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Friday's Sly Music News Day

| Fri Jan. 11, 2008 4:35 PM EST

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  • Okay, I knew that pneumonia story was suspicious. It turns out Eminem wasn't just in the hospital for a cough. The rapper has apparently ballooned into a "fat Elvis," this according to his mom, who's quoted in a gossip blog saying the 5 foot 7 rapper now weighs over 200 pounds and was hospitalized for possible heart problems as well as the pneumonia. Apparently the rapper is "depressed." But it feels so empty without you!

  • Following in the wake of Radiohead's post-EMI success, both Coldplay and Robbie Williams are reportedly considering leaving the label as well. Well if you have a "pay what you want" internet site, please do it in dollars so I don't screw it up again. Oh wait, I don't buy music from either of you.
  • Soulja Boy has set a digital sales record. His irrepressible hit "Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)," whose eponymous subtitle confuses and infuriates me, has become the first track to sell 3 million downloads. The music videos have been viewed over 50 million times on YouTube. Soulja Boy responded to the news by saying, "Yuuuuaaaa!!" Seriously.
  • This year's Coachella music festival near Palm Springs is set for the weekend of April 25-27, and now Idolator has what they call the "first fake line-up" for this year's festival, although Stereogum posted one back in November. Nothing, however, beats the one you can see after the jump:
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    Toyota Tops Consumer Reports' Greenest Cars

    | Fri Jan. 11, 2008 3:50 PM EST

    prius.jpgAlthough "eco-friendliness" ranks well behind "safety" and "value" among qualities consumers consider when buying cars, Consumer Reports did due diligence finding out which brands of cars are perceived as the most green. To be clear, they only tested for brand's perception as an eco-friendly car-maker, not how friendly the actual car is to Mother Earth.

    It's probably no surprise that Toyota ranks the highest, with its seemingly ubiquitous Prius. Nearly half of the consumers surveyed say they associate Toyota with being green, twice as many as selected the runner-up brand, Honda. Ford (Escape Hybrid), Chevrolet (Tahoe Hybrid), and GMC (Yukon Hybrid) came in at third, fourth, and fifth places, respectively.

    Although being "green" came in fifth among qualities consumers say they look for, it's encouraging that eco-friendliness was ranked higher than "design/style" and "technology/innovation." To me, that signifies that Americans may be more willing to put the environment above looks and style or unnecessary doo-dads when purchasing their next automobile. Of course, if we had better public transportation systems, we might not need all those cars on the road at all. But hey, a gal can dream.

    The True Victims of Abortion: Men

    | Fri Jan. 11, 2008 2:07 PM EST

    Now that I'm raising a son, I take time every few months to worry about him getting someone pregnant accidentally. I'm more worried about him being a selfish dog with women, but pregnancy's right up there. (I'm less worried about my daughter; if she's like me, and like most affluent women, I'll never know what she's up to sexually hard as I'll try to delude myself to the contrary). I'm going to try hard to teach them both to wait til they're ready and then protect themselves, and their partners, to the max. But shit happens, right?

    Big a deal as an unplanned pregnancy is for women, I know it's no walk in the park for men, especially if the relationship was casual. I have little sympathy for men who play no, little, or an antagonistic role in birth control - you're on your own. Abort, pay child support or maybe raise a kid; you made that bed. But if you did your part and still end up waiting to hear what the woman's decided to do - major drama. But some things cross a line. Now we have men of long-ago aborted kids claiming center stage in the abortion debate. No big deal then, big deal now.

    From the LA Times:

    Baier, 36, still longs for the child who might have been, with an intensity that bewilders him: "How can I miss something I never even held?"
    These days, he channels the grief into activism in a burgeoning movement of "post-abortive men." Abortion is usually portrayed as a woman's issue: her body, her choice, her relief or her regret. This new movement -- both political and deeply personal in nature -- contends that the pronoun is all wrong.
    "We had abortions," said Mark B. Morrow, a Christian counselor. "I've had abortions."

    And now you'd like a do-over? Goes without saying that this is religion-based (the traumatized men are instructed to visualize their aborted babies playing in a sun dappled meadow at Jesus's feet) but most of all it's political. And insofar as it's politcal it's cynical manipulation. Imagine some guy you had a misguided one nighter with two decades ago tracking you down to make you relive your abortion. I wonder if any of these guys realize that the abortions aren't as painful as the memory of having been involved with them? This 'activist' sums it up:

    If he could go back in time, he would try to save the babies.
    But would his long-ago girlfriends agree? Or might they also consider the abortions a choice that set them on a better path?
    Aubert looks startled. "I never really thought about it for the woman," he says slowly.

    Emphasis added, as if I needed to. I don't even want to know what "trying to save the babies" might entail, given these guys' sense of entitlement and self-pitying bullshit. If ever there was a time for aliens to come and show us the alternate reality where Aubert and Baier are in court fighting not to pay child support or ignoring their pre-marriage kids, this is it. There should be a summit between these guys and the ones who think they shouldn't have to pay child support if they have no say in abortions. I guess it all depends where you are in the cycle.Sorry folks. Just too convenient, just like the women who abort, get their lives together, then want us to help them feel sorry for their abortions. Be a woman. Be a man. Make your choices and live with the consequences.

    Election Mischief: Democrats for Romney in Michigan

    | Fri Jan. 11, 2008 1:42 PM EST

    demformitt.jpg Kos is advocating a little election mischief in Michigan. The Democratic side of the January 15 Michigan primary is meaningless because the DNC stripped Michigan of all its delegates to the national convention when it moved its primary ahead of Feb. 5 without permission. Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich are on the ballot there, but no one else is.

    Happily, Democrats have lots of other options, because under Michigan state law, they can vote in the Republican race. So what is a good Michigan Democrat to do?

    Kos says vote for Romney because a Romney victory would mean that Huckabee, McCain, and Romney will all have won one primary—no frontrunner means more turmoil, more negative ads, and more in-party fighting for the GOP. Keeping Romney, in particular, in the race makes sense because Romney goes negative the most often and has no qualms about tearing up his competitors.

    Except there's a problem: if no frontrunner emerges from the GOP's early primary calendar, Rudy Giuliani has a much stronger chance in Florida and the February 5 super primary. And do Democrats want to accidentally help elect Rudy Giuliani? When Giuliani puts everybody in camps and bombs the entire Middle East, they're going to feel terrible.

    So what else can they do? Vote for Huckabee, a not-ready-for-primetime evolution-denier that holds fewer foreign policy credentials than the greenest Democrat? That's an okay idea. Vote for Fred Thompson, just so the old man can make a decent showing before he drops out? Or vote for Ron Paul, who is right roughly half the time and is a delightful player on the national stage?

    Before considering McCain, recognize that independents who don't have the Democratic field available to them will probably flock to the Arizona Senator. He likely won't need any help.

    So the choice is yours, Michigan Democrats. If you actually want to take the time to go to the polls to vote in a meaningless election, you have a number of awful but bizarrely wonderful options available to you.

    When Feminism Means Knowing How Just Screwed You Are

    | Fri Jan. 11, 2008 12:46 PM EST

    Kids are so ungrateful. Mine decided to get sick during Iowa and New Hampshire. If you haven't 'slept' in two day old clothes on a 'Mom barcolounger' on the peds ward next to your mysteriously sick child, sans toothbrush, you just don't know misery. I'm only just now trying to make sense of it all, the whole 'future of our nation' thing. Having been news deprived during such a pivotal time, I have a new appreciation for why Josephine Average is either so disgusted with us (the media) or so overwhelmed that she just watches reality TV instead. What a goat rope. A few things jump out, though.

    We're stiiiill doing the "big hypocrite feminazi Hilary is riding her husband's coat tails" thing. I guess Eleanor Roosevelt did, too. Even in those days, homegirl could have gotten elected to something, if any woman could - would that be coat tailing, too? Lordy I'm sick of this particular sack-o-crap. Let's unravel this little mental do-si-do, shall we? Identifying as a feminist means:

    Brutal South Carolina Ad Slams Huckabee for Rape Case

    | Fri Jan. 11, 2008 12:43 PM EST

    Politics ain't beanbag, as Mike Huckabee likes to say. In South Carolina, it's more like a wrecking ball.

    In an ad currently running in the Palmetto State, Mike Huckabee is slammed for the Dumond case. If you are unfamiliar with the case, Wayne Dumond was put in prison for the 1984 rape of a 17-year old girl. When Huckabee became Governor of Arkansas, he bought into the conspiracy theory that Dumond had been railroaded because the alleged victim was a distant relatives of the Clintons. Huckabee announced that he thought Dumond should be released (writing a letter to Dumond saying as much), met with the parole board to make that case, and eventually oversaw Dumond's release from prison in 1999.

    A year later, Wayne Dumond sexually assaulted and murdered a 39-year-old Kansas City woman named Carol Sue Shields.

    Huckabee issued a lot of pardons and commutations as Governor, demonstrating a mercy and compassion that probably granted new life to an awful lot of people. He deserves credit: Huckabee did this despite the knowledge that he would someday be open to allegations of being soft on crime (see Romney, Mitt). In this instance, though, he screwed up big time.

    And now, it's being used against him. And the group who created the ad, Victims Voice, isn't pulling any punches. Starring in the ad: the mother of Carol Sue Shields.

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    Our Prez Finally Made Hell Freeze Over

    | Fri Jan. 11, 2008 12:20 PM EST

    It's snowing in Baghdad.

    Clinton Faces Trouble in South Carolina for MLK Remarks

    | Fri Jan. 11, 2008 11:38 AM EST

    clyburn.jpg Before the New Hampshire primary, Hillary Clinton went on Fox News and responded to Barack Obama's frequent invocations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964," she said. "It took a president to get it done."

    The message was clear: knowing how to work the levers of power is more valuable in getting stuff done than even the mightiest of speeches.

    But slighting Dr. King is probably not the best way to make any political point. Maybe the biggest ramification is this: South Carolina Representative James Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American in Congress and a veteran of the civil rights movement, appears poised to abandon the neutrality he has maintained throughout the presidential race and endorse Barack Obama.

    "We have to be very, very careful about how we speak about that era in American politics," Clyburn told the New York Times. "It is one thing to run a campaign and be respectful of everyone's motives and actions, and it is something else to denigrate those. That bothered me a great deal."

    Clyburn is a heavyweight in South Carolina politics, and his endorsement could help solidify Obama's support amongst the black community there. The black vote in South Carolina, as we've discussed, is not solidly in anyone's camp at the moment, and if Obama can add that voting block to others that are on his side, he will have a very solid chance at the nomination. After all, if he could win Iowa and be competitive in New Hampshire, two states that are heavily white, imagine what he can do in places that are more diverse.

    (And PS — Does Clinton really want to use the LBJ vs. MLK analogy? Who is going to say, "Well, I guess we could elect the Martin Luther King guy, but I'll go with the Lyndon Johnson lady instead." That's crazy. Ain't nobody getting a day off on LBJ's birthday.)

    Iditarod Race Feels Global Warming's Heat

    | Thu Jan. 10, 2008 7:30 PM EST

    iditarod3.jpgCiting "less-than-winter conditions," and encroaching suburban development, Iditarod officials are moving the famous dog race's starting point 30 miles north from Wasilla to Willow. They're also shortening the first, ceremonial leg of the competition (the short, easier race that precedes the harsh, longer race to Nome) by seven miles.

    This isn't the first time officials have had to change the traditional sled dog race's route. Just six years ago, a lack of snow forced them to move the 1122-mile-long race's start point 200 miles north, from Wasilla to Fairbanks. And even now, they have to truck in snow for the ceremonial start.

    Warm weather isn't the only element threatening the Iditarod: Increasing suburban development has crunched in previously wide-open spaces. "No matter what the weather conditions would be, there's a lot of asphalt and other things that don't mix well with competitive racing," said Stan Hooley, executive director of the Iditarod Trail Committee. "To be around that is stressful for the dogs."

    You can see an interactive map of the trail for this year's race, which begins March 1, here. To see the NOAA satellite view of the land around the start point, go here.

    Writers' Strike to Cancel Grammys?

    | Thu Jan. 10, 2008 7:28 PM EST

    mojo-photo-grohlgrammys.JPGHow will we know if Carrie Underwood has made the song of the year? Variety's Set List blog is speculating that if the writers' strike is still in effect on the planned Grammys ceremony date of February 10th, the list of musicians who might show up will be missing some big names: