After a Colorado shooting massacre in July, Obama expressed a pious hope: “This is a day for prayer and reflection … May the Lord bring comfort and healing.” Nothing about gun controls.
Obama, despite his overwhelming re-election, remains a follower not a leader. He does not take on the powerful NRA lobby.
He refuses to call for a ban on assault weapons or high-capacity bullet clips used in massacres. He refuses to do anything about easy gun accessibility. He refuses to urge laws making it difficult for psychotics to possess guns.
Obama faults the nation for not doing enough “to keep our children safe from harm.” Yet he himself is egregious for failing to do anything about it. Sobs and hand-wringing are not enough.
As Robert Parry of the online Consortium News wrote, when the Founders wrote the Second Amendment they could not envision modern weaponry mowing down children in a kindergarten or shopping mall.
‘Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’
•The New York Times publishes daily obituaries of people who “don’t die” anywhere else. That is, the obits deal with people prominent in their fields unheard of by a vast majority of readers.
But the Times obits of famous people are given such fine treatment on page one that they are sometimes clipped and saved. They are full of facts, quotations and anecdotes.
Such a one was accorded Dave Brubeck, a giant of jazz who died recently. His “Time Out” was the first jazz album to sell a million copies. The centerpiece of that album was “Take Five,” an irresistible work.
My three young girls danced to the lively rhythms of a “Take Five” recording.
As the Times put it: “Brubeck brought a distinctive mix of experimentation and accessibility that won over listeners.”
Brubeck rejected racism. In the 1950s he dismissed suggestions by college deans that asked him not to perform with a racially mixed band (his bassist, Gene Wright, was black). He refused to tour South Africa in 1958 because it demanded that his band be all white.
During a tour in the Mideast and India for the State Department, his quintet didn’t stick to 4/4 time, what Brubeck called march-style jazz. He turned to the enormously popular 5/4 time.
“One of the reasons I believe in jazz is that the oneness of man can come through your heart,” Brubeck said. “It’s the same anyplace in the world, that heartbeat.”
Obscene Chinese wealth
•The family of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has amassed a $2.7 billion fortune. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said the report “blackens China’s name.” Indeed it does. The very essence of communism, once espoused by China, barred such obscenity.
Labor hero dies
•Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated called the baseball Hall of Fame “a gated community maintained for the oligarchy” in its refusal to enroll Marvin Miller.
Miller, who died recently, gave the players free agency — an incredible liberation, breaking the chains and giving players more of what they are worth.
Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.