Jazz, Baseball, Politics and the Beltway Blues: Our American Dialogue, Part II
1. Let the television networks broadcast all the congressional debates or other get-to-know-you pieces they want, with a few very strictly enforced rules. a) The debates, etc. are broadcast unedited, without interruption, and later made indefinitely available gratis from any participating media outlets. b) Each participant chooses one moderator apiece; the network selects a professional referee from a local sports franchise who enforces one rule: no candidate can be interrupted by another candidate, or by a moderator. Penalties for rule violation to be determined by referee. c) As a result of b), no arbitrary topic restrictions or time limitations will occur or be allowed. 2. No commercial or registered non-profit news organization, network, newspaper, magazine or other media outlet may endorse a political candidate or party. Violating entities to be given a fine of $10 million for the first transgression (which is then raffled, one ticket per taxpayer ID number), a 2-year suspension of all applicable licenses for a second, indefinite termination of all licenses for a third. 3. Any entity in 1. which sells or freely gives away any kind of advertising space or airtime to one party, must necessarily grant it in equal kind to the other(s) unless removed from contention by their respective parties.
Additionally, I would encourage Major League Baseball to grant free admission to all MLB and minor-league games for anyone who can provide a picture ID indicating membership in the U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives, or the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as the President, his cabinet and White House staff.
Finally, I would encourage any jazz musicians with recordings still in print to donate as many promo CD copies or mp3 downloads as possible to a newly forming organization called the United States Leadership Encouragement Fund, whose job will be to get them into the hands of all those grim-faced people occupying the stone buildings inside the Beltway. Columbia Records could get things rolling with copies of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue (the top-selling jazz recording of all time) and so could RCA, with donated copies of Glenn Miller's Greatest Hits (his "Chattanooga Choo Choo" was awarded the first-ever gold record in 1942) to everybody on Capitol Hill.
Let the party begin!
And may the best party win.
Page 1, Rob Carr/Getty Images
Page 2, Lorraine Feather
Page 3, Ronald Martinez / Getty Images North America
Page 6, Courtesy espn.go.com
Page 7, TBS screenshot courtesy of baltimoresun.com