2007 - %3, December

Breaker of Music Industry Laments Breakage of Music Industry

| Wed Dec. 19, 2007 12:59 PM EST

mojo-photo-mtv.jpgToday in the Riff's Head-Spinning Irony Department, it's the first part of MTV.com's 3-part series, "The Year the Music Industry Broke." Sure, lots of people have been saying it's been a tough year for record sales or for record company employees, but tell us, MTV, how bad is it?

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Electability: The Lamest Argument in the Rhetorical Aresenal

| Wed Dec. 19, 2007 11:49 AM EST

There is a new USA Today/Gallup poll out that says Barack Obama does better against the Republican candidates than Hillary Clinton, a fact that the Obama camp will no doubt point to when undercutting Clinton's oft-made electability argument. The Edwards folks like to highlight this CNN poll that shows he is the only Democrat who slays all five heads of the Giuliani-Romney-Huckabee-McCain-Thompson medusa.

My take: who cares?

The electability argument is a pander to the basest desire in the political heart: the desire to win. Every campaign makes the argument, ignoring the fact that just because a candidate can get elected, or just because a majority of Americans think a candidate can get elected, doesn't mean that candidate should be elected. As George W. Bush has proved twice, the skills and characteristics needed to get elected are not the same as the ones needed to govern well.

Obama, Clinton, and Edwards aren't going to stop claiming they can win because electability, though a specious argument, matters to people. Voters don't like backing a loser. But if a potential loser would be the best president, he or she deserves support, plain and simple.

That's my overly idealistic blog post for the day. Back to your regularly scheduled snark and cynicism.

Edwards and His Audience

| Wed Dec. 19, 2007 11:15 AM EST

NASHUA—John Edwards and entourage of Bonny Raitt and Jackson Browne arrived in New Hampshire yesterday and immediately set out on a barnstorming tour of the state. At Webster College here last night a packed auditorium of 350-plus waited an hour for crews to hook up the audio equipment, and then applauded politely when Edwards took the stage after a couple of songs.

The Edwards Love-Child Non-Story... So Far

| Wed Dec. 19, 2007 10:58 AM EST

john-edwards-campaigning.jpg On the all-important, critical campaign 2008 issue of whether John Edwards has fathered a love-child—as Matt Drudge reports The Enquirer is "reporting"—let me beg to differ with colleague Party Ben's theory that the Clinton camp "is pushing Drudge" to tear into Edwards. To start with, the Clinton gang generally cares more about stopping Barack Obama than Edwards. If Edwards were socked by a scandal, that would probably help Obama more than Clinton. (Edwards and Obama split the anti-Hillary Democratic vote.) And how close is the Clinton gang and Drudge? Remember Monica? And did you see the picture of a tired and aging Hillary that Drudge posted days ago? Moreover—and it's a big moreover—Drudge (who did recently promoted two Mother Jones stories on Mike Huckabee) does not need encouragement from one political HQ or another to promote a sex scandal article that appears in a tabloid. We need not wonder what hidden forces caused Drudge to highlight The Enquirer's "exclusive." In this instance, a cigar is just a cigar.

As for the Enquirer story itself—in case you care—it's the usual fare. Edwards' purported girlfriend insists that Edwards is not the father of her unborn child and names another fellow (a political operative close to Edwards) as the responsible party. Yet the tabloid quotes exactly one unnamed source saying Edwards is the father. That's enough for it to claim an "exclusive."

Will this become a bigger story? My hunch is that those nice Iowans are not eager to have the final weeks of the campaign dominated by such a tawdry topic. And unlike the Gennifer Flowers case, the woman named in this story is not talking. In fact, she's denying. But, as we've learned, when it comes to sex—and sex and politics—you never know. Still, the shabbily sourced Enquirer piece, without further (real and confirmed) developments, ought not to have much of an impact.

"Why Does It Seem You Are Trying to Stop Hillary Clinton From Becoming President?"

| Wed Dec. 19, 2007 10:41 AM EST

I'm going to post this without comment, other than to say it illustrates exactly the "How dare he??" sentiment floating around the Clinton camp that David reported on a while back.

Also, it's funny.

Maybe There Is a God...

| Wed Dec. 19, 2007 10:00 AM EST

Building next to White House on fire. From CNN today:

The building, built between 1871 and 1888, is located across a driveway from the White House and houses the vice president's offices.

CNN on Monday:

A small chemical explosion was reported Monday in the building that houses Fox News, officials said. One person was injured.

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Drudge Quotes The Enquirer on "Edwards Love Child"

| Wed Dec. 19, 2007 1:40 AM EST

mojo-photo-drudge.JPGMatt Drudge, ladies and gentlemen: he's always had some iffy sources, but have we ever seen him scan The Enquirer and put it "above the fold"? What next, quoting blind items from Ted Casablanca's "Awful Truth" columns? One wonders, who in the Clinton camp is pushing Drudge to go after Edwards, and what sort of Obama-ignoring strategy is that? Okay, that's three questions in a row, and here's another one: why am I still checking this website?

Top Ten Online Radio Streams

| Tue Dec. 18, 2007 10:43 PM EST

mojo-photo-rifftoptenweek.jpgYes, the exciting Week of Top Tens continues here on the Riff, this list suggested by an esteemed Mother Jones editor, who was like, "what the hell should I listen to online?!" Well, first, take a deep breath, and then direct your browser to one of these ten stations, networks, or random dudes in a basement. I'll admit it up front: this list is heavy on actual radio stations that you can listen to online, since low-budget online radio usually can't compete with the sound quality, production, and industry access that "real" stations have. I like things to sound good, what can I say.

Responding to MoJo, Huckabee Campaign Explains Difference Between Homosexuality and Necrophilia

| Tue Dec. 18, 2007 7:44 PM EST

It's hard to explain lumping together homosexuality and necrophilia. But that's the mission that Mike Huckabee's campaign research director, Joe Carter, took on when Talking Points Memo asked him about the recent Mother Jones story on a book Huckabee wrote in 1998. In that book, Huckabee decried American culture, equated environmentalism with pornography, insisted that people who do not believe in God tend to be immoral, and associated homosexuality with necrophilia:

It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations—from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia.

Now lets turn to TPM:

When we asked Carter if Huckabee stood by this quote, he didn't disavow the comment. But he sought to clarify its meaning, denying our suggestion that the quote equated homosexuality and necrophilia.
"He's not equating homosexuality with necrophilia," Carter told us. "He's saying there's a range of aberrant behavior. He considers homosexuality aberrant, but that's at one end of the spectrum. Necrophilia is at the other end."
Carter added: "No way is he saying that homosexuality is like having sex with dead people. That's not it at all."

Newmont Mining Cleared in Indonesian Pollution Lawsuit

| Tue Dec. 18, 2007 7:10 PM EST

mojo-photo-fairytale.jpg

We called him Mr. Clean for a reason.

And today Rick Ness is a happy man. Newmont Minahasa Raya (a subsidiary of Denver-based gold-mining giant Newmont, where Ness was formerly president) was cleared of pollution and environmental damage charges related to Buyat Bay in Indonesia. Back in April Ness and the company were acquitted of all criminal charges (and in 2006, Newmont settled a civil suit brought by the Indonesian government on charges of environmental pollution).

The judge in the Indonesian case said in today's ruling that "The plaintiff could not prove that Newmont polluted the environment, sickening fish and damaging coral reefs."

But, in fact, evidence abounds.