Paul Krugman: Doubling Down on W (NY Times Column)
… there's still a substantial chance that the outsiders will falter and someone less obviously out there - probably Mr. Rubio - will end up on top. And if this happens, it will be important to realize that not being Donald Trump doesn't make someone a moderate, or even halfway reasonable. The truth is that there are no moderates in the Republican primary, and being reasonable appears to be a disqualifying characteristic for anyone seeking the party's nod.
Paul Krugman: Obama The Job-Killer (NY Times Blog)
Given the GOP field's collective decision to go for Bushonomics squared, it seemed like a good time to update this chart.
EUGENIA WILLIAMSON: Punk Crock (The Baffler)
Whistling eternal yesterday.
20 Famous People Who Have No Idea How Reality Works Anymore (Cracked)
We like to joke that famous people live in their own little bubbles. But, as it turns out, some celebrities are so out of touch with reality that it's like they literally live on a different planet than us.
Barbara Ellen: Can I keep my charity impulse going all year? (The Guardian)
People tend to think of volunteering over the festive season. Why only then?
How I found my groove: celebrities' life-changing moments (The Guardian)
Becoming an astronaut, conquering comedy, overcoming stage fright to find Hollywood fame… Jack Black, Jenny Eclair, Dita Von Teese and seven more life changers tell Katie Forster about the time they dared to try something different.
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Michelle in AZ
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
HI EVERYBODY. I'M MOVING!
THE COMPUTER WILL BE DOWN FOR A WHILE. I'LL BE BACK WHEN I GET IT UP AND RUNNING.
I WISH EVERYONE PEACE AND LOVE AND A HAPPY, PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Still sunny, still colder than seasonal.
The Beatles are reaching a new audience through streaming and listeners have an early verdict -- "Come Together" is their favorite song from the Fab Four.
The best-selling band in history on Thursday ended a long boycott and made its catalog available through streaming, the fast-growing sector of on-demand online music.
Spotify, the largest streaming service, said that fans in the first three days had streamed Beatles songs 70 million times -- which means that on average every user of the site listened to one Beatles song around the Christmas holiday.
"Come Together" was well ahead as the most popular song, with more than 2.3 million streams as of early Monday on Spotify.
"Here Comes the Sun," also off "Abbey Road," was also among the most listened although it was outpaced by two other Beatles tunes with themes of hope -- "Let It Be" and "Hey Jude."
Most Pirated TV Shows
'Game of Thrones'
Tops List of 2015's
HBO's Game of Thrones once again topped TorrentFreak's year-end list of the most pirated TV shows. The HBO drama, which has taken the top slot since 2012, was followed by The Walking Dead and The Big Bang Theory in the No. 2 and 3 slots, respectively.
According to TorrentFreak, which compiles the annual list, Game of Thrones had an estimated 14.4 million downloads, with 8.1 million television viewers. The Walking Dead had an estimated 6.9 million downloads and The Big Bang Theory followed with 4.4 million.
The rest of the top 10 pirated shows and estimated downloads are below. The ranking does not included downloads from file-hosting and online streaming services.
1. Game of Thrones - 14.4 million
2. The Walking Dead - 6.9 million
3. The Big Bang Theory - 4.4 million
4. Arrow - 3.9 million
5. The Flash - 3.6 million
6. Mr. Robot - 3.5 million
7. Vikings - 3.3 million
8. Supergirl - 3 million
9. The Blacklist - 2.9 million
10. Suits - 2.6 million
'Game of Thrones'
18 Shows Break $1M
Fans of Broadway gave theater producers reasons to smile this Christmas, with 18 of the current 37 shows breaking the $1 million mark for the week, led by "Hamilton," the new Andrew Lloyd Webber production "School of Rock - The Musical" and Disney's "Aladdin" and "The Lion King."
The Broadway League said Monday that the shows on the Great White Way pulled in $36,271,797 for the very mild weather week ending Sunday, much better than the previous week's $29,484,797 but more than $4 million less - and with 19,000 fewer people attending overall - than the same week last year, when 36 shows attracted $40,993,950 and 318,721 ticket buyers.
"Aladdin" grossed $2,095,363 for eight performances, a new house record at the New Amsterdam Theatre. That haul surpassed even its nine-performance record of $2,078,163 set this summer.
"The Lion King" broke the eight-performance-week house record at the Minskoff Theatre with $2,587,925. (The touring version of the show, currently in Chicago, set the Cadillac Palace house record with a gross of $1,810,167.)
"School of Rock - The Musical" pulled in $1,506,236 for the week, setting a new house record for an eight-show week at the Winter Garden Theatre, beating the old record there held by "Mamma Mia!" set in 2009.
US software maker Adobe on Monday released security updates for its Flash video player amid ongoing concerns about security holes that could let hackers in.
Adobe said it was aware of a report of "limited, targeted attacks" against unprotected versions of the software.
But some websites and services have been abandoning Adobe for security reasons.
Facebook this month said it was switching software for its embedded videos while adding that "we are continuing to work together with Adobe to deliver a reliable and secure Flash experience for games on our platform."
Apple notably dropped the use of Flash in its iPhones several years ago, and earlier this year Amazon said it had stopped accepting advertising in Flash format.
An independent computer security researcher uncovered a database of information on 191 million voters that is exposed on the open Internet due to an incorrectly configured database, he said on Monday.
The database includes names, addresses, birth dates, party affiliations, phone numbers and emails of voters in all 50 U.S. states and Washington, researcher Chris Vickery said in a phone interview.
Vickery, a tech support specialist from Austin, Texas, said he found the information while looking for information exposed on the Web in a bid to raise awareness of data leaks.
While voter data is typically considered public information, it would be time-consuming and expensive to gather a database of all American voters. A trove of all U.S. voter data could be valuable to criminals looking for lists of large numbers of targets for a variety of fraud schemes.
A representative with the U.S. Federal Elections Commission, which regulates campaign financing, said the agency does not have jurisdiction over protecting voter records.
Fat Tony's Revenge
With three seats open on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and a chance to flip control of the judicial branch, a wave of campaign cash, independent expenditures and negative TV ads flooded the state in the weeks before the November election.
Six candidates combined for $12.2 million in contributions, with two independent groups spending $3.5 million. The record sum for a state judicial election serves as a hint of what lies ahead when voters in two dozen states will cast ballots for state supreme court justices in 2016.
The flow of money into state judicial races has been rising in recent years and shows no sign of slowing down. Races in a handful of states, including Ohio and North Carolina, are among those that will be watched closely.
The increase in political funding has raised questions about how courts can maintain their independence when campaign donors and interest groups spend so much money seeking influence on the bench.
The debate is not limited to a handful of states. Thirty-eight hold some form of election for their highest courts, whether it is a partisan, nonpartisan or retention election in which justices face an up-or-down vote.
Same Old Racist
F.W. de Klerk
Nobel Peace Prize winner and South Africa's last apartheid President F.W. de Klerk criticized as "folly" a campaign to remove from Oxford University a statue of British colonialist Cecil John Rhodes.
Oriel College at Oxford University is reviewing whether to leave the statue in place after receiving a petition from the Rhodes Must Fall movement, the college said in a statement earlier this month. Rhodes attended Oriel College, leaving 2 percent of his estate to the school on his death in 1902.
The Rhodes Must Fall movement began in South Africa at the University of Cape Town when students protested until a statue of Rhodes was removed in April.
Historians describe Rhodes as a segregationist who made a fortune in southern Africa. He is also remembered as a philanthropist, lending his name to the prestigious Rhodes scholarship.
F.W. de Klerk
Rio de Janeiro
The first few times American landscape architect Sara Zewde visited Rio de Janeiro's Valongo Wharf, she struggled to comprehend the recently unearthed remnants of what was once among the biggest slave ports in the world.
Excavated starting in 2011, the site is largely inscrutable, even to the trained eye: The spot where more than a half million enslaved African men and women debarked after harrowing journeys across the Atlantic is an open archaeological pit containing a jumble of paving stones.
A few paragraphs-long cardboard signs are the sole indication of the historical significance of the site, which experts hail as one-of-a-kind in the Americas.
The unearthing of Valongo, which was excavated as part of a multibillion-dollar project aimed at bringing big business to Rio's long derelict port neighborhood, has sparked heated discussions about how black heritage sites are handled in Brazil. While the developers of the "Porto Maravilha" ("Marvelous Port") project insist they've done more than enough by excavating the site, black activists say more is needed to give the space its due.
Brazilians have long been loath to grapple with the shadow of slavery in a country that took nearly half of the more than 10.5 million Africans shipped to the Americas, compared with roughly 645,000 taken to the United States. Slavery was only outlawed here in 1888 - more than two decades later than in the U.S.
Coke Dollars Were Flowing
Even with its $1 million grant returned and the nonprofit the money helped found, the Global Energy Balance Network, shuttered, the fallout over Coca-Cola funding scientific research that supports exercise over diet change as the best way to combat obesity continues. The Denver Post reported on Sunday that James Hill, a professor of nutrition at the University of Colorado who helped run GEBN, received $550,000 directly from Coke.
In addition to revealing the direct support offered to Hill, who was shown to have worked exceedingly closely with Coke officials in emails published by The Associated Press in November, the Post story offered further details on the questionable relationship between the corporation at the nonprofit it supported. Hill traveled around the world for speaking engagements paid for by Coke and turned to higher-ups at the company to get a job for one of his sons. In response to his query about a position related to international affairs or politics, Rhona Applebaum, Coke's chief science officer at the time, responded by writing, "I will make this happen!"
The university's Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, where Hill works, has received more than $50 million from other corporate sponsors over the past five years, though school officials pointed out to the Post that its federal funding far exceeds what it receives from private companies. But events hosted by the center suggest that the point of view of the research conducted there, and the way the findings are presented, support the perspectives of its corporate donors. In 2014, for example, a conference for journalists on obesity featured employees of both Coke and McDonald's, as well as other speakers who vehemently argued against soda taxes and other public-health policy measures that would cut into the market of the company that was, in part, paying for the event.
Kristin Jones, a health reporter for Rocky Mountain PBS I-News who attended the conference, told the Post, "I wouldn't have gone through a three-day conference on the science of obesity if I knew it was partly sponsored by Coca-Cola."
Norwegian skiing great Stein Eriksen had the perfect hair, the perfect form and typically the perfect line down the course.
So stylish and graceful on the slopes, the Olympic champion helped usher in modern skiing. He died Sunday at his home in Park City, Utah. He was 88.
Eriksen rose to prominence at the 1952 Winter Olympics in his hometown of Oslo when he captured gold in the giant slalom and silver in the slalom. Two years later, he won three gold medals at the world championships in Are, Sweden.
The charismatic Eriksen became the face of the sport and portrayed it in a new, exciting way. He could perform all sorts of stunts on skis, including somersaults - an early prelude to the tricks in freestyle skiing.
Although from Norway, Eriksen lived in the U.S. for the last six decades, holding one position after another at various ski resorts around the country. He was director of skiing and a ski school instructor at Snowmass, Colorado. He taught skiing at Sugarbush, Vermont. He even owned his own shop in Aspen, Colorado, in addition to being the ski school director.
Eriksen is survived by his wife, Francoise; son, Bjorn; three daughters, Julianna, Ava and Anja; and five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son, Stein Jr.
Meadowlark Lemon, the "clown prince" of basketball's barnstorming Harlem Globetrotters, whose blend of hook shots and humor brought joy to millions of fans around the world, has died. He was 83.
Though skilled enough to play professionally, Lemon instead wanted to entertain, his dream of playing for the Globetrotters hatched after watching a newsreel of the all-black team at a cinema house when he was 11.
Lemon ended up becoming arguably the team's most popular player, a showman known as much for his confetti-in-the-water-bucket routine and slapstick comedy as his half-court hook shots and no-look, behind-the-back passes.
A sign of his crossover appeal, Lemon was inducted into both the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the International Clown Hall of Fame.
Lemon played for the Globetrotters during the team's heyday from the mid-1950s to the late-1970s, delighting fans with his skills with a ball and a joke. Traveling by car, bus, train or plane nearly every night, Lemon covered nearly 4 million miles to play in over 100 countries and in front of popes and presidents, kings and queens. Known as the "Clown Prince of Basketball," he averaged 325 games per year during his prime, that luminous smile never dimming.
Born in 1932, Meadow George Lemon III - he lengthened his name after joining the Globetrotters - didn't have money for a basketball when he was young, so he rigged up a makeshift hoop in his backyard in Wilmington, North Carolina. Using a coat hanger and onion sack for the basket, he made his first shot with an empty milk can.
Lemon first contacted the Globetrotters before his high school graduation and joined the team in 1954. He missed a game in 1955 because of a bad bowl of goulash in Germany, but that was the last one. What followed was a run, by his calculations, of more than 16,000 straight games that took him to places he never could have imagined.
Lemmy Kilmister, the lead vocalist and founding member of Motörhead, died Monday after a short battle with cancer. He was 70.
Kilmister been suffered from well-publicized health issues, including hematoma and had been fitted with an implantable defibrillator to correct an irregular heartbeat. In September, the frontman canceled a number of concerts after suffering complications from diabetes.
Born Ian Fraser Kilmister, the British rocker from Stoke-on-Trent, England, joined space rock band Hawkwind in 1972 as a bassist and vocalist.
He was fired from Hawkwind in 1975 after being arrested on drug charges in Canada, and went on to form a new band called Bastard with Larry Wallis and Lucas Fox in 1975, before changing the name to Motörhead.
The heavy metal band went on to achieve cult success in both the U.K. and U.S., released 20 studio albums and achieved 30 million in sales worldwide, including from the rock anthem "Ace of Spades" and hit live album "No Sleep 'til Hammersmith."
Lemmy was lead vocalist, bassist, principal songwriter and the only constant member of Motörhead over the decades. Subsequent band members included Mikkey Dee, "Fast" Eddie Clarke and drummer Phil Taylor, who died last month.