Tuesday, January 31, 2006

BC/DC & Black Crowes Live Videos

Want to see the Black Crowes dressed up as AC/DC for Halloween?

Click here:

Among other live clips, you can see an awesome cover of Fearless from October as well.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Top 5 Canadian Rock N' Roll Performers of All Time

1. Neil Young
2. The Band
3. Matthew Good
4. Tragically Hip
5. Rush

Oh, by the way, unless you consider Newsweek a liberal media front, you may want to read this article:

They were loyal conservatives, and Bush appointees. They fought a quiet battle to rein in the president's power in the war on terror. And they paid a price for it. A NEWSWEEK investigation.


Friday, January 27, 2006

Senator Kerry - showing guts or building resume?

Yesterday the New York Times published this story about Senator John Kerry's attempt to muster last-minute support for a filibuster to stop the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel Alito. While I'm all about stopping Judge Alito's confirmation, one has to wonder, as was suggested in the Times piece, if Senator Kerry was merely taking a stand in order build support amongst progressives for another run at the Presidency in 2008. It seemed a little strange that Senator Kerry would make such a bold move so late in the game when it was clear that very few would join his call for a filibuster.

Questionable motives aside, I applaud Senator Kerry's move to try and get a filibuster going. Any Democrat with an ounce of clear-headedness should be going out of their way to join Kerry and finally show some backbone when it counts. Senator Edward Kennedy is joining Kerry, but, predicably and tragically, many Democrats are quickly distancing themselves from Kerry on this issue. Senators Robert Byrd (West Virginia), Tim Johnson (South Dakota) and Ben Nelson (Nebraska) have all indicated that they will support Alito's confirmation. Pro-choice Republican Senator Arlen Specter will tow his party's line and vote to confirm, even though Judge Alito's record clearly indicates that he will likely vote to overturn Roe v. Wade if the opportunity presents itself.

The state of our union is truly grim, grim, grim...

The State of Our Union

Congressman Dennis Kucinich published this piece today on Common Dreams regarding the President's upcoming State of the Union address. The opening paragraphs are below.
"On Tuesday night President Bush will stand before the Congress and the nation, to deliver his annual State of the Union address. We are sure to hear a rosy tale of an economy on the rebound, a blossoming democracy in Iraq, a terror network on the run, and a Gulf Coast region rebuilding better and stronger than ever before. As is most often the case with this Administration, the rhetoric does not match reality.

The facts are clear. Our economy is struggling and leaving tens of millions of Americans behind. According to the non-partisan National Journal, since President Bush first stood before Congress and the nation in 2001, the median income in this country has decreased, the jobless rate has jumped from 3.9% to 4.9% and the number of families living in poverty has increased from 8.7% to 10.2%. Our trade deficit has doubled. Inflation has gone up. Personal bankruptcies have gone up. Consumer debt has gone up. College tuition has gone up. And, the price of gas has gone up. All the while, this Administration has turned a $128 billion federal budget surplus into a $319 billion deficit."

I agree that the President will likely spout platitudes about how well his administration is managing our nation, and that most of what he says will either be completely untrue or generously lacking in truthful details. I also predict that, shamefully, few if any of the major media outlets will attempt to point out the obvious distortions of reality that will make up the bulk of his speech. Perhaps I will be mistaken about the media, but there's little doubt that the State of the Union will be another embarrassing chapter in this administration's complete disregard for anything resembling the actual state of our country.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

52% of Americans Would Impeach...

A poll released last week by Zogby International showed 52 percent of American adults thought Congress should consider impeaching Bush if he wiretapped U.S. citizens without court approval, including 59 percent of independents and 23 percent of Republicans.

Read the full story here:


Meanwhile, the buzz inside the Beltway is that the White House is preparing for impeachment hearings in the not so distant future...

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Food For Thought

Matthew Good, one of my favorite musicians, hosts a blog on which he discusses politics and music. Today he posted this, a thought-provoking look at the state of humanity. It's worth checking out. Here's a slice:

"Poverty does not know partisanship, yet it has countless pundits. With poverty comes expendability and a reduction in worth. In times of peace poverty is war, and in times of war the impoverished simply disappear. I have never believed that wars have ever produced anything other than victims, no matter their outcomes, no matter the beliefs that started them or those that saw them through. Those who pay the price for the follies of those that have never had to spend a day worrying about where their next meal is coming from are precisely the ones that have to. They carry the rifles, they dodge the shells, and they represent the faceless corpses that flash across our television screens on a daily basis. They are the shelters of the dreams of madmen, nameless automatons forever at the disposal of those deemed of best quality."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

100 Overlooked Great Albums of All Time

The ones you don't hear about, thanks to Red Magazine. Some very interesting selections. Good validation for fans of 90s alternative rock (yeah, I said it).


Someday I'll make my own list...

More Black Crowes Video Madness

Want to see one of the Black Crowes best unreleased songs set to unreleased video footage?

Save or load this 30 MB download courtesy of video director's Justin Kreutzmann's (yes, that's Bill's son) blog at rockandreel.blogspot.com:


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Freak 'N' Roll...Into the Fog

Black Crowes, The: Freak 'N' Roll...Into the Fog - The Black Crowes All Join Hands DVD
March 21, 2006

Shot live at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium in August 2005, The Black Crowes present a set of their all-time greatest hits with their first-ever DVD, Freak ‘N’ Roll ...Into The Fog. Shot in Hi-Def, this two-and-a-half-hour concert features an impressive mix of material from The Crowes’ 6 studio albums, including hits like “Sting Me”, “Jealous Again” and “Hard To Handle”. Acoustic versions of “She Talks To Angels” and “Sunday Night Buttermilk Waltz” are also highlights of this show.

Traklisting:1) (Only) Halfway To Everywhere2) Sting Me3) No Speak No Slave4) Soul Singing5) Welcome To The Goodtimes6) Jealous Again7) Space Captain8) My Morning Song9) Sunday Night Buttermilk Waltz10) Cursed Diamond11) She Talks To Angels12) Wiser Time13) Non Fiction14) Seeing Things15) Hard To Handle16) Let Me Share The Ride17) Mellow Down Easy18) Remedy19) The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down

Bonus Feature:Behind-the-scenes short film

Thursday, January 12, 2006

It's Time To Consider It

Impeachment, that is. Elizabeth Holtzman, a former member of Congress who was on the House Judiciary Committee when President Nixon was impeached, wrote a very thorough piece for The Nation on the case for impeaching President Bush. It's hard to ignore someone with her background who makes such a compelling case. The article is a long one, as it should be when considering an issue as serious as impeachment, but it is well worth the read. Here are a few highlights:

On the wiretapping issue:
What then was the reason for avoiding the FISA court? President Bush suggested that there was no time to get the warrants. But this cannot be true, because FISA permits wiretaps without warrants in emergencies as long as court approval is obtained within three days. Moreover, there is evidence that the President knew the warrantless wiretapping was illegal. In 2004, when the violations had been going on for some time, President Bush told a Buffalo, New York, audience that "a wiretap requires a court order." He went on to say that "when we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so.
On the reasons for going to war with Iraq:
A President can commit no more serious crime against our democracy than lying to Congress and the American people to get them to support a military action or war...That both Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were guilty of misleading the nation into military action and neither was impeached for it makes it more, not less, important to hold Bush accountable.
On the sanctioning of torture:
President Bush recently proclaimed, "We do not torture." In view of the revelations of the CIA's secret jails and practice of rendition, not to mention the Abu Ghraib scandal, the statement borders on the absurd, recalling Nixon's famous claim, "I am not a crook."

Under the War Crimes Act of 1996 it is a crime for any US national to order or engage in the murder, torture or inhuman treatment of a detainee. (When a detainee death results, the act imposes the death penalty.) In addition, anyone in the chain of command who condones the abuse rather than stopping it could also be in violation of the act.

...The evidence before us now suggests that the President himself may have authorized detainee abuse.
I encourage anyone reading this to check out the article quoted above. It is critical, in my opinion, that we hold those in power accountable when they have clearly abused the law.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

You need to watch

I've been unable to stop raving about the new version of Battlestar Galactica on the SciFi network to anyone who'll listen. In fact, the usual response to my praise for the show is a cursory nod and a "Mmm hmm. Sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out." which translates into "no fracking way am I going to watch a show on a geek network for space-loving nerds."

Get over the genre, people! In fact, it's not on the SciFi network. Just tune to channel 44 on Norristown, PA's cable network at 10Pm on Friday nights. And it's not called Battlestar Galactica. It's actual title is The Best Damn Drama On TV Now And You're An Idiot For Dismissing It So Casually. Long winded, yes. But accurate to a T.

This article explains some of the reasons why Battlestar Galactica is so good. Plus it also mentions a guilty pleasure of mine, The L Word, a show to which I quickly became addicted over the summer.

It's not just the Republicans...

It's come to light that a number of prominent Democrats, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, knew of President Bush's domestic spying program a long time ago. Not one of them spoke up. This article by G. Pascal Zachary explores some of the possible reasons why these folks were too weak to take a stand.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Colbert Report is a must see

I don't usually get to watch the Colbert Report on Comedy Central but I've recently made it a habit to watch the video clips on CC's website. You need to check out "Hell, no!", "Xmas" and "Gay Gay Gay Gay Gay". Classic.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

J's Essential Listening 2005

Although I'd like to comment on each of these 2005 releases, I don't have the time or energy. Needless to say, it was one of the best years for new music releases in a long while. Here are some of my faves along with a sample song from each. Hope you find something you like, and please feel free to post your favorites from 2005.

PS Check out Strontium Dog's essentials list in an earlier post too.

Album of the Year:

Rob Dickinson - Fresh Wine For The Horses
song sample: Intelligent People

Best of the Rest:

Kathleen Edwards - Back To Me
song sample: Old Time Sake

Embrace - Out Of Nothing
song sample: A Glorious Day

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl
song sample: Ain't No Easy Way

The Black Crowes - Instant Live Series
song sample: Girl From A Pawnshop (live)

Matthew Good - In A Coma
song sample: Oh Be Joyful

Feeder - Pushing The Senses
song sample: Feeling A Moment

Gemma Hayes - The Roads Don't Love You
song sample: Keep Me Here

Wilco - Kicking Television
song sample: The Late Greats (live)

Idlewild - Warnings/Promises
song sample: I Understand It

Son Volt - Okemah And The Melody Of Riot
song sample: Bandages And Scars

Screaming Trees - Ocean Of Confusion: Songs Of Screaming Trees 1990-1996
song sample: Nearly Lost You

Death Cab For Cutie - Plans
song sample: Crooked Teeth

Juliana Hatfield - Made In China
song sample: Stay Awake

The Like - Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?
song sample: Falling Away

Lucinda Williams - Live At The Fillmore
song sample: Changed The Locks (live)

Guilty Pleasure of the Year:

Liz Phair - Somebody's Miracle
song sample: Why I Lie

Not So Good Times

The NYT's admission that it sat on the Dec 16th story about the President's legally sketchy authorization of wiretapping by the NSA without court-approved warrants keeps eating at me. The Times said it "delayed publication for a year." Obviously, liberals immediately jumped to the conclusion that the story might have been published before the 2004 election. What if it were true that the Times delayed the story to avoid potentially influencing the election? What's a public to do to stay informed in a timely fashion? Isn't it the responsibility of our news media to publish the truth regardless of the convenience of the story's timing?

For further reading on the Times' delay of the story, check out this Jan 1, 2006 piece from the NYT Public Editor and this from AlterNet yesterday.

Today's News - A Bloody Day In Iraq

"Two suicide bombers killed 120 people and wounded more than 200 in attacks near a Shi'ite holy shrine and a police recruiting center on Thursday, the bloodiest day in Iraq for four months.

In all, violence has killed more than 240 people and wounded more than 280 in the five days since the New Year started, a death toll comparable with some of the nation's bloodiest weeks since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003."
Over 500 people killed or wounded in five days. That's equivalent to the entire student body of the high school where I teach killed in one week. For the complete story from Reuters, click here.

I was unaware of the situation going on in the Congo until now. According to a report from Reuters,
"The Congo conflict is the deadliest humanitarian crisis of the last 60 years but the world is still not doing enough to save lives, according to a survey on Friday.

The survey showed that the death toll in the Congo conflict so far was higher than the numbers killed in Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo and Darfur."

President Bush spoke today to a State Department audience, saying the following about Arabic television stations:
``They ... sometimes put out propaganda that just isn't right, it isn't fair, and it doesn't give people the impression of what we're about.''
Anyone else find it curious that a statement like that might come from this administration?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Letterman vs. O'Reilly

The host of the O'Reilly Factor stopped by David Letterman's show this week. Here's a link to the video of the interview. Good times.

Listen Up: Clearlake's "Amber"

Attention Brit Pop fans: I don't know this band, but my intution tells me that the album "Amber" (release date Jan. 16) by Clearlake will be one of the best albums of 2006.

Strontium Dog's Essential Listening 2005

Album of the Year

I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
Bright Eyes

Song of the Year

“Land Locked Blues” from I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
Bright Eyes with Emmylou Harris

B-Side of the Year

“When the President Talks To God”
Bright Eyes

Other Essential Listening

Fresh Wine for the Horses
Rob Dickinson

Cold Roses
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals

In the Reins
Iron & Wine and Calexico

Live at the Fillmore
Lucinda Williams

A Musical History Box Set
The Band

Instant Live Recordings May – October 2005
The Black Crowes

Sufjan Stevens

Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall
Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Ahmed Abdul-Malik, and Shadow Wilson

My Morning Jacket

Okemah and the Melody of Riot
Son Volt

Leaders of the Free World

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Cosmic Game
Thievery Corporation

Magic Time
Van Morrison

In Your Honor
Foo Fighters

Digital Ash in a Digital Urn
Bright Eyes

Jacksonville City Nights
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals

“Slogans” Previously Unreleased Studio Recording
Bob Marley

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Finally, a translator...

Katrina Vanden Heuvel, one of the editors of The Nation magazine, recently wrote this article about the Republican party's use of doublespeak. Readers of the magazine submitted their own mock translations of some popular buzz phrases. A few of my favorites:

bankruptcy n. A punishable crime when committed by poor people but not corporations

class warfare n. Any attempt to raise the minimum wage

honesty n. Lies told in simple declarative sentences--e.g., "Freedom is on the march"

laziness n. When the poor are not working

leisure time n. When the wealthy are not working
On a note related to the "class warfare" definition, I came across a post by Molly Ivins on AlterNet entitled Stupidity, Survived that discusses the tired old idea that the minimum wage might not be high enough. Geez, when will those stinking liberals stop trying to give handouts to people that simply aren't working hard enough?

Happy New Year

Well, Strontium Dog and I decided we ought to add to the congestion on the net with a blog of our own. We'll be adding our opinions on everything political and musical to the netherworld of the internet as often as we can. For now, I thought I'd start things off with a link to an article by Howard Zinn from The Progressive. Some food for thought as we head into a new year. Here's an excerpt:

My hope is that the memory of death and disgrace will be so intense that the people of the United States will be able to listen to a message that the rest of the world, sobered by wars without end, can also understand: that war itself is the enemy of the human race.

Governments will resist this message. But their power is dependent on the obedience of the citizenry. When that is withdrawn, governments are helpless. We have seen this again and again in history.

The abolition of war has become not only desirable but absolutely necessary if the planet is to be saved. It is an idea whose time has come.