<i>Other Music from a...</i> Different Kitchen <$BlogRSDUrl$>

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Is there a secret right-wing in the "hipster" community? 

I always thought the kids at the Vice empire (magazines, clothing shop, record label etc.) were too cool for school and a bit too hip for their own good. As someone who tries to keep up with the newest, freshest sh!t in (at least) music, it's a bit disconcerting to read a magazine like Vice and realize you can never know it all.

So I have to admit that a small chuckle came to my face after reading that the good folks there might actually be closet conservatives espousing a philosophy verging on white surpemacy according to an article entitled "The Edge of Hip: Vice, the Brand" in the "Sunday Styles" section of this past Sunday's NY Times. I would have bet the charge was based on way over-the-top inferences on the part of the article's author based on my own reading of old issues of the magazine and reacalling its frequent coverage and support of black artists, hip hop culture etc. However, Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes did himself a disservice with his weak rebuttal and defence, sent to The Times and also published on the anti-hipster blog "The New York Anti-Hipster Forum," claiming that he was only being quotably provocative because The Times said the Vice article was turning out too boring and threatened not to run it. Is Vice that desperate for press?

Turns out Vice might not be the only hipsters on the right wing tip. Newsweek has an article entitled "The New Cool" exploring the odd blend of conservatism, underground cool and pornographic aesthetic currently prevading "hipster" mags like Vice, Tokion and WYWS (While You Were Sleeping) published this week on their website. Typical hipster behavior I guess: as conservatism falls out of favor in the mainstream, they rush to adopt it as a badge of uniqueness and difference from the masses.

For all you aspiring hipsters out there though, if you're not cool enough to be still buying vinyl you probably have been missing all the great singles very cool record label DFA records has been releasing over the past year and need to buy their new album Compilation #1 which is out TODAY.

This label, founded by producers James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy (the original co-producer for Mo' Wax's UNKLE project), has been hyped to death by critics and name-checked by real trendsetters and wanna-be's alike, but you know what? This album showcases music that justifies all the hype and is one CD definitely worth buying. If you've been wondering what all the fuss about the new wave of punk-funk has been over the last couple of years, get this now. I promise it won't be a disc you look at 6 months down the road wondering: "Why did I buy this?" as you try to unload it on After all, why would I lie to you? Juan Maclean has been on my current "Hot Ish" list for a while now (see the left side of this Blog) so you know this is a genuine recommendation.

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Bush White House imploding over leak scandal, Ja Rule comeback and why aren't Tha Rayne bigger? 

Whoa, things look like they are going from bad to worse in the Bush administration right now. The White House is under pressure for possibly breaking laws by leaking the identity of an undercover CIA operative in retaliation for her husband's (former US Ambassador Joesph Wilson IV) challenge of Bush's bogus Iraq WMD claims this summer. Click here for the latest update from MSNBC on this story. I missed this very major developing story but thanks to Dierdra for pointing this one out to me.

Ja Rule has struggled a bit recently with his last album stiffing relative to previous efforts and his rep taking a beating in the streets especially after getting into beef with 50 Cent, the G-Unit and pretty much everyone else who matters this past year. He's gone from the hot MC to everyone's favorite whipping boy as hip hop has veered back to a more hardcore sound away from his R&B-flavored style but I'll be damned if he isn't making a real comeback. He's dropped a couple of heaters recently including "Clap Back" and "The Crown." I don't know if he'll get back his street cred 'cos the game changes so quickly and it's probably going to take more than a couple new heat rocks to get people checking for him again but don't sleep on these tracks 'cos son is doing it for real on these joints.

R&B group Tha Rayne has been out for a minute but I kind of missed connecting their single "Didn't You Know," which I've been hearing in passing for a hot minute and thought was by Amerie, to this group. I'm not sure if this song is happening or not but it's one of my favorite R&B joints right now either way. Click on their site to hear it and props to my man, producer Kay Gee (Zhane, Jahiem, Next, Koffee Brown), for another hot R&B jump-off. (Also props to my man Biggs from Red Hook who passed me the new "Hot Joints 11" mixtape by DJ Jasey Jase of Brooklyn's Cream Team which is how I finally figured out the connection. )

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Monday, September 29, 2003

Great column by Thomas Freidman in yesterday's NY Times. In "2 servings of Reality, Please," Freidman talks about Bush's missteps on Iraq and their implications for the US as a world power in the future. First his misshyping the situation there as needing a war of necessity rather than a war of choice as a means of remedy and then his misleading of the US public (and Congress) about what the level of the US's commitments there, financially, geo-politically and otherwise, would be once war was waged.

As the attacks on US soldiers there continue on a near-daily basis and a prelim' report saying there's been no evidence of WMD or plans to produce WMD found since the end of the war about to be released, Bush's approval ratings continue to nose-dive. The message is slowly getting through that this war was unnecessary and pretty much a debacle. Between this and the disaster that is the US economy, perhaps Bush can continue in his father's footsteps and spare us a second term of his incompetence, diviseness and mismanagement by getting voted out and becoming a one-termer.

Had a small argument with my girl about whether it made sense for the US to continue subsidizing domestic farmers who grow produce for which there's no market while at the same time putting tarriffs up against the agricutural products of poorer nations for whom this may be there primary source of income and means to climb out of poverty. While I know it's tough for US farmers to make a living today, it's makes no sense for the US to spend tax money propping up unprofitable businesses. Why should farmers be offered this protection when so many other industries have been left to wither and die. At the same time, turning our backs on the plight of poorer nations ferments the kind of hatred and resentment that creates a fertile recruiting ground for terrorist groups intent on harming the US.

Turns out that the NY Times has been running a series of articles in conjuction with the recent WTO talks in Cancun, Mexcio on this topic including one entitled "The Rigged Trade Game" which is an excellent summary of the arguments why the US needs to drop the tarriffs and subsidies.

I've been checking out the new HBO show K Street with some interest since its debut three weeks ago. The show's supposed to be a mix of reality and fiction. Characters at the fictional political lobbying firm at the center of the show, some of whom are actors and some of whom are actual real-life Washington lobbyists, mix freely with real-life political figures in DC disussing issues and stories ripped from the headlines in the news that week. The show is strangely intriguing yet confusing at the same time. There are some dramatic story lines between the show's "headline" themes and topics for the week some of which are being developed slowly and some only hinted at vaguely so far. Actor George Clooney, co-producer of the show along with director Steven Soderbergh, has been pretty upfront about the show being a "creative experiment" but it seems to be driving some critics crazy with it's unorthodox story development techniques and blending of documentary or news-like realism with fictionalized drama. I'll keep watching though because even if it doesn't entirely work it's still a lot more interesting than most of what's on TV currently.

To end, RIP Althea Gibson a real pioneer and black American heroine and also to Donald O'Connor star of one of my favorite films of all time Singin in the Rain. While it's sad when anyone dies I can't say I feel the same for the recent passing of Elia Kazan. It's a shame Kazan had to mar his unarguably incredible artistic legacy as a film and stage director with his shameful betrayl of his peers during the HUAC hearings to save his own career while destroying those of his fellow artists.

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Sunday, September 28, 2003

More props for Bobbito! 

More props for Bobbito and his new Sneaker book in the NY Times this weekend. This isn't really news since I talked about this back on 9/11 but just wanted to give Bob some more support and reiterate that I'm glad his book is getting some coverage and love. Great book release party last week too.

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Friday, September 26, 2003

Bad Boy civil war? 

Now this is funny: for those of you who this Summer watched the trainwreck that was Making the Band 2 on MTV about P Diddy's efforts to create a hip hop group from scratch American Idol style this track will brighten up your day. Recorded by Bad Boy act the Hoodfellaz (featured on on the track "If you want this money" from Puffy's 2000 album The Saga Continues), this dis' track titled "Taking the Band" is aimed at MTB2 group Bad Boy's Da Band (that is their actual name and, yes I know, it's terrrible).

Apparently the Hoodfellaz are unhappy at having to rev in neutral for 3 years while Da Band, signed after them, has their debut album Too Hot for TV released next Tuesday. The first half of the track has them rhyming over the "Bad Boy This, Bad Boy That" beat but the second half is the real hotness when they flip Juelz Santana's "Dispet (Santana's Town)" beat. You have to hear it to see how they clown Da Band by repeatedly referencing a key event from one of more memorable episodes earlier this season.

Also making the rounds on the web right now is a brand new duet between Notorious BIG and 2Pac produced by Eminem. Click here, here or here for more details.

Finally, thanks to Nadine for passing me this breaking AP News item "Signs Show U.S. Underestimated Iraq War." Any time Bush wants to admit he made a mistake on the Iraq invasion, I'm here waiting....

Need something to do for the weekend and you live in the NYC area? Check out the opening TONIGHT of a new BK spot to chill at called Grand 275. Operated by Mark and his partner Carmen this cafe-bar is located in Clinton Hill, just blocks away from the Pratt Institute. It has a full bar as well as a great selection of chef Mark Chung's sandwiches and salads.


Grand 275
275 Grand Avenue (between Lafayette and Clifton)
monday - friday 7am to 1am
saturday - sunday 8am to 1am
take the a/c train to hoyt-schermerhorn and switch to the g train. take the g train two stops to clinton-washington. walk downhill on lafayette three blocks to grand avenue.

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Thursday, September 25, 2003

How to save the music industry 

Ah, so this is how the RIAA plans to save the music industry from fading into complete oblivion. I knew there had to be some method to their madness.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Bush to World: Drop Dead!  

In his Slate article "Bush to World: Drop Dead! - The president lays an egg at the U.N." Fred Kaplan pretty much summarizes the veiw of many in the mainstream media that Bush failed to strike a concilliatory enough tone in his address to the UN yesterday on how to move forward on Iraq. This speech offered the US the perfect opportunity to yield some ground, repair relations with former allies and open up channels to the UN to become more involved in the reconstruction of Iraq. Once again though, Bush's arrogance, ego and stubborness have prevented this from happening although remarkably the German seems ready to bury the hatchet and get behind the US in Iraq.

Though he got pilloried for it when he said it before, I'll stand by John Kerry if he reiterated his call for "Regime Change" right here in the US because November 2004 can't come soon enough for me.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Afro-Punks, more Iraqi war talk and how not to fire your employees 

Just came from watching a new documentary called "Afro-Punk: the rock n roll ni--er experience," a fantastic study of black kids' experiences in the hardcore/punk scene and how it shaped and/or affected their self-identity. Filmed, edited and produced by first-time director James Spooner, "Afro-Punk" is highly recommended viewing for anyone whether knowledgeable about punk rock or not. As one of the kids in the film best put it: "being black means being a punk rocker already." Click here for info on future screenings.

The economy is still pretty bad and people are still losing their jobs but if you're a staff manager or supervisor who is responsible for any layoffs at your office, this is a textbook guide on how NOT to fire them.

Interesting take on the effect media coverage may be having on the outcome of the Iraq War in an Op-ed piece in yesterday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution entitled "Media's dark cloud a danger." Not sure I really agree with the analysis of author Jim Marshall, a Georgia Democratic congressman, but he raises an intriguing issue especially since the media have gone from being knee-jerk, unquestioning, rah-rah supporters of Bush and his call for war months ago to now highlighting every wrong turn and mishap that has occurred in the post-war era.

It's interesting to note how few journalists are in Iraq now covering the post-war reconstruction efforts versus how many were "embedded" during the actual invasion itself. Now is perhaps the time the media should be paying the closest scrutiny to events there. Letting the public know how their money is being spent and what kind of burden Bush has placed on the shoulders of US taxpayers, present and future, under the guise of installing democracy, removing WMD, transforming the region, regime change, liberating the oppressed Iraqi people or whatever the reason might be this week for the war might be the best service the media could provide.

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Monday, September 22, 2003

Bored at work or just aimlessly surfing the web? Think the internet would actually be a lot more interesting to surf translated into Snoop style pig latin? Click to to the Snoop Dogg Shizzolator, then type in any web site URL and see what it comes up with.

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Friday, September 19, 2003

More good music for you to check out. Stephanie Mckay professionally known by just her last name releases, arguably the best (or at least, most interesting) track from her self-titled album McKay. "Take Me Over" (Go Beat UK) is a beautiful slice of left-field soul sampling the old school reggae track "Double Barrel" by Dave & Alton Collins (I think). McKay is a Brooklyn-based singer but her album is notable for having been co-produced by Geoff Barrow of Portishead. This track still sounds great from when I first heard it as a demo over two years ago and is a breath of fresh air from the, now getting stale, neo-soul sound.

Unbelievably, Bush is seemingly getting yet another pass from the mass news media with its near invisible coverage of his belated admission that there is no evidence of a connection between the 9/11 attacks and Saddam Hussein. This should be one of the biggest stories this week IMO but it's being buried by most major news outlets. I just don't get it. Slightly more on the conspiracy theory tip is the September 18th "Stop the Preses" column "9/11/01: Where was George?" in The Nation by Eric Alterman. Exploring the inconsistencies in Bush comments about what he did the morning of the 9/11 attacks, the greater issue according to Alterman though is why no media outlet is chasing down the truth behind this story.

Two excellent articles in this week's Newsweek looking at the Iraq situation. Fareed Zakaria, one of the few conservatives who I can read and listen to without wanting to roll my eyes and punch them, discusses why pushing for an early power hand-off to the Iraqis as an exit strategy is a bad idea in "Don't Rush to Disaster." Remarkably, even before reading his well-laid out arguments on this issue, this is actually one area in which I have to side with Bush policy with respect to Iraq. Pulling out now would be a disaster and lead to more instability. France's arguments that power be handed over to the Iraqi Governing Council and a new constitution be drafted before the end of the year should sound way premature to any reasonable person. Of course I'm coming form the larger p.o.v. that this mess should never have been created in the first place.

On the other hand Rod Norland's "The Lebanon Scenario" paints a scary picture as to how this war may develop drawing parallels to Israel's involvement in Lebanon during the 1980's if the, until now, chaotic, poorly-planned post war rebuilding strategy is not overhauled and executed better.

In corporate malfeasance news, AOL Time Warner indirectly admits to the colossal mistake of their misguided merger by dropping the AOL part of their name and reverting back to being just Time Warner. Any moron with or without an MBA could have seen that this union was a huge mistake and I am sure (or I am hoping) that this name change is just the first step towards reversing it and finally getting rid of the millstone that is AOL. This is one company that I have never gotten. Yeah maybe 7-8 years ago when no-one really understood what the hell email and the internet were, their service served as training wheels for people taking their first steps onto the web. But in high speed, broadband 2003, who needs 'em? It's no wonder they've been losing subscribers in droves for the past few years. Trust me, it ain't gonna stop. For those of you who have seen or used AOL's service, you know what I'm talking about, it's terrible. For those who are still using it, why? Please email me and tell me why? Seriously, I want to know because, just in case you didn't know, AIM is free to anyone whether they're an AOL subscriber or not so feel free to drop their crappy service and trade up to a (far superior) high speed service. As for my decimated 401K plan, that's a whole 'nother story. Gerld Levin better not see me walking down the street one night (unless he has job offer for me--LOL).

Sad to see the WUSA go under after just three years. This editorial makes an eloquent argument for why the league was more important than being solely a bottom-line dollar and cents proposition but lose (supposedly) $100 million in three years and what do you expect will happen? It's especially sad to see the league fold just as the first world cup since the one that helped popularize women's soccer and provide the momentum for the launch of the WUSA in the first place was about to begin. Hopefully some sponsors and investors will come to the league's rescue but it sounds unlikely.

New Yorkers in town for the weekend looking for stuff to do here's a couple of options:

Paradigm's Night of Hip Hop
Saturday, Sept. 20 at the Bowery Poetry Project
308 Bowery, lower Manhattan
(F train to 2nd Ave. or 6 train to Bleecker)

Featuring performances from

- Exile & Lokey
- Rabbi Darkside
- Willpower
- Farbeon

Special DJ set from Kimani (Roosevelt Franklin/Third Earth)

Stand-up comedy from Sauce

Hosted by Hired Gun

Doors open at 10 p.m.

and also

Party Peoples, in the place to be...

"Where'd You Get Those? NYC's Sneaker Culture 1960-1987" Official Book Release Jam presented by Testify Books

Saturday, September 20-Martinez Gallery (37 Greenpoint Ave off West St., Greenpoint, BK. 718 706 0606)
Book Signing 6-8pm, Party 8pm-midnite. Free!
featuring DJ Cucumberslice, DJ Rich Medina and DJ Spinna for the first time spinning together ever, rocking music from 1960-1987 (just like the book, grandpa)!

Sponsors: Bounce . . . From The Playground Magazine, Fader Magazine, Red Stripe, Bobbito's Basics to Boogie basketball instructional DVD series, Project Playground Basketball

info: or

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Thursday, September 18, 2003

Americans for Clark? 

So Wesley Clarke finally stops playing coy and enters the Democratic Presidential nomination race announcing his candidacy yesterday. Clark with his Southern, moderate background and stellar military service credentials is the dream candidate for many Democrats who think Howard Dean is the new George McGovern. I don't know if he is or not but, before you jump on the bandwagon, you should read Richard Cohen's Op-Ed piece "The Real Wesley Clark" in the Washington Post for another take on the retired general that might make you "think twice" like Donald Byrd about his suitability to be president.

CW says he's left it too late to run a viable campaign from a fundraising p.o.v. but, as the success of Dean's campaign so far shows, running a non-traditional campaign might be what stirs the electorate in the 2004 race. At the very least, the Dems could have a helluva ticket with Clark as VP although he doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who wants to be #2 to anyone else.

How happy are you that Dick Grasso had to step down yesterday as the chairman of the NYSE? I cannot believe this guy thought he would get to serve out his term after the disclosures about his outrageous pay.

Grasso never has to work again in his life but if he's looking for a new gig, I know the RIAA was looking for someone to replace chairperson Hilary Rosen. Grasso would have been just right to lead this lobbying group. He seems to have the same delicate touch for PR as they do. However, it looks like they already found someone.

I haven't had much to say about the RIAA but when you see things like this, all the rhetoric about them having declared war on record buyers doesn't seem so overblown after all. You think that's just a cartoon? Maybe you didn't see this then. The mp3 cops are real--LOL. Forget a subpoena, you better disable or uninstall your P2P software now or they could be knocking on your door next. The Dept. of Homeland Security could take some lessons from these guys about finding their targets, no joke.

Great new music for you do buy now that you've become a reformed music buyer again (plus I doubt you could download this if you tried it's so obscure). Make Some Noise records present "Nixxxon Flash" by Nina Nixxon & Patric C. This is the A-side of a 7" 45 single with a cut by Gonzales (of Peaches & Gonzales fame) on the flip. Both cuts are from a forthcoming compilation album called Lost Treasures.I don't much about this artist but you can click here for a little 411. I'm not really into this kind of music generally but if you're kind of person who's sick of commercial mainstream hip hop, think the underground is too po-faced for its own good and just want to hear something with some hip hop flavor or influence but is slightly different and fresh, this dirty breakbeat funk track is it.

Looking for a little music humor, click here to find out what Jest magazine thinks your music collection says about YOU.

Your favorite album's not covered by Jest? Click here to get a review from a "real" professional music critic about your favorite albums.

Can't afford record store prices for CD's and DVD's? I think you need to check my man, he seems to having a real good sale. The music biz must be doing badly if even the bootleggers are struggling. BTW, I think that's the middle level of the Broadway-Nassau subway stop in New York just in case you wanted to look him up.

Finally did anyone keel over in shock when Bush finally admitted that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. Actually maybe 70% of the Americans who actually think he was personally responsible for the attack did. Maybe we'll get an admission from Bush that he knew there weren't actually any WMD in Iraq next. That'll put him a prickly position of having to explain why we've blown nearly $200 billion dollars there and counting on this pointless war.

Finally, if you live on the East Coast, you are probably bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Isabella this weekend. That means stocking up on supplies and STAYING INSIDE. I guess nobody told MSNBC correspondent Brian Williams. I don't know if this courageous reporting or plain stupid? You be the judge.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2003

George W. Bush Action Hero! 

I've been bashing George W. pretty hard recently but just to prove to you I'm not just another humorless liberal, let me show you patriots out there who want to both support and idolize the president what options you have in the action figure world. Yes, not only can you actually buy an action figure of our current president but you have at least three different options to choose from.

First off, have the Talking America's President action figure (scroll down to view) in basic green military fatigues (he is after all the Commander-in-Chief, right?). Also available on the site if you want to diversify your collection or recreate the UN Iraqi Resolution stand-off, Operation Iraqi Freedom or the Afghani war in your living room are: Bin Laden, Tony Blair, Baghdad Bob, Rudy Giuiliani as well as many others. (Special Bonus: check out their brand new Arnold "The Governator" Schwarzenegger action figure.)

Also offering a talking doll option is Toy Presidents with their George W. Bush presidential talking action figure. Click on the picture of the doll to hear some of the 25 great Bush soundbites this doll says. Equal air time vendors, Toy Presidents have also made a Bill Clinton figure.

Saving the best for last though: Blue Box's Elite Force Aviator: George W. Bush - U.S. President and Naval Aviator Action Figure (available for pre-order via KB Toys right now). Based on the image seen back in May of Bush dressed in a flight suit on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln declaring the end of "major combat" in Iraq, this has to be the most accurate-looking and elaborately-designed of the three figures. It was featured in the New York Times last Sunday and it looked so absurd that it was actually cool and I had to get more info on it. I'd love to get one of these Naval Aviator Bush figures to put next to the 2Pac one in my music room. I could sit around pondering the irony and meaning of that contrasting image for hours.

But if I do, maybe I better have some good herbals to really open up my mentals to contemplate it properly but I won't be going to the Canadian government for my stash (thanks Nadine for the great news tip). Now that's a funny story.

More 9/11 info: a great site to check out is this one for Peaceful Tomorrows which is a coalition of 9/11 victims' families who object to the US government's current foreign policy and uniliateral, divisive actions in the so-called War on Terror. Peaceful Tomorrows seek non-violent means to end terrorism and to bring the 9/11 attack planners to justice. This is one organization that should be getting much more mainstream media coverage because what you see on the 9/11 victims' families mostly paints them as this monolithic group in lockstep support of the revenge policies being undertaken by the US government in the American people's name.

OK, I knew I'd get back to the political rants sooner than later. Back to exposing the f-ck-up's and blunders by Bush & co. I'm a little late on this one but US attorney General John Ashcroft (aka the "scaraiest man in America") was recently on a tour around the country trying to drum up support for the second version of the controversial Patriot Act. Besides employing questionable means to generate that support including pressing his regional US attorneys generals into writing Op-Ed pieces supporting the Act in their local papers which amounts to illegal lobbying (or could at least be construed as being highly inappropriate if not outright illegal), there are pleny of reasons to be worried about what this act means for your day-to-day life. Like the first version of this act (which was hastily passed right after 9/11 without much review by, well, anyone), the new Patriot Act is a highly questionable piece of legislation which further erodes individual civil liberties and privacy rights protections in a variety of ways not only for suspected foreign national terrorist suspects but also for US citizens whether they are suspected of being involved in terror-related activities or not. Thankfully, many people on both the left and right of the political spectrum have been raising questions and objections about this act.

I'm sure there are many bloggers and writers out there much cleverer than me who have tackled this topic in greater depth but for those of you looking for a good survey article tackling all the issues including the hype and reality behind the Patriot Act, check out "A Guide to the Patriot Act1: Should you be scared of the Patriot Act?" by Dahlia Lithwick and Julia Turner published online on September 8th on the MSN/Slate Website. The article has useful links to the actual text of the act so you can read it for yourself (hope you have a lot of spare time on your hands, it's 300+ pages long) and also to a page on the ACLU's web site outlining a list of their objections to statements made by the Dept. of Justice on a website newly-created by them to promote the act. This article is well worth your time.

Still not enough political dialog for you? Around the time of the last presidential election campaign, various versions of a joke George Bush resume made the rounds which gave everyone a good chuckle until the damn fool went and actually won the election. This despite much of the content about his accomplishments (or lack thereof) as a businessman and Governor of Texas in the resume actually being pretty accurate and not much of a joke after all. Now that the 2004 election is just around the corner though, isn't it about time to examine how Bush has done overall as our leader? Here's one version of his Presidential resume with a list of his "Accomplishments To Date" (try this version for even more crazy stuff) that's been making the rounds on the internet recently. Anyone for a second go around after reading that?

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Monday, September 15, 2003

Looking forward to buying these CD's tomorrow. Reviews to follow if I can get myself together and there's enough worth saying about them:

- Erykah Badu -- Worldwide Underground (not a fan of the first single "Danger" but her last album Mama's Gun was an underrated jazz-soul masterpiece in my opinion so she gets a pass plus her label was smart enough to price the album $7.99 first week of release.)

- Bubba Sparxxx -- Deliverance (Wasn't blown away by the first single from this album either but the amazing artwork in the ad campaign plus some critics calling it the hip hop album of the year, which is hard for me to believe based on the advance buzz for the Outkast album, had me intrigued enough to consider adding this to my "To Buy" list. The $6.99 price courtesy of Interscope was the final clincher though. I actually did like his last album Dark Days, Bright Nights and think this kid's got more talent than he's been given credit for. He doesn't deserve to be dismissed as a one hit wonder based on just the "Ugly" single plus Timbaland is producing the album so at least it'll sound interesting)

- Sheek Louch -- Walk Witt Me (What happened? I loved the first single "OK" which should have been a bigger record than it was, at least in NYC. 50 Cent is messing up the game up for everyone else 'cos people don't even want to check for new stuff unless this cat is featured on it or it has the Shady/Aftermath logo on it (props to Paul R. & the rest of the crew over there though). At least "2 Guns Up" made some noise although I'm not sure heads are connecting it to this album since practically everyone from the Lox & their crew D-Block is on the record and Jada does the hook on the chorus. Go out and support this Lox alum if only for the simple fact that he gives you more hot rhymes on his throwaway freestyles for DJ Clue and the rest of the mixtape mafia than most MC's can muster up on their real albums. D-Block, baby!)

Was going to cop the DMX album Grand Champ but Def Jam was good enough to send me the promo wax today (thanks Sam) so I'll pass on that one and save myself a little paper. (Ironic NB: 50 Cent is featured on this album on the track "Show Down." Wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that they're both beefing with Ja Rule ? Listen and find out for yourself.)

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Sunday, September 14, 2003

More voices in the mainstream media are finally speaking out about the decidedly wrong turn this country has taken economically under President Bush. While Americans are still looking for jobs or have given up looking even as the business media declares us two years out of recession and into recovery, other sectors in the media have started to call a duck a duck and question the first “MBA President’s” stewardship of the economy.

As these sectors point out, a recovery can't last unless people are working and making money to spend on the goods and services being produced during that recovery. Bankrupting the federal treasury by cutting taxes then spending like a drunken sailor on poorly-planned military initiatives for a questionably-executed war on terror while also driving state governments towards larger deficits with federally ordered (but not funded) mandates, sounds like a recipe for disaster. Yet Bush's sky-high approval ratings suggest that most people seemed to either be in agreement with or (more likely) not paying attention to his actions on the economy. At least until recently that is now that his poll numbers seem to be dipping.

For an interesting take on Bush’s tax-cut policy, the central part of his plan for reviving the economy, read economist Paul Krugman's article "The Tax-Cut Con" in the September 14th New York Times Sunday magazine. Krugman lays out a strong case for why Bush is failing on domestic, and particularly, economic policy. He explores why Bush continues to push the economic theory and policy of supply-side economic stimulus via tax cuts for ailing economies championed by right-leaning academics and so-called fiscally conservative politicians despite little evidence of it ever having been effective in the past.

Scarily enough Bush continues to portray himself as a “deficit hawk” even as the federal government budgets have careened within three years from huge surpluses to $400 billion estimated annual deficits due in large part to the tax cuts and huge increases in military spending to finance the actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. He continues to use 9/11 and the ensuing "War on Terror" as cover and an his excuse for all of the economic blunders and missteps he has taken during his administration many of which would have happened whether 9/11 had occurred or not.

Hopefully this story continues to get coverage and perhaps prompt the American public to reevaluate their current love affair with Bush. That might be too much to ask for in the short run but the timing couldn't be better with the 2004 election just over a year away.

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Friday, September 12, 2003

"Me and Giuliani Down By the Schoolyard" by !!! on Touch and Go Records (click here for more details) or, in the UK, on Warp records is my favorite punk-funk record out right now. Not much to say about it other than it's been out since the summer and you should check it out: it's got a funky, twisted no-wave bassline and a great vibe that goes on for like 8 or 9 minutes on the 12" making it a perfect track for you open-minded folk out there to dance to. More music like this? Yes, please.

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Caught the Boadway show "Avenue Q" on Wednesday night (thanks to my sis for the ticket hook-up). I have to say this was a great show: witty, touching and funny all at the same time. It strikes a chord with your inner child tapping into what everyone loved about The Muppets and Sesame Street but presenting it in a modern, adult context (believe me when I say they are not joking about the show featuring "full puppet nudity") without being too gimmicky or kitschy. This is one of those Broadway shows that even people who hate the theater or Broadway can enjoy. The only shortcoming was that the play features a down-on-his-luck Gary Coleman reduced to becoming a building superintendent as one of the characters. It's unfortunate that the story couldn't be adapted or updated to take into account the even more bizarre recent real-life development of him having become a candidate in the California Governor's race.

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Here's some new music to check out: I've never really been a big fan of the underground hip hop group Styles of Beyond but they just dropped a new album called Megadef which includes a track called "Be Your Dog" cleverly sampling Iggy & the Stooges' punk anthem "(I Wanna) Be Your Dog" that I have to say is straight heat for an alternative hip hop type joint. Check out this Real Audio snippet from for a little taste. This song could have a shot at crossing over to rock radio although I'm not sure the group's label (Spytech Records who I've never heard of) have the money or where-with-all to make that happen. They don't even have audio files on their web site. Props to for putting me up on this track and some other pretty cool music via the "18 Heavy Sumosonic -- September '03" playlist on their Heavy Radio Player.

Also looking forward to the new Outkast album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. The videos for the first two radio singles "Hey Ya" and "The Way You Move" are fantastic. These guys are truly pushing the boundaries of music into fresh territory and are one of the few acts in the mainstream, commercial marketplace that are doing some really progressive, interesting yet accessible music. It's already happening but it's pretty obvious that "Hey Ya" is going to be a smash.

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Thursday, September 11, 2003

I've been saying a lot of prayers recently. Two days ago was the eighth year anniversary of the passing of my Aunt Waveney from cancer. Today is 9/11 and I wrote an online rememberance those who experienced this tragedy in my last post. Sandwiched in between these two events was the birthday of my girlfriend's mother. I'm far too practical to think too hard about whether there's any meaning to be inferred by this sequence of dates but I do think it's worth thinking a little more about what has happened in the two years since 9/11. To that end, while the mainstream press is finally starting to ask a few more hard questions about Bush's domestic and foreign policy follies over the last couple of years and the public seems to finally be waking up out of their knee-jerk patriotic stupor and realizing this guy is a lousy president, it's still worth directing your attention to this excellent article "A Post 9-11 Reality Check" by James Ridgeway with Phoebe St John in the September 10-16th edition of The Village Voice. For those who have been reading the New York Post, watching Fox News or, frankly, any of the other mainstreamn press outlets who've been giving Bush a pass since his election in 2000, this article does a good job of reviewing and summarizing his record of accomplishment to date.

While you're at it, as you ponder why we are spending nearly a billion dollars a week and being asked to commit another $87 billion dollars to this ridiculous war while our spurned and insulted allies are also asked to now chip in financial support for a war they rejected, also take a quick look at this article "Ten Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq" by Christopher Scheer on AlterNet about the Bush adminstration's series of deceits and lies to justify leading the US into this war. Sad and scary to ponder on this of all days.

For all you sneaker freaks out there, I just copped a couple of great books of the history of this esoteric but increasingly popoular sub culture. Sneakers by London sneaker collector and dealer Neal Heard and Where'd You Get Those? New York City's Sneaker Culture: 1960-1987 by hip hop and urban culture maven and all-around good guy Bobbito Garcia are both must-buys. The great (or sad) thing to consider as you read them is how sneakers that these guys talk about wistfully as the ones that got away or impossible-to-find back in the day for sneaker hunters are now being reissued in huge quantities for any idiot to just go and buy at their local Footlocker. Man, it's happening in everything from sneakers to records. Is nothing sacred any more? What's the point of being a collecting nerd and what purpose will eBay serve if you can buy everything new now?

On a semi-related note, congrats to Dizzee Rascal (see my first post on August 18th for info on this cat) on winning the UK's Mercury Music Prize yesterday (story here). This is kind of like the Booker Prize in literarture but for pop music (more info here) and has now been imitated in the US by The Shortlist. The great thing about this news is that while the award has traditionally been awarded in the past to critically-lauded pop and rock acts like Badly Drawn Boy and Primal Scream, Dizzee's win marks the second year in a row that a British urban act has won the prize following Ms. Dynamite's victory last year. A great sign for Britain's black music industry and, I hope, that more progressive black music can start to be heard everywhere.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Always a good read when it's published, the rundown of Project Censored's top 10 censored or underreported stories for last year according to the San Francisco Bay Guardian has just hit stands and can be seen online here (you can also see the full list of 25 here on the Project Censored website).

As much as I actually believe most stories that are allegedly ignored by the mainstream press can be found by those who care to search hard enough for them, sometimes a little active turning of the spotlight can help bring these stories a little better into the light. The sad reality is most Americans seem happy to remain docile and sucked in by the often jingoistic mainstream tabloid print and TV news outlets. They take whatever they are told by them as the gospel truth which is why the US ended up in Iraq fighting a bogus war in the first place and why a majority of Americans believe Sadaam has links to Al Qaeda and was behind the 9/11 attacks despite no credible evidence to support either claim according to US government intelligence agencies.

Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Many things have changed and few of them for the better. May those who lost their lives that day be in God's care. And may those who remain that suffered in any way from losing loved ones to experiencing persecution from either an increasingly belligerent government or people using the attacks to justify their bigotry and racism also feel God's love and protection as they try to make their way in this world.

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Friday, September 05, 2003

There's been a lot of stuff going on recently but I haven't really had time to write about any of it in a coherent way. One thing I just heard recently though was this crazy rap song (I wouldn't even call this hip hop) by a Swiss artist named Seelenluft featuring a 12 year old kid from East LA named Michael Smith. The whole thing sounds like a goof by some too-hip-by-half DJ's in London but you can check it out here for yourself. Unfortunately, this is some mellow lounge version of the song. The real deal is a ridiculous electro-disco version (think DFA remixing Le Tigre) done by either Headman or Ewan Pearson that's supposed to be coming out very soon. If you thought Fannypack was hot, you'll love this.

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