Late Night Listening with Mitch Ryder and Marianne Faithfull

February 26, 2014

In my late-night disc jockey days, I’d put this on and crank the studio monitors all the way up:

The album, “Never Kick a Sleeping Dog,” also has his cover of Prince’s “When You Were Mine,” which I posted a couple of years ago.

Always wondered what he and Eric Burdon might have duetted on. Maybe

And, happy birthday, Mitch.



Sometimes, You’re Just Inspired . . .

February 23, 2014



Laureate Stiglitz: Government (That’s Us Taxpayers) Has the Banks’ Back

February 22, 2014

Let us not forget, while the carping about bank regulation continues apace, that, finally, it’s We the People who are insuring the banks and abetting their making of fortunes.


Late Night Listening with B.B. King

February 19, 2014

His signature song, performed for the benefit of the inmates at Sing Sing prison:


Pay to Vote?

February 16, 2014

Billionaire Tom Perkins, already famous for his comparison of the effort to address income inequality to , is apparently enjoying being a media star. After he threw out the idea of voting based on wealth at a public appearance, he was asked if he was kidding. He said he was being “outrageous.” He’s obviously taking pleasure in getting people angry, and some people are like that.

Just one thing to keep in mind over all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over taxes by the wealthy: tax rates on the rich are quite low in historical terms, and effective tax rates, which measure what they’re actually paying, are lower still.

Right now, the highest federal income tax rate is 39.6 percent. That’s up from 35 percent in 2012 and the same level as during most of the Clinton years. After bouncing around for three decades after the income tax was made law, the tax rate was 94 percent in 1945. Through the 1950s and early 60s, it was in the 70-percent range. During the Reagan years, it was cut to 50 percent. During the administration of Bush the Elder, it was briefly down to 28 percent.

The effective tax rate is lower. For the wealthy, somewhere in the upper 20 percent range. And lower-income households pay a larger share of their incomes in taxes than wealthier ones. And, of course, we all know some of our biggest corporations pay little or nothing in taxes.

So, don’t shed too many tears over the tax burden on our wealthiest citizens.


Matt Tiabbi, Rolling Stone, Continues to Go Where Too Few Other Journalists are Willing to Tread

February 16, 2014

Matt’s not the only one who remembers the dark day when Gramm/Leach/Bliley became law an unshackled the people who later wrecked the economy while walking away rich and free.

As he notes, a little-noticed provision allowing commercial banks to engage in “complementary to a financial activity and does not pose a substantial risk to the safety or soundness of depository institutions or the financial system generally” has had far-reaching effects as the bankers tended to embrace the first half and ignore the second. Worse, no one seems to know how to define what “complementary to a financial activity” means, which would lead to limits on that activity and a measure of control. Right now, we have neither. The phrase is not so deep as a well or wide as a church door, but has been enough and t`will serve to expand the wealth and power of big financial insitutions.

Matt published a new piece this past week which, in the context of his other work, should be considered essential reading.

The crisis is not yet over, and a second wave may yet roll over us.


Late Night (Post Valentine’s) Listening with the Wise and Wonderful Betty Wright

February 16, 2014