Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wall Streeters Realize Tea Party Serious About Default

The dithering and timidity of the Street would be funny if the consequences weren't so serious. From the NYTimes.

Wall Street is no longer watching from the sidelines as the most polarizing political fight in years plays out on Capitol Hill. In the last few days, top executives have been in close contact with Washington in a last-ditch attempt to prod lawmakers toward a compromise by Tuesday, the administration’s deadline to reach a deal.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tommy Johnson - Cool Drink of Water Blues

Something old, something blue. Robert Johnson definitely listened carefully to his older non-relative Tommy.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Krugman on the Current Stalemate and the Lure of Centrism

Man alive.

So what’s with the buzz about a centrist uprising? As I see it, it’s coming from people who recognize the dysfunctional nature of modern American politics, but refuse, for whatever reason, to acknowledge the one-sided role of Republican extremists in making our system dysfunctional. And it’s not hard to guess at their motivation. After all, pointing out the obvious truth gets you labeled as a shrill partisan, not just from the right, but from the ranks of self-proclaimed centrists.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Amy Winehouse - You Sent Me Flying

Anyone who can write the line "You sent me flying/When you kicked me to the curb" is an authentic talent. What a loss.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dealing with the Budget

Oh boy. This is like watching the world's biggest train wreck.

Many of the 87 new GOP freshmen were propelled to office by the tea party movement, which distrusts and disdains the establishment in both parties. “Neither side has a middle . . . And I think that’s the main problem. That’s why this is unlike anything else,” said Charles Stewart III, a professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He said that Boehner is charged with leading a caucus that is primed not to follow him: “I don’t see how this deal is going to happen.”

Monday, July 25, 2011

Krugman on Possible Medicare Cuts

Is there any good news anywhere? The Nobelist speaks.

The crucial thing to remember, when we talk about Medicare, is that our goal isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, defined in terms of some arbitrary number. Our goal should be, instead, to give Americans the health care they need at a price the country can afford. And throwing Americans in their mid-60s off Medicare moves us away from that goal, not toward it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Amy Winehouse - Amy, Amy, Amy

RIP to someone whose personal turmoil obscured her genuine talent. She was a musician, not an entertainer, and deserves to be remembered for the quality of her best work.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Krugman on the Current Nodes in the Ongoing Economic Crisis

The news is not good.

There’s an old quotation, attributed to various people, that always comes to mind when I look at public policy: “You do not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed.”

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rebekah Brooks Resigns

How the mighty have fallen. Via the Guardian.

The tide began to turn on Brooks two weeks ago when the Guardian revealed that not only had messages been intercepted on Dowler's voicemail but they had been deleted to make way for new messages, giving her parents false hope that she was still alive.

By Wednesday the question was — did the News of the World get any scoop without hacking into phones, with allegations that it had also snooped on 7/7 victims and Afghan soldiers' families? A scandal that had previously been confined to celebrities and politicians was now threatening to engulf Murdochs' entire newspaper operation, with police confirming that there could be as many as 4,000 victims of the hacking.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dolly Parton - Jolene

After posting Ray LaMontagne's song of the same name, it's only proper to post Dolly Parton's much better-known song. I would have posted Bob Dylan's song that also has the same title, but I couldn't find a good version on YouTube.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Murdoch, NOTW, Hacking, Politicians -- Stir and Mix

The Guardian has the best article I've seen on the News of the World phone hacking scandal as it affects Rupert Murdoch. One tidbit in the article: Tony Blair was undecided on whether the British would join the US invasion of Iraq, but Murdoch convinced him it would be a good idea. Oy, to say the least.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Unemployment and its Discontents

We're doomed.

The unemployment rate climbed to a six-month high of 9.2 percent, even as jobseekers left the labor force in droves, from 9.1 percent in May.

"The message on the economy is ongoing stagnation," said Pierre Ellis, senior economist at Decision economics in New York. "Income growth is marginal so there's no indication of momentum.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Weather Report - The Juggler

Joe Zawinul was born on this date in 1932. "The Juggler" started out as a solo piece of his that other band members contributed to, and was included on their best-known album, Heavy Weather. It's not one of Weather Report's best-known pieces, but it's always been one I keep coming back to.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fats Navarro - The Things We Did Last Summer

At the height of the bebop era in jazz, many aficionados felt that Fats Navarro was the best of the trumpet players. His career seemed assured. Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis (among others) were still productive decades later, but Navarro died on this date in 1950 at twenty-six. He appears in Charles Mingus's autobiography as a character somehow both dreamlike and substantial, which sort of also describes this solo.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Eugene Robinson on the Debt Ceiling Negotiations

ER seems to have a good grasp of the situation.

Every independent, bipartisan, blue-ribbon panel that has looked at the deficit problem has reached the same conclusion: The gap between spending and revenue is much too big to be closed by budget cuts alone. With fervent conviction but zero evidence, Tea Party Republicans believe otherwise — and Establishment Republicans, who know better, are afraid to contradict them.

The difficult work of putting the federal government on sound fiscal footing can’t begin as long as a majority in the House rejects simple arithmetic on ideological grounds.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Paul Simon - American Tune

I've posted a version of this song before, and may well do so again in the future. Paul Simon adapted a piece by Bach around the time US involvement in the Vietnam War was coming to an end and Watergate was starting to heat up. Here he performs it on the BBC a couple of years later with strings. The subtitles in Asian orthography (sorry, I can't tell what language) are a nice reminder that YouTube, as a part of the World Wide Web, does indeed cover the whole wide world. And the last ninety seconds feature Toots Thielemans and Richard Tee doing "Sounds of Silence," and where else are you going to hear that?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bachmann v. Petty

A WaPo columnist has a good take on the dustup about Bachmann using Tom Petty's "American Girl" to kick off her presidential campaign, and Petty's cease-and-desist letter in response.