Thursday, April 29, 2004

No Commies Allowed in 2 OC Cities

The OC cities of Westminster and Garden Grove, both bastions of anticommunist Vietmanese exiles, voted yesterday to essentially bar members of the Vietmanese Government or Communist Party to their cities.

I didn't realize it until I moved to LA, but these folks may be as crazy and as the Cubans in Miami. If proof is needed, remember the scenes in front of the Latin Music Awards in Miami, or Elian, or the 53-day seige of Little Saigon after a video store owner had the gall to put a Vietmanese flag and Ho Chi Min picture in his video store a few years back.

That is fitting as they match each other in the level of corruption and injustice they supported when they ran their respective foreign-controlled dictatorships. Just today a Vietmanese coworker told me about the monthly payments that the anti-communist groups (or gangs as they are referred to) exact on small business owners in "Little Saigon" - in the name of "safety." Of course the money really goes to fund these groups' radical political agendas and media presence. She told me of one guy who coudn't afford to pay one month and how that got him publically branded a Commuist sympathyzer - thereby losing most of his business and he had to shut his business. Ah freedom US syle...

But what is it with these defeated exiles that drives such nonsense? I posit that it is not just defeat, but the defeat of people who were used to winning big on everything before the revolution/war. I think it is also the tremendous sense of longing for thri past privledge and good life in their homeland. No doubt, coming to a new county is rough and there must be deep questioning whether they made the right choice. Of course, this can not be made public, or even acknowledged consciously. The only option is to hate and resent and blame those responsible for these feelings.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Back to the, Back to the BEATS
Gearing up for Coachella this weekend. I'm thrilled that I was able to score tickets for a respectable price after going crazy for 3 days since I found out that Saturday had sold out. For a minute, Sat tickets were going for like 300 a pop on Ebay. Someone made some money. Really looking forward to Kraftwerk, the Pixies, Radiohead, Laurent Garnier, Stereolab, Da Lata, Savath and Savalas, 2 Many DJs, Dizzee Rascal, Mogwai, Dangermouse, Antibalas.... PLus movies like "Bomb the System" and "Sound Class"

Jazzanova is set to release a new Mix CD on Sonar Kollectiv. Check the tracklistings and hear the cuts now.

4Hero has released an LP of their best remixes as well as selected remixes done by others of their tracks. A great chance to get your hands on all the things people will be talking about as classics in 10 years. The boys are always one step ahead - whether that was acid house, breakbeat, hip-hop, drum n bass, soul and now broken beat. Their version of Rotary Connetion's "Black gold of the Sun" still gives me the chills. And if you haven't heard the Visioneers remnix of "The Action" (yeah that crew), you are missing out on the definition of jazzy hip-hop business.

Madlib is doing broken beat. Check the new (import?) Stones Throw 12" called "Broken Soul." A little too meandering, like a lot of his recent non hip-hop work, but there are some great bits on here trying to move things forward.

Peven Everett - Kissing Game (Kindred Spirits) - A housier and more better mastered offering from one of my hometown (Chicago) heroes. While Pevan is one of the best songwriters and performers in the country (check the classic 2-step forerunner "Gabrielle"), this too often gets lost in the LPs he's released (3 or 4 in the last year and a half?!). There are always a couple of bangers, in this case the title track, "Puerto Rico," and "Boy I Need," but also too much similar sounding beats and vocals. He needs an anthology already.

VA - Blue Note Revisited Album (Blue Note) - Probably the best one yet of all the Blue Note remix and repackage jobs they have crowded the shelves with in recent years. Someone over there knows their stuff pairing Horace Silver/4Hero, Bugz in the Attic/Gene Harris, Kenny Dope/Bobby Hutcherson, etc. Some let downs of course, but we like the effort.

Greyboy - Soul Music (Blue Note) - Loved the singles so this is a bit of a disappointment, but still the best Greyboy LP to date for my money. He brought up the soul and buried the hip-hop acid jazz to great effect.

Finally, do check out a nice BBC (Collective - a new type of interactive forum) feature on the "pirate soul" thing that is taking over the finer London record shops. Taking mash-ups up a few notches, peeps like Yam Who, Blackbeard, J-Star and Red-Astaire have made some of the most listenable jointz of the year. The thing is to take the best recent soul numbers like and tweak em just right - either by taking a nice little beat section from the original and extending it or replacing the beat or a joint with great vocals with something more substantial. Faves of the genre include YamWho/R. Saddiq's "Skyy Can You Feel Me," J-Starr's "No Digity," Red Astaire/Method Man's "Back n Forth/Follow Me,"Blackbeard/Kweli's "Get By."

One more on the illegal songs front - The Inhumanz CD "Hell to Pay.
These are the folks behind the popular SATANIK MASHUP series - club guaranteed.
01."Satanik Intro"
02."50 Inch Nails" - 50 Cent/Nine Inch Nails
03."Kashmir Yourself" - Eminem/Led Zeppelin ***
04."Shoot the War Pigs" - Nas/Black Sabbath
05."Back in the Episode" - Dr. Dre/Snoop Dogg/AC/DC
06."Magic Stroke" - Lil' Kim/50 Cent/Billy Squier
07."Neva Roam" - Bonecrusher/Metallica
08."Frantic Bia" - Lil' Jon/Metallica ***
09."Say Hello Last Time" - Clipse/Interpol ***
10."Suck Up" - Ludacris/Red Hot Chilli Peppers
11."Pass That Can" - Missy Elliott/Can
12."We Will Wanksta" - 50 Cent/Queen ***
13."21 Questions of Fame" - 50 Cent/David Bowie
14."Led Gon' Give It To Ya" - DMX/Led Zeppelin ***
15."Wizard Storm" - Mobb Deep/Black Sabbath
16."Dirt Off Your Sober" - Jay-Z/Tool

Last one, promise, but it fits too....
VA - ST IDES RAP COMMERCIALS - Self explnatory business who issue shows that too many people my age have too much money to waste. Naw, that one MC Eiht joint was ill. And wen Public Enemy did one of these I never bought another things from them.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Nation of Islam Minister Calls Cuba "Most Compassionate Country on Earth"
Cuba Forced to Withdrawl Guantanamo Resolution

Amazing, witness Imperialism at its finest hour.

"Tangible is the fear of Western countries and some in Latin America to stand up with dignity to the fascist practices of the U.S. administration lest they receive reprimands and retaliations. Those who accused Cuba and other Third World countries yesterday are today's accused, Cuba's UN Ambassador Mora Godoy said Thursday. "Their authority and prestige are already beyond salvation."

German Ambassador Michael Steiner, thanked Cuba for withdrawing the resolution. Germany had been expected to use a "no action" procedural move to block debate on the resolution - a tactic regularly employed by countries to stop the commission from condemning their human rights records.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Human Rights Commission Risks Irrelevancy

I doubt that many people even know that the 60th Session of the Human Rights Commission has been taking palce the past few weeks in Geneva, Switzerland. Those that have, likely are aware because they heard about the only issue (of hundreds) being discussed there has been publicized in the US media - the recent 21-20 (relatively weak) vote to censure Cuba on its human rights record.

The US views the annual attempts at passing anti-Cuba resultions in the Commission of utmost importance. Leaders throughout the world such as Vicente Fox in Mexico received phone calls from Bush or Powell on the Cuba issue before the vote (Mexico caved at the last minute and voted with the US - against its people's will). The US expends such effort in order to justify its immoral and illegal blockade on the island 90 miles from Key West, which the UN has condemned overwhelmingly and repeatedly.

Well Cuba is fighting back this year - ingeniously. It decided to test the real relevancy and even-handedness of the Commission by sponsoring a resolution to simply allow UN investigation into the situation of 600 detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - being held by the US Government for more than 2 years without charge, legal representation and in conditions that have been described by the lucky few who were released as torturous, abusive and humiliating. The US Ambassador to the UN maintains that this ''is not a human rights issue.'' Amensty International, the EU Parliment, the UN High Commissioner, the OAS, Red Cross and nearly every other organization that matters is on the record with opposite opinions. Cuba's decision to bring the matter to the fore is monumental. The issue was ignored in Geneva last year and was ignored until Cuba stepped forwards. This shows you how scared countries are to criticize the major world power in supposed fair international fora. Seeing tomorrow whether the European countries vote with the US or Cuba on the matter will be highly revealing, particularly because their Parliment and many countries have expressed concern at the treatment of their citizens there. However the US is now telling countries that they risk the potential freedom of their citizen's if they vote against the US. You want high drama, here it is??

Monday, April 19, 2004


Go-Go White Sox
Ok, I haven't been a big sports guy in a while, but I do love my Chicago White Sox. Under new laid back manager Ozzie Guillen, they're starting out 8-4... their best record since 92. Constantly underappreciated in the home city and underrated throughout the league, the White Sox have one of the best records in baseball in the last 10-15 years. Their hitting is stacked - the unknown MVP candidate Magglio Ordonez, "big" Frank Thomas, who hit 42 dingers last year, perpetual 300-30 guys Paul Konerko and Carlos Lee, as well as ace pitching from All-Star starter Esteban Loiza (nice 2 hitter shutout yesterday pal!), Mark Burhle and th epotential of John Garland.

Yet, the last few years have seen mind-boggling underachievement. Sox fans blame this on the Cubs, their North side wussy fans and a Tribune (who owns the Cubs and Chicago's major newspaper) conspiracy. but this is why I love the Sox. They are South Siders, the stadium localted across the street from one of the poorest census tract in the country. Cubs games sell-out even when Sosa isn't playing, yet on game 2 this year at home, the Sox drew only 11,000 people. They are the perpetual underdog, who nonetheless provides much better baseball (and better food - i miss those grilled onions and pita sandwiches already). Since moving to LA, I am thanking God for WGN and TIVO - my lifeline to home.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

"Wasn't My Fault" - The Hearings and Press Conference Refrain
The leaders of today and yesterday taught America's children a wonderful lesson on responsibility today. If you are called before your country to provide an honest account of how tragedy can be averted, say:

1) It was the stupid rules and regulations that are the problem.
2) It was everyone but me that was the problem.
3) It was everyone from the other political party that was the problem.

Isn't this precisely what all the so-called conservatives were to up in arms about when Clinton was squirming his way out of answering (admittedly far more irrevelent and stupid) questions? Or maybe it was about s-e-x, not accepting responsibility after all.

It was great to watch Bush feign thinking hard when asked if he could redo something in the last 2 1/2 years. Of course an answer is politically untenable (and maybe THAT is part of the problem America??) but you also got the impression that he seriously has not thought of things like this before. Maybe reading Psalms before bedtime allieves the period of reflection and thoughtful concern that I imagine the rest of us with far less responsibility have many nights.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Blogs on Baghdad
Check out the 2 amazing blogs I've found from families in Baghdad linked on the right. They write every day in a way that cuts through all the BS and shows us what exactly our government and military are doing to the fabric of Iraqi society. If we can't have initially supportive, intelligent people like this on our side, we have no chance for victory.

From their comments on the recent uprising, I found little nugget of hypocrisy. Apparently the only guy we can get on the Iraqi Governing Council to talk about stopping the violence (by Iraqis) is a Mr. Al-Hakeem, who represents the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Getting beyond the irony of the fact that his group models itself on our arch-enemy Iran, this is a group that remains on our own Terrorist watch list (you would think why would have found a way to erase them by now) because of its links to deaths and destruction in thousands of cases. This is the reason they were sent out and we supported that. But now Mr. Hakim has turned into Gahndi, thinking that this act of ingratiation will leave him as the man to run Iraq on day. Too bad that the Iraqi people, as the bloggers show, know the truth.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Choice Choons on the Leftside
The new Gilles Peterson Worldwide Vol. 4 is set to drop. Damn, these are hot!

Giles Peterson - Worldwide Exclusives
1. cinematic orchestra - wheel within a wheel
2. umod - puffin dance
3. nsm - the show
4. ty feat. eska - sophisticated & course
5. eric roberson - couldn't hear me
6. nicola conte - waning moon
7. build an ark - the blessing song
8. batacumbele - ? (seiji mix)
9. jazzanova feat. Shaun Escofferey - boom klicky boom klack (thats how we do)
10. outlines - a matter of time
11. matthew herbert & roisin murphy - the orgy of the free
12. 2 banks of 4 feat. canning town - brilliant circles
13. zero7 - light blue movers
14. gotan project - paris texas

As far as recent broken LPs, don't sleep on the New Sector Movements - back with a more accessible sound - and none the worse for it. ALso, the Clara Hill on Jazzanova Compost is a very nice mix of cutting edge, yet warm, electronic downtempo soul music (you'll remember her for the standout on the Jazzanova LP - "No Use." Check out the new King Britt comp as well - Black to the Future. Tight all the way through, but worth it alone for the (LA based) Rebirth "This Journey In" track, as well as the dope Capital A track "Bring it Back."

As for recent 12s on the broken tip, check the amazingly soulful Directions 12" "Busted Trees," the Latin mid-tempo burner by Trio Electrico "Por Donde Vas." And coing soon to wreck all soulful dancefloors is the "Love 2 Love" track by Just One on Neroli.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Affordable Housing in LA

While nearly every poll of city dwellers in every major city has consistently shown the lack of affordable housing to be among the top 1 or 2 concerns, the issue seems perpetually under the radar. Having read this posting after I finished, I figure out why - the issue turns boring and confusing real quick for some reason. But alas, Hark! There is good news to report.

On Wednesday, the LA City Council voted unanimously to begin drafting an "Inclusionary Zoning" Ordinance. If passed it would require that every new rental or owner-occ. development greater than 6 units will be required to set-aside 12% of the total units for affordable housing. This will have the effect of 1) increasing the net supply of affordable housing, and 2) locating the housing in growing/stable/safe neighborhoods where there is usually very little afffordability. The effects on the City's diversity, equity, transportation (less traffic) and environment will be felt. Big up to Mr. Reyes, Garcetti and Villagroisa - the left/latino coalition in effect - and ACORN and other City housing advocates!

But the fact that media attention on this is zero and the developers are arming their guns against it makes me nervous. I can see the negative LA Times editorial coming soon. You know the score - this is anti-capitalistic, therefore it may make the sky fall.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

The Original Nuyorican Poet- Piri Thomas

Was lucky enough to have caught most of a great PBS Independent Lens (always great) documentary on this man last night. Embarrassingly, I don't think I had ever heard of him. His most lasting work is an autobiographical book called Down These Mean Streets - a sort of Soul on Ice or Autobiography of Malcolm X for the Nuyoricans up in Spanish Harlem in the 60s. A great poem I heard is called Sermon for the Ghetto. Check it out below:

I speak for myself
as my mind rushes back into time
when I held in my hands
a beauty that was truly mine.
I was a child
running through dark ghetto streets
letting the sea of hatred and bigotry
wash over me.
I was too young to know.
But Momma filled my eyes
with the wondrous city,
where there was pity,
and all its pearly gates.
And oh, yeah, all the beautiful wisdoms
that flow from up there.

Hey, world, sit not in churches
and bend your knees in prayer.
And mouth not the words of Christ
of peace on earth and goodwill to all
if you know in your hearts that
you are truly lying, lying.
Oh, America, hey, world!
Do not spread a table with good food and comfort,
such as never seen by the children of your fellow human-beings,

Don't buy toys for your children bought at the price
of other children sacrificed,
Build not your golden gardens
on the blood of children crucified,
Oh America, hey world,
For while you are smiling and living well,
black children, brown children, red children,
yellow children, white children, multi-colored children,
children, children, children,
because of your hypocrisy,
because of greed
are dying, physically,
mentally, spiritually,
and secretly in broad daylight,
broad daylight.

A child out of twilight
Flying towards sunlight.
Born anew at each A.M.
Like a child out of twilight
Flying towards sunlight
Born anew at each A.M.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

The New Public Enemy #1
Muqtadar al-Sadr and 2 burnt US corpses have changed everything in Iraq. In what is sure to be the bloodiest week in Iraq since we've been there, the last shards of argument that the neo-cons held sacred have now turned into dust. Forget fabricated WMDs and Al-Queda links, we now can say without hesitation that there is no liberation for a people afraid to go out at night, there is no freedom for those who are not with us, there is no democracy outside of tribes and bribes and there is no possibility of stability as long as we are there.

Mr. al-Sadr has just cemented his role as an Iraqi hero; someone who's face will seen on posters and who's green and black colors will become the official symbols of the resistance. If he is captured or killed this will happen sooner rather than later. Thousands will line up to follow him in martyrdom. This is a wholly preventable disaster - but one that is perhaps necessary at this stage. Sadr's intolerance is bad for Iraq but his courage to be the first to stand up to force with force will go down in Iraqi lore for eternity. This is a country that cherished its militant anti-imperialism past. Its legion of past ambushers and revolutionaries all have street names named after them - even before Sadaam. Sadr already has a burg the size of Boston. By singling him out in a massive PR offensive yesterday, the US has assured him his place in the entire Shiite crescent. I was hoping the one to stand up would be a Commuinst, but such is Iraq - where Communists are the moderates and religious minded folk are the radicals.

I want to stop this now by pulling out and bringing the UN in for immediate elections. But every person I read or hear says we must not waver - and that we must remain in force until it is quiet. The same foreign policy/military elite thinking that had us staying in Vietnam (and Cambodia and Laos) for years too long, is at it again. There must be an "honerable" end to this. Of course, it will be the Iraqis and US servicemen who pay the price of official hubris. And when there is no honor to be had, there must only be more and more dead Iraqi bodies - to show the boys in Texas that we have won this thing.

What would Kerry do? Ther truth is nothing different. Other democrats talk ish from the sidelines now that it is ok but were nowhere to be seen before the war warning of these things. Only socialists across the globe saw this for what is was - and for this we will only receive more wrath from the disgraced elites.