Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Good News on the Global Financial Front?

We'll see. From the Washington Post.

The world’s major central banks made it easier Wednesday for banks to get dollars if they need them, a coordinated move to ease the strains on the global financial system.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

1812 Overture (according to Ken Russell)

Can't let Ken Russell's passing pass, so to speak, without one more mention. This is from The Music Lovers, his "biopic" of Tchaikovsky, and shows well how Russell earned his reputation as a brilliant lunatic fascinated by brilliant lunatics.

Monday, November 28, 2011

RIP Ken Russell

In the words of William Blake, "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." One of my favorite filmmakers for a long time now. The Guardian has a full account of his career.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

David Ackles - Laissez-Faire

This song actually ties in with much recent political discussion. From 1968.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Krugman on The Elite of the Economic Elite

Dr. K explains why talking about the 99.9% tells you more than does talking about the 99%.

The economic crisis showed that much of the apparent value created by modern finance was a mirage. As the Bank of England’s director for financial stability recently put it, seemingly high returns before the crisis simply reflected increased risk-taking — risk that was mostly borne not by the wheeler-dealers themselves but either by na├»ve investors or by taxpayers, who ended up holding the bag when it all went wrong. And as he waspishly noted, “If risk-making were a value-adding activity, Russian roulette players would contribute disproportionately to global welfare.”

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) - Sly & the Family Stone Live on Soul Train

Give thanks.

Thanksgiving is a USA holiday, but wherever you are in the world, you can participate in one aspect of the day: think of something that you're thankful for. Me, I'm grateful that even though I know the rules of English grammar I'm not such a pedant that I won't end a sentence with a preposition. There are other things too, of course...such as YouTube, where it's possible to find a forty-year-old clip of a rare live version of one of Sly's biggest hits.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ooh Child - The Five Stairsteps

Sometimes when I read the news I end up thinking of this song. I thought I'd posted it before but couldn't find it in the archives, so it's fair game.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Krugman on What the Markets Really Want

It's a version of arcane hermeneutics, like Kremlinology during the Cold War, where tiny signs require detailed interpretation. Krugman explains what some recent market behavior means. H/t Atrios.

But if you read the Bloomberg piece carefully, what it actually says is that market players fear that the absence of a debt deal means no stimulus. So the actual fear is not that spending won’t be cut enough, it is that it will be cut too much — which actually makes sense, and is consistent with the action in stock and bond markets.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Victim at Center of Penn State Scandal Bullied at School

I'd say it's unbelievable, but sadly I have no trouble believing it. From ABC News:

The mother of the alleged victim, who set off the investigation that has rocked the world of college sports and led to 40 counts of child sexual assault against Sandusky, told ABC News that students at her son's high school blame him for triggering the sex abuse scandal that led to the firing of Paterno, the beloved head coach who oversaw the university's Nittany Lions football team for 46 years.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Income Inequality in the United States

Mark Sumner at DailyKos -- click through to see the stunning graphics.

That's how America looks to corporations and organizations who are piloted by these Godzillas of the 1%. Why should they be bothered if their massive strides should squash a few ants in passing? What difference does it make if their corporate colony gets its ants from China, or Cambodia, or wherever is cheap this week, rather than American ants? The 1% measure value by wealth, and the ants don't have any. You put all the ants together, and they still can't match even the beetles that live at the 90% mark. Actually, ants are bit of an exaggeration. You know those tiny black ants that try to invade your kitchen in the spring? Compared to the fiscal titans of the 1%, you're not that big. Think more along the lines of dust mite.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kathleen Parker on Republican Candidates and Republican Voters

I generally don't cite Republican pundits, but Kathleen Parker seems willing to confront a few hard truths about her party. Of course, she's one of the conservative writers at the Washington Post, which for most Republicans would mean that she's a liberal Democrat until proven otherwise.

The Republican base requires that candidates tack away from science toward the theistic position — only God controls climate. More to the point, Rush Limbaugh says that climate change is a hoax and so it must be. Huntsman may as well be a Democrat.

It takes courage to swim against the tide of know-nothingness that has become de rigueur among the anti-elite, anti-intellectual Republican base. Call it the Palinization of the GOP, in which the least informed earns the loudest applause. The latest to this spectacle is Herman Cain, who has figured out how to turn his liabilities into assets. After fumbling for an answer during an editorial board meeting to a simple question about his position on Libya, a lead news item since February, Cain blamed — who else? — the media.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Krugman on the Committee That is Super

Krugman isn't shouting "Fire" in a crowded theater, he's quietly pointing out that the theater is on fire. Someday the NYT will cut him loose under pressure from the right, so enjoy him while you can.

So the supercommittee brought together legislators who disagree completely both about how the world works and about the proper role of government. Why did anyone think this would work?

Well, maybe the idea was that the parties would compromise out of fear that there would be a political price for seeming intransigent. But this could only happen if the news media were willing to point out who is really refusing to compromise. And they aren’t. If and when the supercommittee fails, virtually all news reports will be he-said, she-said, quoting Democrats who blame Republicans and vice versa without ever explaining the truth.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Mountains That You Can't See

Cool stuff.

The Gamburtsevs are the size of the European Alps and yet they are totally buried beneath the Antarctic ice. Their discovery in the 1950s was a major surprise. Most people had assumed the rock bed deep within the continent would be flat and featureless....[A] multinational effort in 2008/2009 flew aircraft back and forth across the east of the White Continent, mapping the shape of the hidden mountain system using ice-penetrating radar.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Great Plains, Small Towns, Hispanics

This is interesting, partly for its own sake and partly for what it suggests about the political future of some of the reddest states. H/t kos.

For generations, the story of the small rural town of the Great Plains, including the dusty tabletop landscape of western Kansas, has been one of exodus — of businesses closing, classrooms shrinking and, year after year, communities withering as fewer people arrive than leave and as fewer are born than are buried. That flight continues, but another demographic trend has breathed new life into the region.

Hispanics are arriving in numbers large enough to offset or even exceed the decline in the white population in many places. In the process, these new residents are reopening shuttered storefronts with Mexican groceries, filling the schools with children whose first language is Spanish and, for now at least, extending the lives of communities that seemed to be staggering toward the grave.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Life by the Drop

Doyle Bramhall (not to be confused with his son Doyle Bramhall II, most widely known for playing guitar with Eric Clapton) died over the weekend. He was a mainstay of the Austin blues scene since the 1970s, and acted as something of a mentor to Stevie Ray Vaughan. This continued throughout Stevie's career: when Doyle entered recovery for his substance abuse problems in the 1980s, he later was able to encourage Stevie when he did the same thing. One result of that process was this song, co-written by Bramhall.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

CAROL KAYE interview/video chat about her work with BRIAN WILSON on THE BEACH BOYS` "SMiLE" sessions

I love the twenty-first century. A German interviewer and an LA musician using webcams to discuss Brian Wilson and the Smile sessions. If you're a certain type of music fan, this is heaven.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Krugman on Official European Folly, Part 4

Dr K explains.

But what’s the meaning of the eurodebacle? As always happens when disaster strikes, there’s a rush by ideologues to claim that the disaster vindicates their views. So it’s time to start debunking.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Step Aside, Bill

Chait via DeLong via Atrios: Daley’s Demotion: How Washington Elites Got Obama Wrong.

But the interesting legacy of Daley’s tenure is not his mechanical performance. It’s that he conducted an experiment based on the Washington elite view of the Obama presidency. That view, shared by business leaders, centrist pundits, and other elites, holds that Obama’s main problem has been excessive partisanship, liberalism in general, and hostility to business in particular....Daley, pursuing his theory, heavily courted business leaders. He made long-term deficit reduction a top priority, and spent hours with Republican leaders, meeting them three-quarters of the way in hopes of securing a deal that would demonstrate his centrism and bipartisanship. The effort failed completely.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Solo Guitar Version of "Wonderful" by the Beach Boys

From the same era of the Beach Boys as yesterday's song, "Wonderful" is here rearranged beautifully for acoustic guitar. In fact it's a Django Reinhardt-style guitar, although the musical style is very different.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Beach Boys - Cabinessence

This is one of the songs on the new Smile Sessions release, but this version was first released on the 20/20 album. It's a great example of the kind of music that was coming out of Brian Wilson's head in 1967, and how different it was from what had come before: "Shut Down" had not had a banjo, or harmonica and flute playing in contrary motion, like this song does. Have you seen the Grand Coulee working on the railroad?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Miles Davis - Konda

Another track from the Complete Jack Johnson Sessions. Recorded in the spring of 1970.

Miles Davis (trumpet)
Keith Jarrett (electric piano)
John McLaughlin (guitar)
Jack DeJohnette (drums)
Airto Moreira (percussion)

Friday, November 4, 2011

GWAR - Release the Flies

RIP Cory Smoot, better known as Flattus Maximus, who besides being lead guitarist for GWAR performed the lead vocal on this song.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse at the Circus

Krazy Kat was a comic strip phenomenon and never really made much of a splash in films, but the attempt was made, as seen here. If you're not familiar with the Kat, go to the official website and check the Wikipedia entry. The appreciation of Krazy Kat in artistic circles was an early element in the creation of what we now think of as the cultural entity known as pop art.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Greek Referendum

Not sure if it's accurate, but very interesting if so. From Robert Kuttner at the American Prospect. H/t Atrios.

What is the Greek leader up to?

On one level, Papandreou is simply weary of being the agent of his own country’s economic destruction at the hands of bankers. He also is tired of the political unpopularity that comes with the role of broker of austerity.

But more important, Papandreou is resisting a double-cross already being cooked up by the bankers. He is playing the one card he has: If the bankers walk away from the partial debt relief committed in principle at the recent EU summit, Greece will default. And Papandreou wants that decision to be made, knowingly, by the Greek people and not by technocrats.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Miles Davis - Go Ahead John (1/3)

A different version of the music posted two days ago. This is the way it was released on the Big Fun album.