Director, in a press release. “We knew wolves would eventually return home to the state and it appears now is the time.”

Gray wolves are listed as endangered in California under the Federal Endangered Species Act, making attempts harm, kill, harass or hunt them illegal in the state.

TIME Disease

New Study Identifies 9 Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease

The risk factors, which include obesity, low educational attainment and depression, might be preventable

Two-thirds of Alzheimer’s cases could be attributed to nine risk factors that are potentially fixable, according to a new study released Thursday.

Researchers linked obesity, carotid artery narrowing, low educational attainment, depression, high blood pressure, frailty, smoking habits, high levels of homocysteine (an amino acid), and type 2 diabetes in the Asian population to about two-thirds of global Alzheimer’s cases in a recent analysis of existing data. The study, published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, is purely observational but the researchers think its findings could help medical professionals prescribe specific lifestyle changes that could have a targeted effect at reducing the number of Alzheimer’s cases around the world.

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, the broad term for the deterioration of memory and mental abilities. There is currently no cure for dementia, which impacts 1 in 14 people over age 65, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.

For the study, researchers pooled and analyzed data from over 300 studies to identify the most common risk factors for the disease. Researchers also found evidence that some hormones, vitamins and drugs to reduce high blood pressure can help lower the risk of developing the disease while homocysteine and depression were associated with heightened risk.

Read next: How Exercise Helps Curb Alzheimer’s Symptoms

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