Monday, April 15, 2019
Expanded blog post,
April archive (incomplete).
Music: current count 31371  rated (+27), 252  unrated (+1).
May just be seasonal allergies, but feeling too lousy to even take
a stab at writing an introduction. I still have
XgauSez to edit
and post before I go to bed tonight, so need to get onto that while
A couple of notes, though. I've been talking about moving computers
around for a month or more. I finally got that done this week. Best
thing so far is that I have two relatively uncluttered desks to work
on, instead of one hopelessly messy one. Also I moved the speakers
above the desk, where they sound better and I can access the controls.
(Also, now both computers have speakers. Subwoofers are still under
the desk, where they should be, and that space is less cluttered than
before. No website work yet, but I should get to that soon.
Delighted to see Michael Tatum's
A Downloader's Diary (49) finally posted. I checked out a couple
of his recommendations below (also found a new live Pet Shop Boys he
didn't mention). Also continuing to pick albums off from Phil Overeem's
25% through the briar patch list.
Finally, I finally did manage to cast a Downbeat Critics
Poll ballot, a day past the deadline, but seems likely to be counted
(not that I could ever tell from the results). I didn't do a very
good job of collecting notes this time, but here is
what I have.
New records reviewed this week:
- Charlotte Adigery: Zandoli (2019, Deewee, EP): [r]: B+(**)
- Etienne Charles: Carnival: The Sound of a People Vol. 1 (2019, Culture Shock Music): [r]: B+(**)
- Ben Lamar Gay: Confetti in the Sky Like Fireworks [This Is Bate Bola OST] (2018 , International Anthem): [r]: B
- Ariana Grande: Thank U, Next (2019, Republic): [r]: B+(**)
- William Hooker: Cycle of Restoration (2018 , FPE): [r]: B+(*)
- Amber Mark: Conexão (2018, Virgin EMI, EP): [r]: B+(**)
- Wynton Marsalis: Bolden: Music From the Original Soundtrack (2019, Blue Engine): [cd]: B+(***)
- Xose Miguélez: Ontology (2018 , Origin): [cd]: B+(**)
- Billy Mohler: Focus! (2019, Make): [cd]: A-
- OGJB Quartet [Oliver Lake/Graham Haynes/Joe Fonda/Barry Altschul]: Bamako (2016 , TUM): [cd]: B+(***)
- Nicki Parrott: From New York to Paris (2019, Arbors): [r]: B+(**)
- Jeremy Pelt: Jeremy Pelt the Artist (2018 , HighNote): [r]: B+(*)
- Pet Shop Boys: Agenda (2019, X2, EP): [r]: B+(**)
- Pet Shop Boys: Inner Sanctum (2018 , X2): [r]: A-
- Joshua Redman Quartet: Come What May (2018 , Nonesuch): [r]: B+(***)
- Ruby Rushton: Ironside (2018 , 22a): [r]: B
- Jim Snidero: Waves of Calm (2019, Savant): [r]: B+(***)
- Dave Stryker: Eight Track III (2019, Strikezone): [cd]: B+(**)
- James Suggs: You're Gonna Hear From Me (2018, Arbors): [r]: B+(**)
- Fumi Tomita: The Elephant Vanishes (2018 , OA2): [cd]: B
- Warren Vaché: Songs Our Fathers Taught Us (2019, Arbors): [r]: B+(***)
- Dann Zinn: Day of Reckoning (2018 , Origin): [cd]: B+(***)
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:
- Louis Armstrong: Sparks, Nevada 1964! (1964 , Dot Time): [r]: A-
- Imamu Amiri Baraka: It's Nation Time: African Visionary Music (1972 , Motown): [r]: B+(***)
- Duke Ellington: In Coventry, 1966 (1966 , Storyville): [r]: B
- Ben Lamar Gay: 500 Chains (2013-14 , International Anthem): [r]: B+(***)
- Ben Lamar Gay: Grapes (2013-14 , International Anthem): [r]: B+(*)
- Ben Lamar Gay/Edinho Gerber: Benjamin E Edinho (2011-13 , International Anthem, EP): [r]: B+(*)
- Joanne Grauer: Introducing Lorraine Feather (1978 , MPS): [r]: B+(*)
- Kankyo Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environental and New Age Music 1980-1990 (1980-90 , Light in the Attic): [r]: A-
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
- Juan Álamo & Marimjazzia: Ruta Panoramica (Summit)
- Larry Koonse: New Jazz Standards Vol. 4 (Summit)
- Lisa Maxwell's Jazz Orchestra: Shiny! (Uncle Marvin Music): May 17
- Sam Ospovat: Ride Angles (Skirl)
- Marcos Silva: Brasil: From Head to Toe (Green Egg): May 3
Sunday, April 14, 2019
I don't feel up to writing much about
Julian Assange, but following his arrest in London, I anticipate
that I'll find a bunch of links this week and should collect them
together. Assange is an Australian, a computer programmer who came
up with Wikileaks, a system to collect and publish anonymously
submitted documents. That's always seemed like a noble endeavor,
an aid in exposing how the rich and powerful conspire in private
to manipulate and profit, and for a while he seemed to be doing
just that. He quickly ran afoul of those powers, most notably the
US government, which set out to charge him with various crimes,
and quite possibly orchestrated a broader smear campaign against
him. Assange, in turn, sought asylum from criminal charges, and
since 2012 has been sheltered by the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
I don't know how much Assange has had to do with Wikileaks since
2012 (or how much freedom he has had to do anything), but his
brand name wound up playing a role in Trump's 2016 campaign when
it framed the release of hacked emails from the Clinton campaign.
One effect of the DNC dump was to expand the Democratic side of
bipartisan outrage against Assange, especially as Clinton's drones
tried to paint him as a Putin accomplice.
I don't have strong opinions about Assange one way or the other,
but I did welcome his release of leaked documents on the Iraq War
and the US State Department. (See my September 2, 2010 entry,
on the "Collateral Murder" video, anti-war vet Ethan McCord, and
a related speech by Barak Obama -- what I said then is still pretty
relevant today.) Releasing the DNC emails didn't particularly bother
me either, although the timing was suspicious (immediately after the
Trump's Access Hollywood tape, allowing the media to spin
scandal on top of scandal), as was the lack of any RNC/Trump campaign
emails to balance the picture.
Anyhow, the Assange links:
Let's also break out multiple links on Israel's elections:
Scattered links on other topics this week:
Julian Castro really wants to talk about immigration, but it's most
impressive talking about his work.
Trump's sister quietly retired in February, and it's actually a big deal:
Something here I didn't know: that Trump has a sister,
Maryanne Trump Barry, who is a US Court of Appeals judge (appointed,
by the way, by Bill Clinton in 1999, although Ronald Reagan appointed
her to US District Court in 1983). She retired to escape an investigation
into the possibly fraudulent scheme whereby Fred Trump transferred
property to his children to evade taxes.
Elizabeth Warren's new plan to make sure Amazon (and other big companies)
pays corporate tax, explained: "No more claiming big profits to
investors while paying nothing to the IRS."
Progressives should worry more about the odds that Joe Biden will win:
"Liberals are assuming the former vice president will fade on his own, a
trap Republicans fell for with Trump." They may both be front-runners,
but not many similarities beyond that. Trump campaigned as an outsider,
whereas Biden is the most complete insider even considering a run. The
most comparable 2016 Republican is Jeb Bush, although I'd give Biden
better odds than I gave Bush -- he may not have much of a program or
a real following, but at least he's not a laughingstock.
Immigration makes America great. This is a good general "explainer"
on most of issues related to immigration. I'm more of a moderate (or
maybe skeptic?) when it comes to promoting immigration: I'm concerned
about the downward pressure on labor markets immigrants pose; I worry
that immigration feeds our right-wing tendencies to ignore the needs
of impoverished natives; I've noted that many immigrants lean to the
political right (in many cases becoming jingoistic -- the Cubans are
an obvious case, since US immigration law favors anti-communists).
I've noted, for instance, that no less than five (of 16) Republican
presidential candidates in 2016 has at least one foreign-born parent
(including Trump, who also has a foreign-born wife). Still, I don't
doubt the general economic advantages of immigration at present (or
slightly elevated) levels. And the problems I've noted would go away
if we had a better political atmosphere.
Trump's flailing shake-up of the Department of Homeland Security,
explained: Key subhed here: "Trump's been in tantrum mode for
But Trump is an all-stick, no-carrot kind of guy. His idea of doing a
deal with Democrats was to cancel DACA protection for young undocumented
immigrants and then offer to reinstate it in exchange for sweeping
concessions. And he wants to get Mexico to do favors for him by
threatening to hurt both countries' economies unless they do what he
wants. This incredibly punitive, wildly ineffective approach to
dealmaking has been a hallmark of Trump's approach to the presidency
from Day 1, and it appears to be derived from his success as a business
executive at using his greater wealth to stiff contractors and
But in the presidency, this kind of bullying doesn't work at all,
as you can see from his lack of success in getting border wall money
appropriated. A reasonable response to policy failure would be to try
to go in a new direction, but Trump seems entirely uninterested in
that. So rather than rethink his approach, he's now inclined to burn
through administration personnel, even though shuffling the names on
an org chart around isn't going to alter any of the fundamentals of
Howard Schultz only has one idea about politics, and it's bad:
"Making him president won't fix the problems of partisanship."
Trump's possibly illegal designation of a new acting homeland security
Republicans are taking Ilhan Omar's comments on 9/11 out of context to
smear her. Well, when did they ever let context complicate a good
Betsy DeVos quietly making it easier for dying for-profit schools to rip
off a few more students on the way out.
Why conspiracy theories are getting more absurd and harder to refute:
Interview with Nancy L Rosenblum, co-author (with Russell Muirhead) of
A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on
A brief guide to David Bernhardt, Ryan Zinke's replacement at the
Interior Department: "Three things to know about the former oil
lobbyist who's just been confirmed as the new Secretary of the
4 key things to know about India's elections Thursday.
The new Brexit deadline is October 31.
The post-purge agenda: what the White House wants next on immigration:
"Donald Trump and Stephen Miller are pushing for a multi-pronged asylum
Why the Senate is blocking a new net neutrality bill, a year after trying
to save it. The House passed a bill. McConnell refuses to allow the
Senate to consider it. Trump says if passed he will veto it.
A Texas bill would allow the death penalty for patients who get abortions:
"The bill is unlikely to pass, but it's part of a larger trend."
Trump's Iran terrorist designation is designed to lock in endless enmity.
Daniel DePetris/Richard Sokolsky:
Bolton and Pompeo are steering Trump toward war with Iran;
On the eve of Israel's elections, Netanyahu thanks Trump for sanctioning
Iran at his request.
Josie Duffy Rice:
Jussie Smollett and the impulse to punish. Chicago's outgoing
mayor Rahm Emmanuel, cementing his reputation as a grandstanding
dickhead, ordered the city to sue Jussie Smollett for the costs of
investigating him before dropping charges, some $130,000.
Given the failures of law enforcement in Chicago, [F.O.P. president
Kevin] Graham is not in a strong position to castigate [Cook County
states attorney] Foxx. In the first half of 2018, Chicago police made
an arrest or identified a suspect in just fifteen per cent of murder
cases. Similarly, Emanuel's concern about the costs of the Smollett
investigation is misguided at best; in 2018 alone, the city paid a
total of a hundred and thirteen million dollars in police-misconduct
settlements and related legal fees. . . .
As Matthew Saniie, the chief data officer for Foxx's office, recently
wrote, in Cook County, cases in which the defendant, like Smollett,
pleads not guilty to a fourth-degree felony end in a deferred prosecution
seventy-five per cent of the time. Foxx runs the second-largest prosecutor's
office in the country, responsible for prosecuting crimes in Chicago and
a hundred and thirty-four municipalities. Her staff sees almost half a
million cases every year. Prosecutorial discretion is one of the pillars
of our justice system, and it is her job to discern what deserves her
staff's attention, as opposed to what has grabbed the most public attention.
Trump promised his sons would keep business out of politics. He's admitting
that was a lie. This links to: Elaina Plott:
Inside Ivanka's dreamworld: "The 'first daughter' spent years rigorously
cultivating her image. But she wasn't prepared for scrutiny."
Central American farmers head to the US, fleeing climate change.
Trump hotels exempted from ban on foreign payments under new stance.
Bernie Sanders imagines a progressive new approach to foreign policy:
While the rest of the field plays catch up with his 2016 platform, he
breaks new ground. But his main break with the bipartisan orthodoxy is
thus far limited to sensibility. He's more likely to promote peace and
respect than the others because he values them, but he's yet to get
down to the specifics it will take to deal with Israel/Palestine, to
pick the one case other politicians most fear.
Monday, April 08, 2019
Expanded blog post,
April archive (incomplete).
Music: current count 31344  rated (+32), 251  unrated (+2).
Back in business. I figured all it would take to get Napster working
again was a reboot -- it broke following a software update that didn't
require one but involved a new Flash module, so I suspected that threw
things out of sync. Still, I didn't want to do that for other reaasons,
but was forced to when the computer freaked out and gave me a swizzle
patterned screen. That suggested something far worse, but the reboot
fixed that too.
Working Napster gave me a chance to catch up with the last couple
weeks of Robert Christgau picks --
Stella Donnelly/Sharon Van Etten and
Pedro the Lion/Jason Ringenberg -- where only the B+ record didn't
disappoint. (Actually, I couldn't find Ringenberg's Stand Tall
on Napster, but was able to fish a Soundcloud link from my email trash,
so thanks to the publicist.) Guess I'm still missing the
Ariana Grande/Amber Mark week -- I had the former's Sweetener
way down at B, a grade split matching Mitski's Be the Cowboy, but
haven't heard the more recent one.
Took a dive into George Strait after panning his new one, mostly because
I noticed an unheard Christgau A- in the database (Something Special),
and it panned out. I had his first Greatest Hits (1985) at A-, so
it made sense to check out its source albums (just three of them). I'm not
sure that grade holds up, but didn't recheck it. Still, after dismissing
most of his songs as unmemorable, I've wound up with "You Look So Good in
Love" stuck in my mind all week.
Other records suggested by various sources, most prolifically
Phil Overeem. The tip on Angel-Ho came from breathless hype in
The Nation ("Angel-Ho is the future of pop music"). I dug up Petra
Van Nuis after she wrote to me (so sometimes that works). Strait and
Mandy Barnett just showed up in Napster's featured lists.
Making fair progress on most projects, although not enough on moving
the computer. (Will do that after I post this, I promise.) Biggest one
is a new piece of badly-needed pantry shelving, which needs one more
coat of paint before I drag it in and bolt it to the wall. I have a
couple more projects in that space, ready to roll as soon as the first
one is operational. Still, more projects seem to present themselves all
the time. Dug up a couple plastic drawers full of CDs today, and my wife
argued that I should get rid of them (something about the hoarding being
psychotic). I had a plan a couple years back to start donating CDs to a
local library, but never followed through on it -- partly because I was
working on the Jazz Guide, maybe because they kept naming various
buldings after the Kochs. The reason for having a substantial library is
to look things up, but I'm fast losing my ability to do so, not to mention
my prospects of ever writing anything worthwhile on the subject.
Still, the project I feel more pressing need for is to come up with a
system so I can quickly identify where all my tools (and hardware) are.
I'm forever thrashing, trying to find things I know I have somewhere,
sometimes even having to buy more tools to replace those I've lost (most
recently, a set of hole saws). In fact, thrashing seems to be the word
for the week, maybe even the season.
New records reviewed this week:
- Angel-Ho: Death Becomes Her (2019, Hyperdub): [r]: B+(*)
- Art "Turk" Burton: Ancestral Spirits (2019, T N' T Music): [cd]: A-
- Romain Collin: Tiny Lights: Genesis (2019, XM): [cd]: B+(**)
- The Comet Is Coming: Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery (2019, Impulse!): [r]: B+(**)
- Jordon Dixon: On! (2019, self-released): [cd]: B+(***)
- Stella Donnelly: Beware of the Dogs (2019, Secretly Canadian): [r]: B+(***)
- Steve Earle & the Dukes: Guy (2019, New West): [r]: B+(***)
- Fleurine: Brazilian Dream (2018 , Pure Imagination): [cd]: B+(**)
- George Freeman: George the Bomb! (2018 , Blujazz/Southport): [cd]: B+(**)
- Polly Gibbons: All I Can Do (2019, Resonance): [cd]: B
- Girls on Grass: Dirty Power (2019, self-released): [r]: B+(**)
- Pablo Lanouguere Quintet: Eclectico (2019, self-released): [cd]: B+(**)
- Jenny Lewis: On the Line (2019, Warner Bros.): [r]: B+(*)
- Helado Negro: This Is How You Smile (2019, RVNG Intl): [r]: B+(*)
- New Orleans Jazz Orchestra: Songs: The Music of Allen Toussaint (2018 , Storyville): [cd]: B+(**)
- Pedro the Lion: Phoenix (2019, Polyvinyl): [r]: B+(*)
- Jason Ringenberg: Stand Tall (2019, Courageous Chicken): [sc]: A-
- Royal Trux: White Stuff (2019, Fat Possum): [r]: B+(**)
- Sir Babygirl: Crush on Me (2019, Father/Daughter, EP): [r]: B+(***)
- George Strait: Honky Tonk Time Machine (2019, MCA Nashville): [r]: B
- Terraza Big Band: One Day Wonder (2017 , Outside In Music): [cd]: B+(*)
- Sharon Van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow (2019, Jagjaguwar): [r]: B+(*)
- Petra Van Nuis & Dennis Luxion: Because We're Night People (2018, String Damper): [r]: B+(*)
- Dave Zinno Unisphere: Stories Told (2018 , Whaling City Sound): [cd]: B+(*)
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:
- Burnt Sugar/The Arkestra Chamber: Twentieth Anniversary Mixtapes: Groiddest Schnizzits: Volume Two (2001-17 , Trugroid/Avantgroidd): [r]: B+(***)
- Mandy Barnett: I Can't Stop Loving You: The Songs of Don Gibson (2013, Rounder): [r]: B+(***)
- The Comet Is Coming: Channel the Spirits (2016, The Leaf Label): [r]: B+(***)
- George Strait: Strait Country (1981, MCA): [r]: B+(**)
- George Strait: Strait From the Heart (1982, MCA): [r]: B
- George Strait: Right or Wrong (1983, MCA): [r]: B+(***)
- George Strait: Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind (1984, MCA): [r]: B+(**)
- George Strait: Something Special (1985, MCA): [r]: A-
- George Strait: The Best of George Strait [20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection] (1983-93 , MCA Nashville): [r]: B+(**)
- George Strait: 50 Number Ones (1982-2004 , MCA Nashville, 2CD): [r]: B+(***)
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
- Art Ensemble of Chicago: We Are on the Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration (Pi, 2CD): April 26
- Art "Turk" Burton: Ancestral Spirits (T N' T Music): May 3
- George Freeman: George the Bomb! (Blujazz/Southport)
- Wynton Marsalis: Bolden: Music From the Original Soundtrack (Blue Engine): April 19
- Xose Miguélez: Ontology (Origin): April 19
- Billy Mohler: Focus! (Make)
- New Orleans Jazz Orchestra: Songs: The Music of Allen Toussaint (Storyville): April 19
- OGJB Quartet [Oliver Lake/Graham Haynes/Joe Fonda/Barry Altschul]: Bamako (TUM): May 17
- Dave Stryker: Eight Track III (Strikezone): May 3
- Fumi Tomita: The Elephant Vanishes (OA2): April 19
- Dann Zinn: Day of Reckoning (Origin): April 19
Sunday, April 07, 2019
One of my principles here is not to bother with politician horserace
links, especially presidential candidates. One thing I've long held is
that a president is only as good as his (or someday her) party, so the
big question to ask any presidential candidate is: what are you going to
do to get your party elected and make it an effective force? Still, every
now and then I have opinions on specific people. When Greg Magarian griped
Tim Ryan and
Michael Bennet getting a burst of press attention, as have recent
Beto O'Rourke and
Pete Buttigieg raising great gobs of money, I commented:
Worth noting that O'Rourke and Buttigieg are principled neoliberals, and
are raising money as such. They can do that because their youth and
inexperience hasn't saddled them with the sort of baggage the Clinton
establishment bears. That's bad news for Biden, who would be the obvious
next-in-line for Clinton's donors if they didn't suspect that the brand
is ruined. They may also be thinking that running someone young and
outside might help crack Sanders' lead among young voters -- something
Biden has no prayer of doing.
The one candidate I've been hearing the most (and most negative) about
is Joe Biden. He hasn't announced yet, but evidently the decision has been
made, the timing around Easter. Biden has led recent polls, but that can
be attributed to his much greater name resolution. I've always figured the
decision would turn on whether he's willing to risk his legacy on a very
likely loss, but I suppose the decision will turn mostly on whether he can
line up sufficient funding. (I had some doubts that Bernie Sanders would
run, but when I saw his early funding reports, I immediately realized I
was being silly.) Clearly, he didn't run in 2016 because Hillary Clinton
had locked up most of his possible funding. That's less obvious this year,
but a lot of competitive candidates have jumped in ahead of him.
Biden isn't awful, but he has a lot of baggage, including a lot of
things that wound up hurting Clinton in 2016 (like that Iraq War vote).
Some of those things could hurt him in the primaries, especially his
rather dodgy record on race and crime, and with women. Other things,
like his plagiarism scandal, will hurt him more in the general election.
But the big problem there is that he was a Washington insider and party
leader for so long that he makes it easy for Republicans to spin this
election into a referendum on forty years of Democratic Party failures.
Obama was largely able to avoid that in 2008, but Clinton couldn't in
Also, there is the nagging suspicion that he isn't really a very good
day-to-day candidate. Last time he ran for president he was an also-ran,
unable to get more than 1-2% of the vote anywhere. He got the VP nod from
Obama after Clinton decided she'd rather be Secretary of State, and one
suspects that the Clintons pushed for Biden as VP because they didn't
regard him as a serious rival in 2016 (when a sitting VP would normally
have the inside track to the nomination). And he's exceptionally prone to
gaffes. He managed to avoid any really bad ones running with Obama, but
running on his own he'll get a lot more scrutiny and pressure. Nobody
thinks he's stupid or evil -- unlike Trump, whose base seems to regard
those attributes as virtues -- but nobody is much of a fan either (well,
except for the fictional
Leslie Knope, which kind of proves the point).
For more, if you care, see Michelle Goldberg:
The wrong time for Joe Biden:
Beyond gender, on issue after issue, if Biden runs for president he will
have to run away from his own record. He -- and by extension, we -- will
have to relive the debate over the Iraq war, which he voted to authorize.
He'll have to explain his vote to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, which,
by lifting regulations on banking, helped create the conditions for the
2008 financial meltdown. (Biden has called that vote one of the biggest
regrets of his career.) In 2016, Hillary Clinton was slammed for her
previous support of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement
Act, which contributed to mass incarceration. Biden helped write the law,
which he called, in 2015, the "1994 Biden crime bill." . . . No one should
judge the whole span of Biden's career by the standards of 2019, but if
he's going to run for president, it's fair to ask whether he's the right
leader for this moment. He is a product of his time, but that time is up.
Other political news last week included the death of Ernest Hollings,
the long-time South Carolina senator, at 97. I was, well, shocked to see
him referred to in an obituary as a populist -- a thought that had never
crossed my mind. I would grant that he was not as bad as the Republicans
who served in the Senate alongside him (Strom Thurmond and Lindsey Graham),
or his Republican successor (Jim DeMent). Still, those are pretty low
By the way, a couple of non-political links below: subjects I used to
follow closely in more carefree times. See if you can pick them out.
Some scattered links this week:
How climate change is fueling the US border crisis: "In the western
highlands of Guatemala, the questio is no longer whether someone will
leave but when." Two further installments:
The epidemic of debt plaguing Central American migrants, and
The dream homes of Guatemalan migrants.
Nearly everything Trump just said about Puerto Rico is wrong.
FBI director: White nationalist violence is a "persistent, pervasive
threat". Related: Weiyi Cai/Simone Landon:
Attacks by white extremists are growing. So are their connections.
Barack Obama warns against a "circular firing squad" over ideological
purity in politics: Sounds like Obama is attacking the left, once
again counseling compromises that ultimately prove ineffective, but
his centrist-neoliberal allies are every bit as ideological, and if
anything have more experience in using their spite against the left
to make sure even their lame compromises rarely change anything. I'm
reminded how John Lewis refused to purge Communists from the UMW,
because he appreciated that they were the union's most passionate and
effective organizers. The centrists need to realize that they need
the left in order to attain anything significant once they've worked
their compromises. And as the article shows, left-leaning polticians
aren't actually doing things to undermine party unity -- other than
making solid policy proposals and arguing them on their merits. Obama,
on the other hand, is showing himself to be irrelevant. Some may feel
nostalgic for his basic competence and his devotion to the threadbare
pieties of Americanism, but as a politician you have to judge him on
his inability to deliver the change he campaigned for and his failure
to build a party that could protect, sustain, and extend even his most
Congress passes historic resolution to end US support for Saudi-led war
David M Halbfinger:
If you've followed Israeli elections, you may have noticed that since
the late 1970s, the only time Israeli politics have shifted left was when
the Bush I administration made clear its displeasure with Yitzhak Shamir's
obstruction of the Madrid Peace Talks. Israeli voters noticed, and voted
the more flexible Yitzhak Rabin in, leading to the Oslo Accords, which
Clinton allowed Netanyahu and Ehud Barak to turn into a charade. But as
Clinton, Bush, Obama, and even more explicitly Trump kowtowed to Israel,
Israelis had no reason not to indulge their chauvinist prejudices, with
each election pushing the government ever further to the right.
How digital technology is destroying our freedom: Interview with
Douglas Rushkoff, exploring the theme of his recent Team Human
and earlier books like Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation
(2009), Program or Be Programmed (2011), Present Shock: When
Everything Happes Now (2013), and Throwing Rocks at the Google
Bus (2016) -- he's sort of a latter-day Neil Postman. (The one book
I've read by him is Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism,
where he sees Judaism as an evolutionary step toward atheism. I could
make a similar claim for Calvinism, based more on personal history.)
Trump does have a health care plan. It would cause millions to lose
Should the Green New Deal repeat the failures of Cap-and-Trade?
Donald Trump is trying to kill you: "Trust the pork producers; fear
the wind turbines." I will add this quibble: if you ever find yourself
standing under a wind turbine, you'll find that they are very ominous
and unpleasant, emitting loud noises as the huge blades screech and
whine above your head.
Republican health care lying syndrome: "Even Trump supporters don't
believe the party's promises."
The incredible shrinking Trump boom: "At least corporate accountants
are having some fun." I suspect this title could be used for a much broader
investigation than this note on the effects of the Trump tax cut.
GOP cruelty is a pre-existing condition: "Republicans just won't stop
trying to take away health care."
Republicans really hate health care: "They've gone beyond cynicism
to pathology." Related: Jamelle Bouie:
An opening for Democrat: "On health care, this isn't what Trump's
voters bargained for." Bouie writes:
But while Trump's decision to govern for conservatives has netted him
high approval ratings with Republicans who remain loyal to him, it has
also undermined the coalition that put him in the White House,
threatening his prospects for re-election.
We saw some of this with the midterms. The drive to repeal Obamacare
was a major reason Republicans lost their majority in the House of
Representatives. The attempt made Trump's approval rating plunge to
the mid-30s, lower than that of other presidents at that point in their
first term. Large majorities opposed the bill to repeal and replace the
health care law, and 60 percent said it was a "good thing" it failed to
pass. Forty-two percent of voters named health care as their top issue
in the midterms, and 77 percent of them backed Democrats.
In 2016, Trump ran without the burden of a record. He could be
everything to everyone -- he could say what people wanted to hear. And
he used that to reach out to working-class whites as a moderate on the
economy and a hard-line conservative on race and immigration.
Now, as president, Trump is a standard-issue Republican with an almost
total commitment to conservative economic policy. Those policies are
unpopular. And they have created an opening for Democrats to win back
some of the voters they've lost.
Jonathan Mahler/Jim Rutenberg:
How Rupert Murdoch's empire of influence remade the world: Part 1: Imperial
reach, followed by
Part 2: Internal divisions, and
Part 3: The new Fox weapon.
What baseball teaches us about measuring talent: Review of Christopher
Phillips' new book Scouting and Scoring: How We Know What We Know About
Baseball. Noted because this is a subject I've spent a lot of time on,
albeit not very recently.
Google cancels AI ethics board in response to outcry: I can imagine
many angles to this, but the best reported one was opposition to Heritage
Foundation president Kay Coles James, underscoring the notion that
conservatives have no credibility when it comes to ethics -- although
Google's inclusion of a "drone company CEO" was even more blatant.
- Douglas Preston:
The day the dinosaurs died: "A young paleontologist may have discovered
the most significant event in the history of life on Earth."
Some Mueller team members aren't happy with Barr's description of their
Trump plans to nominate a second loyalist to the Fed: Herman Cain:
You got to give Trump some credit for learning here. When the Fed chair
opened up, his staff gave him two options. While he picked the lesser
inflation hawk, he still wound up with a guy who repeatedly raised the
Fed funds rate, constricting the economy (and especially speculators
and scam artists like himself who benefit most from cheap money). No
doubt this got him thinking: Why not pick some loyal political hacks
instead of letting the bankers limit his choices? Stephen Moore was
his test case, and while Cain isn't as much of a hack as Moore, he's
even less "qualified" (in normative terms).
Trump attacks Rep. Ilhan Omar hours after a supporter was charged with
threatening to kill her: Subhed: "He wants to drive a wedge between
Jewish voters and the Democratic Party." TPM emphasized the latter in
its coverage of Trump's speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition:
Trump tries to lure Jewish voters: Dems would 'leave Israel out there'.
Related: Matt Shuham:
American Jewish orgs to Trump: Netanyahu is ot 'our' Prime Minister.
On the other hand, Netanyahu is Sheldon Adelson's Prime Minister --
Adelson owns the newspaper in Israel most closely associated with
Netanyahu, and Adelson is the Republican Party's most visible Jewish
bankroller, so that's probably close enough for Trump.
What's going on with Mar-a-Lago and Chinese spies, explained.
Related: Fred Kaplan:
Mar-a-Lago is a foreign spy's dream come true.
The Pentagon wins again: "In an effort to prevent non-defense cuts,
House Democrats grant the DOD exactly the raise it wanted."
The "reputational interests" of William Barr. Related:
Bill Barr has promised transparency. He deserves the chance to deliver.
Monday, April 01, 2019
Expanded blog post,
March archive (incomplete).
Music: current count 31312  rated (+15), 249  unrated (-4).
Rated count way down, about half of what I consider a solid week.
When I dropped to 29 last week, I described that as a "lazy week."
Could say that again, but the real reason for the drop off is that
the Flash plugin on my computer is fucked up, making it impossible to
use Napster (or, for that matter, Spotify). That left me with playing
CDs (9) and using Bandcamp (6), and I didn't really have much to
choose from or look for on either. Unplayed CD queue is currently
deep, and I don't just randomly play unknowns on Bandcamp. On the
other hand, the Bandcamps generally got two spins, and the CDs more
than that (I'd guess Larry Fuller got 7-8 plays -- not that I needed
more than 2, but it made for pretty pleasant background music). All
that lead to a couple anomalies. Only one A- is the lowest weekly
total in quite some time, and I'm actually not real solid on it --
I've never been much of a
Betty Carter fan,
and should probably go
back and check some of her earlier releases (and re-check The
Audience With Betty Carter, which I have at B- even though it
wears a Penguin Guide crown). It could be that I promoted
it at the last minute because I came up with nothing else.
The other anomaly is the high percentage of B+(***) grades (8/15).
Certainly the multiple replays helped out. At this point, I'm pretty
sure the jazz records (especially the CDs) have plateaued, but three
of the Bandcamps might merit further investigation: Mekons, Quelle
Chris, and Mdou Moctar. I think I have those three pegged right, but
they're close, and it's worth noting that I have the immediately
previous albums by all three at A- (It Is Twice Blessed,
Everything's Fine, and Blue Stage Sessions).
Priorities for the coming week will be to reconstruct my crashed
tax file, finish (paint) a new pantry shelf, and finally get my
computers rearranged and reconnected (hopefully fixing the Napster
problem, and allowing me to get onto some website work). Also have
my DownBeat Critics Poll invite, so that will be another
(pretty much wasted) chunk of time. One website task I did manage
to get done last week was to build a
book page for
Robert Christgau's new essay collection, Book Reports: A Music
Critic on His First Love, Which Was Reading, due out from Duke
University Press on April 12. Info and various links on that page.
Still to be done is the nasty task of embargoing most of the pieces
that appear in the book, so this is your last change (for several
years) to squirrel away free copies of most of the book.
New records reviewed this week:
- Laura Antonioli: The Constant Passage of Time (2018 , Origin): [cd]: B+(**)
- Michaël Attias: Ëchos La Nuit (2018 , Out of Your Head): [cd]: B+(**)
- Blu & Oh No: A Long Red Hot Los Angeles Summer Night (2019, Native Sounds): [bc]: B+(**)
- Chord Four: California Avant Garde (2016 , self-released): [cd]: B+(***)
- Larry Fuller: Overjoyed (2018 , Capri): [cd]: B+(***)
- Ross Hammond & Sameer Gupta: Mystery Well (2018, Prescott): [bc]: B+(***)
- Remy Le Boeuf: Light as a Word (2017 , Outside In Music): [cd]: B+(**)
- Mekons: Deserted (2019, Bloodshot): [bc]: B+(***)
- Mdou Moctar: Ilana: The Creator (2019, Sahel Sounds): [bc]: B+(***)
- Ivo Perelman/Mat Maneri/Nate Wooley: Strings 3 (2018 , Leo): [cd]: B+(*)
- Ivo Perelman/Mat Maneri/Nate Wooley/Matthew Shipp: Strings 4 (2018 , Leo): [cd]: B+(***)
- Quelle Chris: Guns (2019, Mello Music Group): [bc]: B+(***)
- SOL Development: The SOL of Black Folk (2019, self-released): [bc]: B+(**)
- Tiger Hatchery: Breathing in the Walls (2017 , ESP-Disk): [cd]: B+(***)/li>
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:
- Betty Carter: The Music Never Stops (1992 , Blue Engine): [cd]: A-
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
- Romain Collin: Tiny Lights: Genesis (XM): April 12
- Jordon Dixon: On! (self-released): June 7
- Polly Gibbons: All I Can Do (Resonance): April 19
- Pablo Langouguere Quintet: Eclectico (self-released): May 31