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  • The Arcade Fire -

    The Arcade Fire: Neon Bible
    A good friend of mine convinced me to buy "Funeral," Arcade Fire's first album, last year and I'd say my reaction to that album was mixed. I recognized that the band had some unique ideas, and an interesting sound, but it just didn't really fit my musical tastes. "Neon Bible" may be less inventive, but all in all, I think it is more enjoyable to listen to than "Funeral." However, I actually went to an Arcade Fire show here in DC last weekend, and I have to admit that the songs they played from "Funeral" were much more energetic and exciting than the selections from "Neon Bible." The concert, like the recordings, come off as highly orchestrated and refined rock compositions. There is little wasted space, and the music features an interesting, although somewhat off-putting blend of instruments and vocals. The finished product takes some getting used to, but once you've acquired the Arcade Fire taste, it's hard to put these albums down. (****)

  • Bloc Party -

    Bloc Party: A Weekend in the City
    Sure enough, Bloc Party validated my predictions and avoided the dreaded "sophomore slump" with their second album. While Silent Alarm was a bit more polished, A Weekend in the City takes more chances, and offers a more diverse and creative set of songs than the band's first album. There are clear allusions to Radiohead's Kid A throughout this album, but Bloc Party does a good job of continuing to hone their own unique sound. "I Still Remember" is the sort of anthemic single that could propel Bloc Party onto the national spotlight. (****)

  • Thom Yorke -

    Thom Yorke: The Eraser
    This is basically a solo version of Kid A, although you can't really tell it's solo since there isn't really any instrumental background, only synthesized stuff like on Kid A and Amnesiac. I like this album, but i'm still really looking forward to the full band's new album which is expected in a couple of months. The Eraser is basically an addendum to Kid A/Amnesiac, and that's ok. But im excited to hear what's next. (****)

  • The Strokes -

    The Strokes: First Impressions of Earth
    This is my first Strokes CD, and the first album in a recent foray of CD buying over the last week or so. Knowing almost nothing about the band, I first listened to this CD with an open mind, and I liked what I heard. Although there aren't many especially interesting songs, the overall sound is pleasing, and even a bit catchy at times. To me, Julian Casablancas' singing basically makes this band what it is. He has an extremely deep voice, and he features his impressive singing ability much more so on this album than on the other two. I went out and bought "Is this it" as an encore, but I am so far dissapointed in the older album. Sorry, AMG, but we just can't agree this time. (***)

  • Brad Mehldau -

    Brad Mehldau: Day is Done
    Another fine addition to the Brad Mehldau collection. On this newest album, the trio welcomes Jeff Ballard on drums to replace Jorge Rossy at least temporarily, and I must say Ballard provides a refreshing new feel to a trio that was in danger of becoming somewhat repetitive and dull. As usual, Mehldau delights those of us who supplement our Jazz listening with recordings from the real world as he begins this album with a rendition on the Radiohead composition "Knives Out." This is one of Mehldau's better albums in recent years. I don't want to completely sell out Rossy, but this trio seems to have more energy and spontaneity than it had on the previous few albums. (*****)

  • Bloc Party -

    Bloc Party: Silent Alarm
    After hearing a short clip online, I decided to see these guys perform at Music Midtown. Typically with rock-type bands, I know whether I'm going to like them or not within the first 30 seconds. Clearly, since I just bought the CD, Bloc Party impressed me from the outset and maintained my interest throughout their hour-long performance. In danger of becoming just another English band in the form of Coldplay or Keane, Bloc Party has thus far succeeded with a unique sound that blends the smooth and clean style of those former two bands with the type of rock heard on some of, dare I say, Radiohead's older albums like the Bends and Pablo Honey. Just released in March, this first album has a lot of good stuff on it. Bloc Party has serious potential. (****)

  • Joe Lovano -

    Joe Lovano: I'm All For You
    As far as ballad-oriented albums go, this one is pretty damn good. Offering fresh renditions of standards as well as a few originals, Lovano's tone and expression remains unique but also traditional as he moves around these charts and improvises. This is really my first exposure to Lovano other than seeing him live once in New York. I like the album a lot and personally think he handles the ballads much better than Michael Brecker on his Ballad Book album a few years ago. (****)

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Thursday, October 28, 2004

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GOP Response

From the Wed 06 Oct 2004 issue of the Ellensburg Daily Record (Ellensburg, Washington)... written by Mathew Manweller... Central Washington University political science professor...

"In that this will be my last column before the presidential election, there will be no sarcasm, no attempts at witty repartee. The topic is too serious, and the stakes are too high. This November we will vote in the only election during our lifetime that will truly matter. Because America is at a once-in-a-generation crossroads, more than an election hangs in the balance. Down one path lies retreat,abdication and a reign of ambivalence. Down the other lies a nation that is aware of its past and accepts the daunting obligation its future demands. Ifwe choose poorly, the consequences will echo through the next 50 years of history. If we, in a spasm of frustration, turn out the current occupant of the White House, the message to the world and ourselves will be two-fold. First, we will reject the notion that America can do big things. Once a nation that tamed a frontier, stood down the Nazis and stood upon the moon, we will announce to the world that bringing democracy to the Middle East is too big of a task for us. But more significantly, we will signal to future presidents that as voters, we are unwilling to tackle difficult challenges, preferring caution to boldness, embracing the mediocrity that has characterized other civilizations. The defeat of President Bush will send a chilling message to future presidents who may need to make difficult, yet unpopular decisions. America has always been a nation that rises to the demands of history regardless of the costs or appeal. If we turn away from that legacy, we turn away from who we are. Second, we inform every terrorist organization on the globe that the lesson of Somalia was well learned. In Somalia we showed terrorists that you don't need to defeat America on the battlefield when you can defeat them in the newsroom. They learned that a wounded America can become a defeated America Twenty-four-hour news stations and daily tracing polls will do the heavy lifting, turning a cut into a fatal blow. Except that Iraq is Somalia times 10. The election of John Kerry will serve notice to every terrorist in every cave that the soft underbelly of American power is the timidity of American voters. Terrorists will know that a steady stream of grizzly photos for CNN is all you need to break the will of the American people. Our own self-doubt will take it from there. Bin Laden will recognize that he can topple any American administration without setting foot on the homeland. It is said that America's W.W.II generation is its 'greatest generation.' But my greatest fear is that it will become known as America's 'last generation.' Born in the bleakness of the Great Depression and hardened in the fire of WW II, they may be the last American generation that understands the meaning of duty, honor and sacrifice. It is difficult to admit, but I know these terms are spoken with only hollow detachment by many (but not all) in my generation. Too many citizens today mistake 'living in America' as 'being an American.' But America has always been more of an idea than a place. When you sign on, you do more than buy real estate. You accept a set of values and responsibilities. This November, my generation, which has been absent too long, must grasp the obligation that comes with being an American, or fade into the oblivion they may deserve. I believe that 100 years from now historians will look back at the election of 2004 and see it as the decisive election of our century. Depending on the outcome, they will describe it as the moment America joined the ranks of ordinary nations; or they will describe it as the moment the prodigal sons and daughters of the greatest generation accepted their burden as caretakers of the City on the Hill." Mathew Manweller

Skop

Zach is my hero

bush

zach is a misinformed idiot

Dave Crow

I'm so glad to see that Zach has not only made the right decision in this crucial election, but that he has done so for reasons I largely agree with.

I think the greatest tragedy over the last four years was the way that Bush has completely squandered the worldwide unity present after 9/11. Remember how the British played the Start Spangled Banner, or how the French newspaper La Monde proclaimed in its headline "We are all Americans." Can you imagine that happening now?

Bush had an oppurtunity like never before in our history to unite the world and use that unity to help crush the terrorist networks all around the world. Instead he has created more resentment of the U.S. than at any time in our history.

Furthermore, Bush's policies both in Iraq and at home have made us significantly less safe, not more safe. First, by going into Iraq Bush not only diverted attention from Bin Laden and Al Queda, but he also has created an entirely new generation of terrorists. I admit that the neocon inside me does think that getting rid of Saddam was the right thing to do. However, the way we went about it was completely wrong. There are tens of thousands of Iraqis who have died because of the U.S. invasion, and many more who are now living miserable and chaotic lives due to our mishandling of the war. Those people all hate the U.S. and will serve as a base for Al Queda recruitment for generations to come.

Also, Bush has made virtually no effort to secure the nuclear material that could be used by terrorists to blow up a city like New York or Washington. I'm from New York and there's not a day that goes by that I don't somehow fear that I will turn on CNN to find the entire city destroyed by some terrorist nuke. It's a scary and very real possibility. However, under Bush's watch, N. Korea has increased the number of nuclear bombs they have and Russia's nuclear material has not been secured. The latest information about these weapons suddenly disapearing from Iraq is just more proof that the Bush administration does not have its priorities staight when it comes to preventing another major terrorist attack,

At home Bush's policies have also made us less safe. As much as he claims to have significantly increased homeland security funding, hte way he has done so has been both insuficient incorrect. Today, states like Montana are getting significantly more homeland security funding per capita than states like New York or California. Not only is this causing huge budget deficits in these states, it is also causing fire houses to close and policemen to be laid off. If there was another major terrorist attack we would be significantly worse off today than we were on 9/11 due to Bush's lack of sufficient funding for first responders.

The recent tape released by Bin Laden is just another reminder to me that Bush has failed in his mission as commander in chief since 9/11. He has not only failed to capture the man who attacked us, he has also claimed that he doesn't even worry too much about Bin Laden. Bush is a president who has his priorities so out of wack that he can't even tell who the true enemies are.

In contrast, John Kerry is someone who I know will target our enemies who pose the greatest threat to our country, and he will do so in a way that does not isolate our allies. And although he would inherit one of the worst global situations since Vietnam, I truly believe that John Kerry is the best person to reunite the world behind us and to truly create a safer, stronger America. That is why I join Zach in supporting John Kerry for President.

liberals suck

How can u say Bush has failed, when he hasnt had an attack since 9/11?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Recent Reads

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