Exchange-traded products (ETPs) are wildly popular. Their assets grew more than 30% a year during the past decade, compared to just 5% to 6% for mutual funds, according to McKinsey & Co. The management consultancy projects ETP assets will more than double over the next five years to $3.1-$4.7 … [visit site to read . . . → Read More: These Widely Overlooked Securities Yield up to 16%
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About three months ago, I wrote a Money and Markets column that said I was going to start helping my dad generate more income from his dividend stocks by writing covered call options against them. And since we just closed out our first two positions using a special approach that I have not discussed here before, I wanted to give … [visit site to read . . . → Read More: Buying to close covered call positions
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Do you suffer from progressive-cause fatigue? Does daybreak reveal an in-box bursting with entreaties from progressive politicians and causes pitching the cause-du-jour and pleading for you to add your name and slide the cursor to ?submit?? If you immediately hit ?delete? and don?t even bother to skim the offerings, read no further. But if you?re [...]Related posts:
Want the scoop on hot races around the country? Get the digest emailed to you each weekday morning. Sign up here.Leading Off:
? WV-Sen: Republican businessman John Raese appears to be determined to keep putting his foot further and further into his mouth until he's metabolizing his own shinbone. The three-time Senate loser, now attempting to avenge his 2010 savaging by Democratic then-Gov. Joe Manchin, caught flak over the weekend for making the reasonable point that anti-smoking laws are really just like forcing Jews to wear the Star of David in Nazi Germany. Now he's at it again, defending far-right rocker Ted Nugent over comments the Nuge made suggesting Republicans should "chop off [Democrats'] heads in November" and saying that if President Barack Obama is reelected, he intends to be either dead or in jail by next spring.
Raese went on to compare Nugent's comment to a football coach using a figure of speech, adding that investigating Nugent is a means of "controlling the people."Raese's antics raise the prospect that Manchin might even manage to get reelected this year without having to shoot a Democratic agenda item with a rifle in a campaign ad. (SaoMagnifico)
If West Virginia basketball coach "Bob Huggins came in and told you that we are in a vicious game against Penn State and we?re gonna go right on that court and we?re gonna kill 'em, would the FBI want to investigate Bob Huggins? I don?t think so. That?s called a figure of speech. Controlling the people -- remember that -- controlling the people. Ted Nugent is a patriot. Ted Nugent is somebody that is firm in this country and when you see scenarios that break down like that scenario, it?s a concern, isn?t it? It?s a concern."
Sequestered cuts keep K Street on high alert: “Defense contractors, healthcare groups and associations representing everything from housing to education reported that they were monitoring, and in some cases opposing, the budget cuts that are set to begin next year. The cuts were set in motion by the agreement to lift the debt ceiling last summer.” [The Hill]
John Boehner would cut health care measure to fund lower student loan rates: “Republicans and Democrats on Wednesday laid down competing, partisan visions of how to maintain affordable student loan rates, with the GOP aiming to eliminate a health care measure and Democrats looking to tax people like Newt Gingrich.” [Huffington Post]
Massachusetts to take up cost control: “A long-awaited health care system overhaul is finally on the move. Fourteen months after Gov. Deval Patrick filed a proposal on the issue, Senate President Therese Murray said Wednesday she expects the Senate to take action in mid-May on a bill making major changes to the way health care is delivered and paid for in Massachusetts.” [Boston Herald]
Health law?s demise would save big bucks, for some: “Whatever their opinion of the health-care reform law, wealthy Americans have a lot of money at risk in the Supreme Court?s coming decision on the law?s constitutionality.” [Marketwatch]
NH Senate votes to ban partial-birth abortions: “The Senate heeded warnings Wednesday that legislation blocking public funding to abortion providers could jeopardize New Hampshire’s Medicaid program and effectively killed the bill.” [AP]
Welcome to Justiceline, ThinkProgress Justice?s morning round-up of the latest legal news and developments. Remember to follow us on Twitter at @TPJustice
Plutocrap: The American heartland shows the devastating effects of decades of conservative policies.
Murrmurrs: Only surrealism can do justice to the global-warming-denialist scam.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson: The Christian Right's theocratic aspirations follow from a very old tradition.
Man Boobz: A practical experiment exposes rampant misogyny in certain areas of Reddit.
Round-up by Infidel753; tips to mbru [at] crooksandliars [dot] com.
A variety of links to articles/interviews/speeches on current issues that may be of interest.[...]
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Visual source: Newseum
Charles Blow on the coming Republican campaign:
This is the trick: Run on fiscal conservatism; bring social conservatism along for the ride. The Trojan horse platform.E. J. Dionne Jr. on Mitt Romney as magician:
Mitt Romney has made clear during this primary season that he was willing to be neither moderate nor independent ? but rather ?severely conservative? ? in seeking the Republican nomination. He was willing to court the far right wing of his party and advance its agenda ? a frightening fiscal agenda and an even more frightening social agenda.
Romney is right in saying he has ?a very different vision? from Obama?s, and this is where the magic comes in. He envisions ?an America driven by freedom, where free people, pursuing happiness in their own unique ways, create free enterprises that employ more and more Americans. And because there are so many enterprises that are succeeding, the competition for hardworking, educated, skilled employees is intense, so wages and salaries rise.?Fareed Zakaria on President Obama's picking the wrong "Buffett Rule" to push:
Just like that, all would be well ? as if we never needed the trust-busting of the Progressive Era, the social legislation of the New Deal, the health programs of the Great Society and the coordinated action of the world?s governments in 2008 and 2009 to keep the Great Recession from becoming something far worse.
While polls might momentarily show that it works, Americans are generally aspirational, not envious. Over the years voters tend to support a government that focuses on creating opportunity rather than one that tries to reduce inequality. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair?s great feat was to position themselves as pro-market, pro-growth progressives. That hard-won image of a new, modern left can easily be lost. [...]Nick Turse says that more than 40 years after the Tet Offensive and more than a decade of war in Afghanistan, the United States still doesn't understand guerrilla warfare:
Warren Buffett has said that, in the midst of the economic slowdown, his strategy was to invest in America. That?s the Buffett rule Obama should follow.
As in Vietnam, the United States is once again betting on a war of attrition. But the enemy hasn't bought in. Instead of slugging it out toe to toe, in large suicidal offensives, the Haqqanis and their allies have planned a savvy, conservative campaign meant to save fighters and resources while sending an unmistakable message to the Afghan population and the American public.Alex Pareene writes that a recent National Journalarticle effectively describes the outcome for the screwed middle class got screwed but misses the reasons for it:
The attrition of U.S. support for the war is unmistakable. As late as 2009, according to a poll by ABC News and the Washington Post, 56% of Americans believed the Afghan war was still worth fighting. Just days before the Haqqanis' coordinated attacks, that number had dropped to 35%. Over the same span, the number of Americans who are convinced the war is not worth fighting jumped from 41% to 60%. The latest Haqqani offensive is likely to reinforce these trends.
But if we want to talk about how things got so bad for formerly middle-class people like [Johnny] Whitmire, the culprit is basically the financialization of our entire system of capitalism and the crippling of the labor movement; the slow death of the Mainline Protestant tradition doesn?t really enter into it. Whitmire was screwed by a venal bank and betrayed by an administration that gave venal banks way too much leeway to screw people.Derek Thompson seems to think Eric Cantor has a screw loose:
It is a matter of economic dogma that taxes discourage behavior. Eric Cantor has obviously convinced himself that higher taxes on income under $30,000 will discourage poverty. On the issue of ridiculous taxes, maybe we should create a new levy on comments that the tax code would be "fairer" if the bottom 40% did more to support the burden of top 1%. That sort of inanity ought to be discouraged.Terence Jeffrey says a constitutional amendment proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ted Deutch is an attack on the Bill of Rights.
Lawrence S. Wittner on the shame of nations:
On April 17, 2012, as millions of Americans were filing their income tax returns, the highly-respected Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its latest study of world military spending. In case Americans were wondering where most of their tax money -- and the tax money of other nations -- went in the previous year, the answer from SIPRI was clear: to war and preparations for war.Robert Fisk on another shame:
After at first denying the use of phosphorous shells during the second battle of Fallujah, US forces later admitted that they had fired the munitions against buildings in the city. Independent reports have spoken of a birth-defect rate in Fallujah far higher than other areas of Iraq, let alone other Arab countries. No one, of course, can produce cast-iron evidence that American munitions have caused the tragedy of Fallujah's children. [...]Amy Goodman:
Studies since the 2004 Fallujah battles have recorded profound increases in infant mortality and cancer in Fallujah; the latest report, whose authors include a doctor at Fallujah General Hospital, says that congenital malformations account for 15 per cent of all births in Fallujah.
Members of Congress, fond of quoting the country?s founders, should recall these words of Benjamin Franklin before voting on CISPA: ?They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.?
Been to the movies lately? If so, you might have asked yourself ....
DIRECT DESCENDANTS? - President Coriolanus Snow (from the film "Hunger Games" as portrayed by Donald Sutherland) and Karl Marx, the author of "The Communist Manifesto" and "Das Kapital".
Maybe, maybe not .... but either way: why not stop in for a look at news items outside the headlines, in the arts and sciences; foreign news that generates little notice in the US media and ....well, just plain whimsy.....
ART NOTES - an exhibition of paintings curated by the singer Marianne Faithfull - to go along with a photography exhibit chronicling her (frequently) turbulent life - will be at the Tate Museum in Liverpool, England through September 2nd.
LITERARY NOTES - two new fantasy books for children are to be written by the poet Michael Tolkien - the eldest grandson of the The Hobbit author JRR Tolkien - and Gerald Dickens (the great-great grandson of Charles) will narrate the audiobook versions.
DEBAUCHERY CENTRAL - a former Dutch pastor has opened an online sex shop for Christians - in the hope of improving their private lives and helping them to embrace sexuality.
WEDNESDAY's CHILD is Zola the Cat - who watches over Iliad Books in North Hollywood, California. She had been kept (in her youth) in a small cage, where neglect and infection caused her to lose one eye and several teeth ... but today Zola is an affectionate and friendly cat.
IT'S BEEN A TOUGH YEAR for the Carnival Cruise Lines: first there was the wreck of the Costa Concordia (skippered by Francesco Schettino who is now under house arrest) then a different vessel, the Costa Allegra caught fire while at seas and has to be scrapped - leading to the retirement of the Costa Group head. Now comes word that the crew of the Carnival cruise ship Star Princess ignored pleas from three passengers that a small boat they spotted was in distress - with two of the three boat's passengers dying of dehydration and heat stroke.
SEPARATED at BIRTH? ... my dear readers, more than a few people suggested to yours truly that my doppelganger (using German deliberately) is Florian Schneider - the co-founder of the band Kraftwerk. Were they right?
UNIVERSITY GRADUATES from Portugal and Spain - known as the Indignado Generation - who are unable to find work at home ... are increasingly finding opportunities in Africa and South America.
ART NOTES - late works by Claude Monet - depicting iconic motifs from his garden in Giverny - are at the Cincinnati, Ohio Art Museum through May 13th.
PREPARATIONS ARE UNDERWAY to mark the 100th anniversary this June of the birth of Alan Turing - the British mathematician who was a computer pioneer and a master decoder during WW-II .... yet whose conviction for being gay (leading to his suicide) has yet to win a pardon from the UK government.
NEXT MONTH groundbreaking drawings of the human body by Leonardo da Vinci are to go on public display for the first time at Buckingham Palace.
THURSDAY's CHILD is Corky the Cat - a North Dakota kitteh born with a rare congenital birth defect - where his legs were backwards and overlapping - but is now recovering nicely from corrective surgery.
AT AGE SIXTY-EIGHT the rock star Johnny Hallyday - considered the 'French Elvis' - will perform at the Royal Albert Hall, his first concert ever in Britain.
SIGN of the APOCALYPSE - police arrested a man after a citizen notified them that a jewel thief had been seen on a street in Stuttgart, Germany .... only to learn he was an actor who had recently portrayed the wanted criminal on a very popular TV crime-busting program.
FRIDAY's CHILD is Suki the Cat - a Canadian kitteh who went missing nine months ago in Montreal, but was located .... at a PetSmart store in Ottawa.
......and finally, for a song of the week ............... I'd like to both reprise (and update) a profile I did a few years back qbout the careers of John Lomax and his son Alan - two musicologists who worked for the Library of Congress (bearing one of their tape recorders) during the 1930's-1940's and who were responsible for bringing the music of Leadbelly and many other musicians from the rural South to prominence (and in his later years, Alan Lomax did so for non-American music as well). Few figures deserve greater credit for the preservation of America's folk music traditions.
Mississippi native John Lomax grew up in Texas before 1900 and while a dutiful student loved transcribing cowboy songs. His professors at the University of Texas dissuaded him from that, and he became the school's registrar after graduation. He went for his master's at Harvard in 1906 and - this time - received encouragement from the faculty.
He returned to UT to teach English and in 1910 published Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads with a foreword from none other than .... President Theodore Roosevelt. But Lomax lost his job in 1917 as a result of a feud between state and university politics, and he relocated to Chicago, spending several years in the banking profession.
It wasn't until 1933 (after the death of his wife) that his sons convinced him to resume his musicology interest, and he (along with Alan) began an association with the Library of Congress (based on John's sterling academic credentials). They met up with Huddie 'Leadbelly' Ledbetter in Louisiana's notorious Angola Prison but - on the acclaim to the recordings they made - tried to convince the governor to commute Leadbelly's sentence. One reason why John Lomax sought out prisoners was his belief that those isolated from recent musical trends would be more likely to have preserved pure folk songs. John Lomax also oversaw recordings by Spanish speakers along the Rio Grande and French-speaking Acadians in Louisiana.
John Lomax would sometimes in his narrations exhibit some patronizing tones towards African-Americans . But as one reviewer notes: for a white Southerner in the 1930's, his use of the prevailing vernacular had to be expected, while his wanting to preserve works by black performers (especially inmates) was remarkable.
John Lomax published several books and received many honors before his death in January, 1948 at age 79. Leadbelly performed at the University of Texas as a tribute. And just this month: John Lomax's first recording of prison songs is being re-released, with some of his own commentary on it.
His son Alan Lomax was born in Austin, Texas in 1915 and worked with his father for seven years. When John curtailed his workload after passing age 70 in 1940, Alan continued and expanded their fieldwork. He also recorded known performers in jazz (Jelly Roll Morton) and after WW-II he sat down with Memphis Slim, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Big Bill Broonzy and recorded their recollections. After hosting several radio programs, he relocated to England in 1950.
Alan Lomax documented traditional British folksongs for much of the decade (as well as recordings in Spain and Italy). Upon his return Stateside he befriended musicians from bluesman Mississippi Fred McDowell to Woodie Guthrie before turning to the West Indies, with English, Spanish and French recordings as a result. As technologies increased in the 1970's, he began videotaping performers and turned more to lecturing, writing and helping to collect their old recordings for preservation digitally. Here is what showed up in the FBI file about him:
"Neighborhood investigation shows him to be a very peculiar individual in that he is only interested in folklore music, being very temperamental and ornery. .... He has no sense of money values, handling his own and Government property in a neglectful manner, and paying practically no attention to his personal appearance. ... He has a tendency to neglect his work over a period of time and then just before a deadline he produces excellent results".
Alan Lomax continued his work (Rounder Records issued a 100-CD series showcasing Lomax's most legendary field recordings) until his death nearly ten years ago (July, 2002) at the age of 87. In 2000 he was named as a Library of Congress Living Legend recipient.
And just recently, thousands of the songs and interviews he recorded are available for free online - many for the first time.
Finally, Brian Eno - in liner notes to the 1997 Alan Lomax Collection Sampler on Rounder - believes that Alan Lomax help paved the way for the acceptance of "world music".
While this father-son team is no longer of this earth, they do have some descendents in the music business (albeit in a more conventional manner). John Lomax III (below left) - the grandson of John and the nephew of Alan - helped launch the careers of Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, and the late blues guitarist Rocky Hill (brother of ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill). And his own son John Nova Lomax (below right) is an award-winning journalist, with music profiles in particular. Sounds like these two are upholding a family tradition quite well.
As a thirteen year-old, I recall listening to a friend's copy of the second album by Grand Funk Railroad and was intrigued (even at that age) by the writer's credits for a song about prison life. It was the only song not written by the band, and Inside Looking Out listed four names as co-writers. I recognized "E. Burdon" as Eric Burdon (then in the band "War") and some years later I learned that "B. Chandler" was Bryan (Chas) Chandler - his bandmate in The Animals from a few years earlier. It turned out that the Grand Funk version was a cover of a 1966 Animals tune (though it was done in a much heavier, slower tone).
It was not until years later that I learned that The Animals performed a traditional prison song Rosie - which is how the Animals referred to it live - until they wrote new lyrics for their 1966 studio recording (at which point they changed the title to "Inside Looking Out").
Oh, and the other two writer's credits? Since it was unclear who originally wrote "Rosie" (and would have been in the public domain by then, anyway) - possibly as a tribute: The Animals first listed "J(ohn) Lomax" and "A(lan) Lomax" as co-writers.
Sitting here lonely like a
Spend my time doing the
best I can
Walls and bars they surround me
But I don't want your sympathy
I just need your tender loving
To keep me cool in this burning oven
When my time is up, be my reason
Like Adam's work on God's green earth
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