Links 12/2/13

Saving The Native Prairie — One Black-Footed Ferret At A Time NPR (furzy mouse)

All Dogs May Go to Heaven. These Days, Some Go to Hospice. New York Times

Amazon Reveals It Wants To Deploy Delivery Drones. No Joke. Huffington Post (Carol B)

Worst Raw-Material Slump Since ’08 Seen Deepening: Commodities Bloomberg

Leaked paper shows major policy split in UN on international drug war Observer (furzy mouse)

Mexican drug cartels now make money exporting ore Associated Press (Lambert)

China factory sector growth steady, other centers quicken Reuters

Secrecy law approved in Japan — AP: Prison for ‘inappropriate reporting’ — Official: We’re on path to be fascist state — Fear Fukushima cover-ups to worsen ENENews (Carol B)

What Is The ACTUAL Risk for Pacific Coast Residents from Fukushima Radiation? George Washington

Morgan Stanley: China to struggle in 2014 MacroBusiness

Updated toll: 4 dead, 57 wounded Bangkok Post (furzy mouse)

Academics condemn demand to air speech ThaiVisa

Ukraine stand-off amid protest chaos BBC

Germany, Austerity’s Champion, Faces Some Big Repair Bills New York Times (Scott)

Social Services forcibly remove unborn child from woman by caesarean after she suffered mental health breakdown Independent (Chuck L)

More than a thousand care home residents die thirsty Telegraph

Karzai: US cut aid to pressure pact Guardian

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Dutch intelligence agency AIVD hacks internet forums NRC

Secret document Edward Snowden by Pim van den Dool ISSUU (furzy mouse)

Revealed: Australian spy agency offered to share data about ordinary citizens Guardian

Is NSA Screwing the Pooch? Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

The American Way of Manners, Col. Manners Answers Your Questions on the Etiquette of War, Nuclear Threats, and Surveillance Tom Engelhardt

Questions/responses for journalists linking to the Pando post – and other matters Glenn Greenwald (Balaji)

Obamacare Launch

Obamacare Website Getting Fixes as Repair Deadline Passes Bloomberg

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Obama’s tech wizards fail to fix the #1 item on their punchlist, the 834s (#FAIL) Lambert

Insurers Seek to Bypass Health Site Wall Street Journal

Insurers’ Latest Dodge to Not Cover You when You Need It: The Incredible Shrinking Network Angry Bear. Confirming concerns raised at NC.

Pentagon Approves Record Sale Of Advanced Arms To Countries At War Mint

Pentagon in line of fire in budget war Financial Times

Buoyed by Iran, Obama Pushes Summit with Remaining Threat: Tea Party NationofChange (furzy mouse)

New York train crash kills four BBC

Hot Dog Vendors Kicked Out Of Washington Square Park Gothamaist (Lambert)

Bitcoin miners bundled with PUPs in legitimate applications backed by EULA TechieNews

Silicon Valley catches Bitcoin fever Financial Times

Black Friday Weekend Spending Drop Pressures U.S. Stores Bloomberg

US Thanksgiving sales set to be down Financial Times

Peter Buffett: Big Philanthropy and Philanthro-Feudalism Truthout

In God we trust, maybe, but not each other Associated Press (Lambert)

The Last Symphony Jacobin (Chuck L). Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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97 comments

    1. David Lentini

      While I agreed with the conclusion, I’m not so sure about the tortured logic and analogies used to reach it. The decline in classical music long pre-dates the pony-tailed and pierced “cyberboardrooms” of California (huh?); it began with the rise of pop music back in the ’50s, and more precisely the marketing of the transistor radio that freed teenagers from the parental control of the large home radios. Add to that a half-century of marketing “rebellion” to teens and you get a pretty clear picture of popular music—it’s engineered (yes, indeed) to provide a “hook” or catchy tune and last about three- to five minutes. Add the stagecraft and costumes (or lack thereof these days) and you have popular music. In short, popular music is the engineering of music to provide a high rate of return on investment. Popular music was never meant to be an intellectual exercise. (Whether some pop music provided the both or even just the latter is either accidental or a personal exercise by the artist(s).)

      Since classcial music long pre-dates Weber and the rise of bougeois society, it’s hard to take Jacobin’s cause-and-effect statments conntecting the two too seriously. Classical music really rose with the the Age of Re\
      ason and the Enlightenment, times when Western society sought to elevate intellectual pursuits and the (fading) feudal concept of noblesse oblige was still active among the European monarchies. The rise of modernism, and with it materialisim and posistivism and their expression in capitalism, created the mass produced and mass market culture that started classical music on its long decline. The fact that it’s taken this long, and that classical music still enjoys a following despite the corrosion of culture, is testimony that there is more here than just a bunch of middlebrow, status-seeking parents forcing Mozart on their children in the hopes they’ll get into Harvard.

      The fact is, as Karl Polya wrote nearly 70 years ago, capitalism will destroy civilization unless its checked by some moral code. The idea of some self-regulating market society is just an illusion: TThe very forces that are supposed to ensure cooperative behavior will lead to tyranny. And as for art and craftsmanship, the joy too are casualties, since they are based on personal development and joy, not return on investment.

      1. direction

        I don’t think the stress was meant to be on exactly how or when classical music grew out of favor. I think the author is trying to describe a current trend that crosses artistic genres.

        The new trend, at least in California, gets talked about a lot in San Francisco. The new tech elite moving into the city are most interested in “burning man” type of art. Art that is entertainment or leads to a party. As these young people gain wealth and power, they have no interest in funding more serious explorations.

      2. Benjamin

        I’m sorry, but this whole thing just reeks of whinging and elitism. Yeah, musical tastes and styles change. That doesn’t make any one era better or worse than any other. There is plenty of talent involved even in the world of 4 minute made-for-radio pop songs, and there are mountains of true artistry in pretty much every genre if you’re willing to look for them.

        There seems to be this attitude that figures like Mozart are once in a thousand year pinnacles and that we shouldn’t even suggest that anyone working in the ‘shallow’ pop industry could even hope to compare. I’m of the opinion that there are geniuses in modern music, plenty of them in fact, and just because their songs aren’t 17 minutes long or involve whole orchestras doesn’t change the fact that they are just as talented as a Mozart or Beethoven.

        Complaining that modern culture has degraded and general whining about ‘kids these days’ has been going on since literally Plato.

        1. James Levy

          All men may be created equal, but all art certainly is not. My wife is an artists and she will tell you that in spades.

          And for god’s sake will you please cut the dopy leftist whinging about “elitism.” As Robert Hughes said so well, humans crave excellence. In society, elitism is bad because it denies basic rights and dignities to ordinary people. It creates hierarchies of power and control. On a basketball court or a concert stage, elitism is absolutely mandatory. It hurts no one and uplifts all of us. Your crack about all these forms and works being equal is about as convincing as me claiming I’m just as good a basketball player as Kobe Bryant or as good a tennis player as Serena Williams. It’s patented nonsense that any perusal of reality will disabuse anyone of believing.

          Lastly, what we are seeing is not changing styles, but cultural vandalism. These cretins are out to destroy a great pillar of our civilization. Symphony orchestras are like great living museums of our culture, and if you tear them down, you do everyone a disservice. The reification and deification of The Market destroys human values and erases human memory. No civilization can survive such a lobotomy, and no appeal to airy relativism or hackneyed allusions to Plato is going to help us keep our collective memory alive.

          1. Benjamin

            I don’t mean elitist as in legitimately having better taste or standards, I mean it as in THINKING you have better taste, believing you’re some superior aficionado who wouldn’t deign to soil themselves with whatever the plebs are enjoying this week. This usually manifests as an appeal to ‘the classics’ because OBVIOUSLY older means it’s better.

            This is only a slightly more refined version of the hipster logic that if it wasn’t badly recorded in a garage somewhere it can’t possibly be good or ‘genuine’.

            Cultural vandalism? Please, the music will still always be there for prententious audiophiles to test their overpriced home theater systems out with and it will doubtless come back into fashion sooner or later among the bored rich who need something ‘cultured’ to spend money on and convince themselves how much better and more sophisticated they are than the peasants with their metal and dubstep.

            I like classical just fine, I take issue with putting it alone on a pedastal as the epitome of human achievement because the creators lived hundreds of years ago and wore powdered wigs.

        2. Ed S.

          I’m of the opinion that there are geniuses in modern music, plenty of them in fact, and just because their songs aren’t 17 minutes long or involve whole orchestras doesn’t change the fact that they are just as talented as a Mozart or Beethoven.

          You’re kidding, right?

          And if you’re not, listen to the following and get back to me:

          Mozart — Symphony 41 (1st Movement), Requiem (unfinished), and Don Giovanni (overture)

          Beethoven — 9th Symphony, 4th Movement, Piano Concerto No. 5.

          That’s less than 2 hours of listening.

          With the exception of a handful of songs by a handful of performers/writers, popular music is (and has been) disposable (and it’s meant to be – it’s a consumer product, not art).

          1. Benjamin

            No, I’m not kidding. Regardless of the intent of the men in suits providing the money and creating the contracts, the people actually writing, producing, and performing songs are often immensely talented and are doing it with a passion and desire to create something meaningful. You’re idealizing the past while also insulting the present (and more recent past).

            Elitism. Not to mention woeful ignorance.

    2. Skeptic

      The Last Symphony.

      Having been to a few Concerts and Operas in my time, my personal observation would be that these institutions are preserved in this day and age as a way for the 1% and their minions to distinguish themselves from their lesser citizens. The Snob Factor. Many of the composers featured would be horrified that their art has been captured by the 1% and put in their service. Same for graphic artists like Picasso, for instance. Most of these artists never received any amount near the value of their works, a fitting feature of who runs and owns Art.

      Just like Wall Street, the Art Provisioners to the Elite engage in the same shady practices:

      “The central crime is not in dispute. In the mid-1990s the world’s two leading auction houses, which control 90% of the sales of the major works of art, conspired to raise commission rates, with their two chief executives, Christopher Davidge (of Christie’s) and Diana Brooks (of Sotheby’s) holding lengthy secretive meetings. Suspicious about their price hikes, the American authorities launched a somewhat half-hearted antitrust investigation. Just as it seemed to be fizzling out in 2000, Mr Davidge delivered some 600 pages of documents laying out the conspiracy and securing an amnesty; Christie’s then did a deal with the antitrust authorities implicating Sotheby’s. Ms Brooks then shopped Mr Taubman, and the two firms had to pay a joint $512m settlement to the clients they had bilked.”

      http://www.economist.com/node/3061321

      One can only imagine what goes on in the Orchestra Pit. Too bad Edward Snowden didn’t study classical music.

      1. Ed

        How much evidence is there that classical music was ever popular, and something other than a high brow pursuit? Before radio, did the peasants largely stick to folk music? I realize there are accounts of people making a really, really big deal about particular operas so I genuinely don’t know the answer to this question.

        My impression in regards to the fading of musical genres is that they are due to the number of aesthetically pleasing chords and notes being limited. When classical composers hit “peak music”, an attempt was made to escape through atonal music, which failed. I think mass-broadcast popular music eventually ran into the same problem.

        I have not read the article, but I suspect that the connection of the rise of classical music and the rise of bourgeouis society is a reference to Haydn’s discovery that, instead of relying on finding a noble to employ him as a court musician, he could make a living by writing music to be played in concerts to large audience directly. Classical music had existed for a long time before that, but there was definitely an explosion of production and creativity after Haydn’s discovery.

        There may be parellels with the current discussion among popuar musicians over whether you can do without a recording contract and make money by putting the music on the internet, though at the moment it looks like the answer to this question is “no”.

        1. Skeptic

          I often imagine an undiscovered Beethoven or Mozart, i.e. a musical genius playing out his music in some peon tavern. What was that music like? Certainly, all artistic genuises do not end up discovered or working for the 1%.

          In connection with this subject, in my jurisdiction a well known folklorist compiled the region’s musical history and songs. But being either of a 1% mentality or financed by them, she edited out all the songs and material of a political nature. Most of these were songs of the working class expressing discontent with their lot.

          I suspect that we will never hear much of the world’s great music since the 1% like much else in Life call the music tune.

        2. Elliot

          re: was classical music ever popular except for the 1%

          You need to get out more, read more, get to know people. All of my extended family, and almost everyone I know, likes or loves classical music. And here in the wild west, teeny mining towns would build opera houses and pay good money to haul pianos and symphonies across the continental divide, or around the horn, to provide classical music to listen to.

          Check also the number of colleges in agricultural states that offered music classes and degrees from the 1800’s onward; my grandmother was one who studied, and then taught, classical and baroque music to –gasp– non 1%’ers, local people in farm country.

          1. James Levy

            Music by Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, and Wagner was all very popular with mass audiences in the 19th and early 20th centuries. And yes, Italian peasants did know and sing Mozart, Rossini, and Verdi arias. Enrico Caruso was an international star and sold huge numbers of records for his day (he was headlining at the San Francisco Opera House when the earthquake hit in 1906). So such music was hardly a 1% phenomenon (and in NYC it was still popular with a largely educated Jewish and WASP audience into the 1970s).

  1. Andrew Watts

    RE: Questions/responses for journalists linking to the Pando post – and other matters

    Glenn Greenwald still hasn’t answered to my satisfaction that Pierre Omidyar will not leverage the archive of Snowden documents for personal gain beyond the ordinary boundaries of journalism. It’s not an indictment against Greenwald personally rather it’s directed at Omidyar. Given Omidyar’s wealth, stature, and connections within Silicon Valley possession of the Snowden documents puts him in a enviable position. Especially when you consider the dependent relationship between the US government and the private tech sector for the mass surveillance / espionage programs.

    Beyond that there’s a whole lot of mudslinging I couldn’t possibly care less about.

  2. Ned Ludd

    Arthur Silber had some thoughts about Greenwald and the NSA documents, back in October:

    The manner in which the Snowden leaks are being delivered to us represents no serious threat to the ruling class and the Establishment whatsoever. The ruling class is entirely comfortable with the leak stories. In fact, the ruling class affirmatively benefits from leaks of this kind: Americans are becoming accustomed to a startlingly comprehensive level of surveillance, and they are granting it their approval. That we are surveilled much if not most of the time is barely even “news” any longer. It’s just the way things are. Perhaps we need to make a few adjustments at the outer margins, but basically everything is hunky-dory. Add a little “transparency,” “oversight” and “accountability” and Americans will let the State surveil them 24/7.

    Also, Greenwald says that he doesn’t want to take the same legal risks as Wikileaks by “handing out massive amounts of documents to media organizations around the world”. But source material has already been given to The New York Times and ProPublica. So why not other media outlets?

    And if he does not want to take legal risks, he could upload all the materials to Wikileaks. No one would know if any documents published by Wikileaks came originally from Greenwald or Snowden or another whistleblower.

    Everything that Greenwald has done, coincidentally, helps Greenwald make as much money as possible from these documents. As he explained in an earlier post, he does not allow media organizations to report on any of the documents unless he gets a byline and a check for his services. Even then, their access is limited:

    MacDonald’s claim that CBC paid for “access to Snowden’s documents” is equally false. The CBC does not have “access to Snowden’s documents”. They only have access to the specific, carefully selected documents that we are reporting on together. What they’re paying for – under a standard joint freelance contract with both me and my freelance colleague Ryan Gallagher – is the work that freelance reporters always do: selecting and analyzing the material to be reported and then participating in the drafting and finalizing of the article and reporting (for both TV and print): extensive work we all did together.

    And if they want to keep reporting on the documents, they will have to keeping paying him, for each article that they publish. Greenwald is a rentier, and the documents are his cash cow.

    1. bob

      Pimp.

      After he got the docs, he pimped Snowden to Putin.

      And now he continues to pimp the product. Who needs the talent? He’s already got the product.

  3. Eleanor

    The Jacobin piece on classical music is interesting. The Minnesota Orchestra musicians are still holding out and presenting concerts on their own, led by former musical directors. The Minnesota Orchestra Association now exists as a landlord. The MOA owns Orchestra Hall and this is apparently their goal: to have real estate but no classical orchestra.

    The full story is long and sleazy, but this is the end result.

  4. DakotabornKansan

    Bezos causes a diversion by turning into a large canary…

    Millions of pilotless drones flying around to deliver packages.

    How will we know whether they are spying on us, targeting us, or just delivering?

    “Madness, he thought. The ultimate horror for our paranoid culture; vicious unseen mechanical entities that flit at the edges of our vision, that can go anywhere, that are in our very midst. And there may be an unlimited number of them. One of them following each of us…” – Philip K. Dick, Vulcan’s Hammer

    “The initial economic benefit of commercial drones has been estimated at more than $13 billion dollars. With every drone requiring integrated flight control systems, Airware is clear for take-off as the possible standard in an exciting new market.”

    http://ycuniverse.com/airware-makes-complete-flight-control-systems-for-unmanned-aerial-drones

    Charlie Rose wasn’t the only one enthralled, sampling comments across the Internet. Is Bezos merely giving the tech mesmerized masses what they really want, not just what they need?

    “Of course, robots are a common sight these days. Certainly more so than a few years ago. You see them everywhere you go, behind counters in stores, driving buses, digging ditches …”

    “But Nanny is different,” Tom Fields murmured.

    “She’s – she’s not like a machine. She’s like a person. A living person. But after all, she’s much more complex than any other kind. She has to be. They say she’s even more intricate than the kitchen.” – Philip K. Dick, Nanny

    Regulation of commercial drones into U.S. airspace by 2015 is required through the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 signed into law this past February. “Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): Over more than 50 years, the FAA has a proven track record of introducing new technology and aircraft safely into the NAS. The agency will successfully meet the challenges posed by UAS technology in a thoughtful, careful manner that ensures safety and addresses privacy issues while promoting economic growth.”

    http://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=14153

    Do commercial drones violate our air space? Does land ownership extend to the space above our homes? Does flying of commercial drones over our neighborhood constitute a violation of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment?

    “Thomas Lee Causby owned a chicken farm outside of Greensboro, North Carolina. The farm was located near an airport used regularly by the United States military. According to Causby, noise from the airport regularly frightened the animals on his farm, resulting in the deaths of several chickens. The problem became so severe that Causby was forced to abandon his business. Under an ancient doctrine of the common law, land ownership extended to the space above and below the earth. Using this doctrine as a basis, Causby sued the United States, arguing that he owned the airspace above his farm. By flying planes in this airspace, he argued, the government had confiscated his property without compensation, thus violating the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.”

    “In a 5-2 opinion authored by Justice William O. Douglas, the Court concluded that the ancient common law doctrine “has no place in the modern world.”… However, while the Court rejected the unlimited reach above and below the earth described in the common law doctrine, it also ruled that, “if the landowner is to have full enjoyment of the land, he must have exclusive control of the immediate reaches of the enveloping atmosphere.” Without defining a specific limit, the Court stated that flights over the land could be considered a violation of the Takings Clause if they led to “a direct and immediate interference with the enjoyment and use of the land.” Given the damage caused by the particularly low, frequent flights over his farm, the Court determined that the government had violated Causby’s rights, and he was entitled to compensation.”

    http://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1949/1945/1945_630

    Bezos causes a diversion by turning into a large canary…and corporate media regurgitates his canary crap.

    “What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility.” – Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

    Where are the real stories about Amazon? Amazon’s working conditions and hiring practices. Amazon’s billion-dollar tax shield. Who is holding Bezos and Amazon to account for those travesties?

    1. bob goodwin

      I saw Jeff Bezos up close for a few years, and it is certain that the octocopter PR stunt was just PR. The guy is positively militant about secrets. I also don’t think it is much of secret that it is a tough place to work. The tax shelter issue is not specific to Amazon at all.

      1. DakotabornKansan

        “The tax shelter issue is not specific to Amazon at all.”

        Because it’s only their variation of the “double Irish with a Dutch sandwich?”

        Reuters: Amazon’s billion-dollar tax shield:

        “Amazon’s Luxembourg arrangements have deprived European governments of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax that it might otherwise have owed, as reported in European newspapers. But a Reuters examination of accounts filed by 25 Amazon units in six countries shows how they also allowed the company to avoid paying more tax in the United States, where the company is based.

        In effect, Amazon used inter-company payments to form a tax shield for the group, behind which it has accumulated $2 billion to help finance its expansion.

        Amazon revealed last year that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wants $1.5 billion in back taxes. The claim, which Amazon said it would “vigorously contest”, is linked to its foreign subsidiaries and payments made between them.”

        http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/06/us-tax-amazon-idUSBRE8B50AR20121206?source=email_rt_mc_body&ifp=0

    2. docg

      Where are the real stories indeed? This interview sickened me. Not ONE mention of Amazon’s very serious and very destructive labor issues. All that mattered to Rose was whether Amazon was so competitive it was putting other businesses out of business. In other words, businesses matter, people don’t.

      And then, the “exciting” finale, the trotting out of the most absurd “innovation” we’ve seen since Google Glass. Yes, folks, we can all look forward to an era when little “Deli Drones” are delivering our packages in hardly any time at all. Or, alternatively, spying on us, crashing on us, even bombing us, because who can say who might want to hijack or otherwise appropriate such nifty little flying machines.

      Oh and by the way, I love it when he talks about how Amazon isn’t making all that much profit, because it’s ever so righteously pouring most of those profits back into the business. Well, if Amazon is hardly making any profit at all, then where, pray tell, did this guy’s billions come from? Research grants? Consultation fees????

      This guy, Bezos, he is a sociopath and he is DANGEROUS. As only an out of control multi-billionaire can be.

    3. Propertius

      Fortunately, these AmaDrones will necessarily fly low enough to be brought down by weapons readily available to civilians (save in certain bicoastal totalitarian enclaves).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You really want to capture them with damaging the packages though.

        That’s where the money is…books, DVDs and games, etc.

        The Persians, with their sophisticated flight-plan re-routing technology, could be the biggest winners here.

    1. Chris Maukonen

      Thanks for the working link. Though I found the “404 not found” on the original link to be rather amusingly ironic.

  5. Jessica

    About The Last Symphony (Jacobin)

    Our elites are decaying because they no longer have a social/historical function to play. The most powerful force of production now is knowledge but we will need different social rules and organization in order to fully unleash that.* It is not a coincidence that classical music education remains strong in East Asia, where the elites still have a function because the phase of physical industrialization has not been completed.

    *For clarity: the knowledge economy that we have now has almost no relationship with what a knowledge economy can be. What we have now is vast potential shrunk and warped to fit within the confines of social arrangements evolved for material industrialization.

    1. Massinissa

      It would be one thing if the elites simply didnt care about classical music.

      But they dont seem to care about much of any kind of art.

      Elites of different cultures and periods cherished culture, even if all it was was to show off their wealth and power.

      Modern elites, they dont do jack shit when it comes to culture.

      Though I might be wrong and I just dont notice? Anyone know of the Koch Brothers hiring large amounts of artists or something?

        1. docg

          Listening to symphonies and like that is no different, socioculturally speaking, than reading serious novels, going to the theater or viewing artsy foreign films. Sure, “classical music” had its start in the cathedrals and courts of the elite, so what? Those cathedrals are now hosting Christian pop and there aren’t any more courts, as you may have noticed. And yet there are probably more orchestras in the world today than ever before. More new music groups also.

          When I was young everyone was worried that we wouldn’t have any more string players in future because young people were “only interested in” pop and rock. Much to my surprise, however, I discovered, when teaching at my local arts high school, that there are in fact a great many young string players, many more than the days of my youth. And they’re better than ever, as far as I can tell.

          There is no such thing as “classical music” anyhow, there is just some music that’s more challenging, both for the performer and listener, than other music. And that’s the kind of music I usually prefer, thank you.

  6. kjboro

    Black Friday sales drop explained by Bloomberg:

    “Shoppers are restraining spending in part because of an uneven U.S. economic recovery, the NRF’s Shay said. Not everyone is benefiting from a rebound in housing demand or the rising stock market. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index just logged its longest weekly rising streak since 2004.”

    Asset-based economy so embedded now that no one even thinks about jobs/income/etc

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Right. It’s all those evil “savers” stashing their piles of extra cash in those lucrative savings accounts and refusing to replace their 6-month-old TVs and smart phones with new ones.

      Negative interest rates on “savers” ought to fix that.

      1. F. Beard

        Savers already have negative REAL interest rates wrt to housing though the crash may have changed that somewhat.

        Savers should certainly not lose purchasing power (except for risk-free storage costs) but it’s far worse if they GAIN purchasing power for money hoarding. And no, the banks don’t lend your savings.

        Our money system is a moral nightmare but assuredly not impossible to fix with God-given wisdom:

        But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:1-8

        1. Brian

          “The banks don’t lend your savings”
          Opinion shouldn’t be open to this kind of obfuscation, or deliberate ruse.
          Banks lend your savings to themselves, which they gamble and you lose as they are “forced” to print more money to cover all the losses. Your money may still show on a ledger, but it is worth a fraction of what it was.
          reality dances.

          1. F. Beard

            An individual bank doesn’t necessarily need depositors at all. Even if all the deposits a bank lent into existence were spent and other banks demanded the corresponding reserves:

            1) The Fed would cover the overdraft temporarily.
            2) The bank could then borrow the needed reserves from other banks or the Fed itself, and depending on the interest required for the deposits the bank created, STILL make a profit.

            But then do ANY of the banks require depositors? The answer is also no since even if every depositor liquidated his/her deposit into physical cash (Is there enough linen, cotton and ink?) the Fed would lend the new reserves required into existence and have them converted to physical cash and then the banks need merely wait till the population got tired of the inconvenience/risk of physical cash and redeposited their cash which would then be paid back to the Fed. Of course a Postal Savings Service would change every thing since it would provide a convenient, risk-free alternative to the banking cartel for the risk-free storage and transaction of fiat.

            But then is it cheaper for a bank to have depositors? Maybe, depending on what interest the bank has to pay compared to what it can borrow from the other banks or the Fed. It might be more expensive. I seem to recall some bank wishing to do away with depositors. I’ll have to think/sleep a bit on this.

            But technically speaking, the banks don’t lend savings*. They lend reserves to each other but CREATE deposits to lend to the population.

            *Unless, for example, someone had all his savings in physical cash or Federal Government checks and deposited those since those would become new reserves one-for-one.

          2. F. Beard

            Believe me, I hate the Fed/banking cartel with a PASSION and may the Lord give me more if I’m lacking but also the necessary wisdom to KILL IT forever.

            I said IT. Let every banker be rich and happy till they die but kill banking itself in favor of ethical money creation and the Devil will howl in rage and pain.

            So let’s understand banking better than the bankers so we can euthanize it for good.

    2. James Levy

      Gotta love that “not everyone” line. No, sparky, that would be no one who is not in the top 7% of income earners or is both a) lucky to own a home in one of the few places where housing prices are truly appreciating, and b) is stupid enough to risk that on a HELOC.

      However, given the overwhelming concentration of those 7% in the Washington, D.C, NYC, LA, and San Francisco areas, and the fact that those are the only places news in America is “manufactured” in, one can almost forgive the grotesque oversight at missing the above facts of America life.

  7. AbyNormal

    re: Bitcoin miners bundling
    “These computer calculations imply Bitcoin mining operation and the clause means that the company behind the software can and will install Bitcoin miners and use system resources to perform operations as required to mine Bitcoins and keep the rewards for themselves.”

    ck this out from Sept. 2011

    Bitcoin miners use special rigs with carefully selected hardware components and they join together in so-called mining pools in order to increase their chances of success and maximize their profits. Because of their distributed nature botnets are perfect for Bitcoin mining and it was only a matter of time until cyber criminals realized this.

    Trojans incorporating Bitcoin mining software started appearing a few months ago and have since significantly increased in number and sophistication. They’ve switched from merely abusing the CPU resources of infected computers to also leveraging their powerful graphic chips.

    According malware experts at antivirus vendor Trend Micro, Bitcoin mining trojans are being distributed on social media websites. One such campaign observed on Twitter recently lured users with funny Facebook pictures. In reality, the spammed links led people to a malicious file that installs a trojan detected by the company’s antivirus products as HKTL_BITCOINMINE.

    Another piece of Bitcoin mining malware that Trend Micro researchers were tracking, identified as BKDR_BTMINE.MNR, has recently been upgraded with a component that facilitates distributed denial-of-service attacks.

    This is one of the most complex trojans of this type, bundling three different legitimate Bitcoin mining applications. After installation it downloads the necessary drivers to interact with the GPU and communicates with over 2,000 hardcoded IP addresses.

    The researchers believe that the new DDoS component might be used to attack other miners in order to prevent them from mining effectively. The list of targets is downloaded from a remote server and can be frequently changed.

    Things are only going to get worse. “Right now, Bitcoins are worth more than $8 each. With the value of Bitcoins constantly rising, the number of malware related to Bitcoin mining will inevitably increase as well,” the Trend Micro experts warned.
    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2106704/bitcoin-mining-trojans
    *******
    “Money often costs too much” Emerson

  8. kjboro

    From today’s NYTimes:

    the Minnesota State Legislature recently appropriated over $500 million to help build the Vikings a new stadium. At the same time, the Minnesota Orchestra is close to financial disaster because it can’t erase a $6 million deficit. If the Legislature had diverted only 10 percent of its support for football, it would have covered that deficit for the next eight years.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/30/the-real-humanities-crisis/?_r=0

    1. AbyNormal

      small time…we’re/atlanta building one for football and strong possibility of a separate one for baseball AND getting a 40 story ferris wheel
      GA:
      *The fastest growing group of homeless people is children under 9 years of age.
      *Atlanta is the poorest city in the U.S. for children – more children in Atlanta live in poverty than in any other city.
      *48% of all the children in Atlanta in poverty live in families with annual incomes of less than $15,000 a year.
      *For children under age 6 living in female-headed families with no spouse present, the poverty rate is 58.8%.
      *Children ages 6-17 living in female-headed families with no spouse present have a poverty rate of 44.9%.
      *Current welfare (TANF) benefits are $282 a month for a woman with two children. Could you find an apartment to rent on $282 a month?
      *Fewer than 20% of those women and children living on welfare get any kind of housing subsidy.
      *98 million children in the U.S. have no health insurance. Eight million of those children without health insurance live in working families.
      *Did you know that 40% – 60% of homeless people work?
      *40% of homeless men are veterans.

      1. Benedict@Large

        Re: *98 million children in the U.S. have no health insurance.

        Sorry, but there’s only about 77 million children in the entire US.

        1. AbyNormal

          dang decimals 9.8m…thanks!
          btw these are 2009/10 estimates…i chose them for range of categories and most of 2012 & 2013 are under-reported or synthetic

        2. diptherio

          The actual number is 5 million children without health-insurance…so not a problem at all [snark]:

          Fewer Kids Uninsured, But Coverage for Latino Children Lags ~New America Media

          A new report shows the number of uninsured children in the United States is declining, especially among those living below the poverty line. But there are still over 5 million uninsured kids in the country, and they remain disproportionately Latino.

          Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families (CCF), which released the study, attributes the drop in uninsured children to “the success of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).”

          “We’ve seen a decline in employer-sponsored coverage for this population,” she says. But unlike with many uninsured non-elderly adults, “Medicaid and CHIP have been there to pick up the slack.” As a result, she says, the rates of uninsured children are at historic lows.

          1. AbyNormal

            Arthur is that you?
            “My commitment to Atlanta and passion for sports and competition make this acquisition a perfect fit for me.”
            ~arthur blank

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      See DakotabornKansan’s comment above:

      “There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility.”

    3. rich

      I guess another case of redistribution upwards….

      The Post Only Calls It Redistribution When Government Policy Pushes Income Downward

      These and other government measures have the effect of redistributing income from ordinary workers to those at the top of the income distribution. Given this fact, it is peculiar that the Post would tell people in a piece on the growing strength of populists within the Democratic Party:

      “many Americans are uncomfortable with the notion of the government redistributing income far beyond what happens today in order to accomplish basic elements of the populist agenda.”

      The question at issue is not the amount of redistribution, the question is the direction of the redistribution. The Post seems to want readers to imagine that the upward redistribution of the last three decades was just a fact of nature, as opposed to being an outcome of government policy. That is a major distortion of reality.

      http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/the-post-only-calls-it-redistribution-when-government-policy-pushes-income-downward

  9. craazyman

    I hope this Fukushima stuff is an exaggeration. I know (not personally but through the internet) a woman who does investigative reporting on UFOs, aliens, crop circle, animal mutiliations, bigfoot, etc. Basically she believes in all of it. So do I!

    But when it comes to Fukushima and the radiation danger, she says it’s even too nutty for her to believe. I think she’s even investigated it.

    Jesus, I hope she’s right. You really have to be selective as to what nonsense you’ll believe, since not all of it can be true. This may be more of the Doom & Gloom nonsense. I believed that — about the economy and housing and stock market and imminent recession and collapse — for 4 years, and it kept me from getting rich quick. Now I have to work. I have to work right now in fact. I’d rather be investigating bigfoot but that’s not to be, evidently, because I believed all sorts of other nonsense I read on the internet.

    1. optimader

      The abscissa is fraught with sentiment, the ordinate is pretty much on rails. So pick a timeline and live it up!

    2. susan the other

      Take your minerals Craazy. With a meltdown like Fukushima it can’t be hysteria. If you are really freaked out you might want to invest in Australian real estate. But if you have to sell California real estate to buy new that could be a problem… maybe underground living will come back.

      1. craazyman

        the only thing that freaks me out is the amount of money I’ve lost listening to people I thought knew what they were talking about. It’s frankly shocking, just how wrong they all have been. The Doomers and Gloomers prophesying the end of the world. What a complete waste of time, reading anything they wrote. The world is up 30% from when they said it would be destroyed. I have no idea what’s up with Fukushima. You can read all sorts of stuff on the internet and if you believe it, it can be expensive. However, I’d be inclined to view with skepticism any claims that vacationing in Fukushima is a good idea. Not that I could afford to vacation there at this point. What a complete waste of time this has been. 4 years of doom and gloom nonsense. What have I learned? That nobody knows what they’re talking about when it comes to money and economics. Nobody. Not one person. They all blow their smoke and nonsense at the world and hope the world listens in awe. Many people are foolish enough to listen in awe. The whole scene is revolting. And the ones who really know, if they exist, they’re not talking. Good for them. It’s a behavior worthy of emulation. Not that I’m capable of that, but in theory it is.

        1. skippy

          What part of the world is up and how is it measured… eh.

          skippy – bagger optics is how we got there in the first “palace”.

  10. diptherio

    Wondering About Empathy, Part 1 ~GEO blog, Michael Johnson

    The power of empathy is incredible. That is, what it can do, virtually at the speed light, staggers our imagination when we allow ourselves the luxury to reflect on it. It is the primal source of social life, compassion, and love. Such power and relatively so little attention and support for nurturing it from our culture.

    1. mk

      is there an app for that? something to connect all those capable of empathy so take an action in unison for maximum change?

  11. bobs

    As a lifetime devotee of classical music, the news from Minnesota makes me sick to my stomach. The Jacobin piece makes many good points. A failure to pass on to our children the legacy of the greatest music ever written would be tragic.

    But a brutally honest assessment would have to acknowledge that if the best music was written 300 years ago (Bach), the last great composer (Stravinsky) peaked 100 years ago. Classical music, in other words, is a dead art form. Concert halls are not centers of artistic creation: they are museums. Furthermore, while until recently concerts and recitals were the only points of access to music, this is no longer true. In fact I find listening to Beethoven’s 6th far more enjoyable while I walk in the woods than while I try to ignore the coughs of my fellow concert-goers at the Met.

    But the main point is that modern classical music (Reich, Glass, Adams) is fine but it’s not great — say the way Schubert, Debussy, Bach, and Beethoven are great. Or even the way Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker were great. Why classical music lost its way (or simply ran out of juice, the way painting did) is a different question though. So my point takes nothing away from the Jacobin piece, with which I heartily agree, but the author should perhaps acknowledge that he has little new to offer: if young people want to experience the thrill of musical creativity, classical music is not the place for that. Perhaps jazz, rap, or more likely non-European musics.

    1. James Levy

      The thrill of the creativity is always there. Any child who has not heard a piece before has the immediate experience of the creative force present when they hear it; the same is true of adults, as I can be just as in touch with Mahler’s creativity when I hear those scribbles on a page turned into sound as the audience was when it was first performed. Egyptian carvings and Olmec heads aren’t devoid of creativity just because they were created a long time ago. We have to stop being oh so bored and au courant. Properly shown Gance’s “Napoleon” and the silent “Ben Hur” are as exciting as any CGI extravaganza of today.

      The past, as was said, isn’t over–it isn’t even past.

      1. bobs

        I meant the thrill of their own creativity. All of Haydn’s contemporaries wanted to “create” like Haydn, certainly not like Bach. Today’s classical musicians want to create like? Like? What inspires us is at least 100 years old. This is unique in Western music. Throughout the 18-19c, no one paid much attention to dead composers. This is a new phenomenon. I think we need to be aware of it. Why did Haydn have to compose so much music? Because no one wanted to hear the old stuff.

      2. F. Beard

        The past, as was said, isn’t over–it isn’t even past.

        Well said! And though I don’t play the piano it seems to me that a great deal of creative nuance is still possible while being true to the score or nuance upon nuance in the case of Chopin :)

        And if classical music peaked in the 19th century that seems reasonable to me since that’s when Christian belief peaked too.

    2. tim s

      Great points. The article obviously written from a classical music devotee. It is great music, but it shouldn’t be put on a lone pedestal. I’ve heard the same arguments about jazz music (Wynton Marsalis comes to mind). Jazz is another great musical form, with alot of complexity and depth. Blues and bluegrass may be relatively simple art forms, but that doesn’t make them simple to play really well. There is a dedication that comes with being proficient at the instruments required to make music, especially when playing with others, that takes years to develop to a high level.

      I spent a fair bit of time studying as a classical guitarist and became pretty good, but eventually gave it up due to the lack of improvising opportunity. I no longer wanted to be a “human juke-box” full of memorized music, even if the music was really good.

      Music should be participatory. It gets no better for me than to get together with other people and make music, especially if I get the opportunity to be creative with improvisations, accompaniments and harmonies, and this can be done with strangers if standard tunes or common types of tunes are chosen. Jazz, bluegrass, blues, folk, gypsy, etc share this in common. If people can’t make the music, quite often it can be danced to. This opportunity is not there for the most part with classical music.

      1. KFritz

        A few random thought from a reader who thought the article made some good points, but thinks that a lot was left out.

        Turkey, the Arabs, Iran, China, Korea, and Japan all have classical music traditions. Are any of them as robust today as one hundred years ago? The Gamelan tradition of the Indonesian Archipelago is still vibrant in places, and a truly participatory art form. And what about the truly great rivals of our Western classical form, Hindustani and Karnatic music–which are in many ways more emotionally refined and an integral part of a system of psychology and philosophy? Without the courts of the Indian nobility, how are these forms maintaining their vitality? Does All-India Radio still broadcast them, or are they also disappearing under the weight of mercantile utility and shortening attention spans?

        None of the classical forms are an integral part of contemporary society. Perhaps that’s why they’re in decline everywhere. And could a knave like Davis treat Steve Stills, Mick Jagger, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, or Beyonce they way he treated the symphonic musicians?

  12. Adam S.

    “In God we trust, maybe, but not each other Associated Press (Lambert)”

    A society in which approximately half our countrymen espouse an ideology in which everyone is out for themselves doesn’t foster societal trust?

    <niccage>You don’t say?</niccage>

  13. Benedict@Large

    The interview with Peter Buffett (Big Philanthropy and Philanthro-Feudalism) is very good. In the same vein and tone, a year and a half back Jacobin published “The Philanthropic Complex” by Curtis White [http://jacobinmag.com/spring-2012/the-philanthropic-complex/]. White confirms a lot of what Peter says, and goes into much more detail. If you’re interested in why liberal causes can’t raise money from liberal foundations like what happens on the right, this is the definitive article on the subject.

    Also, Buffet’s NYT op-ed: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/27/opinion/the-charitable-industrial-complex.html?pagewanted=all

    From Boston Review: Big Philanthropy (a forum with a dozen or so authors) http://www.bostonreview.net/BR38.2/ndf_foundations_philanthropy_democracy.php

  14. rich

    Intelligence Gathering Plays Key Role at New York Fed’s Trading Desk

    By Pam Martens: December 2, 2013

    According to Akhtar, a summary of this conference call is put together by the staff of the Board of Governors and is delivered to each Board member shortly after the call ends and is immediately transmitted to each Federal Reserve Bank President.

    It is understood that a large source of the intelligence being collected today is coming from phone calls made by the Markets Group to the Primary Dealers (the biggest Wall Street firms) with whom the New York Fed conducts its open market operations. According to multiple sources, the New York Fed has direct phone lines to its Primary Dealers. What is not routinely known on Wall Street is that, according to Akhtar, the New York Fed’s traders, at the time of his report, were officially tasked with visiting “market participants and dealers at their offices in New York City to learn about markets and dealer operations; these visits frequently take place in the afternoons.”

    Given that a large chunk of the New York Fed’s staff ends up with high-paying jobs at these Wall Street firms, this hobnobbing in the afternoon raises a host of red flags, not the least of which is the potential for front-running (trading ahead of the customer) and leaking a competitor’s information.

    We do not know if that afternoon hobnobbing by the Markets Group is still going on, but plenty of other hobnobbing of a questionable nature is – considering that the New York Fed is also a key regulator and examiner of these Wall Street banks.

    Kimbrough explains that the Markets Group gathers together again at noon to prep for their afternoon conference call with the Board of Governors’ staff. “So, throughout the day,” adds Kimbrough, “we’re essentially doing a lot of market monitoring for these twice a day conference calls with the Board. In addition to that, we’re writing reports throughout the day as well. We have staff who are either writing short-term updates on what’s going on in the equity markets or corporate bond markets. And we’re looking to see if we have any inclination of what market participants are expecting; because market expectations are hugely important for the Fed in thinking about the course of the economy.”

    The day for the traders and analysts wraps up around 6 to 6:30 p.m. Kimbrough says that it’s a long day because they “try to cover the closing of Japan as well as the middle point of Europe all the way through the U.S. session.”

    Andrew Huszar is a senior fellow at Rutgers Business School and a former Morgan Stanley managing director. Huszar wrote in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal in November that he had “…left the Fed out of frustration, having witnessed the institution deferring more and more to Wall Street. Independence is at the heart of any central bank’s credibility, and I had come to believe that the Fed’s independence was eroding.”

    Huszar continues: “In the past, Fed leaders — even if they ultimately erred — would have worried obsessively about the costs versus the benefits of any major initiative. Now the only obsession seemed to be with the newest survey of financial-market expectations or the latest in-person feedback from Wall Street’s leading bankers and hedge-fund managers. Sorry, U.S. taxpayer.”
    Huszar is not alone.

    http://wallstreetonparade.com/2013/12/intelligence-gathering-plays-key-role-at-new-york-fed%E2%80%99s-trading-desk/

  15. JohnL

    “The incredible shrinking network”. Suggest you read the original article in the Seattle Times as well: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2022371201_exchangenetworksxml.html
    Here in Island County, just 35 miles from Seattle, there are only two insurers offering plans on the Washington State exchange. Between them, they have just one leading downtown Seattle hospital in network. One offers no out of network coverage at all; the other 50% copay but with unlimited out of pocket. All this with a 30% increase in premiums. Doctors and hospitals are scrambling to deal with this and have apparently been blind sided by the insurance companies.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Blind sided? Insurance companies and providers have been on opposite sides since this idiotic “healthcare” model was conceived. If providers actually wanted to treat more patients and get paid for it, they should have come out for elimination of the insurance middle man (who provides no “healthcare” whatsoever) and heavily in favor of single- payer “healthcare” for all.

      The insurance company business model remains unchanged. When the “risk management” tool of “pre-existing conditions” was eliminated, did providers think it wouldn’t be replaced with something else equally as restrictive and discriminatory?

      Restricted provider networks and minimal “covered” services are the new pre-existing conditions, and it really wasn’t that hard to see coming.

      The only thing that remains to be seen is how the medical-industrial provider complex will continue to generate its pound of exponentially growing flesh. Maybe they’ll take it from Apple or GM.

  16. Kurt Sperry

    Re: Dutch intelligence agency AIVD hacks internet forums NRC

    “Sorry, this publication is not available.”

    Hopefully somebody has saved and republished it.

  17. rich

    War on Democracy: Spain and Japan Move to Criminalize Protests

    In the latest disturbing news from a desperate power structure, the conservative government in Spain has passed an Orwellian bill titled the Citizens’ Security Law, which allows for fines of up to 600,000 euros ($816,000) for “unauthorized” street protests, and a 30,000 fine for merely having signs with “offensive” slogans against Spain or for wearing a mask.

    This law is a perfect example of the increasing neo-feudalism being implemented across the globe by a corrupt, decadent and depraved status quo. Such laws must be immediately resisted or they will only get worse, much worse. It is quite obvious what the power structure in Spain in trying to do. It is putting into place an egregious punishment framework that could bankrupt a person by merely protesting. Such a threat is intended to make people not even consider their rights as human beings to express grievances to a crony government.

    http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2013/12/02/war-on-democracy-spain-and-japan-move-to-criminalize-protests/

    That will teach you to complain.

  18. AbyNormal

    i finally got around to viewing the indie movie ‘Chasing Madoff’…its dedicated to:

    ‘those who will fall in the next financial crisis’

    (its ‘all in’ this time)…as skippy would say “mommy”

  19. jfleni

    RE: Amazon & Bezos.

    Delivery Drones may or may not make any sense, but the widely professed doubts of “business” types about Amazon making profits is crazy. Ten minutes on their site reveals the truth: “Used” is the key for most of the merchandise! Bezos is a JUNKMAN, and everybody knows that junkmen (dressed in overalls maybe with a few old bills in their pockets) make skads of money!

    Right now, Bezos is competing with another lesser billionaire (Tesla founder Elon Musk) for the lease to Pad 39, the former space shuttle launching site for future space launches; naturally Barry and the plutocrats consider Bezos far more worthy than Musk (a real inventor and developer and job provider) and so he will probably get the lease.

    This remarkable resource will go almost by default to a jumped-up junkman!

  20. PeonInChief

    Re pet hospice:

    Our cat, Emma, became very ill with cancer in August. After a lot of tests, it was clear she wasn’t going to make it. We had a hospice vet come to the house to ease her from this life. It was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. She died at home, surrounded by her human and feline family. Her co-cat was able to attend and viewed the passing from under the sofa.

    I wish I’d skipped the expensive tests and put her on comfort medication, rather than putting her through the misery of tests.

  21. Eureka Springs

    When I read the term “delivery drone” I immediately think of twenty first century skeet practice for hillbilly’s. Gawd love them.

    1. Antifa

      Given the omnipresence of security cameras, including cameras on the drone you just shot down, drone-downing by projectile weapons, laser pointers, or other basically mechanical means is not likely to flourish.

      This guy I know who knows some guys who know some hackers says they told some other guy that mobile jamming or overriding of their GPS signal from behind cover is the way to down drones. They’ll happily fly into buildings, cars or people, or consistently deliver their packages to the wrong house. Mission accomplished either way.

      Or you can crack their control software. Clear the sky of drones over a whole city in five seconds. Lots of messes to clean up. Insurance paperwork for months.

      Not that I know nuthin’ ’bout ‘nuthin when it comes to doin’ sumpin’ laddat.

      I’m just sayin’ — I heard tings. I heard tings.

  22. Hugh

    The slump in commodities undercuts the story that factory growth in China is up.

    New press laws in Japan are another example of corrupt elites circling the wagons. But I have to wonder, I’m guessing that Japanese media is every bit as Versailles as the American press. So the Fukushima story or some NSA story to come must really have the Japanese PTB on edge.

    Interesting too, the media usually cheerlead Christmas sales pumping up the numbers and only later walking them back in the footnotes. It’s kind of surprising that they are reporting poor numbers within a few days of the shopping season’s start.

    One of the most reliable wheezes of politicians is the repeated announcement that X has turned a corner. Corners were turned in Iraq two to three times a year every year we were there. Obamacare seems to be pursuing a similar PR strategy but with greatly reduced timeframes. And the operative word seems to be “fix” as opposed to “corner”. So individual buyers? Problem fixed (except not). Healthcare.gov? Problem fixed (except not). I wonder how long it will be before they are announcing fixes to the fixes and how many rounds this can go on before it all collapses into inanity.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why do Mexican drug cartels think banking is too lowly for them to diversify into?

    Is that why they decide to go into
    mining?

  24. JohnB

    If anyone has a NSFW subscription, they’re doing their last ‘radio’ show, and there have been some great discussions over the Greenwald stuff from Mark Ames and authors, which are still ongoing.

  25. optimader

    RE: the Last Symphony

    I wince a little bit w/ the notion that classical music is dead. Western music continues to evolve and some of the GREAT composures/musicians are of our age.
    What is typically deemed “classical music” was “modern music” at one time and it continues to be composed, interpreted, played and enjoyed. It is hardly dead.
    There is though, geometric growth of successful pop music that absorbs commercial bandwidth and presently demonstrates an inverse relationship between creativity/skill/musicality and the technology available to produce and replicate it.

    An insidious aspect of the contemporary popular music is abject low fidelity that robs many young people of opportunity to listen, appreciate and understand color, nuance, musicality. This I believe is resulting in the recent niche of young people pushing back to the LP records of yore

    A worthwhile couple articles.

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/the-future-of-music
    Part One: Tearing Down the Wall of Noise

    A superb roundtable discussion for people that are serious about music
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SY5hI98HEi0
    Deep Listening: Why Audio Quality Matters

    The key to stewarding worthwhile music requires a public that understands what its about and why its important.

    An important living steward of the “classical music museum”.
    http://www.alia-vox.com/ Amongst the best recordings you’ll ever experience.

    Classical music’s progeny
    http://www.johnmclaughlin.com/
    Again, superbly produced recordings..

    My heart is with the Minnesota Orchestra musicians. I agree with the article’s author, the mission should be to make music not money. http://www.minnesotaorchestramusicians.org/charts-graphs/

    Finally..
    http://www.audible.com/pd/Arts-Entertainment/The-Modern-Scholar-Audiobook/B0036IPO7M
    The Modern Scholar: Understanding the Fundamentals of Classical Music

    ..is very good.

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