Saturday, January 01, 2005

Kat's Korner: Replies Meow to feedback on Almost 41 Years Later

Let me just tell you one damn thing, you aren't funny and you need to learn the difference between facts and opinions.

Here's a fact for you: 'you aren't funny' is an opinion. But boy have the e-mails being pouring in.
Most are from rational people but every now and then I get that one that asks me how I could have missed some opus from the Osmonds or why I 'deliberately bought into the oldest conjob in the world and refuse to recognize the seminal greatness of the Archies but I guess you're to outre to get that they, like Andy Warhol, changed everything so that it became about attitude.'

The Osmonds? Why don't you hold your breath down by that lazy river and see how long it takes me to join you there. The Archies?

Your pop-art theory may be correct in that we're talking about product with a brand name selling in the place of quality. (See also the Monkees.) But even if your half-baked theory (seriously, what are you holding and where did you get it?) is correct, the corporation that created the Archies saw them as a singles band. We were coming up with a list of albums.

One person wondered if Shirley knew she was being cited at the top of the albums list. Yes, she did. She thought it was funny and gave her permission.

The most outraged reader with the least knowledge of facts would have to be the one who wrote
regarding the 1969 selection 'so Aretha and Jimi don't make the list and apparently that means no black person can make the list!'

The list for 1969 is immediately below.

1969: Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis; Jefferson Airplane: Volunteers; the Beatles: Abbey Road; the Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed; the Doors: Soft Parade; Crosby, Stills & Nash: Crosby, Stills & Nash; Led Zeppelin: I; Led Zeppelin: II; CCR: Willy & the Poor Boys; Donovan: Barabjagal; Buffy Sainte-Marie: Illuminations; Richie Havens: Richard P. Havens, 1983; The Who: Tommy; Nina Simone: To Love Somebody; Melanie: Melanie

For that angry reader, I suggest that they look up the people listed to find out about the artists before they write in.

That said, as a huge Sly & the Family Stone fan, I was surprised no one named Life or Dance to the Music or Stand! But I didn't come up with the nominations.

A number of Carole King fans wrote in asking about various albums. Maybe with Sly and Carole
there was one album that was such a favorite that it instantly sprung to mind? I asked Sumner to check his notes. Tapestry and There's a Riot Going On were the two most cited albums.
Some people only cited one album. Some reeled off a whole list as Sumner attempted to jot each one down.

But Sumner, Dak-Ho, Maggie, Toni, Iwan and I didn't come up with the list of potential albums, we just evaluated the ones that people at the two parties came up with. Sumner (who was the one taking the notes) says it was 362 people plus one wacko we ignored who kept screaming 'Lawrence Welk! Calcutta!'

From there, we divided up the list to make sure every album came out after 1964. Two came out before and were knocked off for that reason.

Joni said use her name, hi Joni, and wanted to know why I didn't ask readers to e-mail in suggestions. That would have required planning.

But if anyone's followed the sorry choices each year in Rolling Stone's Readers Awards, they know what the net has done. A fan site for some lousy band or person posts a link and says 'Vote for Justin!' or 'Vote Backstreet Boys!'

That always happened, I'm sure. But in the past these people had to buy at least one issue to vote, to get the ballot. Now they can vote online and they aren't Rolling Stone readers. (And if you wipe out your cookies after you vote, you can vote again.)

It's a disgrace when Backstreet Boys wins a band of the year award from the 'readers' of Rolling Stone magazine. They need to go back to accepting mail-in ballots only. If you don't care enough about your favorite bands to spend the money for the mag, then you shouldn't be allowed to vote.

So even if I had gone the non-organic route (planned), I still wouldn't have said 'Hey everybody send in your pics for best album!' If I do a list anytime this year I might ask some of the people who've been writing to come up with some nominees. That's about the most I can promise. And since most of my ideas, the good ones, hit me around 2 in the morning, I doubt even that would work.

Shirley pointed out in an e-mail today that CD is a format and album is 'the proper term.' She's correct and I will try to use that term.

Why weren't there more albums from the last four years? Good question. We didn't prune a great deal from the 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 lists. Very few were named. Maybe when people are asked to name their favorites, many feel they have to dig into the past?
I was hoping Courtney Love would be named for 2004's America's Sweetheart.

That albums been slagged by a bunch of people who don't know a great deal. If you like loud rock, she's made an album you'll love. I would have loved to have her on the list for that just to toss the bird to everyone who has taken a school marm tone with her in the last year.

'Oh, she went wild at a concert!' 'Oh, I heard she's on drugs!' She's a rock and roller.

B-b-b-b-but Kat, she's a mother! And Scott Weiland's a father. What's your point? When the same people gnashing their teeth over mother Courtney's alleged problems fret over a Weiland or any other male, I'll take their outrage as genuine. Until then it's just nonsense.

I'm not the only one who feels that way. One of you sent in a review today from The Nation of America's Sweetheart. It's by an uptight prude named Priscilla Becker who writes for Tracks.

Heard of Tracks? You probably won't. It's another magazine trying to be a watered down version of Rolling Stone. When music magazines were popular in this country it's because they had attitude. And not the same style. Jazz & Pop and Creem are only two mags that had healthy runs because they had an attitude and outlook. They and Rolling Stone succeeded for that reason. Every few years, some mag springs up deciding that Rolling Stone has a nice following and they can tap into that by being just like them! but more 'mature' = watered down. Those mags fold quickly.

But I'm sure Prissy Becker is perfect for Tracks. The Nation hasn't run anything by her since and they shouldn't. Prissy doesn't know rock which is bad enough but she writes as though she knows about Love and she doesn't know ____.

Her review of an album is based primarily on gossip about Love's personal life. Old gossip.
Prissy doesn't even try to tie it into the album. But when she does attempt to discuss the album she demonstrates that she doesn't know what's flying out of her ____.

She could have slammed the album and many did. But they were either openly bitchy or amusing.

So yeah, if I'd been picking nominees, I would have put some additional names to the list. I would've put Court on just to flip the bird at the Prissy Becker faction.

One guy wrote in that 'You just put your favorites on the list!'

Besides Courtney Love's America's Sweetheart not making the list, some people made it that I didn't really know much about. Dionne Warkwick was no one I knew of other than from the usual movie soundtracks. Dak-Ho and I assumed we'd be squealing with laughter when we put the two albums of hers on the turntable (thanks to Dreamer for loaning the vinyl) but we were really amazed.

Warwick wasn't the only surprise. And I love the Mamas and the Papas and an album of theirs didn't make the cut, their second. We were listening to it and I was the one who argued, 'There's nothing that makes it stand out.' To me, it was nice where the first album was glorious.
Iwan loves Bruce Springsteen but he was the one arguing loudest against Born to Run and Born in the U.S.A. Both of which got cut. Maggie was furious that Sarah McLachlan's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and Freedom Sessions hadn't been nominated. Toni couldn't believe that no one had thought to nominate anything by Curtis Mayfield or Tom Waits. Sumner's big gripes were no one nominated Linda Ronstadt: Heart Like a Wheel or the Doors: L.A. Woman or Jet. Dak-Ho would've gone for the entire Rolling Stones catalogue and was bothered that Television and other punk bands as well as Carlos Santana didn't make the list of nominations.

So is it perfect? No. It's a list. It's got choices that don't pop up on most of the lists. But don't use it as a bible. It wasn't meant to be the cannon. If you see something on the list that you know or have, congratulate yourself. If you see items that you do not know, take the time to listen to some of them because there is some great music there.

We listened to things we hadn't heard for nine hours straight. (Frank Zappa didn't make the list because the guy who boasted he could score the albums never showed. Therefore all Zapa nominations were pulled since all six judges hadn't heard the Zappa albums.) We were arguing back and forth and laughing and drinking and munching. It was an after-party for the New Year's Eve party we left before midnight (that party was dead!).

That's what I'd suggest you do. Make a list of what you don't know from the list and call around to see if any of your friends have a copy of it. Or invite everyone to come over to your place with their all time favorite album. Play the music, dance, laugh, argue, discuss.

That's what music is supposed to be about. But today if someone's discussing music it's not about the music, it's about the sales and the marketing: where it landed on the charts or how many 'units' it has sold or did you see the video or could you believe all that skin on the video?

Take it back to the music. If Noxious Noise went to number one and sold thirty million copies worldwide that doesn't tell me it's a good album. That doesn't tell me that there's anything on it that I want to hear. If Noxious Noise (that's a made up name as far as I know) is making music then let's talk about the music. Not who styled their crib or who they went to awards with.

If people putting out CDs today had to make it on their music alone a lot of these people would've already put on the blue Wal-Mart smocks. Take it back to the music.

Quit being fans of someone's Lifestyle of the Rich & Famous and start paying attention to the music. Cedric said 'quote me' so I will:

'I spent too long paying attention to who was with who and who had more bling bling. I have 78 CDs and there are three that I listen to all the time, Sade, Marvin Gaye and Angie Stone. The rest are CDs I rushed to buy because every one was talking about how somebody got dissed on this track or how somebody stood up to Suge. I look at all this crap and feel like a little girl begging for autographs. Now on I'm only spending my money for the music. You better be speaking to me and about my life and the world if you're wanting my dough. No more bread wasted on butterflies or turf wars. You go Kat!'

No, you go Cedric! I'm proud of you. Because it's about the music. That CD in your collection isn't supposed to be a soveneir of someone else's life. It's supposed to be there because it spoke to you. These days they try to push music off as an accessory like it's an article of clothing. But music is supposed to be the soundtrack to your own life. Take control of your lives, take control of your music. Let's make that the resolution for 2005.

Kat's Korner: Almost 41 Years Later

Shirley's quite the stickler, I'm learning. For the record, if there's a typo in my post, it stays. Why? Not to lay down some heavy Eastern trip on you, but if it's there, maybe it isn't a mistake. Maybe that's how it was meant to be. Maybe at that moment in time, that's what it was meant to be. I wouldn't retouch a photo and if you spot a flaw maybe you're really spotting some characteristic that's unique to that post.

Chew on that.

So a number of you e-mailed 'Where's Kat? Where's Kat? I can't believe she's vacationing when we have a world to save!' I had a post ready for Sunday but the site wasn't ready for it. These language guidelines can be a real drag.

But since some feel I have personally let them down, I've been thinking up a post. Thursday night, at a party, it hit me.

Bobby was annoying - aren't most men who go by 'Bobby' and have long since left their teenage year - and he was getting on everyone's last nerve at the party. I have nerves on loan. From a super model who never uses them out of a fear that facial reactions might cause wrinkles.

So I was able to put up with the trip he was trying to lay down far better than most. But he was in the wrong crowd for his 'Elvis is king of rock, Elvis is king of rock' chant. At first, I thought he was some devotee of Elvis Costello and I could groove on that. Then I checked the sideburns. What's the old joke? They started at his cheekbones and ran all the way down to his wrists?

So he means Presley and won't shut up about Elvis. It was like the dude thought he was Priscilla or something. 'You don't think you were married to him, do you?'

Dak-Ho asked him that and the room just erupted.

No offense to Elvis, if I were into that Sha Na Na trip or country, I'm sure I'd be a devotee too. Maybe I'd be chasing after some guy like Chris Isaac who dresses as though he just came from a Graceland tag sale?

But as Maggie said, or slurred, she's pretty much been on a bender since Christmas Eve, 'Give it up for the Beatles!' Of course it came out more like, 'Give id upft for th Bee-tuhls.' Yeah, I mean give id upft already.

In Feburary 1964, they landed on our shore and music has never been the same. Modern influnces in rock today? The Bee-tuhls.

Then the discussion got so intense that Toni even stopped trying to diagram the zodiac for the guy poured into leather pants long enough to weigh in.

And that got me thinking. 2004 is closing. We're approaching, next month, the 41st anniversary of popular music in its best form. You want to know popular music, put on any of their early singles or CDs like Revolver, Abby Road, The White Album, Rubber Soul or the timeless Sgt.'s Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. That's where it's all beginning.

A lot of you e-mail asking 'Kat what's your all time favorite, I mean really, really all time favorite like you are on a desert island and it's down to one and just one so what are you going to pick?'

Do you know something I don't? I mean is Johnny Ashcroft about to relocate to me to Fuji or something? I kind of get the idea that if I got stranded on a desert island I'd only have what ever survived the ship wreck. And the way the dice have been coming up for the left lately I'm guessing that would mean I'd get stuck with something by New Kids On the Block or Britney or Pat Boone.

Am I alone on this island? Maybe I'll sing songs I know and bang on some rocks or make a drum out of some tarp and a tree stump?

But in honor of 1964, the Beatles and all that changed as a result, I went around asking people at Thursday's pre-New Year's Eve party and last night's actual New Year's Eve party for some suggestions. Now I blew off many. One good single does not an album make. So keep that in mind. But here are some CDs that got name checked and that I think are among the essentials.

1965: the Beatles: Rubber Soul; Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisted;
Bob Dylan: Bringing it all Back Home; The Who: My Generation; Phil Ochs: I Ain't Marching Anymore; The Byrds, Mr. Tambourine Man

1966: the Mamas & the Papas: If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears; the Beatles: Revolver; the Beach Boys: Pet Sounds; the Rolling Stones: Aftermath; Simon & Garfunkel: The Sounds of Silence; Donovan: Sunshine Superman; Buffy Sainte-Marie: Little Wheel Spin and Spin; Judy Collins' In My Life; Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde; Buffalo Springfield: Buffalo Springfield

1967: Jefferson Airplane: Surrealistic Pillow; the Doors: The Doors; the Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; the Mamas and the Papas: Deliver; the Doors: Strange Days; the Who: The Who Sells Out; Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You; the Jimi Henrix Experience: Are you Experienced?; Love: Forever Changes; the Rolling Stones: Between the Buttons; Donovan: Wear Your Love Like Heaven; Joan Baez: Joan; Richie Havens' Mixed Bag; Judy Collins: Wildflowers;
Buffalo Springfield: Again; Phil Ochs: Pleasures of the Harbor; Dionne Warwick: Here Where There Is Love

1968: the Beatles: White Album; the Mamas and the Papas: The Papas and the Mamas; Joan Baez: Any Day Now; Laura Nyro: Eli and the Thirteenth Confession; the Doors: Waiting for the Sun; Aretha Franklin: Lady Soul; Donovan: The Hurdy Gurdy Man; Jimi Hendrix Experience: Axis: Bold as Love; Fairport Convention: Fairport Convention; Simon & Garfunkel: Bookends; Judy Collins: Who Knows Where the Times Goes; Aretha Franklin: Aretha Now; Jefferson Airplane: Crown of Creation; Big Brother & The Holding Company: Cheap Thrills; Dionne Warwick: The Windows of the World

1969: Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis; Jefferson Airplane: Volunteers; the Beatles: Abbey Road; the Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed; the Doors: Soft Parade; Crosby, Stills & Nash: Crosby, Stills & Nash; Led Zeppelin: I; Led Zeppelin: II; CCR: Willy & the Poor Boys; Donovan: Barabjagal; Buffy Sainte-Marie: Illuminations; Richie Havens: Richard P. Havens, 1983; The Who: Tommy; Nina Simone: To Love Somebody; Melanie: Melanie

1970: the Doors: Morrison Hotel; Janis Joplin: Pearl, Laura Nyro: Christmas and the Beads of Sweat; Joni Mitchell: Ladies of the Canyon; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: DejaVu; Van Morrison: Moondance; Aretha Franklin: This Girl's In Love With You; the Kinks: Lola versus Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part One; John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band; Neil Young: After the Gold Rush; Simon & Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water

1971: Carole King: Tapestry, Van Morrison: Tupelo Honey; Joni Mitchell: Blue; Carly Simon: Anticipation; Sly & the Family Stone: There's a Riot Goin' On; Marvin Gaye: What's Going On?; Jefferson Airplane: Bark; Led Zeppelin: IV; David Crosby: If Only I Could Remember My Name; the Who: Who's Next; Buffy Sainte-Marie: She Used to Wanna Be a Ballerina; Richie Havens: Alarm Clock; Aretha Franklin: Live at Filmore West; Nina Simone: Here Comes the Sun; Rod Stewart: Every Picture Tells a Story; John Lennon: Imagine

1972: the Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St.; John Lennon, Yoko Ono, the Plastic Ono Band with Elephant's Memory: Some Time in New York City; Stevie Wonder: Talking Book; Aretha Franklin: Young, Gifted & Black; Judy Collins: Living

1973: Roberta Flack: Killing Me Softly; Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon; Marvin Gaye: Let's Get It On; Stevie Wonder: Innervisions; Led Zeppelin: Houses of the Holy; David Bowie: Aladdin Sane

1974: Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks; Minnie Ripperton: Perfect Angel; Jackson Browne: Late for the Sky; Neil Young: On the Beach; Joni Mitchell: Court & Spark

1975: Patti Smith: Horses; Aerosmith: Toys in the Attic; Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here

1976: Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life; Heart: Dreamboat Annie; Jackson Browne: The Pretender; Joan Baez: From Every Stage

1977: Elvis Costello: My Aim Is True; Fleetwood Mac: Rumors

1978: Blondie: Parallel Lines; the Rolling Stones: Some Girls; the Who: Who Are You?; Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food

1979: The Clash: London Calling; Pink Floyd: The Wall

1979: Elvis Costello: This Year's Model; Marianne Faithful: Broken English; Fleetwood Mac: Tusk

1980: Pretenders: Pretenders; Prince: Dirty Mind; U2: Boy: the Police: Zenyatta Mondatta; Talking Heads: Remain in the Light; Bruce Springsteen: The River; John Lennon & Yoko Ono: Double Fantasy

1981: Rickie Lee Jones: Pirates; U2: October; Stevie Nicks: Belladonna; the Police: Ghost in the Machine

1982: Bruce Springsteen: Nebraska; Prince: 1999; Ashford & Simpson: Street Opera; the Clash: Combat Rock

1983: U2: War; Pretenders: Learning to Crawl; the Police: Synchronicity; Stevie Nicks: Wild Heart

1984: U2: Unforgettable Fire; Tina Turner: Private Dancer; R.E.M.: Reckoning

1985: Lone Justice: Lone Justice; Joni Mitchell: Dog Eat Dog; Eurhtymics: Be Yourself Tonight; 'Til Tuesday: Voices Carry; 10,000 Maniacs: Wishing Chair; Prince: Around the World in a Day

1986: Pretenders: Get Close; Jackson Browne: Lives in the Balance; Anita Baker: Rapture; Eurythmics: Revenge; 'Til Tuesday: Welcome Home

1987: U2: The Joshua Tree; Prince: Sign of the Times; Sting: . . . Nothing Like the Sun; Terence Trent D'Arby: Introducing the Hard Line; Jon Butcher Axis: Wishes; Eurthymics: Savage; 10,000 Maniacs: In My Tribe; Bruce Springsteen: Tunnel of Love

1988: Tracy Chapman: Tracy Chapman; Jane's Addiction: Nothing's Shocking; Cherrelle: Affair; Joni Mitchell: Chalk Marks in a Rainstorm; Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation; 'Til Tuesday: Everything's Different Now; the Pixies: Surfer Rosa; R.E.M.: Green

1989: Lou Reed: New York; Rickie Lee Jones: Flying Cowboys

1990: Jane's Addiction: Ritual de lo Habitual; George Michael: Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1; Judy Collins: Fires of Eden; Sonic Youth: Goo; Pretenders: Packed!

1991: Nirvana: Nevermind; Pearl Jam: Ten; R.E.M.: Out of Time

1992: Tori Amos: Little Earthquakes; R.E.M.: Automatic for the People; 10,000 Maniacs: Our Time in Eden; Sonic Youth: Dirty

1993: Nirvana: In Utero; Liz Phair: Exile in Guyville; Maria McKee: You Gotta Sin to Get Saved; the Afghan Whigs: Gentlemen; Diana Ross: The Lady Sings Jazz and Blues . . . Stolen Moments

1994: Soundgarden: Superunknown; Green Day: Dookie; Tori Amos: Under the Pink; Beck: Mellow Gold; Jeff Buckley: Grace; Hole: Live Through This; Nine Inch Nails: The Downward Spiral; Pretenders: Last of the Independents; Elvis Costello: Brutal Youth

1995: Heart: The Road Home, Pretenders: The Isle of the View

1996: Ani DiFranco: Dilate; Tori Amos: Boys for Pele; the Afghan Whigs: Black Love; Manic Street Preachers: Everything Must Go

1997: Ani DiFranco: Living in Clip; Radiohead: OK Computer; Janet Jackson: Velvet Rope; Patti Smith: Peace and Noise; Sarah McLachlan: Surfacing

1998: David Matthews Band: Before These Crowded Streets; the Afghan Whigs: 1965; Pearl Jam: Yield

1999: Fiona Apple: When the Pawn . . .; Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds: Live at Luther College; Moby: Play; Stereophonics: Performance & Cocktails;Blur: 13; Tori Amos: To Venus Back

2000: Sade: Lovers Rock, Carly Simon: The Bedroom Tapes; Radiohead: Kid A; U2: All That You Can't Leave Behind; Erykah Badu: Mama's Gun; Sleater-Kinney: All Hands on the Bad One; Dashboard Confessional: The Swiss Army Romance; Coldplay: Parachutes; P.J. Harvey: Songs from the City, Songs from the Sea

2001: Ryan Adams: Gold; Natalie Merchant: Motherland; the Strokes: Is This It; Stevie Nicks: Trouble in Shangri-La

2002: Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head; the White Stripes: White Blood Cells; Pretenders: Loose Screw; Pearl Jam: Riot Act; Tori Amos: Scarlet's Walk; Sleater-Kinney: One Beat; the Vines: Highly Evolved; Ani DiFranco: So Much Southing, So Much Laughter; Bruce Springsteen: The Rising

2003: the White Stripes: Elephant; Joan Baez: Dark Chords on a Big Guitar; Rickie Lee Jones: The Evening of My Best Day; the Strokes: Room on Fire; Stereophonics: You Gotta Go There To Come Back; Dashboard Confessional: A Mark A Mission A Brand A Scar

2004: Green Day: American Idiot; Patti Smith: Trampin'; U2: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb; Ani DiFranco: Educated Guess; John Fogerty: Deja Vu All Over Again; Maria McKee: Live in Hamburg; Van Hunt: Van Hunt; Elvis Costello: The Delivery Man; the Vines: Winning Days; Twilight Singers: She Loves You

So there you go. Important albums were cited at the two parties by various guests. (Sumner took notes.) From there the list was whittled down.

B-b-b-b-b-but Kat! Don't you love . . .

If they aren't on the list, someone didn't nominate them. Sumner, Dak-Ho, Toni, Maggie, Iwan and I were the judges but we didn't nominate anyone to the list, we only whittled the list of nominations down.

B-b-b-b-b Kat, do you hate the Supremes . . .

The sixties Supremes and Diana Ross & the Supremes made some great singles. This was about albums. Live albums did make the list but you shouldn't find any Best ofs or Greatest Hits or anything like that. If you do find one on the list, your judges were partying a little too hard into the early hours of the morning.

If you find a mistake on a year of release, take it as a message from above, a fortune cookie from the sky, telling you that 2005 holds for you the opportunity to say, "You are wrong!" many times over.

B-b-b-but Kat, 1975, 1977, 1995 . . .

If no one came up with a lot of suggestions for that year, take it however you want to. I will say that on 1995, we, the judges discussed it. We didn't eliminate any nominee from 1995. You have two live albums of older material performed live. Was 1995 really that bed? We were all alive and listening to music then. The first year after Kurt Cobain died? Yeah, it really was that bad. Be glad that Heart and Pretenders put out live albums because at two parties (easily 300 people in attendence, probably more) only two albums were even suggested for 1995. We thought the albums were strong ones or we would have dropped them and just left it blank.

If you can get a hold of The Road Home, listen close to 'Up on Cherry Blossum Road' because it's the best Heart song that most people don't know. As for The Isle of the View, critics were so nasty to Packed! back in 1990 (it made the list above) and Chrissie Hynde and company could have avoided including any songs from that in their live album. Instead, they included two. Check it out, you should enjoy it.

B-b-b-b-but I don't have the money to buy all these?

We, the judges, listened to any album named that we hadn't heard or hadn't heard in some time. That meant calling up friends. (In some cases, we had to listen to vinyl.) If there's anything you don't know on the list, get on the phone and start calling. Make a party out of it.
In fact, if you're one of the ones who keeps e-mailing me about how Britney, Justin and the children of Destiny suck but like the Backstreet Boys are really, really special and really, really care about the art of music, I would especially suggest that you get to know some of the music that made this list.

You may not like all of it but with 300 people coming up with suggestions (and no, they were not limited to one suggestion, they could toss out as many as Sumner could write), it's a pretty strong list in terms of rock, folk-rock, etc.

B-b-b-but I'm not seeing any rap.

You're right. No D.J. Jazzy Jeff included. No bling-bling. No joking. We're not making a list of all time best comedy albums here. We also weren't overly fond of people using the chorus from someone's hit to try to make one for themselves. "Every Breath You Take"? Yeah, great song. The Police's Synchronicity is on the list, you can hear the song there. I don't care if you sing or speak your way through a song. I do care whether you're making music or not.

Poetry's great. But if you want to make music, find some instruments. We went back and forth over many albums including Sarah Mac's Surfacing. The rules were four had to support the album. If it split three-three, it was off the list the same as if it had been outvoted. We didn't allow for ties. But in the end, the fact that McLachlan was actually playing instruments, as were others in her band, was enough to get her album the needed four votes. (Much to Maggie's relief.)

Music. Granted the budget cuts have been so bad that kids won't know what it was in a few years because the public schools won't be able to offer music, but I bet you know what it is. Fatboy Slim was dropped for the reason -- he's not creating his own music. Nothing wrong with being a dee jay. I've known some good ways. Slept with some good ones, slept with some bad ones. But this was honoring people who make music, create it. Not sample it. We're celebrating the power of music here, the power of creating music. Besides, Pamela Des Barres named her book I'm With the Band. It wasn't called I'm With the Turntable.

So, as I believe Cher once said, 'If you can dig it, hey, I'm happy for you. If you can't, hey, I'm sorry.'

Yes, we will note and praise the Times again for their coverage of the effects of the tsunami

The New York Times continues their strong coverage of the effects of the tsunami with seven articles today.

As Officials Falter, the New Rich Roll in to Help By DAVID ROHDE and AMY WALDMAN

Indonesia Dispatches Troops to Aid Towns Left in Rubble By ERIC LICHTBLAU

With Thousands Missing, European Leaders Tell Citizens to Prepare for the Worst By ALAN COWELL

Relief Delivery Lags as Deaths Pass 140,000 By ROBERT D. McFADDEN

Relief Groups Hail Level of Donations by Individuals By STEPHANIE STROM

U.S. Begins Shuttle of Aid to Victims Along Thai Coast By JAMES BROOKE and NICK CUMMING-BRUCE

U.S. Vows Big Increase in Aid for Victims of Asian Disaster By DAVID E. SANGER and WARREN HOGE

The Indonesian military shifted the brunt of its rescue and relief efforts on Friday to remote coastal towns near the epicenter of this week's tsunami disaster, converging by land, sea and air on areas that had largely been wiped out by the wall of water.
Soldiers reported that in coastal towns like Meulaboh, a scenic fishing village about 180 miles south of Banda Aceh, the province capital, about 80 percent of the area's homes and shops had been reduced to rubble. At least 7,000 people are confirmed dead in Meulaboh alone. But difficulties reaching some nearby inland communities have worsened fears that the toll there could grow much higher.
"Meulaboh is gone, destroyed," a senior military officer said. While the more populated area of Banda Aceh, to the north, has been the focus of international attention, "Meulaboh is much worse than anything we've seen in Banda Aceh," the officer said.
In Calang, another coastal town midway between Banda Aceh and Meulaboh, 6,000 people are missing, the officer said.
Six days after the tsunami hit, Indonesian officials are only now beginning to realize the extent of the devastation in the smaller coastal towns south of here because of difficulties gaining immediate access.

With hopes dimming for thousands of European tourists still missing after the Asian tsunamis, leaders in Scandinavia and elsewhere urged their citizens on Friday to brace for what was termed "an incomprehensible tragedy."
Cities across the Continent readied for a somber New Year's, with trees on the Champs-Élysées in Paris draped in black and fireworks displays canceled from Rome to Stockholm.
In overall terms, the estimated 7,000 missing Europeans are only a tiny fraction of the 125,000 people thought to have died in the disaster on Dec. 26. But the catastrophe has provoked a blend of responses among Europeans ranging from charity in relief donations to rage at political leaders over perceived slow responses to it.
"There is good reason to ask whether it took too long for governments in Denmark, Sweden and Norway to understand the scope of the catastrophe and of the acute need to help their citizens," the Norwegian daily newspaper Aftenposten said in an editorial.
Even in Britain, whose government has taken a lead in pledging relief funds worth about $92 million and whose citizens have raised a staggering $85 million since Tuesday in charitable donations, Prime Minister Tony Blair has been criticized for continuing to vacation in Egypt rather than returning home to oversee the relief effort.

Proud and increasingly prosperous, India and Sri Lanka have promised to spare no expense to help the tens of thousands whose lives were overturned in this week's tsunami disaster. While tiny Sri Lanka's resources will almost certainly not be enough, and the country is welcoming any and all international aid, in India's case, the country has said it needs no outside help.
. . .
This week India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared the nation did not need help from other countries to deal with the tsunami.
Mr. Singh said that several countries, including the United States, had offered assistance, but that "I have told them that, as of now, we feel we have adequate resources to meet the challenge."
The stance does not preclude aid from multilateral agencies like the World Bank or United Nations or nongovernmental organizations. But in the end, viewed from the ground, the problem often seemed less a lack of resources than the administrative systems to deliver them. The same is mostly true in Sri Lanka.
In fact, the flood of help from nongovernment organizations and individuals was producing problems, said Shantha Sheela Nair, the acting relief commissioner in Nagappattinam's district.

Ten helicopter airdrops and seven truckloads of supplies finally reached what Indonesian officials called one of the most devastated places in Sumatra: the remote, scenic fishing community of Meulaboh, where 7,000 were confirmed dead and officials said as much as a third of the population of 120,000 may have perished in the tsunami.
"Meulaboh is gone, destroyed," a senior Indonesian military officer said after the helicopter pilots told of a town where 80 percent of the homes and shops were reduced to rubble. Officials also said they were deeply concerned about three nearby inland villages whose communications and roads were cut.
. . .
It was clear that the relief effort, for all its global reach and pledges of millions, was in a race against time to save as many as five million people left homeless and destitute by what is now regarded as one of history's worst calamities.
With images of communities washed away and of ragged, dazed survivors begging for help, the world was hardly in a mood for a New Year's Eve celebration. Many nations went ahead with fireworks displays, concerts and other public events to mark the occasion, but also urged revelers to rein in the excesses and to spare thoughts, and donations, for the victims.

The huge response from individual donors who want to help victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia, spurred in part by a year-end spirit of gift-giving, has stunned officials at the world's largest private relief agencies.
Many relief agency officials, accustomed to begging for donations after a disaster has hit, called the response "unprecedented." They said that while no one has tallied all private giving, the numbers reported by individual organizations indicate that the amount will far surpass contributions for previous disasters.
Even efforts by companies to coordinate private giving has exceeded expectations. "Wow," said Craig Berman, spokesman for, when he was told that donations to the Red Cross through the company's Web site had topped $8 million by Friday morning. (By evening, they exceeded $9 million.)
In five days, Oxfam raised $28 million around the world, $7.5 million each from the United States and Britain and $5 million from Australia. "We are looking at the type of giving and interest in volunteering and giving in kind that is equal to and may end up eclipsing the response we saw to the super-famine in Ethiopia in 1984, where the numbers of dead were well over one million," said Nathaniel Raymond, communications adviser for humanitarian response at Oxfam America.
Mike Kiernan, a spokesman for Save the Children USA, said that in the month following a disaster, the organization was normally lucky to receive several hundred thousand dollars. It garnered $6 million in four days after the tsunami disaster.

American cargo planes started a shuttle service from Bangkok on Friday, bringing tarpaulins and bedding to shelter the living and dry ice by the ton to preserve the dead in the beach resorts of southern Thailand devastated by the tsunami.
But as supplies moved out, the big challenge that remained was how to distribute aid to survivors scattered along thousands of miles of beaches in 11 nations bathed by the Indian Ocean.
Starting this weekend, American air operations for the entire Indian Ocean relief effort are to be directed out of Utapao, a Thai air base 90 miles south of Bangkok. The airlift will be part of a task force to be commanded by Lt. Gen. Robert R. Blackman, a marine who is the overall American military commander in Okinawa.
"The roads are washed out, trucks can't get through because there is flooding in some areas, maybe a bridge is out," said Lt. Col. David Mobley, commander of an Air Force Special Operations group that flew to Bangkok from Okinawa. "In some places, the road is covered with stuff and we have to get bulldozers there to clear it out."

President Bush announced Friday that he would increase emergency aid to stricken areas of Asia to $350 million from $35 million, and said the United States would probably add more resources as the scope of what he called an "epic disaster" became clearer.
At the United Nations, Jan Egeland, the emergency aid coordinator, said the new American money had increased the overall amount donated to nearly $1.2 billion from 40 nations, with new pledges continuing to come in hourly. "I've never, ever seen such an outpouring of international assistance in any international disaster, ever," he said.
Mr. Bush's ninefold increase in the amount of aid was the second time this week that the United States had committed more money to the effort, and it came after criticism that the president, who has stayed on his 1,600-acre ranch all week and spoken publicly about the disaster once, had reacted too slowly.

Photo-journalists covering the effects of the tsunami in today's New York Times

Starting with photographers again. Chaiwat Subprasom (Reuters) has a photo of a candlelight vigil on New Year's Eve in Thailand to remember those who died in the tsunami on the front page of the New York Times. Gurinder Osan (Associated Press) has two photos on A6 of people in Nagappattinam, India as aid begins arriving. Also on A6, Elizabeth Dalziel (Associated Press) has a photo of "Muslims unloading aid boxes containing drinking water outside Galle, on Sri Lanka's southern coast."

Saeed Khan (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images) has an especially powerful photo of two workers checking the "DNA numbers written on body bags of victims for identification" on page A7. The same page also features Barbara Walton's photo of "Espen Bjornsen, a Swedish tourist, comforted his wife Tuija, while the couple waited yesterday to be evacuated from the airport in Phuket, Thailand." (Walton is with European Pressphoto Agency.)

Photos of mourners are found on A8: Sri Lankans in Kelaniya (Sriyantha Walpola -- New York Times); Thais (Jean Chung -- New York Times); a gentleman in Kalmunai, Sri Lanka (Chang W. Lee -- New York Times) and a young girl in Kuala Lumpur (Pacik --Agence France-Presse/Getty Images). On the same page, Bay Ismoyo (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images) has a photo of "A health official, left, fumigated yesterday near victims' bodies in Banda Aceh" Indonesia.

In fact, let's make this entry just about noting the photo-journalists who conveyed with pictures the devestation (to the land and to the people) from the tsunami. I'll do something on the reporters' article in a little while but I really did fail in not noting the work of photo-journalists earlier so let's just let this be about the news they've delivered.
I'm not a visual person and I won't bore you by attempting to describe the photos but the above people (and many more) are working very hard to convey reality and they should be noted for it.

Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller:"Should our men or women be held in similar circumstances, I would hope they would be treated in this manner."

Neil A. Lewis has two powerful stories in this morning's New York Times. "Justice Dept. Toughens Rule on Torture" (
and "Fresh Details Emerge on Harsh Methods at Guantánamo" ( inside the paper.

Both are recommended. We'll do a cutting from both below. Just before Alberto Gonzales (will use the "R." when he tells us what it stands for) is to go before the Senate (he wants to replace J-Ass as attorney general), a new policy is suddenly put into place regarding torture:

The Justice Department has broadened its definition of torture, significantly retreating from a memorandum in August 2002 that defined torture extremely narrowly and said President Bush could ignore domestic and international prohibitions against torture in the name of national security.
The new definition was in a memorandum posted on the department's Web site late Thursday night with no public announcement.
. . .
The new memorandum, first reported in The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, largely dismisses the August 2002 definition, especially the part that asserted that mistreatment rose to the level of torture only if it produced severe pain equivalent to that associated with organ failure or death.
"Torture is abhorrent both to American law and values and to international norms," said the new memorandum written by Daniel Levin, the acting assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel, which had produced the earlier definition.
. . .
A memorandum in January 2002 to President Bush that Mr. Gonzales signed sided with the Justice Department in asserting that the Geneva Conventions did not bind the United States in its treatment of detainees captured in the fighting in Afghanistan.
[from front page article]

"We are detaining these enemy combatants in a humane manner," General [Geoffrey D.] Miller told reporters in March 2004. "Should our men or women be held in similar circumstances, I would hope they would be treated in this manner."
[from inside the paper story; Miller was "the commander of the Guantánamo operation from November 2002 to March 2004" (Lewis's inside the paper article). Where is Miller today?
House and Senate members are also focusing on the role of Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who was so effective at eliciting useful information from terrorism suspects at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that he was named last month to run U.S. prisons in Iraq. It was Miller who recommended last September that military intelligence officials have command over prisons and prison guards to improve the intelligence gleaned from interrogations. -- Army Times, May 17th (]

Interviews with former intelligence officers and interrogators provided new details and confirmed earlier accounts of inmates being shackled for hours and left to soil themselves while exposed to blaring music or the insistent meowing of a cat-food commercial. In addition, some may have been forcibly given enemas as punishment.
While all the detainees were threatened with harsh tactics if they did not cooperate, about one in six were eventually subjected to those procedures, one former interrogator estimated. The interrogator said that when new interrogators arrived they were told they had great flexibility in extracting information from detainees because the Geneva Conventions did not apply at the base.
[from story inside the paper]

Military officials who participated in the practices said in October that prisoners had been tormented by being chained to a low chair for hours with bright flashing lights in their eyes and audio tapes played loudly next to their ears, including songs by Lil' Kim and Rage Against the Machine and rap performances by Eminem.
In a recent interview, another former official added new details, saying that many interrogators used a different audio tape on prisoners, a mix of babies crying and the television commercial for Meow Mix in which the jingle consists of repetition of the word "meow."
The people who spoke about what they saw or whose duties made them aware of what was occurring said they had different reasons for granting interviews. Some said they objected to the methods, others said they objected to what they regarded as a chaotic and badly run system, while others offered no reason. They all declined to be identified by name, some saying they feared retaliation.
[from story inside the paper]

Michael Ratner, the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has sued the administration over its interrogation policies, said Friday that the redefinition "makes it clear that the earlier one was not just some intellectual theorizing by some lawyers about what was possible."
"It means it must have been implemented in some way," Mr. Ratner said. "It puts the burden on the administration to say what practices were actually put in place under those auspices."
The International Committee of the Red Cross has said in private messages to the United States government that American personnel have engaged in torture of detainees, both in Iraq and at Guantánamo.
[from story on the front page]

Neil A. Lewis has two strong articles. Both need to be read to get a fuller picuture. (I won't say complete because I think more will emerge.)

Focus on the Fool

Well on the way, head in a cloud
The man of thousands voices talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him
Or the sound he appears to make
And he never seems to notice.
But the fool on the hill sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head see the world spinning around.
-- "The Fool On the Hill" words & music by John Lennon & Paul McCartney
[found on many albums, but I enjoy the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour)

So little Jimmy Dobson of Focus on the Fool wants our attention today. [New York Times story on A10, "Evangelical Leader Threatens to Use His Political Muscle Against Some Democrats"
( by David D. Kirkpatrick.]

See, little Jimmy Dobson and Focus on the Fool are so all powerful that their threats should make US senators shiver.

Specifically, they're threatening Ben Nelson (Nebraska), Mark Dayton (Minnesota), Robert C. Byrd (West Virginia), Jeff Bingham (New Mexico), Bill Nelson (Florida) and Kent Conrad (North Dakota).

Now where does little Jimmy Dobson get his power, such as it is? Anybody?

Preacher preaching love like like vengeance
Preaching love like hate
Calling for large donations
Promising estates
Rolling lawns and angel bands
Behind the pearly gates
You know, he will have his in this life
But yours'll have to wait
He's immaculately tax free
Tax free
Tax free
-- "Tax Free" words & music by Joni Mitchell
[from the Joni Mitchell album Dog Eat Dog]

And why is he tax free? Is it because, if you try to threaten U.S. senators, there's some special get-out-of-paying-taxes clause?

No, but Preacher James Dobson (we won't call him "Doctor") has been itching to step into the political ring openly for years. He first pops up in the Carter administration. (What was Jimmy Carter thinking?) Later he's serving on the Ed Meese porn commission (why do I suspect Dobson had, for a moment, found his true calling?) and over the years, he's been in-and-out of the government repeatedly. Always in non-elected roles, non-Senate confirmed roles, under the radar type of roles.

But in 2004, he endorsed a presidential candidate and, having swung the closet door open, he's now wanting the Bully Boy to pay it forward. Ol' hatchet face Dobson is already making noises at the Bully Boy. He's got his panties in a wad over something Bush said ("it bothers me a lot") about the country not being ready to overturn Roe v. Wade (no, not by a long shot). And now, Brother Dobson's here to tell us all that those six senators are "in the bull's eye." That's what Jesus would say? "In the bull's eye?"

Kind of reminds me of the infamous "Angels in Chains" episode of Charlie's Angels. First season, when the female guard leers up and down at Kate Jackson's Sabrina and says, "I'm going to be watching you, sweetcakes, watching you real hard." Well my goodness gracious, Brother Dobson.

So Preacher Man looked at Tom Daschle's loss and decided that Tommy D's loss is a credit to the power and the glory of . . . James Dobson. What? You didn't think he was going to credit God when Brother Dobson has convinced himself that it was Jimmy who climbed right down off that cross to move the mountain -- did you?

Taking self-enthrallment to new levels, Dobson looks at Daschle's loss and sees only his own power. Forget the fact that Daschle was targeted with ads in 2002, two years before his election. Forget the fact that Daschle's tendency to go wobbly resulted in his looking weak and ineffective even within his own party. Forget the fact that the airline bailout might have seemed less questionable were it not for the fact that Daschle's wife was a lobbyist for . . . the airlines.
No, all things happen as . . . Dobson planned them. In his mind anyway.

I don't know much about the Nelsons or Bingham, but with regard to the other three, let's use the Bully Boy's rallying cry: Bring it on!

Senator Robert C. Byrd has represented West Virigina for ages. The people know him, they like him. His elequent (and strong) voice has earned him attention and respect around the nation.
I'm sure Byrd will hold his own quite well against Jimmy Come Lately Dobson and his mythical followers.

Dayton? After the way Paul & Sheila Wellstone's memory and memorial were trashed by GOP lies, I don't know think the Republicans will have an easy task in attempting to wrestle the seat from Dayton, with or without Ja-Do's help.

Kent Conrad? This one excites me the most. Conrad was one of the first Democrats to find a spine. I don't think he's now going to hand it over on a plate in the face of ridiculous threats from the man chanting, "Oh come let us adore -- ME!" (Joni Mitchell and her song "Tax Free" are acknowledged for that quote.) (I could be wrong.)

An assistant to incoming Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid gets off a good line in the article --
"James Dobson needs to focus on the facts," James Manley argues. Well said.

The whole thing reminds me of a certain group claiming to be a "majority" and claiming to be "moral" and how despite all their blustering and brimstone they couldn't even get a TV show taken off the air. Not only did NBC refuse to cancel Flamingo Road under threats from the so-called Moral Majority, but the ratings actually increased during the tempest.

I know Brother Dobson has had many pet causes over the years but the one I'm most reminded of is his War on Barbie. Last time I checked, Mattel's doll had withstood the wrath of Ja-Do. Any Democratic senator thinking of buckeling might want to remember he's already publicly
lost one battle . . . to a plastic doll.

And nobody seems to like him,
They can tell what he wants to do
And he never shows his feelings.
But the fool on the hill on the hill sees the sun going down
. . . .

[Note: This post has been corrected. Three commas have been added and other grammer errors were caught by Shirley. As always, thank you Shirley.]

Friday, December 31, 2004

The New York Times continues to deserve praise for their coverage of the tsunami devastation

Choo Youn-Kong (Agence France-Presse) has a photo on the front page of people in Indonesia lined up for supplies. Chang W. Lee (Times) has a photo inside of people asleep on the floors of of a school in Kalmunai, Sri Lanka. Kim Cheung (Reuters) has a photo of the remains of a market on Phi-Phi island. Dimas Ardlian (Getty Images) has a photo of supplies arriving in North Sumatra. Richard Vogel (Associated Press) has a photo of workers on power lines "working to restore power." Ed Wray (AP) has a photo of survivors in Sri Lanka drinking from a tank. Santosh Verma (Times) has a photo of aid being distributed in Madras. Dibyangshu Sarkar (Agence France-Press) has a photo of a young child amidst the destruction (Cuddalore, India) eating a coconut. Edy Pumono & Jiwa Foto share credit for a photo (Times) of two people seated in front "of a ruined house." Binsar Bakkara has an especially powerful photo (AP) of an injured female. An uncredited photo from Daily Nation shows the waves on Sunday. Catherine Stebbins (Times? no organization is credited) has a photo of Dr. Kerry Siegh. Cory Lum (Times) has a photo of geophysicists Barry Hirshorn and Stuart Weinstein.

We're starting with the photos for a reason. Three e-mails asked if "failure" wasn't a little harsh to describe what happened on this end. I don't think so. Pictures are powerful and I should have been noting them from the start. Photo-journalists are journalists and they've been an important part of getting this story out and understood. I wish I'd been noting their contributions to this story from the start and regret that I didn't. My failure and I take the blame for it.

The Times continues to cover the issue powerfully and deserves praise for the text and the photos.

Focusing on the articles:

Bhupati brought her two boys, 8 and 6, to higher ground when the tsunami struck and ran back for the baby, Preetika, 2. The girl had been rescued by someone else and survived. The mother of three, searching frantically, did not.
"We don't know how to save these children's future," their uncle Kanakaraj, 35, said on Thursday, at a village wedding hall that had been turned into a relief camp. "A mother's care is needed." His concern for his brother's children was admirable, given what had happened to his own. All three were swept away in the tsunami on Sunday as their mother, Manonamani, tried, but failed, to save them.

A childless mother, motherless children - in one extended family, a microcosm of the way the water bruised its way across Asia. Many men died, but women and children appear to have died in even larger numbers.
[Amy Waldman's " Motherless and Childless, an Indian Village's Toll"]

Abdul Hamid Ansar woke up before dawn Thursday, whispered prayers, gulped down a cup of steaming tea and resumed his surreal new existence: overseer of Sri Lanka's coast of death.
Mr. Ansar, a shy, 42-year-old divisional secretary, the Sri Lankan equivalent of an American city manager, has led the search for bodies along a four-mile stretch of congested coastline where 9,000 people are believed to have been killed when a tsunami crashed in on Sunday. His small slice of Sri Lanka appears to have the highest death toll of any single community in Asia outside of Aceh Province in Indonesia.
Mr. Ansar's neighborhood, a seaside enclave of roughly 100,000 people on the east coast of Sri Lanka, no longer exists. Twenty-seven of his relatives are dead.

[David Rohde's "In a Corner of Sri Lanka, Devastation and Divisions"]

Food drops and other aid trickled toward this region from around the world on Friday, but slowly enough that the injured and the stranded in many places still had to fend for themselves as the toll from "an unprecedented global catastrophe" surged past 120,000.
The human tally in Indonesia jumped after officials said that nearly 28,000 more bodies had been uncovered in Aceh Province, on the island of Sumatra, near the epicenter of Sunday's enormous undersea earthquake. The discovery brought the death count close to 80,000 in this country alone.
At least three times the number of dead may be seriously injured, their survival dependent on the arrival of urgent medical aid, international health experts said.

[Jane Perlez's "Many Still in Need as Aid Is Trickling to Stricken Area"]

At one camp, Zulkifli Zaelaini, 26, was trying to find medical attention for his father, a retired police officer whose hand was badly gashed after the disaster struck and was by now infected. "My father has been wounded now for three days, and no one cares," he said.
. . .
Many residents walk the streets wearing surgical masks or covering their noses with scarves to avoid the pungent stench of decaying bodies and raw sewage, the breeding ground for water-borne disease.
Tremors and aftershocks felt in recent days have regularly sent fearful residents scurrying outside those homes that are still standing.

[Eric Lichtblau's "In Indonesia's Worst-Hit Region, Relief Is Far From Swift"]

An expert in water sanitation from the World Health Organization has arrived in the Maldives to help determine the best way to restore safe water supplies, said Dr. Pino Annunziata, a member of the organization's emergency response team. He said that rainfall there would help to flush the salt out of the wells, but added that rain could also create stagnant pools of fresh water where mosquitoes could breed and spread malaria, which is already prevalent in many of the devastated areas.
Dr. David Nabarro, the director of crisis operations for the World Health Organization, said that a shipment of bottled water was being flown to the Maldives from Britain. He said the organization had been offered the use of a commercial plane heading from Manchester to Mali and had elected to fill the plane with water.

[Denise Grady & Lawrence K. Altman's "From All Corners, a Rush to Get Clean Drinking Water to Survivors in Stricken Areas"]

It was 7 p.m. Seattle time on Dec. 25 when Vasily V. Titov raced to his office, sat down at his computer and prepared to simulate an earthquake and tsunami that was already sweeping across the Indian Ocean.
He started from a blank screen and with the muted hope that just maybe he could warn officials across the globe about the magnitude of what was unfolding. But the obstacles were numerous.

. . .
As he set to work, Sumatra's shores were already a soup of human flotsam. Thailand to the east was awash. The pulse of energy transferred from seabed to water, traveling at jetliner speed, was already most of the way across the Bay of Bengal and approaching unsuspecting villagers and tourists, fishermen and bathers, from the eight-foot-high coral strands of the Maldives to the teeming shores of Sri Lanka and eastern India.
In the end, Dr. Titov could not get ahead of that wave with his numbers. He could not help avert the wreckage and death. But alone in his office, following his computer model of the real tsunami, he began to understand, as few others in the world did at that moment, that this was no local disaster.
With an eerie time lag, his data would reveal the dimensions of the catastrophe that was unfolding across eight brutal hours on Sunday, one that stole tens of thousands of lives and remade the coasts of the Asian subcontinent.

[Andrew C. Revkin's "How Scientists and Victims Watched Helplessly"]

Experts say that thousands of deaths might have been avoided if warning systems had been in place to alert the people around the rim of the Indian Ocean of the tsunami. No such system exists there now, although the United States has such a system in place for countries of the Pacific basin.
Those who design and use the wireless technology known as Short Message Service, currently used for chatter and advertisements, say it could be used to jumpstart governments' warning networks.

[John Schwartz's "Text Messaging Pushed for Use as Disaster Warning Systems"]

A senior State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that so far, there was no need to add to the $35 million set aside by the United States for immediate relief, but that the money would be available when the time came to distribute it, once assessments are made. The official said that $500 million in government aid had been raised so far around the world, and that this had been matched by a like amount of private contributions.
[Steven R. Weisman & David E. Sanger's "In Efforts to Organize Aid, Powell and Governor Bush Will Tour Ravaged Areas"]

Some here blame fate for the tsunami, others blame geology. But other factors also determined who lived and who died on that morning.
Biology, for one: the men on shore had the speed to outrun the towering wall of water, and the strength to hold onto whatever they could as the water tried to snatch them away. Sociology, for another: here, the men are the providers, and were thus away at sea about six miles from shore, which on that day proved the safest haven. The women fell prey at home, or at the fish market where the water barreled in. On a Sunday morning, the tsunami found many of the children at their homes just feet from the sea, rather than at a safer distance, at school.

[Amy Waldman's "Motherless and Childless, an Indian Village's Toll."]

Staff members also immediately traveled into the disaster zones. Celestine M. Devasahayam, a supervisor in India, set out for slums in Madras in a flooded coastal area, using a rowboat at one point to reach a hard-hit neighborhood. What he and his partners from another relief agency found was a former fishing village where not a single house was still standing, where bodies were simply piled up, and where children were searching for parents, he said.
"They were so desperate," he said in a telephone interview. After he returned inland, he and other relief workers directed medical crews to the area.

[Eric Lipton's "Even at Charity Used to Aiding, It's a Scramble."]

A senior State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that so far, there was no need to add to the $35 million set aside by the United States for immediate relief, but that the money would be available when the time came to distribute it, once assessments are made. The official said that $500 million in government aid had been raised so far around the world, and that this had been matched by a like amount of private contributions.
[Steven R. Weisman & David E. Sanger's "In Efforts to Organize Aid, Powell and Governor Bush Will Tour Ravaged Areas."]

Among them was Bustamam Zainal Abidin, 37, a car salesman who lost his wife and their four children, ages 1 to 10, to the raging waters. He was not at home when the tsunami hit on Sunday, but neighbors reported that all five family members had been swept up in the floods.
"I have nothing, zero," he said. "Where my house was, it's like a sea now. I couldn't even be there to help my family." Other members of the mosque are missing and presumed to be dead as well.

[Eric Lichtblau's "In Indonesia's Worst-Hit Region, Relief Is Far From Swift."]

At home, Manonamani was feeding Naveen Kumar, 8, and watching Priya Dharsini, 10, play with Rumani, 3, when the sea reared up and she heard screams. She grabbed Naveen and Rumani, while Priya ran at her side. But Manonamani did not know how to swim, and when the water overtook them, the children slipped from her hands.
"I had no power to run away," she said. "I lost them." Kanakaraj found her unconscious in a house, then found his brother's children safe on a top floor. "My own children I could not see," he said. He found their bodies two days later.
Manonamani said, "I would have been happy if even only one of my own had been saved."

[Amy Waldman's "Motherles and Childless, an Indian Village's Toll."]

Severe shortages exist in all the affected regions, but reports from health officials suggest that the situation may be the most dire in Indonesia and the Maldives.
[Denise Grady & Lawrence K. Altman's "From All Corners a Rush to Get Clean Drinking Water to Survivors in Striken Areas."]

A senior State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that so far, there was no need to add to the $35 million set aside by the United States for immediate relief, but that the money would be available when the time came to distribute it, once assessments are made. The official said that $500 million in government aid had been raised so far around the world, and that this had been matched by a like amount of private contributions.
[Steven R. Weisman & David Sanger's "In Efforts to Organize Aid, Powell and Governor Bush Will Tour Ravaged Areas."]

A senior State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that so far, there was no need to add to the $35 million set aside by the United States for immediate relief
. . .

A senior State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that so far, there was no need to add to the $35 million . . .

A senior State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that so far, there was no need . . .

Democracy Now! (and no, The Common Ills isn't on vacation)

Democracy Now! devotes the full show today to one topic.

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man: How the U.S. Uses Globalization to Cheat Poor Countries Out of Trillions
We spend the hour with John Perkins, a former respected member of the international banking community. In his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man he describes how as a highly paid professional, he helped the U.S. cheat poor countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars by lending them more money than they could possibly repay and then taking over their economies.

At this point the episode is LW only. (Listen or watch.)

To those who e-mailed the site today asking if we were going on vacation, no we aren't.

As I noted in a post last night, the power went out (probably for ten minutes). I forgot to reset clocks and overslept. When I did get up the day was already well started.

We will be highlighting the Times' front page later today but when I read the story on Novak, that became my focus. (And consumed four hours of my time further delaying the first post of today.)

"I don't know why they're upset with me. They ought to worry about themselves. I worry about myself."

Robert Novak is a strange sort of "journalist." Page A18 of today's New York Times addresses his role in the outing of Valerie Plame in Lorne Manly and Adam Liptak's "At Leak Inquiry's Center, a Circumspect Columnist." [The article can be found at]

It's there that he's quoted (answering a question from Brian Lamb on C-Span) saying, "I don't know why they're upset with me. They ought to worry about themselves. I worry about myself."

Like a character in an unfolding play by Moliere -- The School for GOP Hacks? -- Novak was trained by Rowland Evans, Jr. to always do his best to advance the interests of the GOP. Truly, he is the first act Agnes in Moliere's The School for Wives.

Joseph Wilson was bringing uncomfortable attention to the Bully Boy's remarks on yellow cake.
The echo chamber went into overdrive to discredit Wilson and Novak was there to deliver the body blow, announce in his July 14,2003 column:

Wilson never worked for the C.I.A., but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me his wife suggested sending Wilson to Niger.

With those remarks, Novak sought to discredit Wilson. Now maybe Novak wasn't aware of a number of things. Maybe he wasn't aware that he was being used to silence a critic of the Bully Boy's? Maybe he wasn't aware that he was outing Plame? [Correction: Novak was aware. He spoke on the phone with Joe Wilson on July 10th. Page 344 of Wilson's The Politics of Truth details the conversation. Without noting the conversation, or when it occurred, Novak would refer to it himself in a later column as he noted that Wilson refused to talk to him about Plame.] Robert Evans had schooled Novak to be, like Agnes, the adoring idiot.

But where Agnes's intellect slowly develops over the course of the play, Novak's gone down a different path -- schooled to be a non-thinking opinion writer, he's only excelled further at his cause.

Novak has damaged the ability of Plame to do her job. In doing so, he's put her at risk, anyone who was seen with her in her undercover days at risk and, at a time when national security at least gets lip service, she has been taken "out" an asset when one would think the nation needs her more than ever.

There's not a great deal of thought that goes into Novak's "writing," so, he very well could have had no idea that doing stenography for the Court of St. Bully Boy could imperil the nation. Once Evans steered him down the road of hack journalism, there was no controlling him.

Now he surveys the chaos he's created and shrugs. He really appears to have no grasp of the destruction he has brought about or that he was used to do just that.

Only an Agnes, perfecting the idiocy Arnolphe started her on, could be so obtuse.

At the Common Ills, we shed no tears for New York Times' reporter Judith N. Miller. Her current legal problems may be caused by Novak but there's an almost poetic quality to the fact that where the Times never demanded answers from her (over those run up to the war and after the invasion reports she filed) a prosecutor's now demanding accountability on another matter. There's almost a symmetary to it, if you think about it.

But while we may enjoy her time in the hot seat, the matter that's landed her there (at last) is another issue. One doesn't expect wisdom from Novak. But it's a real shame that Miller and Matthew Cooper are left to fight for the freedom of press while Novak grows ever more obtuse.

In the process, words like "criminal" are wrongly applied. A reporter breaking the news didn't commit a crime. The law applies only to the "two administration sources" that passed on the information to Novak. The law did not govern reporters (which would probably be seen as a restraint on the freedom of the press if it had attempted to do so).

[A reporter refusing to give the court the name of their source in this matter is a legal issue that's currently being addressed. In times more supportive of the freedom of the press, Miller and the others would be allowed to protect their sources.]

Novak didn't break the law but our modern day Agnes prefers to remain obtuse the situation he's created and leaves it for others (including Miller) to attempt to fight for the rights of the press.

If Novak had any integrity, he would have long ago stated that a reporter has a legal right to print what he did. (And Novak did have that right.) Instead others who did not break the story are left to fight for journalistic integrity and the freedom of the press.

Again, no tears for Judy at this site. But while Novak allows her and others to take the heat for his action, he demonstrates contempt for the profession he's pretended to be a part of.

There's a simple statement Novak could make to bring the focus back where it belongs, "I was doing my job." That would put the focus back on Novak's column (Miller never wrote about Plame). But it would also mean that Novak would be tested.

Would he crumple (as he's done in the past -- the Times notes that he publicly named a source before, Robert P. Hanssen)? Probably. Our Agnes wasn't in schooled in journalism ethics, only attack politics.

Were he to take the position he should take (one taken by reporters who didn't out Plame) it might be harder for him to play the uber patriot and modern day moralist he's so fond of. Difficult questions that he's largely been able to sidestep might be asked, not by a prosecutor but by a public that's largely ignored Novak's role in outing Plame. Such questions might result in a public outcry causing him to lose his cushy post at CNN. Isn't there something questionable that he's a Crossfire co-host who regularly questions others about their motives but feels he himself is beyond reproach?

Novak probably realizes that his name, such as it is, exists today not as a result of his columns (which are usually notable for being non-noteworthy) but on his self-presentation as one of the last voices standing up for decency. He probably realizes that taking a stand for free speech would destroy his "fan base."

They're accustomed to swallowing the manufactured outrage of a blow hard. Having to confront the fact that the uber patriot was willing to toss aside the "good of the country" wouldn't play well.

So he appears perfectly willing to let others fight the battle he should be fighting: the rights of a free press. I don't think he should have outed Plame. She wasn't central to the story and the outing was nothing but an attempt to divert attention from the fact that a known falsehood appeared in a State of the Union address.

The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

That's the allegation Bully Boy made in a State of the Union address. An allegation the CIA had removed from an earlier speech because they knew it to be false. Wilson wrote of his visit to Niger (on the op-ed pages of the New York Times) and questions started to be raised.

Did an American president lie to the people? Remember the faux gasps and manufactured outrage over Clinton's lie (re: Lewinsky) over a private matter? (I'm referring to his public statement, an argument can be made, that due to the definition of sexual relations, Clinton did not lie under oath. I have no interest in the matter one way or the other and this post isn't about that. My own personal opinion is that most of us have lied in some manner about sex.)

That's an issue because the State of the Union address is an official, Constitutionally mandated, task of the president (Article II. Section III). Presumably, the president is held to oath of office while delivering a State of the Union address.

David Corn (from The Lies of George W. Bush):

Nigergate opened the door for a bigger question: Had Bush oversold the case for war? Time magazine ran a cover piece under a large headline: "Untruth and Consequences." Its article focused on the Niger business, but the magazine also noted that prewar assertions by Bush on other WMD matters -- biological weapons in Iraq, Hussein's use of aluminum tubes for a nuclear weapons program, and Iraq's links to al Qaeda -- had not yet proven true (p. 292).

How would the chattering class, a group that had exhausted so much breath over Clinton's sexual lie, handle the prospect of being lied into war? Things were getting dicey as they clutched their pearls.

The water was starting to boil for the Bully Boy so "two senior administration officials" decided (either on their own or acting on the orders of someone else) to take the heat off by shopping around the non-pertinant detail that Joseph Wilson was married to Valerie Plame (not news) and that she was a CIA operative (gossip passing as news).

John Dean (from Worse than Watergate):

Using those in the news media willing to be complicit, the Bush White House is attacking enemies by planting harmful information. It has made old-fashioned gossip-mongering into high-powered smart bombs, firing explosive information by publicly releasing it and using the reporter's code of confidentiality to protect itself from blowback. This, of course, is akin to what Nixon aide Chuck Colson went to jail for (p. 170).

It was clear from the timing of Novak's first article that the leak was an act of revenge against Wilson for speaking the truth about the Bush administration's bogus claim that Niger provided uranium to Iraq (p. 171).

The ugly truths Novak wants to avoid is that he was used (willingly or not) and that this uber patriot compromised national security in his efforts to court the Court of St. Bully Boy. I don't agree with what Novak did. Valerie Plame wasn't central to whether or not Bush lied. Her undercover status wasn't not relevant. I see no journalistic reason for her to have been outed.

But if Novak wanted to argue "the people have a right to know!" I'd support his stance. I'd disagree that she should have been outed but I'd put that off as a disagreement and support his assertion that the people have a right to know and to a free press.

Novak doesn't make that argument and probably won't. The echo chamber exists to questions the motives of others and, quite frankly, Novak couldn't withstand it if the chamber he's polished the brass in religiously for many years turned on him. If he played his only card (one he should have played), those who've launched attacks on Richard Clarke and assorted others would have to train their sites on Novak and wonder, "Where is his sense of decency! Where is his patriotism!"

So he hides in the shadow and claims he can't speak about the matter on the advice of council. His silence now is in direct contrast to his early eagerness to share. A reticent Novak is laughable at this stage in his career. Who knew the attack dog would turn into a declawed tabby in his final moments on the national stage?

E-mails to this site have noted enjoyment over Judith Miller being put in the hot seat. Again, it is fun to watch her squirm. At this stage, it's fun; however, if Novak continues to let others fight the fight he should be fighting, to let others take the heat for his actions, it won't be fun.
(Yes, Yazz, here comes a "fairness" moment.)

Miller doesn't deserve to be punished for Novak's actions. It's a shame that she (and others) have to stand up for the rights of a free press while Novak's allowed to avoid the issue.

Regarding Iraq, she may have truly believed in her "scoops." I don't know if she did or if she knew they were false. From her current stance, it seems journalism and a free press mean something to her. (By "current stance," I'm not referring to what many of you saw as her attempt to present herself as the Sally Field of the press corps. I didn't see the Charlie Rose interview.) I wish they'd meant as much to her in her Iraq reporting.

But I'm not willing to pin her current problems on "fate" or "karma" when the situation can be so clearly pinned on Robert Novak who refuses to address his own actions and instead is willing to hide behind Miller and Matthew Cooper (among others).

I doubt Novak will find the inner strength to fight his own battles or to take a stand for the profession he professes to be a member of. After all, as he stated, "I worry about myself."
But maybe our modern day Agnes could stop thinking only of himself and remember these words from Moliere: "The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it." Translation, Novak, redeem yourself before the curtain closes on this farce.

For further information please check out the following:

Amy Sullivan's "Little Big Man" (

John Dean's "The Serious Implications Of President Bush's Hiring A Personal Outside Counsel For The Valerie Plame Investigation" (

John Dean's "The Leak of CIA Agent Valerie Plame Wilson's Identity:Why Competing Congressional and Special Counsel Investigations Will Inevitably Cause Problems" (

John Dean's "Why Did Attorney General Ashcroft Remove Himself From The Valerie Plame Wilson Leak Investigation? Signs that a Key Witness May Have Come Forward" (

John Dean's "A Further Look At The Criminal ChargesThat May Arise From the Plame Scandal, In Which a CIA Agent's Cover Was Blown" (

John Dean's "The Bush Administration Adopts a Worse-than-Nixonian Tactic:The Deadly Serious Crime Of Naming CIA Operatives" (

David Corn's "Nigergate Thuggery" (

David Corn's "Leak: Slime, Not Crime?" (

I'd also suggest you visit bookstores or libraries to obtain a copy of John Dean's Worse than Watergate: The Secret Presidenty of George W. Bush.

[Note: A link to the Times story has been added thanks to a "___" who pointed that there was none. Also, Shirley e-mailed with three corrections needed and they've been done.]

[Note: 7-5-05 Corrections. Adam "Liptak" thanks to ____ for catching that. Also, Novak did know Valerie Plame was undercover per Wilson and Novak has confirmed speaking to Wilson on the matter.]

Democracy Now and Science And Politics

If this posts twice, I'll delete the earlier one. I'd blogged on Democracy Now!'s Thursday show earlier in the day but it's apparently one of those posts that's either not going to show or will pop up in its own good time.

Headlines for December 30, 2004
- Tsunami Leaves 5 Million Homeless
- Death Toll Expected to Top 100,000
- Bush Announces $35 Million Relief Effort
- Paper: Bush's Handling of Crisis "Inept Beyond Belief"
- Oxfam Warns Donors May Walk Away From Disaster
- U.S. Annually Gives 0.14% of Income to Relief Aid
- Four-Day Death Toll in Iraq Tops 100

As always, Headlines are LWR (listen, watch or read).

The rest of the show is listen or watch only. It's their year in review and it's the most comprehensive review of the year I've seen. (I did catch NPR's wrap up and felt it missed many things. I also felt that the weeklies I read earlier today did a better job than most of the mainstream printed pieces. But I think Democracy Now! does the best job yet.) And it's good that the other post is temporarily lost because when I wrote it, there was no transcript for this segment but now I see that there's a partial one.

Democracy Now!'s 2004 Year-In-Review
We look back at 2004 including the presidential race, the continuing war in Iraq, the U.S.-backed coup in Haiti, the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, the deaths of Ronald Reagan and Yasser Arafat, the catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami and much more.
Voices include:
Ali Abunimah, Jean Bertrand Aristide, John Ashcroft, George W. Bush,Wesley Clark, Richard Clarke, David Cobb, David Cole, Howard Dean, Ani DiFranco, Steve Earle, Robert Fisk, Michael Franti, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Hassan, Seymour Hersh, Jeremy Hinzman, Dolores Huerta, Dahr Jamail, John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich, Lila Lipscomb, Rahul Mahajan, Jimmy Massey, Wangari Maathai, Zell Miller, Yanar Mohammad, Michael Moore, Bill Moyers, Ralph Nader, Barbara Olshansky, Condoleezza Rice, Randall Robinson, Arundhati Roy, Donald Rumsfeld,
Rev. Al Sharpton, Mordechai Vanunu, Maxine Waters.

Okay, this is mainly for Charlie, the only thing I'm seeing that you'll miss out on from only being able to read the transcript is the songs (Ani DiFranco, for instance). But what you'll get as a reader that people who only listened or viewed the segment will miss is links to to the segments these moments came from. Ani DiFranco is a brilliant artist. And if you want to get an idea of the kind of artist she is, you can visit her homepage:

Kara e-mailed me to thank me for linking to the great post from Science And Politics. So did Brent and Rob. Rob and Brent mentioned that after they read the post, they clicked to see something newer.

I hope everyone did that because I SCREWED UP.

Science And Politics is a site that a number of you have been mentioning. Including after we linked in the post on who wasn't on vacation. [See]

I meant to highlight the site ( but in my rush, I just typed "Science And Politics" into a Yahoo search. I didn't notice that it was pulling up a post from the site and not the main page (

I'm glad that the post was an excellent one (and if you haven't read it, click above because it's worth reading). But I had intended to highlight the site itself. I'm sure that most of you are net savy (more so than I am) and know if you reach an archived post, you can click on the main heading and it will take you to the most current post. But if there was any confusion, I apologize for my mistake.

I was just e-mailing someone about the Science And Politics web site when the power went out.
I lost the e-mail and had to start over when the power came back on. I wished I'd jumped to Kara, Rob and Brent's e-mail first.

Again, the post is excellent and makes you think but that was sheer luck because I was attempting to highlight the site (and the fact that it wasn't on vacation). So if anyone did check out that post, saw it was from November and didn't realize (or suspect) that I had made a mistake, please check out the site itself courtesty of the first Science And Politics link above.

I'll also add that Kat e-mailed to say she was working on a new post and it may go up in a few hours. If you missed her latest Kat's Korner, it's at
and you can read her earlier post at

To e-mail this site send to You can e-mail Kat at that address and it will be forwarded or send to to e-mail her directly.