Monday, October 14, 2019
Expanded blog post,
Music: current count 32212  rated (+29), 229  unrated (+0).
Cutoff was Sunday evening, after posting
Weekend Roundup. Didn't have all of the unpacking done, so unrated
count is a bit low. The two A- records came early in the week. Both
are available on Bandcamp:
Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou. There's a good chance that The Rough
Guide to the Roots of Country Music might have hit A- on a second
or third play, but not having the booklet, having to spend close to
an hour checking dates, and the suspicion that I've heard everything
there elsewhere didn't dispose me to be especially generous.
I saw a little bit (maybe 10%) of Ken Burns' Country Music
PBS series. Not much there I didn't already know, but thought what
I saw was pretty useful -- certainly didn't strike me as distorted
and deceptive, like his Jazz series. As far as I can tell,
the only product tie-ins are called The Soundtrack, available
in both a 2-CD edition and a 5-CD box. I don't like streaming boxes --
actually, I don't have the patience, in large part because it's hard
to break them up in to listenable chunks, and there's no booklet to
help you keep score -- so I probably won't bother, but the tracklists
look impeccable. Probably not as good as Classic Country Music:
A Smithsonian Collection (also 5-CD), but better than Columbia
Country Classics (from 1990, also 5-CD). Virtually no overlap with
Rough Guide, for reasons that hardly need explication.
I read about the Exbats in last week's
Robert Christgau's Consumer Guide. If the link doesn't seem to
work, maybe you should subscribe? I was pleased to find my previous
A- picks for Chance the Rapper and Tyler Childers as good or better.
Also that he found more than I did in Black Midi, Chuck Cleaver,
Rapsody, and Sleater-Kinney. Some folks have asked about
on a new schedule, fourth Wednesday of each month, and subscribers
will get it delivered to their mailboxes.
Continuing to plug things into my
metacritic files, which
is helping me keep up to date. For instance, I can tell you the
best-reviewed new records of the week (10-11):
Big Thief: Two Hands (15);
Kim Gordon: No Home Record (12);
Elbow: Giants of All Sizes (8).
Best-reviewed new records of the previous week (10-04):
Angel Olsen: All Mirrors (24) [*];
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Ghosteen (22);
Danny Brown: Uknowhatimsayin¿ (16) [***];
Wilco: Ode to Joy (10);
DIIV: Deceiver (9).
New records I most want to track down:
Yazz Ahmed: Polyhymnia;
Jaimie Branch: Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise;
Bill Frisell: Harmony;
Abdullah Ibrahim: Dream Time;
Chris Knight: Almost Daylight;
L'Orange & Jeremiah Jae: Complicate Your Life With Violence;
Kelsey Waldon: White Noise/White Lines.
New records reviewed this week:
- Rez Abbasi: A Throw of Dice by the Silent Ensemble (2017 , Whirlwind): [cd]: B+(*) [10-19]
- Mats Åleklint/Per-Åke Holmlander/Paal Nilssen-Love: Fish & Steel (2018 , PNL): [bc]: B+(***)
- Simone Baron & Arco Belo: The Space Between Disguises (2019, GenreFluid): [cd]: B- [11-08]
- Katerina Brown: Mirror (2019, Mellowtone Music): [cd]: B [10-18]
- Cashmere Cat: Princess Catgirl (2019, Mad Love/Interscope, EP): [r]: B+(*)
- Drumming Cellist [Kristijan Krajncan]: Abraxas (2019, Sazas): [cd]: A-
- David Finck: Bassically Jazz (2019, Burton Avenue Music): [r]: B+(*)
- Ras Kass: Soul on Ice 2 (2019, Mello Music Group): [r]: B+(***)
- Krokofant: Q (2019, Rune Grammofon): [r]: B
- Remy Le Boeuf: Light as a Word (2019, Outside In Music): [cdr]: B
- Little Brother: May the Lord Watch (2019, Imagine Nation Music/For Members Only/Empire): [r]: B+(**)
- Joe McPhee/Paal Nilssen-Love: Song for the Big Chief (2017 , PNL): [bc]: B+(**)
- Bernie Mora & Tangent: No Agenda (2019, Rhombus): [cd]: C+
- Poncho Sanchez: Trane's Delight (2019, Concord Picante): [r]: B
- Louis Sclavis: Characters on a Wall (2018 , ECM): [r]: B+(*)
- Mike Stern-Jeff Lorber Fusion: Eleven (2019, Concord): [r]: C+
- Tinariwen: Amadjar (2019, Anti-): [r]: B+(**)
- Kiki Valera: Vivencias En Clave Cubana (2018 , Origin): [cd]: B+(***) [10-16]
- Rodney Whitaker: All Too Soon: The Music of Duke Ellington (2017 , Origin): [cd]: B+(***) [10-16]
- Barrence Whitfield Soul Savage Arkestra: Songs From the Sun Ra Cosmos (2019, Modern Harmonic): [r]: B+(**)
- Carrie Wicks: Reverie (2019, OA2): [cd]: B+(*) [10-16]
- Young M.A: Herstory in the Making (2019, M.A Music/3D): [r]: B+(*)
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:
- The Exbats: E Is 4 Exbats (2016-18 , Burger): [r]: B+(***)
- Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou: Anou Malane (1994 , Sahel Sounds): [r]: A-
- The Rough Guide to the Roots of Country Music: Reborn and Remastered (1926-33 , World Music Network): [r]: B+(***)
- Cecil Taylor: Mysteries: Indent: Antioch College/Yellow Springs, Ohio/March 11, 1973 (1973 , Black Sun): [r]: B+(***)
- Cecil Taylor: Mysteries: Untitled (1961-76 , Black Sun): [r]: B+(**)
- The Exbats: A Guide to the Health Issues Affecting Rescue Hens (2016, Burger): [r]: B+(**)
- The Exbats: I've Got the Hots for Charlie Watts (2018, Burger): [r]: B+(***)
- Rodney Whitaker: Ballads and Blues: The Brooklyn Sessions (1998, Criss Cross): [r]: B+(**)
- Barrence Whitfield & the Savages: Soul Flowers of Titan (2018, Bloodshot): [r]: B+(***)
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
- Binker Golding: Abstractions of Reality Past and Incredible Feathers (Gearbox)
- Dan McCarthy: City Abstract (Origin) [10-16]
- Mute: Mute (Fresh Sound New Talent) [12-13]
- One O'Clock Lab Band: Lab 2019 (UNT) [11-22]
- Kiki Valera: Vivencias En Clave Cubana (Origin) [10-16]
- Rodney Whitaker: All Too Soon: The Music of Duke Ellington (Origin) [10-16]
- Carrie Wicks: Reverie (OA2) [10-16]
Sunday, October 13, 2019
Trump has gotten a lot of flack this week for his decision allowing
Turkey to invade Syria. Turkey's attack is directed not at the Syrian
government or ISIS but at the Kurdish militias in norther Syria, which
Turkish strong-man Erdogan regards as a potential security threat, as
presumingly giving aid and comfort to Turkey's own Kurdish minority.
The Kurdish militias had not only opposed the Syrian government, which
hardly anyone in America has a kind word for, but also operated as
allies or proxies in America's war against ISIS. Hence, the complaints
you hear most often are that Trump has abandoned a trusted US ally,
and that the invasion is likely to head to a humanitarian disaster --
the emphasis shifting from neocons to their liberal enablers. The
only support Trump has found has come from paleocons like Rand Paul
who want the US to draw back from foreign wars, but don't much care
if the rest of the world destroys itself.
One problem is that Trump (or for that matter Obama) has never had
a coherent strategy on Syria, or for that matter anywhere else in the
Middle East. A reasonable goal would be to maintain peace among stable
governments, biased where possible toward broad-based prosperity with
power sharing and respect for human rights. Obama might have agreed
with that line at the start of Arab Spring, but he soon found that ran
against the main drivers of American Middle East policy: Israel's war
stance, the Arabian oil oligarchies, Iranian exiles, arms merchants,
and scattered pockets of Christians (except in Palestine) -- forces
that had never given more than occasional lip-service to democracy and
human rights, and were flat-out opposed to any whiff of socialism.
Obama was able to help nudge Mubarak aside in Egypt, but when the
Egyptians elected the wrong leaders, he had second thoughts, and didn't
object to the military restoring a friendly dictatorship. Obama had no
such influence in Libya and Syria, so when their leaders violently put
demonstrations down, some Americans saw an opportunity to overthrow
unfriendly regimes through armed conflict. It is fair to say that Obama
was ambivalent about this, but he wound up overseeing a bombing campaign
that killed Qaddafi in Libya, and he provided less overt support to some
of the Syrian opposition forces, and this led to many other parties
intervening in Syria, with different and often conflicting agendas.
It's worth stressing that nothing the US has attempted in the
Middle East has worked, even within the limited and often incoherent
goals that have supposedly guided American policy, let alone advancing
the more laudable goals of peace and broad-based prosperity. Iraq and
Afghanistan have shown that the US is incapable of standing up popular
government after invasion and civil war. Libya suggests that ignoring
a broken country doesn't work any better. But Syria is turning out to
be an even more complete disaster, as the ancien regime remains as the
only viable government. Assad owes his survival to Russia's staunch
support, but also to the US (and the Kurds), who defeated his most
potent opposition: ISIS.
What needs to be done now is to implement a cease fire, to halt all
foreign efforts to provide military support for anti-Assad forces, to
reassert the Assad government over all of Syria, to convince Assad not
to take reprisals against disarmed opponents, and to start rebuilding
and repatriating exiles. Trump's greenlighting of the Turkish invasion
does none of this, and makes any progress that much harder -- not that
there is any reason to think that Trump has the skills and temperament
to negotiate an end to the conflict, even without this blunder.
The only American politician who begins to have the skills to deal
with problems like Syria is Bernie Sanders, because he is the only one
to understand that America's interests -- peace, prosperity, cooperation
everywhere -- are best served when nations everywhere choose governments
that serve the best interests of all of their own peoples (socialism).
Everyone else is more/less stuck in ruts which insist on projecting the
so-called American values of crony capitalism and militarism, the goal
to make the world subservient to the interests of neoliberal capital.
In this regard, Trump differs from the pack only in his reluctance to
dress up greedy opportunism with high-minded aspirations (e.g., Bush's
feminist program for Afghanistan). Trump's freedom from cant could be
refreshing, but like all of his exercises in political incorrectness,
it mostly serves to reveal what a callous and careless creature he is.
Short of Sanders, it might be best to concede that America is not
the solution to the world's woes, that indeed it is a major problem,
so much so that in many cases the most helpful thing we could do is
to withdraw, including support for other countries' interventions.
Syria is an obvious good place to start. On the other hand, replacing
American arms and aims with Turkish ones won't help anyone (not even
PS: After writing the above, Trump ordered the last US
troops out of Syria. That in itself is good news, but everything
else is spiraling rapidly out of control. Meanwhile, Syrian Kurds
are looking for new allies, and finding Assad (see Jason Ditz:
Syrian Kurds, Damascus reach deal in Russia-backed talks).
Some scattered links on this (some of which are just examples of
what I've been complaining about):
Some scattered links this week:
High crimes and misdemeanors of the fading American Century.
The climate crisis and the failure of economics.
Why Trump's fourth Secretary of Homeland Security just resigned:
Kevin McAleenan, "acting" Secretary for six months now..
Impeachment tentacles spread throughout Trump's team.
What the BLM shake-up could mean for public lands and their climate
Trump's undeclared state of emergency: "Trump is counting on his
base to endorse his increasingly open law-breaking."
Trump signed an executive order about how much he hates Medicare-for-all:
"The order's intent is to promote Medicare Advantage but it has a lot of
vague language" -- mostly intended to undermine the Medicare Trump claims
Ellen DeGeneres, George W Bush, and the death of uncritical niceness.
US and China reach a "phase one" trade deal: "President Donald Trump
announced an agreement to delay tariffs and for China to buy agricultural
"They murdered this woman": Texans outraged after an officer shoots a
black woman in her own home.
The case for prosecuting the Sacklers and other opioid executives.
Bernie Sanders takes aim at the DNC with his new anti-corruption plan.
Charles P Pierce:
Donald Trump: xenophobe in public, international mobster in private.
This climate problem is bigger than cars and much harder to solve:
Heavy industry is responsible for around 22 percent of global CO2 emissions.
Forty-two percent of that -- about 10 percent of global emissions -- comes
from combustion to produce large amounts of high-temperature heat for
industrial products like cement, steel, and petrochemicals.
To put that in perspective, industrial heat's 10 percent is greater than
the CO2 emissions of all the world's cars (6 percent) and planes (2 percent)
combined. Yet, consider how much you hear about electric vehicles. Consider
how much you hear about flying shame. Now consider how much you hear
about . . . industrial heat.
Not much, I'm guessing. But the fact is, today, virtually all of
that combustion is fossil-fueled, and there are very few viable
low-carbon alternatives. For all kinds of reasons, industrial heat
is going to be one of the toughest nuts to crack, carbon-wise.
Dig beneath the world's far-right governments -- you'll find fossil
David K Shipler:
Punishing the poor for being hungry: "The Trump administration wages
war on food stamps."
Anti-free-speechers still aren't taking their own arguments seriously.
A critique of Andrew Marantz, author of Antisocial: Online Extremists,
Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation, as
Free speech is killing us: "Noxious language is causing real-world
violence. What can we do about it?"
We're in a permanent coup. Getting a little paranoid here, arguing
that as bad as Trump is, the "U.S. intelligence community" that seems
out to get him is actually more sinister.
The forgotten trauma of a forgotten war: "As the world looks away,
death stalks the Democratic Republic of Congo."
Anya van Wagtendonk:
Kenneth P Vogel:
Giuliani's Ukraine team: In search of influence, dirt and money.
It took decades, but the anti-New Deal crusaders have triumphed:
"A decades-long campaign by a handful of well-heeled foundations has
succeeded in laundering ideas through academia into law."
Tuesday, October 08, 2019
Update: Actual configuration, purchased 10/15:
- AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 8-Core 3.7GHz Socket AM4 PM 16976: [$199.99]
- ASRock X570 Steel Legend AM4 AMD X570 Motherboard Combo w/CPU: $379.98
- G.SKILL TridentZ 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3000: $289.99
- Intel 660p Series M.2 2280 1TB PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 3D2, QLC SSD: $99.99
- Corsair RM750 750W ATX12V v2.52/EPS12V v2.92 Full Modular Power Supply: $114.99
- Lite-On DVD Burner Black SATA iHAS124-14 OEM: $16.99+$1.99
Thought I'd do a little new computer shopping (Newegg). Possible
- CPU: Compare to 2012: AMD Fx-8150 PM 8250 $199.99; top passmark
now: 32,946; best sub-$200: 16,976 (AMD Ryzen 7 2700X):
- AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-Core 3.8GHz Socket AM4 PM 31847: $564.99
- AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz Socket AM4 PM 23883: $329.99
- [*] AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 8-Core 3.7GHz Socket AM4 PM 16976: $199.99
- AMD Ryzen 7 2700 8-Core 3.2GHz Socket AM4 PM 15080: $178.99
- AMD Ryzen 7 1700X 8-Core 3.4GHz Socket AM4 PM 14812: $169.99
- AMD Ryzen 5 2600X 6-Core 3.6GHz Socket AM4 PM 14362: $159.99
- AMD Ryzen 5 2600 6-Core 3.4GHz Socket AM4 PM ?: $119.99
- AMD Ryzen 5 1600 6-Core 3.2GHz AM4 PM 12279: $114.82
- AMD Ryzen 3 3200G 4-Core 3.6GHz AM4 PM 8016: $94.99
- AMD Ryzen 3 2200G 4-Core 3.5GHz AM4 PM 7324: $87.99
- AMD Ryzen 3 1200 4-Core 3.1GHz AM4 PM 6792: $59.99
- AMD FX-8350 Vishera 8-Core 4.0GHz Socket AM3+ PM ?: $197.29
- AMD FX-6350 PM 6954: $?
- AM4 Motherboards: All AMD4 ATX, most X570 chip set:
- ASUS ROG STRIX X570-E Gaming: 4x288 memory slots (128GB Max), 2xPCI Express 4.0x16, 1xPCI Express, 8xSATA 6GBs, Radeon Vega Graphics, multi-VGA, SupremeFX High Definition Audio, 2.5G LAN, Wireless 2x2 Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, 7xUSB 3.2: $326.99
- ASRock X570 Taichi: $299.99
- ASRock X470 Taichi: $269.99
- [*] ASRock X570 Steel Legend WiFi: $199.99
- ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus: $199.59
- ASUS Prime X470-Pro: 64GB RAM max (DDR4 4x288, 2400-3600), video, audio, 1GB LAN: $149.99
- ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming 4: $148.99
- ASUS ROG STRIX B-450-F Gaming: 64GB Max, PCI Express 3.0x16, : $129.99
- AM4 Motherboards: All AMD4 Micro-ATX:
- ASUS TUF B-450M-Plus Gaming: AMD 8450 chipset, 4x288 DDR4 (64GB max), 1 PCI Express 2.0x16, 1 PCI Express 2.0x1, 2+4xSATA 6GB/s, Radeon Vega graphics, 10/100/1000 LAN: $99.36
- RAM: DDR4 SDRAM:
- Corsair Vengeance LPX 128GB (4x32GB) DDR4 2400: $579.99
- Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB (2x32GB) DDR4 3000: $324.99
- Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3200: $319.99
- Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3000: $285.99
- G.SKILL TridentZ 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3600: $329.99
- [*] G.SKILL TridentZ 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3000: $289.99
- G.SKILL Ripjaws V 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3600: $289.99
- G.SKILL Ripjaws V 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3200: X[$249.99] $322.05
- G.SKILL Ripjaws V 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 2666: $269.99
- G.SKILL Aegis 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 2133: $219.99
- SSD:; SSD PCI Express 4.0 Hyper M.2 SSD is faster:
- Samsung 860 EVO 2.5" 1TB SATA III: $129.99
- Western Digital 3D NAND 2.5" 1TB SATA III: $114.99
- Intel 660p M.2 2280 1TB PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 3D2: $109.99
- Samsung 860 EVO 2.5" 500GB SATA III: $74.99
- Cases: ATX
- Corsair Crystal 570X Glass Mid Tower: $189.97
- LIAN LI PC-011 Dynamic Razer Edition Mid Tower: $164.99
- Phanteks Eclipse P600S Antracite Gray Steel/Tempered Glass Mid Tower: $149.99+$6.99
- Thermaltake Core X71 Tempered Glass Full Tower: $142.52
- Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel Mid Tower: $132.90
- Phanteks Enthoo PH-ES614P_BK Black Steel/Plastic Full Tower: $99.99+$6.99
- Antec Performance Series P110 Luce Mid Tower: $99.99
- Antec Three Hundred Two Black Steel Mid Tower: $94.77
- Corsair Carbide SPEC-06 Black Steel/Plastic/Tempered Glass Mid Tower: $89.99
- Corsair Carbide SPEC-05 Black Steel/Plastic/Acrylic Mid Tower: $65.99
- DIYPC D480-W-RGB White Mid Tower: $58.99
- Fractal Design focus G White Mid Tower: $54.97+$7.99
- Power Supplies: ATX12V/EPS12V, full modular:
- Corsair RMx series: 1000W: $199.98; 850W: $129.99; 750W: $119.89; 650W: $114.99; 550W: $99.99
- Corsair RM series: 850W: $124.98; 750W: $114.99; 650W: $104.99
- Corsair CX series: 550W: $64.99; 450W: $59.99
- EVGA SuperNOVA: 1000W: $184.37; 850W: $139.99; 750W: $160.99, 650W: $161.98; 550W: $109.99
- Thermaltake Toughpower Grand: 850W: $124.00; 750W: $94.99; 650W: 92.99
- Thermaltake Smart Pro: 750W: $86.00
- CD/DVD Burners: SATA
Monday, October 07, 2019
Expanded blog post,
Music: current count 32183  rated (+27), 229  unrated (+10).
Slow start on the week, partly because I flushed Monday's listening
September Streamnotes, and
ended this Sunday night. Partly because the Kevin Sun 2-CD album sat
in the changer four days while I slowly made up my mind. Sun's album
never quite matched his Trio debut, nor is the George Coleman
album quite as terrific as his The Master Speaks, but in the
end both came close enough. Among the also-rans, Laurie Anderson's
spoken word over Tibetan ghost music came closest, and might deserve
further attention. Turns out Phil Overeem likes the album a lot
(number 9 on his
latest list. Also found my two good vault albums there. More to
follow next week.
I added those and a few others to my
metacritic file. In turn
I checked out several of the better-rated albums I hadn't bothered
with, but didn't find I enjoyed it much. Most I'm pretty sure of, but
artists like Angel Olsen, Bon Iver, and Jessica Pratt just make me
wonder if I'm getting too old for this shit. Also in the "don't do
it for me" category are fairly ordinary rockers like Cherry Glazerr,
Sleater-Kinney, and Girl Band.
Got a lot of mail last week (today's take is listed below but not
counted above). I'm noting future release dates as I get them, also
when I do reviews. The queue is usually sorted FIFO, as I suspect
keeping it sorted by release date would be a big hassle. Upcoming
week may be less than usual, as I have some house projects, plus a
bit of cooking coming up. Then some medical shit, before Trump takes
that away, too.
New records reviewed this week:
- Laurie Anderson/Tenzin Choegyal/Jesse Paris Smith: Songs From the Bardo (2019, Smithsonian Folkways): [r]: B+(***)
- Ben Bennett/Zach Darrup/Jack Wright: Never (2018, Palliative): [bc]: B+(*)
- Bon Iver: I,I (2019, Jagjaguwar): [r]: B
- Danny Brown: Uknowhatimsayin¿ (2019, Warp): [r]: B+(***)
- Cherry Glazerr: Stuffed & Ready (2019, Secretly Canadian): [r]: B
- George Coleman: The Quartet (2019, Smoke Sessions): [r]: A-
- The Comet Is Coming: The Afterlife (2019, Impulse!): [r]: B+(*)
- Kris Davis: Diatom Ribbons (2018 , Pyroclastic): [r]: B+(***)
- Girl Band: The Talkies (2019, Rough Trade): [r]: B+(*)
- Robert Glasper: Fuck Yo Feelings (2019, Loma Vista): [r]: B+(*)
- Mika: My Name Is Michael Holbrook (2019, Republic/Virgin EMI): [r]: B+(**)
- Simon Nabatov: Readings: Red Cavalry (2018 , Leo): [r]: B+(*)
- Simon Nabatov: Readings: Gileya Revisited (2018 , Leo): [r]: B+(*)
- Angel Olsen: All Mirrors (2019, Jagjaguwar): [r]: B+(*)
- Jessica Pratt: Quiet Signs (2019, Mexican Summer): [r]: B-
- Carmen Sandim: Play Doh (2019, Ropeadope): [cd]: B+(*) [10-25]
- Sleater-Kinney: The Center Won't Hold (2019, Mom + Pop): [r]: B
- Tyshawn Sorey and Marilyn Crispell: The Adornment of Time (2018 , Pi): [cd]: B+(**)
- Kevin Sun: The Sustain of Memory (2019, Endectomorph Music, 2CD): [cd]: A- [11-15]
- Tegan and Sara: Hey, I'm Just Like You (2019, Warner Brothers): [r]: B+(**)
- Andrés Vial/Dezron Douglas/Eric McPherson: Gang of Three (2019, Chromatic Audio): [cd]: B+(***)
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:
- Fania Goes Psychedelic (1967-71 , Craft Latino): [r]: B+(***)
- World Spirituality Classics 2: The Time for Peace Is Now (1970s , Luaka Bop): [r]: B+(***)
- Bertrand Denzler Cluster: Y? (1998 , Leo Lab): [r]: B+(***)
- Bertrand Denzler/Norbert Pfammatter: NanoCluster 02/2000 (2000, Leo Lab): [r]: B+(**)
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
- Rez Abbasi: A Throw of Dice by the Silent Ensemble (Whirlwind): October 19
- Katerina Brown: Mirror (Mellowtone Music): October 18
- Drumming Cellist [Kristijan Krajncan]: Abraxas (Sazas)
- Lorenzo Feliciati/Michele Rabbia: Antikythera (RareNoise): cdr, October 25
- Satoko Fujii/Joe Fonda: Four (Long Song): November 8
- Francesco Guerri: Su Mimmi Non Si Spara! (RareNoise): cdr, October 25
- Roger Kellaway: The Many Open Minds of Roger Kellaway (IPO): November 1
- Doug MacDonald & the Tarmac Ensemble: Jazz Marathon 4: Live at Hangar 18 (DMAC): October 15
- Bernie Mora & Tangent: No Agenda (Rhombus)
- The Niro Featuring Gary Lucas: The Complete Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas Songbook (Esordisco): November 8
- Northern Ranger: Eastern Stranger (self-released, EP)
- Miles Okazaki: The Sky Below (Pi): October 25
- Anne Phillips: Live at the Jazz Bakery (Conawago)
- Chip Stephens/Stenn Wilson: Sadness & Soul (Capri): October 18
- Dave Stryker: Eight Track Christmas (Strikezone): November 1
- Esbjörn Svensson Trio: E.S.T. Live in Gothenburg (2001, ACT, 2CD): October 25
- Gebhard Ullmann/Hans Lüdemann/Oliver Potratz/Eric Schaefer: MikroPULS (Intuition): October 18
- Brahja Waldman: Brahja (RR Gems): cdr
Sunday, October 06, 2019
Once again, ran out of time before I could get around to an
introduction. The impeachment story rolls on, and Trump is getting
weirder and freakier than ever. Meanwhile, more bad shit is happening
than I can get a grip on. And what's likely to happen when the new
Supreme Court gets down to business. Once you tote up all the damage
Trump's election directly causes, you need to look up "opportunity
Some scattered links this week:
A second whistleblower on Trump and Ukraine is coming forward.
Trump wants to shoot people in the legs. The United States' closest ally
already does that. It's long been clear to me that a big part of the
love US right-wingers have for Israel is envy: they wish their own country
to become as brutal, as imperious, as militarist as Israel has proven to
Alexia Fernández Campbell:
The US border security industry could be worth $740 billion by 2023.
A shocking number, but it was already worth $305 billion in 2011.
Why Trump, facing impeachment, warns of civil war.
Just how swampy are US-Saudi arms deals?
The post-Saddam Hussein settlement in Iraq is on the brink of collapse.
How to get away with gerrymandering.
Mining the future: Climate change, migration, and militarization in
US test fires ICBM, declares it a 'visible message of national security'
("which flew 4,200 miles from California to the Marshall Islands"):
a non-story compared to North Korea test-firing smaller missiles or
China "showing off arms in a parade," despite being pointed toward
China and North Korea.
Trump's impeachment polling is historically unprecedented.
James K Galbraith:
This 50-year-old economic book helps explain the corporate republic we
live in: On James K Galbraith's The New Industrial State
Donald Trump's 'maximum pressure' campaign against Iran has backfired.
Team Trump's 2020 strategy is Clinton Cash all over again.
But wouldn't the likelihood of it working be dependent on the Democrats
nominating a candidate like Hillary Clinton?
The difference between leaking and whistle-blowing in the Trump White
House. Refers to a new book by Tom Mueller on the history of
whistle-blowing: Crisis of Conscience, and notes:
An effective whistle-blower stays below the radar while methodically
collecting information; staying power and an ability to remain
inconspicuous are key. The person who blew the whistle on Trump and
Ukraine appears to possess both of these qualities, and others: the
complaint is meticulously documented and worded with exquisite care.
By its very existence, the document blows the whistle on the Trumpian
style -- hasty, sloppy, overblown, and unsubstantiated.
Other opponents of Trumpism within the government have leaked rather
than blown the whistle. No sooner was the President inaugurated than
members of the White House staff told reporters that the President
acted like a "clueless child," had no interest in intelligence reports,
spent his time watching TV, and was largely kept out of the decision-making
process. These stories, which began in January of 2017, quickly grew
familiar, and the more bizarre the reality they described, the greater
their normalizing effect.
Tara Golshan/Ella Nilsen:
Elizabeth Warren's new remedy for corruption: a tax on lobbying.
Trump's war on California and the climate.
How the Saudi oil field attack overturned America's apple cart:
"For all their overwhelming firepower, the U.S. and its allies can
cause a lot of misery in the Middle East, but still can't govern
the course of events."
The 2 companies that place all those ads at the bottom of webpages are
combining: "Taboola is buying Outbrain."
Some impeachment-shy Democrats just fear it will backfire, as
do some impeachment-shy "progressive" pundits. One worry is no doubt
Trump campaign to drop bomb on Biden in early voting states:
Trump's reelection effort "will air over $1 million in anti-Biden
commercials in Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Nevada" --
probably the most blatant attempt to influence other party primary
voting since Nixon's "dirty tricks" campaign against Edmund Muskie
in 1972. This almost looks like Trump baited the Democrats into
impeaching him, just for the free publicity.
What will Republicans do if Trump goes down? A rather silly
exercise in handicapping the Republican bench. Trump is more likely
to die suddenly or become debilitated than to be convicted by this
Senate, in which case Republicans could scramble but would probably
figure Pence the best shot at saving Trump's legacy. The fact is
that Trump not only owns the public perception of the Party, he's
the only one with proven ability to convince a significant bloc of
far-from-wealthy voters to cut their own throats. Kilgore also
Is there any chance the GOP is about to turn on Trump?
Here we go: Supreme Court accepts first big post-Kavanaugh abortion
Will progressive Democrats 'move to the center' when facing Trump?
Could be, but Sanders and Warren have spelled out their platforms so
extensively that it will be hard for them to run on anything else --
at most, they'll concede that some things they want will be lesser
priorities as long as significant numbers of Democrats aren't on
board. Should they is another question. It looks to me like Trump's
going to try to run to the left of centrist Democrats, presenting
them as corrupt and himself as the champion of working people and as
the defender of Social Security and Medicare. Moreover, he'll make
mincemeat of any Democrat as hawkish as Hillary Clinton. Sure, it
will all be lies, but he's done it before, and it's not clear how
much credibility four years of broken promises has cost him. The
one Democrat he can't feint left of is Sanders, and in that case
he may not try, figuring red-baiting will do the trick. The big
advantage that Sanders has, even over Warren, is that no one doubts
his sincerity or his integrity, and up against Trump those are the
characteristics that matter most. Of course, compared to Trump, any
Democrat should be able to score those points, but moving to the
lame, corrupt, ineffective center won't help them. Only moving to
the left will.
Nixon's defenders claimed he was a victim of a 'coup.' So did Clinton's.
Only a story now because Trump's claiming that too -- started, in fact,
back during the Mueller inquiry.
How oceans rise and die on a warming planet: As Jane Lubchenco, a
former US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administrator,
puts it: "The ocean today is higher, warmer, more acidic, less productive,
and it holds less oxygen."
As a result, coral reefs are bleaching a ghostly white, and, although
some can recover, others are dying at a rapid rate. Monster storms are
persistent. Marine heat waves -- projected to increase fiftyfold if
current trends continue -- are depleting fisheries. Ocean acidification
is severely harming all sorts of species, which then harms people, too,
since many of these species are critical to local economies. Glaciers
are melting faster with consequences for people in the mountains and
on the coasts alike.
A Trump hotel mystery: Giant reservations followed by empty rooms:
"The House is investigating whether groups tried to curry favor with
Trump by booking rooms at his hotels but never using them."
Snowden in the labyrinth: Review of Edward Snowden's memoir,
Why almost no one is guilty of treason, explained: "Adam Schiff isn't
guilty of treason, nor is Donald Trump, and neither is just about any
other person you can think of." Then why not just expunge the word from
The invention of the conspiracy theory on Biden and Ukraine.
Trump's DOJ just escalated the fight over whether religion is a license
This California highway boondoggle shows why we need more infrastructure
funding: And why "public-private partnerships are a poor replacement
for robust federal investment in infrastructure."
Jeremy Corbyn or no-deal Brexit? The UK might have to choose.
Democrats have subpoenaed the White House in the next phase of their
Warren and Sanders raised significantly more money than Biden in the
third quarter. Biden came in fourth, also trailing Pete Buttigieg.
Or, as ABC put it,
Warren surpasses Biden in latest fundraising haul but falls short of
Sanders. I've seen a meme (probably from the Sanders campaign, but
I can't find a viable link) which lists the "top donors by profession"
for Biden (president of company, managing partner, real estate developer,
lawyer, investor), Warren (psychologist, scientist, editor, librarian,
psychotherapist), and Sanders (teacher, nurse, farmer, truck driver,
waiter/waitress, construction). For a similar breakdown along these
lines, see Karl Evers-Hillstrom:
Sanders or Warren: Why gets more support from working-class donors?
Toluse Olorunnpia/Amy Goldstein:
Trump attacks Democrats' health care plans and pledges to protect Medicare
during political speech to Florida retirees. The big lie is on,
but note that Trump is signaling that he intends to run to the left
of Democrats on health care, even though what he means is something
President Trump blasted his potential Democratic presidential rivals
in a highly political speech here Thursday, telling a group of senior
citizens that "maniac" Democrats would rip away their health care,
decimate their retirement accounts and prioritize undocumented
immigrants over U.S. citizens.
"All of the Democrat plans would devastate our health care system,"
Trump said during a visit to The Villages, where he signed an executive
order designed to expand the private-sector version of Medicare that
Here's what Charles P Pierce wrote about the same Trump speech:
The President* is a blight, but watch what the conservative movement's
up to behind him: "They're coming for Medicare, folks." Pierce
blogs more often than I feel like citing, but some of his best
titles last week:
The real reason Amber Guyger was convicted. An off-duty white
police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man in his apartment
in Texas. Against odds, she was charged and convicted of murder.
Police officers have killed over a thousand people a year in recent
years: Of those killed by police since 2005, less than 100 officers
have been arrested, only 35 officers have been convicted -- and, as
of March, only three of them of murder. Less than 1 percent of all
officers are convicted when their victim is Black -- even though
Black people are three times more likely than white people to be
killed by police.
Packnett credits the verdict to a fully integrated jury. However,
before you start thinking that justice is starting to work in America,
note: Anya van Wagtendonk:
Joshua Brown, a key witness in the murder trial against Amber Guyger,
was fatally shot.
A new book argues that Trump is television in human form: On
James Poniewozik's Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television,
and the Fracturing of America.
Poniewozik almost wants to rate Trump as a great postmodern thinker,
but the problem is that Trump does not think. Nonetheless, Trump is a
great postmodern feeler, who intuits and responds to the stimuli of
electronic media with the dark brilliance of an idiot savant, in the
sure belief that only suckers care about objective truth. Poniewozik
calls Trump's daily performance qua Trump a manifestation of
"lizard-brain postmodernism -- the salesman's intuition that the
cartoon of a thing was more powerful to people than the thing itself."
William Rivers Pitt:
Trump is spreading fear because he fears impeachment: The one thing
about the impeachment inquiry that I find most perplexing is why Trump
has reacted with such crazed panic. Surely he knows that the Republican
Senate will never remove him from office. And given that there is zero
chance of the Republican Party denying him nomination for a second term,
the only contest that really matters is the 2020 election. Yet every day
he squirms, rants, raves, acting out in ways that not only don't offer
any practical defense against the charges but really make most people
question his competency and even sanity.
Rudy Giuliani welcomes you to Eastern Europe: "So much about the
Trump administration seems pulled from the playbook of a post-Soviet
kleptocracy." Other Putin critics, like Masha Gessen, have said much
the same thing, most likely because that's what they're used to seeing.
I doubt Trump is consciously taking Putin as a model (no matter how
sympathetic he is). Rather, cynical oligarchs don't have many options
in how to spin their corruption.
The incredibly damning Ukraine texts from State Department officials,
Richard V Reeves:
Now the rich want your pity, too: "If the wealthy are so stressed
out, whose fault is that?"
"Stupid Watergate" is worse than the original. A game effort to
make the case, anyway, not least by pointing out that both scandals
started as efforts to rig elections and as such were attacks on our
faith in democracy. But even though I don't doubt that a Trump
dictatorship would be even more malign than a Nixon one, the only
dimension where Trump is way ahead of Nixon is stupid, and I don't
see how that makes it worse. What might make it worse is that most
Republicans today are so shameless and so desperate to cling onto
power that they've lost the capacity to understand when their
president breaks bad.
The Earth just had its hottest September on record: For what little
it's worth, Wichita bucked the trend all summer long, but got with the
program for September: possibly not a record, but hottest month we've
had all year, still above 90F on 9/30 (but 49F as I write this).
How disinformation reaches Donald Trump.
Eric Schmitt/Maggie Haberman/Edward Wong:
Trump endorses Turkish military operation in Syria, shifting US
policy: What's the Kurdish word for people who are recruited,
used up, and carelessly discarded? Once "comrades-in-arms," now
more like "losers."
Jeremy Singer-Vine/Kevin Collier:
Political operatives are faking voter outrage with millions of made-up
comments to benefit the rich and powerful. Case in point: 22 million
public comments submitted to FCC on net neutrality regulations.
Impeach all presidents: Sure, it's hard to think of any recent US
president who hasn't committed high crimes along the way, especially
in using the US military to kill people in other countries. Even Nixon's
Watergate crimes paled in comparison to other things he did, like his
coup in Chile and his escalation in Indochina. Some Democrats will tell
you that Trump forced them to impeach, but it's always been a process
that has been selectively used for distinct political purposes. On the
other hand, when you can impeach, why not? The charges brought against
Clinton were bullshit, but at the time I urged convicting him, because
he had done other things that merited removing him from office (e.g.,
his bombing operations in Iraq, which his Republican foes usually
Jeff Stein/Tom Hamburger/Josh Dawsey:
IRS whistleblower said to report Treasury political appointee might have
tried to interfere in audit of Trump or Pence.
Mulvaney predicts post-impeachment landslide. "Mulvaney also
believes that the longer the impeachment process drags on, the better
it is, politically, for Trump." Impeachment also seems to be spurring
small donors, which is not a resource Trump had in 2016. I don't doubt
that Mulvaney's attitude exists, especially among Trump's inner circle
of sycophants, but I think it's more likely that less-committed voters
will get sick and tired of all the noise, especially given how erratic
Trump has been acting.
The 'whistleblower' probably isn't: "It's an insult to real
whistleblowers to use the term with the Ukrainegate protagonist."
Anton Troianovski/Chris Mooney:
Radical warming in Siberia eaves millions on unstable ground.
Anya van Wagtendonk:
Rick Perry's spent a lot of time in Ukraine. Now he's caught up in the
impeachment inquiry. For more on Perry, see: Chas Danner:
What we know about Trump's bizarre attempt to blame Rick Perry for the
Trump's close-call diplomacy with Iran's President.
How I helped hack democracy: An excerpt from the author's book,
Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytics and the Plot to Break America.
Li Zhou/Hannah Brown:
1999 vs. 2019: Senate Republicans' attitudes on impeachment sure have
changed a lot: Many examples, first two Lindsey Graham and Mitch
Thursday, October 03, 2019
Zhanna Pataky visited Eastern Europe this summer, and came back wanting
to cook something Hungarian. We had previously collaborated on a couple of
Russian dinners, and I'm always game for a new cuisine. Did some shopping
at Amazon, and wound up buying one cookbook: Silvena Johan Lauta: The
Food & Cooking of Hungary. Here's a first stab at a possible menu:
- Hungarian Goulash: a beef stew, with onion, tomato, green
bell pepper, potatoes, spices (paprika, caraway), served with Hungarian
Dumplings. Alternative: Rabbit Goulash Stew: as above but with
rabbit instead of beef, chicken stock, potatoes or dumpling on side;
or Venison Goulash: similar, with venison shoulder instead of
beef, chicken stock, carrot and parsnip, potatoes or dumpling on side.
- Hungarian Dumplings: egg, flour, herbs; serve with bacon
and butter. Alternative: any other dumpling dish, like Oregano and
Cumin Dumplings, Transylvanian Dumplings with Olives,
Herb Semolina Dumplings, or Pinched Noodles.
- Feta and Paprika Bruschetta: ciabatta bread slices, toasted,
topped with feta, cream cheese, spices (mustard, cumin, paprika); suggest
serve with tomato salad (not in recipe; picture shows red onion garnish,
with tomatoes and cucumbers on side).
- Transylvanian Stuffed Mushrooms: button (or baby portabella?)
mushrooms, stuffed with ricotta, thyme, bacon); suggest serve with green
- Hungarian Cold Buffet Salad with Mustard: cooked and diced
ham, frankfurters, potato, carrot, peas, eggs, green beans, gherkins,
with dijon mustard, parsley, and mayonnaise (home-made).
- Pan-fried Pike with Cream and Dill Sauce: white fish fillets,
flour, fried in butter with wild mushrooms; sauce, on side, is fish stock,
white wine, cream, and fresh dill. Alternative: Trout in Horseradish
Sauce: trout, poached with root vegetables (carrot, parsnip, onion),
with sour cream, horseradish; serve with boiled potatoes and steamed
- Hungarian Chocolate Almond Torte: cake with dark chocolate,
butter, eggs, brown sugar, ground almonds, 2 tbs. flour (so not quite
flourless); topped with ganache and almond topping. Alternative:
Hungarian Pancakes with Pecan Filling: thin pancakes filled
with pecans, golden raisins, lemon zest, apricot jam, cinnamon,
sugar; and/or a fruit dessert, like Walnut Baked Prunes:
prunes, orange juice and zest, sour cream, bread crumbs, walnuts,
butter; or Roasted Pears With Honey: pears, butter, rosemary,
balsamic, honey. Other options from elsewhere (see below) include
Somloi Trifle ("Hungary's favorite dessert") and Dobos
Torte (from The Gourmet Cookbook).
Some other dishes that caught my eye, but are probably de trop:
- Chicken and Paprika Stew with Sour Cream: cubed chicken breast,
onion, tomato, green bell pepper, sour cream, paprika.
- Venison Meatballs: ground venison and veal, bread crumbs, egg,
formed into meatballs, dusted with flour, fried; sauce with chicken stock,
sour cream, paprika, herbs.
- Pancakes with Creamy Feta Cheese and Wild Garlic: crepes,
filled with feta, yogurt, sour cream, wild garlic leaves.
- Pearl Barley Salad with Grapes and Pistachio Nuts: pearl
barley (cooked), tomato, green bell pepper, cucumber, white seedless
grapes, parsley, mint, toasted pistachio nuts.
I've previously made goulash from the recipe in The Gourmet
Cookbook. It's a bit more complicated than this one, but similar.
It's one of only four Hungarian recipes in the book. Chicken Paprika
is another -- again, similar to above, but calls for thighs. The
other two are desserts: Chocolate-orange Dobostorte, and Hungarian
chocolate mousse cake bars. The former is very complex and ornate,
with eight layers of sponge cake (white, with orange zest), glazed
with orange syrup, separated by layers of chocolate buttercream,
topped by a layer of caramel, the sides covered with buttercream
and hazelnuts. The bars are also quite complex, with chocolate cake
layers, apricot jam, a chocolate mousse filling, a whipped cream
filling, and a chocolate glaze. The cake layers are baked in a
10x15 pan, then cut into bars after assembling.
Most of the goulash recipes I see on the internet call for
ground beef and elbow macaroni (some adding cheddar cheese) --
some of these are explicitly labeled American Goulash. Flat egg
noodles are sometimes used. Ones explicitly labeled "Hungarian
Goulash" start with beef cubes. The most minimal is just beef,
onion, and paprika. Others add tomato, bell pepper, carrot and/or
potato, also extra flavors (one has brown sugar and balsamic
vinegar). Most are served over separately-cooked egg noodles.
Lots of soups in the cookbook, but since it's at most practical
to serve one, and since Goulash counts (as would Chicken Paprika),
I've ignored the others.
Some other recipes I've noticed while searching for Hungarian
- Sour Cherry Soup
- Strawberry Soup
- Beef Paprikash with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
- Hungarian Short Ribs
- Garlic Pork Rib Roast with Parsley Potatoes
- Grandma Schwartz's Rouladen: beef top round
- Meat Stew (Porkolt)
- Shepherd's Noodles (Pasztortarhonya): bacon, sausage, tarhonya (some
kind of noodle).
- Crispy Pork Belly
- Baked Garlic Paprika Chicken
- Butternut Goulash
- New World Stuffed Cabbage
- Beef & Rice Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
- Cucumber Salad: sour cream or vinegar.
- Hungarian-Style Green Beans
- Layered Potatoes (Rakott Krumpli): potatoes, eggs, sausage, sour
- Potato Pancakes (Lapcsznka)
- Pickled Sweet Peppers
- Stuffed Peppers (Toltott Paprika)
- Vegetable Stew (Lecso): a paprika stew, variations: egg, sausage.
- Fozelek: another vegetable stew (no translation).
- Cabbage & Noodles (Haluski)
- Horseradish Deviled Eggs
- Fried Dough (Langos): topped with sour cream and cheese; note this
tops several lists.
- Palacsinta (Crepes)
- Cheese Noodles (Turos Csusza)
- Fried Cheese (Rantott Sajt): Swiss or mozzarella dredged in egg and
breadcrumbs, then fried.
- Apple Strudle
- Cardamon-Blackberry Linzer Cookies
- Cookie Crust Deep-Dish Apple Pie
- Hungarian Nut Rolls
- Hungarian Walnut Cookies: more like rugelach.
- Layered Pastry (Flodni): walnut, apple, poppyseed, jam.
- Somloi Trifle (Somloi Galuska): three types of sponge cake (plain,
walnut, chocolate), raising, walnuts, drizzled with dark chocolate rum
sauce, topped with whipped cream.
- 5 Layer Cocoa Slices
- Mezes Kremes: a layered cake with glaze and filling.
- Kugler Cake: ground almond cake with chocolate filling.
- Zserbo/Gerbeaud Slice: multi-layered torte with chocolate top.
- Hungarian Decadent Chocolate Cake
PS: Talked with Zhanna today. She wants to cook two recipes:
a thick goulash, using her mother's recipe (Russian, from Kazakhstan,
I think), and something with sausages and noodles. She suggested I do
chicken paprika, a salad, and a cake. I want to do one of the dumpling
recipes, or maybe just the pinched noodles. Adding the chicken (and
sausage) leaves no room for fish or meatballs. I still like the feta
bruschetta, but think I'll pick the pearl barley salad over the cold
buffet salad (which could really be a one-dish meal). I'll probably
go with the chocolate almond torte, although the solmoi torte is
still tempting. Agreed on Friday, October 18 as the date.