How Bernie Sanders Lost the Black Vote Long Before Super Tuesday

Fast Company:

Bernie Sanders didn’t lose the black vote on Super Tuesday—he lost it a long time ago.

Last summer, one of the most telling and memorable moments of the still-nascent Democratic presidential race took shape when two protesters affiliated with the "Black Lives Matter" movement interrupted the Vermont senator at a Social Security rally in Seattle, demanding his microphone and overtaking him at the podium. Despite the chorus of boos from a disappointed crowd, organizers failed to regain control of the event, prompting Sanders to cancel the speech and leave the premises. The disruption only lasted four and a half minutes, but that’s all it took for Sanders—an active participant in the 1960s civil rights movement and a proponent of reforming the country’s racially biased criminal justice system—to become "just another out-of-touch old white dude" in the eyes of many African Americans...

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Amazon expose shows how little tech has changed the landscape

The Guardian:

Early in Google’s history, an executive suggested that the firm adopt the slogan “Don’t Be Evil.” It was more than a motto; it was a mission statement for the new “masters of the universe”, as Tom Wolfe described Wall Street over a decade earlier – a group of geeks stationed 3,000 miles away from New York’s corporate excess and malfeasance.

Tech’s take on capitalism was informed more by 1960s counterculture and the hippies who gathered a few miles north of Silicon Valley at Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco. Contrary to Gordon Gekko’s infamous 1980s mantra, for web companies catapulted from California garages to the New York Stock Exchange, greed wasn’t “good” – and it definitely wasn’t cool.

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The Music Industry's New War Is About So Much More Than Copyright

Fast Company:

Taylor Swift has "declared war" on YouTube. Or at least that's how some have characterized the open letter signed by Swift, U2, and around 180 other artists last month, calling on lawmakers to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, or DMCA.

The DMCA, says the letter, "is broken and no longer works for creators." The letter takes aim specifically at Section 512 of the law, which gives user-generated content platforms "safe harbor" from liabilities related to copyright infringement. In other words, artists say, YouTube profits off pirated copies of their music. That directly diminishes songwriters’ and artists’ earnings while allowing "major tech companies to grow and generate huge profits by creating ease of use for consumers to carry almost every recorded song in history in their pocket via a smartphone." YouTube, Google, and Alphabet aren't mentioned by name, but it's obvious which "major tech companies" they're talking about...

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Sufjan Stevens retrospective

Stereogum:

 

Conventional wisdom states that Undisputed Era Of The Album took place in the 1970s. But thanks to technological circumstances and the growth in popularity of independent labels, the first decade of the 2000s was arguably just as grand an era for the album as any other — not financially-speaking, no; but in terms of offering a form for musicians to deliver big artistic statements? Absolutely. And perhaps no artist took better advantage of this confluence of technological and cultural trends than Sufjan Stevens.

In 2003, following a pair of less-than-extraordinary LPs, Stevens stunned the independent music community with the epic concept album, Greetings From Michigan. A boldly ambitious and extraordinarily unique record, Michigan celebrated the quiet, pristine beauty of the Upper Peninsula, the Great Lakes, and other windswept natural wonders. Its emotional power center, however, lay in the album’s somber laments of the economic decay plaguing erstwhile industrial centers like Detroit. Stevens was hardly the first musician to document financial squalor with such empathy and poignancy. But unlike folk singers like Woody Guthrie, Stevens’ observations were largely apolitical, as mini-tragedies like “Flint” and “They Also Mourn Who Do Not Wear Black” aimed straight for the heart, leaving behind gaping emotional wounds that couldn’t be healed by swing state politics. Arriving four years before the global economic crisis — and over a decade before #FeelTheBern became a rallying cry for broke white Millennials — Michigan was a prescient omen for Americans who would soon join the citizens of Detroit in absorbing the impact of the wealthy’s decades-long campaign of reckless, criminal impropriety...

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Who killed the music industry?

PandoDaily:

Since 2000, the amount of revenue created from selling or streaming music in America has been cut in half, from $14.3 billion to $7 billion, according to that most despised trade organization, the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA. And yet listeners have more access to music than ever, and there’s nothing to suggest that demand for music is down.

So what or who is to blame?

Is it Apple’s fault for launching iTunes and forever severing songs from albums? Is it the record executives’ fault who, facing this shift from $17 albums to $0.99 singles, continued to rely on old, byzantine licensing and sales models, even as their industry hemorrhaged money before their eyes? Is Internet piracy to blame, with Napster forever changing the way we find and consume music, and BitTorrent bringing about the record industry’s worst nightmare? What about Internet radio stations? Are the rock-bottom royalty payments the result of corporate greed or government meddling? Do we blame Spotify and other music streaming services for striking opaque, unsustainable deals with record labels? And what about the unchecked proliferation of copyrighted material on YouTube and other platforms...

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Need Obamacare? Watch out: These sites are out to steal your information and maybe screw you out of insurance

PandoDaily:

Seven percent.

According to his doctors, those were the odds Webb Smith, Jr. had of surviving the next 24 months. The diagnosis was stage 4 colorectal cancer – an extraordinarily rare condition for a 44-year-old man like Smith. Although colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in America, the median age for those afflicted with the disease is 69.

“The day before I’m diagnosed, I’m at church, and I think I might have Crohn’s after there was bleeding in my stool,” said Smith, who lived with his wife and two daughters in the small coastal town of Delray Beach, which is located about an hour’s drive north of Miami. “You just don’t think it’s going to be you.”    

In November 2013, when Smith learned of his diagnosis, he was among the 40 million other nonelderly uninsured Americans in 2013 who “didn’t think it was going to be them.” And with a pre-existing condition as severe as his, Smith said he would have likely faced insurance premiums and medical bills upwards of $20,000 a month – that’s if he were able to obtain an insurance plan at all. Throughout his initial diagnosis period, Smith’s only recourse was to make regular emergency room visits – visits which had cost him $25,000. As the proprietor of a local window treatment company living “paycheck to paycheck” with little savings, these bills threatened to cripple his family financially. What’s worse, the only thing he had to show for that $25,000 was a diagnosis of cancer and an even grimmer prognosis from doctors who, after discovering 22 separate cancerous legions in his liver alone, told Smith he was “not a good candidate for surgery” – not that he could afford it anyway...

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Joanna Newsom Retrospective

Stereogum:

 

Wood nymph.” “Teething infant.” A “faerie [who has] a squeaky voice that sounds like it’s been stepped on.”

These are but a few of the ways journalists and other content curmudgeons have characterized the songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joanna Newsom. If I didn’t know better, I’d think these writers were describing a woman with the disposition and fortitude of an especially helpless Disney princess.

But no, the object of their dainty diction is a woman who plays brain-melting solos with only one hand on a million-stringed contraption the size of a small dinosaur while the other hand plucks out shapeshifting polyrhythms in time signatures so tangled they demand three or more semesters of calculus to comprehend, as poetry worthy of T.S. Eliot is propelled into the stratosphere by Beyonce-caliber vocal runs delivered with the splendor and swagger of Kate Bush then tethered back to Earth with pedal footwork so intricate it would trip up Michael Jackson — or, at the very least, Justin Timberlake...

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