Sunday, January 29, 2023

That's The Sound Of The Police, Con't

Once again, Democrats want a "national conversation" on police brutality, violence, and murder of civilians and especially Black folk, but America is not and never will be in my lifetime ready for a serious conversation on anything involving race.

Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin said Sunday that the brutal footage of Memphis police beating Tyre Nichols demonstrated the need for “a national conversation” on law enforcement.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” the Illinois Democrat said, “We need a national conversation about policing in a responsible, constitutional and humane way. These men and women with badges put them on each day and risk their lives for us. I know that, but we also see from these videos horrible conduct by these same officers in unacceptable situations.”

Durbin told host Martha Raddatz “that law enforcement, by and large, is a state and local responsibility,” but added that Congress can insert itself into the conversation, noting a package of police reforms that Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) had been working on after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police in May 2020.

That legislation stalled. One factor was a debate over the question of whether to retain “qualified immunity” for police officers.

“I think,” Durbin said of Booker, “he and Senator Scott should sit down again quickly to see if we can revive that effort.”

Nichols died Jan. 10, three days after being beaten repeatedly after a police stop by five Memphis officers, who have since been fired and charged in his death.

As for his own reaction to the footage of the beating of Nichols, Durbin said he was aghast.

“It was horrible. Inhumane. My heart goes out to the Tyre Nichols family to think that their son went through this,” he said, adding later: “What we saw on the streets of Memphis was just inhumane and horrible.”

First-term Rep. Summer Lee (D-Pa.) said she found Nichols’ death horrifying but not surprising, saying it was not the first time the nation has seen an African American mother grieve in response to her child’s death.

“There are so many Black cities across the country that have re-lived this,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But it’s painful every single time and never gets any easier.”


The conversation on police and race is "Actual effective police reforms, oversight, and consequences of police violence against Americans they are supposed to be protecting will never happen, because it would deprive the national white supremacist party of one of its most effective tools in enforcing white supremacy."

You can dance around it all you want to, but the millions of law enforcement officers in America are there to chiefly oppress the descendants of slaves for the last 160 years. The "conversation" has been going since long before I was born, all of my life, and will be going long after I'm dead and gone as even a digital memory.

Democrats at least acknowledged the problem exists at the systemic level. They don't know what to do, and can't do much at all without Republicans blocking, destroying, and reversing it, but at least they know we're dying out here.

The other guys, well, they're actively assisting the killing.

Sunday Long Read: Fit As A Fiddle

This week's Sunday Long Read comes to us from Chicago Magazine and Elly Fishman, who answers the question "Who do you call when you have a sick Stradivarius?"

It’s a few minutes past 10 in the morning, and John Becker stands just inside the door to his company’s office in the Fine Arts Building downtown. He wears a black workman’s apron, which he fits to his body by wrapping the ties around his torso twice. With his shoulders slightly hunched, he quietly observes the almost surreal scene unfolding before him.

A few feet away, Joshua Bell and James Ehnes, two of the most prominent solo violinists on the planet, hover over an Arts and Crafts–style wood table. Normally, Bell, a former child prodigy known for his virtuosic, animated playing, and Ehnes, a musician’s musician celebrated for his technical prowess, would be the superstars in the room. Both have won multiple Grammy Awards, and between the two of them, they have performed in nearly every major concert hall and with all the best orchestras in the world. But here, in Becker’s studio inside his office, another icon takes center stage.

“I’m really nervous and excited,” says Bell, his hands stuffed in his pockets. “It’s like meeting my wife again after two months. I’m a little overwhelmed.”

“Oh yeah, I understand the feeling,” Ehnes chimes in, his tone nearly giddy. His eyes are set on an object perched on a gray cloth that covers the tabletop. “I’ve never seen this violin before. It’s incredible. It’s so beautiful.” He pauses as though to take in every contour. The spruce wood — a swirl of orange and red hues — glows under the morning light. “It’s stunning.”

The violin in question belongs to Bell. The 310-year-old instrument, which Bell has said is worth as much as $15 million, is among the roughly 650 made by the renowned 18th-century Italian craftsman Antonio Stradivari that survive today. Bell left it with Becker for repairs, and over the past two months, the master luthier applied protective polish to preserve the original varnish, removed the top to make internal repairs, and handcrafted several cleats to reinforce tiny cracks in the wood. Bell has flown in from New York to retrieve the violin, which has been his concert instrument since 2001, before he departs on a tour of South America and Italy.

Ehnes plans to leave his own Strad with Becker for more minor repairs — a bridge adjustment, a varnish touchup, a new sound post — which will take only a day. The Canadian has made this essential stop before heading to concerts in South Korea and Japan.

Becker turns to Bell and asks if he wants to give the violin a try. It may look beautiful thanks to the fresh polish, but after 213 hours of painstaking work, the true test is how it feels and sounds.

“Yes, I do,” Bell responds, eagerly picking up the instrument.

Becker doesn’t play violin, but his ears are more attuned to the famed sound of Stradivarius instruments than perhaps anyone else’s in the world. He steps back as Bell raises his bow.
It pays to remember that some of the greatest artists in the world don't play music or paint pictures or sing arias, they allow those artists to keep doing so with their own talent and dedication to the craft. To read about two world-famous violinists fanboying out over the master who keeps their multi-million dollar instruments in top condition is gratifying to say the least.

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