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Wayne Shorter, RIP

March 11, 2023


As a music lover, indie record label co-owner, University of North Texas graduate, and husband of a jazz singer (Laura Ainsworth) whose dad was a major big band saxophonist, it gives me great sorrow to have to report that Wayne Shorter died Thursday in a Los Angeles hospital at 89.

https://news.yahoo.com/saxophonist-weather-report-co-founder-194054530.html

Shorter was an extremely influential saxophonist, composer and arranger who was a founding member of the pioneering jazz fusion group Weather Report. He played with everyone from Miles Davis and Art Blakey to Steely Dan (he played the sax solo on “Aja”), Carlos Santana and Joni Mitchell. Over a career that spanned seven decades, he was nominated for Grammy Awards 23 times and won a dozen, most recently in 2019 for Best Jazz Album for his final release, “Emanon.” He retired from performing in 2018 due to health problems, but continued composing.

If you’d like to explore his music, USA Today compiled some videos of some of his most popular tracks, including the jazz standard, “Birdland.”

https://ftw.usatoday.com/lists/wayne-shorter-best-songs-died-jazz

For those wanting to do a real deep dive, Ranker.com has a list of his albums ranked by fans (but don’t necessarily go by that.)

https://www.ranker.com/list/best-wayne-shorter-albums-list/reference

Finally, Robert Spencer at PJ Media penned an appreciation of Wayne Shorter and how his passing represents the passing of a great era of American music, art, literature and culture, the likes of which are almost nonexistent today.

https://pjmedia.com/culture/robert-spencer/2023/03/02/wayne-shorter-is-dead-and-so-is-a-great-era-of-american-culture-n1675174

Just three years short of the nation’s 250th anniversary, the moment may have arrived when Americans no longer deserve our freedom. The latest points in evidence:

  • The abduction by Mexican drug cartels of four Americans in Matamoros, hard by the border town of Brownsville Texas. In case you have been asleep these last two years, Mexico and the entire border region is now under the exclusive governance of the drug cartels, not the Department of Homeland Security and certainly not its hapless Bidencrat-in-chief, Alejandro Mayorkas.
  • While the security of our homeland is still quivering from border to border (now including the flyover states recently visited by that Chinese spy balloon) American military pre-eminence is openly challenged by our traditional adversaries in Russia and China as well as such upstarts as Iran and North Korea.

As if all that were not enough, it appears that our volunteer military has fallen on hard times since both the Army and Air Force are falling well short of their recruitment goals. Even their sister services have been scrambling to deal with a tough labor market and an increasingly indifferent youth cadre.

Because in 2022 the Army fell farthest behind – 15,000 short of the 60,000 replacement troops it needed - Army Secretary Christine Wormuth recently visited Chicago-area recruiters to get a handle on the problem. Her visit was especially sensible because Chicago residents typically deal with casualty rates and daily mayhem worse than most battlefields. However, beleaguered Army recruiters were blunt in their assessment of civilian educational leaders, “many (of them) skeptical that the Army offers a good career option for their students. “I’m going to use the word hostile,” one recruiter told her. “There’s no other word to use.”

 

Worse yet, “Army leaders say their surveys show that young people don’t see the Army as a prime career choice, often because they don’t want to die or get injured, deal with the stress of military life or put their lives on hold.” But perhaps the greatest obstacle Secretary Wormuth encountered was “resistance from teachers’ unions and school board members who don’t see the value in offering students the military as a career option. In some cases, school officials view the military through a post-Vietnam era lens.” https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2023/03/05/army-secretary-wants-to-persuade-schools-to-welcome-recruiters/

 

As a Vietnam-era draftee, I believe todays Army is still dealing with the latent effects of both Vietnam and the Great Divorce that followed immediately thereafter. While the volunteer Army re-established professionalism during the generation that followed, most Americans became accustomed to thinking of the Army – and the Armed Forces in general - as someone else’s problem. Even the shock of 911 didn’t bring national mobilization since we effectively transferred its burdens onto the Reserves and those hyper-deployed volunteers. Today we are defended by a brave but tiny force representing less than half of one -percent of our population. Small wonder that civilian educators in Chicago and elites elsewhere else recognize a segregated, sacrificial community when they see one!

 

            While we have happily lived with those anomalies for decades, such a force becomes problematic when you need an Army to defend our own borders. The combination of cartel violence and the curse of fentanyl –already said to have killed more than one hundred thousand Americans – led Senators Lindsay Graham and John Kennedy to call for a declaration of war against the cartels: “We are going to unleash the fury and might of the United States against these cartels…We’re going to destroy their business model and their lifestyle because our national security and the security of the United States as a whole depends on us taking decisive action.” https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/mar/8/cartel-violence-ignites-calls-us-military-interven/

 

But barely were the words out of his mouth than White House spokes-person Karine Jean-Pierre responded, "Designating these cartels as…foreign terrorist organizations would not grant us any additional authorities that we don't really have at this time. The United States has powerful sanctions authorities specifically designated to combat narcotics trafficking organizations...” Thanks again, Baghdad Bob!

https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/white-house-opposes-designating-drug-cartels-terrorist-organizations

 

This Oscar weekend do yourself a favor and look up an old movie that portrays our new realities better than any DC bureaucrat: Sicario: Day of the Soldado. This 2018 thriller captures the ambiguities, tragedies and pathos of what an all-out war against the Mexican cartels would look like. Along the way, we might also find that the greatest tragedy of life imitating art is the creeping realization that both should have been better planned!  

Remember when liberals used to complain about so-called “food deserts,” and how poor people in urban areas didn’t have access to affordable, healthy food? They blamed that on Republicans, racism, capitalism, you know, the usual straw men the left likes to flail.

Earlier, I wrote a message specifically to anyone who had raised their approval rating of President Biden based on his vow to make “the wealthy and corporations” pay their “fair share” of taxes. That message was that the IRS was actually cracking down on underpaid service workers to make sure they reported every last penny of their tip money so that Uncle Joe could seize his “fair share.”

Well, if that wasn’t enough to convince you that the IRS is not the friend of the working person, try this: Following Biden’s unconstitutional order to inject “equity,” or race-based practices, into the federal government, the America First Legal Foundation has launched an investigation into the IRS because they suspect the agency has illegally altered its audit algorithm to include race and ethnicity data, “for the purpose of ensuring that more white, Asian, and mixed-race Americans are audited based solely on their race or national origin.”

https://www.westernjournal.com/legal-foundation-says-irs-algorithms-altered-target-whites-asians-audits/

For the record, they point out that “Congress has prohibited the IRS from collecting race and ethnicity data from American taxpayers. But since President Biden took office, the Treasury Department has been using ‘racial equity’ as a ‘key factor in the design of tax compliance,’ and illegally ‘examining the tax system through a racial equity lens.'”

Who guessed that when Biden vowed to go after wealthy tax cheats and make them pay, he was talking about waiters in Chinese restaurants?

Today's Must Read

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Law professor Jonathan Turley reports on the efforts of various groups posing as “disinformation watch dogs,” partially funded by your tax dollars and mine, to smear conservative news and commentary sources to block their advertising and put them out of business.

Chuck melts down

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Add Chuck Schumer to the list of Democrats who are having a Chernobyl-level meltdown over the public being allowed to see all of the January 6th Capitol surveillance footage that Nancy Pelosi’s Kangaroo Kommittee selectively edited to make their case.

Happy Presidents’ Day

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Roald Dahl is censored

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Our pop culture guru Pat Reeder is always warning people that if there is a book, movie, record, etc. you love, you need a hard copy of it instead of relying on streaming because “if you can’t hold it in your hand, you don’t own it.”