Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Ken Brown posted this in Facebook:
I guess no one is ever going to nominate me to list my favorite
baseball players, so I will just volunteer them: 1) Derek Jeter (he is
even my all time favorite athlete, Roger is second); 2) Mickey Mantle
(I made myself a switch hitter because of him, and as it turns out,
was much better as a lefty so stayed on that side all the time); 3)
Don Mattingly (great hitter and nice, humble person); 4) Phil Rizzuto
(my first favorite player and the reason I always wanted to be a New
York Yankee shortstop - and the reason I always wore #10); 5) Tony
Kubek (also wore #10, also shortstop for the NY Yankees). Probably
next favorite would be Bucky Dent (although he wore #20). Guess my
favorite player today? Didi Gregorius. As might be obvious from this
list, I love shortstops for the New York Yankees (and often claim to
have been one!) And just for the record, Mantle was shortstop when he
played for the Independence Yankees and Don Mattingly was a right
handed shortstop through high school, but switched to a left handed
first baseman to make the bigs.
I added a comment:
Ken taught me to be a Yankees fan, which stood me well through 1964,
despite most local kids being Cards fans, and Wichita having a Braves
farm team. I remember we went to a double header and cheered the
Denver Bears over the Wichita Braves -- Denver won both, and Johnny
Blanchard (who had a big year for the Yankees in 1961) hit 2 or 3 home
runs. My favorite Yankee from that period was probably Yogi Berra, but
I wasn't as strictly partisan as Ken, and I had no ability to play
shortstop (or any other position). I didn't pay much attention to
baseball from 1965 until the Yankees roared back in 1976, and I moved
to New York in 1977. I knew everything about the game from then up to
the lockout (1994?), and never followed the game again (so I barely
know Jeter from the one legendary Yankees shortstop Ken didn't
mention: Frankie Crosetti).
amazing the Yankees didn't retire #2 because Crosetti wore that number
for years and years before Jeter
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Expanded blog post,
Music: Current count 33179  rated (+42), 221  unrated (-5).
Trying desperately to wrap up the month today, and don't feel like
writing much anyway. I will say that the concentration of A- records
in the Old Music is mostly due to opening up a stash of downloads,
shared by friends and stashed away for months or maybe years. I found
them while looking for some more recent jazz records. Also found a
few non-product offerings that I won't bother reviewing but someday
may find time to listen to. (They exist because Robert Christgau
deemed them worth reviewing; e.g., Gary Giddins' post-WWII roadmap,
and an Adam Schlesinger playlist. There's also something called "The
Sound of the City Pt. 1" -- probably a Charlie Gillett compilation,
but I don't know which one: looks chronological, 1946-1951, and I
recognize most, maybe all, of the songs, from "I Wonder" to "Cry.")
In new music, Fiona Apple's Fetch the Bolt Cutters appears
to be the best-reviewed new record of 2020 (so far), rating 94 (23
AOTY, 100 (24 reviews) at
Metacritic, topping both lists. It's in 2nd place in my
metacritic file, behind
Waxahatchee: Saint Cloud. I played it twice last week, and
wasn't blown away, but I suppose I'm still open to persuasion (if
I bother playing it again). At least I hear something there, which
I can't say for Rina Sawayama's well-regarded Rina (far and
away the second highest ranked 4/17 release).
musician deaths this week. The one I know best was disco artist
Hamilton Bohannon (1942-2020). I only have one of his LPs in my
database (1976's Dance Your Ass Off), but I could swear I
had 4-5 at the time, so I have to wonder how much more got lost
to my shabby 20th century bookkeeping. I didn't consider any of
the albums great, but I did love their minimalist dance grooves.
When I moved on to CDs, I picked up Deep Beats: Essential
Dancefloor Artists Vol. 4 (1973-75 , Castle/Deep Beats),
a very solid A-.
I'm much less familiar with Detroit DJ Mike Huckaby (1966-2020),
but for an expert appreciation, see Michaelangelo Matos:
Remembering Mike Huckaby, a towering figure in Detroit house music.
I can add that the Record Time store in Roseville, MI that Huckaby
worked at was a favorite haunt of mine on my trips to Detroit, and
the collection of electronic dance music there regularly boggled my
mind (although I spent more time in their slightly more modest store
in Ferndale, much closer to where I was staying).
Also on the list was Ian Whitcomb (1941-2020), a one-hit wonder
from 1965 ("You Turn Me On!"), who wrote the first popular history
of rock and roll that I read, After the Ball (1972 -- the
second was Charlie Gillett's The Sound of the City). I do
have Whitcomb's 1965 LP in my database at B+ (I managed to track
it down in the 1970s, but it's long gone now).
PS: Haven't yet done the normal monthly accounting for the
April Streamnotes file. I'll wrap that up later in the week.
I should also note that I've decided to add all December 2019
releases to the
2020 Music Tracking file, and also to the
Metacritic file. I
had previously decided to include 2019 releases that hadn't
picked up any votes in the
2019 EOY Aggregate.
Since EOY lists tend to appear before the year is done, most
publications are already skewed by at least a month, so I
thought I should reflect that. The Jazz Critics Poll's official
year-end definition is Thanksgiving, so I'm getting close to
that. I use the Music Tracking file to help count JCP ballots,
so this change will have some practical value.
New records reviewed this week:
- Against All Logic: 2017-2019 (2017-19 , Other People): [r]: B+(***)
- Robby Ameen: Diluvio (2019 , Origin): [cd]: B+(*)
- Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters (2020, Epic): [r]: B+(***)
- #Bloomerangs: Moments and Fragments (2020, Instru Dash Mental): [cd]: B+(*)
- The Ian Carey Quintet + 1: Fire in My Head: The Anxiety Suite (2019 , Slow & Steady): [cd]: B+(**)
- Chicago Underground Quartet: Good Days (2019 , Astral Spirits): [cd]: B+(***)
- Alex Cunningham & Claire Rousay: Specifically the Water (2020, Astral Spirits): [cd]: B+(*)
- Kaja Draksler Octet: Out for Stars (2019 , Clean Feed): [r]: B-
- Colin Fisher Quartet: Living Midnight (2019, Astral Spirits): [cd]: B+(***)
- Nick Fraser/Kris Davis/Tony Malaby: Zoning (2019, Astral Spirits): [cd]: B+(**)
- Gordon Grdina Septet: Resist (2017 , Irabbagast): [cd]: B+(*)
- Alexander Hawkins/Tomeka Reid: Shards and Constellations (2019 , Intakt): [r]: B+(**)
- James Brandon Lewis/Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau (2019 , Intakt): [r]: A-
- Luís Lopes Humanization 4tet: Believe, Believe (2018 , Clean Feed): [r]: B+(***)
- Laura Marling: Song for Our Daughter (2020, Chrysalis/Partisan): [r]: B+(**)
- Brian Marsella: Gatos Do Sul (2020, Tzadik): [dl]: B
- Joe McPhee/Dave Rempis/Tomeka Reid/Brandon Lopez/Paal Nilssen-Love: Of Things Beyond Thule Vol. 1 (2018 , Aerophonic): [r]: B+(**)
- The Mountain Goats: Songs for Pierre Chuvin (2020, Merge): [r]: B+(**)
- Simon Nabatov: Time Labyrinth (2019 , Leo): [r]: B
- Simon Nabatov: Plain (2019 , Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
- Chris Poland: Resistance (2020, Ropeadope): [cd]: B+(*)
- Quelle Chris & Chris Keys: Innocent Country 2 (2020, Mello Music Group): [r]: B+(***)
- Tom Rainey/Ingrid Laubrock: Stir Crazy (2020, self-released): [bc]: B+(**)
- Rina Sawayama: Sawayama (2020, Dirty Hit): [r]: B-
- Serengeti: Ajai (2020, Cohn): [r]: B+(**)
- Viktor Skokic Sextett: Basement Music (2020, Jazzland): [cd]: B+(***)
- Emilio Solla International Jazz Orchestra: Puertos: Music From International Waters (2019, Avantango): [r]: B+(**)
- STRFKR: Future Past Life (2020, Polyvinyl): [r]: B+(**)
- The Strokes: The New Abnormal (2020, Cult/RCA): [r]: B+(*)
- Dave Stryker With Bob Mintzer and the WDR Big Band: Blue Soul (2019 , Strikezone): [cd]: B+(*) [06-05]
- Thundercat: It Is What It Is (2020, Brainfeeder): [r]: B
- Anne Waldman: Sciamachy (2020, Fast Speaking Music): [sc]: B+(**)
- Lucinda Williams: Good Souls Better Angels (2020, Highway 20): [r]: A-
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:
- African Head Charge: Churchical Chant of the Iyabinghi (1991-94 , On-U Sound): [bc]: B+(**)
- Blue Lu Barker: 1946-1949 (1946-49 , Classics): [dl]: A-
- Lil Green: Romance in the Dark: 1940-1946 (1940-46 , RCA): [r]: A-
- Orüj Güvenç & Tümata: Rivers of One (1997, Interworld): [dl]: A-
- Mike Huckaby: The Jazz Republic (1997, Cross Section, EP): [r]: B+(**)
- The Lee Konitz Quartet: Tranquility (1957, Verve): [r]: B+(***)
- Myra Melford/Zeena Parkins/Miya Masaoka: MZM (2014-16 , Infrequent Seams): [r]: B+(*)
- Sarah Riedel/Carl Svensson/Viktor Skokic: Perfectly Still (2012, Footprint): [os]: B+(*)
- Lucinda Williams: The Ghosts of Highway 20 (2016, Highway 20, 2CD): [r]: B+(***)
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
- Brian Andres Trio Latino: Mayan Suite (Bacalao) [05-15]
- Brian Landrus/Fred Hersch/Drew Gress/Billy Hart: For Now (BlueLand) [05-15]
- The MacroQuarktet: The Complete Night: Live at the Stone NYC (2007, Out of Your Head, 2CD) [05-01]
- Josh Nelson Trio: The Discovery Project: Live in Japan (Steel Bird) [05-01]
- Viktor Skokic Sextett: Basement Music (Jazzland)
- Michael Thomas: Event Horizon (Giant Step Arts, 2CD) [05-08]
Monday, April 27, 2020
It's rather staggering how much stuff one can come up with to read
in a week. Also how little of what follows directly concerns the 2020
elections, which should be pivotal -- especially, now that it so clear
to all concerned that the stakes are critical -- yet seems way above
the heads of the party leaders. There are three items below that touch
on Biden: one on his PAC's worrisome China-baiting ad (Bessner); one
on his ambitious stimulus proposal (Grunwald); one on his VP choices
(Hasan). I suppose you might count a fourth (Kilpatrick) on Sanders'
campaign and supporters, but I don't mention Biden there, and I'm
pretty much done with looking at campaign post-mortems. I also saw,
but didn't link to, various articles arguing that Biden needs to veer
left to unify the party and/or to develop a more effective campaign
(I suppose the Warren-for-VP push might count there). Actually, I
don't much care who Biden picks (aside from my getting irritated by
how pushy the Stacey Abrams campaign has become), or whether Biden
starts giving lip service to left arguments. In some ways, the less
of that he does, the less he'll wind up walking back from when/if he
wins. And, quite frankly, Warren and Sanders will be more effective
in Congress, outside of the Biden administration -- not that I don't
wish them luck steering some patronage to people who actually do have
the public interest at heart.
On the other hand, there are tons of Trump pieces below: many of the
Trump is a moron/Trump is insane variety, which is probably the easiest
call to make. Some align with the Trump is an autocrat/fascist meme,
some going so far at to insist that he is bent on the destruction of
democracy. I don't stress pieces in that vein. There's no reason to
think Trump wouldn't be amenable to a right-wing putsch, I see him
mostly as a front man and a diversion. It's other Republicans -- the
serious ones -- who are the real threat, as should be clear from the
more obscure articles below, the ones about corruption, about their
relentless assault in the environment, about their efforts to skew
the electorate in their favor to perpetuate their graft and their
imposition of anti-democratic ideology. Personally, I wouldn't mind
dispensing with the Trump show, but he does do a remarkable job of
illustrating the derangement of his apparatchiki.
Some scattered links this week:
Yasmeen Abutaleb/Josh Dawsey/Ellen Nakashima/Greg Miller:
The US was beset by denial and dysfunction as the coronavirus raged:
"From the Oval Office to the CDC, political and institutional failures
cascaded through the system and opportunities to mitigate the pandemic
The world order is broken. The coronavirus proves it. "Rich countries
have pushed economic policies that set poor countries up to fail."
A disturbing new study suggests Sean Hannity's show helped spread the
The last thing we need is a "new cold war" with China. Looks like
both Trump and Biden are taunting each other for being too close and
friendly to China -- Trump's refers to "Beijing Biden," while
Biden's ad charges "Trump Didn't Hold China Accountable" for
Covid-19. (Trump preferred to hold the WHO responsible for China's
late disclosures, if indeed that's what they were.) Both are playing
a dangerous game, not because China isn't beyond reproach, but it's
more than ever important to move from conflict to cooperation on
the world's many problems. And also it should be admitted that the
US has little if any claim to moral high ground. I also worry that
Biden's efforts to come off as tougher against China and Russia
might give Trump another chance to pass himself off as the anti-war
candidate -- as he did with Commander-in-Chief fetishist Hillary
Philip Bump/Ashley Parker:
13 hours of Trump: The president fills briefings with attacks and boasts,
but little empathy. By "little" I think they mean "zero."
The Trump administration wants to use the coronavirus pandemic to push
for more deregulation.
FreedomWorks is supporting the anti-shutdown protests -- and applying
for government funding.
Calling US Postal Service 'a joke,' Trump demands four-fold price hike
for customers amid Covid-19 pandemic.
What a white-supremacist coup looks like: Wilmington, North Carolina,
Celebrity quarantine posts are inflaming tensions between the haves
and the have-nots. Related: Chuck Collins:
Let's stop pretending billionaires are in the same boat as us during
Senate Republicans snuck $90 billion tax cut for millionaires into
coronavirus relief legislation.
Anthony Faiola/Ana Vanessa Herrero:
A pandemic of corruption: $40 masks, questionable contracts, rice-stealing
bureaucrats mar coronavirus response.
John A Farrell:
Breaking the grip of white grievance: "The 2020 campaign is shaping
up into a referendum on Trumpism."
Susan B Glasser:
Fifty thousand Americans dead from the coronavirus, and a president
who refuses to mourn them. Well, now that you mention it:
Dr. Deborah Birx, the State Department official who has been named
White House coördinator for the pandemic response, often mentions
the human toll of the disease and thanks the medical caregivers
risking their lives. On Wednesday, Vice-President Mike Pence began
his brief remarks with a nod to the "loss of more than forty-seven
thousand of our countrymen." It was just the sort of thing you would
expect Pence to say, and yet notable for how different it sounded
compared with the President. Trump began that very same briefing by
saying, "Our aggressive strategy to battle the virus is working." It
is, he said, "very exciting, even today, watching and seeing what's
happening." What was happening, though, was another day on which more
than two thousand Americans died of the coronavirus, a fact that
Trump did not mention.
Personally, I don't mind having a president who doesn't get choked
up over human tragedy. I don't think we should look to the president
for emotional affirmation or even sympathy. I don't think we need to
be flying flags at half-mast. And I find it hard to imagine anyone
becoming president who doesn't start out with an oversized ego. But
I do think that the only reason for tolerating a president who is a
total jerk is if he (or someday she) at least has a staggering ability
to make sense of the big picture. But Trump is not only self-centered
to an embarrassing degree, he's a total fucking moron. He's insufferable
at the best of times, and this doesn't even rise to the level of bad.
Coronavirus and the price of Trump's delusions. The op-eds pretty
much write themselves:
Strange attractors: On being addicted to Trump and his press conferences.
Compares Trump's daily Covid-19 briefings to the Vietnam War "Five O'Clock
Follies" -- evidently written before Trump declared that he "could see the
light at the end of the tunnel" (a line Robert McNamara famously used to
express his optimism about Vietnam, which speaks volumes about how clueless
I think what provides me (and so many others) with that nightly hit of
dopamine is the sheer brazenness of the president's lies on show for all
to see. Not for him the mealy-mouthed half-truth, the small evasion. No,
his are, like the rest of his persona, grandiose in a way that should be
beyond belief, but remains stubbornly real. . . .
So it's no surprise that he also uses media ratings as the metric by
which he judges the performance of everyone working to slow down the
spread of the coronavirus. For him, governing is nothing but a performance.
Biden wants a new stimulus 'a hell of a lot bigger' than $2 trillion.
Much of that is Green New Deal. Also note: Jon Queally:
As poll show nearly 90% Democratic support, Biden told hostility to
Medicare for All 'no longer tenable position for you'.
Dear Joe Biden, here's why you should pick Elizabeth Warren as your
running mate: Not as persuasive a case as could be made. For one,
thing, I wouldn't start with the actuarial tables. And while I'd like
to see Biden extend a "bridge to the left of the party," his need
there is less to secure voters than to establish a better grasp on
policy ideas. Warren helps him most specifically there: even when
Biden appears befuddled, she can talk about issues with authority,
insight, and compassion. Warren's great weakness as a presidential
candidate was her inability to expand her base beyond college-educated
professionals, but that (plus enthusiasm among young voters) should
help shore up a conspicuous weakness of Biden's. (On the other hand,
Biden already does as well as any Democrat can with white working
class voters, as well as with non-whites.) Another point that should
favor Warren is that she likes to present herself as a fighter, and
could mount a refreshingly aggressive attack on Trump and his corrupt
administration -- among other things, that would offer quite a contrast
to Trump's obsequious "vice-poodle" Pence. Of course, one doubts that
Biden's handlers will risk someone they perceive as a loose cannon.
Even if they did, they'd pressure Warren to become a mere surrogate,
which would squander her unique advantages. When Kerry picked John
Edwards as his 2004 running mate, I hoped that Edwards would add a
dash of Southern populist fervor to the patrician Kerry. Instead, he
instantly transformed into Kerry's lawyer/mouthpiece, adding nothing,
and helped lose. Very easy to see lawyer/prosecutors like Harris and
Klobuchar doing just that. As for the much-touted Stacey Abrams, well,
I hate to sound like Trump, but I like politicians who win. (When I
did a google search for "biden vp picks" all three "top stories"
pictured Abrams, as well as one of three "videos": the other two
were worse: "Podesta on how Biden should pick his V.P." and "Jill
Biden: I'd love for Michelle Obama to be VP pick.") As for names
being bandied about, see Ella Nilsen:
What we know about Joe Biden's possible vice presidential picks.
Jon Henley/Eleanor Ainge Roy:
Are female leaders more successful at managing the coronavirus crisis?
Maia Niguel Hoskin:
The whiteness of anti-lockdown protests.
A new age of destructive austerity after the coronavirus: "The economic
vultures of yesteryear are already scheming about how to head off the
prospect of a better world when the pandemic ends." With Trump as
president, Republicans have been exceptionally eager to prop up the
economy with massive deficit spending, even if they have to cut deals
to route some of that money to ordinary people, but that's not going
to last. You may recall what an emergency it was to prop up the banking
system in 2008, yet once the bankers got theirs (and the presidency
changed from R to D), nobody else mattered enough: we got nothing more
than harrangues about excessive deficits and the need for austerity.
So the pain of recession spread and persisted and festered, and while
profits rebounded spectacularly, all regular people got was underpaid
jobs, diminished benefits, and increased risk. As noted elsewhere,
McConnell has already started to sandbag "stimulus" bills that he
deems overly generous to the wrong people, and with CBO making a
$3.7 trillion deficit projected, the deficit scolds and austerity
prophets will have a field day. Only question is why should we believe
John Hudson/Josh Dawsey/Souad Mekhennet:
Trump expands battle with World Health Organization far beyond aid
Why the government makes it hard for Americans to get unemployment
benefits: "The system is dysfunctional. It was designed that way."
Interview with Pamela Heard, author of Administrative Burdens:
Policymaking by Other Means.
There is no anti-lockdown protest movement: "There are protests,
but this isn't a movement, and it's not the Tea Party 2.0." Interview
with Theda Skocpol, who has a couple books on Tea Party politics:
The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism
(2012, with Vanessa Williamson), and Upending American Politics:
Polarizing Parties, Ideological Elites, and Citizen Activists from
the Tea Party to the Anti-Trump Resistance (2020, ed. with
Millennials are getting screwed by the economy. Again. Interview
with Annie Lowrey, author of Give People Money: How a Universal
Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the
Nobody's buying clothes right now. So stores are filing for bankruptcy.
Why are they so mad at Bernie supporters? "We're stuck with them,
but they're stuck with us, too." Related:
It took a pandemic for cities to finally address homelessness:
"Some cities are housing homeless people in hotels. But a long-term
solution is sorely needed."
Why we can't build: "America's inability to act is killing people."
Credits Francis Fukuyama with the hideous term "vetocracy": a system
designed to inhibit and frustrate change, where many special interests
find themselves able to veto development while few (if any) are able
to overcome other vetos. Klein details three vetocracies: the federal,
the state and local, and the capitalist.
Pentagon plans to dispatch Blue Angels and Thunderbirds in coronavirus
tribute: Well, they mean "tribute to health-care workers and first
responders" rather than to the virus itself, but that doesn't begin
to resolve the cognitive disconnect. This really just shows that in
the gravest national security crisis to hit America in many decades,
the lavishly funded, much vaunted US military has absolutely nothing
to offer or even reassure us.
Mapping corruption: Donald Trump's executive branch.
Ernesto Londoño/Leticia Casado/Manuela Andreoni:
'A perfect storm' in Brazil as troubles multiply for Bolsonaro:
Possibly the world's foremost coronavirus denier -- Brazil is up to
53,000 confirmed cases and 3,670 deaths -- on top of many other
offenses, including resignation of "a star cabinet member," several
criminal investigations, and talk of impeachment -- couldn't happen
to a nastier piece of work. Also note:
Boeing terminates $4.2 billion deal to buy stake in Embraer unit.
Not the sort of monopoly-girding investment a company makes when its
own business is in free fall.
Trump's new bailout program for farmers and ranchers, explained.
America doesn't want another Tea Party: "Don't let Fox News fool
you. 81 percent of Americans do not share the views of anti-quarantine
Justice Alito's jurisprudence of white racial innocence: "Alito gets
very upset if you suggest that racism exists."
America's abandonment of Syria: "Many Syrians thought the U.S.
cared about them. Now they know better." Stupid mistake. I can't even
imagine where they could have gotten that idea. From America's utterly
reflexive support of Israel? From America's long-standing but limited
military alliances with Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia? From
the long siege of Iraq, followed by invasion, occupation, and cynical
orchestration of civil war to divide the opposition. From America's
even longer-running devastation of Afghanistan? From 40+ years of
sanctions and worse in Iran? From overthrowing Ghaddafi in Libya
and leaving the country in chaos? From arming the Saudis for their
assault on Yemen? From all those drones flying hither and yon, taking
potshots as supposed jihadis? Is there anything in US policy toward
the Middle East that even remotely suggests we care about anyone who
lives there? Hell, the US government can barely be bothered to care
about Americans in America.
Trump's executive order to stop issuing green cards temporarily,
Getting unemployment has been a nightmare for millions of people across
Kee B Park/Christine Ahn:
South Korea is a model for combatting Covid-19, it should now take the
lead in diplomacy with North Korea. Not sure that the two points
follow, but Trump (and his hawks) has bungled his opportunity to work
out a deal with Kim Jong Un. And frankly, why should the US be able
to veto whatever deal the Koreans work out?
Coronavirus stimulus money will be wasted on fossil fuels: "Oil and
gas companies were already facing structural problems before Covid-19
and are in long-term decline."
Trump administration ducks and dodges to justify wall spending.
How the Covid-19 pandemic will leave its mark on US health care.
- Some hospitals will probably close. A lot of primary care doctors
could also be in trouble.
- Telemedicine will finally go mainstream.
- We'll invest more in public health preparedness and surveillance.
- We could rethink how drugmakers and the federal government handle
- There will be a push to expand health coverage.
Americans are largely unimpressed with Trump's handling of the coronavirus
pandemic. His approval ratings did get a break early in the crisis, but
he's been sinking for a few weeks, now negative 9% on the generic approval
question, below water on handling the pandemic, with very/somewhat worried
about the economy adding up to 86.5%. Of course, lots of people still have
a blind spot where it comes to him, hence the very cushy "largely
unimpressed" in the title.
Trump's firing of a top infectious-disease expert endangers us all.
Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown's plan to protect consumers from
Taylor Telford/Kimberly Kindy:
As they rushed to maintain US meat supply, big processors saw plants
become covid-19 hot spots, worker illnesses spike. Map doesn't
include any spots in western Kansas, but I noticed a concentration
of cases in Ford County (Dodge City), which has 38% more cases than
Sedgwick (Wichita), despite having only 6.5% of the population.
Finney County (Garden City) has a population similar to Ford, with
about 30% as many cases, which still is a much higher infection
rate than Sedgwick. Ford and Finney counties are probably the two
largest beef feedlot and packing counties in the state.
US airstrikes hit all-time high as coronavirus spreads in Somalia.
Anya van Wagtendonk:
71 percent of jobless Americans did not receive their March unemployment
Trump dismisses his daily coronavirus press briefings as "not worth the
time & effort". I don't think I've ever been moved to quote a
Trump tweet before, but this one is revealing:
What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the
Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses
to report the truth or facts accurately. They get record ratings, &
the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time &
I get that "Lamestream" is meant as an insult, a catchy play on
"mainstream" that has become reflexively automatic among those so
disposed, but if you think a bit, it's pretty lame as insults go,
especially given that the highest aspiration of mainstream media is
to be so fairly balanced the stories speak for themselves. Singling
out lameness is Trump's way of asserting that should entertain rather
than merely report. So does his point about "record ratings." Given
that Trump is incapable of reporting information or even conveying
reassuring emotion, the only reason for anyone to watch him is that
the briefings are somehow inadvertently entertaining. Maybe that's
where the "hostile questions" come in? I mean, Trump knows better than
most that hostility is entertaining -- isn't that why his campaign
events are so full of hostile rants? Why shouldn't the media put its
inherent lameness aside for an occasion with no other merit and feed
off Trump's hostility? Why not prod him along a bit, and give the
Trump haters as well as the Trump adorers a cheering interest? As
for "Fake News," nowadays that's nothing but Trumpspeak for reports
that are insufficiently flattering. That "Fake News" has grown by
leaps and bounds over the last 3-4 years is the inevitable result
of its only subject appearing as an embarrassing moron in his every
Let's kill the aiding-and-abetting meme once and for all! His
examples are attacks on political figures for aiding, abetting,
giving comfort, or just showing a modicum of respect for foreign
leaders or nations, especially those that Americans have long
been trained to suspect or despise (like Russia and China, Iran
and Syria, Cuba and Venezuela, but anti-Arab prejudice is strong
enough that Saudi Arabia could also work, but never Israel). The
recent rivalry between Biden and Trump to see who is most negative
on China is an example. One example Wright cites is George Packer:
We are living in a failed state, where Packer likens Trump to
French general and Vichy collaboration leader Philippe Pétain: "Like
Pétain, Trump collaborated with the invader and abandoned his country
to a prolonged disaster." I agree that Trump has done (and continues
to do, scarcely losing a step to the pandemic) a lot of things that
spell disaster for most Americans, but none of them even remotely
resemble what Pétain did to France and (much more to the point) for
How the coronavirus is surfacing America's deep-seated anti-Asian
biases. I'm skeptical here, not that Trump isn't riling up the
indiscriminate haters in his fan base, but that the relatively few
who attack and the more who slur Asian-Americans know anything of
the history of anti-Asian racism in America. Granted, it's not so
ancient that I can't remember it in my lifetime (and Trump's older
than I am), but by then the old prejudices had been transformed by
wars which counted at least some Asians as allies.
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Expanded blog post,
Music: Current count 33137  rated (+43), 226  unrated (+10).
Late getting this out, mostly because I got caught up in updating
Metacritic file, or maybe
I was just putting off the task of writing about dead musicians. I
did find that several lines had gotten dropped from the file, so I've
started to patch them up again, but I may have lost information along
the way (the most prominent contenders I'm aware of were Grimes and
US Girls). Aside from consulting AOTY and Metacritic, I brought most
of the jazz sources up to date.
When I wrote up a list with 12 musicians
last week, I forgot to mention
Hal Willner. Some obituaries emphasize his association with
Saturday Night Live, but I credit him with a series of brilliantly
eclectic tribute albums, the best being his 1985 Lost in the Stars:
The Music of Kurt Weill.
Some more recent deaths of note here:
Henry Grimes (1935-2020): bassist, played on many of the
most important avant-jazz albums of the 1960s, then disappeared for
30+ years before making a remarkable comeback.
Lee Konitz (1927-2020): alto saxophonist, an all-time great.
Giuseppi Logan (1935-2020): alto saxophonist, recorded a couple
memorable avant-garde albums in the mid-1960s.
Richard Teitelbaum (1939-2020): electronic music pioneer,
worked with Anthony Braxton.
Tidal has an April 20 survey of
Remembering the musicians felled by Covid-19, including Grimes,
Logan, Konitz, and Willner, others I reported on last week, plus a
few I had missed, like avant-disco chanteuse Cristina Monet (went
by first name, I have her down for 3 A-list albums 1980-84, so I
was a pretty big fan). Two more I'm less familiar with are:
Marcelo Peralta and
I wound up spending much of the week playing to Lee Konitz records
I had missed. The collected grade list is
here. The new finds
didn't match the previous peaks, but some are quite remarkable, and
some high B+ records below could grow on me if given the chance --
one thing you can count on with Konitz is that he's thinking ahead
of you. Aside from the records reviewed below, his list includes the
following (all A- except as noted):
- Lee Konitz: Subconscious-Lee (1949-1950 , Prestige OJC) A
- Lee Konitz/Gerry Mulligan: Konitz Meets Mulligan (1953, Pacific Jazz)
- Lee Konitz/Warne Marsh: Lee Konitz With Warne Marsh (1955 , Atlantic/Rhino)
- Lee Konitz: Live at the Half Note (1959, Verve)
- Lee Konitz: Motion (1961 , Verve) A
- Lee Konitz: Motion (1961 , Verve, 3CD)
- Lee Konitz: I Concentrate on You (1974, SteepleChase)
- Lee Konitz: Jazz à Juan (1974, SteepleChase)
- Warne Marsh/Lee Konitz: Two Not One (1975 , Storyville, 4CD)
- Art Pepper Presets "West Coast Sessions!" Volume 3: Lee Konitz (1980 , Omnivore)
- Lee Konitz/Martial Solal: Star Eyes 1983 (1983 , Hatology)
- Lee Konitz/Harold Danko: Wild as Springtime (1984 , Candid)
- Lee Konitz/Barry Harris: Lullaby of Birdland (1991, Candid)
- Lee Konitz: Jazz Nocturne (1992, Evidence) A
- Lee Konitz: Another Shade of Blue (1997 , Blue Note)
- Lee Konitz: Sound of Surprise (1999, RCA)
Konitz continued producing excellent records well into his 80s,
even past his 90th birthday: the last four I have under his name I
have at B+(***), including last year's Nonet album Old Songs New
(as good as any of his 1970s Nonets). Another B+(***) not on the grade
list is Dan Tepfer's Duos With Lee (2008). Another is Grace
Kelly's GraceFulLee (2007). Yet another is Ethan Iverson's
Costumers Are Mandatory (2013).
Looks like Napster has another 75-80 Konitz albums I haven't heard,
but they are getting hard to place, and I could use a break. In fact,
I'm thinking I'll slow down this week, and do some house cleaning. I
started pitching old music magazines, which no one seems to have any
interest in. I thought about donating CDs to a library somewhere, but
dropped the ball on that. Laura's nagging me about books, too. I don't
see that as much of a problem, but in general it would be good to
lighten the load and open up some space. Maybe clear my head a bit,
then figure out what to really work on next. I'm at wit's end now.
New records reviewed this week:
- Omer Avital Qantar: New York Paradox (2019 , Jazz & People): [r]: B+(*)
- The Chats: High Risk Behaviour (2020, Bargain Bin): [r]: B+(*)
- Chris Dingman: Embrace (2020, Inner Arts Initiative): [bc]: B+(*)
- Jimmy Greene: While Looking Up (2020, Mack Avenue): [r]: B+(***)
- Jeff Hamilton Trio: Catch Me If You Can (2019 , Capri): [cd]: B+(*) [07-17]
- Hailu Mergia: Yene Mircha (2020, Awesome Tapes From Africa): [r]: B+(**)
- Ras Michael: Live by the Spirit (2020, Hen House Studios): [r]: B+(**)
- Mono: Before the Past: Live From Electrical Audio (2019, Temporary Residence): [bc]: B+(*)
- Farnell Newton: Rippin' & Rumblin' (2020, Posi-Tone): [r]: B+(**)
- Porridge Radio: Every Bad (2020, Secretly Canadian): [r]: B+(*)
- Samo Salamon/Igor Matkovic/Kristijan Krajncan: Common Flow (2019 , Sazas): [cd]: A-
- Samo Salamon/Igor Matkovic/Kristijan Krajncan: Rare Ebb (2019 , Sazas): [cd]: B+(**)
- Diane Schuur: Running on Faith (2020, Jazzheads): [cd]: B+(***)
- Yves Tumor: Heaven to a Tortured Mind (2020, Warp): [r]: B+(**)
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:
- Noah Howard: Live in Europe Vol. 1 (1975 , Sconsolato): [bc]: B+(**)
- Miles Davis/Stan Getz/Gerry Mulligan/Lee Konitz/Sonny Rollins/Zoot Sims: Conception (1949-51 , Prestige): [r]: B+(**)
- Bill Evans Trio With Lee Konitz & Warne Marsh: Crosscurrents (1977 , Fantasy/OJC): [r]: B+(***)
- Jasper Høiby: Fellow Creatures (2016, Edition): [bc]: B+(***)
- Illinois Jacquet Quartet: Live at Schaffhausen, Switzerland March 18, 1978 (1978 , Storyville): [bc]: B+(***)
- Lee Konitz: At Storyville (1954 , Black Lion): [r]: A-
- Lee Konitz: Konitz (1954 , Black Lion): [r]: B+(**)
- Lee Konitz: Body and Soul (1954 , Black Lion): [r]: B+(***)
- Lee Konitz: In Harvard Square (1954-55 , Black Lion): [r]: B+(**)
- Lee Konitz: Inside Hi-Fi (1956, Atlantic): [r]: B+(***)
- Lee Konitz: The Real Lee Konitz (1957, Atlantic): [r]: A-
- Lee Konitz: Very Cool (1957, Verve): [r]: B+(*)
- Lee Konitz: An Image: Lee Konitz With Strings (1958, Verve): [r]: B
- Lee Konitz: You and Lee (1959 , Verve): [r]: B
- Lee Konitz Quintet: Peacemeal (1969 , Milestone): [r]: B+(*)
- Lee Konitz: Spirits (1971 , Milestone): [r]: B+(***)
- Lee Konitz: Lone-Lee (1974 , SteepleChase): [r]: B+(**)
- Lee Konitz: Lee Konitz Nonet (1977, Chiaroscuro): [r]: B+(***)
- Lee Konitz: Tenorlee (1977 , Candid): [r]: B+(*)
- Lee Konitz Nonet: Yes, Yes, Nonet (1979 , SteepleChase): [r]: B+(**)
- Lee Konitz Quartet: New York Album (1987 , Soul Note): [r]: B+(***)
- Lee Konitz: Zounds (1990 , Soul Note): [r]: B+(**)
- Lee Konitz Trio: Free With Lee (1993, Philology): [r]: B+(**)
- Lee Konitz/Renato Sellani: Speakin' Lowly (1993 , Philology): [r]: A-
- Lee Konitz: It's You (1996, SteepleChase): [r]: B+(***)
- Lee Konitz: Dearly Beloved (1996 , SteepleChase): [r]: A-
- Lee Konitz: Pride (1999 , SteepleChase): [r]: B+(***)
- Lee Konitz: Parallels (2001, Chesky): [r]: B+(**)
- Giuseppi Logan: More (1965 , ESP-Disk): [r]: B+(***)
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
- Tetuzi Akiyama/Nicolas Field/Gregor Vidic: Interpersonal Subjectivities (Astral Spirits -19)
- Robby Ameen: Diluvio (Origin)
- Josh Berman/Paul Lytton/Jason Roebke: Trio Discrepancies (Astral Spirits -19)
- Chicago Underground Quartet: Good Days (Astral Spirits)
- Chris Cogburn/Juan García/Ignaz Schick: Anáhuac (Astral Spirits)
- Alex Cunningham & Claire Rousay: Specifically the Water (Astral Spirits)
- Colin Fisher Quartet: Living Midnight (Astral Spirits -19)
- Nick Fraser/Kris Davis/Tony Malaby: Zoning (Astral Spirits -19)
- Dylan Hayes Electric Band: Songs for Rooms and People (Blujazz)
- KVL: Volume 1 (Astral Spirits -19)
- LP and the Vinyl: Heard and Seen (OA2)
- Chris Poland: Resistance (Ropeadope)
- Charles Rumback: June Holiday (Astral Spirits)
Sunday, April 19, 2020
Covid-19 continues to dominate the news, as it will for months (or
maybe years) to come. You can subdivide the pandemic into two essential
topics: public health issues, and economic consequences of fighting the
pandemic by shutting down a big part of the economy. Unemployment in
the US has surged to about 20%, and despite wild talk about reopening
businesses, it looks like those numbers have yet to peak -- not least
because infections and deaths continue to rise. The US has more deaths
than any other country in the world, and the number of deaths has blown
past previous markers like the number killed on 9/11 and the larger
number of Americans sacrificed in the post-9/11 Bush Wars (sure, Obama
and Trump have extended them, but the initial decision rests clearly
with GW and his "Vulcans").
A third dimension has started to appear: the struggle for control
of the political narrative around the pandemic. The Democratic Party
primary campaign has ended with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren
endorsing Joe Biden, who won
Wisconsin 62.93% to 31.78% over Sanders, and
Wyoming 72.18% to 27.82% -- both states that had favored Sanders
over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Still, Biden has been all but invisible
during the crisis, so virtually all of the political maneuvering has
been by Republicans: Trump denies any responsibility for mishandling
the crisis, and vows to re-open the economy real soon now; supporting
him are the "protesters" who have turned out for various photo-ops
demanding an end to state lockdowns. (The Michigan protest has been
clearly identified as funded by the De Vos family, and I expect the
others will be linked to other billionaire donors. The placards are
blatantly tied to Trump, some so extreme you have to doubt it's been
officially sanctioned -- although with Trump it could be.)
Some Democrats would like to blame Trump for the whole crisis --
at least one article below refers to the "Trump plague," and many
point out various failures to recognize the pandemic early and act
decisively to stop or at least mitigate it. I don't see much point
in singling Trump out -- I doubt any president would have grasped
what was happening much faster or moved much more decisively, as
most of the problems I've seen look to me like they have much more
systemic roots. Of course, it is fair to note that Trump and his
minions have made the system more fragile and inept than it already
was. The desire to wring every ounce of profit out of the economy
has left us with fragile supply chains and woefully inadequate
public support. (I'm surprised not that the "national stockpile"
is inadequate but that such a thing exists at all.) Then there's
the fact that we don't have universal health care, and that private
insurance is tied to employment. And there's a dozen other things,
most tied back to a system designed not to do what people need but
to make money off those needs, dumping waste as it goes.
What you're welcome to blame Trump for is having a blathering,
careless idiot at the helm of the federal government. If you weren't
embarrassed by that before, you certainly should be now. He may not
be to blame for the economy collapsing, but he's petty enough to
want credit for attaching his name to relief checks. He may not be
to blame for thousands of people dying, but he still wants credit
and praise for . . . well, beats me, but you better be nice to him.
I'm not sure when or why the media decided we need to hear from the
president every time a news story breaks, but Trump is one president
who never has anything enlightening or comforting to say.
Another thing: Laura suggests you watch
Vic DiBitetto, the man with a plan.
Also: I've cut way back on links to
New York Intelligencer after running into a paywall. I saw my first
warning a few weeks back, and decided at that point to stop clicking on
articles by Jonathan Chait and Ed Kilgore, as I usually wound up arguing
with them anyway. Missing Eric Levitz and Sarah Jones, but still seems
pricey for my taste. I cut way back on
The Atlantic a few months ago, and Foreign Policy a year or two
back (no link handy; as I recall, even more expensive for even less
value). At this point, I don't know what I would do if
Vox starts to tighten the screws: they're my first go-to each week,
and far and away my most valuable source. I should also note that while
I don't spend for web access, my wife subscribes to a bunch of things,
and I sometimes piggyback on her accounts. She's the true news junkie
in the family. Without her, I doubt I'd bother finding any of this.
Some scattered links this week:
Describing Trump strains the imagination: "Hence the need for
metaphor. And yet, here again, nothing really works." Maybe you're
trying too hard to pin too much on Trump personally. Sure, it's hard
to express how hideous he is in person, but nearly every appearance
offers graphic examples. If you must reach for words, how about the
late John Prine's line: "some humans aren't human"? Still, Trump does
virtually nothing by himself, beyond signing papers put in front of
him, speaking and tweeting blather, and occasionally barking out an
order or plea that some underling may act on if it suits them. Trump
doesn't lead his administration so much as, having staffed it with
the usual array of hacks, flacks, and lobbyists, he simply averts his
gaze as it rots away, entertaining graft at every level, because that's
the American (or at least the Republican) way. Sure, in some sense
Trump is ultimately responsible for the bad things done in his name,
but it's not like he's capable of understanding or caring about the
people affected. The problem with focusing so much on Trump is that
any other Republican president would be overseeing pretty much the
same administration, because the contempt and corruption pervades
the party and is celebrated by its propaganda network. Some people
may desire having a front man who is better at faking competence and
concern, but Trump at least is true to his own lies.
Here are 10 books on Palestine to read while social distancing:
- Rashid Khalidi: The Hundred Years' War on Palestine: A History of
Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017 (2020, Metropolitan)
- James J Zogby: Palestinians: The Invisible Victims (2018,
- Ali Abunimah: The Battle for Justice in Palestine (2014,
- Noura Erakat: Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine
(2019, Stanford University Press)
- Edward W Said: The Question of Palestine (1992, Vintage)
- Marilyn Garson: Reading Maimonides in Gaza (2018, Mondoweiss)
- Josh Ruebner: Shattered Hopes: Obama's Failure to Broker
Israeli-Palestinian Peace (2013, Verso)
- Steven Salaita: Uncivil Rites: Palestine and the Limits of Academic
Freedom (2015, Haymarket)
- Howard Friel/Richard Falk: Israel-Palestine on Record: How the New
York Times Misreports Conflict in the Middle East (2007, Verso)
- Omar Barghouti: Boycott, Divestment, Sanction: The Global Struggle
for Palestinian Rights (2011, Haymarket)
Arria added a second list:
Here are 10 more books to read on Israel/Palestine while social
- Ilan Pappe: Ten Myths About Israel (2017, Verso)
- Mohammed Omer: Shell Shocked: On the Ground Under Israel's Gaza
Assault (2015, OR)
- Noam Chomsky: Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and
the Palestinians (updated edition, 2015, Haymarket)
- Sean Jacobs/Jon Soske, eds: Apartheid Israel: The Politics of
an Analogy (2015, Haymarket)
- Gideon Levy: The Punishment of Gaza (Verso, 2010)
- Ben Ehrenreich: The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in
Palestine (2017, Penguin)
- Audrea Lim, ed: The Case for Sanctions Against Israel
- Susan Abulhawa: Mornings in Jenin (2010, Bloomsbury USA)
- Edward W Said: Out of Place: A Memoir (2000, Vintage)
- Max Blumenthal: Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel
(2014, Bold Type Books)
I haven't read much on Israel recently, at least in book form --
looks like the most recent book in my
Recent Reading is Gregg Carlstrom: How Long Will Israel Survive?
(Oxford University Press, 2017), at -45, although I've read several dozen
over the last 20 years (I identified 68 from my list, excluding a probably
larger number of books on the Middle East, Islam, and US wars and business
there). Of the twenty above, I've read 4 (Josh Ruebner: Shattered Hopes;
Ilan Pappe: Ten Myths About Israel; Max Blumenthal: Goliath;
and a previous edition of Noam Chomsky: Fateful Triangle. I've read
other books by Rashid Khalidi, James J Zogby, Edward W Said; also Pappe,
Chomsky, Blumenthal. I should point out that the main reason my readings
diverge from lists like this is that I've focused much more on Zionism
and the Israelis, on America's deeply troubling relationship with Israel,
and on what (if anything) can be done to end the conflict. Scanning
through my list, here are twelve books I recommend:
- Ariella Azoulay/Adi Ophir: The One-State Condition: Occupation
and Democracy in Israel/Palestine (2012, Stanford University Press)
- Max Blumenthal: Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel
(2013, Nation Books)
- Richard Ben Cramer: How Israel Lost: The Four Questions
(2004, Simon & Schuster)
- Robert Fisk: Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon (1990
, Nation Books)
- John B Judis: Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of
the Arab/Israeli Conflict (2014, Farrar Straus and Giroux)
- Ilan Pappe: The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006, One
- Trita Parsi: Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel,
Iran, and the United States (2007, Yale University Press)
- Avi Raz: The Bride and the Dowry: |Israel, Jordan, and the
Palestinians in the Aftermath of the June 1967 War (2013, Yale
- Shira Robinson: Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the Birth of
Israel's Liberal Settler State (2013, Stanford University Press)
- Tom Segev: One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the
British Mandate (2001, Picador)
- Sandy Tolan: The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the
Middle East (2007, Bloomsbury)
- Idith Zertal/Akiva Eldar: Lords of the Land: The War for Israel's
Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007 (2007, Nation
I tried just listing ten books, then thought I had to add Pity the
Nation (which, being on Lebanon, I had excluded from my 68). One can
make a good case that Zionism was rotten from the start, but for me the
eye-opener was the 1982 invasion and long-term occupation of Lebanon,
which is much (but not all) of what Fisk covers. Another book that is
not specifically on Israel/Palestine but provides essential background
is David Fromkin's A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman
Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (1989). I read
Maxime Rodinson's Israel and the Arabs (1970) and Anouar
Abdel-Malek's Egypt: A Military Society (1968) when they were
fairly new, but didn't get serious about Israel until around 2000,
when I started with general histories: Benny Morris: Righteous
Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict (2001), Avi
Shlaim: The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (2000),
and the Tom Segev book above. The above list, and much more,
followed. I omitted a few books that especially influenced me
on the suspicion that they're dated, such as: Norman Finkelstein:
Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (1995);
Tanya Reinhart: Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948
(2002); Baruch Kimmerling: Politicide (2003).
Also on Israel:
Here's what we all have in common with Trump: As near as I can tell,
a tendency to blame someone else. But isn't Trump the President? Doesn't
"the buck stop here"?
Trump's been searching, mightily, for a suitable nemesis. For weeks now,
our entertainer-president has been auditioning various characters for
the role of pandemic super-villain, veering from one to the other and
back again. He's tried China. He's tried the governors. He's tried, of
course, the media.
Want to know what desperation looks like? Trump has even tried inciting
a popular rebellion against the World Health Organization (WHO) . . .
Trump is a guy who needs to blame somebody for everything, in good
times or in bad. "I don't take responsibility at all," Trump famously
told reporters in one of his first pandemic briefings. Those words should
one day be chiseled into the gaudy marble lobby of the Trump Presidential
Library. It's the family crest.
The rise of digital feudalism in a multipolar, unstable world.
Why coronavirus conspiracy theories have spread to quickly.
Straggling in a good economy, and now struggling in a crisis.
Includes quotes from Joseph Stiglitz, like "We built an economy with
no shock absorbers. We made a system that looked like it was maximizing
profits but had higher risks and lower resiliency."
Fauci acknowledged a delay in the US coronavirus response. Trump then
retweeted a call to fire him.
Into the maw: "How Obama-era economics failed us." Review of Reed
Hundt's A Crisis Wasted: Barack Obama's Defining Decisions, by
a minor member of Obama's transition team, and Firefighting: The
Financial Crisis and Its Lessons, by the troika that sought to
save the banks (while throwing out the economy) in 2008-09, initially
under GW Bush (Ben S Bernanke, Timothy F Geithner, Henry M Paulson Jr).
Florida's economy is collapsing under COVID-19, and only Republicans are
to blame: Explains how Rick Scott, when he was governor, gutted the
state unemployment system to make it the least generous in the nation,
a legacy which continues to make unemployment insurance near worthless,
even when it's never been more essential.
'Unbelievable' timing: As coronavirus rages, Trump disregards advice
to tighten clean air rules.
Trump donors get $569 million contract to build 17 miles of border wall.
The plague of Jared Kushner. "The problem is, he doesn't know anything
about COVID-19, just like he doesn't know anything about immigration reform
or Middle East peace."
Emran Feroz/Mohammad Zaman:
The coronavirus pandemic hasn't stopped the war in Afghanistan.
Lisa Friedman/Coral Davenport:
EPA weakens controls on mercury.
First, the coronavirus pandemic took their jobs. Then, it wiped out their
health insurance. If only one could come up with a system that didn't
tie health care to people's employment!
The largest Arctic ozone hole ever measured is hovering over the North
Coronavirus is exposing how foreign crusades bled America's domestic
No country has beaten the coronavirus yet. Asking people "how are
you doing compared to your parents?" Some better, many not so well.
Trump's denial of his coronavirus failings will be "one of the biggest
propaganda battles in American history."
'I am the portrait of downward mobility': "Today's 40-year-olds on
the lives they've led, and now this."
The plague of Donald Trump.
If the US Postal Service fails, rural America will suffer the most.
Why Bernie Sanders lost and how progressives can still win:
"7 takeaways from a conversation with progressive data expert Stan
McElwee." A fair muddle of ideas, some sensible, some less convincing --
I'm not opposed to "the trifecta of progressive policy issues that
resonate most with these voters (and voters in general)" -- aggressive
pharmaceutical reform; a job-creating clean; ambitious paid family
leave -- but that sounds like small potatoes to me. My own theory
why Sanders lost is that he should have moved to the center, putting
more emphasis on his personal integrity and commitment, but instead,
with most other Democrats moving left, he felt the need to stake out
ground even further left. He was mostly successful in claiming the
left, as was clear when he pulled decisively ahead of Warren, but
that made it hard to pivot center (in part because Warren hung in
until it was too late). Second, he didn't bother to expose how weak
his opponents were (especially Biden, who epitomized forty years of
Democrats selling their base out for political expediency). Perhaps
Sanders expected them to stalemate and/or collapse while he gradually
built his lead and claimed the nomination (not unlike Trump's path in
2016), or maybe he just eschewed that "killer instinct." Either way,
Mike Bloomberg's $500 million ad blitz wrecked any chance Buttigieg
and Klobuchar might have had, as well as his own candidacy (and that
of fellow billionaire Tom Steyer), leaving Biden (who had failed in
Iowa and New Hampshire) as the default choice for everyone who still
doubted Sanders/Warren. Then coronavirus hit, further campaigns and
elections became unviable, and Biden locked up the nomination without
getting tested head-to-head.
One McElwee point I'd like to quote:
Running on a maximalist policy agenda creates a massive expectation
gap between what you can achieve and what you say you can achieve.
When you promise something and deliver, you build power. When you
promise something and bring home half or a quarter, you deflate hope
and create cynicism.
My greatest fear about a Sanders presidency is that he'd find that
what he really could deliver, given that we would still be stuck in
a profoundly corrupt and crippled political system, would turn out to
be very small compared to what he clearly saw the need for. Still, I
didn't consider that a fatal flaw, because I expected him to continue
to fight for things he believed in, and to make clear that shortfalls
are not for lack of effort in his part. As long as people respect his
effort and integrity -- and with Sanders' track record, you clearly
should -- I think he'll come out stronger. Especially compared to a
"moderate" who aims for half-assed compromises and can't even deliver
them. Some more "post-Bernie" links:
Political savant Rachel Bitecofer: Democrats face "major disadvantage"
going with Biden: This interview is old (March 12) and dated, and
I don't really buy her argument that Biden cannot appeal to Obama/Trump
voters (sure, he doesn't have Sanders' populist pitch, but he's a lot
more "like them" than Hillary was, or Trump is, and I think that's been
proven by the margins he's racked up in states where Sanders handily
beat Clinton in 2016). Still, worth scanning for other insights, most
not very complimentary to the voters she studies. E.g.:
Donald Trump is basically doing what Democrats are incapable of. Donald
Trump understands that the American voter is disengaged, disinterested,
thinks about images and stories and not about policy in a serious way,
and is highly subject to emotion. Donald Trump and his team feed that
Bernie-izing Biden: "Now that Sanders has endorsed Biden, here's a
realistic plan for moving America to the left."
The foundations of American society are failing us: "The unequal
impact of the pandemic and economic collapse are forcing us to rethink
the assumptions of our system."
The tyranny of decorum hurt Bernie Sanders's 2020 prospects.
An open letter from to the new new left from the old new left: By
former leaders (1960-69) of Students for a Democratic Society, concluding
"we who now write this open letter all know that we must work hard to
elect [Joe Biden]. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment." At least one
"new new leftist" pushed back: Daniel Finn:
An open letter from SDS veterans haranguing young socialists to back
Biden was a bad idea. One thing I didn't like about the SDS letter
was their willingness to relitigate voting for Humphrey against Nixon
in 1968. In retrospect, Nixon looks pretty awful, but at the time HHH
was an integral cog in LBJ's war machine, and had given us no reason
to think he might change course. On other issues, there was still a
lot of overlap between the parties, even if you recognized that they
were not equally bad. I was too young to vote in 1968, and I don't
recall having a preference. In 1972, when we finally did have a clear
choice, it was the hawkish/conservative/mainstream Democrats who made
sure McGovern lost to Nixon (even post-Watergate). Parties have become
much more polarized since then, so much so that it makes sense for me
to vote for someone like Joe Manchin over someone like Susan Collins
in party labels alone. So I have no qualms about voting for Biden over
any Republican (not just Trump), and would advise any "new new leftist"
to do the same. On the other hand, I'm too old to worry much about
climate change much less building a truly equitable socialist polity
and economy, so maybe I'm not the best person to be lecturing young
people on the world they hope to reform.
Trump's unspoken factor on reopening the economy: Politics:
May be "unspoken," but he's not very subtle about it. Not sure
he even does want to reopen, but if he gets the Democrats to stop
him, he can blame them later, and if slowing him down saves lives,
he'll never concede that. Lots of people see lots of things through
the lens of their politics, but few more obsessively than Trump.
I literally wrote The Case Against Joe Biden. But I've got some
free advice for him.
Rural areas think they're the coronavirus exception. They're not.
How the rich reacted to the bubonic plague has eerie similarities to
today's pandemic: Especially the ones who think of themselves as
the modern incarnations of feudal lords?
Theodoric Meyer/Elena Schneider:
K Street is booming. But there's a creeping sense of dread. As
Congress is anxious to spend money to float the economy (for R's to
re-elect the president, for D's to help those most in need), lobbyists
are trying hard to steer that money toward their clients.
MAGA world finds its coronavirus scapegoats.
Don't fear the anti-Biden socialist: "A wave of concern over the
DSA's refusal to endorse the Democratic nominee reveals a substantial
ignorance about who does and does not vote -- and why."
What we've lost in the plague -- and what we've gained: A chance to remake
The price of the coronavirus pandemic: "When COVID-19 recedes, it
will leave behind a severe economic crisis. But, as always, some people
The preëxisting condition in the oval office: "From the start, the
Trump Administration has waged war on science and expertise, making a
great nation peculiarly vulnerable to the foreseeable public-health
calamity of the coronavirus."
As Trump and McConnell mock clean energy, the industry could soon lose
a half-million jobs.
Trump finds his own dumb endless war.
Trump's dangerous "LIBERIATE" tweets represents the view of a small
minority. Some more links on anti-shutdown protests:
Trump wants to talk about anything but his coronavirus response. His
attacks on the WHO show it. More on Trump vs. WHO:
Trump just declared victory over the coronavirus. Here's why that's
Florida Gov. DeSantis declared WWE an "essential service." His explanation
doesn't make much sense. Rather than torture the concept of "essential"
by trying to apply it to WWE, maybe there should be a second axis where
activities are evaluated as dangerous/harmless regardless of how frivolous
they are. The two axes are pretty independent: there are some things that
are so essential that we're willing to accept (while trying to mitigate)
danger, like hospital care; on the other hand, why try to prohibit things
that can be done safely, just because they seem silly? Personally, I never
noticed that WWE went away, and have no interest in it ever coming back,
but as long as I never have to watch it, there's no reason I should keep
other people from enjoying it (if, indeed, that's what they do). On the
other hand, I can think of other "inessential" services that I'd like to
see re-open, assuming they can be done safely. Dog grooming, for one.
Trump's video of coronavirus actions accidentally reveals how he mishandled
things in February: "The propaganda package basically skips from January
to March. That's not an accident."
Trump's latest coronavirus press briefing featured one of his most
memorable meltdowns yet.
Trump sent Arizona a fraction of the ventilators it sought. Republicans
still framed it as a big win. I got an email from my Republican
Congressman taking credit for the "stimulus" checks the government will
send out once Trump gets them branded to his satisfaction. Democrats
are probably trying to claim credit too, but the hypocrisy is all the
more glaring when Republicans hog the credit.
The pandemic has exposed America's clean water crisis.
How Anthony Fauci became America's doctor.
Joe Biden racks up another big endorsement: Elizabeth Warren: One
day after Obama, several after Sanders, making her one of the last
prominent Democrats to come around and kiss the ring.
McKinsey to work on Trump's coronavirus plan and New York's 'Trump-proof'
plan: "The NY and NJ governors hired McKinsey to 'Trump-proof' their
coronavirus plan, which may prove difficult as the firm is also working
Anti-Corbyn Labour officials worked to lose general election to oust
leader, leaked dossier finds. Curiously, this seems to be about
the 2017 election, where Labour did better than expected, rather than
the 2018 election which ultimately forced Corbyn to resign.
Trump hobbles foreign aid as coronavirus rips around the world.
FEMA's coronavirus rumor control webpage sidesteps Trump's lies.
We are probably only one-tenth of the way through this pandemic.
Why France has 4 times as many coronavirus deaths as Germany:
"Germany followed the playbook for saving lives. France didn't."
Germany did a lot more testing and contact tracking, and were also
much quicker to move patients to hospitals instead of waiting for
symptoms to become severe.
12 experts on how the US should hold China accountable for the
coronavirus: Why is this even a discussion? And what makes Americans
think they have the right to pass judgment on China? Not everyone here
is stupid. For instance, Jacob Stokes says, "The US response should focus
on establishing the facts surrounding the virus's origins and China's
early missteps in a credible, impartial, and scientific manner." But he
also says, "I generally favor taking a tougher line toward China on a
range of policy issues, from its assertive military behavior to its
human rights crackdown and abusive trade practices." That helps explain
why he's directing his "credible, impartial, and scientific" study at
China, and not proposing a broader framework, which would look at early
missteps in the United States, Italy, Iran, Spain, and everywhere. After
all, the objections he has to China are points that can objectively be
directed against the US. Most of the other "experts" fall into line with
US hostility toward China, taking the pandemic as an excuse to flout
long-standing prejudices against Chinese government and industry. It is
sad that American regard for international institutions like the UN is
so low (even among Democrats) that hardly any "expert" takes seriously
the possibility of addressing worldwide problems collectively.
How President Emmanuel Macron bungled France's coronavirus response.
The Democrats' terrible health care solution for the newly unemployed.
Democrats are pushing for an expansion of COBRA, which saddles the newly
unemployed with a high-priced continuation of their previous employer's
(generally lousy) plan.
South Dakota's governor resisted ordering people to stay home. Now it
has one of the nation's largest coronavirus hot spots.
The "experts" don't know everything. They can't. Given that Republicans
in general (and Trump most of all) have a long record of disparaging and
discrediting science, it's almost a given that Democrats would respond to
a pandemic crisis by declaring their unbounded faith in science. However,
scientists are only beginning to figure out this particular virus, and
have lots of unanswered questions, as this piece points out. One point
I'd like to add is that the fact that Trump is willing to share the mic
with Anthony Fauci suggests that even he (or at least his staff) hasn't
totally given up on science -- it's just taken an exceptionally immediate
threat to personal safety to force that concession. (Of course, as the
anti-lockdown demonstrations have proven, the right still has its share
of anti-science cranks, who continue to insist that their deep-seated
political beliefs are the only things that matter. Trump's tweets show
that he's with them in spirit, even as he is forced to appear somewhat
more rational in his daily briefings.)
New unemployment filings are so high only the Great Depression compares.
There were 5.2 million new unemployment filings for the week, down from
6.6 million last week and 6.9 million for the previous week. As nobody is
finding new work, the effect is cumulative: the total since the depression
started is 22 million. I haven't seen anyone recast these figures as a
percent of employed. One employment figure I've seen is 158 million (not
clear exactly when in 2020). Take 22 million from that and it looks like
unemployment has risen 14.9% over 4 weeks. Add the previous unemployment
rate of 4.3% and you get 19.2%. Yglesias says "experts believe somewhere
in the range of 12-15 percent" unemployment, but also thinks everyone is
undercounting. My weekly calculations of filings against dwindling
employment work out to be: 2.2%, 4.4%, 4.4%, 3.6%.
The PPE shortage is America in a crisis -- here's a realistic plan to
March's record-breaking collapse in retail sales, explained. "Retail
sales fell 8.7 percent in March, the largest-ever decline on record."
Three theories for why the stock market soared along with unemployment
Eleven concrete steps the government can take to avert economic
Li Zhou/Ella Nilsen:
Liberal challenger Jill Karofsky wins a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme
Court: "She won despite the voter suppression marring Wisconsin's
Monday, April 13, 2020
Expanded blog post,
Music: Current count 33094  rated (+38, 216  unrated (-0).
endorsed Joe Biden today. I don't think he needed to do so this
early, but he seems to be building a personal relationship which will
make him more influential as the campaign progresses, and hopefully
after Biden wins. Those of us who don't know Biden personally still
have some distance to go to embrace the idea. But one thing that's
long been clear to me is that even the worst Democrats are open to
discussion of progressive ideas, while Republicans are not, locked
into their right-wing echo chamber. I'd also add that Biden, unlike
ideological centrists like Schumer and the Clintons, is a guy who is
happy to roll with the waves. He's never been a principled defender
of working people, of civil rights, of peace and justice, and that's
left him with a very shoddy record to run on. But he's not a steady
opponent either, and when reality shifts he tries to stick with it.
That may not be what we want, but it could be what we need.
Worth reading here (and I'm sure there'll be more by the weekend):
I filled out my DownBeat Critics Poll ballot last week, the
evening before the deadline. I started quite late, and quickly grew
exhausted, so I wound up racing through the 20-odd pages of the ballot.
Normally I take notes as I go along (this year's are
here), but I wound up
referring to them more than revising them. To rush things along, I
wound up simply repeating last year's picks in most categories.
I haven't even sorted out the jazz albums lists, and didn't bother
even copying the blues and "beyond" album lists -- safe to say I've
heard virtually none of the blues albums (I wound up writing in
Al Gold's Paradise, the only A-list blues album I've heard
all year long). Maybe I'll return to the file and clean it up a
bit later -- or just try to forget this year. I've noticed that my
votes rarely register in the published totals anyway, and I've never
been very keen on ranking musicians, so maybe it's best not to put
much effort in.
More old records this week than new ones. Not my intent, but
Storyville Records keeps adding to their
Bandcamp page (207 records at the moment), and I found a
Buddy Tate record that tempted me. That led me into a deeper dive
into Tate and his fellow Texas Tenor Arnett Cobb. Nothing I found this
week quite matches their Very Saxy (with Coleman Hawkins and
Lockjaw Davis), Cobb's Part Time, or Tate's two Buck &
Buddy albums (with Buck Clayton), but Cobb's lesser Prestiges are
pretty consistent, and Tate is often terrific (even when his bands
aren't). I didn't exhaust their later European live dates, but did
look out for records on France's Black & Blue label -- most were
reissued c. 2000 in their Definitive series, and I've found
a lot of great records there.
Some of the records below were recommended in Robert Christgau's
Consumer Guide: April, 2020 (subscribers only). He also reviewed
a non-album, attributed as Adam Schlesinger: The End of the Movie
(Carl Wilson Spotify playlist), collecting scattered works by the late
Fountains of Wayne singer-songwriter. If you're interested, you can
find it in the Carl Wilson article linked below. [PS: OK, tried it,
doesn't work. The playlist widget in the Consumer Guide file only gives
you short fragments of each song, so it's worse than useless. Maybe if
you subscribe to Spotify, you'll have better luck] I don't see any point
in reviewing non-product. I saw FOW once and was bored out of my skull,
although I eventually heard a couple of albums that I rather liked (in
the comfort of my home): Welcome Interstate Managers (2003), and
Out-of-State Plates (2005).
Of more concern, to me at least, is Christgau's dive into John
Coltrane's recorded work. This is what he came up with (including
a related extra; I'm adding recording dates and, in brackets, my
own grades, and footnote numbers):
- John Coltrane: The Best of John Coltrane (1956-58, Prestige) A- [B+] (1)
- John Coltrane: Ken Burns Jazz (1956-67, Verve) *** [A-] (2)
- John Coltrane: The Africa Brass Sessions, Vol. 2 (1961, Impulse!) A [A] (3)
- John Coltrane: "Live" at the Village Vanguard (1961, Hallmark) A [A-] (4)
- John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (1964, Impulse!) A- [A+] (5)
- Pharoah Sanders: The Impulse Story (1966-73, Impulse!) *** [A-] (6)
Footnotes, before going further:
Review doesn't specify release date (mine is 2004), but notes
that "it does seem to be the first disc of Prestige Profiles: John
Coltrane" (2005), which I also have at B+. On the other hand, I
gave an A- to the 6-CD Fearless Leader box, which covers the
same 1956-58 span. I don't usually upgrade boxes, but I probably got
lost in sheer breadth and depth, but I seriously doubt that he did
much on Prestige that rivals his early Impulse! period. Also, I don't
particularly care for jazz best-ofs. Replaying this one tonight, I
haven't heard anything that blows me away, or that I don't like. I'll
also note that I was warned off the 16-CD The Prestige Recordings,
which expands to include all of Coltrane's sideman dates. Some, of
course, are important (like "Tenor Madness" with Sonny Rollins and
the quickies Miles Davis cut to break his contract), but you also get
a lot of him playing second fiddle to Red Garland, Kenny Burrell, and
lesser lights (not that I don't like Paul Quinichette).
My grade based on the 1995 2-CD release of The Complete
Africa/Brass Sessions, graded A -- although note that I had
previously graded Africa Brass Volumes 1 & 2 (a 1988
single-CD release which had the two albums in original order) at
A-. [PS: I managed to build a playlist matching the album, and
gave it a spin; could be A or A-. By the way, even though the first
Africa/Brass album was credited to the Quartet, all tracks
have 15-18 musicians, mostly extra brass but Eric Dolphy is hard
Coltrane barely got mentioned in Burns' Jazz documentary,
but the product tie-ins were more sensibly distributed. I'm not a big
"Giant Steps" fan, so I wouldn't single out that omission (among dozens
of others -- especially since the Giant Steps album yields two
other equally famous songs), but damn near everything that did make the
cut is not just good but iconic, and the Miles Davis Quintet opener and
the Rashied Ali duo closer stretch the timeline as far as one can imagine.
13:40 of "My Favorite Things" makes the point (that all future tenor
saxophonists will also have to learn to play soprano), and A Love
Supreme is represented with a 7:46 taste.
The Hallmark release is a straight reissue of the 1962 Impulse!
album (3 tracks, 35:50), which has been reissued many times (Discogs
lists 90 editions, 80 on Impulse!, 1 on Verve [which owns Impulse!];
the rest are European reissue labels which picked the record up after
the EU's 50-year copyright limit lapsed). Hallmark's appeared in 2014,
but since it's identical to Impulse!'s original, why cite it? My A-
grade came from a quick Rhapsody stream. I previously graded the
expanded Live at the Village Vanguard: The Master Takes (1998)
and the 4-CD The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings (1997)
at A, and no doubt would have done the same with the original had I
not seen it as inferior value.
- I also gave an A to A Love Supreme [Deluxe Edition] (2002),
which adds a second CD with a longer live version from Paris. By the
way, I never gave much thought to this record as being spiritual. It
just struck me as the most perfectly plotted single piece of jazz
- After his debut in ESP-Disk, Sanders recorded a dozen albums for
Impulse, my favorites Tauhid (1966) and Village of the
Pharoahs (1973), but he was less consistent than Coltrane, so
I considered the survey more useful. Of course, there is also a
Coltrane The Impulse Story, another solid A-.
Christgau mentions favorably Giant Steps and My Favorite
Things -- two 1959-61 Atlantic albums which were eventually boxed
as The Heavyweight Champion: The Complete Atlantic Recordings
(1995, 7-CD once you pack all the extra takes in). Coltrane was a good
saxophonist at Prestige (1956-58), during which time he played in
important groups with Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, but he didn't
become special until he figured out how to exploit modes and turn them
into expansive sheets of sound. The classic formulation of that was on
Davis's Kind of Blue (1959), one of the most beloved of all jazz
records. Coltrane's Atlantics expanded on that discovery -- my favorite
album there is the last, Olé. He put his Quartet together when
he moved on to Impulse! (which later issued a box called The House
That Trane Built: The Best of Impulse Records), and from 1961-64
it's hard to think of anything he did wrong (well, aside from the Johnny
Hartman album, though even it has fans) -- Crescent is a good
example, like one of the second tier Himalayan peaks, overshadowed by
Everest and K2 but still massive and 25,000 feet high.
From 1965-67 he kind of freaked out, inventing (or maybe just
radicalizing) the squawkiest strain of the avant-garde. I hated
Ascension (1965) for the longest time before I kind of got
into it, and still have Sun Ship graded C+, but his Rashied
Ali duo on Interstellar Space (1967) is marvelous. Since his
death, Coltrane has become the most influential tenor saxophonist
since Hawkins and Young, or saxophonist period since Parker. By the
1990s, it seemed like everyone was trying to play like him (at bit
less so now). Pharoah Sanders had the most direct claim -- in his
trinity, he was the son, Coltrane the father, and Albert Ayler the
holy ghost -- and it's tempting to say that the very best posthumous
Coltrane records are Welcome to Love (1990) and Crescent
With Love (1992). More recently, Nat Birchall has the sound down
You can find my Coltrane grade list
written much of this before, now collected in
Recorded Jazz in the 20th Century, which you'd
have to download all of to pick out the Coltrane pages.
Looking forward, I have some downloads that look promising, especially
from Astral Spirits, but I haven't listened to them yet because they're
a pain in the ass. Also got some vinyl I've been too lazy to check out,
again a bunch of extra work (assuming the gear still works).
People have been dying recently, including musicians. Without looking
hard, here are a few of the obituaries and tributes I've noticed:
Jon Pareles: Manu Dibango, soulful ambassador of African music, dies
Neil Genzlinger: Andy González, prolific Latin jazz bassist, is dead
Onaje Allan Gumbs:
Onaje Allan Gumbs, ecumenical pianist, is dead at 70.
Steve Smith: Mike Longo, jazz pianist, composer and educator, dies at
Abdi Latif Dahir: Aurlus Mabele, Congolese king of soukous music, dies
Giovanni Russonello: Ray Mantilla, percussionist who transcended genres,
dies at 85.
Giovanni Russonello/Michael Levenson: Ellis Marsalis, jazz pianist and
music family patriarch, dies at 85.
Peter Keepnews: Bucky Pizzarelli, master of the jazz guitar, is dead at
Giovanni Russonello: Wallace Roney, jazz trumpet virtuoso, is dead at
Some of these pieces came from a
longer list published by the New York Times. I noticed today that
legendary Formula One driver
Stirling Moss has died, age 90, evidently of something else. I was
a big F1 fan as a teenager, and he was already long retired. I remember
him as a very astute writer, covering the circuit for Road &
Track (which I thought at the time was the best edited magazine
in the world). Another prominent figure of my youth died, at 85:
Al Kaline. I don't recall being conscious of baseball before 1957,
but can still recite the 1957 all-star teams (that was the year
Cincinnati stuffed the ballot boxes -- the NL ordered that several
Reds be dropped in favor of players they beat, like Willie Mays
and Hank Aaron; it was also a year when the AL picked a bunch of
Tigers, including starting pitcher Jim Bunning; no one doubted that
Kaline belonged in right-field, next to Mickey Mantle in center and
Ted Williams in left -- nor did the NL have a problem with Frank
Robinson joining Mays and Aaron).
New records reviewed this week:
- John Anderson: Years (2020, Easy Eye Sound): [r]: B+(**)
- Thomas Anderson: Analog Summer (Four-Tracks and Then Some) (2020, Out There): [r]: B+(**)
- Erlend Apneseth: Fragmentarium (2019 , Hubro): [r]: B+(***)
- The Exbats: Kicks, Hits and Fits (2020, Burger): [r]: B+(***)
- Grrrl Gang: Here to Stay (2017-18 , Damnably, EP): [r]: B+(**)
- Kirby Heard: Mama's Biscuits (2019, self-released): [r]: B+(**)
- Heroes Are Gang Leaders: Artificial Happiness Button (2020, Ropeadope): [cd]: A-
- Jasper Høiby: Planet B (2019 , Edition): [r]: A-
- Large Unit/Fendika: EthioBraz (2018 , PNL): [bc]: A-
- Ashley McBryde: Never Will (2020, Warner Nashville): [r]: B+(**)
- Grant Peeples: Bad Wife (2020, Rootball): [r]: B+(*)
- Matthew Shipp/Mark Helias/Gordon Grdina: Skin and Bones (2018 , Not Two): [r]: B+(***)
- Lou Volpe: Before & After (2020, Jazz Guitar): [cd]: B+(**)
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:
- Future/Zaytoven: Beast Mode (2015 , Epic/Freebandz): [r]: B+(**)
- Lennie Tristano: The Duo Sessions (1968 , Dot Time): [r]: B+(**)
- Arnett Cobb and His Orchestra: 1946-1947 (1946-47 , Classics): [r]: B+(***)
- Arnett Cobb: Smooth Sailing (1959, Prestige): [r]: A-
- Arnett Cobb: Movin' Right Along (1960, Prestige): [r]: A-
- Arnett Cobb With the Red Garland Trio: Blue and Sentimental (1960 , Prestige): [r]: B+(***)
- Arnett Cobb: Deep Purple [The Defnitive Black & Blue Sessions] (1973 , Black & Blue): [r]: B+(***)
- Arnett Cobb: Jumpin' at the Woodside [The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions] (1974 , Black & Blue): [r]: A-
- Arnett Cobb: The Wild Man From Texas [The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions] (1976 , Black & Blue): [r]: B+(***)
- Arnett Cobb/Jimmy Heath/Joe Henderson: Tenor Tribute Vol. 2 (1988 , Soul Note): [r]: B+(***)
- Duke Ellington: At the Hollywood Empire (1949 , Storyville): [bc]: B+(***)
- Dexter Gordon: Jazz at Highschool (1967 , Storyville): [bc]: B+(***)
- Al Grey/Arnett Cobb: Ain't That Funk for You (1977 , Black & Blue): [r]: B+(***)
- Sun Ra: Celestial Love (1982 , Enterplanetary Koncepts): [r]: B+(*)
- Buddy Tate: Celebrity Club Orchestra (1954 , Black & Blue): [r]: A-
- Buddy Tate/Claude Hopkins: Buddy and Claude (1960 , Prestige): [r]: B+(**)
- Buddy Tate/Milton Buckner: When I'm Blue (1967 , Black & Blue): [r]: B+(*)
- Buddy Tate: Buddy Tate & His Celebrity Club Orchestra [The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions] (1968 , Black & Blue): [r]: A-
- Buddy Tate: Buddy Tate and His Buddies (1973, Chiaroscuro): [r]: B+(***)
- Buddy Tate: The Texas Twister (1975 , New World): [r]: B+(***)
- Buddy Tate: The Texas Tenor (1975 , Storyville, 2CD): [r]: B+(**)
- Buddy Tate: Body and Soul: Live in Dublin 1976 (1976 , Nagel Heyer): [r]: B+(**)
- Buddy Tate/Abdullah Ibrahim: Buddy Tate Meets Abdullah Ibrahim: The Legendary 1977 Encounter (1977 , Chiaroscuro): [r]: B+(**)
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
- #Bloomerangs: Moments and Fragments (Instru Dash Mental)
- Gordon Grdina Septet: Resist (Irabbagast)
- Heroes Are Gang Leaders: Artificial Happiness Button (Ropeadope)
Sunday, April 12, 2020
I have little to add to the comments below, and frankly am exhausted
and want to put this week behind me. Seems like I could have found more
on Bernie Sanders, the end of his campaign, and the consolidation behind
Joe Biden. Still seems premature for that, not least as Biden continues
to be such an underwhelming front-runner. I watched only a few minutes
of Steven Colbert's interview with the Pod Saves America crew last week.
They're usually sharp guys, but their "ecstasy" over Biden's win seemed
awfully rehearsed and forced. They all previously worked in the Obama
White House, and one couldn't help but think they're lining up for new
jobs under Biden.
Looks like Joe Biden won the
Alaska Democratic primary, 55.31% to 44.69% for Bernie Sanders.
The primary was conducted by mail. No results yet in last week's messy
Wisconsin primary. Biden was averaging about 53% in polls there. We've
voted by mail in Kansas, where the primary is run by the party, not by
the state. Ballots here are due May 4. We voted for Sanders. Ranked
choice was an option here, but in a two-person race, I didn't see any
point in offering a second choice (which could only have been Elizabeth
Warren; with five names on the ballot, had I ranked them all Biden would
have come in fifth).
I've seen some tweets touting Warren as a VP choice, and I wouldn't
object. Indeed, I think she would be very effective in the role. I'm
reminded of a business maxim I associate with David Ogilvy, who passed
it on to his middle management: if we always hire people greater than
ourselves, we will become a company of giants; if we hire people lesser
than ourselves, we will be a company of midgets. Biden would probably
prefer a safe, mediocre pick like Tim Kaine (or Joe Biden), but this
is one chance to rewrite his story (assuming his handlers let him).
Some scattered links this week:
An airline bailout should have more strings attached than a harp:
"The industry was a hot mess before the coronavirus. Cash plus more
deregulation will only make it worse."
Dean Baker (also see
Why do economists have such a hard time imagining open source biomedical
Why Bernie Sanders failed: "The Sanders campaign and his supporters
bet on a theory of class politics that turned out to be wrong." Did it?
Until Super Tuesday, Sanders had made significant gains among white and
Latin working class voters, even while losing most of his professional
class support to Elizabeth Warren. As for blacks, South Carolina isn't a
very representative measure. Sanders had won the first three hard-fought
primaries, and continued to gain support through Super Tuesday. What hurt
him there (and in South Carolina three days earlier) was the blind-sided
convergence of all "moderate" voters behind Biden, on top of $500 million
of saturation advertising by Michael Bloomberg (who entered the campaign
expressly to stop Sanders). Then it became impossible to campaign as the
coronavirus pandemic shut much of everything down (including voting).
I suppose it is true that focus on class has been temporarily suspended
with the entire economy in free fall, but when we assay the damage, I
expect class schisms to bounce back sharper than ever. Not soon enough
for Sanders to ride a wave to the White House, but that doesn't mean his
strategy failed -- more like it was more necessary, and more promising,
than most people realized. Other postmortems and testaments on the
Bernie Sanders's campaign was trying to save American democracy.
It was astonishing to hear the Sanders campaign described, as it
routinely was in the mainstream press, as angry, bellicose, even a
Trumpism for the Left. To be anywhere near the campaign -- to know
any of the people going door to door and making regular small
donations -- was to understand that it was idealistic in spirit,
hopeful in tone, generous in its sense of possibility. It modeled
what you might call patriotism for adults, disillusioned patriotism
without exceptionalist bullshit. . . .
[W]hat stopped Sanders from taking control of the party was voters'
doubt that American democracy could build a bridge to a better world.
For decades, the Right has attacked and denuded the state, while
liberals have fought for half-measures, accepting the premises and
quarreling over specific applications and results. Pundits and party
leaders identify political wisdom as world-weary acceptance that you
don't hope for too much, that politics is all small increments and
It is hard to ask people to vault over everything they've been
old stands between them and the life they would like to believe is
possible. It is especially hard when Donald Trump's destructive
presidency has made #Resistance, rather than transformation, the
essentially defensive posture of the American center and center-left.
Bernie Sanders was right: "Goodbye to an honest man's campaign."
'No one went for a knockout blow': Inside Bernie's campaign nosedive:
"Many of Sanders' aides and top allies are convinced they should have gone
for Biden's jugular."
Sanders -- and the media -- learned the wrong lessons from Trump in
The profound simplicity of Bernie Sanders's vision:
At best, that contention -- that Sanders's vision of a less apocalyptic
future for everyone required to work for a living was so far-fetched that
Democrats shouldn't pursue it -- was a profound failure of imagination
and a cowardly preemptive compromise in a political landscape already
defined by so much senseless inequality and despair. At worst, it was
the logical rejoinder of the same wing of the Democratic Party that
engineered ugly schemes like welfare reform and rushed to deregulate
Wall Street in the 1990s. Though neither of Sanders's bids for the
presidency succeeded, they exposed in their course the smallness and
callousness of that Democratic elite, and broke their chokehold on the
party, even if only for fleeting moments.
Bernie Sanders' political outsider savviness was his strength -- and
Bernie Sanders' political revolution is not over.
Peter Navarro: what Trump's Covid-19 tsar lacks in expertise, he makes
Trump is entering the 2020 general-election season with key demographics
moving away from him. If all these groups are moving against him,
who's moving for him? Nonwhite R+6 (but still more D than any other line),
$50-100,000 R+3 (richer are D+5, poorer D+2 but much more D). White, no
degree is still heavily R, but relative shift is D+17. Age 65+ is D+16,
flipping from R to D. Biggest shift is white, college at D+25, so maybe
presenting yourself as a moron isn't working so well.
'A disastrous situation': mountains of food wasted as coronavirus
scrambles supply chain.
Mike Bloomberg's firm that ran his presidential campaign is bidding to
take over Joe Biden's. So Bloomberg couldn't buy the election from
the voters, but maybe he can control it anyway? Maybe Hawkfish isn't
directly controlled by Bloomberg, although their business relationship
isn't very reassuring -- nor for that matter is their track record. I
thought one of the great strengths of the Warren campaign was their
home-grown organization, free from the corporate angles that plagued
Hillary Clinton's campaign, and that failed Bloomberg so badly. If I
were advising Biden, I'd start by looking at how he could pick up as
much organization support from Warren and Sanders as possible.
To fight Covid-19, cyberattacks worldwide must stop immediately:
Author is UN Under Secretary, and he has a point. I've long thought
we need an international crackdown on cyberwarfare and cybercrime,
but the major players seem to think they're winning, or deterring
enemies, or at least can't get hurt much. On the other hand, one big
thing the pandemic is forcing us to do is to do more work through
networking, and that's likely to continue to increase even if it
becomes possible to relax social distancing rules.
Can a pandemic remake society? A historian explains.: Interview
with Walter Scheidel, author of The Great Leveler: Violence and
the History of Inequality From the Stone Age to the Twenty-First
Kalewold H Kalewold:
Biden's first concessions to the left are pathetic.
Coronavirus is not just a tragedy. It's an opportunity to build a
better world. Interview with Frank Sowden, author of Epidemics
and Society: From the Black Death to the Present, and previous
books on malaria and cholera in Italy.
Michael Lewis explains how the Trump administration puts us all at risk
of catastrophe. Lewis's book The Fifth Risk goes into various
federal government agencies and finds dilligent people there working hard
and smart to manage various kinds of risks -- if you're lucky, you'll
never hear about those people, because they're doing their jobs. But he
waited until Trump got elected to go looking, so it's more like a tour
of endangered species and habitats, as Trump systematically installed
hacks and lobbyists, spreading graft and incompetence everywhere. Lewis
describes Trump as a "destroyer of trust." I never really appreciated
the importance of trust until I read George P Brockway's brilliant
The End of Economic Man: Principles of Any Future Economics,
where the first thing he wrote about was how everything else depends
Activists have been trying to change the electoral college for more
than 200 years.
I've read plans to reopen the economy. They're scary. "There is
no plan to return to normal."
How private-equity firms squeeze hospital patients for profits.
How Viktor Orbán is taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis.
American democracy may be dying: "Authoritarian rule may be just
around the corner."
Yet the scariest news of the past week didn't involve either epidemiology
or economics; it was the
travesty of an election in Wisconsin, where the Supreme Court required
that in-person voting proceed despite the health risks and the fact that
many who requested absentee ballots never got them.
Why was this so scary? Because it shows that America as we know it may
not survive much longer. The pandemic will eventually end; the economy
will eventually recover. But democracy, once lost, may never come back.
And we're much closer to losing our democracy than many people realize.
Krugman offers Hungary as an example, where an elected leader and
party used their power to make it virtually impossible for any other
party to regain power, then used the pandemic as an excuse to award
itself even more extraordinary powers. Republicans have clearly shown
the same contempt for democracy, most obviously in their gerrymanders,
their voter suppression laws, and their court packing. But you have
to also cite the Democrats of the DNC and Congressional leadership,
who have repeatedly nudged the levers of power to get their favored
candidates nominated. Moreover, both parties have refused to lift a
finger to reduce the influence of money in elections. Perhaps the
most flagrant flouting of money ever was Bloomberg's $500 million --
not enough to buy election for one of the most contemptible politicians
in America, but instrumental in prodding the Democratic Party to go
for Biden. Related here:
Will we flunk pandemic economics? "Our government suffers from
Robert Kuttner/Katherine V Stone:
The rise of neo-feudalism: "The private capture of entire legal
systems by corporate America goes far beyond neoliberalism. It evokes
the private fiefdoms of the Middle Ages." Reminds me that Michael Lind
came up with the equation, noting that libertarianism had indeed been
tried, but at the time was called feudalism.
American democracy today is under assault on multiple fronts. The
autocratic incursions of the Trump administration are only the most
urgent and immediate. But the private capture of public regulatory
law is more long-term and more insidious. If we are to get our
democracy back, once we oust Trump we need to begin to reclaim
public law from neo-feudalism.
Lauren Leatherby/David Gelles:
How the virus transformed the way Americans spend their money.
Big bump for groceries around mid-March, as everything else falls
off -- travel, most of all.
Trump's Labor Department fights to protect workers from benefits.
Eric Lipton, et al:
He could have seen what was coming: Behind Trump's failure on the virus:
"An examination reveals the president was warned about the potential for
a pandemic but that internal divisions, lack of planning and his faith
in his own instincts led to a halting response."
Jonathan Martin/Maggie Haberman:
Trump keeps talking. Some Republicans don't like what they're hearing.
"Aides and allies increasingly believe the president's daily briefings
are hurting him more than helping, and are urging him to let his
medical experts take center stage." Related:
In Trump's marathon briefings, the answers and the message are often
contradictory: "The president does not need adversaries to dispute
his statements. He does that all by himself.".
Trump's ridiculous behavior at pandemic briefings baffles a watching
With each briefing, Trump is making us worse people: "He is draining
the last reserves of decency among us at a time when we need it most."
Daily, Trump's opponents are enraged by yet another assault on the truth
and basic human decency. His followers are delighted by yet more vulgar
attacks on the media and the Democrats. And all of us, angry or pleased,
become more like Trump, because just like the president, we end up thinking
about only Trump, instead of our families, our fellow citizens, our
health-care workers, or the future of our country. We are all forced
to take sides every day, and those two sides are always "Trump" and
Call Trump's news conferences what they are: propaganda.
Sometimes, I stare at Deborah Birx during these briefings and I wonder
if she understands that this is the footage historians will be looking
at 100 years from now -- the president rambling on incoherently, vainly,
angrily, deceitfully, while she watches, her face stiff with the
strangled horror of a bride enduring an inappropriate toast.
9 ideas Joe Biden should steal from his Democratic rivals. The
big one is Bernie Sanders' coronavirus plan (which includes a temp
draft of Medicare for All), but casting a wide net comes up with
generally good ideas from all over (like two from Michael Bennett).
Only one I have reservations about is "Cory Booker's plan to ban
factory farms" -- I'm not opposed but not convinced either. But I
should note that a Tyson plan last year to open a chicken factory
near Wichita got killed by public opposition.
How Mitch McConnell became Trump's enabler-in-chief.
Will the coronavirus kill the oil industry? Well, not if Trump
has anything to say about it:
Oil nations, prodded by Trump, reach deal to slash production.
I'm a Bernie volunteer. Here's how Joe Biden can win Bernie voters.
Sohale Andrus Mortazavi:
American politics is broken. Liberalism can't fix it. Review of
Ezra Klein's new book, Why We're Polarized. A friend recommended
that book to me, and I've just cracked it open, so I'll have more to
say on it later.
Welcome to the Trumpocalypse: "Maybe the administration would take
a bit more care with the coronavirus pandemic if it weren't loaded with
folks who are looking forward to the end of the world."
Power to the person: Chuck Shumer, who's almost as big a threat to
democracy as Donald Trump.
When targeted ads feel a little too targeted: "How do you outrun
something that's designed to follow you everywhere?"
Democrats decide, again, not to try anything new.
How generals fueled 1918 flu pandemic to win their World War:
"Just like today, brass and bureaucrats ignored warnings, and sent
troops overseas despite the consequences."
Why Sanders didn't replicate Trump's upset primary victory. Focuses
on minor technical issues, like "Trump won the last early state before
Super Tuesday. Sanders didn't." The real difference was that Sanders
was a threat to the cozy coterie of Party leaders and donors, one that
aimed to change the focus and strategy of the party (while making them
expendable), whereas Trump never threatened elite Republicans. They may
have doubted that his tactics would work, but the more he won, the more
they acquiesced -- and in victory they got the same spoils any other
Republican candidate would have delivered.
Here's what voters told us about voting in Wisconsin's primary.
American billionaires are giving to charity -- but much of it is
Why it's so hard to see into the future of Covid-19.
Under cover of Covid-19, Donald Trump ramps up his war on truth-tellers.
Katharine Q Seelye:
William R Polk, historian and middle east envoy, dies at 91. I read,
and recommend, his 2007 book, Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency,
Terrorism, and Guerrilla War, From the American Revolution to Iraq --
the point he tried to make obvious was that Iraq's revolt against American
occupation wasn't fundamentally different from the American revolt against
Britain in 1776.
Behind Trump's strange 'invisible enemy' rhetoric: "By branding
coronavirus as a hidden menace, he deftly absolves himself of responsibility
for its spread." Some kind of branding campaign? It also builds on a
long tradition of paranoid fantasies, which have often proved useful
for those who would trample rights to privacy and such.
The US has a collective action problem that's larger than the coronavirus
crisis: "Data show one of the strongest predictors of social distancing
behavior is attitudes toward climate change."
Trump administration piles on sanctions as the rest of the world helps
Iran confront COVID-19.
Trump's own military mafia. Notes that both the Secretaries of State
and Defense (Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper) graduated from West Point, class
of 1986, and finds many more of their classmates in positions of power.
Joseph E Stiglitz:
A lasting remedy for the Covid-19 pandemic's economic crisis.
Also of interest in the NY Times Book Review interview with Stiglitz:
The Nobel-winning economist who wants you to read more fiction.
Marina Villeneuve/Lori Hinnant:
NYC death toll eclipses number killed in World Trade Center on 9/11.
3 European countries are about to lift their lockdowns: "Is it too
soon?" The countries are Austria, Czech Republic, and Denmark, and the
"lift" is more of a gradual rollback. There are also political pressures
to open up Spain and Italy, both hit especially hard (Italy had the
world's highest fatality count, until
the US passed it), but the WHO
is strongly advising against relaxing lockdowns.
What is Trump wins? Subject of a special issue of the magazine that
once thought it would be clever to describe themselves as "neoliberals"
-- I'd suggest an alternate title, Thinking About the Unthinkable.
The component pieces follow. Aside from the Clark and Gastris pieces,
all the others are basically saying that Trump and his minions will
continue to do the things he's done (or in some cases tried to do) in
his first term, and that they will be more effective and more damaging
over time -- often referring back to something that deserved its own
piece: Trump's packing of the courts.
Wesley K Clark:
Can the liberal world order survive another four years of Trump?
Here's one I don't worry about, as the old "liberal world order" was
never much more than a racket to allow first American and now world
oligarchs to exploit the far corners of the world, and to eventually
pauperize their own formerly wealthy countries. Trump's only change
here has been to reduce the reliance on cant and cliché, making
America's subservience to naked capitalism even more explicit. It's
telling here that the former NATO commander starts by declaring that
"For more than 70 years the United States has maintained its powerful
grip on western Europe" -- rather than talk about historic alliances
and shared values and the like. Clark's position is that we should
spend more money on the military. It's not clear why he thinks Trump
What would a second Trump term do to the federal bureaucracy?
Ryan LaRochelle/Luisa S Deprez:
How Trump would gut the social safety net with a second term.
How Trump could take away Obamacare with a second term.
How Trump could dismantle workers' rights with another four years.
Gaby Del Valle:
Trump's second term immigration agenda.
Can civil rights and civil liberties survive a second Trump term?
Why a second Trump term will not be a horror movie: a fairly technical
distinction, I'm afraid.
To many people, the Trump presidency has felt like one long horror movie.
To me, it's been more like a thriller: disorienting, appalling, emotionally
wrenching, but not disempowering. Almost every insane or diabolical decision
the president has made has been met with countermoves -- by the courts,
civil servants, voters, Nancy Pelosi -- that have frequently lessened the
impact and fortified my faith that all is not lost.
States resisting stay-at-home orders are playing a dangerous game.
The debate over a post office bailout, explained: "Republicans want
privatization, Trump wants to stick it to Amazon." Also see:
The US Postal Service is more vital than ever.
Trump administration orders insurers to make Covid-19 immunity tests free
Stimulus measures should be made automatic now, before Republicans
flip-flop on deficits again: "Act now to protect against next
year's austerity mania."
US rocked by 6.6 million more initial unemployment claims last week:
"That's not quite as bas as the record 6.9 million initial claims from
the previous week," but until new jobs open up, these numbers accumulate,
a total of 16.8 million over three weeks.
Joe Biden will have a very hard time winning over the Berniesphere:
"The problem isn't his platform, it's that he's not trusted." Depends
on what you mean by "winning over." Getting the votes shouldn't be hard,
although not everyone who favored Sanders is ideologically aligned on
the left. Getting them to campaign for Biden is harder, although the
pitch I'd recommend is to get them to support the party ticket, which
means focusing on Republicans across the board, not just on Biden vs.
Trump. I'm not going to campaign, because that's something I just don't
do, but I know people who do, and they'll work against the Republicans,
especially Trump. Getting them to like Biden is a bigger ask, and I
don't see that happening until Biden starts understanding the problems
people on the left are most sensitive to, and appreciating that the
left has better solutions than the center or the right. I expect this
to happen somewhat, because it's clear to me that the answers are on
the left. But Biden's track record doesn't offer much reason to hope.
One point I will grant is that he has deeper personal empathy with
the party base than the last few nominees (I'd say since Bill Clinton,
but that's only because he was so practiced as faking it -- something
that was beneath his wife and beyond Obama). On the other hand, no
Reagan-era Democrat has been more willing to compromise the party
base's interests when donors beckon, and there's no evidence that
he's learned from past mistakes [insert long list here]. But another
thing to understand about the left is that it's driven by issues,
not candidates. That much of the left rallied to Sanders is because
he offered a practical way to advance left issues, but win or lose
leftists would find their causes still need their efforts, and that
could well put them in opposition to Democratic leaders (Sanders
Bernie Sanders's campaign is over, but his legacy is winning:
"Sanders ignited a movement that pulled the Democratic Party leftward."
Study: Small increases in air pollution make coronavirus much more
deadly: "Countries with more air pollution see higher Covid-19
The tech sector is finally delivering on its promise: "The
internet has been a productivity bust -- until now, when it's emerged
PS: Right after I posted Weekend Roundup, I noticed a
pretty inflammatory tweets
Reza Aslan @rezaaslan: Breaking news: @DemSocialists endorses
Trump for President.
DSA @DemSocialists: We are not endorsing @JoeBiden.
I'm not a member of or in any way involved with DSA, but I don't see
any problem with them, as an organization, not endorsing Biden, especially
at this time. (Had I been involved, I would have advised them keeping the
door open by adding "at this time.") Assuming Biden is the Democratic Party
nominee against Trump, I wouldn't be surprised if they endorse Biden as the
November election approaches. That would be consistent with what I assume
is their raison d'être, which is to advance socialism within the
Democratic Party and to support the Democratic Party in general
However, non-endorsement now (4-5 months before the convention) doesn't
even remotely imply a preference, let alone an endorsement, for Trump, so
Aslan is just being deliberately, provocatively stupid. Sadly, he's not
alone in this regard, as I've run into a constant stream of presumed
Democrats who are so hepped up on attacking what Howard Dean memorably
called "the democratic wing of the Democratic Party" -- an obsession
that actually does little more than further discredit "centrism" in the
eyes of those who actually care about progressive reforms for real and
pressing problems. It's especially hard to credit that people engaging
in this kind of innuendo or slander think they're actually helping
Biden (or helping defeat Trump -- by the way, I'm not doubting their
sincere loathing of Trump, although they do like to doubt others, as
Aslan does above).
Relevant to but not directly à propos of this, I noticed this tweet
(and later a follow up):
'Weird Alex' Pareene @pareene: I truly thought the fact that no
one really feels personally invested in a Biden presidency would make
the timeline a bit less wild this time but it's actually somehow worse
because they're already preemptively blaming you for him losing
'Weird Alex' Pareene @pareene: (To be clear I do not believe
it's a fait accompli he will lose which makes it even weirder that
we're already on the recriminations stage.)
By the way, good chance I will eventually write an endorsement for
Biden before November's election, much like
the one I wrote for Kerry in 2004. But not until he is definitively
the nominee, and not until it's reasonably close to the election time.
And sure, it's going to focus more on how bad Trump is than on how good
Biden will be, because the former is proven, while the latter is at best
hypothetical, and not strongly grounded in the track records of Biden
and whoever is likely to be involved in his administration.
I got ticked off by a Facebook post from an otherwise brilliant
friend trying to shame Bernie supporters into supporting Biden. I
have no reason to think he actually disagrees with Sanders on anything
other than tactics, but he's had a bug up his ass about Bernie's fans
all along, repeatedly attacking them with grossly overgeneralized (if
ever even marginally fact-based) aspersions.
Assuming Biden is the Democratic nominee, I fully intend to vote for
him in November. However, I'll never attack anyone on the left who
refuses to vote for Democrats like Biden, and I resent it when you
do. Those leftists are principled people who can be depended on to
rally against war, racism, and injustice, not least when (as is often
the case) Democrats are culpable. We need them much more when the
chips are down than we need their votes at election time, and they
deserve our respect.
The Facebook post I referred to was by Allen Lowe. On re-reading it,
I find it snarkier than I originally read it, but it fits into a pattern
of similar (often more explicit) broadsides:
my statement du jour to those highly principled holdouts who are now
saying, in a Biden/Trump election, that they will vote Third Party:
"you vote for whomever you want; don't you worry about the poor and
the disabled and people of color, and old folks like me who are dying
from the virus. We willingly give our lives for your right to be
Tom Hull than I am sorry to say that you will continue to resent me.
Anyone on the left who does not vote for Biden in this election is not
only, in my opinion, heavily deluded, but acting on a non-existent
principle. To say "we need them much more when the chips are down than
we need their votes at election time," is odd, to my way of thinking.
The chips have never been lower.
Agree on deluded; disagree strongly on "non-existent principle."
Since 2000 came up, I'll note that I voted for Nader then (in KS, where
Gore did zero campaigning, not that I'm using that as an excuse). It's
not that I couldn't discern differences between Bush and Gore, but by
then I was totally disgusted by Clinton, and felt it was important to
fight back against the "New Democrats" efforts to purge the Party of
deviant leftism. My takeaway from that election was that the left has
to work in the Democratic Party, because that's where the people the
left wants to organize are. By 2004 I had zero interest in Nader, and
a letter to all my friends and acquaintances urging them to vote
for Kerry vs. Bush. Some details have changed, but the basic concept
is relevant today:
Monday, April 06, 2020
Expanded blog post,
Music: Current count 33056  rated (+49), 216  unrated (-3).
Surprised by the high rated count, but I guess I haven't been doing
much else. Lists by
Chris Monsen (although I also should have looked
Phil Overeem gave me some ideas to check out.
Last week I noted that I had been working on my Jazz Guide files,
bringing them up to date, and I published links to the ODT files.
Now I've updated an additional series of files, where I've scraped
up my non-review political, music, and miscellaneous writings (most
easily from the
Notebook. I've written up an
Index page that provides
links to the ODT files. You are welcome to download those files
and read them (although not to copy, modify, or redistribute them
without my permission. The ODT file format is used by the free
LibreOffice. The format
is publicly available, so it's possible that other programs can
import and display the files (e.g., Microsoft Word since 2010).
I need to look into possibly exporting the files into other
formats (certainly, PDF is possible). I imagine E-book format(s)
would be more useful, but I'm not a user let alone expert, so
that's something I'll need to learn more about.
The writing in these "books" is almost identical to things I've
published elsewhere on the website. (I've corrected errors where
I noticed them, but have done very little editing, even though I
understand that a lot of editing is called for.) Most of this was
done by cut-and-paste from web browser or from my trusty emacs
text editor (which preserves a bit less markup). The main thing
about these files is that the Jazz Guides are sorted by era then
artist name, while everything else is presented oldest-to-newest
(FIFO, as opposed to the LIFO you get reading a blog).
It remains to be seen how much editing I will eventually manage
to do, but the collection phase completion makes it much easier to
do something with the writing. I've always wanted to write books,
and I sense that time is running out for that. My wife has taken
a stab at sifting through the 2000-09 political blogs, but hasn't
come up with as much as a plan there. I have a few rough ideas,
and I'll try to develop them as I find time. One thing I wonder
about now is how easy it would be to organize the music reviews
into a reference website (possibly using Mediawiki). I doubt they
are adequate as is, but wonder if other people might find them a
useful framework to build on. Would be nice to have some kind of
comment framework here, as I could use some feedback.
By the way, I got one letter last week which raised my spirits.
Also noted how hard it is to find vaguely remembered things on
the website, so I cobbled together a Google-based Website Search
function, which appears on many (but far from all) pages (bottom
of the left nav section on blog pages). This is based on code I
had written for
Robert Christgau, and
does nothing more than add "site:tomhull.com" to a Google search
string, redirecting the output to a new tab/window. Still, I've
already found it faster than my relatively knowledgeable guesses
as to where things are. A while back I realized that the ancient
Sitemap needs a major revision.
I did a tiny bit of work on it, then dropped the ball.
Someone pointed out that Wikipedia's page for John Coltrane's
Supreme cites my A+ grade under "Professional ratings." As
a side effect, whoever did that created a stub redirect page for
Tom Hull (critic), which is currently empty (aside from the
Got an invite to participate in DownBeat's critics poll, but
they're on a tight deadline this year, which I'll be up against
soon. They claim one can fill the ballot out in 45 minutes, but
it usually takes me 6-8 hours (and not just because I find so
much to gripe about along the way).
Got Democratic Primary ballots from the state party today -- due
back early May. That one was easy: ticked the box for Bernie Sanders,
signed the ballot, and sealed the envelope. The state has refused to
pay for presidential primaries in the past, so the parties have been
left to organize caucuses. The last two caucuses I attended (2008
and 2016) involved hours of waiting in line, after which they just
counted votes and sent us on the way, so this one will be much more
efficient. They're even allowing for ranked choice voting, but in
what is now a two-person race I didn't see any value in that. This
system was figured out before Covid-19 wrecked everything. We also
filled out the census online, so no anxiety there either.
New records reviewed this week:
- Harrison Argatoff: Toronto Streets Tour (2019 , self-released): [cd]: B+(*)
- Jeich Ould Badou: Music From Saharan WhatsApp 03 (2020, Sahel Sounds, EP): [bc]: B+(*)
- Kelsea Ballerini: Kelsea (2020, Black River): [r]: B+(*)
- Marshall Chapman: Songs I Can't Live Without (2020, Tall Girl): [r]: B+(**)
- Childish Gambino: 3.15.20 (2020, RCA): [r]: B
- Gerald Cleaver: Signs (2017-19 , 577): [r]: B
- Avishai Cohen Big Vicious: Big Vicious (2020, ECM): [r]: B+(**)
- Jennifer Curtis & Tyshawn Sorey: Invisible Ritual (2020, New Focus): [bc]: B+(**)
- Jay Electronica: A Written Testimony (2020, Roc Nation): [r]: B+(*)
- Lily Hiatt: Walking Proof (2020, New West): [r]: B+(**)
- Sigurd Hole: Lys/Mørke (2019 , Eivesang, 2CD): [r]: B+(*)
- Gabe Lee: Farmland (2019, Torrez Music Group): [r]: B+(**)
- Gabe Lee: Honky Tonk Hell (2020, Torrez Music Group): [r]: B+(**)
- Grégoire Maret/Romain Collin/Bill Frisell: Americana (2020, ACT Music): [cd]: B+(**)
- Mr. Wrong: Create a Place (2020, Water Wing, EP): [bc]: B+(***)
- Mythic Sunship: Changing Shapes: Live at Roadburn (2019 , El Paraiso): [r]: B+(**)
- The Necks: Three (2020, Northern Spy): [r]: B+(**)
- Gard Nilssen's Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully the Music Is Yours (2019 , Odin): [r]: A-
- Onipa: We No Be Machine (2020, Strut): [r]: B+(***)
- Tineke Postma: Freya (2018 , Edition): [r]: B+(**)
- Princess Nokia: Everything Is Beautiful (2020, Platoon): [r]: B+(***)
- Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks (2020, Platoon, EP): [r]: B+(**)
- Andreas Røysum Ensemble: Andreas Røysum Ensemble (2020, Motvind): [r]: B+(**)
- Skepta, Chip & Young Adz: Insomnia (2020, SKC M29): [r]: B+(**)
- Torben Snekkestad/Agustí Fernández/Barry Guy: The Swiftest Traveler (2018 , Trost): [r]: B+(**)
- Soccer Mommy: Color Theory (2020, Loma Vista): [r]: B+(***)
- Sufjan Stevens & Lowell Brams: Aporia (2020, Asthmatic Kitty): [r]: B+(*)
- Nora Jane Struthers: Bright Lights, Long Drives, First Words (2020, Blue Pig Music): [r]: B+(*)
- Superposition: Superposition (2018-19 , We Jazz): [r]: B+(***)
- Tamikrest: Tamotaït (2020, Glitterbeat): [r]: B+(**)
- Sophie Tassignon: Mysteries Unfold (2020, RareNoise): [cdr]: B+(*) [04-24]
- The Tender Things: How You Make a Fool (2020, Spaceflight): [r]: B
- The TNEK Jazz Quintet: Plays the Music of Sam Jones (2020, TNEK Jazz): [cd]: B+(*)
- Stein Urheim: Downhill Uplift (2018 , Hubro): [r]: B
- Wako: Wako (2019 , Øra Fonogram): [r]: B+(*)
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:
- Tony Allen/Hugh Masekela: Rejoice (2010 , World Circuit): [r]: A-
- Cadence Revolution: Disques Debs International Vol. 2 (1970s , Disques Debs/Strut): [bc]: A-
- Jamaican All Stars [Studio One] (1970-74 , Studio One): [r]: B+(*)
- Léve Léve: Sao Tome & Principe Sounds '70s-'80s (1970s-80s , Bongo Joe): [r]: B+(***)
- Ana Mazzotti: Ninguem Vai Me Segura (1974 , Far Out): [r]: B+(**)
- Ana Mazzotti: Ana Mazzotti (1977 , Far Out): [r]: B+(***)
- Ranil Y Su Conjunto Tropical: Limited Dance Edition (, Analog Africa): [bc]: A-
- Ranil Y Su Conjunto Tropical: Stay Safe and Sound Ranil Selection!! (, Analog Africa): [bc]: B+(***)
- Yabby You: King Tubby's Prophecies of Dub (1976 , Pressure Sounds): [bc]: B+(***)
- Disques Debs International Volume 1: An Island Story: Biguine, Afro Latin & Musique Antillaise 1960-1972 (1960-72 , Disques Debs/Strut): [bc]: B+(***)
- Mr. Wrong: Babes in Boyland (2017, Water Wing, EP): [bc]: B+(**)
- Papa Bue's Viking Jazzband: Greatest Hits (1958-70 , Storyville): [bc]: B+(***)
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:
- The Ian Carey Quintet + 1: Fire in My Head: The Anxiety Suite (Slow & Steady) [04-24]
- Dave Stryker With Bob Mintzer and the WDR Big Band: Blue Soul (Strikezone) [06-05]
Sunday, April 05, 2020
I wanted to write an intro this week objecting to people who are
still ragging on "Sanders-ites," as in:
one of the most discouraging things about the Sanders-ites who continue
to rail against Biden is their appalling lack of understanding of how
government works. Their schematic recitations of corporate behemoths
who apparently control the every move of Biden, Schumer, and Pelosi
reflect a profound lack of any grasp of the realities of American
political life, which is that action and reaction occur in a lot of
different and even hidden places.
I don't have any problems with arguing that it's more realistic
to aim for incremental reforms than for ideal solutions, but this
isn't about tactics or goals. The point here is to disparage people
for wanting something more than the centrists/moderates are willing
to argue for. I can't help but take these attacks personally. Even
if there are people on the left too pig-headed to compromise their
principles, I don't see any value in attacking them personally, let
along generalizing and slandering them as a group. But every day I
see attacks on "Sanders-ites" like this, and I'm getting sick and
tired of them, and their high-handed authors.
Should write more, but will leave it with I'm more sad than angry
or anything else that Joe Biden is the presumptive Democratic Party
nominee. I'm not especially bothered by his positions or his record --
needless to say, not for lack of points I'd argue with -- but I do
worry that he'll prove an inarticulate and hapless campaigner (as we
already have much evidence of). Still, the sad part has little to do
with Biden personally. It shows that most Democrats are reacting to
fear -- not just of Trump and the Republicans, but of their expected
reaction to the changes Sanders is campaigning for. That may go hand
in hand with being uninformed and/or unimaginative, but I can't fault
anyone for excessive caution -- especially in the middle of a crisis
so unprecedented no one can honestly see their way beyond.
Some scattered links this week:
Yasmeen Abutaleb/Josh Dawsey/Ellen Nakashima/Greg Miller:
The U.S. was beset by denial and dysfunction as the coronavirus raged.
Why an Idaho ski destination has one of the highest Covid-19 infection
rates in the nation: This first came to my attention when a generally
right-wing relative in Twin Falls complained on Facebook about all the
Blaine County license plates at Costco. Even in Idaho, denialism fades
fast as the virus nears. Interesting side-point here is the perception
that it's the globe-trotting elites who are propagating the spread of
Covid-19, thereby endangering everyone else.
Darling, let's do coronavirus in the Hamptons this year: "The rich
continue their tradition of escapist virtue signaling."
Dean Baker: Every post in his
Press blog is worthwhile, especially:
Getting to Medicare for All, eventually.
Peter C Baker:
'We can't go back to normal': how will coronavirus change the world?
Oil prices are cratering. That's not a good thing.: "A barrel now
sells for around $20 -- the lowest in two decades." Whether it's a good
thing is arguable. Sure, it's bad for the economy, or at least for oil
producers, but they're some of the most reprehensible oligarchs around:
if anyone has to go broke, let it be them. You might think that cheaper
gas will encourage people to buy and burn more, but it's only cheap for
the moment because demand has fallen way below supply: use more and
you'll pay more. Personally, I think this would be the perfect time
to raise the gas tax. Related:
Rosemary Batt/Eileen Appelbaum:
Hospital bailouts begin -- for those owned by private equity firms.
Trump is mishandling coronavirus the way Reagan botched the AIDS epidemic:
Interview with Gregg Gonsalves.
Who could have predicted Trump would be such a bad crisis manager?
Everyone, actually. No, I haven't started caring what Max Boot
thinks, but once in a while he hits on a title which crystalizes
a key insight. In that regard, this one is much better than
The worst president. Ever. Boot has Trump displacing John Buchanan,
who used to be widely regarded as the worst president ever. I've never
been clear why history judges Buchanan so harshly. I mean, what the
fuck could he have done differently? He didn't have the moral standing
or the political base to confront the slave states, and he didn't have
the leadership skills to defend the Union. On the other hand, nothing
he could have done to satisfy the anxieties of the slaveholders would
have been accepted by the "free" states, with their increasing command
of the economy, supported by a majority of the population. Sure, he
dithered, postponing an increasingly inevitable war, which broke out
in the lame duck months of his term.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler sold at least $18 million more in stocks before the
coronavirus crash than previously reported.
The coronavirus is transforming politics and economics.
The meaning of Donald Trump's coronavirus quackery.
COVID-19 outbreak in Iran exposes twisted aims of Iran hawks.
Joe Biden is wrong about single-payer and coronavirus.
Trump orders anti-drug Navy ships to Venezuelan coast: The return
of "gunboat diplomacy," following indictment of Venezuelan president
Maduro for something involving narcotics:
This will be one of the biggest US military operations of the sort
since 1989, when the US invaded Panama and ousted Gen. Manuel Noriega
on drug charges. Attorney General William Barr wrote the legal
justification for Noriega invasion, and also wrote the recent
justification for a bounty against Maduro.
In the middle of a pandemic, our for-profit healthcare system is
David Enrich/Ben Protess/Eric Lipton:
Trump's company seeks to ease financial crunch as coronavirus takes
Jared Kushner is going to get us all killed.
[Boris] Johnson seems unable to unify us. Who will speak for the
country? But he does quote Johnson as saying, "One thing I
think [the] coronavirus crisis has already proved is that there
really is such a thing as society." That is directly opposite
of Conservative icon Margaret Thatcher's famous maxim, "there is
no such thing as society."
John F Harris:
Trump is an authoritarian weakman. I could cite dozens of alarmist
pieces against which this is arguing (e.g., Lucian K Truscott IV:
Trump is preparing the ground for a totalitarian dictatorship).
Trump certainly has the desires of a dictator, and he plays the
demagogue to the hilt, but he's something he lacks -- heart? stomach?
brains? maybe he's just too lazy? -- keeps him from seizing power
(although his underlings are eager to do so, even their reach seems
to have self-imposed limits).
This downturn could be worse than the early 1930s "We could experience
in months what took three or four years to unfold after the 1929 stock
market crash. Things are going to be very bad unless we see some serious
Inside the ouster of Capt. Brett Crozier: the Navy aircraft carrier
captain who "pleaded for help against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping
his crew" and was fired for his trouble.
Pandemics and the shape of human history.
Bill Gates's philanthropic giving is a racket.
The history of loneliness.
EPA is jamming through rollbacks that could increase coronavirus
Trump condemns New York for planning ahead on coronavirus.
The pandemic and international competition: How the US can save itself
with a 'Green New Deal'.
What will the world be like after coronavirus? Four possible futures.
The two axis/four square grid reminds me of Peter Frase's Four Futures:
Life After Capitalism, where "barbarism" here becomes "exterminism."
[PS: Frase summarized his thesis in 2011, here:
Coronavirus could lead to the highest unemployment levels since the
Medicare for All's teachable moment.
The linkage of health insurance to employment -- an accident of American
economic history -- never made much sense, and when unemployment is
pervasive and a pandemic has been loosed on the land, it makes no sense
This is the teachable moment for universal health coverage not linked
to employment status. Democrats should seize this moment and teach. For
those who have to be dragged screaming to this, they can advocate it as
a temporary measure, during which time its popular support would likely
Texas's election law could disenfranchise millions during a pandemic.
Can you hide a pandemic? There's no need to believe Beijing on China's
coronavirus success. Note: "Neither the Chinese government nor U.S.
intelligence agencies are particularly trustworthy services." On the
If any of the thousands of researchers who have been scouring Chinese
coronavirus statistics in search of patterns that could help defeat
the pandemic elsewhere have detected signs of "fake" numbers, Bloomberg
doesn't seem to know about it.
The reality is that it's very hard to hide an epidemic. Stopping
a virus requires identifying and isolating cases of infection, and if
you pretend to have done so when you really haven't, the uncaught cases
will grow exponentially. Maintaining a hidden set of real statistics
and another set for show would require the secret collusion of China's
2 million doctors and 3 million nurses -- the kind of improbable
cooperation that gives conspiracy theories a bad name.
China is slowly and carefully returning to a semblance of normalcy
(Science, 3/29/20). If China is merely pretending to have the
coronavirus under control, the pathogen will rapidly surge as people
resume interacting with their communities. Once international travel
is restored, it will be quite obvious which countries do and don't
have effective management of Covid-19.
How the Trump administration has stood in the way of PPE distribution.
New York is in dire need of ventilators. China just donated 1,000.
Isn't one measure of world power the ability to offer aid to other
nations in time of crisis? This dramatically shows that China can
do things the US cannot. Indeed, the not-so-United States have been
left on their own to beg foreign nations for supplies, while at the
same time locking down exports and imposing sanctions on others
(like Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela). You might argue that this
is less a question of "greatness" than of cultural norms: after all,
the US is built on rugged competition, which often means screwing
your neighbors. Countries like China and Cuba (see
Cuban docs fighting coronavirus around the world, defying US),
with their Communist backgrounds, are used to the idea of
sacrificing oneself for the common good, which gives them a temporary
edge when most people are in dire need. On the other hand, when/if
this blows over, people around the world are likely to look back and
remember who helped and who didn't. The US benefited from a reservoir
of good will built up in the 1940s, maintained long after the US
stopped doing anything to deserve it. Also note:
Patriots plane arrives in Boston carrying critical N95 masks for
medical workers: the masks were imported from China. Also:
Russia sends plane with medical supplies to U.S. for coronavirus
The pandemic's shameless profiteers. Related:
Joe Biden is wasting a crisis.
Paul R Pillar:
The war metaphor and the coronavirus.
Wall Street wins -- again: "Bailouts in the time of coronavirus":
As I wrote in It Takes a Pillage: An Epic Tale of Power, Deceit, and
Untold Trillions, instead of the Fed buying those trillions of dollars
of toxic assets from banks that could no longer sell them anywhere else,
it would have been cheaper to directly cover subprime mortgage payments
for a set period of time. In that way, people might have kept their homes
and the economic fallout would have been largely contained. Thanks to
Washington's predisposition to offer corporate welfare, that didn't
happen -- and it's not happening now either.
Gutting fuel economy standards during a pandemic is peak Trump.
Nathan J Robinson:
Everything has changed overnight: "The Democratic primary is no longer
over. This is a historic crisis requiring nothing less than FDR-style
ambition and leadership. We've got just the guy."
Where is Joe? "Biden has failed completely to show leadership
during a crisis. There is no excuse for it."
Wisconsin's pandemic primary will put voters' lives in danger.
I keep seeing efforts from all over the political spectrum (well, in
the Democratic Party, anyhow) to shame Wisconsin into postponing its
primary election. I, for one, would like to see the election proceed,
if only because the gravity of the crisis makes it even clearer that
political choices have real consequences. Biden has cruised to victory
everywhere since the sudden convergence on Super Tuesday, but has shown
virtually no leadership skills during the crisis, while the importance
of Sanders' program has become even more striking. Wisconsin should be
a good state for Sanders (as it was in 2016), so this could be a pivot
point in the election. Unfortunately, the campaigns have degraded to
such an extent that we'll never know what free debate and unencumbered
participation (real democracy) might reveal. (In fact, 538's polling
Wisconsin show Biden with a solid lead, 51.6% to 36.0%, and
increasing leads in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Georgia.) One point I
do agree with is that we need to figure out how to universally vote
safely by November. Few things are more essential in times like these
Too early or too late?: "On political timing and the pandemic."
Trump says 200,000 Americans could die from coronavirus, because he's
done "a very good job."
The Democratic Party must harness the legitimate rage of Americans.
Otherwise, the right will use it with horrifying results.
David K Shipler:
Welcome to the Fourth World: "How Trump has initiated America's undoing --
and how coronavirus is helping him speed it up."
Israeli election: There was a moment of hope, now it's gone.
Coronavirus shows the need for DC and Puerto Rico statehood.
How the right went far-right: "The media once quarantined neofascists.
Not anymore." Review of Andrew Marantz: Antisocial: Online Extremists,
Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation.
Americans hit by economic shocks as confusion, stumbles undermine
Trump's stimulus effort.
Trump is fighting a war against governors, not the coronavirus.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg/Nicholas Fandos:
From afar, Congress moves to oversee Trump coronavirus response:
"Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would move to form a special
committee to scrutinize the Trump administration's response, including
how more than $2 trillion in federal relief money is being spent."
Bailing out the bailout: "It will take years to sort through the
details, but Trump's $2 trillion COVID-19 response looks like a
double-down on the last disaster."
Reality has endorsed Bernie Sanders.
When Bernie Sanders's critics mocked his platform as just a bunch of
"free stuff," they were drawing on the past forty years of bipartisan
consensus about social-welfare benefits and entitlements. They have
argued, instead, that competition organized through the market insures
more choices and better quality. In fact, the surreality of market
logic was on clear display when, on March 13th, Donald Trump held a
press conference to discuss the COVID-19 crisis with executives from
Walgreens, Target, Walmart, and CVS, and a host of laboratory, research,
and medical-device corporations. There were no social-service providers
or educators there to discuss the immediate, overwhelming needs of the
The crisis is laying bare the brutality of an economy organized
around production for the sake of profit and not human need. The logic
that the free market knows best can be seen in the prioritization of
affordability in health care as millions careen toward economic ruin.
It is seen in the ways that states have been thrown into frantic
competition with one another for personal protective equipment and
ventilators -- the equipment goes to whichever state can pay the most.
It can be seen in the still criminally slow and inefficient and
inconsistent testing for the virus. It is found in the multi-billion-dollar
bailout of the airline industry, alongside nickel-and-dime means tests
to determine which people might be eligible to receive ridiculously
inadequate public assistance.
Anya van Wagtendonk:
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hospitalized for coronavirus.
Uncle Sam needs to start giving us all free hand sanitizer.
Businesses seem to be able to find supplies, but as far as I can
tell it's impossible for the rest of us to track down sellers --
especially given that shopping around is being discouraged. Same
for face masks, which now have become obligatory outer wear, but
all the focus so far has been on getting them to hospitals (which,
sure, need them even more than we do).
As the numbers of dead and unemployed grow, Trump looks and sounds
Why the Trump administration won't be able to make the stimulus work:
"As the New Deal shows us, it takes expertise, professionalism and skill
to execute massive government programs -- qualities the White House
Li Zhou/Ella Nilsen:
"This one is scarier": Obama-era officials say current economic crisis
is fundamentally different from 2008.
Wednesday, April 01, 2020
Finished updating my Record Guide files, bringing them current to
March 30, 2020. Current file sizes:
- Recorded Jazz in the 20th Century: 848 pages (342,992 words).
- Recorded Jazz in the Early 21st Century: 1880 pages (868,126 words).
- Non-Jazz Record Notes: 1989 pages (851,268 words).