Wandering Eye: Another take on Eric Holder, hunting for sound, and income disparity

The Real News Network’s Sharmini Peries has an interesting interview with Shayana Kadidal of the Center for Constitutional Rights on U.S. Attorney Eric Holder's record as the nation's top law enforcer. "It's no exaggeration to say basically that on almost every front—secrecy, drone policy, detention policy, and surveillance—this administration's legal positions haven't really changed that much from the Bush administration’s positions," Kadidal says, adding that, to Holder's credit, he encouraged the "use of alternative sentencing systems for drug offenders" and gave a "mandate to U.S. attorneys to not charge low-level drug offenders who are nonviolent with crimes that would produce a mandatory minimum sentence," policies which resulted in an "astonishing achievement": "the U.S. prison population in federal prisons has actually dropped." (Van Smith)


A few weeks ago, we reviewed Amanda Petrusich's book "Do Not Sell At Any Price," calling it a series of "gorgeously told stories about the eccentrics who collect old records, but also a profound rumination on the idea of recording, asking what it means to capture sound, to be moved by it, and ultimately, to obsess over it. " Petrusich has continued to obsess over the meaning of sound, traveling this time to Greece to seek the experience—the life—behind “Epirotiko Mirologi,” a song recorded by Alexis Zoumbas in 1926. When Christopher King, one of the collectors in her book, tells her that the music is part of a multi-day festival in Epirus, she goes where "these songs live and die in the looks and handshakes and embraces exchanged in their presence." Again, Petrusich uses the experience not to tell us about minor chords, flatted sevenths, or vocal effects, but about what it means to be human. (Baynard Woods)


Here’s a new stat for happiness: As of today, half of all income earned by U.S. taxpayers goes to the top 10 percent of income earners. Mother Jones has the time chart showing the trend. Back in 1980, the top 10 percent got about 35 percent of all the loot. We still think the real action is in the top 1, and top one-tenth of a percent, who have seen their share of the nation's income increase at a much faster rate than the relative pikers at the 10th percentile. (WaPo notices that 21 percent of the Forbes 400 are finance guys, up from just four percent in 1982.) But still: 50-50 at 90/10 is a milestone. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

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