New Jacob Fred Album Released

The Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, a great, great jazz trio, has released a new album. They're doing it In Rainbows style, with a download from their website. Send your email address to them and you'll get the download link .

Only did a once-thru of it, but I noted that it has a couple of tunes from their last album, "Lil' Tae Rides Again" (also highly recommended, especially for fans of electronic music. An excellent melding of the jazz sensibility and electronic manipulation). This is definitely a less processed album, but more instrumentation (banjos, different types of pianos, guitars) than the bass/drums/electric piano I've come to expect from them. Other songs are ones that have been played on the second sets of their summer tour.

Did Obama just do something crafty?

So everyone that I read on the intertubes is getting impatient/angry with Obama, not seeing him move fast enough, hit the Republicans hard enough, and designing a bailout bill with GOP-requested tax cuts.

I've tried to be patient. Maybe he's doing this just to deliver on a promise he made in the campaign. If the country sees that zero GOP house members voted for the stimulus bill after all the glad-handling he did, hopefully most will clue into the idea that it isn't the Democrats that are being unreasonable.

Regardless, I read this a bit earlier and chuckled:

The Obama administration has been floating the idea of naming Republican Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.) to be Commerce Secretary, several Senate sources said Thursday.
In case you forgot, the original nominee, NM Gov Bill Richardson, had to withdraw his name after a criminal probe in California released his name. So, this spot's still open. Also, keep in mind that NH's governor is a democrat, and will pick Gregg's successor if he takes the post. That would equal 60 votes (once Frankin is certified).

Funny timing, don't you think? Oh yes, and the senate is just starting to take up the stimulus bill.


Video Time: Must-See Starcraft

Key moments:

9:00 - 9:35

13:00 - 15:00 (commentary on tactics followed by epic fail. with bonus "hero" drone at 14:00)

Economist: Forget the Recession, This Is a Depression

Sent to you via Google Reader

Economist: Forget the Recession, This Is a Depression

With this morning's news that employers laid off 524,000 workers in December, at least one prominent economist has some news of his own: "The economy is the jaws of a depression," Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland, wrote to reporters this morning.

What's the criterion? Morici claims it's this: Recessions correct themselves, while depressions do not.

Recessions are like stock market corrections—after a time, equity prices rebound without government intervention. Federal Reserve interest rate cuts and stimulus tax rebates and spending have shortened the lives and eased the impact of post-World War II recessions, but those policies did not end them. The economy self corrected.

By contrast, Morici writes, the troubles soon to be inherited by President-elect Barack Obama are more structural, stemming from "bad management practices at the large money center banks and the huge foreign trade deficit. These problems are not self-correcting."

Trouble is, Morici adds, an enormous spending package alone won't fix the problem.

The economy will not recover without fundamental changes in banking and trade policy. A large stimulus package, though necessary, will only give the economy a temporary lift but then unemployment will rise again and continue at unacceptable levels indefinitely without successively larger stimulus packages and huge federal budget deficits. The economy is a depression, not a recession.

The forecast lends truth to that great Onion headline that followed the election: "Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job."

John Brennan Is Set to Be Really Powerful

Sent to you via Google Reader

John Brennan Is Set to Be Really Powerful

Everyone in the blogosphere — Glenn, I'm looking in your direction — who may have thought that John Brennan was kneecapped just because he didn't become CIA director should check out what President-elect Barack Obama had to say about Brennan during the Blair/Panetta rollout:

I'm pleased to announce that John Brennan – a close advisor, CIA veteran and former leader of the National Counter-Terrorism Center  – will be my Homeland Security Advisor and Deputy National Security Advisor for Counterterrorism, serving with the rank of Assistant to the President.  John has the experience, vision and integrity to advance America's security.

The point isn't just that Obama hugged Brennan. ("A close advisor… experience, vision and integrity.") Assistant to the President" is the highest rank that any White House staffer can hold. Anyone with that rank has the right to walk into the Oval Office and get a sit-down with the president. At the beginning of the Bush administration, Dick Cheney fought to ensure that Scooter Libby held that rank.

Now, what'll that mean? At a minimum, it'll mean that when Obama is unsure of something he's hearing from CIA, or from Dennis Blair as Director of National Intelligence, he'll turn to Brennan for a second or third opinion. It's way too early to know — but that won't stop me from wondering — if Brennan at the White House and Deputy CIA Director Steve Kappes might be the actual centers of power for the intelligence community.

Free Day at the Catamount Center

The Catamount Center is opening this weekend, and according to this, it looks like everything (trail access, rentals) is free on Saturday. Karen and I will definitely be there, you should too.


Making Musical Progress

It is entirely possible that some musical ideas could be posted in the near future. Finally have a tool that will allow K and I to do more than just noodle around.