January 20th, 2008

Chris Keeley

Song to Bobby,” the one new song on Cat Power’s “Jukebox” (Matador), is a fan letter from a fairly w

Song to Bobby,” the one new song on Cat Power’s “Jukebox” (Matador), is a fan letter from a fairly well-known songwriter, Chan Marshall (a k a Cat Power), to a major one, Bob Dylan, about their missed chances to meet.

Eric Schlegel for The New York Times

Cat Power has a new album of cover tunes.
Rock Cantankerousness and Other Moods

Cat Power

“Song to Bobby,” the one new song on Cat Power’s “Jukebox” (Matador), is a fan letter from a fairly well-known songwriter, Chan Marshall (a k a Cat Power), to a major one, Bob Dylan, about their missed chances to meet. It’s the conceptual key to her second album devoted to other people’s songs; they’re quietly assertive as well as admiring. “Jukebox” funnels many sources into Cat Power’s moodiness: forlorn, forsaken and restless. She finds it in songs as initially diverse as “New York, New York,” Joni Mitchell’s “Blue,” the blueswoman Jessie Mae Hemphill’s “Lord, Help the Poor and Needy” and her own “Metal Heart.” Unlike the sparse, haunted solo recordings of “The Covers Record” in 2000, “Jukebox” uses a band: a roots-rock lineup that’s fond of Southern soul and the Rolling Stones. It plays at measured tempos, simplifies chords to keep things bluesy and gives her space to waft her vocals into the songs. Although she and the band regularly played these songs on tour, they’re loose and deliberately wispy, sung with a diffidence suggesting that not even Cat Power is sure where her wanderings lead. She doesn’t outdo the originals. Instead, like a fan, she claims them by pondering them.
Chris Keeley

Surge to Nowhere" by Andrew Bacevich--WashPost 1/20/08

Surge to Nowhere
Don't buy the hawks' hype. The war may be off the front pages, but Iraq is broken beyond repair, and we still own it.

By Andrew J. Bacevich
Sunday, January 20, 2008; B01

As the fifth anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom nears, the fabulists are again trying to weave their own version of the war. The latest myth is that the "surge" is working.

In President Bush's pithy formulation, the United States is now "kicking ass" in Iraq. The gallant Gen. David Petraeus , having been given the right tools, has performed miracles, redeeming a situation that once appeared hopeless. Sen. John McCain has gone so far as to declare that "we are winning in Iraq." While few others express themselves quite so categorically, McCain's remark captures the essence of the emerging story line: Events have (yet again) reached a turning point. There, at the far end of the tunnel, light flickers. Despite the hand-wringing of the defeatists and naysayers, victory beckons.
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Chris Keeley

New York Times Report on Gaza by Isabel Kershner--1/20/08

I am circulating this mainstream press news item for two reasons: (1) the very rare and strongly-worded statements by a UN official, John Dugard, hardly ever included in a NYTimes report on this issue; and (2) the report that the Rafah crossing has been closed since June (with one exception) and that the EU observers have been gone since then as well. Israel only "covered" that crossing with observation cameras, I believe. The crossing is between Egypt and Gaza; Israel is not there territorially. Why Egypt has not allowed this to be a major crossing point for the Palestinians boggles the mind (and spirit). Because weapons and money might be "smuggled" across there? Give me a  break! They need tunnels? I guess so. Thanks very much, Egypt. As Shakespeare wrote (Antony and Cleopatra): "I am dying, Egypt, dying."

January 20, 2008
Israeli Airstrike in Gaza Kills 2 Hamas Members

JERUSALEM — An Israeli airstrike killed two members of the Hamas military wing in the northern Gaza Strip early on Saturday, and three Qassam rockets fired by militants from Gaza landed in and around the Israeli border town of Sderot, causing no casualties.

The Israeli Army said another airstrike was aimed at a vehicle carrying weapons in northern Gaza early on Saturday, but no casualties were reported, and that a small ground force entered Gaza and arrested four armed Hamas militants, taking them to Israel for questioning.

The relative calm followed four days of heightened violence during which 39 Palestinians, including at least six civilians, were killed by Israeli fire, hospital officials in Gaza said.

The Israeli military said its actions were aimed at distancing "terrorist organizations, particularly Hamas," from the border fence, and at reducing rocket fire into Israel. More than 130 rockets were fired at Israel since Tuesday, the army said, with about half landing in Israel.
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