On top of the running man is the flying man

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“If any of the attendees recognized me, they kept mum about it in this setting.”

“Does evangelical Christianity allow one of its leaders to theologically evolve? The answer seems to be no.”

“And because it doesn’t have much of a foundation, it becomes more ‘let’s see if I can back you into a wall with my questions so that you can’t answer anymore in the context that I’ve established‘ than a search for truth.”

“Somewhere, the Creation Museum’s Ken Ham is trying to figure out how to tell his fundamentalist Christian followers that Pat Robertson is a joke. At which point I’ll agree with Ken Ham. Damn, Christians telling the truth makes my head hurt.”

“I long assumed that if you’re fortunate enough to be in the top 2 percent, you can at least afford an accountant or financial advisor to explain the basics to you, but I’m afraid this Virginia chiropractor isn’t the only one who’s deeply, almost shockingly, confused.”

“The after-tax value of her $250,001st dollar of Adjusted Gross Income will be slightly lower if Obama gets his way than if he doesn’t get his way. But under either scheme, earning a higher pre-tax income will leave you with a higher after tax income.”

“By my calculation it would take songwriting royalties for roughly 312,000 plays on Pandora to earn us the profit of one — one– LP sale.”

“If employers like Traci Tapini really can’t find workers with the necessary skills it is primarily because they don’t understand that it is necessary to raise wages to attract more skilled workers.”

“If Thomas F. Marano takes a late lunch, he makes more money in a single morning than Rebecca Black does all year. Marano once led the team at Bear Stearns Cos. that bought Black’s mortgage in 2005 and thousands of other subprime loans to sell to investors.”

“The combination of longtime workers feeling betrayed by the company, newer workers who never felt that loyalty to begin with, and the fact that for so many years the company paid lip service to Christian values in lieu of fair wages, is leaving Wal-Mart vulnerable to labor uprisings.”

The term originated in Philadelphia in the 50s or earlier and wasn’t in common use in the rest of the country until decades later. And it did indeed refer to something unpleasant.”

It’s imperative that the people who will benefit hear about the new coverage available and learn how to sign up.”

“A lot of people still think that the US is under some risk of one day becoming like Greece, and it’s distorting our public debate.”

“Physicists are made of atoms. A physicist is an attempt by an atom to understand itself.”

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    That Nina Hartley one was priceless.

    And it’s good to know that the Black Friday label acknowledges the vile pit of misery and despair that the day represents to so many.

  • Ryan

    That’s a pretty dishonest Pandora-bashing article. The proper comparison for one streaming performance is one on the radio, not the sale of a physical object which can be reused until it breaks.

  • Vermic

    As someone who hates shopping, it never even occurred to me that “Black Friday” had anything but a negative connotation.  Retailers use the term because everybody else does, that’s obvious, but that they’re trying to spin it into something positive via “in the black” is new to me.

  • Tricksterson

    Wiw, that’s really a lovely version of that song.  And PSy’s (that is him on the guitar right?) is a pretty decent guitarist.  Who knew?

  • Robyrt

     The Marano article is trying to say too many things and ends up not saying much of anything at all. There’s a point to be made about bringing home the reality behind Bear Stearns’ malfeasance in encouraging, buying and packaging loans that are fundamentally unsound – but at every turn it is undermined by interviews from the people actually involved, who disagree with the author’s take on it. What is the point where you should say, “I can’t sell you this because you shouldn’t have it”? What made the difference between the heady heights of home prices in New Jersey and the near-abandoned neighborhood in Memphis? Etc.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NR2MMC4EJXJWJMLH6IF457XL64 Alex B

    No, that’s not him, that’s a group of college kids (I think) covering it.

  • hidden_urchin

    You know what really gets me about all of these people losing their homes?  It isn’t just that people are suffering it’s that it makes no sense for them to get thrown out.  It’s not like these homes are being resold.  They’re just sitting there, decaying.  One would think the banks etc. would rather keep families in their homes and work with them on the mortgages so that the homes can continue being maintained and retain at least some of their value rather than just turning into expensive piles of rubble.

    I guess as those economic articles pointed out, though, that you don’t have to have sense to be a CEO.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I think they care more about the potential income from resale being greater than the potential income from renegotiation. Which of course it is. The actual income being greater from renegotiation than from resale…well, that’s a fact, and facts don’t have any place in these discussions.

  • banancat

    Ok I had to wait until I got home to rant with a full keyboard.

    I completely disagree with the general point of the Pandora article.  Instead of viewing it as a service that takes money away from musicians, they should view it more accurately that it is advertising AND they are getting paid on top of that instead of paying for it.

    I’ve only been using Pandora for a few months and I have discovered many many artists and songs that I would have never known about otherwise.  These are artists that I wouldn’t hear on the radio in my car unless I just happen to have that type of specialized station in my area.  And I have paid real money to get mp3s of many of these songs and artists.  The great thing about Pandora is that it doesn’t just play singles, it plays many other songs that would never be played on the radio even from the biggest artists.

    People need ways to find new music and that won’t happen by just buying CDs at random and hoping for the best.  If they make good music, they’ll make money.  Mp3s give me the power to buy only the songs I like.  If an album has about 6 songs that I like, I will buy the entire thing.  And that has happened plenty of times.  But music producers can no longer scam me into buying an entire album to get one good song with a bunch of crappy ones.

    Musical artists will probably make less money in the future and I’m ok with that.  There will always be a market for music and people will always make it.  I have no fear that one day the music industry will just die and we’ll have no more music.  That won’t happen.  People will still make music just because they like doing it.  And they might not be able to make easy millions but they will still make money from concerts or even continue their day jobs.

    And to prove my point, as I was writing this Pandora gave me a song that I have never heard before from an artist I like.  I’ll listen to it a few more times and if it’s good enough that I don’t just get bored with it in a week, then the artist will get whatever percentage of that $1.29 I’ll pay for the mp3.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZNNUWEXUPQUQAYGBFDHTEIJBUI Joshua

    There are a lot of reasons that analysts in the past have given as to why lenders are not too interested in renegotiating. In a few cases, a servicers’ options are limited by securitization; basically, because the original mortgage is lumped in with other repackaged securities as part of something called a pooling and service agreement (PSA), there are legal limits to how much the servicer can alter the terms of any one loan. However, in practice I can’t think of any PSAs I’ve ever examined that actually limit loan modification like that, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a corporate or another investor trying to stop someone from modifying a mortgage to make it easier on the debtor. It might have happened but I honestly can’t find any examples for you.

    Honestly, I think the real reason is that the lenders have made a calculation and realized that the losses from foreclosure are a lot less than the losses from renegotiating. They’re taking into account that 30% of delinquent borrowers end up figuring out some way to pay them back. If someone loses their job temporarily but find another, well-paying job within a short time that enables them to keep up with the mortgage, the fact that they went delinquent for a few months doesn’t justify incurring a huge loss on the part of the bank. 

    The flipside of that is that sometimes, if someone is in trouble, they might not be able to continue to make their mortgage payments even with a loan modification. After all, if someone is really in hard times, the whole modification process might just be postponing the inevitable; they’ll default sooner or later because there’s no way they can ever keep up with the debt payments and their other bills.

    I think the main mistake we made with this whole financial crisis is by focusing too much on lenders/banks and not enough on borrowers and consumers. Trickledown doesn’t really work.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    the no debt crisis article badly misunderstands the Greece comparison. No one is suggesting that the US will lose it’s ability to print it’s own money or that Greece has this ability.  You can’t print WEALTH. Greece’s problem isn’t that they don’t have the ability to inflate their currency, their problem is they continually take in less than they spend and have a demented, state controlled “economy” that is dysfunctional. 

    There are many ways states can fall economically, not just the way Greece has been doing it and inflation is hardly the panacea 

    “Your silver has become dross, your choice wine is diluted with water.” Isaiah 1:22

  • Carstonio

    Ever since digital media became practical, I’ve had this fantasy that musicians would finally be free of the middlemen at the labels and could reach audiences more directly. In my scenario, labels wouldn’t go away, but since they wouldn’t be critical for distributing content, they would have less power and influence. Specifically, less pressure on artists to make their work more commercial or “mainstream”, or to copy currently popular colleagues, or to create hit singles for radio airplay. I don’t want Pandora and iTunes and other digital outlets to simply supplant the labels in controlling content.

  • GDwarf

    The Pandora article is wrong from top to bottom.

    Pandora currently pays 50% of its revenue to labels. 50%. Terrestrial radio pays 0% and satellite pays 17.5%.

    The reason these artists make so little? The labels takes all of it. Pandora is just barely breaking even, and artists are seeing not even a cent.

    The author of that article is attacking a fellow victim.

    What’s more, Pandora is probably the best way to learn about new artists in the modern world.  The number of people who go out and buy albums from artists they otherwise would never have heard of is massive.

    I empathize with the artists, but they need to wake up and realize that the RIAA is playing them for fools and pitting them against their biggest allies.

  • banancat

     I really like it that the internet in general and youtube specifically have helped to launch musical careers and also helped people to find the musicians they like.  A good singer doesn’t have to be “discovered” by an agent because if they are good enough they will be discovered by thousands of youtube viewers.  It means there are tons more artists and songs to choose from and I’m thrilled to live in a time like this.  The internet allows everyone to have more specialized interests in general (beyond just music) and also to meet others who have the same interests.  I think of all the friends and interests I’ve found through the internet and I can’t even imagine what my life would have been like a few decades ago.  And I like popular stuff plenty, but I like a lot of other stuff on top of it.  A Pandora station that is a mix of emo-punk and boy bands?  Why not?  Why shouldn’t I hear My Chemical Romance followed by One Direction?  But without the internet, assuming I could find groups interested in both of those types of music, I pretty much have to join one of those groups and go all in.  But now I get to enjoy all types of things.

  • Dan Audy

    The big difference music on the internet seems likely to have on musicians is that there will be fewer multi-millionaire artists and a lot more middle-class artists as the labels lose their ability to control who gets heard.  We’ve had 7 decades where music became easily spread but it was expensive to do which created a system without historical precedent and narrowed the scope to a handful of big stars.  What we are seeing now is a shift back towards a more diverse musical landscape as the ability to be record and be heard isn’t dependent on making blatantly unfair deals.

    It seems strangely misleading to me that the article is discussing songwriting royalties and complaining about how low they are because songwriters are not typically relying on statutory royalties the way musicians are.  Songwriters both typically get upfront payments and have the ability to negotiate their rate (as a share of performance royalties) with a single entity, the musician who their work is for, if they feel the statutory rate is too low.  The whole business of covers is problematic and complicated since songwriters get paid widely varied rates based on how and where it is played or sold and the artist who popularized the song gets nothing but is beyond the scope here and irrelevant to the misleading article.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I can’t remember where I read it, but I definitely recall reading that when Internet radio started to become a thing, somebody speaking for Big Media said something to the effect of wanting there to be five to seven companies doing Internet radio. Total. And wanting to skew the rules governing Internet radio to make it really hard for small-time folks to break into the new medium, even though the marvelous thing about the Internet is how much easier it makes getting oneself out there.

  • GDwarf

    The RIAA wants one internet radio, actually, which is why they’re pushing for even higher licensing fees. Pandora threatens their entire business model by making payola very difficult and increasing exposure to independent artists.

    They’re quite open about how they want a monopoly over internet radio and intend to raise licensing fees to the point where no one can compete with them.

    The big labels aren’t yet useless, but they’re getting there. Producing music is now something you can do at home for a few thousand dollars outlay, less if you lease the equipment. Promoting it is still hard, but easier than it was two decades ago. Those are the two things that the big labels provide, and they’re fighting tooth and nail to force the industry to go back in time.

    I think what we’re going to see soon is the major labels being forced to give artists fair contracts, since the cost of going independent is now so low. It’s finally becoming an open market, and that terrifies the big four, so they’re trying to shut it all down now. Alas, propaganda is their forte, and they have enough money to buy a huge swathe of politicians, so change will be slower than it should be.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yep.

    The amusing bit? (‘Amusing’ here meaning, as it far too often does, that it’s better to laugh than cry.) The politicians sympathetic to this are very often the ones who shout loudest about free markets.

  • Lori

     

    Musical artists will probably make less money in the future and I’m ok
    with that.  There will always be a market for music and people will
    always make it.  I have no fear that one day the music industry will
    just die and we’ll have no more music.  That won’t happen.  People will
    still make music just because they like doing it.  And they might not be
    able to make easy millions but they will still make money from concerts
    or even continue their day jobs.   

    You realize that this is a fairly privileged position, yes? It would be one thing if you were a musician yourself and were saying that you’re totally fine with the idea that there’s now even less chance that you will ever be able to make a living off your music than there was in the past. However,  saying that you’re OK with other people making less money because you’re confident that you’ll be fine (able to get the music you want) is a little problematic.

    The idea that artists should just naturally provide the results of their talents at a non-living wage because someone will always make art just for the love of it strikes me as being little different than the notion that school teachers shouldn’t be paid decently because they’re supposed to be in the job purely for the love of the kids.

  • GDwarf

     

    Yep.

    The amusing bit? (‘Amusing’ here meaning, as it far too often does,
    that it’s better to laugh than cry.) The politicians sympathetic to this
    are very often the ones who shout loudest about free markets.

    Actually, the RIAA and MPAA find by far their most support from Dems. It’s rather disheartening.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Huh. So why aren’t the Republicans raising holy hell on the grounds of free market good and Democratic causes bad?

  • GDwarf

    Huh. So why aren’t the Republicans raising holy hell on the grounds of free market good and Democratic causes bad?

    I’ve no idea.

    I think maybe they want to make inroads into Hollywood, and doing that requires worshipping the *IAAs.

    Also, of course, while the Dems grant every wish of the MPAA it’s the Conservatives who seems to actually run the thing. It’s all very strange.

  • Dan Audy

    The problem is that you are making a false argument.  There isn’t less chance of being able to make a living off your music now but a greater one.  There are going to be fewer super wealthy musical superstars (though Adele shows that they can still do so without the labels) but there are more musicians making a living now making music than there has since the phonograph started killing off house bands.  The music industry as it exists (a 7 decade phenomenon) dying doesn’t mean that people won’t be able to make their living making music anymore than people couldn’t make a living making music before it existed.  Without the record labels gatekeeping and siphoning off all the profit there is a place for smaller bands to gain recognition and generate enough from sales and touring that they can live comfortable lives from making music.

    As an aside the vast, vast majority of artists in every single discipline are unable to make a living from their art.  Expecting music to be any different is unreasonable and even during the height of the record system remained the case.  Expecting people to create art even without compensation isn’t a judgement on the value of art but a simple recognition of human nature.  Some people won’t create or will never fully develop their skills because it won’t be profitable and that is ok.  Our world and society doesn’t have a shortage of art and music so some people choosing not to make it for economic reasons isn’t going to culturally stunt us.

  • Lori

     

    The problem is that you are making a false argument.  There isn’t less
    chance of being able to make a living off your music now but a greater
    one. 

    That may or may not be true. It remains to be seen if the optimistic expectations people have will play out. Looking at the optimistic expectations that people have had for the freedom of the internet vs the reality we have so far, I wouldn’t bet any money on the glorious, gatekeeper-free future, but I also don’t discount the possibility.

    Either way it doesn’t matter because I wasn’t commenting on the state of
    the music business. I was responding to banancat’s statement that she’s fine with it if they make less money because she’ll always be
    able to get her music.

     

    As an aside the vast, vast majority of artists in every single
    discipline are unable to make a living from their art. 

    I obviously know that. However, until the odds actually go to zero they can always get worse and that’s all I said.

     

     Expecting music
    to be any different is unreasonable and even during the height of the
    record system remained the case.  

    I was discussing music because that was the topic at hand, not because I think it’s a special case.

     

    Expecting people to create art even
    without compensation isn’t a judgement on the value of art but a simple
    recognition of human nature.  

    I don’t think it’s a judgement on the value of art. I think it’s a judgement on the value of artists.

     

    Some people won’t create or will never
    fully develop their skills because it won’t be profitable and that is
    ok.  Our world and society doesn’t have a shortage of art and music so
    some people choosing not to make it for economic reasons isn’t going to
    culturally stunt us.  

    Well, as long as we’re not culturally stunted I guess it’s just fine. 

  • Kate Monster

    I thought it was the other way around: retailer workers started calling it Black Friday a long time ago when it became clear that the day after Thanksgiving was going to be THE day for shopping, and therefore torturous for retail workers.  Then over time, the media caught wind of it and started publicizing the whole idea, and once the media caught it, and non-retailers figured out the lingo, retailers realized they could take advantage of the buzz and started to campaign on the Black Friday label. 

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Say what about Adele? She’s been signed to a major label her whole career and pushed heavily by them throughout (at least in the UK). I’m not knocking her talent or achievements, but she’s had label support the whole way.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    The article on Nina Hartley meeting John Hagee is funny both for the story described (though I would have loved to see Hartley rip into Hagee in person), but also for the writer’s research fail in describing Hartley as having appeared in “dozens” of adult films. She’s a multi-decade veteran veteran with a resume closer to nine hundred.

    (Insert Dragonball Z joke here.)


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