"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)
Welfare warfare: Mitt Romney’s campaign is doubling down on its erroneous accusation that President Obama is doing away with the welfare work requirement put in place in 1996, with a new video using Bill Clinton as a cudgel against the current president. But Clinton came out yesterday to call Romney’s claims “not true.” In a statement, the former president said Obama’s waiver policy was enacted at the request of GOP governors from Utah and Nevada who wanted more flexibility in their programs, and said it will not “gut” the reform he signed into law, as Romney claimed. The Washington Post’s fact checker gave Romney’s claims “four pinocchios.”
McCaskill gets her wish: Republicans picked their nominee last night for the all-important Missouri Senate race, choosing Rep. Todd Akin, who seems to have been Democrats’ favored choice to go up against Sen. Claire McCaskill. Akin is a controversial social conservative in a the toss-up state, so McCaskill appeared to think she had the best shot against him over his two former GOP challengers. For example, Akin made headlines and got called out by Obama in April when he called federal student loans “stage three cancer of socialism.”
Meanwhile, former Rep. Pete Hoekstra — best known for running a Super Bowl ad featuring a stereotyped Chinese woman – won Michigan’s Republican Senate primary yesterday and will face off against Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
Romney’s numbers stall: A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that “Mitt Romney’s favorability ratings have stalled during his campaign’s bumpy summer months, with his earlier improvements as he was wrapping up the Republican presidential primaries in the spring appearing to flat-line.” The same number of voters as in May — 40 percent — say they hold a favorable view of Romney, but his unfavorables have ticked up, from 45 to 49 percent. The trend may be especially troubling to Romney among independents, where Obama holds a margin 53 percent favorable to 40 percent negative, while Romney’s is upside down, at 37 percent to 50 percent.
Bachmann’s fuel on the fire: Rep. Michele Bachmann is coming under increasing fire in the wake of this weekend’s shooting at a Sikh temple, BuzzFeed reports. “I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Bachmann’s words contributed to this guy’s actions, but an atmosphere that prejudices and denigrates a people and a faith tradition does make it easier,” said Abraham Foxman, the longtime director of the Anti-Defamation League. Democratic Rep. Andre Carson, one of two Muslim members of Congress, said Bachmann is “adding gasoline to the fire” with her witch hunt against Muslims in government. The shooting and arson of a mosque in Missouri are “the latest examples of religious and ethnic intolerance and discrimination,” which she has stoked, in part, Carson said.
Dumbest veepstakes yet: CIA director Gen. David Petraeus has no plans or desire to be vice president or run for any other elected office, a spokesman for the agency said yesterday in response to an “exclusive” report from the Drudge Report. It’s amazing that Matt Drudge’s baseless V.P. speculation still gets attention, but the scoop prompted a mini-media frenzy over Petraeus, even though both the CIA, and the White House denied the claim. Drudge claimed Obama this week “whispered to a top fundraiser” that he believed Mitt Romney would pick Petraeus.
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)