For those who have everything
April 20, 2013

"Inspired by a simple toy top," the Spun Chair represents a step down in scale for designer Thomas Heatherwick. Best known for the huge, dandelion-like cauldron he created for the London Olympics, Heatherwick has now put a sculptural spin on seating. Stood on its narrow base, the Spun Chair looks merely decorative — a study in brightly colored molded plastic. But tip it slightly and it becomes an ergonomic recliner. "Just park your bottom in the dip and lean back to lounge, rock, or, when the mood strikes, spin around a full 360 degrees." Source: New York
The Week Staff

7:02 a.m. ET

"You've left the Army, and everything's gone to hell," Jon Stewart said to retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal on Monday night's Daily Show, just to get the conversation started. "Iraq, Afghanistan, the whole Middle East — you leave, poof." McChrystal politely said it wasn't that simple, then turned to Islamic State. "ISIS is a 21st century organization that uses some frightening tactics really quickly, and then they leverage digital communications to essentially tie their enemies in knots."

Stewart asked why ISIS is "always our problem — is it because we created it?" McChrystal wasn't buying the premise. "We created, essentially, much of the technology that is in the world now," he allowed, "but what we have done is, in many cases, harnessed it to 19th and 20th century organizations and processes." Stewart wasn't satisfied, noting that many politicians, pundits, and experts point to their own one thing the U.S. did or didn't do that could have prevented ISIS and fixed everything.

"I don't think we can give ourselves that much credit, actually," McChrystal said. "I don't think we have as much influence to cause all the problems that are there. I think we were part of it; we've also been part of the solution." The entire region is a mess, with factions and ideologies heading in different directions, and dealing with it "is going to take a long-term, focused, and really patient approach." Forget 5- or 10-year plans, he said. "You're going to come up with general directions and frameworks, and you'd better learn every day, because that's the war we're in right now." Throughout the entire interview, McChrystal was invariable diplomatic, even with Stewart's pet theories. You can watch below. Peter Weber

A little piece of history
6:14 a.m. ET

In 1933, in Cologne, Germany, a young violin virtuoso named Ernest Drucker played the first movement of the Brahms Violin Concerto in D Major, then was escorted off the stage by Nazi officials who objected to Jewish musicians playing before non-Jewish audiences. Drucker then became a founding member of an all-Jewish arts collective, Judischer Kulturbund, whose complicated legacy was commemorated in Raanana, Israel, last weekend.

On Sunday night, Drucker's son, Eugene Drucker, played the complete Brahams concert with the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra. "I think he would feel a sense of completion," Eugene Drucker, 63, said of his father, who died in 1993. "I think in some ways many aspects of my career served that purpose for him." Eugene Drucker is a founding member of the Grammy-winning Emerson String Quartet.

The Judischer Kulturbund provided an artistic and cultural outlet for German Jews as their rights were being steadily restricted, but it also gave Nazi officials propaganda material, allowing them to downplay the anti-Jewish policies that led to the concentration camps. Eugene Drucker told The Associated Press that he didn't know if it was "my place to correct a history wrong," but finishing his father's performance, 83 years later, was an emotional experience. "As a musician I feel like the circle is never completely closed," he told AP. "But I was standing there at one point... and I really did start to think about my father." Peter Weber

Music business
5:11 a.m. ET
CC by: mightykenny

As soon as next week, Apple will launch a new music-streaming service, directly challenging Spotify, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing music industry executives. Apple still has to finalize licensing deals with the three biggest record companies, but those negotiations are expected to be wrapped up before Apple's worldwide developers' conference next week, where the new service will likely be formally unveiled.

Unlike Spotify, Apple isn't expected to offer a free, ad-supported version of its on-demand streaming; instead, monthly subscriptions will reportedly cost $10. However, Apple will add some human DJs to its free, ad-supported radio streaming service, which competes with Pandora.

Apple is taking a risk by making a big play for on-demand streaming, both because Spotify is so entrenched, with about 85 percent market share (the same percentage of the music-download market Apple controls), but also because streaming could eat into Apple's lucrative iTunes Store business. But music-streaming is gaining steam while downloads are stagnating. (Apple will keep its recently purchased Beats Music service separate for now.)

And "while it is late to the game," note The Journal's Ethan Smith and Daisuke Wakabayashi, "Apple can aggressively push its hundreds of millions of iTunes customers — most with credit cards already registered with the company — to embrace a subscription model on the same devices where they listen to downloaded songs and albums." Read more about Apple's new big thing at The Wall Street Journal. Peter Weber

The Daily Showdown
4:01 a.m. ET

Despite all the Sturm und Drang about the NSA's bulk telephone metadata collection authority expiring Sunday night, "it doesn't really seem like the country has crumbled into chaotic violence-based terror-ocracy," Jon Stewart said on Monday's Daily Show. In fact, he noted, as far as we know, that hoovering up of phone records hasn't prevented any terrorist attacks, including the few that have hit the U.S. since the NSA started its surveillance vacuum.

Stewart didn't exactly dance on the Patriot Act's grave, but he did question the need for the NSA program, the use of the phrase "lone wolf," Sen. John McCain's comedic judgment, and Sen. Rand Paul's request for a "money bomb" tied to his blocking of NSA surveillance. And, since the NSA is no longer keeping tabs, Stewart felt free to prank-call his old friend John Oliver. Correspondent Jordan Klepper, meanwhile, lamented the NSA's waning powers, but for his own reasons. Watch below, but be warned, some of the language is mildly NSWF. Peter Weber

last night on late night
3:51 a.m. ET

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West are expecting their second child — "which means this will be the second time Kim has participated in any kind of real labor," Jimmy Kimmel joked on Monday night's Kimmel Live. But what everyone really wants to know is what the Wests will name their new child, after giving their daughter the novelty name North. Kimmel offered to help, picking a name through a special game of bingo. You've probably thought of some of the dozen names Kimmel's staff selected for the game (Mid, Wicked Witch Of The), but there are some random entries, and they are all funnier because Guillermo is reading them. Watch below — and Batman fans, hope that Guillermo got this one right. Peter Weber

2:18 a.m. ET

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) thinks the USA Freedom Act is better than the Patriot Act, but he's still voting against it, he told Seth Meyers on Tuesday's Late Night. There are better, most constitutional ways to combat terrorism, the 2016 Democratic presidential contender said. "We can't go around telling people we're a free country when either the government or the corporate world knows every damn thing about you — that's not really freedom."

Then Meyers started pitching softballs. Sanders looked a little nervous when Meyers started bringing up an essay Sanders published in 1972 that touches on rape and fantasy, but relaxed when Meyers turned it into a question about 50 Shades of Grey. "I think I could make a good president, but I write fiction pretty poorly," Sanders said. Also, that folk album he talked-sang on in the 1980s wasn't a great idea, he said, when Meyers broached the subject. "I almost feel like you should say, 'Vote for me or I'll put out another album'," Meyers quipped. There are probably worse campaign slogans. Listen to Sanders orate about liberty (and sing) below. Peter Weber

fixing a hole
1:33 a.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration's poor track record with airport security, highlighted in a report on Monday, did not go unnoticed by the TSA's parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson replaced the TSA's acting administrator, Melvin Carraway, with its acting deputy director, Mark Hatfield, until a permanent replacement is installed — President Obama nominated Coast Guard Vice Adm. Pete Neffenger in April, but the Senate hasn't confirmed him. Carraway was reassigned to another post at DHS.

Johnson said that the numbers reported from the classified DHS inspector general's report — TSA agents failed to detect fake bombs and other weapons in 67 of 70 covert tests — "never look good out of context, but they are a critical element in the continual evolution of our aviation security." He announced several steps meant to improve airport security, including new screening procedures, training for all TSA officers and especially supervisors, and re-evaluating current screening systems. Undercover, randomly timed security tests will continue.

Despite the bad report, "TSA screened a record number of passengers at airports in the United States," Johnson said, and "seized a record number of prohibited items." Still, he added, he is taking the reports findings "very seriously." Peter Weber

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