Sunday, December 16, 2012
This clip is from a previous mass killing, or the one before that (there are so many; too many) but Moyers' comments still apply.
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Yes, that's the Second Amendment. The right to form militias for the common defense is the key here. This has been argued till people are blue in the face, but it really wasn't until the Gun Control Act of 1968, and the Hatch Commission, that it became popularized as the individual, personal right to carry a gun around. What became known as the "individual rights" argument was promoted and pushed by the conservative movement and spearheaded by the NRA, and this decade its clear a conservative judiciary takes these arguments seriously. Regardless of interpretation, all would agree that when the words were written two centuries ago there weren't any automatic assault rifles. Needless to say, these rights are not immutable--they are the word of God, after all, but man--and are intended to serve us but can be looked at over historical time if need be.
Here is a valuable footnote. In 2008, an amicus was submitted to the US Supreme Court and signed by 15 eminent professors of early American history, and it concluded:
"Historians are often asked what the Founders would think about various aspects of contemporary life. Such questions can be tricky to answer. But as historians of the Revolutionary era we are confident at least of this: that the authors of the Second Amendment would be flabbergasted to learn that in endorsing the republican principle of a well-regulated militia, they were also precluding restrictions on such potentially dangerous property as firearms, which governments had always regulated when there was 'real danger of public injury from individuals.'”
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Dave Brubeck (December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012) was a piano player best known for "Take Five," a composition written by his longtime collaborator and sax player Paul Desmond. Brubeck was famous for his cool West Coast sound but could also play crazy, and he loved experimenting with unusual time signatures ("Blue Rondo à la Turk," for example, is played in 9/8). He will be missed by jazz fans everywhere.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Bruce Springsteen rocks Christmas. Over the years, he's performed some amazing Christmas songs with a lot of heart and soul, and the E Street Band helps him kick up some powerful Christmas spirit. Christmas goes beyond religion, of course, but Bruce attended the St. Rose of Lima Catholic school in Freehold where the nuns instilled some old school religion. His old man was Dutch and Irish, but he was raised--in his words--"as a good Italian boy from Jersey" by his dear mom, Adele Ann Zerilli, and her Italian-American sisters. His grandpa was born in Vico Equense, a city near Naples, where good children are visited by La Befana instead of Santa. At any rate, Bruce holds the holiday dear and brings the same exuberance and excitement to his holiday carols as he would to any of his own life-changing, soul-shaking rock and roll songs.
The first time I saw Springsteen perform live, back in 1978 on the "Darkness" tour, he played a wrenching set and then, toward the end, he performed "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" with sax player Clarence Clemons dressed in a Santa suit. The place went crazy. In spite of the somberness of the tour, and that darkness at edge of town, there was Christmas magic in the air.
Now you may not have the Christmas spirit, or you might not celebrate it, but I offer no apologies for these kick-ass performances. Sorry, Scrooge.