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Askew Review 15

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GREG PALAST- Live From The Armed Madhouse (Alternative Tentacles) In the spirit of full disclosure (Who am I? Fuckiní Ken Lay?), aside from a few Bukowski discs, Iíve never had much use for spoken word releases that werenít straight out comedy. (Other than to use the best bits and bobs as segues between songs on my multitude of mixes, of course). So I went into reviewing this CD not expecting much. And on the surface, a liberal journalist acerbically ranting about how Republicans have fraudulently stolen the last two elections and how theyíve fucked up Iraq monumentally, about the evils of big oil and (gasp) about how vilified Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez actually may have some good ideas doesnít seem like anything that would be all that enlightening or groundbreaking. But even if only 10% of what heís saying here is factual (and my guess is that heís speaking the truth a helluva lot more than that), it illustrates what a fucked up political system we have here in the good olí U. S. of A. The interesting thing about what Palast talks about in this June 2006 engagement at the University of Tampa is that hardly any of it makes mainstream media in this country. (The BBC does regularly report Palastís findings, but that doesnít really help us ignorant so and sos here in the States). Parts of Live From The Armed Madhouse got me incredibly worked up, especially the bits about how both soldiers of color currently serving in Iraq and Native Americans out West had their votes essentially disqualified during the last presidential election. While most of this release is at the very least thought provoking, the last two tracks are utterly unnecessary (Palastís message is much more engaging when itís not backed by a droning synthesizer). Still, much of the rest of this disc, including his call to action at the end- is very much worth checking out. ĖBen Hunter

 

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