There are many reasons to remember Dizzy Gillespie. His look, for one thing: the horn-rimmed glasses, pouched-out frog cheeks, and that trumpet, bent up at a 45-degree angle. The ground floor inventor of bebop, he had an unforgettable sound, a mastery of harmonic invention and implied chords, firing off fusillades of rhythmic phrasing. Gillespie was smart. He was funny. He played with Charlie Parker and influenced Miles Davis. Fifty years ago, he also ran for president.
It started as a joke, as so many serious things do. His booking agency had some “Dizzy Gillespie for president” buttons made around 1960, because, you see, it’s funny. Somebody even asked Gillespie why a black jazzman — a permanent member of the underclass if there ever was one — would even think of trying for the job. “Because we need one,” he said.
MUTHANGHI, Andhra Pradesh — In late March, Raveela Gangula rallied a dozen women to stop a drunken man from savagely beating his wife in Muthangi, a village in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Although they restrained him and called the police, he was released that evening without charges.
“The police should have locked him up for at least a week and scared him from ever touching another woman like that again,” Gangula said. “The government does not support us.”
For Gangula, the tenacious leader of a local microlending organization for women, the injustice was another reason to challenge a broken system — especially at a moment when India appears ready for change.
Alex Smick suffered a back injury and started seeing a pain management doctor at 18.Within two years, he had been prescribed Vicodin, Oxycontin and, eventually, morphine. He became dependent on the addictive drugs, and decided to check himself into a Laguna Beach, Calif., hospital to detox on Feb. 22, 2012.
The next morning, he was dead. He was just 20 years old.
“Between 5 and 11 p.m., they gave him 11 medications,’’ said his mother, Tammy, a special education teacher in Downey, Calif. “From 11 pm., they stopped checking on him. When they checked at 6 a.m., he was already dead. He basically was drugged to death.”
Heart-wrenching tales of medical malpractice — from a little girl who lost part of her arms and legs after being left waiting in an emergency room for hours to a woman who had a quadruple amputation after a botched hysterectomy — are surfacing in the aggressive campaign to put The Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act on the California ballot this November.
The relevant question is not how much a CEO contributes to the company. That is not how economics works. After all, how much does the firefighter contribute who rescues three kids from a burning house? We don’t pay our hero firefighters multimillion dollar salaries. We pay firefighters on the basis of how much it costs to hire another firefighter who can also do the job.
The question is how much does the CEO contribute compared with the next person in line for the job? Given the experience of large corporations in other countries, there is every reason to believe that there are lots of next people who could do the job as well or better and for much less.
In 2010, Clarence Anderson IV told his mother, Evangeline, “OK, Mama, you did take care of everybody. Time for you to be happy.” It was her 44th birthday.
He said, “What’s gonna be is gonna be.”
“You’re right,” she joked, as if she would ever wash her hands of her baby boy, after everything she had done to keep him healthy and living a full life. Seven months later, at age 21, he was dead.
Looking back now, she thinks he knew his end was coming. But it was a death that wasn’t foretold. Clarence wasn’t dying. His illness — sickle cell disease — had meant a lot of physical pain, strokes and time spent in hospitals. But it wasn’t terminal, and it hadn’t stopped him from doing anything, including playing football for a season in high school.
The poster child for the foreclosure crisis has been a middle-income suburban family. But low-income urban renters also saw their buildings over-mortgaged at the height of the crisis, and now faceless hedge funds and nameless investors are replacing their desperate landlords — sometimes with disastrous consequences.
Six years after the foreclosure crisis helped tank the world’s economy, investors are snatching up “distressed” properties — those that are in foreclosure or facing foreclosure — and seeking to turn a profit on them. Advocates for affordable housing worry that this profit comes at the expense of tenants.
As admirably altruistic as it sounds, the problem with voluntourism is its singular focus on the volunteer’s quest for experience, as opposed to the recipient community’s actual needs.
When Clare Rourke woke up one morning March of last year with a sore toe, she didn’t worry too much about it. She, her husband and their three daughters were living in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, for a few months as part of a family year abroad. She and her husband had traveled widely — through India, the Middle East and South America — and had never been seriously ill. And they took necessary precautions, making sure everyone in the family received the recommended vaccinations.
But by the middle of that day, Rourke was sicker than she had ever been before. “I hurt in so many places — my feet, hand, wrists, ankles, elbows, knees,” she says. “I actually remember thinking that I just might die.” Her joints were so swollen, hot and painful that she couldn’t rest her elbows on the bed. Her temperature rose to 104 degrees. “I felt like something was attacking me and I was seriously losing the fight,” she says. That night, two of her daughters also became achy and feverish, and within a few days, all three had rashes on their hands, legs and arms. They were infected with chikungunya, a virus originally from Central Africa.
At 4:20 p.m. in Denver’s Civic Center Park on Sunday, Scott Eskra, Cheri Clark and thousands of others lit up vapor pens, joints, blunts and bongs.
"Light that shit up!" came a shout from the stage of Denver’s 420 Rally.
"Whoooohoo!" shouted Eskra, as a cloud of marijuana smoke encompassed the park between Colorado’s state Capitol and Denver’s City Hall.
Then hip-hop artist B.o.B. took the stage, performing his song, “High as Hell.”
April 20 events — so-called, according to one version of the origin story, because 420 was the police radio code for marijuana smoking in progress — began sometime in the 1990s in California. These days, informal gatherings occur in Canada, California and elsewhere.
My wife and I have a 7-year-old who reads the way a chain-smoker smokes. He can put on a soccer uniform while turning the pages to “Captain Awesome;” we’ve had to forbid him to bring Encyclopedia Brown to the dinner table. Most of the time, he’s as ornery as any boy his age. But give him a book about birds or leprechauns and he’s hypnotized.
Some people consider this downright odd. A woman who spotted our son sunk into a book — a paper book rather than a Kindle, no less — in a coffee shop in California’s high desert a few months ago couldn’t believe what she was seeing. “He’s like a kid in the movies!” she shouted. That may’ve been a compliment; I can’t quite tell. (Maybe she’d been watching Wes Anderson?)
Our concern is whether he will find some other kid who shares his enthusiasm. So far, he hasn’t.