My new CAP column is called Think Again: Health Care Promises, Predictions, and Propaganda and it’s here.
My Nation column is called "Will ABC Let Amanpour be Amanpour" and it’s here.
And I did a really short Beast post on the passage of the health care bill here.
So today is the 99th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Unions are awfully weak these days, though not nearly weak enough for conservatives like Mickey Kaus and the Wall Street Journal editors, and most of the punditocracy. Among the promises that lay fallow on the floor of the White House Oval Office and the House and Senate Democratic caucuses are most of those made to the unions–card check being the most prominent of these–it’s a good time to remember why we need unions and what kind of world we’d be living in without them.
It was beautiful weather here last weekend here in the city, and I was walked back and forth to see movies at the Rendezvous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, now over alas, and listened to Wallace Shawn read his book of essays on my iPod on the way. You can read about it here. I kind of love Shawn as a playwright and an essayist, though I fundamentally disagree with his Noam Chomskyesque view of the world. Shawn has a human side that is lacking in most radical critics of US foreign policy and he makes the case against American power–in any form–in simple human terms that are refutable, though not easily. He is the perfect reader of his own work, though and if you either agree with Chomsky, or don’t mind being lectured a bit in Chomskyite terms, this collection is a delight. I particularly loved his thoughts on friendship and on the "value" of theater.
I’m also happy to see that my friends at Concord are unveiling another new/old 24-bit remastering series of jazz classics following on the Rudy Van Gelder Remasters Series of classic Prestige recordings. What they’re calling the "Original Jazz Classics Remasters" begins with:
Dave Brubeck Quartet: Jazz at Oberlin
Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section
Sonny Rollins: Way Out West
Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane
Joe Pass: Virtuoso
They all have plenty to recommend them (with new liner notes to help you appreciate why). If you bought the complete Monk/Coltrane sessions last time around, you don’t need this one, as that was already remastered. The others are brand-new versions as far as I can tell. Sonny Rollin’s Way Out West is the most essential of the bunch; a kind of breakthrough imagining of what a jazz album could be in its time. And the live Dave Brubeck album, recorded at Oberlin is interesting because it’s pre Take Five and because it was one of the first jazz shows done on a college campus, though Oberlin was an obvious choice. Joe Pass’ album Virtuouso is certainly well named, though an entire album of solo guitar demands more concentration that I can usually muster. Aside from that, however, you’d have to be mighty strange not to enjoy any one of these, and hey, they’re awfully cheap. Read all about them here.