Friday, December 08, 2006

friday random ten

Photo by Ryan McManus

friday random ten (08/12/2006)

Jens Lekman - USA October 2005: Tour EP
1. "Run Away With Me" - Jens Lekman [USA October 2005 Tour EP]

Angry Angles - Apparent-Transparent
2. "The 15th" - Angry Angles [Apparent Transparent 7"]

Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
3. "Jayne's Blue Wish" - Tom Waits [Orphans: Brawler, Bawlers & Bastards]

Broken Social Scene - You Forgot it in People
4. "Pitter Patter Goes My Heart" - Broken Social Scene [You Forgot It In People]

Racetrack Babies - Summer Salt Santiago
5. "Unshined" - Racetrack Babies - [Summer Salt Santiago]

Calla - Collisions
6. "This Better Go As Planned" - Calla [Collisions]

Enemy Camps
7. "Enemy Camps" - A Tiger Named Lovesick [Chimey Guitars & Rumbling Other Things]

Standing Waves
8. "The One You Love" - Standing Waves [A Short History of the Standing Waves, Part 1]

9. "Apple (Suicide On Your Stereo Set)" - Annemarie [The Living Model EP]

The Raveonettes - Whip It On
10. "Do You Belive Her?" - The Raveonettes [Whip It On EP]

Bonus #11: "Piano Man" Ghostland Observatory

friday random ten (08/12/2006)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

boo fucking hoo!

Culture Shock on Capitol Hill: House to Work 5 Days a Week (WaPo)

Forget the minimum wage. Or outsourcing jobs overseas. The labor issue most on the minds of members of Congress yesterday was their own: They will have to work five days a week starting in January.

The Horror.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, the Maryland Democrat who will become House majority leader and is writing the schedule for the next Congress, said members should expect longer hours than the brief week they have grown accustomed to.

"I have bad news for you," Hoyer told reporters. "Those trips you had planned in January, forget 'em. We will be working almost every day in January, starting with the 4th."

The reporters groaned. "I know, it's awful, isn't it?" Hoyer empathized.

For lawmakers, it is awful, compared with what they have come to expect. For much of this election year, the legislative week started late Tuesday and ended by Thursday afternoon -- and that was during the relatively few weeks the House wasn't in recess.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"It's not fair! It's not fair!"

Helsinki Complaints Choir

The Guardian

The Complaints Choir of Helsinki is not the only complaints choir on the internet, but it is incomparably the best. A Finnish-German artist couple, Tellervo Kalleinen and her husband Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, asked visitors to an arts festival to submit their complaints about life, and then set the idea to music. They started in Birmingham, a promising city if you're looking for whinges. But the Birmingham Complaints Choir is small, and sadly pedestrian. "Birmingham has changed so much. I liked it more before," they start.

In Helsinki, the whole city seems to have entered into the spirit of the occasion; 100,000 people have already watched it on YouTube (Birmingham's performance has attracted only 12,000, which gives them something else to grumble about, I suppose). The Helsinki choir was made up of almost 100 people (most of them women) and their complaints, chosen from a field of 2,000, made a sad, delightful poetry.

Complaints Choir of Birmingham

Corporations Control Your Dinner

Debra Eschmeyer (AlterNet):

When pouring your next glass of milk, consider who decided what the cow ate and who controls the distribution of profits. One would think the farmer and consumer take the lead roles in managing the supply of safe and healthy food. The farmer should control his or her business while mainly battling unpredictable weather -- expecting the price they receive for a quality product to be set by a fair and honest marketplace.

However, in today's market, the lack of competition is wielding just as much force as Mother Nature as witnessed by the recent proposed acquisition of the Chicago Board of Trade by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) to become the CME Group Inc. -- combining the two largest U.S. futures exchanges.

If you think this and similar mergers do not affect your freedom of choice and the quality of food you eat, think again. Food is not simply a commodity to produce at a larger and larger scale, squeezing the family farmer out along with the value of safe and healthy food.

The CME is already the world's largest commodity broker determining futures and cash prices for products such as cheese, butter, live cattle, timber, and fertilizer as they set the benchmark prices for farm country. Within seconds the coarse yelling on the trade floor is translated around the world, affecting farm gate prices and grocery bills of billions of people.

If this merger goes through, the newly formed CME Group will enjoy unprecedented power over global food markets to the detriment of producers and consumers and the glee of large agribusiness and traders -- lining their own pockets with money generated by destroying family farmers and the consumer value that exists in having diversity in the market.

The Dollar Melts as Iraq Burns

James K. Galbraith

The melting away of the dollar is like global warming: you can't say that any one heat wave proves the trend, and there might be a cold snap next week. Still, over time, evidence builds up. And so, as the greenback approaches two to the pound, old-timers will remember the fall of sterling, under similar conditions of deficits and imperial retreat, a generation back. We have to ask: is the American financial empire on the brink? Let's take stock.

Smuggling, theft, bribery at agency

Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — Aside from patrolling the nation's borders and guarding against terrorism, the Department of Homeland Security also is battling fraud, theft, bribery, smuggling and other crimes by American citizens — with some of the most disturbing examples coming from the sprawling agency's own employees.

A semiannual report filed to Congress by the department's inspector general showed a sharp jump in arrests in the six months ended Sept. 30, with many stemming from schemes by members of the public to bilk the agency of emergency relief funds in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

But the report, released this week, also highlights a litany of staff misconduct: immigration officials demanding sex in exchange for visas, airport screeners stealing money from tourists' luggage, federal air marshals smuggling drugs, and employees from various DHS agencies committing sex crimes — including indecent exposure and distributing child pornography.

The array of staff transgressions tucked into the report reflects the continued growing pains of an agency that was formed only three years ago, and the pressures created as parts of the department have rapidly expanded, critics say.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Has He Started Talking to the Walls?

Frank Rich

IT turns out we’ve been reading the wrong Bob Woodward book to understand what’s going on with President Bush. The text we should be consulting instead is “The Final Days,” the Woodward-Bernstein account of Richard Nixon talking to the portraits on the White House walls while Watergate demolished his presidency. As Mr. Bush has ricocheted from Vietnam to Latvia to Jordan in recent weeks, we’ve witnessed the troubling behavior of a president who isn’t merely in a state of denial but is completely untethered from reality. It’s not that he can’t handle the truth about Iraq. He doesn’t know what the truth is.