Thursday, May 11, 2006

Recent commentary by Congressman Kucinich said: “We’re in a war we didn’t have to be in. There needs to be accountability about the use of executive power. People need the truth.” He said he would use his new power to “piece the veil of the illusion” of Bush administration policy in Iraq. He hopes his investigations would help build support for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Ralph Waldo Emerson

by Dave Williams, Gwinnett Daily Post

[DUCHESS NOTE – New commentary has been posted in FOFF (Friends of Friday Forum ) website. The link is also available in left-hand column of blog.]

May 10, 2006
By Leah Schnurr, Reuters

TORONTO - Rock band Pearl Jam is focusing on politics and charity in its 2006 summer tour, railing against the Iraq war and promising a dollar to a local charity from every ticket sold. Pearl Jam has long been known as a band to speak its mind, and the newest offering from the Seattle-based group is politically charged, with many references to the war and to U.S. social issues such as unemployment and immigration reform. "It's not just a giant rail against (U.S. President) Bush," bass player Jeff Ament said in an interview. "(Singer Eddie Vedder) has created characters we can all relate to. I feel like I'm still getting to know them six months latter."

The tour opens in Toronto this week with two sold-out shows promoting the band's new album, called simply "Pearl Jam". It is their eighth studio album since the group sprouted out of the Seattle grunge scene in 1991 with fellow bands Nirvana and Soundgarden. The album has received good reviews, with critics calling it a return to the sound that made Pearl Jam one of the most influential bands of the 1990s after their ground-breaking debut album "Ten". The first single "World Wide Suicide", has also resonated with fans, topping the Modern Rock Billboard chart.

Ament said he feels there is a resurgence of bands speaking out in the political arena, citing Green Day's "American Idiot" and Neil Young's "Living With War" as recent examples. "It's pretty hard to be in the U.S. and not be affected by it," Ament said. "It's a struggle to step outside of it because it's so messed up." But he said he is optimistic for change, pegging his hopes on the Democrats winning more seats in this year's congressional elections. "It's a pretty exciting time," said Ament. "There will be change no matter what because the public demands it." Despite selling millions of albums and achieving international success, Pearl Jam has often shunned the spotlight, preferring to portray itself as a band for the fans.

In 1994, the band took Ticketmaster to the U.S. Justice Department, arguing that the ticket provider was unfairly pressuring promoters to charge high prices for admission. Justice eventually ruled against the band. Tuesday night's show in Toronto featured many tracks from the new album as well as crowd-pleasing classics such as "Alive" and "Daughter", and a cover of Young's "Rockin in the Free World." Proceeds from the shows in Toronto will go to the White Ribbon Campaign, a group that works to end violence against women, and Sketch, an organization involved with street youth. The tour continues across North America and Europe, ending in Greece September 30.


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