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All That Jazz

Dave Brubeck takes the cake. Plus: Polls and pols. Tookie. Alito a libertarian? Plus much more.

12.14.05

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BRUBECK AT 85
Re: Christopher Orlet's Take 85:

I remember Dave Brubeck fondly, having met this quiet, direct, and unassuming mega-star of modern jazz in the mid-1960s when I was privileged to provide public relations support for the world premiere of his oratorio for orchestra and chorus, The Light in the Wilderness, which was introduced with the Cincinnati Symphony. I was a marketing manager at the time with Fred Waring's Shawnee Press, a pioneer publisher of choral music for church and school. Our president, Ernie Farmer, had been a longtime friend of the jazz great and Shawnee Press was owned by the 1940s-60s choral music icon Fred Waring of The Pennsylvanians fame. (There is still a major thoroughfare named after Waring in Palm Springs, California, along with those for some of his contemporaries like Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra. Fred's son is still in the real estate business there.) Thus Shawnee Press became the logical choice to facilitate Brubeck's unique venture into modern classicism. The premiere was very successful, though Brubeck of course remains best remembered for his jazz stylings.
-- Gene Wright
Laguna Niguel, California
P.S. Along the way in this project, I learned that I had a namesake. The bass player for the Dave Brubeck Quartet happened to be gentleman also named Gene Wright. And now, with congratulations to Dave on his 85th Birthday, it is time for me to "Take 5"...

Thanks for this article. If you listen to what Brubeck was doing in his 20s you would be hard pressed to find any contemporary musician whose music contains as much music. Like Larry Bird or Magic Johnson Brubeck made the musicians around him better. Paul Desmond's post-Brubeck work simply doesn't compare with his work with the Brubeck Quartet.

Brubeck's recent CD of World War II songs includes an interview by Walter Cronkite which makes it pretty clear that Brubeck's piano playing kept him out of harms way in WWII. Now there is a reason for your kids to practice!
-- Darrell Judd

Thank you, Christopher Orlet, for noticing Dave Brubeck's substantial contributions to jazz. I heard Mr. Brubeck in concert about two years ago and was floored. First, he received a standing ovation just for walking out on stage, but more amazingly, he showed us that he still deserved it. The sight of a frail old man coupled with the powerful sound coming from the ends of his fingers was magical. The energy of his music is no less than it was over 50 years ago. Fifty years! Second, the audience went crazy when the first note of "Take 5" was struck. He knew we wanted it and Dave played it with freshness despite having played it a gazillion times. I would encourage TAS readers to go hear one of jazz's greats while you still can. Dave Brubeck will not disappoint.
-- Andrew J. Macfadyen, M.D.

Sorry to disagree on matters of taste, but Dave Brubeck is to jazz as Velveeta is to cheese.
-- Michael Presley
Orlando, Florida

MASSAGED SUCCESS
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Sliding Down the Polls:

I guess there's a reason why the word poll is only one letter away from the word pol.
-- Howard Lohmuller
Seabrook, Texas

My fellow Nutmeger, Ms. Fabrizio, has it absolutely right. Analyzing a Democrat poll is like watching a card shark deal from the bottom of the deck. While the outcome is appalling (especially if your money is on the table), nonetheless you have to admire the duplicitous slight of hand required to produce such a biased result. Of course, like all good con men, the Dems have their ideological goons in all the right places; so it was of little surprise that the MSM took scant notice of the Dems hitting absolute moral and intellectual rock bottom when the Reps called them on the Iraqi withdrawal resolution and only three showed up for the fight. No profile in courage for Mr. Murtha on this one. Even the buffoon, Charlie Rangel, whom you might recall, had his own Murtha moment when he failed to vote for his own resolution to reinstate the Draft, after milking all the cable talkies for all it was worth and hinting that a Bush draft was in the works right after the election, didn't vote for it. Ah, but then there's the slick John Edwards with his rhetorical slight of hand. He claims America hungers for something big and inspirational. Of course being a Dem, he offers a palliative with no answers. You'd think, in order to quench the thirst of the faithful, that he just might finally reveal the secret plan John Kerry had to end to war but couldn't until after the election. But no, that would reveal the con, nothing up my sleeve but more slight of hand. And so it goes.
-- A. DiPentima

Thanks to Lisa Fabrizio for her interesting analysis of the Democratic Poll-cats and their numbers racket, loaded question polls, massaged results.

Loved her reference to Helen Thomas, "liberal doyenne." Put ol' Helen in any rest home and she would be a doyenne. For some reason I have always associated the lyrical sounding "doyenne" with 90-year-old ballerina. For Helen, I favor "crone." That woman has been in the winter of her discontent ever since John Kennedy died.... Mercifully, my liberal paper allows her space only infrequently....
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

TIME'S UP
Re: Jay D. Homnick's No Crip Tonight:

I was watching the lady that said they would prove to the world that Tookie was innocent and that the Governor was a murderer. Well my thought was they had 25 years to prove that and did not, so set down and shut up.
-- Elaine Kyle

Having suffered the pain and finality of the death of my dear wife I personally could never "pull the trigger" or make the decision to end some one's life. However, the circus that surrounded the last days of Mr. Tookie was interesting. It certainly illustrated the differences between the "bad" guys and the "good" guys. The "bad" guys, or at least in my opinion as represented by the Hollywood crazies, many liberals, and a fair amount of prominent Democrats, were all over the place on TV advocating the possible innocence of Tookie and also advocating mercy for this killer of four unfortunate people but these same people were either silent or urged the unplugging of the food and water of a harmless young woman in Florida who may or may not have been brain dead. She certainly had never murdered of caused harm to any other human beings. The "good" guys had supported the right of this young woman to live until she died with minimal support of food and water. The same "good" guys also for the most part just wanted the legal process in California to take its regular course in determining the fate of Mr. Tookie. I also note that Jesse Jackson was on both sides of this issue. The meaning of this I leave to your imagination.
-- Jack Wheatley
Royal Oak, Michigan

If you are going to talk about a subject, at least get your facts right. Williams was convicted of killing a convenience store clerk. The three Asian victims owned a motel, not a convenience store.
-- Steve Berry

STRATEGIC CONSUMERISM
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's Yuletide With Jerks-R-Us:

General Zhu can relax. We wouldn't be "draw[ing U.S.] missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China's territory." We'd just be defending Taiwan's territory from invasion by foreigners.

"Made in China"? It can stay on the shelf.

Merry Christmas and Free Tibet,
-- Stephen Foulard
Houston, Texas

Go ahead and buy the lights. Things will change in China (they're no worse than the Kerry campaign) and General Zhu should check his map. Western China is cold, barren and very high altitude, not to mention land-locked, which sure would screw up their business exporting Christmas lights.

As far as casino cocktail distress, just tell the girls you're a judge so they can put the tab on your "unvouchered expenses."
-- Mark Stewart
Jacksonville, Florida

ONCE A NIXON AIDE
Re: Daniel Johnson's Not Alone Anymore:

Charles Colson is still the same old con artist. He will never be more or any less.
-- Dan Mittelman
Cherry Hill, New Jersey

FROM EZRA POUND LAND
Re: J. Peter Freire's An Astonishing Lack of Coulter:

Kudos to the students of UConn who shouted down right-wing nutcase Ann Coulter.
-- Kevin Ellis
Tirrenia, Italy

MARINES STAY
Re: Jed Babbin's In Search of Murtha's Army:

Democrat John Murtha, who called on the White House to institute an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq was praised since he was an ex-Marine.

This former Marine does not accept his "cut and run" position in the face of the enemy. I remember during the Korean War when Marines refused to retreat and leave their wounded and dead behind them.

Murtha disgraces that historic Marine Corps principle... And I don't give a damn how many medals he has.
-- Ken Wyman

In reply to your "supportive" war investigation "In Search Of Murtha's Army":

...Take your lame self around America FIRST and take a look at what this "war effort" is costing a country without health care for almost a third of its CITIZENS, with a budget deficit that will lay on our grandkids shoulders for years and without adequate let alone GOOD military defense in place on our own borders.

...Stay home -- open your eyes and learn to think like "real Republicans" used to be able to do.
-- M. V. Rapp

Jed Babbin's bio makes no mention of his service with any component of the U.S. Armed Forces. I have 39 years plus with a son having returned from one year in combat in Afghanistan and a daughter now in Iraq. I am a solid Republican so no need to launch on me. Out of respect I suggest there is no need to launch such an attack on a decorated veteran as Rep. Murtha. I was around when the Vietnam conflict was full blown. Had it not been for the outcry against that conflict we might still be there. I don't support a fast and total withdrawal of forces, and upon listening to him several times, I'm sure that's not what he meant.

I suggest Mr. Babbin do a little more research into the facts. Part of the truth lies in the fact that the further one gets away from the "chain of command" the more soldiers are free to discuss legitimate concerns about this whole process. In the case of what's broken, Mr. Babbin might want to contact several governors who have already made a case to the National Guard Bureau that their National Guard Units have very serious personnel and equipment problems and used the term "broken." It has nothing to do with the fighting spirit of the U.S. soldier.

Lastly, Mr. Babbin's statements of the level 1, 2, 3, and 4 ratings don't seem to be quite correct. I've been following the progress of the Iraqi Army for over a year now and the real military experts on the ground indicate that their shortfall's are in command and control and logistical support. For the vast majority they are unable to plan, coordinate, logistically support and execute a military operation. It has nothing to do with his italicized comment about being "equal to or better than the militaries of most of the damned world." It's not how well they are fighting; it's that we can't turn over major operations to them until they can accomplish these things. The Army rates it's units with a complex unit status reporting system, many units never achieve a level 1 and a level 2 Iraqi Unit in no way compares to a level 2 US Army unit.
-- Jim Glasscock
Amelia, Virginia

MISTY MEMORIES
Re: Reid Collins's Pryor Restraint?:

Sorry. As a recovering liberal, I have my own misty memories of Eugene McCarthy, and none of them provide substance enough to recall him as anything more than one of the hustlers who slithered into the light of day to exploit the opportunities set loose by the grim bedlam of '68. (We met Jesse Jackson for the first time in that year, and George McGovern, and many others just like them.)

After strutting around the country with the back of his hand pressed tight against his forehead, McCarthy kept his doomed candidacy alive just long enough to ruin any chance his party had at winning the White House. After that, he became Saint Eugene the Pure, and he emerged from a well-deserved obscurity only long enough to demonstrate that he was too smart and moral to be elected to high office in the flawed American electoral process. Like Bob Dylan, Julia Roberts, and Al Gore, he was a 22-karat, diamond-studded overachiever, the recipient of far more praise, reward and congratulation than he deserved.

He did, however, make one observation during the '68 campaign that should be chiseled in stone someplace where many Americans can get a look at it daily. Asked his reaction to news that Bobby Kennedy had decided to seek the presidency after he, McCarthy, had done all the heavy lifting, McCarthy replied, "We must remember that Bobby isn't Jack." Then, after a pause, he added, "He's not even Teddy."
-- Edmund Dantes
Coshocton, Ohio

TAKING LIBERTIES WITH ALITO
Re: Ilya Somin's Alito's Libertarian Streak:

Ilya Somin could not be more wrong in calling Alito, by any stretch of the imagination, someone with a libertarian streak.

Yes, there are a handful of cases in which he supported the religious rights of a few groups, but only to maintain a consistent appearance, as he is very much a Catholic and is primarily interested in protecting Catholic's interests. In any case, the NJ beard case was a silly decision from a practical point of view.

In at least ten cases where the civil liberties of individuals were pitted against the Police, he came down, usually in dissents, in favor of broad police powers at the expense of fundamental individual rights. As many articles such as those in Slate and other places have pointed out, when it is a case of the individual against the state, Alito almost always sides with the state, bending the law to do so in most cases. Upon request, I can send you articles from lawyers discussing all of those cases in detail.

Those cases are:

1) Doe v. Groody
2) The Riley Case
3) His memo concerning the Garner case
4) The Baker case
5) The case of the black prisoners who were dying untreated in a prison hospital.
6) The case of the bankrupt heart surgery survivor who didn't vacate his house quickly enough and was brutalized by the police when they came to dispossess him.

I am not a lawyer and do not have the time to cite the exact case names and citations. However, as a conservative/libertarian/capitalist, I am horrified to read the dissents of Alito in these cases, as they portray a judge who wants to give unlimited powers to police and other authoritative members of government, who is coldhearted in the extreme and not interested in protecting human dignity or civil liberties WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE LAW (meaning that I am not suggesting he should be an activist judge to promote any particular judicial philosophy but rather that he should apply the law correctly to protect the constitutional rights of individual citizens).

This is a man who thinks that it was proper for a policeman to shoot a 110 lb., 15-year-old child who had stolen $10 and who was, according to that policeman, known to be unarmed, in the back of the head as the frightened youth tried to climb over a fence to get away. The child was shot dead.

This is a man who even though the warrant did not include them as subjects to be searched, in violation of the specific provisions for warrants in the 4th amendment, argued in his dissent that it was not only legal, but morally permissible, to strip search a woman and her ten year old daughter who happened to be on the scene during a drug raid.

It goes on and on. Alito is no libertarian. Janice Rogers Brown is a libertarian. A is A and not B, and black is not white.
-- Betsy

STILL SEARCHING
Re: TAS contributor Bill Croke and Joel's letter (under "Search Party") in Reader Mail's The Court of Queen Anne:

Hey! I will second Joel.

What has become of Bill? His articles were always a pure delight.
-- Jim Woodward
Fruitland, Maryland

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