Archive for January, 2006

Fantastic, eh?

Jan 24, 2006 in Current Events

Whenever a political party comes into power for an extended period of time, it seems that party is eventually and inevitably plagued by scandal, leading voters to elect the opposition party in the next election. It happened to the Democrats years ago, and it will happen to the Republicans very soon.

And so it goes that Canada has elected a conservative prime minister and minority government, ending a 12 year rule by a Liberal party that has, obviously, become plagued by corruption and lack of voter confidence. For lefties, this is a discouraging development. We’ve always been able to depend on Canada for progressive policies and pissing off the Bush administration.

In the eyes of many lefties, Canada has become a progressive mecca, where pot is decriminalized, gay marriage is legal, and socialized healthcare is abundant. Of course, it’s still hasn’t been enough to trigger a lefty migration up north (as promised after Bush’s (re)election), where the winters are cold and hockey is the national sport.

Maybe we should have warned Canada against electing conservatives as a backlash against the ruling party. A lot of countries, including ours, have elected conservatives in recent years, and while it may seem an effective panacea to weary voters, it’s really not. I mean, look at what conservatives have done to our country in the last few years.

It’s too late for the Canadians, but for other countries who are thinking of voting conservative, I urge you to think twice. Unless you like the idea of George Bush getting another world leader as an ideological buddy, vote for someone else.

Impeach Bush!

Jan 17, 2006 in Current Events

In the upcoming issue of the Nation, former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman (who sat on the House Judiciary Committee during Nixon’s impeachment) lays out the case for a possible impeachment of President Bush.

The illegal wiretaps, the fudged rationale for the war in Iraq, the handling of the war, the torture allegations and the administration’s Nixon-like secrecy, paranoia and arrogance provide enough grounds to start investigating the president and bringing impeachment proceedings if necessary.

I’m going to Hawaii, yay!

Jan 04, 2006 in Personal

Yes, you heard that right. While you’re spending a cold and dour January at home, I’ll be hiking around the volcanos, snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay, and boogie boarding off the Kona coast.

I have a friend who’s been living on the Big Island, so I scrounged up enough money to buy the cheapest plane ticket I could find. This is probably the only chance I’ll get to go to Hawaii, at least at this price.

I’m not much of a photographer, but I’ll bring my camera along and I might actually get around to using it. In that case, expect to see pictures here soon.

In My Room’s Top 5 of 2005

Jan 02, 2006 in Music

Better late than never, I guess. I was going to do a top ten, until I realized there were only five new albums that I really liked — and had a chance to thoroughly listen to. So, without further ado…

1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois

The album that was on more top ten lists this year than any other (often at #1), Illinois is about a close as you’ll come to a masterpiece in 2005. Truth be told, the second half of the album is rather boring. But any album with songs like “Decatur,” “Casimir Pulaski Day,” and the six minute suite “Come On! Feel the Illinoise!” deserves to be the best album of the year.

2. Dungen - Ta Det Lungt

In 2005, I discovered that it was often necessary to leave the shores of North America (and the English language) to find new and fantastic music to listen to. The third album from Dungen, a Swedish psych/folk/rock group from the forests of coldest Scandinavia, was re-released stateside in 2005 — thus its inclusion on this list. Ta Det Lungt is a psychedelic tour-de-force that combines elements of the Beatles, Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, Santana and vintage 70s Euro psychedelia to create a work that seems more 1975 than 2005.

3. M.I.A. - Arular

With a bio ready made for publicity (the daughter of a Tamil rebel commander, her family fled Sri Lanka for London, where she discovered hip-hop, became an accomplished artist and then a musician when Peaches introduced her to the Roland MC-505), M.I.A became the first big buzz artist of 2005. Arular combines revolutionary politics, sexual innuendo and multilingual street slang with bhangra, dancehall and hip-hop beats to create a refreshing, unique and trailblazing sound.

4. Konono No. 1 - Congotronics

Belgian record producer Vincent Kenis traveled to the Congolese city of Kinshasa to record the now-legendary amplified likembe group Konono No 1 on his Mac G4 laptop. In existance for over 25 years, Konono pioneered the use of rudimentary homemade amplification to lift the sound of their instruments above the urban din, in turn lending their traditional Bazombe trance music a touch of the avante garde. The recent release of Congotronics 2 continues to expose Kinshasa urban music to the Western world.

5. The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan

The White Stripes extend their musical range on Get Behind Me Satan and continue to push the boundaries of their traditional sound. From blues stompers such as “Red Rain” to the country-flavored “Little Ghost” and “I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet),” Jack and Meg White have uncannily succeeded in creating their best album yet — no small accomplishment given the success of their last two albums.