Thursday, November 24, 2005

Beware of the Fiendish Diabolical Agents

They may be known as the Food and Drug Administration and claim to have our best interests in mind, but don't fall for such nonsense. These fiendish and diabolical agents of Leviathan are more likely to engage in fraudulent and decieving antics than protect our lives, something that they have no business intervening in anyways. The list of reasons why these parasites are actually a threat to the lives of the hosts they prey on (we, the people) is mammoth, and I'd like to bring attention to just the most recent news to strike my attention.

I've been upset for some time over the fact that people here in the state of Michigan are unable to go to the store and purchase unpasteurized, or raw, milk (some call it real milk). It is also a crime for dairy farmers to sell it on their farms. There are many similar laws in place in most states. People who are aware of the major health benefits associated with drinking raw milk are being denied the opportunity to improve their health and drink a tastier version of milk because the FDA steadfastly insists that it is dangerous to drink.

The people who drink and promote raw milk respond by claiming that such claims are way overblown, that pasteurization destroys many important enzymes and vitamins, kills beneficial bacteria and results in a product with links to many more potential health problems than raw milk, and that drinking raw milk may even help prevent certain diseases due to it's far superior healthful content. This article by Dr. Joseph Mercola is one of many examples of testimonies in favor of raw milk that also cautions people about treated milk.

All of that is not to say that there is no risk involved with drinking raw milk, but it sounds like something I'd like to get my hands on myself. The fact that the FDA condemns it, resulting in draconian laws implemented in most states, is in fact a full out assault on consumer choice and individual liberty. It's no surprise though when you consider the fact that consumer choice and individual liberty are seen as toxic by government parasites who live off of the active suppression of such things. We are getting a raw deal here, and yes, that pun was intended!

Tricia Shore recently went off on such ridiculousness in a LRC column where she not only condemned government intrusion but also spoke out as an individual who should be free to drink the milk she wants to drink. Three days later, I learn from Cat Farmer's post on Sunni Maravillosa's blog that some people are so determined to acquire and consume raw milk that they're willing to go underground and engage in a black market for raw milk. In their minds, taking the tiny risk associated with drinking raw milk in order to enjoy it's taste and nutritional bounty is well worth the risk of potentially being victimized by government thuggery. Kudos to these folks and a big, fat "Fuck You" to anyone who dares stand in their way.

The FDA's stance here also hints at a subject often brought up by yours truly and other libertarians: big government serving the interests of big business. Who benefits from pasteurization laws beside government bureaucrats? Why, the large corporate dairy operations do! These costly measures have already been taken into account by the large operations and don't threaten their bottom line, but they do add another costly burden onto smaller dairy farms. The profit margin also rises as a result of treated milk having a longer shelf life, another consideration that is undoubtedly recognized by industry lobbyists who seek favors from political prostitutes. The government not only benefits from merely growing in size and power, but also from pleasing it's many private sector johns. We, the people, don't mean a damn to them. We are here solely to be put to work, bled dry, and coaxed to vote for various representatives of the ruling class every few years.

Moving on to another food now, many claims have been made over the years about the healthful benefits associated with eating tomatoes. There is one claim, however, that the FDA apparently does not want you to know about. I learned about this via Norman Singleton's post about it at the LRC blog. He links to this story and then informs readers that Ron Paul is thankfully promoting the Health Freedom Protection Act in order to stamp out FDA censorship. Considering the massive corruption of the FDA (which is inevitable) by various private interests, such as the pharmaceutical industry and various corporate food giants, it is no surprise that the FDA seeks to promote certain things while actively suppressing other things. Another example that comes to mind is their campaign against stevia, further showing that their claims are rooted in predatory politics, not science.

Bill Sardi doesn't beat around the bush, and flat out states that "The FDA Kills" in a recent LRC piece. Switching from food to drugs, we learn from Sardi's column about studies showing that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements reduce the symptoms associated with arthritis. Check out the following excerpt:
It’s not just that millions of arthritics endured pain while modern medicine drug its feet over acceptance of these dietary supplements, it’s that the delay actually cost many thousands of people their lives. Oh, arthritis is not life threatening, but the pain relieving drugs arthritics take are. Had modern medicine embraced these safe and natural remedies two decades ago, relatively unsafe drugs like Vioxx, Bextra, and Celebrex, as well as aspirin and ibuprofen, would have never been used so widely.

Dr David Graham, an official at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, independently reported that the use of painkillers known as Cox-2 inhibitors since 1999 resulted in between 89,000 and 139,000 premature deaths from heart attacks or strokes. [Lancet 365(9458):475–81, 2005] Both the COX-2 inhibitor drugs (Vioxx, Celebrex, Bextra) and ibuprofen increase the risk for a mortal heart attack. [British Medical Journal 330:1366, 2005] The heart attacks and strokes emanate from an increased risk for blood clots caused by the COX-2 drugs. [Annals Rheumatic Diseases June 7, 2005]

“Whistleblower” Dr. Graham had to travel outside the country to disclose the mortal risks associated with these drugs. His superiors at the Food & Drug Administration were covering up the problem. What goes unreported is that since the 1980s the FDA was also abrogating its duty to educate the public that safer and more appropriate remedies for osteoarthritis are available – namely glucosamine and chondroitin.

The FDA did more than just approve problematic pain relievers, it promoted them over glucosamine and chondroitin.

The things I've mentioned here represent merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of revealing the corruption, the deception, and the outright thuggery associated with the FDA. It is no wonder that the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey once performed a sly and sinister sounding improvisation that they called "The FDA is Making Our Food Worse Than Drugs". They also referred to the FDA as being "Fucking Drug Addicts". Whether it's "Fucking Drug Addicts", "Fiendish Diabolical Agents", or "Freedom Denying Assholes", the point is that the FDA is a threat to the health of people nationwide and to the health of liberty.

From their September 21, 2002 show in Portland, OR:
MP3: Improv: The FDA is Making Our Food Worse Than Drugs

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Warmongering is the health of statism

No one puts the warmongering "libertarians" in their place better than Anthony Gregory. The speech that he gave recently at the Burton S. Blumert Conference on Gold, Freedom, and Peace can now be read at LRC.

Some of the truisms that such closet collectivists can't hide from are stated clearly by Gregory in the following:
We can summarize the diagnosis for economic freedom simply by saying that war and the free market are totally incompatible. Even the most defensible war one can imagine – to repel foreign invasion – presumably involves taxation when the government plays a role. This alone makes every warfare program as much an attack on the taxpaying class as welfare. Last time I checked, we were still paying McKinley's telephone excise tax for the Spanish-American War, though I hear there are plans to repeal it.

Particularly devastating to the economic well-being of Americans, especially the poor and middle class, is the central bank inflation that typically accompanies any serious-sized war. Every major war in American history has depended upon the power of the state to monopolize the money supply and counterfeit dollars in mass to finance its slaughter. It is fair to say, then, that to support war, to advocate war, is to support this grand larceny.

No one who favors the warfare state can disown the methods by which it’s financed. It is no less economically collectivist to root for war than to root for any other government program. If a socialist told you he wants universal healthcare, but he does not favor the taxation and coercion to fund and implement it, you would quickly point out his naked contradiction. Every warmonger is an inflationist and a taxmonger, whether he knows it or not.

To accept war is to accept the warfare state, and to accept the warfare state is to accept all the fundamental premises of statism – the collectivism, the aggression, the ability of central planning to succeed.

He also addresses their puzzling and naive faith in democracy and the ability of the US government to promote it, not to mention their practice of equating democracy with freedom. As Gregory puts it, those hawks who actually believe in such nonsense see freedom as "just one more big government program."

Click here to read the whole thing.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Music: The Bad Plus 11/11/05

As I mentioned on Wednesday, the following is a live recording of The Bad Plus from their November 11th show at Pizza Express in London. It was part of the opening night festivities of the annual London Jazz Festival and was broadcast on BBC Radio's "Jazz on 3".

It is a short, but sweet set that should be a quick download if you have anything other than a dial-up connection. The files are all in mp3 format.

Let Her Garden Grow
Rhinocerous Is My Profession
The Empire Strikes Backward
Anthem For The Earnest
Chariots Of Fire

*UPDATE: Thanks to Siggidóri for pointing out that the links weren't working. I was using the wrong format at Yousendit. They're fixed now. Sorry for the delay.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Political Prisoners

I just read this article (link via Strike the Root) about the election difficulties in Anamosa, Iowa stemming from the fact that most residents of the town's Ward 2 are in prison. Now, depending on your political persuasion and present mood, your reaction to this might vary from laughter to disgust. This story made me think of the types of "criminals" who are currently incarcerated here in the US, and how many of these folks from Anamosa in jail are there for actual crimes or for stuff such as drug possession.

The US continues to lead the world in the proportion of it's citizens that are behind bars, a fact that should make anyone seriously question the validity of the claim that this is indeed the "land of the free". The USSA government often criticizes certain other governments for their detaining of political prisoners, but I have to wonder if such a claim may be rooted in hypocrisy.

One of the books I'm currently reading on my free time right now is Paul Goodman's Drawing the Line, a collection of political essays written in 1945 and 1962. I just finished reading a section early on where he is discussing the difference between natural society and the coercive society that increasingly haunts us and chokes out our ability to live naturally and non-coercively. On the issue of crime, he wrote the following:
Concerning the "crimes" that are actually punished, a free man must ask himself: which of these are detrimental to any society, including even a more natural noncoercive society in which discipline is somewhat but not so deeply and widely grounded in (reasonable) successful repression and deliberate inhibition; which "crimes," on the contrary, are precisely the acts that would undermine the present coercive structure? I think that the list of the former would be small indeed - an obvious instance is murder.

I now skip ahead to the next paragraph, where he states that:
It is often cited as an example of the barbarity of America that here no distinction is made between "political prisoners" and "common criminals," that the political prisoner is degraded to the level of the criminal; yet in fact the "common criminal" has, although usually by the failure of repression and rarely by reason, probably committed a political crime.

The point here is that actual crime amounts to acts that would be detrimental to any type of society, acts that ultimately violate natural rights, such as murder, rape, theft, and fraud. Most of the "crimes", as spelled out by the government, are in fact acts that do nothing but threaten the interests of the politically connected and the current coercive structure in general.

With this in mind, not only does the US lead the world in prison population, but doesn't it also thus lead the world in terms of detaining political prisoners? Aren't a majority of people in prison here in the US there for drug offenses? What about all the other "criminals" incarcerated for things that wouldn't be a crime in a free society? As far as I'm concerned, these people are all political prisoners, and those of us who object to their incarceration and promote liberty should keep all of this in mind and call these people what they really are. If anything, it'll at least make all those folks who blindly parrot lines such as "this is the freest and bestest nation on Earth" have to actually think about what they're saying.

MDM on multiple orders in a free society

An interesting new blog post has been written by MDM over at Upaya. In this post, MDM takes on a critique of anarcho-capitalism made by Gus DiZerega. Before getting into this response, MDM notes that:
I think he’s one of the most important thinkers in the current left-libertarian milieu (though he doesn’t call himself a libertarian, but a left-Hayekian liberal). I also think his criticisms are answerable from a market anarchist perspective (I’m not an anarcho-capitalist, but his criticisms seem to me aimed broadly at all flavors of market anarchism).

Part of his response involves painting a rough picture of a make believe mutualist community called Tuckerville, which should be of interest to those who are interested in mutualism and goes to show how not all arrangments that are compatible and possible in a market anarchist society have to be entirely dependant upon a strictly market order.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sony boycott

I'm sure that everyone has heard about the malevolent tactics used by Sony to monitor and control their customers. I've read about much of it through the blog postings of Brad over at Wendy McElroy's blog.

He provided a link today to a blog that I'll keep an eye on. It's called The Sony Boycott Blog, and the action mentioned in the blog title is certainly a good idea, and something that I've been doing since before this news came out.

One of the bad things about all of this is that a jazz group that I like happens to be on the Sony label: The Bad Plus. I own their first two studio albums and their only live release thus far, but I have not purchased their latest studio album, and I don't plan on doing so. I do have a few great live recordings of them, and to further my dislike of Sony, I'll set up mp3s for download here tomorrow night of their perfomance at the London Jazz Festival this past Friday. The set was broadcast on BBC radio.

These guys have recieved plenty of promotion and whatnot from Sony the past few years, but they seriously need to get hip and ditch Sony ASAP. None of the other great modern jazz trios that I listen to are involved with major labels like Sony, and they're thriving.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The tao of tzu-jan and libertarianism

Image Hosted by BK Marcus has provided an interesting blog post about Taoism and libertarian thought called "ancient Chinese secret". The secret is that certain libertarian ideals, such as the free market, have roots in ancient Chinese thought, most notably within the Taoist tradition. As with BK, I previously knew of people like Lao Tzu as being libertarian in their thinking, but his post reveals information sent to him via e-mail that shows an actual historical link between Taoist thought and the Western birth of classical liberalism many moons later.

Since first encountering them, I've been quite fond of some of the Lao Tzu quotes that succinctly express his libertarian views. The quotes provided by BK include:
Why are people starving?
Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes.
Therefore the people are starving.
Why are the people rebellious?
Because the rulers interfere too much.
Therefore they are rebellious.
The more prohibitions there are, the poorer the people will be.
The more rules and regulations, The more thieves and robbers.

In addition to those, here are a few more that show the Taoist preference for nature (or tzu-jan) to take it's course as opposed to using coercive intervention to govern individuals:
"When government is too intrusive, people lose their spirit."
"Without law or compulsion, men would dwell in harmony"
The sage does nothing and people govern themselves,
Provokes no one and people are peaceful,
Does not interfere and people prosper,
Is without desire and people fulfill themselves.
The more people are controlled, the less contented they become.
But when will leaders understand the significance of this?"
"The world is ruled by letting things take their course. It cannot be ruled by interfering."
"I let go of all desire for the common good, and the good becomes as common as the grass."

Before deciding to write this post, I made a brief trip to Google to see if I could find anything else of interest to add to this post. I actually came across an article by Travis Stansel titled "Why I'm Not A Libertarian" that refers to Lao Tzu. The article is, unfortunately, largely another example of someone who mistakenly views all libertarians as a bunch of pot-smoking corporate apologists and the free market as a big business utopia. That is, of course, absolute hogwash. Stansel is correct in noting that all forms of power pose a threat to human liberty, but that is something that real libertarians acknowledge.

Although he refers to Lao Tzu earlier in the article, it is at the end where he claims to use the wisdom of Lao Tzu to discredit libertarianism. He writes:
Lao-Tzu answers the Libertarian privatization dogma with this: "Own no interest, and the people cooperate with each other."
I must say that the quote he refers to is an interesting one, and one that I don't quite understand. What I'm unsure of is what Lao Tzu means by "interest". I assume that Stansel uses that quote to refer to resources being owned by private (i.e. corporate) power - the type of power that he thinks that libertarians excuse. He's also likely referring to the various examples of faux privatization that conservatives and the vulgarites talk highly of. But how does a statist regulatory system represent any sort of salvation? It doesn't, and Stansel conveniently ignores Lao Tzu's dismissal of such a route. Then there's the alternative of government ownership, which Lao Tzu would certainly rule out as well. It may have been a cute ending to his piece, but I think that Stansel is out of his element here.

Anyone out there wish to comment on that particular Lao Tzu quote and what they think it suggests?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Liberal historical mythology exposed yet again

With the minds of the masses firmly molded by state schools and state-sanctioned corporate media, it's not much of a surprise that the common mythology regarding the Progressive and New Deal era reforms and the role of government in dealing with business in general still reigns supreme despite being thoroughly debunked. It's a good thing that the technological marvel that is the interweb allows people a greater chance of eventually discovering things that otherwise would remain stuck in the memory hole. It is important that certain historical truths keep being repeated in order to heighten the odds that more people will come across and learn from them. Many may be reluctant to acknowledge such things, but they won't be able to avoid them forever.

Joe Vecchio is the latest liberal blogger to engage in the ridiculous practice of lumping all libertarians together and condeming them while praising government's role in keeping big business in check. Over at Karmalised, Diane Warth exposes who the real sucker is in response to Vecchio's parroting of historical mythology. Part of her response points to a reality of the New Deal era reforms that even libertarians don't usually point out - the role of such reforms in promoting a form of affirmative action for whites at the expense of blacks. She includes a link to a New York Review of Books review of a Ira Katznelson book that deals with the subject. This is an important aspect of the real role of government that needs to be brought to peoples' attention more often.

The real historical role of government has been to give privledge to a select few at the expense of others, with moneyed elites usually being the beneficiaries. Kevin Carson brought all of this up once again in a must read post that reveals the silliness of what he calls "a by-the-numbers critique of libertarianism" (his post also brings up a Daily Kos blog entry).

Not all libertarians are selfish pot-smoking Republicans who engage in corporate idolatry, so any generalized "by-the-numbers" critique is only going to apply to some people. Additionally, those who engage in such critiques are the ones who bought into the historical mythology of the state keeping big business in check. As Carson puts it:
Of course, anyone who's read Gabriel Kolko or G. William Domhoff knows that the leading figures in formulating the Progressive and New Deal agendas were representatives of big business. It really makes you wonder what kind of "party of the common man" has GE's Gerard Swope in the role of Hjalmar Schacht, or routinely has cabinets made up of investment bankers and corporation lawyers. Shit, the next Democratic president-elect ought to just have the treasury seat in his cabinet endowed, and call his appointee the Goldman-Sachs Secretary of the Treasury. What was that about the plutes rigging the system for their own benefit, again? And Vecchio accuses libertarians of "[k]nowing nothing about history"!

UPDATE: It turns out that Joe Vecchio has written a new post in which he admits that he over-generalized libertarians. He then displays confusion over what his defense of the New Deal has to do with criticizing libertarians, which is puzzling to say the least. He then predictably goes back to displaying ignorance on, well, much of anything other than knowing that his father was somehow better off because of the New Deal.

Kevin Carson then proceded with a follow-up of his own. One of the highlights of this is his reference to Tolstoy's Parable, which is something that he has referred to before but never provided a link to until now (thanks Kevin!). He goes on to explain that:
As I see it, welfare statism is well illustrated by the human farmer in Tolstoy's Parable. Corporate liberals are like a farmer who's smart enough to figure out that he'll get more work out of his animals in the long run if he takes good care of them; Banana Republicans, on the other hand, figure they'll come out ahead by working the animals to death and then replacing them. If I had to choose between systems of class exploitation, I guess I'd prefer to be smothered with paternalism in the Brave New World of social democracy than to get a jackboot in my face in the Orwellian world the neoliberals have planned for us.

I don't want to have to make that choice, though. I prefer a world where we keep our full labor-product in the first place, instead of having a fraction of our stolen surplus labor doled back to us to keep us docile; and in which ordinary people control the circumstances of our daily lives, through cooperative production and mutual aid associations, instead of being managed by big government and big business overlords. To get there, we have to roll back the state.

He then addresses comments made by Vecchio in response to Diane Warth's blog post and makes a key point that liberals and leftists need to realize (and libertarians need to keep in mind):
You accused Diane Warth, in her comment thread, of alienating her potential allies. Pot, meet kettle. There are lots of libertarians out there who oppose corporate power and the rule of the plutocracy, and want to break the unholy alliance of big government and big business. We are your potential allies. By dismissing all of us as pot-smoking Republicans, or as mindless apologists for concentrated wealth, you are doing yourself a disservice.

I simply have to post something here that almost made me wet my pants laughing. Someone who commented to Joe Vecchio's post wrote the following:
Joe, you probably got quoted and flamed because your description of Libertarians is so close to the truth for their comfort. What we have in this country now is the endgame of Libertarian philosophy: government of the people, by the rich and for the rich. Those whining about the New Deal have conveniently forgotten that it was the only thing standing between them (and us) and a Communist takeover.
WOW! That is, perhaps, the funniest, most ridiculous comment I have ever read! This should be proof enough that state schools should be nuked into oblivion! It may not be nice, but I can't help but laugh.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Music: Digable Hip-Hop

There are plenty of people out there who have a negative impression of hip-hop music, much of it resulting from the types of hip-hop that gets mainstream attention. I'd have to agree with them regarding mainstream hip-hop since it, well, sucks! The kind of stuff you hear on the radio or on MTV (that is, if they still have music - don't ask me if they do) that is filled with glorification of the "thug life" and "bling-bling", with plenty of sexism and other crap thrown in. That's definitely not the kind of hip-hop I'm into.

There is, however, plenty of great hip-hop out there that is under the radar. There was a period of time (the early '90s) where some of these more quality acts recieved some attention within the mainstream prior to being sent down to the underground while gangsta' rap and other more unfortunate brands of hip-hop took over the mainstream. I had the great fortune last night to go see one of my favorite hip-hop groups perform live, a group that was one of those great early '90s acts that recently reunited and is now on tour: Digable Planets.

Image Hosted by Digable Planets was one of the groups, along with De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest among others, infused the hip-hop scene with jazz and funk, which made for, at least in my opinion, a more satisfying sound as far as hip-hop is concerned. Their lyrics were fresh and intelligent, far far removed from the types of lyrics you'd expect to hear from someone like 50 Cent or whomever else is poisoning young minds these days. Their debut album, titled reachin' (a new refutation of time and space), came out when I was 13 years old and is an absolute classic and must-have album for those who seek to explore the more rewarding reaches of the hip-hop world. I loved their hit song "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)", but unfortunately wasn't exposed to anything of theirs until I got to college. I now have both their releases and I'm eagerly awaiting the release of their new album that will be released sometime next year. I also just found out that Blue Note Records just released a DP album containing b-sides, remixes, and some of their more popular tunes from the two earlier releases. I may have to check that one out as well.

The show last night was sold out and was absolutely electric! It was such a treat to hear their songs that I've been diggin' on for some time now, but performed live right in front of me, especially since I didn't really become a fan until years after the group members went their separate ways and I never expected any sort of reunion. An added bonus was that, just like Matt of Los Amigos De Durutti when he saw them in Boston awhile back, I had a chance to meet Ladybug Mecca (the female MC) after the show and get her autograph! I had the impression that she was feeling a bit old when others were telling her how old they were when Reachin' came out, so I chose not to do the same. She, and the others, still look and sound as great as ever though.

I picked up a copy of a CD by their turntablist DJ Jedi at the show, a compilation of original samples called Blowout Breaks. I'm gonna start off the musical portion of this post with the classic Digable Planets tune that some of y'all might recognize, followed by a track off of the DJ Jedi disc that features two different musical treats. Most of the DJ Jedi track contains a song called "Stretchin'", performed by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, in it's entirety, but then has a short pause before getting into a sample from "Jazzoetry", a song by The Last Poets. The "Jazzoetry" sample was used in the Digable Planets tune titled "La Femme Fatal".

ALBUM: Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space) (Capitol, 1993)
MP3: Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)

From DJ Jedi's Blowout Breaks:
MP3: Stretchin/Jazzoetry

Next up is one of the songs that I enjoyed the most last night, a song called "What Cool Breezes Do". The song contains a couple of samples from an Eddie Harris number titled "Superflous", both of which were on the DJ Jedi disc as well.

From Reachin':
MP3: What Cool Breezes Do

From DJ Jedi:
MP3: Eddie Harris sample #1
MP3: Eddie Harris sample #2

Like I mentioned earlier, many of the more worthwhile hip-hop artists on the scene today are to be found in the underground. A couple of artists that I dig that may be inchin' their way toward the mainstream a bit though are MF Doom and DJ Danger Mouse. Some may have heard of one of Danger Mouse's projects, the infamous "Grey Album", where he combined the rapping from Jay Z's The Black Album with remixed samples from the Beatles' White Album.

Image Hosted by These two cats recently collaborated together under the name Dangerdoom, and just released an album titled The Mouse and the Mask, an absolutely fabulous album that has themes throughout from the Cartoon Network's late night cartoon series called Adult Swim. I've never watched any of the Adult Swim toons, but I do enjoy the various guest appearances on the album by various characters from the toons. The following two tracks are a couple of my favorites from the album, both containing great samples and production by Danger Mouse and solid rapping from MF Doom.

ALBUM: The Mouse and the Mask (Epitaph / Ada, 2005)
MP3: Sofa King
MP3: Crosshairs

Image Hosted by This album made me want to explore some of MF Doom's other stuff, so I recently acquired an album of his titled MM.. Food?. It's definitely a solid album that further showcases why Doom has such a good reputation among fans of underground hip-hop. For those who are interested, here's a short excerpt from his Wikipedia entry that provides a peek into his personality:
To many rap fans, Dumile is considered to be eccentric, but rhythmic rhyming, word play and lyrical flows make him a favorite of underground hip-hop fans. He is obsessed with old comic books, especially those of the Fantastic Four and their battles with Dr. Doom. Dumile's influences seem to draw heavily from American comic books and classic Japanese science fiction like Godzilla. In his role as King Geedorah, he inhabits a rap circle known as Monsta Island Czars, including rappers named Kong, Rodan, Jet Jaguar, and other rappers named after Japanese movie monsters. The Geedorah name itself is a derivation of Ghidorah.

One of the neat things about the following track from the album is the musical sampling he chose for it. I totally remember it from my youth, and I'm pretty sure it's from the closing credits of Sesame Street. If I'm wrong on this, please let me know. The other mp3 I'm offering up is from one of Doom's many instrumental releases (the Special Herbs series) and is the Sesame Street sample sans rapping.

ALBUM: MM.. Food? (Rhymesayers, 2004)
MP3: Kookies
ALBUM: Special Herbs, Vols. 5 & 6 (Nature Sounds, 2004)
MP3: Horehound

Image Hosted by The kiddie show theme music provides a good seque into the next mp3 I'm providing here. I don't recognize the tune, but it sounds like something that is probably from the '70s. The sample is used in a song by another great hip-hop group called Jurassic 5. The song is called "After School Special" and features some quality lyrical contributions from Chali 2na, a man who is definitely one of my favorite MCs. It is from their most recent release titled Power In Numbers.

Chali 2na was also an original member of the Latin/jazz/hip-hop/pop group Ozomatli. The final song for this post features Chali providing some political commentary that has definite anti-corporate and anti-state messages within it.

ALBUM: Power In Numbers (Interscope, 2002)
MP3: After School Special

ALBUM: Ozomatli (Almo Sounds, 1998)
MP3: Coming War

This is just a small sampling of some of the hip-hop that I've been diggin' recently. There is a lot of other great hip-hop out there that I either know of and haven't featured here or just haven't discovered yet. This little bit that I've brought up here should at least provide people with a taste of hip-hop that won't piss you off, make you gag, or wanna cover the ears of nearby children (if you do that sort of thing).

Friday, November 04, 2005

Hip-Hop and Herbie

FYI, I'll be writing a post about some hip-hop I've been digging recently on Sunday. It'll include a review of the Digable Planets concert I'll be attending tomorrow night. In the meantime, I'll point people looking for a musical fix into a couple of directions.

If hip-hop is what you're looking for, check out etnobofin's recent blog post about New Zealand's hip-hop scene.

If you're looking for something a little more old school in nature, I suggest a podcast featuring Herbie Hancock. This podcast was created by jazz producer Bob Belden and explores Herbie's session work as an accompanist during the late '60s, containing unreleased and rare stuff from Bob's private collection. Link via Ropeadope.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Some recommended reading

Here are a few interesing things I thought I'd point out.

First, Roderick Long's recent speech titled "They Saw It Coming: The 19th Century Libertarian Critique of Fascism" is now available for all to read, thanks to Lew A brief clip:
In short, the 19th-century libertarians observed the rise of the various tendencies that would come together to make fascism – militarism, corporatism, regimentation, nationalist chauvinism, plutocracy in populist guise, the call for “strong leaders” and “national greatness,” the glorification of conflict over commerce and of brute force over intellect – and they bitterly opposed the whole package. And although they ultimately lost that battle, their fallen banner is ours to pick up.

The second item is a Guardian article revealing one way in which the law of unintended consequences has reared it's head as a result of Ireland's ban on smoking in bars, pubs and restaurants. Seems as if smoking is cooler than ever over there, thanks to government nannys and the clueless folks who cheer on such nonsense.

Last up in this installment are a couple of recent blog posts about Bastiat's broken window fallacy. B.K. Marcus wrote a nice post summing it up and relating it to the common confusion between wealth and money. Kevin Carson then chimes in with a post relating it to the GDP and those who either place too much emphasis upon it or wish to have it scrapped.