First, a couple more links I missed last night:
Max Boot: The Trump Doctrine Was Written by CNN: I'm always surprised
to link to something by Boot, whose ill effect on US foreign policy is
probably second only to Henry Kissinger, but his critique of Trump is
pretty spot on. Needless to add, I don't support his fantasy about a
"Free Syrian Army" -- predicated as it is on the assumption that only we
know what's best for Syria, and we're willing to let the killing continue
for decades to achieve that.
Isaac Chotiner: Elites Are Giddy Over Trump's Airstrike in Syria, and
Kevin Gosztola: How do media outlets know source of chemical attack was
Syrian government? (they don't; they simply believe as much), and
Democrats, Neoconservatives unite in support of strikes in Syria as Trump
Justin Raimondo: Trump's Base Revolts Against Syria Strike: The
author is an anti-war libertarian, a long-time supporter of Ron Paul
who's jumped through hoops the last year to argue that Trump would
be a much more peaceful pick than Hillary Clinton. I rarely bother
with him, but as I noted yesterday, much early opposition to Trump's
tantrum came from the alt-right base, which Raimondo keeps tabs on.
Lauren Wolfe: There Are No Real 'Safe Zones' and There Never Have
Been: Evidently the term, popularized recently by Tillerson,
dates back to Bosnia, where it was used to describe Srebrenica --
before the massacre -- the event that gave us another choice
euphemism, "ethnic cleansing."
Matthew Yglesias: Trump's Syria strike is part of a broader pivot
toward the Gulf states' worldview: Interesting thesis, one that
aligns with Trump's increased support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen as
well as the turnabout on Syria.
Micah Zenko: Trump's Humanitarian Intervention in Syria Is Just Getting
Started: Subtitle: "But the president might be the last to know it."
The author, a CFR hack, doesn't know what his title says, but he does
know that what Trump did won't do the job, or even get close. One thing
that Zenko stresses is how little time occurred between the alleged gas
attack and the punitive response -- too short to be sure what happened,
let alone what the escalation might lead to.
I should also note that there will be a special election here in
Kansas to pick the successor to Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Koch), who has
moved on to become Trump's CIA Director. The favored Republican is
Ron Estes, who combines the worst aspects of Pompeo and predecessor
Todd Tiahrt (R-Boeing) with a markedly lower IQ -- I wouldn't want
to pick on someone just because he looks stupid, but all evidence
suggests Estes is the real deal. Republicans have plowed a lot of
money into this race, but all they've come up with are smears that
attack Democrat James Thompson for supporting "late-term abortion"
("he's too extreme for Kansas") and split screens with Nancy Pelosi.
Republicans have held the seat since 1994, usually with big margins,
and their base has grown as the district has spread out from Wichita.
The Nation finally took note of Thompson: see
John Nichols: A Berniecrat Takes on Trump and the Koch Brothers in
Kansas. I will add that Thompson hasn't tried to make this a
referendum on Trump nor does his advertising cite Bernie Sanders.
I think he missed an opportunity there, but he has a strong personal
story, and his ads have a lot of guns, so we'll see how that plays
There are also special elections to fill House vacancies in Georgia
and Montana. See:
Charlie May: A blue wave begins? Republicans may be in trouble in Kansas,
Montana and Georgia elections.
Music: Current count 28009  rated (+28), 404  unrated (+4).
Round number notice, as I passed 28,000 records rated. At 30/week
it takes 8-9 months to accumulate a thousand, so unless I slow down
I'll probably hit 29,000 around the end of the year, and 30,000 close
to Labor Day 2018. Big assumption. I've certainly slowed down going
through the new jazz queue, mostly because this week's four A-listed
records on Intakt and Cuneiform got four or more plays each. On the
other hand, the records I downloaded or checked out on Napster got
much less attention -- usually a single play, which is what kept the
week from being a major wipeout.
The old music by Herbie Hancock, Freddy Hubbard, and Pete La Roca
was suggested as I was slogging through the database adding entries
to the jazz guides (currently 590 + 299 pages, so +5 and +13 over
the week -- damn slow progress).
For Hancock and Hubbard, I
stopped after the Blue Notes ran out (well, I included one Hubbard
MPS, which had gotten some Critics Poll reissue votes last year).
Both artists declined afterwards, and I figured I had heard enough
for now. La Roca had two widely spaced Blue Notes and one outlier,
and I wound up most impressed by the latter (John Gilmore is the
secret ingredient, as he so often was).
Other recent jazz albums were suggested by the Downbeat Critics
Poll album ballot (Cameron Graves, Heads of State, Derrick Hodge,
Kneebody, Julian Lage, One for All, Bria Skonberg, Nate Smith --
Trio 3 and JLCO were also on the ballot but unrated in my queue).
Can't say as I had missed much, but now I can say I didn't. I took
the time to compile my
usual notes. The invite
from Downbeat's editor claimed that some critics can fill out the
20-page ballot in 25 minutes, but it took me over six hours, and
that only because I skimmed through the backstretch, most often
repeating last year's picks rather than taking the extra time to
rethink everything. Horrible experience.
The non-jazz records were suggested by Robert Chrisgau's
latest: obviously, I like the New Pornographers and Shins
considerably less, but was pleasantly surprised by Conor Oberst's
neo-Dylanisms. I had previously given Old 97's' Graveyard
Whistling a B+(***). Still need to check out that Craig
New records rated this week:
- Chicago-London Underground: A Night Walking Through Mirrors (2016 , Cuneiform): [cdr]: A-
- Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra: Invitation (2016 , OA2): [cd]: B+(**)
- Tom Dempsey/Tim Ferguson Quartet: Waltz New (2015 , OA2): [cd]: B+(**)
- Cameron Graves: Planetary Prince (2017, Mack Avenue): [r]: B-
- Heads of State: Four in One (2017, Smoke Sessions): [r]: B+(**)
- Oscar Hernández & Alma Libre: The Art of Latin Jazz (2016 , Origin): [cd]: B+(**)
- Derrick Hodge: The Second (2016, Blue Note): [r]: B-
- The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra: The Music of John Lewis (2013 , Blue Engine): [cd]: B+(*)
- Kneebody: Anti-Hero (2017, Motéma): [r]: B
- Julian Lage: Live in Los Angeles (2016, Mack Avenue, EP): [r]: B
- The Microscopic Septet: Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play the Blues (2016 , Cuneiform): [cdr]: A-
- The New Pornographers: Whiteout Conditions (2017, Collected Works/Concord): [r]: B+(***)
- Conor Oberst: Ruminations (2016, Nonesuch): [r]: B+(**)
- Conor Oberst: Salutations (2017, Nonesuch): [r]: A-
- One for All: The Third Decade (2015 , Smoke Sessions): [r]: B+(**)
- Matt Otto With Ensemble Ibérica: Ibérica (2016 , Origin): [cd]: B+(**)
- The Ed Palermo Big Band: The Great Un-American Songbook: Volumes I & II (2016 , Cuneiform, 2CD): [cdr]: B+(*)
- The Shins: Heartworms (2017, Columbia): [r]: B+(*)
- Bria Skonberg: Bria (2016, Okeh/Masterworks): [r]: B+(***)
- Nate Smith: Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere (2017, Ropeadope): [r]: B
- Spoon: Hot Thoughts (2017, Matador): [r]: B+(***)
- Trio 3: Visiting Texture (2016 , Intakt): [cd]: A-
- Trio Heinz Herbert: The Willisau Concert (2016 , Intakt): [cd]: A-
Old music rated this week:
- Herbie Hancock: Cantaloupe Island (1962-65 , Blue Note): [r]: B+(***)
- Herbie Hancock: Speak Like a Child (1968, , Blue Note): [r]: B+(*)
- Herbie Hancock: The Prisoner (1969 , Blue Note): [r]: B+(**)
- Freddie Hubbard: Goin' Up (1960 , Blue Note): [r]: B+(***)
- Freddie Hubbard: Hub Cap (1961, Blue Note): [r]: B+(**)
- Freddie Hubbard: The Hub of Hubbard (1969 , MPS): [r]: B+(*)
- Pete La Roca: Basra (1965 , Blue Note): [r]: A-
- Pete La Roca: Turkish Women at the Bath (1967 , Fresh Sound): [r]: A-
- Pete (LaRoca) Sims: SwingTime (1997, Blue Note): [r]: B
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
- Buffalo Jazz Octet: PausaLive (Cadence Jazz)
- Peter Campbell: Loving You: Celebrating Shirley Horn (self-released)
- Oliver Lake Featuring Flux Quartet: Right Up On (Passin' Thru): April 21
- Gregory Lewis: Organ Monk: The Breathe Suite (self-released): May 5
- Jason Miles: Kind of New 2: Blue Is Paris (Lightyear): advance, May 12
- Jared Sims: Change of Address (self-released): April 14
- Günter Baby Sommer: Le Piccole Cose: Live at Theater Gütersloh (Intuition)
- Trichotomy: Known-Unknown (Challenge)
- Ronny Whyte: Shades of Whyte (Audiophile): May 5
- Alex Wintz: Life Cycle (Culture Shock Music): May 19