I had a pretty good time seeing music at Radio Bean last night. A last minute time change said Swale were going on at 10:30 (previously 11) and ROUGH FRANCIS at 12, so I walked in the door just before 10. Swale’s gear filled the stage, so I hoped they would be on soon. A trumpet played, then another, then the 30 (or so) members of Brass Blannagan made their way through the crowd, and assembled on and around the stage to the right. Their gypsy jazz was fun for a few songs, and had people dancing. After a bit the repetitiveness of the songs started to get to me, and I found a spot in the back to hang out. They played for just over an hour, and their last song had a very different sound. I think it was the guitar and keys of Swale starting up that turned me into a happy music fan. They played the first song with the brass band then let it flow into Waterlnading. The brass band added some nice accents, then played their way out when the song was done. Swell, a loving tribute to Swale, I mean Swale said they were going to cover a full album. They played the new Swale album, The Next Instead, in it’s entirety. If you are curious. It starts rocking, eases off a bit, goes through 3 slow songs, then rocks for the second half. I knew all of the songs and really like them. I’m very excited for the album to come out. After that they played the version of War Pigs with the Get out the way, bitch, parts and let it go into Runaway (a toast for the scumbags….). They followed with a blistering rocker that had Amanda screaming the lyrics, and closed with a killer Now I Wanna Be Your Dog. Wow, just wow.
Rough Francis did a pretty quick turnaround, but hit the stage at 10 of 1. Unfortunately, considering the time change, it was really 10 of 2, which did not bode well for those of us who work in the morning. I did not know the first few songs, they might have been Death songs. It didn’t matter, they rocked hard and were lots of fun. I got up close to rock out to Ruffians, but after that it was just too late and I had to go. I really wanted to stick it out, but had nothing left on my Tuesday night.
If the whole thing had started earlier, or the brass band played a few less songs, I would have been OK. If I had known how the timing would work, I would have gone to Manhattan Pizza and Pub to see Wave of the Future for a while, then headed back for Swale. In the end, I made a decision and went with it and had a pretty good time seeing music last night.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Inevitably, the crisis in Ukraine is being discussed in Washington largely through the lens of political polarization. It seems like any and every topic is fodder for partisan dispute these days, even the weather — actually, especially the weather.
Many Republicans are arguing that Vladimir Putin intervened in Crimea because of President Obama’s weakness. Putin saw that Obama didn’t want to go to war in Syria, for example, and this emboldened Putin.
Well, who knows, right? It’s tough to know what would have happened in an alternative universe. Imagine that we still had Putin around in charge of Russia but imagine he faced a different president, one who was tough, aggressive, who had no compunctions about invading countries.
Oh, wait, we ran that experiment in 2008. Putin faced George W. Bush, a president who had invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, for good measure, in the latter case, defying massive international pressure and opposition, and yet, Putin invaded Georgia.
And not as he did this time in a stealthy way with soldiers who were already there who switched their uniforms, he sent in Russian tanks roaring into Georgia, and without any referendums, simply annexed two pieces of that country.
Does this prove that Bush was a wimp after all? No, it doesn’t. You see, there has been some very good and careful scholarship by Daryl Press and Jonathan Mercer, among others, that looks at historical cases to figure out whether having a reputation for toughness actually deters your opponents from doing bad things like invading countries.
In general, the answer is no. Countries make these decisions based on many factors, but the most important ones seem to be a careful analysis of the power dynamics of the specific case.
So in Ukraine, Russia would ask, is this a vital interest of the United States? And what is Washington’s capacity to act in this particular situation? In other words, Putin would look at his cards, Washington’s cards, and the specifics of the situation in Ukraine, rather than assuming that because Bush invited Iraq he would defend Georgia, or that because Obama didn’t invade Syria he would do nothing about Ukraine.
Politicians in Washington are convinced that Putin was encouraged by Western weakness. But it’s actually quite possible that he, Putin, felt he was acting to stop the West’s growing strength.
Look at the situation from Russian eyes. In 1991, Moscow gave up its 75-year-old Soviet empire. It also gave up large parts of its 300-year-old Russian Empire, including Ukraine.
Since then, its historical rival, NATO, has expanded closer and closer to Moscow’s borders. And then the West encouraged Ukrainians to take to the streets and depose their president who had close ties to Moscow.
Now none of this excuses aggression or justifies Putin’s thuggish response, but if we’re going to find a political solution in Ukraine that will stick, we need to recognize that the issues at stake are not personal, and that they are larger than Obama’s weakness and Putin’s paranoia.
There are no racists at
#CPAC2014 – they just didn’t mind when Putin invaded Georgia & a white President did nothing.
Milton Busker at Radio Bean, Swale at Juniper and The Mountain Says No & Black Rabbit at Manhattan Pizza March 7, 2014
I had a great time seeing music last night. I knew there was no way I could see all that I wanted, but set up an ambitious plan and carried it through. I got out of work at 7 and did a quick turn around and was at Radio Bean a little after 8. Milton Busker was on and playing his heart out on acoustic guitar. His playing was subtle and exciting at the same time. His songs evoked a full band, but it was just him on stage. I was pretty mesmerized for the set until the last song where he just rocked hard and I bopped around in joy.
After he finished I headed to Juniper and saw Swale play in a lobby. There were a bunch of people sitting around chatting and Swale set up and played a bunch of their most gentle songs. Gorgeous versions of Soul Piggy Bank and Middlesex left me blissfully happy. A couple of songs wanted to rock a bit, but they held it tight. It just wasn’t a rocking environment, but it was so great to hear them play. I knew I could not stay for the whole show, so when the clock said go, I slipped out the door.
I cruised down to Manhattan Pizza and Pub and settled in, but soon The Mountain Says No hit the stage with a furious version of their title song. The rest of the set was high energy rock and roll, and it was great. I’m still learning their songs, but I really like several of them. I loved every moment of their set, and hope to see them again soon.
After a quick break, Black Rabbit came on and rocked the place hard. Familiar songs like Neighborhood and 89 were balanced with newer songs like the one about the cold. In honor of the mural on the wall, they covered The Ramones song I Don’t Wanna go down to the Basement. They had me rocking from first note to last, and I was overflowing with joy.
As the last note faded away, I grabbed my coat and hit the road. I got a pretty good night’s sleep, and now it’s time for work and then do it all over again tonight. This time, with a little less walking.
I had a great time seeing music last week at Signal Kitchen. I got out of work at 7 and made it downtown by 8:30. I was hoping to swing by the ½ lounge to catch Great Western, who started at 7, but did not have the time. I walked in as Marsye Smith was set to play. She opened with a gorgeous version of Good thing and played a strong set of stark songs. Her songs may not be cheery but her lyrics are so real and human, it’s easy to get entranced. Her set was well played and she closed with Liar, another personal favorite.
Up next Cuddle Magic, from NYC, took the stage. With guitar, drums, horns, keys, laptop effects and a keyboard/xylophone player, they had a highly percussive sound. Many of the song parts were heading in a Zappa or Sun Ra neighborhood, but several parts had nice harmonies and a smooth flow. They were kind of interesting, but nothing really hooked me. I really enjoyed the woman singers voice, but it wasn’t anything that put me over the top.
Rachel Ries followed with a solid set. Several of the members of Cuddle Magic backed her up, but it was really her songs and voice that lead the way. Strong stand-up bass playing, and backing vocals, by Ariel Bolles added a lot to the show. Again, I liked all the songs, but nothing grabbed me as much as Maryse’s set. I still have an image of Ariel bowing the bass and getting a cool sound out of it, so that was a lot of fun.
It was nice to see the new version of Signal Kitchen, which looked a bit different, and exactly the same. It was great to see a ton of Burlington’s most classic music people in the audience. Being part of the community and hearing Maryse made the whole evening worthwhile.
Even if the rest of the world sees Russian President Vladimir Putin fully as a “semi-delustional autocrat” who has bought too far into his own propaganda, Daily Show host Jon Stewart observed on Thursday, Fox News is all too willing to treat him as a legitimate world leader.
But while conservatives trip over themselves to praise Putin for acting unilaterally, Stewart said, they immediately cry “imperial president” when U.S. President Barack Obama does the same.
“What the hell is wrong with these people?” Stewart asked. “What happened to these people as children that has enabled this love-hate relationship with authoritarian figures and the inherent cognitive dissonance that goes along with such a schism?”
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R) joke about Obama wearing “mom jeans,” Stewart noted, had become a right-wing talking point, even if it tied in to overblown stories about Putin, like the story about him shooting a tiger — which turned out to have been tranquilized and trapped beforehand.
I just got back from local music radio show 52 on internet only WBKM.ORG. Linda Bassick came into the studio and played a couple of songs live. After that I played some loud songs.
Song before: Almost With You – The Church Band
From our small city to the great big world, these are the Sounds Of Burlington. There is a ton of music happening this weekend. This next guy is playing at the BCA center on Church Street pretty much now. This is The Prize by Ryan Power on WBKM and this is Burlington’s Kind Of Music.
Swale are playing at Juniper tomorrow and playing a “secret show” on Saturday. They have a really cool video for this show. Pours are a new duo with an album coming out in May and a gig coming up In April at Signal Kitchen. Up next, let’s chat with Linda Bassick. We chatted about her band Mellow Yellow playing a cruise soon with the Moody Blues.
4.) Big Yellow Taxi – Linda Bassick live in studio
That was fun. While Linda tunes, here is a studio version of one of her songs.
5.) One From Two – Linda Bassick
OK, here’s Linda live again
6.) Brand New Key – Linda Bassick live in the studio
That was fun. One other thing you do is work for Girls Rock Vermont. We chatted about how important it is for girls to go rock if they want to. If you know any girl who wants to learn to rock, contact Linda. OK, time to change things around. Larry Fast, Jerry Marotta, and others are playing Peter Gabriel songs tonight at Higher Ground. If I wasn’t here, that’s where I’d be.
7.) Intruder (live) – Peter Gabriel
8.) One More Grave – The Contrarian
9.) Home Invasion – ROUGH FRANCIS
I’ve been playing Maximum Soul Power all the way through but feel like technical difficulties the last two weeks have made it hard to hear, so I’m going to play the last three. Before that was Casey Hades Rae as the Contrarian. Rough Francis are releasing the album Tuesday March 11 and the album release party is tomorrow.
Mountain and Rabbit are playing tomorrow at Manhattan Pizza and Pub and I have to find a way to be in 4 places at once since Linda’s band Mellow Yellow are playing Radio Bean at the same time. Clone me please!! I hope your town has this much great music and hope you enjoyed checking out the music of our town. Let’s do it again next week, shall we?
Song After: The Other Side Of Me – Fish
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST:
“In a strange act of historical coincidence, it was 60 years ago this week that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev handed the Crimea over to the Ukraine. It might not have seemed a big deal in those days; everyone was part of one, big, unhappy Soviet Union.
But that has created today’s geopolitical crisis. Russia has now made its move. It has essentially detached Crimea from the Ukrainian government’s control. What remains unclear is what Vladimir Putin wants to do with it.
Incorporate it into Russia, use it as leverage to negotiate a deal with Kiev, both?
In any event, Washington’s response should be clear and forceful. Russia has violated all kinds of laws and norms, including most crucially a treaty that it signed with Ukraine, guaranteeing that country’s borders, in return for which Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons.
For Washington, for Americans, really for people around the world, it would be a terrible precedent to allow issues like these to be resolved not by negotiations or diplomacy, but by force.
If Russia can detach parts of neighboring countries with impunity, won’t other great powers like China decide that they, too, can act in similar ways?
So what can be done?
For starters, President Obama should cancel entirely his attendance at the G8 summit to be held in Sochi in June. He should try to persuade the other major powers to follow suit.
Russia’s membership in the G8 should be suspended. Remember, the G8 was created to recognize that post-soviet Russia was behaving like an honorable member of the international community, not a rogue state. If the behavior has changed, Russia’s status should also change.
Militarily there is less that can be done. Russia’s defense budget is about 18 times that of Ukraine, but NATO should restart talks on providing assurances to countries like Poland, including perhaps building the missile defense system that was abandoned.
In economic terms, Washington and the E.U. should consider sanctions that would be effective, ones targeted specifically at individuals who could be held responsible for these acts of aggression against Ukraine.
Washington cannot stop Vladimir Putin as he creates facts on the ground in Crimea. But step back and consider what a strategic disaster this is for him.
Ukraine has slipped out of Russia’s orbit and most of the population there is going to be hostile toward Russia for generations. Countries like Poland that had eased up relations with Moscow will now view it with great suspicion. All European countries will put their relations with Russia under review.
Even China will surely oppose the brazen violation of national sovereignty, something Beijing is always concerned about. Within Russia, people have now seen that Putin is terrified of a democracy movement and will brutally oppose it, not really the image he wants to present.
Putin gets Crimea, which, by the way, is only 60 percent Russian; parts of it will be deeply hostile to this Russian takeover, including the population of Crimean Tartars, who are Muslim and getting radicalized. Remember, Crimea is in the Northern Caucasus, the area where Russia has been battling a ferocious Muslim insurgency. So even as he lines up one more piece or half-piece on his chessboard, Vladimir Putin will find that the price he has paid for it is quite high.”
Hala Shukrallah was elected leader of Egypt’s Dostour party last week, since when journalists have barely stopped bothering her. Her party’s reputation has something to do with it: Dostour (“Constitution”) was founded by Mohamed ElBaradei, the exiled Nobel laureate many hoped would lead post-revolutionary Egypt. But there is another cause of the excitement.
Shukrallah is the first woman – and first Christian – to lead a major Egyptian party. At a time when the 2011 uprising seems to have achieved little, her election is a reminder of the seismic social shifts the revolution unleashed. At least, that is how she sees it. “What we’re seeing here is that something truly on-the-ground is happening,” Shukrallah, 59, says of her election. “I think it’s a reflection of the changes in the people’s psyche since the 25 January [revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak]. They do not really see these elements as significant – being a woman, being a Copt, or whatever. These elements are no longer significant in comparison to a much bigger thing that they are aspiring to.”
Women and Coptic Christians (who form around 10% of the otherwise Muslim population) have historically been largely marginalised from politics. But Shukrallah’s election hints that this may slowly be starting to change, partly thanks to a shift in national consciousness created by the 2011 revolution, which encouraged people to challenge social structures.
Here and there, you can find similar signs. In December, leftist physician Mona Mina became the first woman to be elected head of Egypt’s influential doctors’ syndicate, a group led for years by male conservative Islamists. In terms of women’s rights, Egypt’s new constitution is thought more progressive than any before.
In the campaign to lead Dostour, Shukrallah – who earned her PhD from University College London – was not even thought of as “the female candidate”: her closest rival, Gameela Ismail, is also a woman. Shukrallah feels she was elected for her ideas, which appeal to her party’s revolutionary youth, and her plans to change the culture of Egypt’s political parties, which too often centre on a single figure, rather than encouraging broad grassroots engagement.
“Our parties have always been a one-man show – both in the way that it’s been ruled by one personality, and that it’s usually been men who’ve been in the position,” says Shukrallah, a veteran activist jailed for her politics three times in the 1970s and 80s. In changing this culture within Dostour, she hopes to encourage a similar transition across a society that has relied on strongman leadership.
“How can we expect the rulers to change when the political opposition does not?” asks Shukrallah, who runs an NGO that tries to empower local communities. “How can we expect there to be replacement of power within the ruling parties when the opposition parties don’t [either]?”
John Fugelsang “Dick Cheney outraged that Obama would try to cut size of military, like Sec of Def Dick Cheney did in 1991.”