Friday, April 30, 2010

Krugman on Greece, the Euro, and the Lesson to be Derived Therefrom

Krugman explains what the hell is going on with Greece, and why it matters to us.

So is the euro itself in danger? In a word, yes. If European leaders don’t start acting much more forcefully, providing Greece with enough help to avoid the worst, a chain reaction that starts with a Greek default and ends up wreaking much wider havoc looks all too possible.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rolling Stones subtitulado español 19th nervous breakdown

The joys of YouTube.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Albert King - Move to the Outskirts

Recorded live at the Montreux festival, probably sometime in the early 1980s.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Linda Greenhouse on the Arizona Immigration Law

Linda Greenhouse, the New York Times reporter covering the US Supreme Court and previously known as the sort of mild-mannered journalist welcome on political TV talk shows, actually takes a stand. H/t BarbinMD at DailyKos.

What would Arizona’s revered libertarian icon, Barry Goldwater, say about a law that requires the police to demand proof of legal residency from any person with whom they have made “any lawful contact” and about whom they have “reasonable suspicion” that “the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States?” Wasn’t the system of internal passports one of the most distasteful features of life in the Soviet Union and apartheid-era South Africa?

And in case the phrase “lawful contact” makes it appear as if the police are authorized to act only if they observe an undocumented-looking person actually committing a crime, another section strips the statute of even that fig leaf of reassurance. “A person is guilty of trespassing,” the law provides, by being “present on any public or private land in this state” while lacking authorization to be in the United States — a new crime of breathing while undocumented.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hitchcock interview from 1964 (part 1)

Like a lot of people, I love YouTube for the obscure treasures that it holds.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim

The prominent jazz figure Gene Lees has died. He was not a musician (at least professionally) but a journalist and lyricist. In particular, he wrote the English lyrics for a number of Brazilian songs, including "Corcovado" (as "Quiet Nights"). His passing has been noted by Matt Schudel at the Washington Post, who also included this link to a YouTube clip featuring Sinatra and Jobim performing a medley of Jobim's songs, including lyrics by Lees.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto #2, Third Movement

Sergei Rachmaninov was born on this date in 1873. In the first half of the twentieth century he was something of a cultural icon, embodying a romantic (and Romantic) concept of The Artist. He (or actually an actor playing him -- he died in 1943) even makes a cameo appearance as a character in the film Dr. Zhivago.

For this recording he acts in the dual role of composer and performer, playing the piano in his second concerto for that instrument. This is the the final movement, containing a melody so infectious it later was made into the popular song "Full Moon and Empty Arms." Leopold Stokowski conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra in a recording made in 1929.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Muddy Waters - Still a Fool

Deep blues, Chicago-style. If I remember correctly, on this particular track Little Walter put down his harmonica and picked up a guitar. But of course the voice is all Muddy Waters.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Krugman on Goldman Sachs and Fraud

This is actually yesterday's column by Paul Krugman, but I didn't want to let it pass without noting it here.

So what role did fraud play in the financial crisis? Neither predatory lending nor the selling of mortgages on false pretenses caused the crisis. But they surely made it worse, both by helping to inflate the housing bubble and by creating a pool of assets guaranteed to turn into toxic waste once the bubble burst.

As for the alleged creation of investments designed to fail, these may have magnified losses at the banks that were on the losing side of these deals, deepening the banking crisis that turned the burst housing bubble into an economy-wide catastrophe.

The obvious question is whether financial reform of the kind now being contemplated would have prevented some or all of the fraud that now seems to have flourished over the past decade. And the answer is yes.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Frank Rich on Race and Republicans, Again

Apologies for not posting yesterday. It was a much busier day than I had anticipated. Now, back to our regular programming. Frank Rich, as usual, has some good stuff.

How our current spike in neo-Confederate rebellion will end is unknown. It’s unnerving that Tea Party leaders and conservatives in the Oklahoma Legislature now aim to create a new volunteer militia that, as The Associated Press described it, would use as yet mysterious means to “help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.” This is the same ideology that animated Timothy McVeigh, whose strike against the tyrannical federal government will reach its 15th anniversary on Monday in the same city where the Oklahoma Legislature meets.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Krugman on the Localized Bank Crisis You Haven't Heard Of

Paul Krugman on a geographical/political oddity.

I’m not sure how many people know that Georgia leads the nation in bank failures, accounting for 37 of the 206 banks seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation since the beginning of 2008. These bank failures are a symptom of deeper problems: arguably, no other state has suffered as badly from banks gone wild.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Beatles - The Long and Winding Road

To continue on from yesterday's post marking the fortieth anniversary of the breakup of the Beatles, here's what many consider the best version of "The Long and Winding Road." It's from the Let It Be... Naked album that was finally released in 2003, with all the horns and strings wiped off.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Beatles - You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)

It was forty years ago today
Paul McCartney said he didn't want to play.

He announced that he was leaving the Beatles, breaking up the most popular act that pop music ever knew. To commemorate that event, here is one of the least typical Beatle songs of all. "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)" was the B-side to the "Let it Be" single, which had been released just about a month before McCartney made his announcement.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Goodbye UBM

I posted recently on the passing of David Mills, AKA Undercover Black Man. On his blog, there has been a recent posting by his nephew Clifton Porter II, to whom he was very close. The term heartfelt tribute is something of a cliche -- but that's exactly what it is. Read it here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Percy Mayfield - What A Fool I Was

"What A Fool I Was" is one of my new favorite songs, recorded by its co-composer Percy Mayfield in the nineteen-fifties.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Frank Rich on How Obama is Perceived

I think Rich has a good point.

Depending on where you stand — or the given day — he is either an overintellectual, professorial wuss or a ruthless Chicago machine pol rivaling the original Boss Daley. He is either a socialist redistributing wealth to the undeserving poor or a tool of Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs elite. He is a terrorist-coddling, A.C.L.U.-tilting lawyer or a closet Cheneyite upholding the worst excesses of the Bush administration’s end run on the Constitution. He is a lightweight celebrity who’s clueless without a teleprompter or a Machiavellian mastermind who has ingeniously forged his Hawaiian birth certificate, covered up his ties to Islamic radicals and bamboozled the entire mainstream press. He is the reincarnation of J.F.K., L.B.J., F.D.R., Reagan, Hitler, Stalin, Adlai Stevenson or Nelson Mandela.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Vera Hall - The Wild Ox Moan

"The Wild Ox Moan" was recorded in the summer of 1959 by Alan Lomax, in the red-clay part of Alabama where singer Vera Hall spent her whole life. It's one of the tracks that Moby adapted for his album Play. With all due respect to the shave-headed vegan Melville, I prefer this version. As someone I knew once said, "Field recordings are magical." Hearing music like this makes me glad to be alive.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Snooks Eaglin Jazz Funeral Second Line

Amateur video of the New Orleans funeral for the guitarist Snooks Eaglin. David Mills had posted some of Snooks's music, and on his blog had noted his passing. This is posted in memory of David Mills.