"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
Topics: Politics News
Independents like immigration announcement: A new Bloomberg News poll already confirms what we suspected: Obama’s immigration announcement looks like a political boon. “Sixty-four percent of likely voters surveyed after Obama’s June 15 announcement said they agreed with the policy, while 30 percent said they disagreed. Independents backed the decision by better than a two-to-one margin,” the poll found. Two caveats: Just a tiny fraction said immigration was their top issue, and this could change. Still, it would likely take a concerted Republican opposition effort to shift public opinion and — so far — that has failed to materialize. Mexican President Felipe Calderone also thanked Obama for the new policy.
Meanwhile, a big new Pew poll finds something surprising: Asians, not Hispanics, were the biggest group of immigrants in 2010, the most recent year for which data is available. This is good news for Democrats, as Asian Americans favor the party two-to-one over the GOP. Other findings on the group: “Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States. They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success.”
Most divided Supreme Court ever? Parsing data from Supreme Court sessions going back to 1946 of cases decided by a single vote, the New York Times’ Juliet Lapados reports, “the current Roberts court is indeed more divided than its predecessors.” Chief Justice John Roberts’ court “beats other chief justices for the greatest share of five-four splits over his career to date: 22.2 percent, versus 20.3 for William Rehnquist, 16.9 for Warren Burger, 11.7 for Earl Warren and 15 for Fred Vinson.”
Laziest Congress ever? A CNN quantitative analysis of the 112th Congress is not flattering: “The current Congress has worked just as many days as its legislative predecessors. It just has a lot less to show for it. … [O]f the thousands of measures introduced, only 132 passed both [the House and Senate]. About one-fifth of those measures were to approve official names for post offices.” Other Congresses, including the previous one, were far more productive.
GOP mega-donors embroiled in foreign bribery scandals: ”The Waltons of [of Wal-Mart] are not alone among super PAC donors with businesses facing [Foreign Corrupt Practices Act] investigation. At least three other major contributors currently have FCPA worries, and others may be looming. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, another big-money campaign spender, continues its lobbying to loosen enforcement of the anti-corruption law. Campaign finance watchdogs warn that limitless contributions to super PACs today could influence future priorities at the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, where FCPA investigations originate,” The Huffington Post’s Paul Blumenthal reports. The FCPA holds American companies accountable for their foreign subsidiaries bribery or corruption.
Key bill avoids buying the farm: The farm bill, a low-profile but very important piece of legislation, has finally broken out of the partisan logjam that was keeping it from moving forward. The Senate approved a procedural move last night that paves the way for final approval, including votes on 73 proposed amendments to the bill. “This is a day I didn’t think would ever happen,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) before reciting the elaborate parliamentary understanding. “It’s not a great agreement. But it is a good agreement.” The bill is a multi-billion dollar piece of legislation that sets policy for five years on everything from food stamps to agriculture subsidies.
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.More Alex Seitz-Wald.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)