More Fast Links (politics)

Michael Tomasky on what Tom Delay’s longevity in US politics means:

The system isnt working by a long shot. If the system had worked, DeLay would have been exposed long ago — ?rst by the media, which would have done far more to reveal the ethical and procedural corruption of his regime, and second by moderate Republicans, who could have made a difference if theyd had the nerve, en bloc, to stand up and say something. Its a shame, and an indictment of whats happened to the political culture, that if Tom DeLay goes down, it will be because of things he did to Tom DeLay (the paid-for trips, the family on the payroll). History will look back and decide — unless all the historians have been appointed by David Horowitz by then — that DeLay presided over a grotesque de-democratization of the so-called representative body of the people; that he served two masters only, corporate America and fanatical religious hypocrites, at the expense of regular Americans (and traditional, respectable conservative principles); that he corrupted our politics by giving friends like the amoral lobbyist Jack Abramoff the run of the House; and, most importantly, that a lot of people who could have said something about all this louder and sooner didnt bother to.

Katrina vanden Heuvel on what songs should be on Bush’s ipod.

Adam L. Penenberg compares and contrasts google and Walmart.

The headhonchos at Orielly start up a group blog called Oreilly Radar. Interestingly, they already have an inhouse weblog roundup called Oreilly weblogs (which contains more technical articles, but unfortunately no commenting or trackback). Both excellent sources of information.

Ok, I’m close to putting Jason Kottke’s weblog on my blog list. I’ve been a holdout for a while. If only to know what the MSBW (mainstream blogging world) is chatting about).

Martin Edlund at Slate analyzes why Epic Records chose not to release Fiona Apple’s latest album. The answer: Epic realized that Fiona’s album was uncommercial and not worth the trouble. Steven Berlin Johnson asks that if the CD is already made, why wouldn’t they have released it anyway?

This is an interesting question and worth taking a closer look at.

First, with big media companies, minimal expenses are significantly higher than smaller labels. They have to make a lot of money just to break even.

Second, a dip in sales creates a negative trend. Big media wants to convey the illusion that sales improve over time. In publishing, for example, it is much easier for a first time novelist to sell a novel than a midlist author with several books already published (and thus has a track record).

Third, big media companies are just evil. Their responsibility is NOT to put more creative works out in the public. Their responsibility–first and foremost– is to be profitable with their business model. New artists are not in a good bargaining position when signing contracts. These take-it-or-leave-it contracts usually demand exclusive rights to future content, absolute copyright control and ownership rights over works not released. I put the blame squarely on artists for their singleminded quest for financial support. That’s why (by the way) I admire Prince, who did everything possible to get out of his contractual obligations.

One perverse example of the follies of this multiple release contracts is Sara Hickman’s having to buy her own music back from the music companies after they refused to release her songs. I don’t blame artists for seeking to cash in or to use big media to create a recognizable band. They just need to seek better advice about how to negotiate that initial contract.