Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Art Garfunkel - All I Know

Always had a soft spot for this song.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


One of the last few survivors of the original Mississippi Delta blues scene of the 1920-30s has died at the age of ninety-five. Along with the passing of Pinetop Perkins earlier this year, we lose one more link to a time and place so vital that it still resonates decades later.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Krugman on Science and the Republican Frontrunners

Trying not to feel hopeless...

So it’s now highly likely that the presidential candidate of one of our two major political parties will either be a man who believes what he wants to believe, even in the teeth of scientific evidence, or a man who pretends to believe whatever he thinks the party’s base wants him to believe.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

WaPo: 2012 Budget Battle May Not Be a Battle After All

Reading between the lines: seeing the recent polls, Republican leaders in Congress have decided to block attempts by freshmen to cause more trouble. From the Washington Post.

But in recent weeks, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have each indicated that Congress should accept the $1.043 trillion funding limit set in the recent deal to raise the nation’s legal borrowing limit, and have been urging that topline number on their GOP colleagues.

Friday, August 26, 2011

We're Screwed, Part Whatever, Plus One


Obviously, the U.S. economy remains deeply depressed, and under normal conditions we would expect the Fed to pump it up by cutting interest rates. But the interest rates the Fed normally targets — basically rates on short-term U.S. government debt — are already near zero. So what can the Fed do?

Well, in 2000 an economist named Ben Bernanke offered a number of proposals for policy at the “zero lower bound.” True, the paper was focused on policy in Japan, not the United States. But America is now very much in a Japan-type economic trap, only more acute. So we learn a lot by asking why Ben Bernanke 2011 isn’t taking the advice of Ben Bernanke 2000.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

John Lennon - Stand By Me

In spite of having Lennon's name at the top, this post is meant to commemorate Jerry Leiber, who died on Tuesday. But I thought it would be good to use this recording as an example of the influence of Leiber and Stoller (joined as songwriters in this case by the original singer of this song, Ben E. King) -- after all, Lennon is singing this song because it had clearly burned itself into his memory when he was young. From the mid-fifties to mid-sixties, Leiber and Stoller were everywhere in pop music, but weren't noticed that much because they weren't performers, they were songwriters and producers. Their influence was huge, however, and everyone affected by the music of that era has been affected by them. RIP Jerome Leiber.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Who - The Ox

Keith Moon was born on this date in 1946. To mark the occasion, here's a drum showcase from the first Who album.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mondo Cane - Trailer

From the NY Times:

Gualtiero Jacopetti, Maker of ‘Mondo Cane,’ Dies at 91

Among the more bizarre cultural phenomena of the early sixties. Fascinating exploration of strange human behavior or crappy exploitation flick? You decide.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Octavian in the Senate

Two thousand and fifty-four years ago today, Octavian Caesar essentially forced the Roman senate to elect him consul. This was one of the most significant turning points in the Roman Republic's becoming the Roman Empire. Here's a scene from the HBO series Rome of the young Octavian, already a powerful military figure, making his first appearance in the senate.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

R. B. Greaves - "Take A Letter Maria"

I was interested to learn from Jerry Wexler's autobiography that this song was produced by Ahmet Ertegun himself, whose reputation for appreciating deep strains of African-American music did not preclude him from working on a pure pop song -- and realizing its commercial potential.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Perry in the Spotlight

As annoying, at best, as I find Rick Perry, it's interesting to watch how quickly the knives have come out against him in the mainstream press. Don't misunderstand, he's a creep -- but he's been a creep for a long time. It wasn't until he announced his candidacy for the presidency that this kind of coverage started, though.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cantinflas tiene cien años

Today marks the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Fortino Mario Alfonso Moreno Reyes, known to the world as Cantinflas. In the English-speaking world he's known almost entirely for his supporting role in Around the World in Eighty Days, but in the Spanish-speaking world he was a major star for decades. I had planned to post a clip from the film that made him famous, Ahí está el detalle, in 1940, but apparently the copyright holders aren't allowing that, so head over to YouTube to check it out.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Iron Butterfly - Iron Butterfly Theme

Things were getting weird in '68...

If I remember right, the Morse code at the end spells I-L-O-V-E-Y-O-U. Groovy, man.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Riots in England

Didn't see this one coming. From the Guardian.

Buildings were torched, shops ransacked, and officers attacked with makeshift missiles and petrol bombs as gangs of hooded and masked youths laid waste to streets right across the city.

The sheer number of incidents – including in Hackney, Croydon, Peckham, Lewisham, Clapham and Ealing – seemingly overwhelmed the Metropolitan police at times, who had poured 1,700 extra officers onto the streets.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Milton Nascimento - Nada Será Como Antes

I first heard this song in Flora Purim's English language version a long time ago. Brazilian music comes in so many flavors while still being distinctively Brazilian.

Friday, August 5, 2011

We're Screwed, Part DCCXLIII

Thereisnospoon has started posting at Digby's place, and is doing some good stuff.

Wall Street types can't live with American consumers, but can't live without us either. So they get fat at our expense, abuse us, and then wake up one day and suddenly realize we're not quite as hot as we used to be. But we do still pay half the rent, so they can't quite leave us yet, either. So we get schizophrenic jumps and declines in the market, as Wall St. variously ignores and then over-focuses on the American consumer. These people aren't really any smarter than your average beer guzzling philanderer.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Deal Passes House

...and passing the House was the biggest hurdle. Count me in the group who are relieved that it's over but somewhat sick about where things stand. From the Post:

House Democrats were, as a group, angry, saying that the democratic process had been overtaken by right-wing ideologues. Many Democrats complained that the White House had ignored them in its negotiations with Republicans. And many were furious that the final deal would do too little to protect programs for the poor, in their view, and would not live up to Obama’s pledge to have a “balanced” approach — higher tax revenue from corporations and the wealthy.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Krugman on the Deficit Deal

This is not good.

In fact, Republicans will surely be emboldened by the way Mr. Obama keeps folding in the face of their threats. He surrendered last December, extending all the Bush tax cuts; he surrendered in the spring when they threatened to shut down the government; and he has now surrendered on a grand scale to raw extortion over the debt ceiling. Maybe it’s just me, but I see a pattern here.