Not news: banks making bank on overdraft fees, to the tune of $30+ billion

Here’s a radical idea: let’s do away with unsecured overdraft altogether

According to Moebs Services, Inc., last year banks collected $31.9 billion in overdraft fees. This meme sums it up nicely, I think.

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What if we treated our economy like a triage scenario?

$400 billion down the hole on the F-35, and that’s just one tip of one iceberg

There’s been a horrible accident. One patient has a punctured lung. Another one has a grievous wound at the femoral artery and is bleeding out. Another has a serious spinal injury. Three others are milling about with, between them, a bruise, a splinter, and a hangnail. Quick what do we do?

To listen to the chatter from a variety of news sources, and especially in comments sections all over the place, we should damned well be focusing on the bruise, the splinter, and the hangnail. That femoral artery guy? To hell with him.

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Popular Music Scholarship II: Goths are Protesting – or Maybe They Just like Black a Lot….

Originally posted on Scholars and Rogues | Progressive Culture:

Decadence, weltschmerz, vampirism – Goth’s got something for everyone….

Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division, one of – if not THE – archetypal Goth band… (image courtesy

For this week’s look at the scholarly essay collection on popular music, The Resisting Muse: Popular Music and Social Protest, we’re going to look at the rise of Goth music – and, tangentially, the rise (and maintenance) of Goth “lifestyle”: at least the  superficial elements (dress, dancing, etc.).  Kimberly Jackson’s interesting essay, “Gothic music and the decadent individual” explores the origins of Goth as a musical movement and, as the authors in this collection are wont to do, looks for ties between Goth and its antecedent musical forms that seem to suggest how Goth is a form of protest music.

One of the things that makes this particular discussion interesting is that Jackson sets the context by positioning the Goth…

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The contrails have it: Iron Dome is a dud

Originally posted on Scholars and Rogues | Progressive Culture:

The effectiveness of missile defense can scarcely be inferred from the “sound and light show” that is Iron Dome.

Iron Dome battery deployed in the field. (Photo: Israel Defense Force / Wikimedia Commons)

Iron Dome battery deployed in the field. (Photo: Israel Defense Force / Wikimedia Commons)

Contrails, the wake of an aircraft usually created by water vapor in its exhaust. When you hear them mentioned these days, it’s usually an attempt to paint them as “chemtrails,” the supposed product of a secret government program for spraying chemical or biological agents on the public to various ends. But contrails happen to be key to the effectiveness — or lack thereof — of Israel’s iron dome mobile missile defense program.

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Tinder and International Armed Conflict

Originally posted on AS I PLEASE:

Tinder, the matchmaking mobile app that pairs users based on mutual physical attraction, is not exactly the most obvious place you would expect to find yourself involved in a discussion on the Arab-Israeli conflict, but as the entirely clichéd but weirdly fitting Liverpudlian platitude insists: “life is full of surprises.”

The other night, I matched with a gal [1] – as happens – but before I had time to offer even the most usual of introductions, she confessed to only being in London on a brief vacation, and next thing I know, Jennifer (this is by no-means her real name) is suddenly three and a half thousand kilometres away. We kept messaging a little and I found out that Jennifer is a twenty-something medical student from an affluent middle-class background who enjoys computer programming (she’s a self-confessed nerd), talking politics and playing drums in her spare time. Recently, however, the…

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A look at America’s most important problem

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

Gallup recently released the results of its periodic poll, “Most Important Problem.” Their detailed results can be found at the link. There were two questions:

What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today? [open-ended]

Which political party do you think can do a better job of handling the problem you think is most important — the Republican Party or the Democratic Party?

The results for the first question are shown for the periods April 3-6, 2014, May 8-11, 2014, June 5-8, 2014, and July 7-10, 2014. The results for the second question are shown at the bottom for periods going back as far as 1956.

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Excerpt: A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier

I recently finished reading an excellent little piece of American history, A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier: The Memoir Previously Published as Private Yankee Doodle: Some of the Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of Joseph Plumb Martin. While I learned the usual rote memorization details of the American Revolutionary War back in grade school, and precious little else even in college American History, since this war was but mere chapter in our great saga, the emphasis I’d learned focused on the usual precipitating events, great names, battles, dates, locations, and outcomes, but only in the broadest of brush strokes. Never had I been exposed to the fine details one might find by looking at the war through the eyes of Everyman. This work has been my introduction to that particular view.

Many times I find the writing of merit merely on its charm. Other times the tales told shed light on people, the times, the places in a way that never would have occurred to me. Other times the passages that struck me just hit some particular nerve, or occasionally serve to illustrate parallels between the times as they were and the times as they are now. Since I enjoyed the book so very much, I thought I’d do you, kind reader, the service of sharing the occasional excerpt such that you might feel compelled to do yourself the favor of giving the work a read.

With that little bit of preamble out of the way, let’s get started, shall we?

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