I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

March 02, 2016 - 1:15 p.m.

Give the Money to the Musicians

I did not get enough sleep last night. I should make coffee so I can be coherent. So that's what I'll do. The water is heating in the kettle. I use a French press. I became a total convert to it. Oh damn, I forgot to ground the coffee, be right back. It's Dunkin' Donuts today. Now I have the power of coffee coursing through my veins giving me super powers.

Yesterday I wrote about Drumpf and I have to few more things to say about him. Yes, it looks almost sure he'll get the Republican nomination but that doesn't mean there's Yuge support for him. Yesterday his vote share was above 40% in only two states and below 30% in three. And that's not of the general population but of Republican primary voters. As I have often mentioned there's no fair way of running an election with more than two candidates. So much of this is an artifact of there being so many candidates.

The thing I forgot to write yesterday was the odd completions if you type in "Donald trump is" into Google. The top four results are:

Donald Trump is a Democrat
Donald Trump is a Liberal
Donald Trump is the best
Donald Trump is a Republican
The first two are stupid, the third gross, and the last, well duh. OOO we should all search for "Donald Trump is a snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings;" so it becomes the number one auto-completion. I'm doing that now.

I'm still stuck what to write about so I'll talk about dinner. I made soup yesterday. I had totally forgotten that I had a plantain from last week. It was over course quite ripe. I would have rather fried it up but I had soup ready to make so that's where I put it. I prefer the greener or yellow plantains in the soup. So I countered that with the seasoning. Usually with plantains I use jerk seasoning, I added red pepper yesterday and that did the trick. I don't measure the seasonings so it's a judgement call. The fact that it almost always come out tasting good shows there's a broad range you can use. I also add a little salt, Mrs. Dash, and MSG. I'm officially addicted to umami.

Yay, I just remembered something fun I wanted to write about. Raise your hand if you know how difficult it is to make a living making music? More and more people listen to their music streaming for free or little money. The lion's share of the profits go to the streaming service not the musicians. What's the number? The artist gets paid something like o.ooo1¢ per play. I have heard of a musician that got a check for 0¢ because the total added up to less than half a cent so was rounded down. Making a living in music, let alone a middle class living, was always difficult but now it's become well-nigh impossible except for a small number of people. Yet as a society we want music. That means we need to give people a financial incentive to do the hard work of making music. There's an economic term for this, market failure. Market failures are where the government needs to intervene. This is not socialism, this is what a well maintained capitalist economy does. The government is not intervening on the theory that the government should control the means of production but because the market isn't doing what it's supposed to do. Then the question becomes "how do we go about it." We could go back to the Renaissance system of patronage with the government being the patron instead of the nobility. I have often thought through how this would work. You can't have a central committee deciding who gets the patronage, that would lead to a uniformity of music. There could be federal level of patronage where there are multiple committees and perhaps even individuals choosing who gets supported plus a layer of local patrons.

The problem with that is how many people can reasonably be supported? It would enlarge the pool but have a distinct cutoff of haves and have nots. I was thinking of a more market oriented solution, the government would subsidize the streaming fees and pay the artists let's say up to the national medium income. We don't need to subsidize Beyoncé. This requires a lot more work. One thought I had was perhaps a public option, a government run streaming service. Or that can be privatized, anyone could create their own platform as long as they follow certain guidelines. Whatever we do people would game the system. This is exactly the kind of thing economists are very good at. I'm not going to design the system, people who know what they are doing would. I don't know how much this would cost, again we need to ask the economists. But all the money that people used to spend on records is not now being spent on music. We need to divert that back to the musicians.

If the technology changes, so that once again the market works, we can phase the system out. This isn't about ideology. "I believe in socialism so we should put the government in charge of distributing music." It's about finding the best way of getting the desired goal, people being able to make a living making music and people being able to find the music they want to listen to.

Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017

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Horvendile March 02, 2016
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