Wednesday, May 08, 2013


1950-1959 (a reasonable attempt, anyway):

1. Cyril Jackson - Afro Drums
2. Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um
3. Miles Davis - Bag's Groove/Milestones
4. Bo Diddley - Go Bo Diddley!
5. Ken Nordine - Word Jazz
6 Perez Prado - The Voodoo Suite
7. Art Farmer - The Aztec Suite
8. Thelonious Monk - Misterioso
9. Art Blakey - Orgy in Rhythm
10. v/a - Calypso Kings and Pink Gin


1. Max Roach - We Insist: Freedom Now! Suite
2. Dean Elliott - Zounds! What Sounds!
3. John Coltrane - Africa/Brass
4. Freddie Hubbard - Breaking Point
5. Kenny Burrell - Midnight Blue
6. Stan Freberg - Presents the United States of America, vol. 1-2
7. Oliver Nelson - Afro-American Sketches
8. The Yardbirds - Five Live Yardbirds
9. Sun Ra - Interstellar Low Ways
10. Sonny Rollins - The Bridge


1. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland
2. The Velvet Underground - s/t (third LP)
3. Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
4. Mothers of Invention - Absolutely Free
5. Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat
6. The Beatles - s/t ("The White Album")
7. MC5 - Kick Out the Jams
8. Van Morrison - Astral Weeks
9. Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band - Trout Mask Replica
10. The Sonics - Here Are the Sonics


1. The Stooges - Funhouse
2. Rolling Stones - Exile on Mainstreet
3. Miles Davis - Get Up With It
4. Sly and the Family Stone - There's a Riot Going On
5. Black Sabbath - Paranoid
6. Mungo Jerry - s/t
7. Charles Mingus - Let My Children Hear Music
8. Brian Eno - Here Come the Warm Jets
9. Mothers of Invention - Filmore East, June 1971
10. Alice Cooper - Killer

1975-1979 (this was the hardest one!)

0. KISS - Alive!/Alive! II
1. The Ramones - Rocket to Russia
2. The Residents - Third Reich n Roll
3. Chrome - Half Machine Lip Moves/Alien Soundtracks
4. Van Halen - s/t/Women and Children First
5. Funkadelic - Let's Take it to the Stage
6. The B-52's - s/t
7. The Buzzcocks - Singles Going Steady
8. Jonathan Richman - Back in Your Life
9. The Germs - (GI)
10. The Soft Boys - A Can of Bees

1980-1984 (I gave myself 15 slots for this, since it's roughly the years of my early adolescence):

1. Butthole Surfers - Psychic...Powerless...Another Man's Sack
2. Meat Puppets - II
3. Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit for Rottin' Vegetables/Plastic Surgery Disasters
4. The Cramps - Songs Our Lord Taught Us/Bad Music for Bad People
5. v/a - Rodney on the ROQ, Vol. II/Posh Hits
6. Angry Samoans - Back From Samoa
7. Bad Brains - Rock For Light
8. Black Flag - Damaged
9. R.E.M. - Chronic Town
10. Violent Femmes - s/t
11. Husker Du - Zen Arcade
12. Geza X - You Goddamn Kids!
13. The Go-Go's - Beauty and the Beat
14. Iron Maiden - Killers
15. Prince - Purple Rain


1. Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
2. Fishbone - s/t
3. Pussy Galore - Dial "M" for Motherfucker
4. Sonic Youth - Bad Moon Rising
5. De La Soul - Three Feet High and Rising
6. Tom Waits - Rain Dogs
7. Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back
8. They Might Be Giants - Lincoln
9. Fugazi - Margin Walker
10. The Pixies - Surfer Rosa

Alternate choice for those last two spots:

9. Jane's Addiction - Nothing's Shocking
10. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Uplift Mofo Party Plan


1. Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet
2. Beastie Boys - Ill Communication
3. Digable Planets - Blowout Comb
4. A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
5. Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
6. R.E.M. - Automatic for the People
7. Guided By Voices - Propellor/Bee Thousand
8. Ice Cube - Predator
9. Jungle Brothers - Done by the Forces of Nature/Jay Beez Wit tha Remedeez
10. Redd Kross - Third Eye


1. Beck - Odelay
2. Cornelius - Fantasma
3. Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out!
4. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Orange
5. The Buena Vista Social Club - s/t
6. bis - Social Dancing
7. Bjork - Post
8. Mike Watt - Ball Hog or Tug Boat?
9. DJ Shadow - Endtroducing
10. Gza - Liquid Swords


1. The Drive-By Truckers - The Dirty South
2. The Coup - Steal This Album
3. The People Under The Stairs - OST: Original Sound Tracks
4. Radiohead - Kid A
5. Deerhoof - Reveille
6. The Fiery Furnaces - Gallowsbird's Bark
7. Amon Tobin - Supermodified
8. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
9. Kanye West - The College Dropout
10. Mastodon - Leviathan


1. J Dilla - Donuts
2. Gogol Bordello - Gypsy Punks
3. Madvillain - Madvillainy
4. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
5. The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
6. The Fiery Furnaces - Widow City
7. Deerhoof - Offend Maggie
8. Beck - Guero
9. Acid Mothers Temple - SWR
10. The Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark


1. Bobbie Oliver - Women Are Crazy
2. tUnEyArDs - w h o k i l l
3. Neneh Cherry and the Thing - The Cherry Thing
4. The Liars - Sisterworld
5. Maria Bamford - Ask Me About My New God
6. Kanye West - My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy/
    Jay-Z and Kanye West - Watch the Throne
7. The Coup - Sorry To Bother You
8. Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music
9. Animal Collective - Centipede Hz
10. Jack White - Blunderbuss


1. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly
2. Run the Jewels - RTJ3
3. Kamasi Washington - Heaven and Earth
4. Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy
5. Junkie XL - Mad Max: Fury Road OST
6. Alabama Shakes - Sound and Color
7. Sex Stains - s/t
8. Rhiannon Giddens - Freedom Highway
9. Deerhoof - Mountain Moves
10. A$AP Mob - Cozy Tapes: Vol. 1 Friends
Bonus Round:
Late 60's: Dr. John - Gris Gris
Early 70's: Can - Tago Mago (or maybe Gong - Angel's Egg)
Late 70's: The Congos - Heart of the Congos (I could think of dozens of albums to use, but since I don't have any reggae on my list...)
Early 80's: The Birthday Party - Junkyard (or maybe The Bangles - All Over the Place)
Late 80's: Dukes of the Stratosphear - 25 O'Clock
Early 90's: Hole - Live Through This
Late 90's: Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space
Early 00's: The Polysics - Polysics or Die!
Late 00's: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
Early 10's: The Julie Ruin - Run Fast
Late 10's: Shemekia Copeland - Outskirts of Love

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Free Advice For Obama And The Democrats

Here's a good example of why so many people are so cynical about politics.  Back in 2011, the FDA looked at the research and concluded that there was no reason not to make the birth control drug known as "Plan B" or "The Morning After Pill" accessible to the general public as an over-the-counter product, not requiring a prescription.  This was contrary to earlier decisions, and was based on a body of empirical research on the subject.  Then, HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius overrode the FDA's decision, a move that, as far as anyone can tell, was based entirely on politics and fear. 

Last week, a federal judge overruled the HHS's authority to make that decision, making Plan B available OTC to anyone over 17.  The FDA lowered this number to 15.  This, an observer would assume, gives the Obama administration cover with the anti-contraception crowd: "Hey, we tried."  But--and this is where it gets really depressing--the Obama administration is taking it to court to appeal the ruling.  I mean, what do they even have to gain from appealing this?  (Here's Wil Wilkerson's attempt to answer that question, but it seems deeply unsatisfying.)  Allowing OTC Plan B sales is not only a nice, simple solution to a problem, it would, if enacted, be one of the most significant accomplishments of the Obama administration, one that would (at least potentially) reduce teen pregnancy AND abortion without even involving much exercise of government power.  It's hard to imagine getting more bang for your buck in reducing human misery.

Which sets me up to talk about something I've been meaning to get to for a while now, starting with the last State of the Union Address, where Obama brought up just about every liberal cause in the book in one speech.  My advice, or my preference, for Obama (and congressional Democrats, while we're at it) would be to just keep things simple.  Focus on a few things, and get them done.  Things that are important, things that can have a huge impact on our country.  We don't know what will happen in 2016 (or even 2014), so let's concentrate on getting a few things so done that they can't be undone.  Specifically, my feeling is that the administration should forget about guns, Head Start, Plan B and all this other silliness, and focus with laser intensity on four things:

1. Get ALL of our troops out of Afghanistan as soon as humanly possible.
2. Resolve the debt crisis while preserving (as much as possible) our social safety net.
3. Institute the Affordable Care Act.  Put maximum effort into getting it as right as possible.
4. Pass comprehensive immigration reform.

And, you know, if a bill legalizing gay marriage should pass your desk, sign it.  And I'm conceding a lot of ground in this.  I know that Obama isn't going to take the lead in ending the drug war, and he's certainly not on the side of the good guys when it comes to civil liberties and the execution of the war on terror.  But let me elaborate on these things a bit.

Getting out of Afghanistan (and credit to the President, he got us completely out of Iraq, and looks well on track to get us completely out of Afghanistan as well): This come first, because it's the thing he was elected to do in the first place.  We've extended our military to the breaking point.  The V/A system is completely broken, because it's impossible for it to deal with the results of a decade-plus-long war.  We can't fix our budget because of the cost of the war.  We need to get the fuck out of there NOW.  And it would have the bonus feature of making us slightly less likely to get involved in every other problem in that region.

The debt crisis: Let's start by acknowledging that it actually exists.  Sooner or later, we are going to have to balance the budget and stop hemorrhaging money.  And raising taxes simply won't be enough.  Deep cuts have to come, and there's really no place big enough to cut besides Defense, Social Security, Medicare and maybe Medicaid.  I don't WANT to see entitlements cut, but it's going to have to happen at some point.  If we take care of it now, we can do it on our terms (heavy on defense cuts, light on entitlement cuts, augmented by some tax increases and cuts in discretionary spending on things like corporate subsidies), or at least a compromise.  If we don't do it now, it will be done on the Republican's terms in the future, which will likely mean a deep gutting not only of SS/Medicare/Medicaid, but of all the other programs that help the poor: Unemployment, Food Stamps, WIC, CHIP, and on and on.

Obamacare: This is huge.  We have laid the final brick in The Liberal Project.  But the Executive Branch still needs to, you know, execute.  There are a million details that could go right or wrong.  And there's still a Republican Party that would like to make repealing the law a central part of their agenda.  If Obama leaves office in 2017 with a functioning healthcare system in place, it's a big victory.  If it remains vulnerable, we've got a lot to worry about.  I have no illusions that it's going to be an unqualified success.  I generally expect it to leave the healthcare system slightly better than it was before.  But it leaves us with a framework to improve upon.  Plus, it could give just enough cover to make some cuts to Medicare and Medicaid that could keep the government solvent.

Immigration reform: The momentum this cause seemed to have coming off of the election is draining quickly, but I expect the demographics make it doable-to-inevitable.  This would be a huge victory in protecting the poorest and least powerful members of our society, while also ending an idiotic waste of our resources hunting down people who have committed no crime but simply trying to work in this country.

Add all that together, and note that we're pretty much on course to total victory on gay marriage, and that at least marijuana legalization is progressing state by state, no thanks to the administration, and the FDA allowing OTC Plan B, and these measures would leave us in a strong, solid position with permanent benefits.  Compare this to passing a bunch of laws that won't do anything to keep guns out of the hands of people who want them, or developing a national preschool program with no proven results, and I think you'll agree that this simple agenda does the most to reduce human misery for the least cost.