October 16th, 2005


(no subject)

Los Angeles Times, October 16, 2005

Let those dopers be

A former police chief wants to end a losing war by legalizing pot, coke, meth and other drugs

By Norm Stamper
Norm Stamper is the former chief of the Seattle Police Department. He is the author of "Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing" (Nation Books, 2005).

October 16, 2005
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I can always tell a Cal Poly crowd

Last night, there were at least three other events happening on campus at the same time as the concert I attended. The Smothers Brothers were performing in the PAC, something called Flogging Molly was happening in the gymnasium, and the theater students were doing their weekly comedy improv show in the back of the music and theater building. Lots of people thronging to campus, and lots of cars leaving just before ten.

In spite of the competition, the crowd in the Spanos theater was a respectable size. As Jackie said at the end, it was mostly a "captive audience": their students "were required to come". Of course they aren't actually forced, but it's always good for the grade. And because there are large numbers of students at faculty recitals and at concerts of student groups, it had the Cal Poly flavor. Whistles, shouts, enthusiastic applause, standing ovation. I love that.

The enthusiasm was warranted, though. Jackie Kreitzer is one hell of a singer, and Susan Davies knows little competition in accompaniment - not to mention solo piano. The pieces were varied, beautiful, and well-presented. A familiar figure on the world music scene, Jackie is comfortable and poised on the stage, and she took the time to say a few words about each of the pieces, illuminating them for us and sharing with us her warm personality. Of course my favorite was the Alexander Nevsky aria. It was the aria I remember most from that piece, and was accompanied perfectly by scenes from the film. Extraordinary. I felt enveloped in its beauty and sadness, its sad beauty, which I have loved since the first day I heard it. Oh Prokofiev...what can I say...

Clinton, then Carter

Having finished Clinton's epic volumes I am embarking on a book by Jimmy Carter. It's historical fiction, called Hornet's Nest. Emphasis on "historical". The "fiction" part is a convenient means to an end: educating us about what our country was like prior to the revolutionary war. Carter writes fluidly, much more naturally than Clinton, but he's no novelist, at least not from what I've read so far. I find it easy to read so will keep on and will probably learn a thing or two in the process. But am unlikely to devine much about Carter himself through it - as one does, usually, when reading fiction.