If Alex Ross

would just allow comments on his blog, I would give him megakudos for this post:

“All this work makes me wonder whether we are heading toward something like world classical music. People right now do partake in a recognizable tradition, but they want that tradition to acknowledge the world as we experience it, especially after the nineteen-eighties, when suddenly we became more conscious than ever before of living in a global culture, or on a globe of many cultures. Nothing is totally distinct. Every great world religion has elements that are taken from other religions or overlap with them. It’s a sort of biological or ecological need to keep evolving. If we don’t, then a tradition gets smaller and may eventually die out. If we want to preserve a tradition, the best way to preserve it to let it evolve."


My annual Rosh Hashanah joke

"I'm still writing 5767 on my checks!"


Annals of Capitalism

Attention unbought insurance regulators (you know who you were):

In Favor of Disruption - New York Times: "Homeowners often receive “30 to 60 percent of the cost of rebuilding a damaged home — even when carriers assure homeowners that they’re fully covered, thousands of complaints with state insurance department and civil court cases show,” write David Dietz and Darrell Preston in an article, “The Insurance Hoax.”

“Paying out less to victims of catastrophes has helped produce record profits,” they add. “In the past 12 years, insurance company net income has soared — even in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. Property-casualty insurers, which cover damage to home and cars, reported their highest-ever profit of $73 billion last year.”

The writers say court records in some states show that property insurers “systematically deny and reduce” their policyholders’ claims and routinely refuse to pay market prices for homes and replacement contents and “use secret tactics to cheat homeowners.”

It's not news, exactly, but it can't hurt to be reminded of the soothing power of the invisible hand.
One tactic that insurance companies use, they say, is to put off paying for as long as possible, by delaying settlements and stalling court procedures brought against them by frustrated policyholders. "