Questions for GOP YouTube Debate Not Friendly

Want to know why most of the Republican presidential candidates are ducking their scheduled YouTube debate? Just take a look at some of the questions they're getting. Brutal.

Bad news for Jedwards. Union leadership is "so happy" with the Democratic candidates for president that it might not endorse a contender in the primary, according to the NY Times. John Edwards, of course, has spent literally years courting organized labor in the hopes of getting its endorsement, which would be a huge boost for him in Iowa, where as many as one-third of Democratic caucusgoers come from union households, and elsewhere.

What's particularly sad is that poor Edwards hasn't done anything wrong. "There's a pretty strong sentiment across the labor movement for Edwards," said Steve Rosenthal, a former political director of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. "But I think some unions are a little leery of endorsing him without more evidence that he can win."

Ouch. How's that for a catch-22? Edwards can't get the labor endorsement because he can't win, and he can't win without the labor endorsement. It's tough being number three.

mojo-photo-ascap.JPGIn a move that says to the world, "no, of course we're not desperate and fearful, as our industry crumbles around us," music-licensing group ASCAP is now going after bars, clubs and restaurants that play any of the over 8 million songs by artists they represent without paying appropriate fees. ASCAP have apparently sued over two dozen venues recently who have failed to pay their royalties. Of course, legally, ASCAP is right: if I charge people $5 to come listen to the new U2 CD, it sure seems like that's money U2 should get. Since, you know, they need more money. But business owners often pay music services for chatter-free background tunes; is that different from just turning on the radio? Most amusing is this statement from Vincent Candilora, ASCAP senior vice president for licensing: "As long as it's [played] outside a direct circle of friends and family, it is considered a public performance." So, how many friends and family can I have before it's not considered a "direct circle?" We need friendship guidelines!