Blogs

Rolling Stone Shrinks to Normal Magazine Size

| Tue Aug. 12, 2008 7:25 PM EDT

mojo-photo-stonerollingstone.jpg

Rolling Stone magazine unveiled plans on Monday for a major design overhaul, scaling down its signature large-format pages to a standard magazine size in a bid to bolster advertising and sagging newsstand sales. The U.S. pop culture magazine will end the oversized look that for more than 30 years has distinguished it from rival publications starting with an issue set to hit newsstands on October 17.
Reuters

TrackMasterz, an 8-track tape distributor, has unveiled plans for miniature 8-tracks, only 1 1/2 by 2 inches wide, which the company "thinks probably" will work on iPods. "You should be able to just, like, stick it in there somewhere, right?" asked a spokesman, clad in a burlap sack and pointing a small REO Speedwagon cartridge at an iPod Touch. He added, "Spare some change?"

DRK Music, the leading manufacturer of player piano rolls, has announced a new, double-speed roll, in a bid to compete with rival player piano roll manufacturers. "Think of all the notes," screamed a spokesman over the horrific clatter of hundreds of upright pianos seemingly playing themselves at twice normal speed. "'Michigan Rag' will no longer sound so turgid and morose!"

Tablets-R-Us, the premier producer of engraved stone tablets, has revealed a design overhaul of its rock slabs, featuring a revolutionary new "Thin-sonite" material which allows tablets of less than 200 pounds each for the first time. "Advertisers and religious leaders will flock to this new, convenient format," claimed a spokesman from the bottom of a giant strip mine. "Imagine a day when reading Zac Efron features or reminding yourself of tricky commandments will only require the assistance of 10 Egyptian slaves, instead of 20!" Competitor Rolling Stones, whose new circular format caused thousands of accidental crushing deaths last year, was unavailable for comment.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Liam Gallagher Thinks Liking Radiohead Makes Me Ugly

| Tue Aug. 12, 2008 5:25 PM EDT

mojo-photo-liamgallagherblue.jpgWrong, Liam: I was ugly way before I'd even heard of Radiohead. The notoriously blabbermouthed Oasis frontman gave a freewheeling interview to the Times over the weekend in which he went after not only the "mellow" music of Coldplay and Radiohead, but also the physical attractiveness of the fans who love it:

"I've mellowed, but not in the sense of liking Radiohead or Coldplay. I don't hate them. I don't wish they had accidents. I think their fans are boring and ugly and they don't look like they're having a good time." Liam doesn't like any contemporary bands. "Not interested. I play the Beatles, the Stones, the Kinks, Neil Young, the Pistols. Maybe a bit of the Roses. Don't like modern bands."

He doesn't wish they had accidents? Boy, he has mellowed! Although I will say that someone with a mug like that one (above right) shouldn't, you know, throw stones.

New Music From Around the Blogs: Franz Ferdinand, Joanna Newsom, Saul Williams, DJ Excel

| Tue Aug. 12, 2008 5:04 PM EDT

mojo-photo-newmusic0812.jpg

Franz Ferdinand finally have a complete song for us to listen to at their website, although they want your e-mail address for the privelige. "Lucid Dreams" hums along pleasantly enough, at the tempo of "Take Me Out" but without the brain-seizing hooks. Hey, I think I can embed their player, so you don't have to go here. (For fans of: Gang of Four, Buzzcocks, songs that mention Ithaca)

Via No Words comes good news for everyone into harps and stuff: a new Joanna Newsom song! Granted, in this working version of "Heart to Task," the recording is terrible and I think you can actually hear someone sneeze. Unfortunately, proving the rabid intensity of Newsom fandom, the bandwidth limit has already been reached for the mp3, but you can still stream it here. (For fans of: Björk, CocoRosie, Narnia)

After the jump: Niggy Tardust puts feathers in his hair, and DJ Excel makes Baltimore mellow out.

Russia Agrees to Georgia Cease-Fire, Situation Remains Volatile

| Tue Aug. 12, 2008 4:05 PM EDT

Just a day after some western and Georgian observers feared that Russia was on the verge of cutting Georgia in half, and may even try to take the Georgian capital Tblisi and demand the country's surrender, Russian president Dmitri Medvedev has agreed to a European-backed cease-fire. But news reports indicate the situation is still volatile and much unclear about how the cease-fire would be implemented, and explosions and violence continue in places including in the Georgian port city of Poti.

"The outcome the West is seeking, will not return things to the [pre-war] status quo," said Russia specialist Stephen Sestanovich of the Council on Foreign Relations in a conference call yesterday. "A ceasefire under these circumstances offers a sitution in which Georgia could be occupied by Russian forces, and Georgia could be cut in two, dismembered."

"Is this a game changer?" asked Council on Foreign Relations' Charles Kupchan. "Is it possible to think about the US-Russian relationship moving forward looking somewhat like it's done in the past, where there were good days and bad days, but it was basically respectful and trying to make the best of a difficult situation? I can't answer that. It's too soon. But it's safe to say from here on out, the US and allies will look at Russia more warily."

Minneapolis Hotel Rooms Should Be Available Last Minute

| Tue Aug. 12, 2008 2:58 PM EDT

If you want to go and check out the scene at the Republican National Convention, you shouldn't have a problem. It's not like the hotel rooms in Minneapolis will be taken by Republicans. Politico:

Of the 12 Republicans running in competitive Senate races — five of whom are incumbents — only three have said they will be attending the convention. Six are definite no-shows, and three are on the fence.
"Nobody likes a funeral," said a Senate Republican press secretary...

Ouch. Things are so bad, the National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, is actually discouraging Republican congressional challengers from attending. According to the Hill he called heading to Minneapolis for the convention a "waste of time."

Newly Unveiled Dem Platform a Strong Statement for Women's Rights

| Tue Aug. 12, 2008 2:43 PM EDT

Dana Goldstein over at the Prospect applauds the newly released Democratic platform.

The draft of the Democratic Party platform, principally written by Obama's Senate policy director, the estimable Karen Kornbluh, is a remarkably feminist document, one befitting of a political party that, this year, came exceedingly close to nominating a woman. In the summer of 2006, I heard Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York speak on the Hill, lamenting that the chicken livered John Kerry team had, for the first time in decades, removed support for the Equal Rights Amendment from the party platform. Well, this year the ERA is back, alongside a truly unequivocal statement of support for reproductive rights, an unprecedented statement in opposition to sexism, and new sections on equal pay, women's economic struggles, work-family balance, and violence against women...
It's clear that care was taken to involve members of Hillary Clinton's circle in the document's drafting (perhaps Dana Singiser), or to at least take their concerns to heart. Clinton's run is presented in the document as a feminist historical feat, and in the foreign policy section, the draft borrows the language of Clinton's celebrated 1995 speech to the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing: "Our policies will recognize that human rights are women's rights and that women's rights are human rights." Reflecting Obama's own long-standing interest in international development, the documented continues, "Women make up the majority of the poor in the world. So we will expand access to women's' economic development opportunities and seek to expand microcredit."

Goldstein also takes a look at how the language on abortion has changed since 2004 and says the party has gotten even more strongly pro-choice. Take a look.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Obama VP Pick Announced!!

| Tue Aug. 12, 2008 12:17 PM EDT

This is huge!

H/T. Info.

Josh Green. Atlantic. Clinton Memos. Just Read It.

| Tue Aug. 12, 2008 11:54 AM EDT

It's the article everyone's talking about today: Josh Green of the Atlantic gets reams of internal Clinton campaign memos, emails, and other documents from former staffers and runs down the most important parts. Take a gander.

I'll highlight just two things. First, Clinton emerges as a terrible executive. She is unable to hire people who work well together or people who, though at odds, create a useful tension. She is unable to settle disputes after they arise or provide direction that keeps them from arising in the first place. A pattern emerges from Green's documents: Clinton first lets a problem fester, then explodes at her staff for not addressing it, then provides little guidance on how to solve it going forward, and ultimately gets bitten by the problem down the road.

James Fallows Is Feeling Sprightly

| Tue Aug. 12, 2008 11:36 AM EDT

Check out his shredding of David Brooks and the Brooks/Friedman cultural paintbrush. You know the one — it paints a mile wide.

Private Contractors Have Banked $100 Billion Since Iraq Invasion

| Tue Aug. 12, 2008 10:21 AM EDT

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release a report later today showing that the federal government has paid private contractors $100 billion since the 2003 Iraq invasion. The report will place "the first official price tag on contracting in Iraq and [raise] troubling questions about the degree to which the war has been privatized," according to the New York Times. Between 2003 and 2007, the U.S. government awarded $85 billion in contracts for services ranging from security to construction to food preparation to translation. At the current pace, contracts will exceed $100 billion by year's end, a figure that might be low, given the chaotic state of contracting during the Iraq War's early years. There are currently at least 180,000 contractors working in Iraq, far outnumbering U.S. troops in theater.