Iran can go on enriching, but music teachers must be stopped

December 7, 2013

music teacher violin

And you guys worry about Iran getting nuclear weapons? Fools! Thank God the FTC is there to protect us from the danger of unregulated violin instructors!

The Federal Trade Commission was created in 1914 in the age of oil barons and rail tycoons to bust the big trusts. Today, it’s busting a smaller enterprise – the Music Teachers National Association.

Last March, the FTC sent notice to the MTNA that it was under investigation for “anti-competitive practices.” At issue: a passage in the trade association’s ethics code that says teachers should not actively recruit from other teachers.

“We feel that that provision not only protects the students but ensures that teachers are going to get along well with their colleagues, ” says Gary Ingle, the MTNA’s executive director. 

Ingle says it’s a method of avoiding the rare conflict, where, for example, an accomplished student pianist may be approached after a competition by a rival instructor who promises to help the student win the next competition.

The FTC sees it as a threat to America’s consumers. 

There’s nothing in the rules that prevents a student from seeking out another teacher on their own, of course, and the FTC hasn’t shown how anyone has been harmed by a rule that prevents teachers from poaching each other’s students, but, apparently some bored bureaucrat decided that SOMETHING MUST BE DONE about this clear and present danger.

The MTNA has removed the rule while it figures out how to respond to the FTC’s investigation. So far, it’s amounted to a waste of member’s dues:

MTNA’s Ingle says that’s already happening. His 12-member staff in Cincinnati, Ohio has had to compile 17 years worth of records, including its by-laws, ethics code, journals, finances and membership to satisfy the FTC’s demands.

Sounds like what the IRS did to conservative groups, no? Beat them into submission by hitting them with burdensome documentation demands — and legal fees, should the group decide it needs representation.

Obama’s America: Where nothing is beneath the Federal government’s notice, except Iranian nukes.

via reader Lance

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Tales of the #Thugocracy: Oh, so that’s why they raided Gibson Guitar

May 26, 2013
"Nice business you got here..."

“Nice business you got here…”

You might recall a bizarre federal raid on legendary guitar manufacturer Gibson Guitar back in 2011: they were accused of importing illegally harvested wood from India and Madagascar under a century-old law. The feds showed up with automatic weapons, seized “evidence,” and generally disrupted operations to Gibson’s great cost. After all that, no criminal charges were filed, but Gibson had to agree to pay a $300,000 fine and toss $50,000 to an environmental group as penance for being “careless.”

Weird, right? Why all this attention to Gibson, when rival Martin & Co. used the very same “illegal” wood, yet wasn’t raided?

And, just like that, a light goes on:

Grossly underreported at the time was the fact that Gibson’s chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, contributed to Republican politicians. Recent donations have included $2,000 to Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and $1,500 to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

By contrast, Chris Martin IV, the Martin & Co. CEO, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the Democratic National Committee over the past couple of election cycles.

What would have seemed like a crazy conspiracy theory straight out of the fever swamps just a year ago now looks all too plausible, after the IRS scandal and the news that the Obama people had been targeting conservatives since 2008.

The message here to Mr. Juszkiewicz and people like him is crystal clear: “Thinking about making a political donation? Maybe you should think again.

“First Amendment?” What’s that?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Rule 5 Friday: Wonderful World edition

March 15, 2013

It’s a slow Friday, news-wise, which is sometimes a signal that it’s time to sit back and contemplate the good and beautiful in this world, those that make life worth living.

Such as Kate Upton in a black bikini:

Rule 5 Kate Upton black bikini.jpg

As the great Louis Armstrong said, “What a wonderful world!”

Happy Friday, folks! :D

Related: Rule 5 explained.


February 28, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

Gives a whole new (and loony) meaning to “The Day the Music Died.”

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Gosh, is there anything it can’t do?

People send me stuff. I would not have believed this unless I saw it from Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, where I constantly wonder what sort of reality those people inhabit. See the yellow highlight.

View original 72 more words


Of Lenin and Muhammad, or, “Why totalitarians hate Jazz”

February 15, 2013

It turns out Robert Spencer (1), noted critic of Islam and the danger to human liberty posed by the spread of Sharia law, is also, like me, an avid jazz fan. In addition to his own blog and a column at PJ Media, he’s started a new column in PJM’s “Lifestyle” section on the intersection of jazz and Islam. His opening piece examines why totalitarians, whether atheists such as Vladimir Lenin, or religious believers, such as Muhammad, hate music, particularly that most American music, jazz.

I think he nails it in this passage:

It isn’t hard to see why the creators of martial polities and new, aggressively expansionistic political and societal systems such as Lenin and Muhammad would disdain music. For music is an expression of the human spirit – the very thing that these totalitarians were trying to master. And no music so fully expresses the anti-totalitarian impulse, and the dignity and value of every human person, than does jazz.

For jazz is not jazz if it doesn’t contain a considerable element of improvisation, and improvisation is an expression of the individual soul par excellence. A musician who is improvising has nothing to fall back on except his own inner reservoir, and that is why jazz at its best is so immediate, so personal, and so affecting. Miles Davis and John Coltrane improvising on the same piece couldn’t sound more different from one another, not just because one plays trumpet and the other tenor sax, but because they are so very different from one another as human beings, and in their improvisations, one can hear into their very hearts and souls. One may learn their solos note-for-note (as I did back in the pre-9/11 days when I played a bit of saxophone myself), but this is just a musical exercise; the music itself can be copied but never replicated, for their individual expression is inherent and essential to it.

Totalitarian collectivists hate that individual expression. They are only interested in the individual not for the expression of his own soul, but as a cog to fit into his great machine that is marching toward the worker’s paradise, or the Sharia state, or whatever the outcome of their reign of terror is called today. As such, jazz music, a unique product of the nation that has enabled a flowering of the individual spirit unparalleled in human history, is a rebuke to collectivism, and a defiant and joyful reassertion of the one thing that totalitarians fear most: the individual.

Emphases added. And it probably explains why Muhammad hated music’s literary equivalent, poetry. (2) Like jazz musicians, the best poets are individualists, and totalitarian control freaks just hate that.

I look forward to further installments.

Footnote:
(1) Robert’s a prolific author, and I highly recommend his books on Islam. I reviewed his (so far) most recent work, “Did Muhammad Exist”, a few months ago.
(2) Hated to the point that the founder of the Religion of Peace and Tolerance had several poets assassinated for daring to criticize him. If he couldn’t control them, he had to eliminate them.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


When famous dead economists rap, round two

April 28, 2011

Keynes and Hayek are back, this time rappin’ before a congressional committee about top-down vs. free-market economics. As you might expect, it becomes a knockdown, drag-out brawl.

And yeah, the fight was rigged:

I want a rematch!

LINKS: Here’s part one.

via Dan Mitchell

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Dissed at our own state dinner

January 23, 2011

Wow.

Chinese Pianist Plays Propaganda Tune at White House
US humiliated in eyes of Chinese by song used to inspire anti-Americanism

Lang Lang the pianist says he chose it. Chairman Hu Jintao recognized it as soon as he heard it. Patriotic Chinese Internet users were delighted as soon as they saw the videos online. Early morning TV viewers in China knew it would be played an hour or two beforehand. At the White House State dinner on Jan. 19, about six minutes into his set, Lang Lang began tapping out a famous anti-American propaganda melody from the Korean War: the theme song to the movie “Battle on Shangganling Mountain.”

The film depicts a group of “People’s Volunteer Army” soldiers who are first hemmed in at Shanganling (or Triangle Hill) and then, when reinforcements arrive, take up their rifles and counterattack the U.S. military “jackals.”

The movie and the tune are widely known among Chinese, and the song has been a leading piece of anti-American propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for decades. CCP propaganda has always referred to the Korean War as the “movement to resist America and help [North] Korea.” The message of the propaganda is that the United States is an enemy—in fighting in the Korean War the United States’ real goal was said to be to invade and conquer China. The victory at Triangle Hill was promoted as a victory over imperialists.

According to the article, the pianist claims to have chosen the piece himself. Regardless of whether he did or was told to play it by Beijing, the Chinese government certainly knew its significance. And so did the millions in China who saw the performance via Phoenix TV, which, like many media outlets in Hong Kong, has strong Chinese Communist Party connections and knew in advance what would be played.

To twist the knife on this humiliating insult, the White House knew this song would be played, but apparently no one in charge bothered to check into its significance — or they knew it, but didn’t want to risk offending their loan sharks guests by prohibiting it.

How embarrassing. Obamateur Hour strikes again.

via Blue Crab Boulevard

LINKS: Moe Lane would be chewing out the Chinese ambassador right now. Big Peace has the relevant clip from the propaganda movie the song is featured in.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Battle Hymn of Sarah

January 19, 2011

Cute. After the week she’s been through, I imagine this would put a smile on Sarah Palin’s face:

The old guy’s got a pretty good voice, too!

Via Hillbuzz

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Free speech is fine, unless it might offend

January 16, 2011

Now a music-industry censor is telling radio stations to retroactively edit songs to avoid offending anyone, eh?

Canadian radio station have been warned to censor the 1985 Dire Straits hit “Money for Nothing,” after a complaint that the lyrics of the Grammy Award-winning song were derogatory to gay men.

A St. John’s, Newfoundland, station should have edited the song to remove the word “faggot” because it violates Canada’s human rights standards, according to ruling this week by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

A unnamed listener to OZ FM in the Atlantic Coast province complained to the industry watchdog last year after hearing the song, which features Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler and fellow rock star Sting.

The council said it realized Dire Straits uses the word sarcastically, and its use might have been acceptable in 1985 when the best-selling “Brothers in Arms” album was released, but said it was now inappropriate.

“The decision doesn’t really relate to the Dire Straits song at the end of the day, the decision relates to the word in question,” Ron Cohen, the council’s chairman, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Actually, Mr. Cohen, it relates to the unalienable right to free speech and treating people like adults who can handle hearing a mildly naughty word without having their self-esteem crushed, particularly when meant satirically. (And even if it were meant as a genuine insult.) Tell me, where does it stop? Re-editing TV reruns? Forbidding the performance of Mozart’s Idomeneo? Censoring poetry readings on the air? If it may give offense, shall we then ban The View? (Okay, you might have an argument with that one.)

Really, this kind of paternalism has no place in a liberal democracy, whether done by the government or a non-governmental agency, and Canadians should give the nannies at the CBSC an uncensored piece of their mind.

RELATED: Other posts on Canada and free speech.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Yo! Rappin’ about O.T.P. (One-Term President)!

March 4, 2010

The pop-culture push-back grows, as the Wolverines preach the Word to The O:

Somehow, I don’t think we’ll be seeing this on MTV….


When famous dead economists rap

January 27, 2010

Who says economists aren’t cool? Watch John Maynard Keynes and F.A. Hayek rap about managed vs. free-market economies:

All they needed was Milton Friedman to fill the posse.

Yo!  Cool

(via R.S. McCain and A Conservative Lesbian)


(Video) Where have you gone, Mr. Jefferson?

March 31, 2009

Brilliant. Applause

(hat tip: The Jawa Report)

 


Musical interlude

February 5, 2009

The great Andy McKee does a cover of Don Ross’ Tight Trite Night:

This guy is incredible. Applause

(hat tip: LGF)

 

Technorati tags: , ,

Now I know newspapers are in trouble

December 31, 2008

The Village Voice has laid off Nat Hentoff. A fantastic writer about jazz* and politics, he’s one of the few Lefty columnists I’ve respected, even when I’ve hotly disagreed with him. Sad

*(In an age of MP3s, when listeners care only about the sound, but not the artist or the context, Hentoff’s liner notes should be required reading. They’re a musical education all by themselves.)

 


Merry Christmas, one and all

December 25, 2008

No blogging today. Get away from your computers and enjoy the day, instead.

And, just because I love this music, presenting the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, performed by the Ambrosian Singers:

 

I’m not religious, but I’ve often felt that the experience of the concert hall is the closest we come to being in a secular cathedral.

Merry Christmas! Happy

 


Are you ready for some … McCain-Palin tradition?

October 15, 2008

Well, it’s not quite the intro to Monday Night Football, but Hank Williams Jr. can sing about politics, too:

 

(via Fausta)

 


Berlin. 1965. The Cold War raged.

September 21, 2007

And great Jazz was played:

Bill Evans was a phenomenon on piano, most known (I think) for his collaboration with Miles Davis. With him in this clip is Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, one of the top double-bass players, ever, and I think that’s Alan Dawson on drums.

(hat tip: Atlas Shrugs)


Tell me, O Goracle…

July 10, 2007

While you and your rock-star buddies were fighting against global warming at your Live Earth concerts (albeit after flying to them in greenhouse-gas spewing private jets, and serving drinks in non-biodegradable plastic cups….), why was it snowing in Buenos Aires for the first time in 99 years?

(hat tip: Blue Crab Boulevard)

 


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