Whack-a-flood, a cost-benefit analysis of religion, life on a string, the final haircut, and saving the world with video games.
Bob Dylan played Ho Chi Minh City last night, and left out the peace anthems that made him famous during the Vietnam War. A spokesperson said Dylan had to submit his set list to the government ahead of time, just as he had when he played Beijing last week.
Bob Dylan: Sellout?
New York Times' columnist Maureen Dowd certainly thinks so:
Sean Wilentz, the Princeton professor who wrote "Bob Dylan in America," said that the Chinese were "trying to guard the audience from some figure who hasn't existed in 40 years. He's been frozen in aspic in 1963 but he's not the guy in the work shirt and blue jeans singing 'Masters of War.' "
Wilentz and Hajdu say you can't really censor Dylan because his songs are infused with subversion against all kinds of authority, except God. He's been hard on bosses, courts, pols and anyone corrupted by money and power.
Maybe the songwriter should reread some of his own lyrics: "I think you will find/When your death takes its toll/All the money you made/Will never buy back your soul."
It must be difficult to be an icon from the '60s, held dear and expected not to change by people who likely have.
Here's last night's set list:
# Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking
# It Ain't Me, Babe
# Beyond Here Lies Nothin'
# Tangled Up In Blue
# Honest With Me
# Simple Twist Of Fate
# Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
# Love Sick
# The Levee's Gonna Break
# A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
# Highway 61 Revisited
# Spirit On The Water
# My Wife's Home Town
# Ballad Of A Thin Man
# Like A Rolling Stone
# All Along The Watchtower
# Forever Young
I missed following the Twins' opening day last week because I was on assignment elsewhere. Fortunately, this outfit has captured the day and posted a mini-doc:
The National Guard soldiers with the American flag was certainly an impressive moment. It would have been more impressive if I hadn't already read today's Letters to the Editors in the Star Tribune.
I am writing out of frustration. My husband is a soldier in the Minnesota National Guard and was given the opportunity to be on the field for the flag-bearing ceremony at the Twins home opener, a once-in-a-lifetime event.
However, he was offered no seat for the game, no standing-room option, no offer to even purchase seats in the farthest reaches of the stadium -- and, therefore, no opportunity for at least one family member to share in the experience.
When we found out about the opportunity, we tried to log on and buy tickets as any regular fan would have expected to do. But with all the website problems, it took us more than four hours to find out that none were available.
We were left to choose an enormous up-charge with additional service fees if we wished to attend. I cannot imagine why this was arranged this way.
For some of these soldiers who are deploying (within 60 days), this may be their only opportunity to get to see a game, let alone take part in the honor of holding the flag they defend.
I hope that the Twins recognize what a terrible message this sends to those who sacrifice so much, yet ask nothing in return.
KRISTI PETERS, ST. MICHAEL(17 Comments)
Is it time to get rid of the home mortgage interest deduction?
LiveScience.com reports today on a study from Kansas State University that says because most of the tax break goes to people making more than $100,000 a year, it doesn't adequately help the more dense urban cities.
Turner's study, based on household data collected from 1984 to 2007 by the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, showed that in denser, urban cities with limited available housing, the deduction has a negative impact because it both reduces homeownership and inflates housing prices.
"It's just driving up prices, which makes it harder to come up with the down payment," she said.
Believing in the theory that homeowners have more of a stake in the success of their community, Turner noted it's those urban areas where homeownership is needed the most to improve the community as a whole.
The mortgage deduction has been termed "America's favorite deduction," but as tax day approaches, it seems harder to find its friends.
ING Direct boss Arkadi Kuhlman, writing in the Wall St. Journal today, theorizes that it allows borrowers to spread their home payments out over too many years. He favors a deduction based, instead, on principal payments, rather than interest.
Must the U.S. government remove itself entirely from the mortgage market--or take away every family's favorite tax deduction--to fix it? Not necessarily. Congress could as easily create an incentive for consumers to pay down their mortgages by letting them deduct payments on principal, rather than on interest.
A successful model exists to our north. In Canada, the interest on mortgages is not tax deductible, which gives homeowners good reason to pay down their principal as quickly as possible. Canadian banks also hold about 75% of their loans on their books, which encourages more prudent lending. Thanks to such policies, just 1% of Canadian mortgages are currently in foreclosure or delinquent, compared to about 14% of American mortgages. The Canadian real estate market has already rebounded above pre-recession levels.