More of the same from last week - come with me now.
I posted briefly yesterday on the passing of Chick Corea. He was a bit of a prodigy; according to some bios, he learned how to play by age 4, and at age 6 was sitting in with his father on some gigs. (His father was a trumpet player). In the 1960s, he was part of the Miles Davis group that recorded the genre-inventing "Bitches Brew", and then went on to lead one of the most important fusion groups of the 70s with Return to Forever.
I have been trying to lead Javi towards jazz as he enters his 20s. (That's just about when I discovered it myself.) As I told Javi recently - Miles Davis invented Cool Jazz, Hard Bop, Modal Jazz, and Jazz Fusion. In order, my favorite genres are Jazz Fusion, Modal Jazz, Cool Jazz, and Hard Bop. That's no accident. Then my five favorite fusion bands are Return to Forever (Chick Corea), Weather Report (Joe Zawinul), Headhunters (Herbie Hancock), Mahavishnu Orchestra (John McLaughlin) and Lifetime (Tony Williams). Each of those led by a Miles Davis sideman, and three of those guys were also on Bitches Brew.
And finally - Chick was a local. Born in Chelsea, MA in 1941 - and according to Grandpa, was somehow a distant cousin of ours. (He never elaborated on the connection). Chick was also a bigtime Scientologist, but he never pushed that and wasn't a "weirdo" like John Travolta or Tom Cruise.
So, I spent much of yesterday listening to Chick Corea on my bus. Due to my schedule, I haven't been able to see any of the proceedings in the Senate this past week, and it's probably a good thing. I did see some footage on Thursday - and what I saw was unfortunately NOT
shocking. It was footage from the "dress rehearsal" in Michigan. Trump supporters were at the state house chanting "Seig Heil" and "Heil Hitler".
Really, isn't that all we need to know?
But - the GOP is essentially a rubber-stamp congress
in that regard.
A rubber stamp, as a political metaphor, refers to a person or institution with considerable de jure power but little de facto power -one that rarely or never disagrees with more powerful organs.
In situations where this superior official's signature may frequently be required for routine paperwork, a literal rubber stamp is used, with a likeness of their hand-written signature. In essence, the term is meant to convey an endorsement without careful thought or personal investment in the outcome, especially since it is usually expected as the stamper's duty to do so. In the situation where a dictator's legislature is a "rubber stamp", the orders they are meant to endorse are formalities they are expected to legitimize, and are usually done to create the superficial appearance of legislative and dictatorial harmony rather than because they have actual power.
Historian Edward S. Ellis called this type of legislature a toy parliament, with specific reference to Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II's General Assembly of the Ottoman Empire, created in 1876 with the sole purpose of appeasing the European powers. One of the most famous examples of a rubber stamp institution is the Reichstag of Nazi Germany, which unanimously confirmed all decisions already made by Adolf Hitler and the highest-ranking members of the Nazi Party. Many legislatures of authoritarian and totalitarian countries are considered as rubber stamps, such as communist parliaments like the Chinese National People's Congress, or the Italian Chamber of Fasces and Corporations during the Fascist regime.
It is wikipedia, and since that can be edited by anyone - I'm tempted to add a US Flag and the name of the 116th Congress to the list.
It will remain the purview of the Democrats to hold their complicit colleagues to account for their failure to act, now and forevermore.
I've got a lone comment on the poor souls on Texas I-35 the other day. I checked a map; Fort Worth is at about the same latitude as Savannah, GA for reference. Imagine a surprise ice storm on a stretch of I-95 for comparison. I can't say we'd have done any better with those conditions on the northern tier - but those poor guys in Texas that have no experience with that sort of thing never really had a chance, did they? And did you see the footage of the FedEx truck impacting the wreckage? That guy was hauling ass
. Surely some kind of criminal complaints must result?
Anyway - that's some more ramblings for a Saturday. We're getting more snow around here this weekend, and as I keep telling people, "Bring it on. More snow now means no drought in August." It is Valentine's Day tomorrow. A made-up holiday to sell greeting cards for sure, but it's actually the first one Mrs. TriSec and I are not working, and no Javi about, in a number of years.