Monday, March 12, 2018
Music: current count 29476  rated (+24), 368  unrated (+0).
Nothing to say about music this week. I woke up last Monday to the
news that my sister had been struck by a car while walking from the
parking lot to her work at Wichita State University. The car was not
going especially fast, but knocked her to the ground, and she smashed
the back of her skull on the pavement. The skull was cracked, and a
CT scan showed multiple brain bleeds. The Wesley Hospital ER stapled
the skull together, stabilized her, and put her in the Intensive Care
Unit. When we saw her, she was conscious, incoherent, agitated, very
frustrated. She developed respiratory problems, which they cleared up
(mostly) with a 3-hour bronchoscopy operation. After that, she seemed
to be improving, becoming calmer and more coherent, although she had
bad periods as well. I never got any meaningful review of her brain
scan tests. They were mostly described as "unchanged," and the bleeds
were deemed inoperable, so they focused on palliative care. There was
much discussion of transferring her to a "brain trauma hospital" in
Nebraska, possibly early this week.
Last night, around 4AM, Kathy's heart stopped. This occurred during
some form of respiratory therapy. Multiple attempts to revive her failed.
A friend was staying overnight at the hospital with her, and tells me
that they had "about half the floor in her room" and spent about 30
minutes before giving up. I don't know any more than that. The hospital
called her son, Ram, who called me about 4:30 AM. Our brother, Steve,
had come to Wichita on Wednesday, and planned on going in early morning.
He found out when he woke up, and called me. I couldn't go to sleep, so
I picked up and we talked about 7 AM.
I sent email to a couple of people before I went to bed. Ram posted
something very brief on Facebook. I shared it, then added my own note.
He'll be talking to a funeral director tomorrow, so we'll have a better
idea of schedule then. I need to call some people, and to catch up with
Ram and Steve, but in my current daze I figured I'd knock this out and
get it out of the way. I've had a miserable week, with my own problems
as well as this. Feeling shocked and helpless now.
New records rated this week:
- Blue Notes Tribute Orkestra: Live at the Bird's Eye (2012 , self-released): [r]: B+(*)
- Nubya Garcia: Nubya's 5ive (2017, Jazz Re:freshed): [r]: B+(**)
- Peter Kuhn: Dependent Origination (2016 , FMR): [cd]: B+(***)
- Peter Kuhn Trio: Intention (2017 , FMR): [cd]: A-
- Emma-Jean Thackray's Walrus: Walrus EP (2017, Deptford Beach, EP): [r]: B+(*)
Old music rated this week:
- The Free Spirits Featuring John McLaughlin: Tokyo Live (1993 , Verve): [r]: B+(**)
- Christof Lauer: Christof Lauer (1989, CMP): [r]: B+(***)
- Christof Lauer/Wolfgang Puschnig/Bob Stewart/Thomas Alkier: Bluebells (1992, CMP): [r]: B+(**)
- Christof Lauer: Fragile Network (1998 , ACT): [r]: B+(***)
- Christof Lauer/NDR Big Band: Christof Lauer & NDR Big Band Play Sidney Bechet: Petite Fleur (2013 , ACT): [r]: B+(**)
- Mahavishnu Orchestra: Between Nothingness & Eternity (1973, Columbia): [r]: B+(*)
- Mahavishnu Orchestra: Apocalypse (1974, Columbia): [r]: C+
- Mahavishnu Orchestra: Visions of the Emerald Beyond (1974 , Columbia): [r]: B-
- Mahavishnu Orchestra/John McLaughlin: Inner Worlds (1975 , Columbia): [r]: B-
- Joe Maneri Quartet: Dahabenzapple (1993 , Hat Art): [r]: B+(**)
- Joe Maneri Quartet: In Full Cry (1996 , ECM): [r]: B+(*)
- Joe Maneri/Mat Maneri: Blessed (1997 , ECM): [r]: B+(**)
- Joe Maneri Trio: The Trio Concerts (1997-98 , Leo, 2CD): [r]: B+(**)
- John McLaughlin: Devotion (1970, Douglas): [r]: B+(**)
- John McLaughlin: The Heart of Things (1997, Verve): [r]: B+(*)
- John McLaughlin/Zakir Hussain/T.H. "Vikkur" Vinayakram/Hariprasad Chaurasia: Remember Shakti (1997 , Verve, 2CD): [r]: B+(***)
- Shakti/John McLaughlin: Shakti With John McLaughlin (1975 , Columbia): [r]: B+(***)
- Shakti With John McLaughlin: Natural Elements (1977, Columbia): [r]: B+(**)
- Shakti With John McLaughlin: A Handful of Beauty (1976 , Columbia): [r]: B+(***)
Sunday, March 11, 2018
Didn't mean to write much this weekend. Just figured I'd go through
the motions, starting with the usual Yglesias links, to have something
for future reference, and to check how the update mechanism works on
the transplanted website. Guess I got a little carried away.
Some scattered links this week:
Matthew Yglesias: 4 stories that really mattered this week: Trump
slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum; Gary Cohn says he's quitting:
the top White House economic adviser, formerly of Goldman Sachs; Trump
will (maybe) do a summit with Kim Jong Un; Red-state teachers are getting
angry: in West Virginia, most obviously, with Oklahoma and Arizona in
the wings. Other Yglesias pieces:
Globalists, explained: Evidently, some people view "globalist" as
an anti-semitic term. Today's example: Trump describing the departing
Gary Cohn as a "globalist." An older term is "cosmopolitan," although
I've found the German more interesting: "weltbürgerlich" -- citizen of
the world. Such allusions seem to be endemic with the alt-right, even
more so with Trump, but I'm not sure that it's useful at all to dwell
on them. Nearly everything that Trump and his ilk say that can be read
as anti-semitic is also wrong for other reasons, and people miss that
when they get hung up on anti-semitic stereotypes. One word that doesn't
appear here is "neoliberal," which is actually a better description of
Cohn -- including Cohn's differences from the Trumpian nationalists --
but doesn't seem to be part of their vocabulary.
The real danger to the US economy in Trump's trade policy: "It's not
the tariffs; it's what happens next.".
The DCCC should chill out and do less to try to pick Democrats' nominees:
"There's very little evidence that "electable" moderates do better."
Trump's trade demand to China is pathetically small: "The US-China trade
deficit rose $28 billion last year. Trump is asking for a $1 billion cut."
Actually, that understates the plan, as The actual trade deficit is $375.2
billion -- "a drop in the bucket." Moreover, the plan is just an ask: "Trump
is asking the Chinese to find a way to cut it by less than 0.27 percent but
acting like he's a tough guy."
Cory Booker's new Workers Dividend Act, explained: "A Bloomberg analysis
shows that of America's $54 billion corporate tax windfall, so far $21.1
billion has been kicked to shareholders in the form of 'buybacks,' almost
twice as much as has gone to employees in higher compensation and far more
than has been spent on capital investments or research and development."
Booker's bill seeks to rebalance that by giving people who work for companies
that do stock buybacks a piece of the profit. That's nice for them, but
doesn't help anyone else. It is, at best, a tiny step toward equality,
piggybacked on a larger step in the opposite direction.
The 17 Democrats selling out on bank regulation is worse than it looks.
I don't see a list or a vote total, so I'm not sure just who he's blaming,
but the bill in question is the Republicans' gift to the industry that sunk
the economy in 2008, a more/less significant rollback of the relatively
feeble reform package known as Dodd-Frank. For more on the bill, see:
Emily Stewart: The bank deregulation bill in the Senate, explained;
Ross Barkan: The rich and the right want to dynamite Dodd-Frank -- and
Democrats are helping them do it:
It's worth considering when bipartisanship can still exist in this deeply
polarizing moment. It cannot live where there is a growing national
consensus, as over the severity of climate change or the scourge of
It cannot live in any kind of economic matter that benefits the
working class or the poor, even after Donald Trump managed to shred
rightwing economic orthodoxies on his way to the presidency -- never
mind that he's governing like a Koch brothers pawn.
Democrats and Republicans can only come together to feather the
nests of the rich and powerful. Weakening Dodd-Frank confirms the
worst suspicions of any cynical voter -- that the political class
really is colluding to screw them over.
Trump's tariffs are a scary look at what happens when he actually tries to
govern: Good point, but I certainly wouldn't go this far:
The Trump era has, so far, gone better than anyone had any right to expect.
It's true that as problems arise -- flu, drug overdoses, Hurricane Maria,
school shootings -- Trump invariably fails to rise to the occasion. And,
from time to time, he for no good reason opts to pour salt in America's
racial wounds. His immigration policies are making us poorer and meaner,
while his health care and tax policies make our economy more unequal.
But on a day-to-day basis, life goes on.
Despite the frightening concentration of incompetence in the West Wing,
many critical posts -- most of all at the Departments of Defense and
Treasury and the Federal Reserve -- appear to be in the hands of basically
capable people. Trump's habit of relentlessly deferring to GOP congressional
leadership on policy issues is disappointing if you were a true believer in
Trumpism, but sort of vaguely reassuring if you found the idea of installing
a narcissistic rage-holic in the Oval Office alarming.
I'd submit that there's a lot more on the negative side of the ledger,
and little if anything on the positive. I'll also stipulate that most folks
won't understand the negative side until it comes crashing down on them
like a ton of bricks, but the number of people who this has happened to
already is non-trivial (especially immigrants of various degrees, and most
people in Puerto Rico). Policies by their very nature have slow triggers,
but that doesn't mean that today's decisions won't catch up with us sooner
or later. And while it's true that some of Trump's administrators don't
seem to be competent enough to destroy departments they loathe -- Rich
Perry, Ben Carson, Betsy De Vos -- others are more than capable -- Ryan
Zinke at Interior, Scott Pruitt at EPA, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.
That Mattis and Mnuchin lack the same streak of nihilism has more to do
with the usefulness of their departments to rich donors than relative
James K Galbraith: Trump's steel tariffs are mere political theater:
Points out something I haven't seen noted elsewhere: similar tariffs
have been implemented twice before, first under Reagan and again by
GW Bush. Neither had any real effect, least of all on rebuilding the
American steel industry. Nor did they generate much controversy, as
they were mere "political theater" by politicians who were otherwise
reliable neoliberals. If Trump's generating more controversy, that's
probably because he's ideologically less trustworthy -- not that he
actually understands or believes in anything.
Jeff Goodell: Welcome to the Age of Climate Migration: "Extreme
weather due to climate change displaced more than a million people
from their homes last year. It could soon reshape the nation." Key
takeaway here: it's already happening, and it's measurable.
Jane Mayer: Christopher Steele, the Man Behind the Trump Dossier.
Long piece, dovetails with and expands upon what I know about the
various Russia scandals.
Heather Digby Parton: Running for the White House Exits: Who Would
Want to Work for President Trump Anyway?
Matt Shuman: At Political Rally, Trump Repeats Call to Give Drug Dealers
the Death Penalty: Disturbing on many levels, partly because his ego
seems to require the periodic stoking, partly because he clearly figures
that what would appeal most to his base is public blood-letting. Curious,
too, that he actually cites China as his authority on how effective the
death penalty is at stopping drug traffic. (Of course, he could just as
well have cited the Philippines' Duterte, who like trump believes "act
first, due process later.")
Matt Taibbi: Trump Is a Dangerous Idiot. So Why Are We Pushing Him Toward
War? Provides many examples of people with serious foreign policy
credentials (i.e., a track record of having been wrong many times in the
past) doing just that: two that especially stick in my crawl are David
Ignatius and Kenneth Pollack ("of the American Enterprise Institute").
Meanwhile, in the States, the only thing about Donald Trump that any sane
person ever had to be grateful for was that he entered the White House
claiming to be isolationist and war-averse. That soon proved to be a lie
like almost everything else about his campaign, but Jesus, do we have to
help this clown down the road toward General Trump fantasies?
We have the dumbest, least competent White House in history. Whatever
else anyone in America has as a goal for Trump's remaining time in office,
the single most important priority must to be keeping this guy away from
the nuclear button. Almost anything else would be survivable.
Which is why it makes no sense to be taunting Trump and basically
calling him a wuss for negotiating with Kim Jong Un or being insufficiently
aggressive in Syria.
To get a glimpse of what passes for thinking in Pollack's brain,
take a look at his
Learning From Israel's Political Assassination Program, a review
of Ronen Bergman's huge (753 pp.) book, Rise and Kill First: The
Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations. Israel has
undertaken such "targeted killings" throughout its history, but the
rate (and indifference to "collateral damage") increased dramatically
after 2001. The US has followed suit:
There have been many who have objected, claiming that the killings
inspire more attacks on the United States, complicate our diplomacy
and undermine our moral authority in the world. Yet the targeted
killings drone on with no end in sight. Just counting the campaigns
in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the Bush administration conducted
at least 47 targeted killings by drones, while under the Obama
administration that number rose to 542.
America's difficult relationship with targeted killing and the
dilemmas we may face in the future are beautifully illuminated by
the longer story of Israel's experiences with assassination in its
own endless war against terrorism. Israel has always been just a
bit farther down this slippery slope than the United States. If
we're willing, we can learn where the bumps are along the way by
watching the Israelis careening ahead of us.
Pollack admits that "targeted killings" are a mere tactic in the
larger effort to suppress terrorism, and that there's no reason to
think they're particularly effective. He goes on to blather a lot
about COIN theory, without recognizing that Israel has never been
in the least interested in "winning hearts and minds." Israel's
sole goal, at least since Independence and arguably a good deal
earlier, has been to establish an ethnocracy and maintain it by
overwhelming force. They understand that they cannot convince
Palestinians to agree to a debased and subservient status, but
they persist in believing that they can maintain their two-tier
society by imposing domination and terror.
Pollack does fault Israel for being unwilling to accept the
"land-for-peace" option to actually resolve the conflict, but
he fails to understand why. For "land-for-peace" to work, two
things have to happen: the reason Israel might be willing to
give up land is to rid itself of Palestinians, thus ensuring a
stronger Jewish majority; having secured demographic dominance,
Israel could then afford to offer its remaining Palestinians
equal rights, ending the conflict. It is this latter point,
equality, that Israelis cannot abide. They would rather endure
perpetual conflict than to give up their superiority.
I doubt Bergman's book reveals much "secret history." Israel
has been bragging about their assassination program for many
years, and now that the US is wrapped up in its own murderous
program, they must feel little public relations risk. On the
other hand, the US does at least go through the motions of
presenting itself as "a beacon of freedom and justice" -- a
stance which is instantly discredited by its murder program
(not that many people outside America still believed it).
For a better review of Rise and Kill First, see:
"Rise and Kill First" Explores the Corrupting Effects of Israel's
Taibbi also wrote
The New Blacklist: "Russiagate may have been aimed at Trump to start,
but it's become a way of targeting all dissent." He notes the existence
of an outfit named Hamilton 68, which tracks everything that seems to be
approved by Russia's propagandists (especially through their bots), on
the theory that whatever Russia promotes should be opposed. "In fact,
unless you're a Hillary Clinton Democrat, you've probably been portrayed
as having somehow been in on it, at one time or another."
Peter Van Buren: What critics of North Korea summit get wrong: Well,
first he disposes of the idea that simply meeting confers legitimacy on
North Korea. He also makes a plausible case for starting the diplomatic
process with a photo-op of the leaders in general agreement. He doesn't
delve into the fact that the shakier of the leaders is Trump, both due
to his massive ignorance and his relatively weak grasp on America's
military and security establishments -- the clearest evidence there
is how cheerfully he concedes policy direction to the generals (e.g.,
Alex Ward: The past 24 hours in Trump scandals, explained: Seems less
like a headline than a feature column that could be rewritten each day.
This particular one came out on Thursday, March 8, and covers Trump being
sued by porn star Stormy Daniels, and Erik Prince lying about meeting
Russians in the Seychelles to discuss setting up a back channel between
Trump and Putin, and Trump attempting to influence people Mueller has
interviewed in the Russia probe. Tomorrow, and next week, and next month,
you'll get a slightly different list of scandals, but as long as the media
limits them to things Trump actually knows and does, they'll most likely
stay at this trivial level. The real scandals go much deeper, but unless
Trump tweets about them, how will White House reporters know?
Tuesday, March 06, 2018
Every Monday I knock out a Music Week post, with a list of the week's
rated records, an unpacking list, and an intro of some sort. I've been
feeling especially miserable for a week or more -- a persistent upper
back ache, and chronic itching over much of my body, with an odd tingle
on the margin between the two complaints -- so I cut my intro short. But
when I went to post it, along with the usual website update, I found I
couldn't access the server. In fact, the website had vanished.
I've had intimations this might happen. I've used the virtual server
at Addr.com since SCO shut down their original OCSTON server -- probably
2001. I've had occasional problems with the server company, where the
MySQL server would hang up, or I'd run out of disk space. Around 2005
I started a blog using the Serendipity software, which was built on the
MySQL database engine. At one point blog performance got so bad I created
a flat file cache of recent posts, something I called my "faux blog."
At one point Addr shut me down due to a virus infection in the blog. I
managed to repair that and get them to allow me back in. They were never
very responsive or supportive, but I managed to hobble along. And in one
important respect, I was stuck with them: at some point the blog grew
too large to get a proper database dump, so I lost my ability to move
Last year, when I ran into disk space problems, I found that their
support mechanisms -- everything from phone to chat to web forms --
had stopped working. For all practical purposes, there was no one on
their end, although the servers remained up and accessible, and they
kept billing me. That finally broke on Monday. I suppose it's possible
they may get rebooted, but that's starting to look unlikely.
So I went to bed Monday realizing that I would have to rebuild my
website somewhere else. The obvious choice for elsewhere is the dedicated
server I lease from Hosting & Designs, even though I can't say as
I'm any happier with their service than I've been with Addr. I host 6-8
websites on that server, and it's fair to say it's underutilized. Also
fair to say I'm not very adept at managing it. In particular, I've put
off doing a necessary software update for many months now. I'll need to
do that and some general maintenance before I get too involved in adding
my website. I'll need either to set up a new account or figure out how
to hang a new domain/website under an existing one. I'll have to archive
all the flat files on my local machine and transplant them to the server.
And I'll have to change the registrar nameserver records as well as my
And that still leaves open the question of what to do about the blog.
There's no easy way to rebuild that, especially since I haven't been
able to get a valid dump for many years. Given those difficulties, I
wonder whether it makes sense to continue using Serendipity. I've been
using WordPress on all of my current server accounts, so that's the
direction I've been leaning in -- just haven't made the jump for my
own blog, not least because it's so much larger. Perhaps the best way
would be to start a new blog going forward, while going back and trying
to restore as many old blog pages as possible using "faux blog" flat
files. As I recall, that would come to about 2300 pages, but obviously
I don't need them all operational to start.
Anyhow, when I went to bed Monday night, those were thoughts running
through my head -- not that I was looking forward to following them.
Then I got up Tuesday a little after noon to find out that my sister
had been hit by a car and rushed to the hospital. We had very little
information at first, finally resolving to go to the hospital and find
out what we could. By the time we left, we heard that Kathy was stable
and in intensive care at Wesley, and that her son Ram was there.
When we got there, we found out that Kathy had been walking across
the street between the parking lot and her job at the Wichita State
University art department when she was struck by a car moving about
15 mph. The car knocked her down, and she hit the back of her head
hard on the pavement, cracking the skull in at least two places, and
causing internal bleeding. At hospital, they stapled the skull back
together, and did a CT scan to measure the bleeding. They determined
that she had no other fractures, but she had abrasions and they put
her in a neck brace. They then moved her to the surgical ICU, where
we found her. She was mostly conscious but sometimes incoherent.
She had trouble breathing throughout the time I spent with her, and
was clearly agitated and uncomfortable, and probably in pain. They
didn't give her anything for the pain, as they wanted to be able to
assess her cognitive state. They scheduled a second CT scan for 12
hours after the first. I left about that time, so don't know what
that scan showed.
Monday, March 05, 2018
Music: current count 29452  rated (+29), 368  unrated (+1).
Most of what follows, including all of this week's A- ratings,
already appeared in
posted last Wednesday. After that I guess I slowed down a bit. Damn
little more to report.
I suppose I could offer a link to
The new (UK) jazz family tree, although I should note that it actually
offers only a rather thin slice of jazz in the UK, with nothing avant (aside
from Evan Parker), nothing trad, huge omissions elsewhere (some names that
leap to mind: Dave Holland, John McLaughlin, Howard Riley, Tommy Smith, and
John Surman, as well as younger musicians like Neil Cowley and Alexander
Hawkins). I haven't tried counting, but offhand I think I recognize about
a third of the names, mostly falling down where band members are expanded
(e.g., the other three-fourths of Camilla George Quartet). The author notes
that she started with Emma-Jean Thackray and Sons of Kemet and worked her
way out from there. Thackray didn't ring a bell, although I've heard of
her group Walrus. Sons of Kemet have a couple albums I like, especially
Lest We Forget What We Came Here to Do (2015).
New records rated this week:
- Laurie Anderson/Kronos Quartet: Landfall (2018, Nonesuch): [r]: A-
- Brandi Carlile: By the Way, I Forgive You (2018, Low Country Sound/Elektra): [r]: B-
- Roberta Donnay & the Prohibition Mob Band: My Heart Belongs to Satchmo (2018, Blujazz): [cd]: B+(**)
- Electric Squeezebox Orchestra: The Falling Dream (2015 , OA2): [cd]: B
- GoGo Penguin: A Humdrum Star (2017 , Blue Note): [r]: B+(*)
- Mike Jones/Penn Jillette: The Show Before the Show: Live at the Penn & Teller Theater (2017 , Capri): [cd]: B+(***)
- Femi Kuti: One People One World (2018, Knitting Factory): [r]: B+(*)
- Les Filles De Illighadad: Eghass Malan (2017, Sahelsounds): [r]: B+(**)
- Dave Liebman/Tatsuya Nakatani/Adam Rudolph: The Unknowable (2016 , RareNoise): [cdr]: B+(*)
- Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas: Sound Prints: Scandal (2017 , Greenleaf Music): [cd]: B+(***)
- Youssou N'Dour: Raxas Bercy 2017 (2017, self-released): [dl]: A-
- Amy Rigby: The Old Guys (2018, Southern Domestic): [r]: A-
- Shakers n' Bakers: Heart Love: Plays the Music of Albert Ayler and Mary Maria Parks (2017 , Little i Music): [cd]: B+(*)
- Shopping: The Official Body (2018, FatCat): [r]: A-
- Steve Tyrell: A Song for You (2018, New Design): [cd]: B+(**)
- U.S. Girls: In a Poem Unlimited (2018, 4AD): [r]: B+(**)
Old music rated this week:
- Marion Brown: Afternoon of a Georgia Faun (1970, ECM): [r]: B
- Marion Brown: Duets Vol. 1 (1970 , 1201/Black Lion Vault): [r]: B+(**)
- Dorothy Donegan: Live at the 1990 Floating Jazz Festival (1990 , Chiaroscuro): [r]: B+(**)
- Chico Freeman: Tradition in Transition (1982, Elektra Musician): [r]: B+(*)
- Chico Freeman/Mal Waldron: Up and Down (1992, Black Saint): [r]: B+(**)
- Jelly Roll Morton: The Piano Rolls (1924 , Nonesuch): [r]: B+(**)
- Original Dixieland Jazz Band: The 75th Anniversary (1917-21 , RCA Bluebird): [r]: B+(***)
- Original Dixieland Jazz Band: In London 1919-1920 Plus the Okeh Sessions 1922-1923 (1919-23 , Retrieval): [r]: B+(**)
- Amy Rigby: Live at Cat's Cradle 02/26/2003 (2003 , self-released): [r]: B+(**)
- Trio-X [Joe McPhee/Dominic Duval/Jay Rosen]: The Sugar Hill Suite (2004, CIMP): [r]: B+(**)
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
- Martin Blume/Tobias Delius/Achim Kaufmann/Dieter Manderscheid: Frames & Terrains (NoBusiness): cdr
- Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin: Ninety-Nine Years (Libra)
- Gerry Hemingway/Samuel Blaser: Oostum (NoBusiness): cdr
- Kang Tae Hwan: Live at Café Amores (1995, NoBusiness)
- The Doug MacDonald Quintet/The Roger Neumann Quintet: Two Quintets: Live Upstairs at Vitello's (2018, Blujazz, 2CD)
- Todd Marcus: On These Streets (Stricker Street): April 27
- Wynton Marsalis Septet: United We Swing: Best of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Galas (2003-07, Blue Engine): March 23
- Erin McDougald: Outside the Soirée (Miles High): March 16
- Michael Morreale: MilesSong: The Music of Miles Davis (Summit, 2CD)
- Peripheral Vision: More Songs About Error and Shame (self-released): March 30
- Barre Phillips/Motoharu Yoshizawa: Oh My, Those Boys! (1994, NoBusiness)
- Roberta Piket: West Coast Trio (13th Note): April 6
- Jim Snidero & Jeremy Pelt: Jubilation (Savant): advance, May 4
- Spin Cycle [Scott Neumann/Tom Christensen]: Assorted Colors (Sound Footing): April 6
- Dan Weiss: Starebaby (Pi): April 6
A fragment I wrote for this, but ultimately chose not to use:
Something I meant to mention yesterday was the pair of New York Times
Sarah Bakewell: Steven Pinker Continues to See the Glass Half Full,
on Pinker's Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism,
and Progress, and
Angus Deaton: Getting Better All the Time?, on Gregg Easterbrook's
It's Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear.
I had run across Pinker's book during a recent trawl for a Book Roundup
post -- my last one was
August 2017 -- and had written a bit about the subject then.
I'm sympathetic to the premise of these books, in large part because
I'm not so far removed from the 19th century that I can't comprehend
how much everyday life has changed for the better thanks to reason,
science, and engineering.
Sunday, March 04, 2018
Once again having to cut this short because I'm running out of time.
Didn't even watch the Oscars tonight, as I tried to gather these links.
Nothing terribly new below if you've been reading all along, although
the Putnam/Skocpol article might help, as well as Yglesias' near-weekly
posts on Republican voting setbacks. I suppose one thing that slowed me
down is that this has been an above-average week for palace intrigue,
even given renormalization after that's been the case for about 50 weeks
in the last year-plus-a-month.
Some scattered links this week:
Matthew Yglesias: The 4 stories that mattered this week in Washington,
explained: Tariffs on steel; Trump went rogue on guns; Hope Hicks
is quitting; Jared Kushner is under fire.
Other Yglesias stories:
Jeff Sessions's dinner with Rod Rosenstein and Noel Francisco, explained.
A telling anecdote about Trump and the opioid abuse crisis: Trump
is appointing Jim Carroll to run the Office of National Drug Control
Policy, evidently because John Kelly didn't like having Carroll as his
deputy chief of staff.
Trump's corruption deserves to be a central issue in the 2018 midterms.
Well, it will be. The only real question is whether Democrats manage to
tar the entire Republican Party with the corruption so evident in the
Trump family. Right now this seems doable, given the prominent role of
big money donors in the Trump administration and the stranglehold over
Trump's agenda held by congressional Republicans, especially Paul Ryan
and Mitch McConnell.
Democrats just flipped 2 state legislative seats in Connecticut and New
Hampshire. I still think that the main reason Democrats have done
so well in interim elections is that the extent of the 2016 fiasco has
motivated stronger and more energetic Democrats to run for office. I
don't think we've seen much of an ideological shift thus far, and we
may not for some time, as we gradually sink into the depths of disaster
Republican rule is causing. Still, it won't take much more than a shift
of enthusiasm to tilt generic elections to the Democrats, and that
seems almost certain. Still, Republicans will have lots of money for
the 2018 elections, and will pull out all stops in their efforts to
whip up anti-Democrat hysteria. The question is how many times can
you cry wolf before people realize that the wolf is you?
Eric Holthaus: Nor'easters are now just as dangerous as hurricanes.
I haven't followed the news close enough to know how these pre-storm
threats have held up.
Eric Lipton/Lisa Friedman: Oil Was Central in Decision to Shrink Bears
Ears Monument, Emails Show. Previously I figured it was mostly about
uranium mining, but I guess there's more to it. Still, both fall under
the general rubric of corruption, as in political officials doing favors
that benefit big campaign donors.
German Lopez: A new, huge review of gun research has bad news for the
NRA: Nearly 39,000 people were killed by guns in 2016, yet the NRA
has managed to keep the federal government from sponsoring any research
into gun deaths, resulting in "a confusing empirical environment." RAND
Corporation has been looking into this, and have released the report
Lopez refers to. By the way, after Trump went off script on guns,
he's evidently been brought back to heel:
Trump met with the NRA -- and now we're back to not knowing what he wants
on guns. By the way, when Trump said, "Take the guns first, go through
due process second," it sounded to me more an attack on due process than
Andrew Prokop: Jared Kushner's many, many scandals, explained.
The white albatross mortgage on 666 Fifth Avenue is obviously the
top of Kushner's worry list, which makes you wonder why a businessman
in so much hot water would go pff imtp public service unless he thought
there was a lucrative business angle there. At the same time, note:
Caitlin MacNeal: NYT: Trump Has Asked John Kelly to Push Ivanka Trump,
Kushner Out of WH. Of course, not everything the New York Times
reports is fake news, but this is especially suspicious. Prokop also
This week's wild Trump White House chaos, explained, with more
on Hope Hicks' resignation and various rumors that "Kushner, McMaster,
Cohn, and Sessions are said to be on the ropes." Alex Ward delves
further into the Sessions affair:
The angry past 24 hours in Trump's fight with his own attorney general,
Lara Putnam/Theda Skocpol: Middle America Reboots Democracy: "We
spent months talking with anti-Trump forces -- and they're not who
pundits say they are." Skocpol wrote an early book on the Tea Party
movement and is quick to note that grass roots anti-Trump organizing
is not some sort of "left-wing Tea Party." They also note how little
the Democratic Party "professionals" grasp about what's going on,
and what's producing dramatic results.
Emily Stewart: All of West Virginia's teachers have been on strike for
over a week. West Virginia has trended Republican recently, taking
a very hard turn against Obama, so this comes as a surprise, but also
Avery Anapol: Oklahoma teachers planning statewide strike.
Stewart is evidently a staff writer at Vox. She had a busy week:
Trump's trade war will hurt everyone -- the only question is how
much: interview with Michael Froman, who was US Trade Representative
under Obama (which means he negotiated the TPP, which Trump, Sanders,
and ultimately Clinton opposed; indeed, he continues to defend TPP here);
Trump says China's Xi is "president for life" -- and maybe America
should try it ("probably a joke");
During a chaotic week in the White House, Trump quietly ramped up
his 2020 reelection campaign. The most important of these is
probably the one on the launch of Trump's 2020 campaign. In past
times, the main reason for starting a campaign early was to make
up for lack of name recognition, but that's obviously not Trump's
problem. Even then, it was rare to do so formally until after the
mid-term elections. That really only leaves one reason for Trump
to get such an early start: campaigns can collect money, so his
provides a way for supporters to stand up and be counted, while
allowing Trump to hire full-time propagandists and stage events,
something he seems to enjoy much more than actually fulfilling
the everyday duties of being president.
However, tariffs and trade have gotten a lot more attention; e.g.:
Zeeshan Aleem: Trump's trade tweets prove one thing: he doesn't
Alexia Fernandez Campbell: Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs have
angered nearly every US industry. Note that the stock market
fell 600 points the day after the announcement. Also note that
Trump buddy (and fellow billionaire) Carl Icahn somehow got out
in front of the stock crash -- see
Cristina Cabrera: Ex-Trump Advisor Sold Steel-Linked Stocks Before
POTUS Announced Tariffs. In case you're wondering about that "Ex-":
A longtime friend to Trump, Icahn served as a "special advisor" to the
President before resigning in August 2017 ahead of an incoming
New Yorker story that outlined his attempts to use his position to
help his investments.