Scott Timburg and Kathleen Sharp wonder if music-streaming services like Spotify are "killing music." "Never in the history of rock and roll has it been as tough for a musician to make a living as it is today," they say, and when you see the royalty rates Spotify pays, you might be convinced as well -- if haven't already noticed that music streaming has now made it possible to "own" entire albums without really owning them.
If some right-winger is in your ear saying WHY DOEZNT TEH LIBRULZ JUST BOYCOTTZ TEH EVERYTHINGZ HA HA FREE MARKETZ!!!!!, the Consumerist comes to the rescue with "5 Reasons Why People Still Buy Stuff From Companies They Hate." Cheapness figures in, especially with real middle-class incomes going nowhere fast, and convenience figures in, which the rural and urban poor know more acutely than I, but the main problems seem to be a) monopolies every-damn-where and b) no one seems to have gotten the bright idea lately that superior customer service might actually make them rich enough.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation makes the case for community broadband, especially in a world where a handful of internet service providers control everything and have no incentive to do anything better. Sadly, community broadband -- which I feel compelled to remind right-wingers constantly going on about big government would be locally-controlled and belong to the citizenry -- faces a lot of obstacles, like the laws banning it in 20 states. If the big corporations are so afraid of community broadband, they could try, you know, doing better at what they're supposedly good at.
Mike Konczal explains why the Cato Institute's case for a "basic income guarantee" replacing current welfare programs is, to say the least, problematic. Mr. Konczal cites plenty of problems -- welfare programs aren't as inefficient as Cato says, and counting Medicaid and Social Security as "welfare" isn't particularly accurate, since they help specific populations. But the math isn't on Cato's side, either -- if, indeed, the federal government spends $660 billion on welfare programs, dividing that by 300 million Americans only nets us $2,200 each, which may pay for a month or two of rent and then again may not. That's not much of a "guarantee."
It had to happen sooner or later: folks are beginning to call for the return of earmarks, noting that compromise and progress were a whole heck of a lot easier when some horse-trading could go on. I agree that it was easier back in the day, but not necessarily that it was better, and while today's legislative constipation certainly hurts our efforts at making America better, at least the Republicans have made their reactionary philosophies about as manifest as they can be made without actually trying to return to the era of one-white-male-landowner-one-vote. All we have to do is get the "liberal" media to notice.
Finally, Yale University researchers have found a drug compound that appears to reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease in mice. Which isn't the same as reversing those effects in people, but it's still a ray of hope. In the meantime, you might be better off eating one serving of baked or broiled (but not fried!) fish weekly. (And no, tuna out of a can doesn't count, or I'd be doing that as we speak.)