Missing Genius Mixes in iTunes? Try this.

I’ve been without Genius Mixes in my iTunes library for quite a few months now. At first the Genius Mixes page was simply blank; then, it disappeared from my source sidebar completely. It’s a known bug, and there are all sorts of suggested remedies around the web; I tried all of them, and none worked.

Last night I upgraded to iTunes 9.2 in the hopes that it would finally have the bug fixed; alas, my Genius Mixes were still missing.  However, I decided to give fixing it another shot, and I was able to bring them back.  What I did follows; I have no way of knowing if it was any one of these things that fixed it or the combination is required. Ensure you have a valid backup before doing this; I disclaim all responsibility if you have data loss.

  1. Update to iTunes 9.2, run it once to accept the license agreement and upgrade your library, then close it.
  2. Delete preferences file from ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.itunes.plist.
  3. Move ~/Music/iTunes Music/iTunes Library[1] to your Desktop (or any other folder).
  4. Open iTunes; note that your library is now empty.
  5. Close iTunes.
  6. Move your original iTunes Library file from wherever you saved it back into ~/Music/iTunes Music/ (you will probably have to overwrite the empty library iTunes just created).
  7. Open iTunes. Hopefully, Genius will now begin to re-initialize itself; for me, this process took about 2 hours, after which I had my Genius Mixes back.

This has been the only way I’ve found to force iTunes to fully re-initialize Genius; both cycling Genius off and on and deleting the iTunes Library Genius database only causes the Genius data to be re-downloaded from Apple’s servers, not for your library to be re-analyzed. If you’ve been suffering from the same problem, I hope this helps.

  1. Depending on your settings, or if you are on Windows, this might have a file extension of .itl. []

Citizens United disclosure requirements

So, Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Alito, and Roberts:

If money is fully speech, corporations have full personhood and all associated rights therein, why is it not entirely unconstitutional to require corporations’ “free speech” be disclosed (but of course—only when it applies to political spending)?

Clarence Thomas at least has the guts to follow your argument to its logical conclusion — that forced disclosure would be facially unconstitutional if the entire foundation of your argument was actually true.

It sure is a problem when public outrage would reveal how baseless and transparently ideological the most basic of your arguments are, isn’t it? As always with regard to Supreme Court decisions, “activist judges” are totally OKIYAR[1].

P.S.: Does this mean that shareholders should now be more accurately called slaveowners?

  1. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=IOKIYAR []

“Highly classified”

Shorter Stephen Hayes:

The hysterically over-secretive Dick Cheney never informed me of the security bunker at the Naval Observatory while I was writing his hagiography; therefore, its existence is self-evidently “highly classified” and Joe Biden should be hanged at the next available opportunity. Prepare the gallows!

Cheney also had the Naval Observatory removed from Google Maps; its existence is thus obviously highly classified, and my knowledge of it means that I should be next after Biden.

I learned about the bunker under the White House from 24, but George W. Bush never mentioned it: highly classified. Joel Surnow, you’re up third.

Honestly, how does this man brush his teeth every morning?

The New York Times and Jim Cramer

This article from Alessandra Stanley makes such a ham-handed attempt at being “fair and balanced” (truly a hallmark of quality journalism), that it ends up reaching Cramer-levels of embarrassment for its author.

The first warning klaxons come when Stanley attempts to present a sunny case for CNBC:

Part of his frustration may stem from the fact that while Mr. Stewart clearly won the debate, Mr. Cramer and CNBC stood to profit from the encounter. In today’s television news market, the cable network and its stars are like the financiers they cover — media short-sellers trading shamelessly on publicity, good or bad, so long as it drives up ratings. There isn’t enough regulation on Wall Street, and there’s hardly any accountability on cable news: it’s a 24-hour star system where opinions — and showmanship — matter more than facts.

The first problem with this is the bald-faced attempt to dismiss Stewart’s serious criticisms as envy over CNBC potentially receiving higher ratings. The second problem rests on the assertion that CNBC is concerned with total number of eyeballs. This is so fundamentally unsound as to have been prohibitory for anyone who knows anything about the industry. CNBC, like Bloomberg and Fox Business News, have off-the-charts low ratings compared to pretty much every other cable network in existence. The reason why this is not a problem is that something like 90% of their audience is composed of people who make over $1 million, making advertisers salivate. This premise is predicated on the idea that if CNBC increases its base viewership (with no regard to the income levels of new viewers), the network will benefit. The obvious flaw in this argument is that financial networks, more than pretty much any other network, requires significant levels of trust. After all, they’re dealing with the finances of presumably savvy people with millions of dollars to their name. If they lose even 10% of their viewership in the high-income stratus due to loss of trust, they will require an over 10-fold increase in viewership from people making $100,000 per year for advertisers to remain even remotely satisfied.[1] The idea that CNBC doesn’t care about the composition of its viewership and only about raw numbers is transparently baseless.

Once he had Mr. Cramer at his desk, Mr. Stewart showed fresh, and even more embarrassing clips from a 2006 interview with the Web site he founded, TheStreet.com, in which he too candidly explained how hedge fund market manipulation really works.

He not only “candidly explained” it, he explicitly advocated the use of illegal tactics by hedge fund managers because it was an easy way to make money and the SEC didn’t know about it (I’m not quoting directly because I don’t have access to a transcript at the moment). When Stewart showed just a snippet of Cramer’s statements, Cramer attempted to lie about the context of them, claiming that he was trying to bring to light the illegality to regulators, presumably assuming that Stewart would behave like every other mainstream journalist and simply ignore the lie. But Stewart immediately noted his statement “interesting,” then aired Cramer’s next few sentences which completely eviscerated his blatant attempt to cover his ass from just a few seconds prior. That seems an odd detail to leave out and gloss over by describing this portion of the interview as a “[candid explanation]”. That is far too close to Cramer’s lie than the actual truth. Less whitewashing, please.

The final sentence is mystifying:

Mr. Stewart kept getting the last word, but Mr. Cramer may yet have the last laugh.

What does this even mean? Is it an attempt to refer back to the earlier false premise that CNBC is cherishing this negative spotlight (while conflating Cramer the man with CNBC the corporate network)? Is it making a claim that Cramer is just an attention whore who doesn’t care about what people think of him? I have no idea, because it comes completely out of the blue. There is absolutely no justification for its presence in the article; it’s simply a throwaway line attempting to make it seem like Cramer didn’t have his heart ripped out and shown to him on national television and to be “fair and balanced.”[2] It has no business existing even in the mind’s eye.

Update: DougJ hones in on a part of the article that I forgot to mention: the idea that Stewart’s interview is due to a “Messianic streak” rather than someone engaging in actual, you know, journalism.

  1. And, due to lower levels of consumption, I would argue the required increase to be significantly over 10-fold. []
  2. Hat tip: Alex Koppelman. []

On political speech and privacy

A couple of months ago, the conservative establishment was up in arms over eightmaps.com, a website that takes the public information about political donations and places the donors in support of Proposition 8 in California on a map, intending to lift the veil on the pervasiveness of the bigotry living among us.

They predicted hailstorms, frogs descending from heaven, the complete end of civilization due to the firebombing of these decent, upstanding people who wanted only to forcefully divorce a few thousand couples and segregate an entire portion of the population.

Of course, none of that happened — much like their similar predictions about what would happen in the socialist nests of Massachusetts and Connecticut have, while being completely and inanely absurd on their face, been proven to be nothing more than the fantasies of the Republican establishment — and this past week a few journalists noted such in a few sidebars.

They obviously couldn’t stand for that reality to be acknowledged, so as a result, we got a story planted in the Sunday New York Times by way of Brad Stone.

The article laments the fact that laws intending to promote transparency (the so-called sunlight laws) leads to what its author believes to be serious privacy violations. (The fact that donors are fully notified that their donation information belongs to the public goes unmentioned in the article.) The premise is that websites like eightmaps.com are in fact violations of the principle of free speech because people who have chosen to express their views can be “challenged [by] their opponents directly.” Unlike Mr. Stone, I view this as an essential feature of democracy. The fact that you can freely say absurd things — AND the fact that your peers can freely challenge you on those absurd things — combine to form the essence of free speech. Claiming that free speech is intended to allow people to speak, but to disallow others from responding, is so transparently ludicrous that it should not have passed this editor’s smell test. Yes, that means that democracy is messy. That’s what democracy is.

Mr. Stone cites one blind quote and one attributed quote saying that they had received “several” intemperate e-mails to support the claim that eightmaps.com has resulted in mass instances of “harassment or worse.” According to SFGate’s latest numbers, 43,096 people just in California donated to pro-Prop 8 campaigns. Two quotes. Out of 43,096. Two.

I am not at all ambivalent to privacy issues — I consider myself a civil libertarian above all — but open democracy requires openness, lest it devolve into a lesser system entirely. If someone chooses to participate in the democratic process, then they must participate in it. The fact that you are feeling shame over the position you have taken is, again, a feature. The proper response is not to obfuscate that whole “participatory” part of participatory democracy, but to realize that maybe there’s a reason you’re feeling that way and to challenge your own convictions.

I don’t see that happening, though.

Phelps

I am quite disappointed in the turn of events surrounding Michael Phelps. I firmly believe that private acts are private for a reason, with a few exceptions (one of which will come in a post later tonight). The fact that this British tabloid has obtained such purchase with American media is outright disgusting to me, and the responses of nearly everyone involved have been even more disgusting.

I was planning on watching Michael swim at his first competition since the Olympics, at the Grand Prix event in Austin in a month. That is now out the window, thanks to USA Swimming’s unbelievable 3-month suspension. (For those curious, Phelps broke no swimming competition rules, which do not restrict the use of marijuana outside of competition.) USA Swimming helpfully lists phone numbers for each of its executives here, and I encourage all of us of like mind to avail ourselves of that resource.

Kellogg’s has also dropped Phelps as a sponsor. I am personally boycotting that company and its subsidiaries (as are a few other prominent people, such as Andrew Sullivan), which really stinks because I inhale every Kashi product known to man — but I’m certain a replacement won’t be that difficult to find.

Seth Meyers covered the story this weekend on Saturday Night Live, and while he didn’t say everything I wish he had, he still hits home.

Weekend Update: Really?!?

A heartbreaking story

For those who haven’t yet, go read April Witt’s piece in this weekend’s Washington Post magazine. And as heartbreaking and disgusting a story that it is, realize that it’s simply the tip of the iceberg and the only reason an editor thought it worthy of printing was that the victim was a clean-as-a-whistle mayor. The fact of the matter is that this happens every day to people who don’t have the same opportunity to raise public awareness and whose only option is to simply grin and take it. As Balko notes, an elderly woman died of a heart attack due to a similar military-style attack on her home.

There was a chat this afternoon with the author and Cheye Calvo, in which he notes how much Prince George’s County has been able to lie and stonewall investigation, while simultaneously claiming that every thing they did was proper and with every single actor avoiding even the most cursory of punishments.

No matter what your thoughts are on the use of drugs, this story, amongst others, should clearly illuminate the absurdity that is this country’s militant (and completely ineffectual) approach to drug policy — and the complete disregard that local, state, and federal departments have for the Constitution.

Piss-poor journalism

I was about a third of the way through writing a post ripping today’s piece by Greg Miller in the LA Times. I still have no idea how an editor didn’t take one look at that sorry excuse for logical thought (not to mention journalism) and openly laugh in Mr. Miller’s face; the fact that that didn’t happen doesn’t speak well of that organization.

Anyway, all this to say that Hilzoy and Scott Horton have already covered it perfectly and I don’t have anything to add.

Obama/McCain 2008!

I know that as a good little progressive, I’m not supposed to like the details laid out in David Kirkpatrick’s piece in the Times today, but I can’t help myself: I do.

I guess the explanation for that is that I’m simply not a dyed-in-the-wool liberal. I still consider myself largely conservative[1], with strong civil libertarian instincts because of which I would be considered (at least as judged by today’s media) “on the left.” On those issues, my views are not well-represented by any major party, as Glenn Greenwald is very quick to tell you. On other issues, some of my views align with the Democratic Party, some of my views align with elements of a few third parties, and some of my views align with the “moderate” wing of the Republican Party. (I can quite literally think of none of my views which align with the now-prevalent neo-conservative/Christianist wing of the Republican Party.)

And my positive opinion of this piece stands in spite of the fact that I was strongly, viscerally, viciously opposed to the candidacy of John McCain. That’s largely because 2008 Presidential Candidate John McCain was a very different man from 2000 Presidential Candidate John McCain[2] as well as a different man from 1990-2002 Senator John McCain.

Two-thousand and eight John McCain was coopted by disciples of Karl Rove, and he subsequently ran the exact same campaign George Bush ran in 2004, engaging in conduct entirely unbecoming of himself in the process. I lost quite a bit of respect for John McCain for allowing himself to do things and say things that he would normally find despicable in the pursuit of power. I think it showed a lack of moral courage when the country needed it most; remember when everyone was saying that an Obama-McCain campaign would be the most high-minded and statesmanlike in recent history? There was a reason for those high expectations, even if the results were far different, and it rested on John McCain’s history; a history he damaged considerably by straying far from its course. I remain simultaneously impressed and horrified that Mark McKinnon saw it coming and bowed out; perhaps he intrinsically knew he could do nothing to change it.

The “old” John McCain seems to be back now; the first indication was his incredibly gracious concession speech in front of a crowd of booing “supporters.” The next day, I watched a shot on a cable network of John McCain driving out of a Phoenix hotel parking garage, by himself, in a champagne Toyota Sequoia, and even then I thought I could see a difference in him. Secret Service, gone; Steve Schmidt & co., gone; Sarah Palin, mercifully, gone. As he waved to the cameraman, he didn’t look like a man one day out of the highest-profile failure he had ever experienced — he looked like a man whom had just been relieved of crushing weight, on his shoulders, and perhaps his soul.

And so, with the return of the John McCain who doesn’t actually believe that the President of the United States should authorize to be done to our enemies what was done to him in Hanoi, who doesn’t actually believe that the Mexicans and the gays are the greatest enemies confronting us in our daily life, who doesn’t actually believe that being Muslim is equivalent to being a terrorist, I applaud the ability of both men to put aside the past and work together on important issues. Most everyone knows that even before the campaign, McCain did not like Senator Barack Obama one bit; it’s amazing to me that despite starting from that position, and after the rigors of an at-times nasty campaign, the two are able to turn to each other for real advice. Not the attractive-but-meaningless “bipartisanship” that the pollsters tell us voters love; actual, behind-the-scenes, not-shouted-from-the-rooftops, non-photo-opped discourse between two men who only want what is best for the country that they both love.

And, of course, what they each think is best for the country is going to be vastly different a significant portion of the time. I still disagree with John McCain on many issues; to this day I find his flippant endorsement of nuclear war with Iran horrifying. That’s okay. Discourse, discussion, disagreement is a good thing if you have the intellectual capacity to process and work with it, and there is little doubt that Barack Obama does. (It is, of course, significantly worse to not have sufficient intellectual capacity and/or curiosity to deal with it, and in response, to outlaw disagreement from everyone around you, a technique used repeatedly by George Bush, which remains to this day the clearest and most fundamental reason his presidency has been such a dramatic failure.)

I don’t think everything in the article is right; in particular, I think Lindsey Graham’s understanding of the Obama administration’s approach to the Iraq pullout is faulty, in addition to his misrepresentation of what Obama’s position was during the campaign. Obama’s position on Iraq has not changed one iota since the campaign; it has always been as pragmatic as it is today. It’s just that now Republicans are forced to actually listen to what he says, and watch what he does, rather than mentally constructing fantasies of Barack Obama in Islamic dress performing Salah to a three-headed altar of Saddam Hussein, the ACLU, and Adolf Hitler (or Mussolini? Hard to tell what gets them off, sometimes).

But the article remains a testament to both Barack Obama and John McCain, and is, in essence, the perfect encapsulation of what I want to see out of the next four years. I won’t agree with President Obama on everything, perhaps even most things[3], but I will be perpetually at peace with the knowledge that he is a serious man who takes the advice of any and all who are willing to give it; weighs it, considers it carefully, and acts upon it using his best judgment, which, to date, has a phenomenal track record. Even if everything that possibly can, does, go wrong in his presidency, I have little doubt that the country as a whole will be left in a much better position in four or eight years than it is in today.

  1. Which, for all intents and purposes, makes me ineligible for membership in the modern-day Republican Party. []
  2. Yes, a lot of bloggers in my sphere think that the conception of a righteous 2000 John McCain is a tired trope with little basis in reality, but based on my reading and studying and recollection, I respectfully disagree. Do I think he would have been a perfect President had he won the primary and general? No. But I would have liked to have seen that administration very much, especially given the hindsight of what we were actually subjected to. []
  3. I remain conflicted on the selection of Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation. I actually think I understand the reasoning behind it better than most, though I still think it is monumentally tone-deaf considering the reality of Proposition 8; I was going to write about it, and have, in pieces in other forums, but failed to fully articulate my thoughts here. I may still in the future since I haven’t seen anyone give my particular take on it. []

Jane Hamsher is a misogynist

It seems Caroline Kennedy has decided she’d rather have a US Senate seat than a pony for Christmas… Really? She’s “making calls this morning to alert political figures to her interest?” I guess it was either that or get her nails done…[1]

Hint: When the only argument you offer is a major case of sexist ad hominem (and a weak, patently ridiculous one at that), it’s time to step away from the keyboard and re-think things.[2]

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-hamsher/caroline-kennedy-lets-pol_b_151193.html []
  2. As an aside, I can’t picture anyone ever saying this about Hillary Clinton. I would love to have seen Jane’s reaction to such an event. []

“Business experience”

Frank Rich:

[Tim Geithner] comes with none of Summers’s personal baggage, but his sparkling résumé is missing one crucial asset: experience outside academe and government, in the real world of business and finance. Postgraduate finishing school at Kissinger & Associates doesn’t count.

Oh, like Robert Rubin? Head of the Risk Arbitrage division at Goldman Sachs for 30 years? Who didn’t meet any deregulation he didn’t like?

The criticism is well-taken, but massive amounts of experience in the “business world” is hardly an end-all cure. In fact, it has been the norm throughout our country’s history. If there were a brilliant candidate with a hefty history of good judgment, the fact that they haven’t worked for Lehman Brothers should in no way be a disqualifier. (And my hypothetical candidate in this construction is not Tim Geithner — I just don’t know enough about him.)

The secret plan to capture Osama bin Laden

GIBSON: Serious reaction to this statement: “John McCain says he’d follow bin Laden to the gates of hell, but he won’t even follow him to the cave where he lives.”

MCCAIN: Well, look, President Clinton [had] opportunities to get Osama bin Laden. President Bush had opportunities to get Osama bin Laden. I know how to do it and I’ll do it.

There is an episode of The West Wing (1.15, “Celestial Navigation”) in which the show’s protagonist, Josh Lyman, plays Press Secretary for a day and facetiously tells the press that the President has a “secret plan to fight inflation.” Regardless of his clear and unsubtle sarcasm, his “secret plan” is demanded, he is generally raked over the coals by the press, and he loses all control of the narrative.

How sad it is that our actual press corps, when confronted with a presidential candidate who, entirely seriously, suggests that he has a secret plan to capture a national enemy — a plan that the previous two presidents have not considered and that he has not shared with them — while demeaning his opponent, who has presented a concrete plan that would yield a greater chance of capturing said enemy than we currently have, do not respond with sweeping incredulity and a truckload of questions.

There are few better encapsulations of the disease that infests the American press than that.

Obama on the FISA compromise

Here’s the portion of his statement relevant to telecom immunity:

It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses.

One sentence, twenty-eight words. There’s not a lot to go on there in terms of the level of his opposition. The tone of the entire statement, to me, is largely apologetic and pleading. That doesn’t bode well.

I haven’t had a chance to read the 114-page bill (H.R. 6304), but every criticism I’ve seen so far on the left side of the blogosphere has been limited to the immunity provisions (which are utterly and completely toothless; they’re pretty much rubber stamps to the telecoms). If — and this is a mighty big if, given this statement in its entirety — Obama utilizes his excess political capital by leading the fight on stripping telecom immunity — and, to be clear, I don’t mean a symbolic and perfunctory Yea vote on the first version Reid brings to the floor that inevitably fails and then a Yea vote on the House version including immunity — I mean being on MTP this Sunday, with surrogates on every other morning show, giving a show-stopping floor speech on Monday morning, and joining Dodd in filibustering if he’s unsuccessful — Obama, and Obama alone, can set the media narrative for this, and he needs to do it – if he does that, he will come out of this smelling like a rose.

Otherwise, chicken liver would be a more apt comparison, and I would say that Obama will find his fundraising numbers off their targets, and get a little concerned about his decision to opt out of public financing (more on that later). If he doesn’t do this, he will let down every single progressive that propelled his campaign and led the charge as precinct captains, caucus chairs, tireless organizers. We own this campaign, and we need to show it. Write him, call him, make your voice heard.


Disclaimer: The author of this blog is a contributor to Sen. Barack Obama, and an Obama delegate from Austin, TX. He is also not responsible for the excessive hyphenation found in the writing above.