Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Expanded blog post,
Music: Current count 32538  rated (+47), 228  unrated (-2).
Took an extra day to post Music Week this week. I figured I had
one more day in the month to work with, or actually one more day
to wrap up the year in calendar time, so I got in a little extra
listening. Also used the time to add some lists to the
EOY aggregate. Got up
to Radio X in
list of lists. Haven't done anything from the NPR Jazz Critics
Poll yet -- should be up in early January, not sure exactly when --
nor have a tracked down the JJA lists (that usually track JCP
ballots). Hence, very little data so far on jazz (other than my
I did get an invite to join something called
Village Voice Pazz & Jop Rip-Off Poll, and picked off a
couple dozen ballots there. My rule there was to only count
ballots from people I recognized, which mostly means members of
the Expert Witness Facebook group.
This week's records were mostly things I took an interest in
while compiling lists. The one major exception was that I resolved
to listen to the last 2019 releases in my promo queue, including
a couple I just got this week. The result is that, for now at
least, the "pending" lists in my
2019 file are empty. On the
other hand, I've tried not to accidentally delve into
2020 releases (looks like I
have 18 records waiting).
Quite a few B+(***) records below (15). Probably means I moved too
fast, at least on a few of them. (Kajfes is the one jazz record I'm
most tempted to review, especially after his Nacka Forum record got
an A-. But also I rarely give rap and electronica records anyway near
enough attention, although that didn't stop YBN Cordae or Atom[TM],
or for that matter Sault.)
All of this month's reviews have been rolled up in
December 2019 Streamnotes,
but I haven't done the usual indexing yet. Usually takes me 3-4 hours
to do it all, and if I hold back for that I'll be even later. Sometime
next week. More lists too. Maybe next week I'll be able to say a few
things about the EOY Aggregate, and have some more general reflections
on the year. Or maybe I'll just decide I'm due for a break.
New records reviewed this week:
- Abjects: Never Give Up (2019, Yippee Ki Yay): [r]: B+(**)
- Albare: Albare Plays Jobim (2019, Alfi): [cd]: B+(**)
- Backxwash: Deviancy (2019, Grimalkin, EP): [r]: B+(***)
- Philip Bailey: Love Will Find a Way (2019, Verve): [r]: B+(*)
- Barker: Utility (2019, Ostgut Ton): [r]: B+(***)
- Bonzo Squad: There's Always Tomorrow (2019, self-released, EP): [cd]: B
- Boogie: Everythings for Sale (2019, Shady/Interscope): [r]: B+(*)
- Peter Brötzmann: I Surrender Dear (2019, Trost): [r]: B+(**)
- Deep State: The Path to Fast Oblivion (2019, Friendship Fever): [r]: B
- Dumb: Club Nites (2019, Mint): [bc]: B+(***)
- EarthGang: Mirrorgang (2019, Dreamville/Interscope): [r]: B+(*)
- Emmeluth's Amoeba: Chimaera (2019, Řra Fonogram): [r]: B+(***)
- Gang Starr: One of the Best Yet (2019, TTT/Gang Starr): [r]: B+(*)
- Elena Gilliam/Michael Le Van: Then Another Turns (2019, Blujazz): [cd]: B+(***)
- Devin Gray: Devin Gray's Algorhythmica (2019, Rataplan, EP): [bc]: B+(*)
- Devin Gray GPS Trio: Blast Beat Blues (2019, Rataplan, EP): [bc]: B+(*)
- Jason Hawk Harris: Love & the Dark (2019, Bloodshot): [r]: C+
- The Hot Sardines: Welcome Home/Bon Voyage (2019, Eleven): [r]: B+(***)
- Insignificant Other: I'm So Glad I Feel This Way About You! (2019, Counter Intuitive): [r]: B+(*)
- Loraine James: For You and I (2019, Hyperdub): [r]: B+(**)
- Goran Kajfes Tropiques: Into the Wild (2019, Headspin): [bc]: B+(***)
- Ari Lennox: Shea Butter Baby (2019, Dreamville/Interscope): [r]: B+(*)
- Danny Lerman: Ice Cat (2019, Blujazz): [cd]: B-
- Haviah Mighty: 13th Floor (2019, self-released): [r]: B+(***)
- Nacka Forum: Sĺ Stopper Festen (2019, Moserobie): [cd]: A-
- The New Pornographers: In the Morse Code of Brake Lights (2019, Concord): [r]: B+(*)
- Isabelle Olivier/Rez Abbasi: OASIS (2019, Enja/Yellowbird): [cd]: B+(**)
- Henrik Olsson/Ola Rubin: Olsson/Rubin (2019, Barefoot): [cd]: B+(**)
- Rozina Pátkai: Taladim (2018 , Tom-Tom): [cd]: B+(**)
- Lee Scratch Perry: Heavy Rain (2019, On-U Sound): [r]: A-
- Lee Scratch Perry: Life of the Plants (2019, Stones Throw): [r]: B+(***)
- Sampa the Great: The Return (2019, Ninja Tune): [bc]: B+(**)
- Sault: 5 (2019, Forever Living Originals): [bc]: A-
- Sault: 7 (2019, Forever Living Originals): [bc]: A-
- Derek Senn: How Could a Man (2019, self-released): [r]: B+(***)
- Somersaults [Olie Brice/Tobias Delius/Mark Sanders]: Numerology of Birdsong (2018 , West Hill): [bc]: B+(***)
- Svetlost: Odron Ritual Orchestra (2019, PMG): [bc]: B+(***)
- Thick: Thick (2019, Epitaph, EP): [bc]: B+(*)
- Ronnie Wood & His Wild Five: Mad Lad: A Live Tribute to Chuck Berry (2019, BMG): [r]: B+(***)
- Billy Woods: Terror Management (2019, Blackwoodz Studioz): [bc]: B+(**)
- YBN Cordae: The Lost Boy (2019, Atlantic): [r]: A-
- Young Nudy & Pi'erre Bourne: Sli'mere (2019, RCA): [r]: B+(***)
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:
- AtomTM: Lassigue Bendthaus/Cloned (+ Singles) (1992, AtomTM Audio Archive): [bc]: A-
- Burial: Tunes 2011 to 2019 (2011-19 , Hyperdub, 2CD): [r]: B+(*)
- Masahiko Satoh/Sabu Toyozumi: The Aiki (1997 , NoBusiness): [cd]: A-
- Olie Brice/Tobias Delius/Mark Sanders: Somersaults (2014 , Two Rivers): [bc]: B+(***)
- Emmeluth's Amoeba: Polyp (2017 , Řra Fonogram): [r]: B+(*)
Sunday, December 29, 2019
No intro. Didn't really feel like doing this in the first place,
but had tabs I wanted to close.
Some scattered links this week:
Trump's executive order on anti-semitism isn't about protecting Jews.
A NATO expert criticized Trump on Twitter. So a US ambassador barred him
from speaking at a conference. Stanley Sloan. I meant to write some
about this, at least after Robert Christgau endorsed and circulated a
link to Sloan's talk notes. I can't go into it here, other than to note
that I thought the talk was horrible. (The extent of Sloan's delusion
can be gauged by his book title: Defense of the West: NATO, the
European Union and the Transatlantic Bargain. You can see from
that title why he's the sort of guy who gets invites to speak at NATO
Does the left have any better ideas than Obama's? "The Obama era
produced the most sweeping combination of social reforms, economic
rescue, and regulation of any presidency in half a century." That's
bullshit hyperbole, depending on a very low bar, and overlooking
the much more effective "reforms" of Reagan, the Bushes, and even
Trump, just because they've nearly always been for the worse. Those
50 years include 40 since Reagan's "revolution," following what now
looks like prefiguring by Nixon and Carter -- a period of Democrats
trying to frame their policy objectives in Republican terms (e.g.,
as "market reforms"), to ever less avail. Chait wants to rail against
recent re-evaluations of Obama's works, but I see those as necessary
steps to clear the air of zombie ideas:
President Trump's dream is to become America's Viktor Orbán: "Why
the president and his supporters are following the Hungarian autocrat's
Elizabeth Dias/Jeremy W Peters:
Evangelical leaders close ranks with Trump after scathing editorial.
California is burning -- nationalize PG&E.
Is Donald Trump the second 9/11?
California's fires prove the American dream is flammable: "If we want
to keep cities safe in the face of climate change, we need to seriously
question the ideal of private homeownership." Not the conclusion I would
draw, even from only reading this article.
Behind the bewildering recent incidents of anti-semitism. Later,
"We are living in a touristic prison": Palestinians on life in the holy
city of Bethlehem.
Astead W Herndon:
'Nothing less than a civil war': These white voters on the far right
see doom without Trump. E.g., "Mark Villalta said he had been
stockpiling firearms, in case the 2020 election does not go in the
A world to win: "Decolonization and the pursuit of a more egalitarian
international order." Review of Adam Getachew's book, Worldmaking After
Empire: Rise and Fall of Self-Determination.
2019 was a brutal year for American farmers.
The hidden histories in the periodic table: "From poisoned monks and
nuclear bombs to the "tranfermium wars," mapping the atomic world hasn't
David D Kirkpatrick:
How a Chase Bank chairman helped the deposed Shah of Iran enter the
US: "The fateful decision in 1979 to admit Mohammed Reza Pahlavi
prompted the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran and helped
doom the Carter presidency."
Is nuclear power worth the risk?
Big money and America's lost decade. "Yes, the rich have too much
political influence." One might addd, "in both political parties," but
the key event of the "lost decade" was the Republican takeover of the
House in 2010, which shifted political focus away from merely serving
the rich (which Clinton and Obama did more successfully, flamboyantly
even, than any Republican) to impoverishing working Americans.
The cruelty of a Trump Christmas: "Republicans aren't Scrooges --
they're much worse."
Republicans are fiscally reckless and irresponsible: Of couse they
are. But they benefit from a double standard, as the media only seems
to take the charge seriously if directed against a Democrat.
The 2010s were the decade that bent democracy to the breaking
Eric Lipton/Maggie Haberman/Mark Mazzetti:
Behind the Ukraine aid freeze: 84 days of conflict and confusion:
"The inside story of President Trump's demand to halt military assistance
to an ally shows the price he was willing to pay to carry out his agenda."
False idol -- why the Christian right worships Donald Trump.
Holly Otterbein/David Siders:
Democratic insiders: Bernie could win the nomination.
Adam K Raymond:
Thw world's 500 richest people increased their wealth by $1.2 trillion
The Trump administration just snuck through its most devious coal subsidy
The Christmas Eve confessions of Chuck Todd: "That disinformation was
going to overtake Republican politics was discoverable years before he
says he discovered it."
Future generations will look back on Trump's latest wind turbines rant
in awe and horror.
The massive triumph of the rich, illustrated by stunning new data.
Why did Trump ditch his church in Palm Beach on Christmas Eve for
evangelical service? I predict that by election day he'll convert
to Pentecostalism. That way his gibberish will be excused as "speaking
Katrina vanden Heuvel:
Remembering Bill Greider: "Bill was an American heretic: inquisitive,
unwilling to accept conventional dogmas, and always a voice for the
A sampling of pieces by William Greider:
American hubris, or, how globalization brought us Donald Trump
[2018-04-19]: "It was 'free trade' mania, pushed by both major political
parties, that destroyed working-class prosperity and laid the groundwork
for his triumph."
What killed the Democratic Party? [2017-10-30]: "A new report offers
a bracing autopsy of the 2016 election -- and lays out a plan for
Why American democracy has descended into collective hysteria [2017-09-28]:
"We are a great power in decline -- but neither party has a clue what to
do about it."
It's Groundhog Day in Washington, with Trump peddling the same old Reaganite
snake oil [2017-04-28]: "Tax cuts for the wealthy didn't increase
government revenue then, and they're not going to now. It's mourning
again in America."
Here's what you need to know about the Federal Reserve [2017-03-17]:
"We demand way too much from the central bank -- but that's because our
elected politicians have done almost nothing to revive the economy."
Whom should we blame for our deranged democracy? [2016-09-20]:
"Laying it all on Trump is too easy -- both political parties are out
of touch and distant from the people."
How Trump dog-whistles the business establishment [2016-03-18]:
"He cleverly woos the GOP base on issues like trade, but this working-class
hero is actually a willing agent of the 1 percenters."
How Donald Trump could beat Hillary Clinton [2016-03-11]: "In the
general election, he could win by running to her left -- and her
Vietnam is the war that didn't end [2015-05-05]: "Forty years later,
we still haven't confronted the true lesson of Vietnam."
How the Democratic Party lost its soul [2014-11-11]: "The trouble
started when the party abandoned its working-class base."
Why was Paul Krugman so wrong? [2013-04-01]: "Everyone's favorite
Nobel-winning Keynesian is no longer gravely deluded on the global
economy. How much can we trust him now?"
When big business needs a favor, George Bush gets the call [1984-04-12]:
"Ronald Reagan's back-door man."
The education of David Stockman [1981-12].
Other recent pieces on Greider:
Senate Republicans were laser-focused on confirming judges in 2019 -- even
the unqualified ones.
Saturday, December 28, 2019
Expanded blog post,
Music: Current count 32491  rated (+25), 230  unrated (+4).
Skipped last week, so this one covers two weeks, with a big hole in
the middle. On. Dec. 12, I had surgery to open up my nasal passages,
hopefully to breathe better. The surgery was fairly quick, and I was
home by noon, but my recovery hasn't been anything to brag about. I
did virtually nothing for over a week. Had a follow-up appointment
after a week, with the PA poking around, pulling out scabs and clots
of blood. During that week I checked email and processed a few late
ballots for Francis Davis's NPR Jazz Critics Poll (we did finally
match last year's total of 140), but couldn't work for more than 15
minutes at a time (even on something as mechanical as Noisey's EOY
list, which took me 4-5 sessions). I didn't feel much better Friday,
but found I could get some work done. I only played old jazz for a
week, but started streaming some new music -- mostly hip-hop, as it
turned out. Pretty much everything I heard landed at B+(**), and
this week's reviews are even shorter and shabbier than usual.
Almost finished the week without a single A- record, but
Trapline landed 10th on
Phil Overeem's year-end list. I still can't tell you why, but
three plays convinces me there's enough going on there to merit the
grade. Almost added a second one, Emmeluth's Amoeba: Chimaera,
Chris Monsen's list, but decided I need another play before trying
to write anything.
While I was down, I missed three pieces (free, I think) from
And It Don't Stop subscription newsletter, so I'll
do penance for not announcing them in a timely manner here:
Don't have much more to say at this point. The usual tracking files
are in the
usual places. I've added a few things to the
EOY Aggregate, but it is
nowhere near up to date (and while I'm likely to add to it, it may
never try to make it as comprehensive as in recent years).
New records reviewed this week:
- Eric Alexander: Eric Alexander With Strings (2019, HighNote): [r]: B+(*)
- Gonçalo Almeida/Martin van Duynhoven/Tobias Klein: Live at the Bimhuis (2017 , Clean Feed): [r]: B+(***)
- Rebecca Angel: Santa Baby (Timeless Grooves, 1): [cd]: B+(***)
- Atmosphere: Whenever (2019, Rhymesayers Entertainment): [r]: B+(***)
- Courtney Barnett: MTV Unplugged (Live in Melbourne) (2019, Mom + Pop Music): [r]: B+(**)
- Beck: Hyperspace (2019, Capitol): [r]: B
- Dopolarians: Garden Party (2019, Mahakala): [bc]: B+(***)
- Ras G and the Afrikan Space Program: Dance of the Cosmos (2019, Akashik, EP): [r]: B+(**)
- Lafayette Harris Jr.: You Can't Lose With the Blues (2019, Savant): [r]: B+(*)
- Hiromi: Spectrum (2019, Telarc): [r]: B+(**)
- Hot Chip: A Bath Full of Ecstasy (2019, Domino): [r]: B+(*)
- Brittany Howard: Jaime (2019, ATO): [r]: B
- Kaytranada: Bubba (2019, RCA): [r]: B+(**)
- José Lencastre Nau Quartet: Live in Moscow (2018 , Clean Feed): [r]: B+(**)
- Jeff Lofton: Jericho (2019, self-released): [cd]: B+(**)
- Caroline Polachek: Pang (2019, Columbia): [r]: B+(*)
- Slayyyter: Slayyyter (The Mixtape) (2019, self-released): [r]: B+(**)
- Sly & Robbie/Roots Radics: The Final Battle: Sly & Robbie vs. Roots Radics (2019, Serious Reggae): [yt]: B+(**)
- Sly & Robbie: Dub Serge (2019, Taxi): [r]: B+(*)
- Snotty Nose Rez Kids: Trapline (2019, Fontana North): [r]: A-
- Stormzy: Heavy Is the Head (2019, Merky/Atlantic): [r]: B+(**)
- Dave Stryker: Eight Track Christmas (2019, Strikezone): [cd]: B
- Sudan Archives: Athena (2019, Stones Throw): [bc]: B+(**)
- Juan Vinuesa Jazz Quartet: Blue Shots From Chicago (2018 , NoBusiness): [cd]: B+(***)
- The Who: Who (2019, Polydor): [r]: B
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:
- Bobby Bradford/Frode Gjerstad/Kent Carter/John Stevens: Blue Cat (1991 , NoBusiness): [cdr]: B+(**)
Sunday, December 22, 2019
I didn't feel like doing a Roundup this weekend, but found a piece
I wanted to quote at length, and figured that might suffice:
What we know about Trump going into 2020. I haven't been a fan of
Sullivan's lately (well, ever), and don't endorse his asides on the
moral superiority of conservatives, but his assessment of Trump hits
a lot of key points, and is well worth reading at length (I am going
to add some numbered footnotes where I have something I want to add):
So reflect for a second on the campaign of 2016. One Republican
candidate channeled the actual grievances and anxieties of many
Americans, while the others kept up their zombie politics and
economics. One candidate was prepared to say that the Iraq War
was a catastrophe, that mass immigration needed to be controlled,
that globalized free trade was devastating communities and
industries, that we needed serious investment in infrastructure,
that Reaganomics was way out of date, and that half the country
was stagnating and in crisis.
That was Trump. In many ways, he deserves credit for this wake-up
call. And if he had built on this platform and crafted a presidential
agenda that might have expanded its appeal and broadened its base, he
would be basking in high popularity and be a shoo-in for reelection.
If, in a resilient period of growth, his first agenda item had been
a major infrastructure bill and he'd combined it with tax relief for
the middle and working classes, he could have crafted a new conservative
coalition that might have endured. If he could have conceded for a
millisecond that he was a newbie and that he would make mistakes, he
would have been forgiven for much. A touch of magnanimity would have
worked wonders. For that matter, if Trump were to concede, even now,
that his phone call with President Zelensky of Ukraine went over the
line and he now understands this, we would be in a different world.
The two core lessons of the past few years are therefore: (1)
Trumpism has a real base of support in the country with needs that
must be addressed, and (2) Donald Trump is incapable of doing it
and is such an unstable, malignant, destructive narcissist that he
threatens our entire system of government. The reason this impeachment
feels so awful is that it requires removing a figure to whom so many
are so deeply bonded because he was the first politician to hear them
in decades. It feels to them like impeachment is another insult from
the political elite, added to the injury of the 21st century. They
take it personally, which is why their emotions have flooded their
brains. And this is understandable.
But when you think of what might have been and reflect on what has
happened, it is crystal clear that this impeachment is not about the
Trump agenda or a more coherent version of it. It is about the character
of one man: his decision to forgo any outreach, poison domestic politics,
marinate it in deranged invective, betray his followers by enriching
the plutocracy, destroy the dignity of the office of president, and
turn his position into a means of self-enrichment. It's about the
personal abuse of public office: using the presidency's powers to
blackmail a foreign entity into interfering in a domestic election
on his behalf, turning the Department of Justice into an instrument
of personal vengeance and political defense, openly obstructing
investigations into his own campaign, and treating the grave matter
of impeachment as a "hoax" while barring any testimony from his own
Character matters. This has always been a conservative principle
but one that, like so many others, has been tossed aside in the
convulsions of a cult. And it is Trump's character alone that has
brought us to this point. . . .
The impeachment was inevitable because this president is so
profoundly and uniquely unfit for the office he holds, so contemptuous
of the constitutional democracy he took an oath to defend, and so
corrupt in his core character that a crisis in the conflict between
him and the rule of law was simply a matter of time. When you add to
this a clear psychological deformation that can produce the astonishing,
deluded letter he released this week in his own defense or the manic
performance at his Michigan rally Wednesday night, it is staggering
that it has taken this long. The man is clinically unwell, preternaturally
corrupt, and instinctively hostile to the rule of law. In any other
position, in any other field of life, he would have been fired years
ago and urged to seek medical attention with respect to his mental
- Restricing immigration is a favorite talking point of other
"never Trump conservatives" (e.g., David Frum), one thing that
helps them keep their identity distinct from liberals. There is
a case to be made that low-wage immigrants undermine American
workers, but Trump and anti-immigrant Republicans only frame
the issue in racial and cultural terms.
- Of course, this is sheer fantasy: the "conservative" mindset
allowed Trump no room to maneuver toward giving even his white
middle class supporters a break from the government, let alone
more leverage against their employers and the predators who have
been stripping wealth at every turn. They couldn't even imagine a
government that helped balance the scales (although that's exactly
what the New Deal did, with a bias for white people that Trump
might admire). Thus, for instance, the infrastructure bill offered
nothing but privatization measures.
Sullivan also has an appreciative piece on his old chum's win in
the UK elections:
Boris's blundering brilliance, including this bit:
The parallels with Donald Trump are at first hard to resist: two
well-off jokers with bad hair playing populist. But Trump sees
himself, and is seen by his voters, as an outsider, locked out of
the circles he wants to be in, the heir to a real-estate fortune
with no political experience and a crude sense of humor, bristling
with resentment, and with a background in reality television. He
despises constitutional norms, displays no understanding of history
or culture, and has a cold streak of cruelty deep in his soul.
Boris is almost the opposite of this, his career a near-classic
example of British Establishment insiderism with his deep learning,
reverence for tradition, and a capacity to laugh at himself that is
rare in most egos as big as his. In 2015, after Trump described parts
of London as no-go areas because of Islamist influence, Johnson
accused him of "a quite stupefying ignorance that makes him, frankly,
unfit to hold the office of president." Even as president, Trump is
driven primarily by resentment. Boris, as always, is animated by
entitlement. (The vibe of his pitch is almost that people like him
should be in charge.)
Some scattered links this week:
Sarah Almukhtar/Rod Nordland:
What did the US get for $2 trillion in Afghanistan? Nordland also
The death toll for Afghan forces is secret. Here's why.
Robert P Baird:
The art of the Democratic deal: "How Nancy Pelosi and her party
navigated a historic week in the House of Representatives."
The shamelessness of Bill Barr.
Senate Republicans have already made up their minds on impeachment.
Julia Belluz/Nina Martin:
The extraordinary danger of being pregnant and uninsured in Texas.
Christianity Today called for Trump's removal. Here's why that doesn't
How new voting machines could hack our democracy.
Juliet Eilperin/Steven Mufson:
The Trump administration just overturned a ban on old-fashioned
The field guide to tyranny: Review of Frank Dikötter: How to Be
a Dictator: The Cult of Personality in the Twentieth Century, and
Daniel Kalder: The Infernal Library: On Dictators, the Books They
Wrote, and Other Catastrophes of Literacy.
Why so many people who need the government hate it: Interview with
Suzanne Mettler author of The Government-Citizen Disconnect.
Pull quote: "If we become more and more anti-government, we're against
ourselves. We're against out own collective capacity to do anything."
No, evangelicals aren't turning on Trump.
The right and wrong lessons from Corbyn and Labour's defeat.
Roge Karma/Ezra Klein:
In 2020, Joe Biden and the "moderates" are well to Obama's left.
Examples group Sanders/Warren and Biden/Buttigieg and compare both to
Obama in 2008. Had they picked Klobuchar for their "moderate" sample,
the waters might have been a good deal muddier. (Same for Bloomberg.)
Lots of reasons for the shift left, not least that even in the rare
cases Obama managed to fulfill a promise, his solutions were no way
near adequate to address the problems. I'm actually surprised that no
one has tried to claim the "moderate lane" by conceding that Sanders
is right on where we want to go but wrong on tactics, offering instead
shorter steps that point us in the right direction, ones that one can
build momentum on. One obvious thing is to promote schemes to expand
on Medicare for more and more people. Every time Buttigieg attacks
Medicare-for-All he exposes the loss of a couple points from his IQ.
Before long, he'll sink below Beto O'Rourke, maybe even John Delaney.
By then he'll be finished.
What's Russian for 'I told you so'? How American exceptionalism
suppressed the Soviet experience in Afghanistan. I have a few
quibbles here, but the main point (referencing "the
Afghan war's equivalent of the Pentagon Papers) is valid, and
one could build even more on the similar US/USSR experiences there:
both shared a list of stages, for much the same reasons:
- A rash decision to invade for purely internal political reasons,
using excessive force, producing an illusion of instant success.
- The hubris of imposing a centralized political structure, defined
by nothing more than elevating local cronies, who would be kept in
line by tolerating corruption.
- The gradual development of a rural-based resistance, initially
underestimated because the invaders and their cronies were so full
- A massive military escalation to suppress the insurgency, because
US/USSR political leaders (no matter how skeptical) couldn't say no
to their military leaders.
- A gradual drawdown of occupying forces as escalation failed and
the costs grew excessive.
- A final withdrawal combined with promises of material support,
ultimately leading to collapse of the crony government (in the USSR
case; the US is still fighting to forestall the inevitable).
Karon is right that Americans failed to recognized these parallels
because Americans think they're different and special, even when
they're doing the exact same things. Of course, they rarely even
realized they were doing the same things. For one, they took credit
for the Soviet failures in the 1980s, and knew that they wouldn't
have to face comparable subversion by a foreign power. They knew
they had more force at their disposal, and much deeper pockets --
which kept them in the war for a decade longer than the Russians,
not that it's done they any good.
This is the first piece I've noticed from the Koch-funded Quincy
Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Some other pieces from their
The USMCA trade deal passes the House in a rare bipartisan vote:
385-41, "after Democrats secured changes to labor and pharmaceutical
provisions." For background, Kirby also wrote:
USMCA, Trump's new NAFTA deal, explained in 600 words. Also:
Democrats -- and Trump -- declare victory on USMCA.
"We're looking for undecideds": Pete Buttigieg's campaign is pitting
its public option against Medicare-for-all.
The Nobel went to economists who changed how we help the poor. But some
critics oppose their big idea. Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee,
Michael Kremer, and randomized control trials (RCTs).
Pete Buttigieg is raising money from Silicon Valley's billionaires --
even as Elizabeth Warren attacks him for it.
The strange death of social-democratic England.
Boris Johnson's 'radical' Brexit agenda.
How Mike Bloomberg made his billions: a computer system you've probably
Reis Thebault/Hannah Knowles:
Georgia purged 309,000 voters from its rolls. It's the second state to make
cuts in less than a week. The other is Wisconsin: see Marisa Iati:
A judge ordered up to 234,000 people to be tossed from the registered
voter list in a swing state.
Emily Todd VanDerWerff:
The 18 best TV shows of 2019: I probably watched more TV this year
than any since the 1960s. Took this as a checklist. Listed shows I
- True Detective (HBO) [B]
- Chernobly (HBO) [A-]
- Barry (HBO) [B+]
- Succession (HBO) [B+]
I watched previous seasons of (9) Mr. Robot (USA), but it
got pretty disconnected from reality last time, so I haven't given
it much thought this round. I watched one show each of (6) Lodge
49 (AMC) and (1) Watchmen (HBO). Commercial breaks killed
the former, and I didn't see any point to the latter. No idea what
I'd recommend in place of this list -- I'd have to rumage through
a bunch of lists, as they're not coming readily to mind. I suppose
watching 21 seasons of Silent Witness kept us away from lots
of other series.
The 21 TV shows that explained the 2010s. Never even heard of
the top pick here -- Nathan for You (Comedy Central) -- but
more series I've watched substantial chunks of:
- The Leftovers (HBO) [B+]
- The Americans (FX) [A-] -- skipped part of first season,
but got back into it later.
- Orange Is the New Black (Netflix) [A-]
- Hannibal (NBC) [B+]
- Girls (HBO) [B+]
- Mr. Robot (USA) [B] -- haven't watched latest
season (but probably will; at least it's on DVR)
- American Crime Story (FX) [B+] -- only watched the
first (O.J. Simpson) season)
- The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu) [B] -- only watched the
- Game of Thrones (HBO) [A-]
- Barry (HBO) [B+]
- Better Call Saul (AMC) [B+]
- Homeland (Showtime) [B+]
- Justified (FX) [A]
- Manhattan (WGN America) [A-] -- despite some of the
fictions really bothering me.
- Rectify (Sundance) [A-]
- Silicon Valley (HBO) [B+]
- Succession (HBO) [B+]
Watched small bits of (5) Halt and Catch Fire (AMC), (9)
Atlanta (FX), (10) Bob's Burgers (Fox), Black-ish.
There's also a list of "10 shows I loved that started in the 2000s
and ended in the 2010s":
- Big Love (HBO) [A-]
- Breaking Bad (AMC) [B] -- missed a couple seasons in middle,
when it was unbearably horrible.
- The Good Wife (CBS) [B+] -- on average, sometimes better.
- Mad Men (AMC) [A]
- Parks & Recreation (NBC) [A]
Pentagon halts operational training for Saudi military students after
At war with the truth: "US officials constantly said they were making
progress. They were not, and they knew it, an exclusive Post investigation
found." An introduction to "The Afghanistan Papers," with links to "more
than 2,000 pages of interviews and memos" -- a collection widely compared
to "The Pentagon Papers" (from the Vietnam War). Whitlock also wrote
Part 2: Stranded without a strategy.
From disbelief to dread: the dismal new routine of life in Sydney's
smoke haze. Related: Naaman Zhou/Josh Taylor:
The big smoke: how bushfires cast a pall over the Australian summer.
Democrats' 2020 economy dilemma, explained.
Amy Klobuchar deserves a closer look from electability-minded Democrats.
A lot of reporters thought Klobuchar got a boost from her performance at
the December debate (e.g., see
Amy Klobuchar made the biggest gains with voters at the debate),
but from the bits I overheard -- I was working in a neighboring room --
I found her singularly annoying, and not just because her political
stance has moved so sharply to the far right end of the Democratic
Party spectrum. Yglesias cites her winning margins in Minnesota
compared to other Democrats (that is, more liberal ones), although
in my experience lopsided statewide margins most often reflect weak
opposition campaigns -- something that doesn't happen in presidential
contests. The more relevant "electability" question is how does she
stack up directly against Trump? If the world neatly balanced on a
left-right scale, being close to the right might be an advantage.
But her centrism is a mix of "see no problems, broach no solutions" --
and who really cares about that? Trump at least sees problems, even
if his answers are half-hearted and ill-reasoned. For another argument
on electability, see Carl Beijer:
Joe Biden will lose a general election to Donald Trump: but "there
is one safe bet -- it's Bernie Sanders."
American democracy's Senate problem, explained.
To win reelection, Trump should try to deliver on his economic populist
promises: But he won't, because the Republicans won't let him do
anything significant on Yglesias's list (even as the Democrats give
him minor victories on USMCA and drug prices). Still, every Democrat
should memorize the section on "Trump's litany of broken promises" --
only problem there is that they never expected him to deliver on such
promises, because they saw immediately how much of a fraud he is.
Air pollution is much more harmful than you know.
Monday, December 09, 2019
Expanded blog post,
Music: Current count 32466  rated (+44), 226  unrated (-4).
I have very little time to spare on this, so will keep it short.
Spent much of the weekend counting ballots for NPR's 14th Annual
Jazz Critics Poll, something Francis Davis started back when we
were writing for the Village Voice. Deadline was last night, but
there's a good chance that any ballots that arrive today will be
counted. I have 132 at present, down a bit from
2018. Some surprises
(for me at least) among the new album leaders. Less so among the
other categories. This week's haul includes a bunch of records I
discovered among the ballots. Still, two/thirds of this week's A-
records came from my queue.
Results will probably be posted in about a week. I'm liable to
fall out of the loop on that, as I'm scheduled for what should be
minor surgery on Thursday, and I'm pessimistic about what I will
be able to do the following week or so. In fact, I'm pretty down
on getting anything done beforehand either.
Until I got swamped over the weekend, I did a fair amount of
work on the
EOY Aggregate, which
has changed rather dramatically. Up to Thanksgiving, the list was
dominated by first-half albums which showed up in mid-year lists --
Sharon Van Etten's Remind Me Tomorrow was leading Billie
Eilish's When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go?. Eilish
pulled back ahead last week, but the dramatic gains were from:
(2) Lana Del Rey: Norman Fucking Rockwell;
(4) Angel Olsen: All Mirrors;
(5) Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Ghosteen; and
(11) FKA Twigs: Magdalene. Among first-half albums,
(7) Weyes Blood: Titanic Rising is the one that has gained
some spots, evidently because those who can stand it like it a lot.
I was fairly up-to-date before the weekend, but haven't added much
since. Should see many more lists in the next week or two, but unclear
whether I'll be able to keep up. At any rate, the file is doing most
of what it needs to do. Still, not much jazz in it, other than my own
grades. I'll add the JCP data when it goes public.
New records reviewed this week:
- Awatair: Awatair Plays Coltrane (2019, Fundacja Sluchaj): [bc]: B+(***)
- Bones [Ziv Taubenfeld/Shay Hazan/Nir Sabag]: Reptiles (2017 , NoBusiness): [cdr]: B+(**)
- Anthony Braxton: Quartet (New Haven) 2014 (2014 , Firehouse 12, 4CD): [r]: A-
- Patrick Brennan/Abdul Moimęme: Terraphonia (2019, Creative Sources): [r]: B+(*)
- Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science: Waiting Game (2019, Motéma, 2CD): [r]: B+(**)
- Anthony Coleman: Catenary Oath (2018 , NoBusiness): [cdr]: B+(**)
- Chick Corea/Christian McBride/Brian Blade: Trilogy 2 (2010-16 , Concord, 2CD): [r]: B+(**)
- Rodney Crowell: Texas (2019, RC1): [r]: B+(***)
- Nina De Heney/Karin Johansson/Henrik Wartel: Quagmire (2018 , Creative Sources): [r]: B+(*)
- Doja Cat: Hot Pink (2019, Kemosabe/RCA): [r]: B+(**)
- Marc Edwards/Guillaume Gargaud: Black Hole Universe (2019, Atypeek Music): [r]: B+(**)
- Andy Emler/David Liebman: Journey Around the Truth (2019, Signature Radio France): [r]: B+(*)
- Erin Enderlin: Faulkner County (2019, Black Crow Productions): [r]: B+(*)
- Gorilla Mask: Brain Drain (2019, Clean Feed): [r]: B+(***)
- Alex Harding/Lucian Ban: Dark Blue (2019, Sunnyside): [r]: B+(**)
- Eric Hofbauer's Five Agents: Book of Water (2018 , Creative Nation Music): [r]: B+(***)
- Eric Hofbauer & Dylan Jack: Remains of Echoes (2019, Creative Nation Music): [r]: B+(**)
- Carl Ludwig Hübsch/Pierre-Yves Martel/Philip Zoubek: Otherwise (2018, Insub): [bc]: B+(*)
- Ill Considered: Ill Considered 8 (2018 , Ill Considered Music): [bc]: B+(***)
- Katarsis 4: Katarsis 4 (2019, NoBusiness): [cd]: B+(**)
- Kimchi Moccasin Tango: Yankee Zulu (2018 , Clean Feed): [r]: B+(**)
- Lee Konitz Nonet: Old Songs New (2019, Sunnyside): [r]: B+(***)
- Mat Maneri Quartet: Dust (2019, Sunnyside): [r]: B+(*)
- MC Yallah X Debmaster: Kubali (2019, Hakuna Kulala): [r]: B+(*)
- Tom McDermott: Meets Scott Joplin (2018 , Arbors): [r]: B+(**)
- Camila Meza & the Nectar Orchestra: Ámbar (2019, Sony Masterworks): [r]: B
- Roscoe Mitchell Orchestra: Littlefield Concert Hall Mills College March 19-20, 2018 (2018 , Wide Hive): [r]: B+(**)
- Qasim Naqvi: Teenages (2019, Erased Tapes): [r]: B+(*)
- Tomeka Reid Quartet: Old New (2018 , Cuneiform): [dl]: B+(***)
- Michele Rosewoman's New Yor-Uba: Hallowed (2017-18 , Advance Dance Disques): [bc]: B+(***)
- Bob Sheppard: The Fine Line (2019, Challenge): [r]: B+(**)
- Kalie Shorr: Open Book (2019, self-released): [r]: B+(*)
- Sonar With David Torn: Tranceportation (Volume 1) (2019, RareNoise): [cdr]: A-
- Tim Stine Quartet: Knots (2018 , Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
- Steve Swell/Robert Boston/Michael Vatcher: Brain in a Dish (2018 , NoBusiness): [cd]: A-
- Fay Victor: Barn Songs (2018 , Northern Spy): [r]: B+(**)
- Bobby Watson/Vincent Herring/Gary Bartz: Bird at 100 (2019, Smoke Sessions): [r]: B+(*)
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:
- Dusko Goykovich: Sketches of Yugoslavia (1973-74 , Enja): [r]: B+(*)
- Dadisi Komolafe: Hassan's Walk (1983 , Nimbus West): [bc]: B+(**)
- Yusef A. Lateef: Hikima: Creativity (1983 , The Key System): [bc]: B+(**)
- Kristijan Krajncan: Drumming Cellist (2017, Sazas): [bc]: B+(*)
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
- Ellen Edwards: A New York Session (Stonefire Music) [02-22]
- Amber Weekes: Pure Imagination (Amber Inn Productions) [01-08]
Sunday, December 08, 2019
No time for an introduction today. On the other hand, much reason to
kick this out earlier than usual. Anyway, you know the drill.
Some scattered links this week:
Bloomberg's first TV interview showed him to be exactly who progressives
feared he was. Yeah, but when you dig further, you'll find out he's
even worse than that, and offensive not just to progressives. Someone
asked me tonight whether there are any Democrats I wouldn't vote for
against Trump. Bloomberg might be the one. Related:
Julia Belluz/Nina Martin:
The extraordinary danger of being pregnant and uninsured in Texas:
"The state's system for helping the uninsured thwarts women at every
turn and encourages subpar care."
Sorry Mayor Pete, means-testing is not progressive. Progressive is
taking things that are currently rationed via the market (and therefore
preferentially to the wealthiest) and turning them into public rights,
shared equally by all. If you still feel that the rich aren't paying
their fair share, taxing them more is a much preferable to restricting
their benefits. I'll add that I suspect one reason Buttigieg is hounded
for his McKinsey past is that means-testing is the sort of pet idea so
favored by corporate consultants.
Kamala Harris's long road to an early exit. Also on Harris:
Welcome to the global rebellion against neoliberalism.
How America's system of legalized corruption brought us to the brink of
What if Democrats have already won back enough white working-class
voters to win in 2020? I see so much crap like this in The
Nation, I responded to this by tweeting:
I generally resist the notion that the left is full of morons, but
"The Nation" keeps promoting them. We don't have enough votes anywhere.
We should seek more and win bigger, e.g. on equality/environment issues
we can all rally around:
A former Republican Congress member explains what happened to his
party: "And why it belongs to Trump now." Interview with David
The reason Trump won was because he brought in populism, not conservatism.
I don't see who follows that. Who's the populist in the Republican Party
that comes next? I don't see one. I think it's a return to conservatism
and largely white male flyover state conservatism, which statistically
just isn't going to put Republicans in office a decade from now.
Loeffler will cut huge check for Georgia special election: She'll
start off with a $20 million headstart.
Nikki Haley says Dylann Roof 'hijacked' confederate battle flag.
She almost seemed thoughtful and principled when she decided, after
Roof's racist mass murder, to take down the Confederate flag Roof
had embraced, but now she wants you to know that was only a momentary
lapse. Also, it was the media who misconstrued Roof's actions as
Forged in fire: California's lessons for a Green New Deal.
German Lopez/Katelyn Burns:
Pensacola, Florida, Naval Air Station shooting: what we know.
The House has passed a bill to restore key parts of the Voting Rights
Why Democrats are moving so fast on impeachment.
Virtue signalling and vice signalling.
So, the intellectual apologists of the right can only resort to
quoque, making the claim, in various forms, that the left
is just as bad as their own side. This started with the
Republican War on Science, but is now virtually universal.
The point of "virtue signalling" is to make this claim, without
having to say what is wrong with the virtue being signalled.
Elizabeth Warren's days of defending big corporations. Saul had
The education of Elizabeth Warren.
David K Shipler:
The pitfalls of political trash talk: "If Biden tries to beat Trump
at his own game, he will lose. . . . Besides, Biden's not very good at
Donald Trump, meet your precursor: "Andrew Johnson pioneered the
recalcitrant racism and impeachment-worthy subterfuge the president
is fond of." Related:
Democratize the Internet: An interview with the author of Beyond
the Valley: How Innovators around the World are Overcoming Inequality
and Creating the Technologies of Tomorrow.
The attacks on Ilhan Omar reveal a disturbing truth about racism in
Emily Stewart/Ella Nilsen:
Pete Buttigieg's McKinsey problem, explained. I know just enough
about the management consulting company to give his employment with
them all sorts of unsavory resonances. There's a Robert Townsend quote
somewhere which sums up McKinsey perfectly: something to the effect
that a sure way to panic your underlings into doing something is to
threaten to hire McKinsey consultants if they don't perform. There
is an incredible amount of formulaic bullshit in consulting, and few
firms have raised that to the level of art as they have. Moreover,
it's easy to imagine the appeal and utility of form of bullshit for
a politician, especially one like Buttigieg. Related:
Laurence H Tribe:
Why care about the Trump impeachment? Your right to vote in free elections
is at stake. "The Trump impeachment is about protecting our freedom
and right to vote from lawless foreign election manipulation invited by
a dangerous president." Yeah, but even if successful it won't have that
effect, other than perhaps to advance a principle that Congress should do
something (or many things) to ensure the integrity of elections. And that
means reining in all forms of manipulation, starting with the billions of
dollars that are spent by all manner of interested parties to game the
system -- foreign agents are a tiny fraction of that pool. The point
about Trump being "a dangerous president" is more pointed, but again
the problem is caused mostly by the extraordinary powers we've allowed
presidents to collect. Removing Trump would help, but every president
since FDR has been dangerous, and the trendline has been increasing --
electing someone as unstable and deranged as Trump has only made the
danger more obvious. Unfortunately, none of these problems will be
addressed seriously and soberly as long as one party sees advantage
in continuing the current system (and biasing it even further toward
the rich and powerful). Some more general links on impeachment:
Julián Castro explains his vision for a "progressive" foreign policy
as president. Better, but he still earns the caveat quotes.
Joe Biden still needs a better answer on Hunter and Ukraine. Related:
Joe Biden's plan to raise taxes on corporations and the rich, explained
But strikingly, even though Biden's proposals on this front are much
more moderate, they are almost identical in their orientation -- raising
money from a similar group of people for mostly similar reasons. Despite
the disagreement about how far to go, all Democrats these days are
basically reading from the same playbook, one that says Reagan-era
conventional wisdom about the relationship between taxes and growth
"No malarkey," Joe Biden's unabashedly lame new slogan, explained:
"Boldly unafraid to be uncool."
What Trump has actually done in his first 3 years: "A big tax cut,
unprecedented environmental degradation, Wall Street unleashed, and a
whole lot of judges." Actually, a good deal more than that, and hard
to find anything good in the mix.
Julie Rodin Zebrak:
What the heck happened to Jonathan Turley? The sole law professor
who opposed impeaching Trump on the first day of House testimony.
Monday, December 02, 2019
Expanded blog post,
Music: Current count 32422  rated (+34), 230  unrated (+9).
I have 52 ballots counted for Jazz Critics Poll. Deadline is December
8, but I'm finding very little reason to shuffle the top of my
EOY Jazz List, so
I might as well file my own ballot sooner rather than later.
This is what I'm handing in:
- Steve Lehman Trio/Craig Taborn: The People I Love (Pi)
- Heroes Are Gang Leaders: The Amiri Baraka Sessions (Flat Langston's Arkeyes)
- Dr. Mark Lomax, II: 400: An Afrikan Epic (CFG Multimedia -12CD) **
- Moppa Elliott: Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band (Hot Cup, 2CD)
- James Brandon Lewis: An Unruly Manifesto (Relative Pitch)
- Dave Rempis/Brandon Lopez/Ryan Packard: The Early Bird Gets (Aerophonic)
- Rich Halley: Terra Incognita (Pine Eagle)
- Quinsin Nachoff's Flux: Path of Totality (Whirlwind, 2CD)
- Per 'Texas' Johansson/Torbjörn Zetterberg/Konrad Agnas: Orakel (Moserobie)
- Liebman Rudolph & Drake: Chi (RareNoise) *
- Eric Dolphy: Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance, 3CD)
- Ran Blake/Jeanne Lee: The Newest Sound You Never Heard (1966-67, A-Side, 2CD)
- Stan Getz: Getz at the Gate: The Stan Getz Quartet Live at the Village Gate Nov. 26 1961 (Verve, 2CD) **
- Vocal: Heroes Are Gang Leaders: The Amiri Baraka Sessions (Flat Langston's Arkeyes)
- Debut: Javier Red's Imagery Converter: Ephemeral Certainties (Delmark) **
- Latin: Miguel Zenón: Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera (Miel Music)
One consideration I had was whether to omit records that I didn't
receive (or obtain) physical copies of. In recent years, I've done that
for historical releases (which have gotten to be hard to come by) but
I allowed streamed new releases to slip onto my ballot. After I slid
Ill Considered 6 down a couple notches, the only streamed item
in my New top ten was the Mark Lomax mega-production. I decided to keep
it on the ballot because I had rated it a full A (only three this year,
although the top two A- records are good candidates for promotion), and
because a couple other critics had voted for it, with a high enough
points-per-ballot to move it into the top-30. Among historical records,
I decided to keep Getz on the ballot because I didn't have a satisfactory
alternative: the next two records I have physical copies of are samplers
by Bill Evans and Wes Montgomery, but I'm rather chafed that I haven't
been able to hear those artists new-old records (Evans in England
and Back on Indiana Avenue), which are the ones other critics
are voting for. (The other big set from the same label that I haven't
been able to hear yet is Nat "King" Cole's Hittin' the Ramp,
currently running 3rd in the poll.) I do have CDs of six more records
further down the list, and I'm especially appreciative of the Sam
Rivers and Horace Tapscott sets, but they are well down the list,
barely over the cusp.
This week's haul is nearly all records suggested by counting JCP
ballots. Also noticed a few things from recent lists by
Phil Overeem and
Chris Monsen, and scrounging through
Tim Niland's recent reviews.
EOY Aggregate was close
to up-to-date until today, when we were hit with an avalanche of new
lists. Main ways I track these things are through
Acclaimed Music's EOY 2019 forum. I'll catch up eventually,
although lots of things aren't making it easy (slow recovery from
illness, anticipation of surgery, visitors, my mind's inability
to process it all).
New records reviewed this week:
- Stefan Aeby: Piano Solo (2018 , Intakt): [r]: B+(*)
- Rodrigo Amado/Dirk Serries: Jazzblazzt (2018 , Raw Tonk): [bc]: B+(**)
- The Big Yes: The Big Yes (2018 , Nakama): [bc]: B+(**)
- Johnathan Blake: Trion (2018 , Giant Step Arts, 2CD): [bc]: A-
- Jane Bunnett & Maqueque: On Firm Ground/Tierra Firme (2019, Linus Entertainment): [r]: B
- Daniel Carter/Patrick Holmes/Matthew Putman/Hilliard Greene/Federico Ughi: Electric Telepathy, Vol. 1 (2018 , 577 Records): [r]: B+(***)
- Cochemea: All My Relations (2019, Daptone): [bc]: B+(**)
- John Dikeman/George Hadow/Dirk Serries/Martina Verhoeven/Luis Vicente: Ideal Principle (2016 , Raw Tonk): [bc]: B+(***)
- Petter Eldh: Koma Saxo (2018 , We Jazz): [r]: B+(**)
- Ellery Eskelin/Christian Weber/Michael Griener: The Pearls (2018 , Intakt): [r]: B+(***)
- Georg Graewe/Ernst Reijseger/Gerry Hemingway: Concertgebouw Brugge 2014 (2014 , Fundacja Sluchaj): [bc]: B+(**)
- Joel Harrison: Still Point: Turning World (2019, Whirlwind): [r]: B+(**)
- Jazzmeia Horn: Love and Liberation (2019, Concord): [r]: B+(***)
- Keith Jarrett: Munich 2016 (2016 , ECM -2CD): [r]: B+(*)
- Guillermo Klein: Los Guachos Cristal (2019, Sunnyside): [r]: B+(***)
- Kokoroko: Kokoroko (2019, Brownswood, EP): [r]: B+(*)
- Ingrid Laubrock + Aki Takase: Kasumi (2018 , Intakt): [r]: B+(**)
- Metropolitan Jazz Octet Featuring Dee Alexander: It's Too Hot for Words: Celebrating Billie Holiday (2019, Delmark): [r]: B+(**)
- Van Morrison: Three Chords & the Truth (2019, Exile/Caroline): [r]: B+(***)
- Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton: Concert in Vilnius (2017 , NoBusiness): [cd]: B+(***)
- Junius Paul: Ism (2016-19 , International Anthem): [r]: B+(*)
- Ken Peplowski/Diego Figueiredo: Amizade (2018 , Arbors): [r]: B+(*)
- Javier Red's Imagery Converter: Ephemeral Certainties (2019, Delmark): [r]: A-
- SEED Ensemble: Driftglass (2019, Jazz Re:freshed): [r]: B+(*)
- Christian Meaas Svendsen + Nakama + Rinzai Zen Center Oslo: New Rituals (2017-18 , Nakama, 3CD): [bc]: B+(*)
- Pat Thomas/Dominic Lash/Tony Orrell: Bley School (2018 , 577 Records): [bc]: B+(***)
- Trigger: Pull (2019, Shhpuma): [r]: B
- Jennifer Wharton's Bonegasm: Bonegasm (2018 , Sunnyside): [r]: B+(*)
- Yong Yandsen/Christian Meaas Svendsen/Paal Nilssen-Love: Hungry Ghosts (2018 , Nakama): [bc]: B+(***)
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:
- Joseph Daley: The Seven Deadly Sins/The Seven Heavenly Virtues (2010-13 , Jodamusic): [r]: B+(**)
- Sam Rivers: Zenith [Sam Rivers Achive Project, Volume 2] (1977 , NoBusiness): [cd]: A-
- Makoto Terashita Meets Harold Land: Topology (1983 , BBE): [bc]: A-
- Johnathan Blake: Gone, but Not Forgotten (2014, Criss Cross): [r]: B+(***)
- Joseph Daley: The Seven Heavenly Virtues (2013, Jodamusic): [r]: B+(*)
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
- Rebecca Angel: Santa Baby (Timeless Grooves, EP)
- Benny Benack III: A Lot of Livin' to Do (LA Reserve) [01-24]
- Bones [Ziv Taubenfeld/Shay Hazan/Nir Sabag]: Reptiles (NoBusiness)
- Bobby Bradford/Frode Gjerstad/Kent Carter/John Stevens: Blue Cat (NoBusiness)
- Anthony Coleman: Catenary Oath (NoBusiness)
- Katarsis 4: Katarsis 4 (NoBusiness)
- Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton: Concert in Vilnius (NoBusiness)
- Sam Rivers: Zenith [Sam Rivers Achive Project, Volume 2] (1977, NoBusiness, 2CD)
- Masahiko Satoh/Sabu Toyozumi: The Aiki (1997, NoBusiness)
- Steve Swell/Robert Boston/Michael Vatcher: Brain in a Dish (NoBusiness)
- Juan Vinuesa Jazz Quartet: Blue Shots From Chicago (NoBusiness)
- The Westerlies: Wherein Lies the Good (Westerlies) [01-31]
Sunday, December 01, 2019
Didn't do a Weekend Roundup last week, but I had a couple of links
cached away, seed for today. Didn't much want to do one this week,
either, but here goes.
First, a few links on the Democratic presidential debate (not many,
as I started looking late, or maybe there wasn't much to find?):
In "this week in senseless violence," note that a couple people were
stabbed in London in what's being taken as a "major terrorist incident"
we know about the London Bridge stabbings), 11 were shot in New Orleans
Orleans shooting: What we know), and
A Mexican cartel gun battle near the Texas border leaves 21 dead).
Other scattered links for the last two weeks:
Bolivia's coup is still happening. More on Bolivia:
Republican committee bought Trump Jr book Triggered in bulk:
"Reports claim title hit No 1 in bestseller list thanks in part to
$94,800 advance purchase." More on this:
The grand illusion: On climate change, referring to David Wallace-Wells:
The Uninhabitable World.
In the 2010s, white America was finally shows itself: Interview with
Ta-Nehisi Coates on "Obama's decade," reparations, and Kaepernick.
Nicholas JS Davies:
Iraqis rise up against 16 years of 'Made in the USA', corruption.
Bill de Blasio's case against Michael Bloomberg 2020.
The case for Bernie: Given his track record, one suspects he's merely
trolling. Still, he makes some sound points about Bernie's appeal to diverse
groups of Democrats, and shows a certain shrewdness in his claim that "he's
the liberal most likely to spend all his time trying to tax the rich and
leave cultural conservatives alone." Douthat may figure that the rich can
take care of themselves, and can even afford to lose a little.
Fred M Hechinger:
Class war over tuition: Mike Konczal recommended this piece, written
in 1974, as "one of the smartest and most prescient things I've read about
current higher education."
When America tried to deport its radicals: "A hundred years ago, the
Palmer Raids imperilled thousands of immigrants. Then a wily official
got in the way." Louis F. Post.
Trump official who suggested dropping nuclear bombs on Afghanistan now
responsible for arms control issues.
UN: The world has backed itself into a treacherous corner on climate
Colbert I King:
It's a good bet Trump pardons his felon allies. Here's when that's most
King Trump: "The impeachment inquiry is testing us: Do we live in a
nation of laws or a nation of men?" Funny thing, I was just thinking of
contrasts between Trump and Washington, and it occurred to me that we've
gone full circle from the revolutionary who overthrew George III to his
the King's closest kin in American history.
Alexandra S Levine/Nancy Scola/Steven Overly/Christiano Lima:
Why the fight against disinformation, sham accounts and trolls won't be
any easier in 2020.
America's descent into legal nihilism: "The president would like
to be president forever. And he's bending the law to his will do to
The inside story of Christopher Steele's Trump dossier. Review of
Glenn Simpson/Peter Fritsch: Crime in Progress: Inside the Steele
Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump.
Brett Kavanaugh's latest opinion should terrify Democrats.
Liberalism according to The Economist. Reviews Alexander Zevin:
Liberalism at Large: The World According to the Economist.
House Democrats have passed nearly 400 bills. Trump and Republicans are
New Trump administration rules on sexual assault could keep survivors
Charles P Pierce:
Democrats must get a handle on what 'unity' means when taking on a
renegade presidency*: "The tale of Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and
this anonymously sourced tale of Barack Obama, are instructive."
Why Trump's health care cost transparency drive doesn't actually help
anyone. Author is a former VP at Cigna, wrote a book (Deadly
Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is
Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans), now runs an outfit
called Business for Medicare for All.
President Trump's dictator-like administration is attacking the values
America holds dear.
Progressives, trust your gut: Elizabeth Warren is not one of us.
I'll note this, but add that nothing here particularly bothers me,
except perhaps his "Sanders is far from a perfect candidate" aside.
Warren took a different path than most leftists did, but she's wound
up far more committed to our basic principles than is the norm for
Democrats, let alone for Americans overall. No president is going to
be able to do much more than Congress and the courts allow, so I'd
be happy with anyone who would lead in the right direction, and not
make many blunders along the way. Even some of the "moderates" might
qualify (although Obama's mix didn't amount to much). I'll also note
that while Warren isn't as grounded a leftist as Sanders, she may have
a political advantage as more rooted in America's progressive/liberal
tradition. Granted, that tradition's track record is profoundly flawed,
but it's still what many Americans aspire to. (Jill Lepore has tried
most recently to promote that viewpoint. Robinson probably hates her
Trump's photo op play: Facing impeachment, the president strives to look
hard at work. Advising Trump "to focus on governing and travel
frequently" is none other than former Clinton strategist Mark Penn.
Justice's election-year conundrum: How to probe team Trump.
Michael S Schmidt/Julian E Barnes/Maggie Haberman:
Trump knew of whistleblower complaint when he released aid to Ukraine.
The war-crimes president: "When violence is directed at those Trump's
supporters hate and fear, they see such excesses not as crimes but as
An ad smeared a Kansas Democrat for sexual harassment. The main charge
actually described a Republican. By the way Brandon Whipple has
since won his election to become Mayor of Wichita. It's nominally a
non-partisan election, but Republicans worked hard to make it partisan.
David K Shipler:
The mythology of American virtue: "Impeachment supporters don't need
to act like we're a perfect country to make the case against Trump."
House conspiracist Devin Nunes may be subject to ethics investigation
for reported Ukraine meddling.
Devin Nunes' impeachment defense of Trump -- and possible Ukraine
collusion -- redefines partisan hackery. Sure, but didn't Nunes
set the previous standard during the Benghazi! hearings?
Michael Bloomberg, presidential candidate, just killed the Bloomberg
For Mike Bloomberg to own a media network for as long as he has without
understanding or caring about this is astonishing. He's been a presidential
candidate for just a few days now, and he's already done tremendous damage
by telling voters he thinks it's OK to buy the free press. And this is the
guy who's going to rescue democracy?
Sabrina Tavernise/Aidan Gardiner:
'No one believes anything': Voters worn out by a fog of political
Benjamin Netanyahu's toxic legacy will haunt Israel long after he goes.
San Francisco's quest to make landfills obsolete.
Sondland's testimony shows Mike Pompeo was far more central on Ukraine
than we knew.