Listen to the swaggering blues rock of America's latest ricin mailer suspect

When we read that J. Everett Dutschke, the martial arts instructor and former political candidate accused of mailing a ricin-laced letter to Barack Obama, was the "leader of a local rock band called Dusty and the RoboDrum," we had to hear his work.

Fortunately, the Mississippi native's entire 2009 album, For Your Leather, is available for free on Spotify and for $14.15 on Amazon. Although the style of his music has been billed as "Live-Loop Oriented Rock with tons of lasers," we found it to be a twangy form of blues rock with the occasional heavy distortion guitar-solo interspersed. For your listening pleasure, we've provided a short clip of his track "Mount Up," a rollicking homage to a female love interest.

I don't mind her pony tail, I don't mind her boots.

I like the way she holds my pistol when she wants to shoot.

The tempo is fast, but perhaps not as fast as the federal case mounting against him (you see what we did there?).  The FBI affidavit claims that authorities found ricin on a dust mask discarded by Dutschke, traces of ricin at his martial arts studio, and a downloaded book called Standard Operating Procedure for Ricin. Dutschke, who seems scripted straight out of a Coen brothers flim, insists he's innocent, appearing in a YouTube video last week saying he doesn't "have anything at all to do with" the ricin packages mailed to Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker. Guess it's time for Dutschke to mount, er, lawyer up.


Could China's love of cash be as much about trust as lack of trust?

In Tuesday's New York Times, Shanghai-based business reporter David Barboza takes a look at the preponderance of cash in Chinese daily life, and suggests that the phenomenon may stem from people's mistrust of Chinese banks and the Communist Party: 

This is a country, after all, where home buyers make down payments with trunks filled with cash. And big-city law firms have been known to hire armored cars to deliver the cash needed to pay monthly salaries.

For all China's modern trappings - the new superhighways, high-speed rail networks and soaring skyscrapers - analysts say this country still prefers to pay for things the old-fashioned way, with ledgers, bill-counting machines and cold, hard cash.

Many experts say it is not a refusal to enter the 21st century as much as wariness, of the government toward its citizens and vice versa.

But what if the use of cash also demonstrates trust -- that people in China think it's safe to walk around carrying the equivalent of hundreds or thousands of dollars in cash?

Chinese crime data are unreliable. A September 2012 article published on the People's Web, the website affiliated with the official newspaper of the Communist Party, the People's Daily, makes the dubious claim that incidences of eight major crimes -- including rape, murder, and robbery -- decreased by 9 percent from 2009 to 2010 and 10 percent from 2010 to 2011. In 2009, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime found that China's murder rate was 1.1 per 100,000 people -- low (the United States was 5.0 per 100,000), but still much higher than official statistics.

Still, anecdotally at least, and not considering crimes stemming from official corruption, China's a pretty safe place. Perhaps one reason people keep cash around and not in state-run banks is because they think their neighbors are more trustworthy than the government.