Firewater's new CD is fantastic. I admire the nervous and neurotic background to "Electric City", and "This is my Life" is a kind of half-Bhangra I've never heard before (even though a lot of the British Bhangra seems to be a spectrum already). There are only two songs on the album I don't particularly like -- the opening "Borneo" isn't particularly good, and "Bhangra Bros.." is just background - it feels like the actual melody failed to arrive.
On Monday, I tried a Lebanese restaurant on the Southside called Kassab's. On Tuesday, I showed it to someone else.. they have good Hummus and an excellent mushroom wrap. Their baklava wasn't that great, but some time back I was spoiled by Isildur and family's Baklava - just like Croissants, finding one that's acceptable in a restaurant is incredibly rare in the United States. Still, everything else I tried at Kassab's was good.
Yesterday was a day that included some good conversation.. It looks like I'll be going to Columbus this weekend for a party and for Outland. Amusingly, now I have an entirely different reason to hope not to run into an ex who might show up :) How the years change me...
The book on Reform in Communist Countries - there are good details about Tito's system (the Communist states that didn't align with Moscow or Beijing are of particular interest to me because, like before Stalin in Moscow, they show more of a vital, liberal character), but I particularly like the definition for Soviet communism:
- Predominantly Socialist Ownership of the Means of Production
- Full Employment (e.g. a Right to Work)
- Quasi-Welfare State (health care, social security, subsidised basic foods and services) tied to employment rather than citizenship/locale
- Overcoming Extreme Income Disparities and income based on property (as opposed to labour)
- Consumer Price Stability
I am unsure on the last point for non-necessities, and there's a lot of nuance possible on what the first means (e.g. managed by the party, by the populance, by the workers, some combination of the above, other things?), but I believe with the last removed this provides an adequate definition of Communism which I am willing to advocate (it doesn't mix in a commitment to enlightenment liberalism, but we could use a compound definition if we feel the need to have a compound idea rather than considering both to be good thing). Note that it does not rule out markets, nor does it mandate a flat wage - there's a lot of room for subtleties.
The US Presidential race continues to warm. As a mirror-image to democratic candidates collectively waffling over gay rights at a public forum a few months ago, we find republican candidates trying to convince evangelicals to like them. It's interesting to see these events to polarise the politicians.. (even as I am pretty much aligned with most of the liberal polarising groups). I'm hoping that Obama pulls ahead of Clinton, and still hoping a house falls on Ron Paul. It's interesting how every Republican running now seems to be considerably more right-wing than Bob Dole (Giuliani may not be, domestically, but his continued statements on foreign policy have me very worried, especially given that he and Romney are the most electable on that side - Dole was moderate across-the-board). In some magical world, Kucinich, Dean, Feingold, or Gore (ideally without Liebermann) would be elected... until then, I think Obama's the best hope we've got.
Actual news stuff next time... Today's a busy work day..