"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)
Ryan and Adelson: Rep. Paul Ryan held an event in Las Vegas last night with GOP-backing casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, but the press was barred from covering it “in apparent violation of the Romney-Ryan campaign’s oft-strained agreement with the reporters who cover the campaign.” The Romney campaign justified barring reporters from the event by calling it a “finance event” and not a fundraiser, but failed to explain the difference.
Adelson’s Chinese business practices have been under increasing scrutiny lately. Noting that other candidates have returned money from less suspicious donors, the New Republic’s Marc Tracy wrote yesterday that Adelson has given so much money to GOP causes that “the Republican establishment has put itself in a position where almost nothing could make it return the money.”
The event was met by hundreds of protesters.
Ryan makes it rain: Ryan “has become one of the top fundraisers in Congress in recent years, drawing on a growing national profile to amass more than $8 million for this year’s election through his campaign and political committee,” the Washington Post reports. His $5 million war chest gives him more more cash on hand than any other House member. Much of his money comes from the financial services industry, and especially accounting firms, which are interested in legislation coming out of both committees he sits on. Robust fundraising can equate to power on Capitol Hill, as flush lawmakers can spread the wealth around to fellow members of Congress to curry favor.
Democratic registration falls: A new report shows that Democratic voter registration is down by more than 800,000 since 2008 in the eight key battleground states, compared to only a 79,000 drop among Republicans. The report, conducted by Third Way, the centrist Democratic think tank, suggests independents will be critical to victory this fall, as independent registration has soared while partisan signups have fallen off. Of course, 2008 was a high-water mark for Democratic registration so they started with an advantage.
Body slam: Wrestling magnate Linda McMahon won the Republican Senate nomination in Connecticut last night, beating former Republican Rep. Chris Shays. McMahon lost a previous Senate bid, but Republican voters decided to send her back and in a big way — she beat Shays 73 to 27 percent.
Shays, a well-respected 21-year moderate lawmaker, said in July of McMahon, “I have never run against an opponent that I have respected less — ever — and there are a lot of candidates I have run against.” “I do not believe that Linda McMahon has spent the time, the energy to determine what a senator really means,” he added.
Details on Texas shooter emerge: The man who started a shootout with police at Texas A&M this week praised other mass shooters and fantasized about buying a gun and practicing on the gun range. The shooter’s relatives told reporters that “he was a disturbed young man who had mental problems,” yet he was able to purchase a vintage assault rifle and plenty of ammo. People with mental illness are not supposed to be able to purchase guns, though it’s possible he was never diagnosed. Given that it was a vintage rifle, it’s also possible he purchased it at a gun show, where a loophole prevents full enforcement of gun laws.
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 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)
Alex Seitz-Wald sorts through the crush of early morning news and picks the top political stories for Salon readers, posted by 8:30 on weekdays. Follow @aseitzwald on Twitter