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Record Labels Make Hint-Laden Mixtape for NAB

| Thu Jun. 5, 2008 5:07 PM EDT

mojo-photo-cassette.jpgAh, it brings me back to my early teens. With the image of an unrequited crush object fixed firmly in my mind, I'd labor for hours at my crappy Sears stereo, arranging song after song onto a C-90 cassette, in the hopes that the music would carry a message I was too chicken to voice myself: The Smiths "I Want the One I Can't Have," The Cure's "Close to Me," Violent Femmes "Add It Up." A master of subtlety I was not. Then, the magic cassette (complete with intricately detailed cover) would be handed off to said crush object, who I can only assume listened to it for hours while longingly gazing at a picture of me. Or, tossed it in the trash.

Either way, it never really worked, but that isn't stopping record label-funded musicFirst, who are trying to express their unrequited love of performance royalties to the National Association of Broadcasters with lyrically appropriate music this week. Cheekily calling the attempt a "four-day prank," the organization is sending NAB president David Rehr an iTunes certificate for these songs:

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10 House Races All Headed in One Direction

| Thu Jun. 5, 2008 4:00 PM EDT

Charlie Cook and the folks at the Cook Political Report have changed their ratings on 10 different House races. A Republican is the incumbent in all of them. Guess which direction they're heading:

CA-04 — OPEN (Doolittle) — Solid Republican to Likely Republican
CO-04 — Marilyn Musgrave — Lean Republican to Toss Up
CT-04 — Chris Shays — Lean Republican to Toss Up
IL-10 — Mark Kirk — Lean Republican to Toss Up
NM-02 — OPEN (Pearce) — Likely Republican to Lean Republican
NY-29 — Randy Kuhl — Lean Republican to Toss Up
NC-08 — Robin Hayes — Lean Republican to Toss Up
OH-01 — Steve Chabot — Lean Republican to Toss Up
VA-02 — Thelma Drake — Likely Republican to Lean Republican
WA-08 — Dave Reichert — Lean Republican to Toss Up

And wait till they get some of that sweet Obama money.

Obama Fundraising Advantage Over the Entire GOP Is Huge

| Thu Jun. 5, 2008 12:02 PM EDT

Good God. Look at these numbers from Politico:

If each of Obama's donors gave him a modest $250, he'd have $375 million to spend during the two-month general election sprint. That's $186 million a month; $47 million a week.
During the same September to Nov. 4th period, McCain will have about $85 million to spend since he has decided to take taxpayer money to help finance his campaign activities.
The Republican National Committee, which is charged with closing the gap between McCain and Obama, has $40 million in cash. Obama raised almost as much — $31 million – from just his small donors in the month of February. His total for the month, $57 million, exceeded the RNC's cash balance.
Obama has more than 1.5 million donors; McCain has a few hundred thousand. If just a million of Obama's donors sent him the maximum donation, $2,300, he could raise $2.3 billion.

Two quick observations: (1) Obama is going to be able to use that money to make random red states like Kansas and Idaho competitive enough that McCain has to put time, energy, and money into winning them. That's a huge advantage. (2) Obama could have enough money to finance every Democratic congressional race in the country. Certainly every key Senate race. He could essentially buy himself a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the Senate.

More on Good Gov't: Obama Pushing for Change at the DNC

| Thu Jun. 5, 2008 11:44 AM EDT

Consistent with Obama's fundraising policy, the Democratic National Committee announced today it will no longer take donations from registered federal lobbyists and PACs. "Our presumptive nominee has pledged not to take donations from Washington lobbyists and from today going forward the DNC makes that pledge as well," said Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

This is not only a sign that Obama will insist that the standards of his campaign become the standards for the whole Democratic Party (I anticipate fewer attacks on the Republican candidate from liberal-leaning independent 527s this cycle, as well), but also a sign that Obama is really, really confident in his ability to raise all the money he needs. An earlier indication of this confidence: Obama is considering limiting the size of the donations he will accept in the general election.

The Politico says Obama's confidence is justified. See my other post for details.

Obama, McCain Working Together on Good Government Bill

| Thu Jun. 5, 2008 11:13 AM EDT

From the Hill:

Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are quietly working together on a good-government bill despite their campaign-trail battle over who is tougher against Washington's special interests.
McCain's Senate office contacted Obama's office Monday night asking to sign on to a bill opening federal government contracts to public scrutiny, according to three knowledgeable sources.
Before the call, Obama had been working on the measure primarily with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), an ardent proponent of eliminating wasteful government spending and an early supporter and longtime Senate ally of McCain's.
After learning that Obama and Coburn were introducing the bill without his backing, McCain's staffers immediately contacted Coburn to express concern and a desire to be named as an original co-sponsor of the update. They then called Obama's office.
Obama staffers were happy to comply with McCain's request to sign on, an Obama adviser said, because they knew support from the two presumptive nominees could propel the legislation to passage in the final months of a packed legislative schedule.

Coburn's reason for why he didn't bring McCain on from the beginning? "I'm not good at politics," he told the Hill. "I never have been." Ha.

Anyway, good for Sens. Obama and McCain. They deserve kudos not just for working together in a time when they are competitors, but also for pushing part of the good government agenda. Now they should tackle the rest of it.

Clinton Effectively Drops Out

| Wed Jun. 4, 2008 10:43 PM EDT

Just received from the Clinton campaign:

Senator Clinton will be hosting an event in Washington, DC to thank her supporters and express her support for Senator Obama and party unity. This event will be held on Saturday to accommodate more of Senator Clinton's supporters who want to attend.

More details from the AP:

On the telephone call with impatient House supporters, Clinton was urged to draw a close to the contentious campaign, or at least express support for Obama. Her decision to acquiesce caught many in the campaign by surprise and left the campaign scrambling to finalize the logistics and specifics behind her campaign departure.

How anyone could be surprised by her conceding at this point is beyond me.

Update: The Obama campaign says it is open to paying off some of Clinton's campaign debt. "Obviously we want to help each other," says Obama surrogate Tom Daschle.

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Eat Local Foods, Grow Small Farms

| Wed Jun. 4, 2008 7:58 PM EDT

461px-Fraises_1_Luc_Viatour.jpg It's not just for elites anymore. A survey of Midwesterners finds that even average food shoppers are willing to pay a premium for locally grown food. They'll pay as much as a third more if the food comes from a small local farm rather than a corporate farm. The study from Ohio State University, published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, shows that more shoppers are willing to pay for ripe local food—suggesting small farmers might be less efficient on the production side and still manage to be more profitable on the revenue side by selling at the premium price.

Shoppers were surveyed at 17 Ohio locations, including seven retail grocery stores, six on-site farm markets and four farmers' markets. They were presented with two product options. Both were baskets of strawberries, but they were presented under 80 combinations of price, freshness, farm location, and farm type. Data from 477 surveys revealed the average shopper was willing to pay 48 cents more for local strawberries. Shoppers at farm markets were willing to pay almost a third more, 92 cents above the $3 base for a quart of berries. Freshness was also important. Farm market shoppers were willing to pay 73 cents more for newly-harvested food and retail shoppers 54 cents more. The researchers tested interest in supporting small versus large farms by naming one fictional berry producer "Fred's" and the other "Berries Inc." Shoppers in grocery stores were willing to pay 17 cents extra for berries from Fred's, and farm market shoppers were willing to pay 42 cents more.

Listen up small farmers, boutique farmers, disenchanted farmers, your day may be coming (again). Many of us want fresher, tastier food grown carefully and closer to home. Rising fuel prices mean cheap cherries from Chile won't be cheap forever.

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent, lecturer, and 2008 winner of the Kiriyama Prize and the John Burroughs Medal Award.

Video: Terry McAuliffe Loses It on The Daily Show

| Wed Jun. 4, 2008 5:06 PM EDT

Is he doing a bit? Is this a shoot-the-moon strategy? Is it the giddiness of a man who knows some sort of secret bombshell Obama revelation is about to hit the fan, which will somehow magically switch everybody's allegiances to Hillary? Or is he just on gigantic mounds of crack cocaine?

Update: Jonathan Stein has already noted on Mojoblog that this guy is loony tunes, but that he'd "want him in my camp." But Jonathan, think of the crack bills! No wonder they're $20 million in debt...

I Suppose This Was Inevitable

| Wed Jun. 4, 2008 4:11 PM EDT

RNC releases a Democrats against Obama ad.

Better than Republican advertisements in the past, at least.

Hillary's Historic Impact Already Felt

| Wed Jun. 4, 2008 2:41 PM EDT

I'm with Dana Goldstein:

Now that the endless primary is over, American women -- especially those engaged with politics -- owe Hillary Clinton a "thank you," no matter which candidate or even political party they support. Clinton has profoundly altered and enhanced, probably forever, the role of women in American political life....
Over the course of this historic, thrilling, aggressive primary election, we've seen more female pundits than ever before writing and speaking about presidential politics. We've experienced unprecedented interest from male politicos in women's participation in the electoral process. And demands for women's leadership have been given their fairest hearing to date in the United States, with Democrats nationwide expecting Obama to give close consideration to female vice-presidential prospects -- not only because there are a few wildly successful and talented women who would be great at the job, but also as a gesture of good will toward the feminist energy that animated so many Clinton supporters....
Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas are among the top three most frequently-mentioned vice-presidential prospects, trailing only Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia... it is inconceivable that the lady governors would be receiving anything close to a fair hearing had Clinton not first demonstrated how hungry a large segment of the Democratic base is to see a woman president. Neither Napolitano nor Sebelius endorsed Clinton, but both must feel some debt toward her path-breaking campaign, which raised their own national profiles.

Check out the whole thing.