The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

the morning cram [women…can’t live without ’em edition]

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As Rick Santorum climbs in the polls, can he attract the vote of one of the largest voting groups in the nation (women)?

NPR reports even if Santorum can win the nomination, one of the greatest obtacles in his path to the White House is a struggle shared by many GOP candidates, appealing to women.

Some awoke to the rumble of an earthquake this morning.

Kentucky~ United Way made its goal. The Amish buggy standoff could soon end. Stumbo is pushing his UPIKE bill among much distraction. A woman pleads guilty to charges after hitting her toddler over the head and leaving him on an interstate.


Datebook: February 20 – John Glenn Becomes 1st American to Orbit Earth 50 Years Ago

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Happy President’s Day! It’s an especially commemorative day this year. John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth 50 years ago. Also, Emmett Ashford became the first African American umpire 60 years ago, Edward O’Hare became the first WWII Flying Ace 70 years ago, and the US Post Office was established 220 years ago! All of these things are really cool, but it’s really hard to top “space stuff” so let’s look into John Glenn… He became the 5th person in space, the 3rd American in space and the 1st American to orbit the Earth, aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962, on the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission, circling the globe 3 times during a flight lasting 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds. Perth, in Western Australia, became known worldwide as the “City of Light” when residents lit their house lights and streetlights as Glenn passed overhead. During the mission there was concern over a ground indication that his heat shield had come loose, which could allow it to fail during re-entry through the atmosphere, which would result in his capsule burning up. Flight controllers had Glenn modify his re-entry procedure by keeping his retrorocket pack on over the shield in an attempt to keep it in place. He made his splashdown safely, and afterwards it was determined that the indicator was faulty. After retiring from NASA, Glenn became a US Senator (D-Ohio) from 1974 to 1999. He has a Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame. In 1998, he became the oldest person to fly in space and the only person to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs. He is 90 years old.

It’s Monday, February 20th

The Lourdes Foundation hosts “Mardi Gras and All That Jazz” tomorrow night from 6 to 9 at Harrah’s Metropolis Hotel. The fundraising event features live music by Lew Jetton & 61 South, an auction of Bill Ford’s original artwork, and a variety of food and beverage vendors. Purchase $50 tickets by calling 444-2205.

A lecture on “Understanding Islam” will be given tomorrow at 4PM in the Curris Center Theater. Dr. Ossama Bahloul, imam of the Islamic Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is the featured speaker. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The men of Westside Baptist Church in Murray are holding a barbeque fundraiser for Alaska missions. They will be delivering barbeque plates during lunch on Friday, including barbeque butt, baked beans, a choice of coleslaw or potato salad, a roll, and banana pudding. The suggested donation is $7. Orders must be in by Wednesday. For more information, contact Ryan Dawson at 804-6996.

Find more community events at, where you can also learn about supporting public radio. Thanks.

the morning cram [the wrong, commie… it’s Houston! edition]

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“In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One.”

NPR reports signs of a media crackdown in Russia as the country nears its presidential elections.

Kentucky~ Murray State trumps Saint Mary’s at Saturday’s  ESPN Bracketbuster game. The death of a 14-year-old Christian County girl has sparks a movement against bullying and suicide.  The closing of Madisonville’s medical examiner’s office is causing an outrage. A little-known 2001 law could have prevented an infant’s death and a teen mother’s arrest. The Delta Mariner resumes its voyage to Cape Canaveral. Educators from 17 states come to learn about the state’s new education standards.

Tennessee~ A new bill may help military spouses facing unemployment.

The Weekend Energy Preview 2-18

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Here’s what in the Weekend Energy mix this week! It’s such a spectacle, it’s like octopus wrestling in the Puget Sound.


Basement Freaks – Get Ready (Delimentary Remix) –  No one does funky breakbeats like Basement Freaks. These guys are are the absolute best. The album Something Freaky is one subversive retro-tasty production. I say subversive because it’s got lyrics and song titles like Let’s Get It Started, Don’t You Wanna Party, Get Down Boogie, Get Ready, Here We Go Again… All of this sound extremely cliche in today’s sophisticated musical world. Hey, 1979 called… But see that’s exactly the point. These songs are anything but cliche. Yeah, it’s different. It’s maybe even unnerving how “out of step” this music is with almost everything else dropping out of speakers today. All you need to do is turn it really loud and you’ll hear exactly what George Fortadis is trying to do. This week I picked up the remix album, featuring re-rubs of most of the songs I just listed. The remixes highlight the fact that Basement Freaks continue to stand out and stand above.

Bad Politics – Graph (Radio Edit) – See this week’s “Discovery” below.

Make the Girl Dance – Broken Toy Boy feat. Lisa Li-Hung (Original Mix) – It’s about time they made an album! Everything Is Gonna Be OK In the End is the name of their Ultra Records release. It’s got all the great singles released over the past couple years: Baby Baby Baby, Wall of Death, Kill Me… Also, a new single Broken Toy Boy, which is probably the best “new” track on the album. I found the rest of it surprisingly low-key, and not like their single Kill Me at all, which was quite loud and abrasive. That Kill Me is smack in the middle of the album is a little unnerving. The whole album’s got a rather gloomy hazy vibe, with a few cracks of thunder sprinkled in. That may be fine, it may even be great, but I’ll stick with the singles. Check out the super creepy video for Broken Toy Boy.

Datsik – Fully Blown feat. Snake the Ripper – Datsik is dark. Some of the darkest dubstep I’ve got. King Kong remains one of my all-time genre favorites. I had Knife Party’s Fire Hive in the mix this week until I heard Fully Blown in all it’s nasty sludgy glory. Snak the Ripper’s deranged rapping is the obvious highlight in this song. The song’s all about having a good time, but it sounds so psychotic with Snak’s grizzly voice and Datsik’s grinding. I guess what makes this one stand out from all the other filthy dubstep tunes, is that despite it’s darkness, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. In fact, it’s reveling in its mess and you should to.


Bad Politics

So… Earlier this week a single called Revolution!!! dropped with three song on them: Graph Radio Edit, Graph Original, and Revolution. It’s all over the place, Beatport, iTunes, Amazon… but finding anything about this group is nearly impossible. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right places, but I was looking. Anyway, According to their record label, it’s a three piece French group aimed at creating “a reflection on a suffering planet, a paradoxical need to leave the mass to better meet with each other. A world in motion and on the sidelines of a democracy in disguise.” Their music is indeed as ambitious as their mission statement. I’ve got Graph (Radio Edit) in the mix this week, and wanted to put Revolution in, but didn’t feel like editing lyrics to be “radio friendly” so… maybe next week or something. Nevertheless, Bad Politics puts together complex arrangements of groovy beats, soulful female vocals, and undaunted quick rapping. It’s a combination that could go so wrong, but Bad Politics pulls it off so… so right. I’ve had this music spinning all week.

Here’s the best I could do.

Almost Made It

Knife Party

Knife Party is an Australian electro/dubstep duo really blowing up right now. Their EP 100% No Modern Talking is a manufactured masterpiece. Destroy Them With Lazers is a head-swirling, crushing tune. The song that almost made it this week, though, was Fire Hive, which sounds like a whirring power drill splattering a waterfall. These guys are all business in their tunes and it sounds great. Check out their remixes of Nero’s Crush On You (in last week’s mix), Unison by Porter Robinson, and Save The World by Swedish House Mafia.

Second Hour Rewind

The second hour rewind is the previous week’s first hour. This hour’s mix was last week’s Valentine mix, so hear lovely tunes by Rusko, Tensnake, Fedde Le Grand, Sneaky Sound System, Tram Dolls, Human Life, Khan, and more! Sneaky Sound System is one of my favorite Aussie groups. They’ve got big beats, vocals full of bravado, and ridiculously catchy songs. We Love is one of my favorite songs off their new album From Here To Anywhere.

I won’t embed it here, but their very suggestive video is hilarious:

“Crank up your stereo, bust out the strobe light and kick up the bass.”

Weekend Energy has been blowing out car stereo systems, upsetting the neighbors and enhancing the night life of western Kentucky every weekend since July 2007 on WKMS. Host Matt “McG” Markgraf pours through hundreds of songs each week to create “the loudest show on public radio” featuring the best techno, dance and electronica from around the world. Weekend Energy airs Saturdays on 91.3 WKMS from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Stream it live on Saturday nights.

Hear the show streaming online or else.

Written by Matt Markgraf

February 18, 2012 at 10:39 am

Datebook: February 17 – Volkswagen Beetle Production Tops Ford Model-Ts 40 Years Ago

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On February 17, 1972, the Volkswagen Beetle overtook the Ford Model-T as the most popular car ever made. On this day, the 15,007,034 car rolled off the assembly line in Germany, making the new record for most highly produced car in history. This record was eventually surpassed by the Toyota Corolla, but there’s no doubt that the Beetle has one of the most recognizable designs, originating in pre-war Nazi Germany to present day – the look of the Beetle has remained largely unchanged. In 1933, Adolf Hitler commissioned Ferdinand Porche to develop a “people’s car,” or Volkswagen – an affordable car (a little over $5,000 dollars today) that can accommodate a family of five. After WWII, VW was seized and handed to the British, who deemed the car unattractive and impracticable. Whether or not you agree, sales figures ultimately decide a product’s fate. Over 21 million cars have been manufactured and sold worldwide. The Beetle ceased production in 2003, but variations like the ‘New Beetle’ and the current Beetle A5 carry the legacy and brand.

It’s Friday, February 17

Immanuel Baptist Church in Paducah dedicates its new pipe organ during a free recital on Sunday at 3PM. Joyce Jones, professor of organ at Baylor University, is the featured performer. A reception will follow the recital. For more information, call 443-5306.

The Stewart County Historical Society offers an evening of Civil War Era music and dancing tonight at 6:30 at Brandon Springs Group Camp in Dover, Tennessee. Period dance instruction will be provided. Dress is casual. Call Don Young at 931-232-7328 for more.

Murray State University hosts the final round of the annual Young Artists Concerto Competition Sunday afternoon at 2. Seven high school musicians will play concerti by Liszt, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Barber, and others. The winner receives a one thousand dollar cash prize, a music scholarship, and a performance with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra. The competition is in the Performing Arts Hall and is free and open to the public.

Find more community events online at Thanks for listening.

the morning cram [the back off, I’m starving edition]

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Big Pharma gets a do-over…

NPR reports the FDA isn’t pulling any punches while they reevaluate weight loss drugs previously denied because of side-effects. Sure you’ll grow a third ear, but at least you’ll be skinny!

Kentucky~ Paducah and McCracken County are still considering a merger.  Local counties get some cash for recreational trail programs. Felons may get the chance to vote.

Datebook: February 16 – Fort Donelson Captured 150 Years Ago

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The Battle of Fort Donelson was fought from February 11 to February 16, 1862. The capture of the fort by Union forces opened the Cumberland River as an avenue for the invasion of the South. The success elevated Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to the rank of major general, and earned him the nickname “Unconditional Surrender” Grant in the process. The battle followed the capture of Fort Henry on February 6. Grant moved his army 12 miles to Fort Donelson on February 12 and conducted several small probing attacks. On February 14, U.S. Navy gunboats under Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote attempted to reduce the fort with naval gunfire, but were forced to withdraw after sustaining heavy damage from Donelson’s water batteries. On February 15 the Confederates, commanded by Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd, launched a surprise attack against Grant’s army, attempting to open an avenue of escape. Grant, rallied his men with a counterattack and forced Floyd back to the fort. On the following morning, the Confederates turned over their command to Brig. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, who agreed to the terms of surrender offered by Grant.

It’s Thursday, February 16

The Murray High School Baseball Team hosts a barbecue lunch on Saturday at 1PM in the fellowship hall of First Baptist Church. Kirk Rueter of the San Francisco Giants will be the guest speaker. The event also features an auction including autographed baseballs and unique items from Murray businesses. Purchase $10 tickets by calling 753-5202.

The annual Bull Blowout is tomorrow and Saturday at 8PM at the Cherry Expo Center at Murray State University. Events include bull riding and barrel racing, as well as a children’s calf scramble and mutton busting. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for MSU students, and $5 for children under 12.

The Run4Another 5K run/walk will be held on Saturday, March 3, in Murray. All participants registered by tomorrow are guaranteed a free tech shirt and goodie bags. Find online registration, an official route map, and business sponsorship forms at

Find more information about these and other community events at, where you can also get in on a drawing for a Big Green Egg.

Written by Matt Markgraf

February 16, 2012 at 8:48 am