Cartoon of the Day

October 30, 2007

Morning Dies

October 27, 2007

Morning Dies

Absurd mock men

Content in their suppressed gray garb

Suppressed in their minds

What an obscure picture of free will

Smug, big business

Fat on the souls

of the less fortunate

Wealthy grotesque, oblivious

Atrocities of epic nature

Now on your evening news

Commander in chief

A comical thief

A world filled with grief

And the blood flows freely

all through the middle east

There’s blood in his oil

and blood in his smile

He keeps on smiling

all the while

cold masses of dying men

crying women

litter our streets

we must feed the war machine

While he keeps on

lying, prying, buying for time

Oh good people rise

wipe his lies

from your ears and eyes

realize, as morning dies

hear our cries

let truth not find the wayside

– Toby Hartbarger

Toby Hartbarger served in Iraq with the 2nd ACR from May 2003 — August 2004. He joined Iraq Veterans Against the War in 2005.

Music Video of the Week

October 27, 2007

Ricardo Arjona – Si El Norte Fuera El Sur


October 27, 2007

The year’s best music

October 27, 2007

Why wait until December?
Releases from M.I.A., Radiohead and Rihanna are among 2007’s most important.
By Ann Powers, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 28, 2007

WE all know the music industry is a mess. The album format may be going the way of the woolly mammoth, possibly taking the major labels with it. Concert tickets cost too much, and with the Web encouraging a million little niche markets, no one soundtrack is inspiring a generation. We’ve come so far, only to arrive at “High School Musical.”

Yet as anarchy descends, something remarkable keeps happening — artists from across the playing field are hitting peaks and causing major excitement. With two months to go before the debate about what defined the soundtrack of 2007 crests, a group of much-noticed groundbreakers sits comfortably atop the zeitgeist. Why wait until December? The year’s Top 10, at least in terms of importance, is clear right now.

This isn’t always true — just last year, the winners were less obvious and more divisive. Sure, Dylan released another late-career masterpiece (yawn!), but other than that, year-end lists praised esoteric art projects, cult-level hip-hop and decent indie rock by bands that, for all their craft, aren’t doing much that’s new.

But this year something happened. Groundswells of interest kept surfacing about certain releases — and lasting beyond the life span of hype. Buzz-building leaks, fan tributes, gossip and discussion that lasted much longer than the attention span of critics extended interest in these albums, rather than diffusing it. Key festival appearances and triumphal tours made more news.

These albums are making real impact in uncertain times. Crucially, none are debuts: Today’s complex pop landscape seems better navigated by those with established identities and the courage to take risks. Not all are my own favorites; none received uniformly good reviews. But their success proves that pop is doing just fine in this period of transition.

1. Radiohead

“In Rainbows” (no label)

These intelligent rockers released their long-anticipated new set as a pay-as-you-will download, inspiring shouts of “Revolution!” But they could get away with that dare only because “In Rainbows” pleases so many kinds of ears. Tuneful, deep, even groovy, it challenges without being off-putting, and proves that the weariest genre on the planet — guitar-based rock — can still accommodate a few new tricks.

2. Kanye West

“Graduation” (Roc-A-Fella)

West is the consummate post-millennial music star. He’s hit-oriented but adventurous, rooted in hip-hop but compulsively eclectic, with an ego that makes him purposefully outrageous. His third album, flavored by electro beats and internationalist pop, got a boost from a manufactured feud with rapper 50 Cent. West treated the hype like a good joke, and came out swinging with a brain-infecting single, “Stronger.”

3. M.I.A.

“Kala” (Interscope)

The geopolitical playground rhymes of Sri Lankan-British artiste Maya Arulpragasam captured the hearts of the au courant in 2005. Her second album proves she’s more than a passing fancy. Recorded all over the globe, it’s a big and bouncy blast of fun that communicates ideas as serious as a pocket bomb. You know an album’s great when the worst track is the one produced by Timbaland.

4. Bruce Springsteen

“Magic” (Columbia)

What could be more predictable than the Boss’ latest hookup with his stalwart E Street Band? Yet by infusing old song structures and themes with a newfound sense of ambiguity, Springsteen made this music relevant rather than nostalgic. The band’s reunion tour was a lock to be an extraordinary moneymaker; the new treasures of “Magic” make it a real event.

5. Arcade Fire

“Neon Bible” (Merge)

Unfettered joy distinguishes these Canadian pomp-rockers from others who are using sweeping gestures to break open indie rock’s cage. Win Butler’s songs wallow in heartbreak and apocalypse on this second album, but the ruckus raised by his half-dozen bandmates catapults them aloft. Their live shows seal the deal, inspiring a passion in fans that makes you think they really could be the voice of a generation.

6. Feist

“The Reminder” (Arts & Crafts/Interscope)

Songwriter-chanteuse Leslie Feist first made waves in 2004 with the sweetly sleepy hit “Mushaboom.” That bit of punk bossa nova only hinted at the self-realization of this album. It’s the indie-cool equivalent to Carole King’s “Tapestry,” a crafty, subtle girl’s breakthrough into full womanhood. Now the video for the jaunty single “1234,” attached to an iPod commercial, is making Feist a sensation all over again.

7. Rihanna

“Good Girl Gone Bad” (Def Jam)

Born in Barbados, this 21-year-old powerhouse ingénue is a force behind the current Caribbeanization of R&B, and the strongest young rival for Beyoncé’s crown. Rihanna’s third album is mostly known for “Umbrella,” a wistful, sneakily affecting hit that ruled the charts all summer. But as her curtain-ripping turns at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards proved, there’s much more to this singer than one sexy hook. More hits are bound to extend this album’s shelf life.

8. LCD Soundsystem

“Sound of Silver” (DFA)

James Murphy made his name as a producer before combining his beat-making skills with song craft in this one-man studio band. LCD Soundsystem songs are hilarious, but they resist the snicker of novelty; beneath Murphy’s witty banter is the moan of genuine emotion. With this self-assured second album, he cemented his role as leader of indie music’s surge onto the dance floor. His live shows prove he can shake the booty of the most serious music nerd.

9. Amy Winehouse

“Back to Black” (Island)

Before drug use and a volatile marriage pulled her completely off the rails, Winehouse had emerged as the year’s most distinctive young vocalist. Her second album spurred debates about who owns the rights to vintage soul, but Winehouse’s brilliant phrasing and inflection, along with Mark Ronson’s inventive production, made it more than a period piece. The album’s great because of her artistry, not her much-documented disorderliness.

10. Lil’ Wayne

Unlimited downloads (no label)

This list began with “In Rainbows,” a rebellion against the music-biz status quo. Let it end with a subtler, more thorough and possibly more meaningful revolt. This year, Lil’ Wayne truly became rap’s ruling lyricist by leaving his mark on a bewildering number of mix tapes, freestyle rhymes and other artists’ hits — most available for free online. The quality’s mixed, as you’d expect from nearly 100 notable appearances. But there’s no better symbol of the next phase in pop than Wayne’s inexhaustible talent and hunger to share.

Bob Dylan: Cadillac Spokesman

October 27, 2007

Meeting Resistance

October 27, 2007

What would you do if your country was invaded?

“Meeting Resistance” is a new documentary on the Iraq war from a perspective that few in the West ever see. It turns the spotlight on Iraqi men and women who choose to resist the military occupation of their country.

We hear the voices and stories of individuals usually simply referred to — depending on your perspective — as resistance fighters, insurgents, or terrorists. During the early years of the war, the Bush administration and the mainstream media said they were comprised of al-Qaeda elements and former Baath Party members still loyal to Saddam Hussein.

Today the attacks on US-led forces are often blamed on Iran and “foreign fighters.” But “Meeting Resistance” suggests that “ordinary Iraqis,” men and women, Sunni and Shia, form the bulk of the insurgency. Most of them were never Baathists nor were they all religious.

Official Website

“Pete Seeger: The Power of Song”

October 27, 2007

In PETE SEEGER: THE POWER OF SONG, the only authorized biography, Jim Brown documents the life of one of the greatest American singer/songwriters of the last century. Pete Seeger was the architect of the folk revival, writing songs including “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “If I Had A Hammer.”

Largely misunderstood by his critics, including the US government, for his views on peace, unionism, civil rights and ecology, Seeger was targeted by the communist witch hunt of the Fifties. He was picketed, protested, blacklisted, and, in spite of his enormous popularity, banned from American television for more than 17 years.

Combining never-before-seen archival footage and personal films made by Seeger and his wife Toshi, PETE SEEGER: THE POWER OF SONG chronicles the life of this legendary artist and political activist.

The film serves as testament to Seeger’s belief in the power of song above all else and his conviction that individuals can make a difference. Musicians including Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Maines, Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Paxton and Peter, Paul and Mary appear in this intimate portrait and discuss Seeger’s lasting influence on the fabric of American music.

Official Website

Could Stephen Colbert be the next president of the United States?

October 27, 2007

New Poll Suggests Stephen Colbert Should Be Frontrunner Within a Month!

By E&P Staff

Published: October 25, 2007 10:15 PM ET

NEW YORK – Less than a week ago, shortly after he announced for president, Stephen Colbert was favored by only a little more than 2% of Democrats as the favorite for the nomination.

Now, a Rasmussen Report national telephone survey has found that he gains 13% of voters in a matchup with Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Hillary Clinton.

With former Sen. Fred Thompson substituted for Giuliani, the host of Comedy Central’s Colbert Report still got 12%.

If he keeps gaining over 10% a week, Colbert should be leading the field before November is out.

Full Article

Picture of the Day

October 27, 2007

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—Two black youths are chased to school on the day of student integration, 1957.