I got my headphone amp yesterday, and I've been trying it on lots of different music. The amplifier is clearly much more powerful than those in either my MP3 player or my laptop. However, at least vs. the MP3 player, I haven't been able to hear an obvious difference when listening through the amp (there seems to be a slight improvement over the laptop). The extra signal processing to make headphones sound more like speakers, on the other hand, is quite noticable and nice. With classical music, I think it really helps to bring out details, as they are more separated in the stereo image. And, reverb seems to come through much more clearly. I really need to do a double-blind test to understand what's going on, but that's kind of a pain to do by myself. And, I'm guessing if I had better headphones, I would hear more benefit. I think I've blown my audio equipment budget for the time being, though.
Just finished reading this NYTimes Magazine article on the Center for American Progress, a newly formed liberal thinktank. The reporter's skepticism is well-founded; throwing a bunch of smart people together and telling them to come up with a new liberal platform might just lead to the same sort of muddled, designed-by-committee message that the Democrats have today. But...I guess it can't hurt. And if they eventually get someone with a great, unifying policy vision in there, at least the mechanisms for getting the word out might already be in place.