Global News: June 2010 Archives

Jazz ambassadors

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Benny Goodman in Red Square, 1962While waiting for my son, who was rehearsing with a small orchestral ensemble at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in Tulsa's old Union Depot, I had time to look over the exhibits, in particular a traveling collection of photos and posters called "Jam Session: America's Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World". It's about an interesting bit of history where music met Cold War politics. From the 1950s to the 1970s, famed American jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, and Dave Brubeck traveled the world as cultural ambassadors for the USA.

Up until the mid-'50s, America had been sending out our own ballerinas and symphony orchestras to try to counter the classically-oriented cultural outreach of the USSR. According to the exhibit, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., suggested to President Eisenhower that America should capitalize on the distinctly American art form of jazz, a type of music that the Soviet Union condemned as decadent.

Eventually, under Khrushchev, American jazz musicians made it to Moscow, and one photo in the exhibit is accompanied by a charming anecdote about Benny Goodman:

For his part, Goodman surprised the Soviets with an impromptu solo clarinet performance in Red Square. The New York Times noted that he became a visiting "Pied Piper" for curious children who swarmed around him in the shadow of the Kremlin. When Benny saw a squad of soldiers marching stiffly by to relieve the guard at the Lenin Mausoleum, the temptation was too much for him and he broke into a rendition of Pop Goes the Weasel. He then "caught the rhythm of the passing boots and the King of Swing kept time with the Red Army."

"Jam Session" will be at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame through July 9, 2010. Admission is free; donations are accepted. Exhibit hours are Tuesdays through Fridays, 10am to 5pm; Saturdays, 11am to 4pm;
Sundays, 2pm to 5pm (before the Summer Concert series shows). It's an interesting and heartwarming exhibit, well worth your time to see, and particularly valuable for those born after the end of the Cold War.

MORE: The official website of Jam Session: America's Jazz Ambassadors.

Man of the West looks at the Leftist track record and wonders why America's leftists "champion the same policies that have brought whole nations to their knees and criticize their opponents for their alleged insensitivity to the poor--the poor that leftist policies indisputably create in massive numbers!" He also offers the short and painful truth about taekwon-do.

Mikhail Gorbachev was just as callous a despot as his less-polished predecessors, according to once-secret Soviet documents. There's a treasure trove of documents about the USSR from the last years of the Cold War, smuggled out at great risk, but they've yet to find an English translator or publisher.

Ever read about a head of state's snub of Jesse Owens after his triumph at the 1936 Olympic Games? Owens said the snub wasn't from Hitler but FDR. (Via Kathy Shaidle.)

It's like Mystery Science Theater 3000 for the funny pages: The Comics Curmudgeon. (I had no idea how depressing Funky Winkerbean had become.)

C. Michael Patton (the theologian from Edmond, not the recycler from Tulsa) writes about the day he quit believing in God.

Brandon Dutcher offers a Father's Day anecdote from a recent Weekly Standard cover story about Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Lori Bongiorno, the Conscious Consumer, says it's wasteful to rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.

Brace Books -- a great independent bookstore in Ponca City (with a coffee bar, too) -- passes along a parent's recommendation of John Grisham's book for pre-teens: Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer.

I just visited with a customer, who is the mom of a 10-year-old son, about this book. She and her son have read it......and she said it's a good read, a page-turner like Grisham's courtroom books, and very appropriate for kids.

Barbara Hollingsworth, local opinion editor of the Washington Examiner, critiques plans for high-density, transit-oriented development in Tysons Corner, Virginia:

It will cost billions of dollars to transform Tysons Corner, but the fact is that the county simply doesn't have the money. Instead of asking the landowners to pick up the slack, county leaders are proposing a series of general countywide tax increases -- on meals, real estate sales, vehicle registration, rental cars, hotel rooms and car repairs.

This means that average Fairfax County residents and businesses, whose property taxes have doubled during the past decade, will be taxed even more to pay for redevelopment in Tysons Corner --over and above the estimated $100 million a year they will be charged for the Silver Line's operating costs. In the current economic climate, there's no guarantee taxpayers will get a return on their forced investment.

Gene Healy examines the structural damage done to federalism by the passage of the 17th Amendment:

"Let the state legislatures appoint the Senate," Virginia's George Mason urged at the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, lest a newly empowered federal government "swallow up the state legislatures." The motion carried unanimously after Mason's remarks.

So it's probably fitting that it's a George Mason University law professor, Todd Zywicki, who has done the best work on the 17th Amendment's pernicious effects.

Zywicki shows that selection by state legislatures was a key pillar of the Constitution's architecture, ensuring that the Senate would be a bulwark for decentralized government. It's "inconceivable," Zywicki writes, "that a Senator during the pre-17th Amendment era would vote for an 'unfunded federal mandate.' "

And finally, Mark Merrill offers a simple set of Rules of the House.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Global News category from June 2010.

Global News: May 2010 is the previous archive.

Global News: August 2010 is the next archive.

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