Monday, July 9, 2018

Supreme Injustice

My father, Leonard “Red” Balaban, was an “interesting” character. When he died five years ago, we mourned the loss of a father and husband and a jazzman who loved to fish and follow baseball stats. But what is on our minds today is that we also lost an important voice in the progressive movement. 

Red Balaban wrote brilliantly about politics, government and history. He wrote with a wit, historical perspective and clarity that helped us see more clearly and left us wanting more. 

Today, we always ask what dad would be saying about this or that. We say he’s got to be rolling in his grave. 

And today, he walked out of his resting place and right into my psyche. What would dad say about who Donald J. Trump is, what he’s doing to our country and how we can Make America Kind, Respected, Admired and Sane Again.

If you never had the chance to read any of his writing, you can find them in the blog archivel.

What would Red say?

In the history of this experiment in democracy, America has never been perfect.  But we have always aimed toward perfection.  The ideals of this nation have always been; freedom, equality(for most) and the chance to make a buck.  

But her emails? What about his hypocrisy?

An election that Hillary had in the bag, certainly affected by and possibly determined by Macedonian troll farms carrying out Putins orders.  He never expected to win.  He wasn’t ready to win and hell, he didn’t even want to win.  But he won.  And we lost. And we are living in the steamy pile he dumped on us.

Behind the reality show presidency is the money of the Koch Brothers, the complicity of the spineless GOP congress and obstruction started by Mitch McConnell the day Barack Obama was sworn in.  McConnells concern for party over country spanned the 8 years of the Obama administration and peaked with his stealing the supreme court seat ultimately filled by Trump with Gorsuch.

He has no shame. Today we witnessed one of the boldest displays of hypocrisy ever witnessed when McConnel stood in the senate chamber with a straight face and just took to the Senate floor to decry Democrats' "unfair tactics" in seeking to block a SCOTUS nominee.

All of this is historic. Expect a battle for the ages. We can call on our elected leaders to hold firm and hope for the best that a single Republican senator with a soul and a conscious is courageous enough to save our nation from itself. Either that or pray to be saved by Robert Mueller exposing the 45th president of the United States for what he is.....and then make sure the Dems take back the house and the senate.  

Monday, June 1, 2015

Balaban & Cat!

These two items showed up recently.  First, many of us got an email from one of Red's best friends...Daniel D'Imperio.  This is a fascinating podcast, a deep dive into the inner world of Eddie Condon's.  Listen and enjoy.

The other item was forwarded by my cousin, David Balaban.  David produced this half hour cable news show documenting the genesis and inside scoop on the club back in 1980.  It's really great to hear Red and his compadres discuss the club, Eddie Condon and the world of jazz in NYC from that time.  Watching this, I can feel the energy and excitement of the club...I hope you will take the time to listen and watch these.

By the way, there will be an evening of jazz at the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, CT on July 28th.  I hope you can make it there.

Description: n_red   neighborhood  music school 100 audubon street new haven, CT 06510

Please join us to celebrate a legend!  Neighborhood Music School presents "A Night at Eddie Condon's" featuring the Red Balaban Tribute Orchestra on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 at 7:30 pm.. This very special evening of jazz will honorthe late jazz legend, Leonard "Red" Balaban, bassist, tuba player, house band leader at Eddie Condon's and friend of NMS. Featured musicians include Paul Bempke and others who performed with Red throughout his career. The concert will also celebrate the 86th birthday of Red’s wife, Micki Balaban.

The concert will take place at Neighborhood Music School, 100 Audubon Street, New Haven in the Recital Hall and Park of the Arts behind the school.  Picnic dinners with delectable sandwiches and confections will be provided by Chestnut Fine Foods, and cash wine and beer bar is also available. 

Tickets prices are $30 each, including reserved table seats and picnic suppers.  For information, contact Sue Davison or Julius Stone at Neighborhood Music School, 203-624-5189. Tickets go on sale June 1 to the general public; family and friends of the Balaban family should call asap to reserve their seats.  More details to follow soon online at

Good times.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Who Dat Sound-Podcast #32 featuring Eddie Condon's and the Commodore-Red Balaban

From Red's best friend, especially in his later years:

I have my own Podcast radio show called "Hip To It". I just put up my 32nd show and I did a tribute to Condon's and featured a remembrance of the club during my tenure there. You'll all dig it. I relayed some of my times spent with "The Commodore".
When you click on the site (below) click "Enter Here" will then see the most recent shows below my visage from the CD "Hip To It". At the top of the list is Eddie Condon's "Diversity of the 3rd Incarnation". 
Click on that and enjoy the show. I know "The Commodore" would approve.
Danny D'Imperio

Sunday, December 29, 2013

End of an Era-Final Post to Fare and Fowl Blog

I wanted to be in touch with all of Red Balaban's friends and contacts to let you
know there will be no more Fare and Fowl entries to follow. Dad passed away
at 9am est this morning.  His last days were peaceful.
He'd been in the hospital for a week and we  knew he was fading, but we also
expected at any moment for him to come out of it and start demanding to be
let out of the hospital immediately.

We are making arrangements.  We will be having a funeral in the on Sunday January 5th in West Haven or New Haven, followed up with a, yet to be determined, memorial celebration.  We
would like to know who among you would be interested in an invitation to

Both events will be held in or near West Haven, Ct.

Please respond to this (Red's email that I will be monitoring) or my email at or call Micki(my mom, Red's wife) at 203-934-5186.

Thank you for reading and following this blog.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Friends and Frenemies

Some of you may may be wondering about the absence of my letters. The fact is I've been quite ill the past month. With what? I could answer "take your pick" or "congestive heart and kidney problems." My GP would be more apt to answer in more moralistic terms. From my point of view I'd be tickled to be able to vote in the 2016 elections.

Leonard "Red" Balaban

(note-Leonard is home from the hospital and recovering.  He finally got back on the computer and put this together for his friends and readers.  Please feel free to send him an email to see how he's doing. )

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Not Again

Yes, I’m afraid it’s more about the Affordable Care Act. After all that’s the big news these days, unless you’re fixated on George Zimmerman’s latest escapades, so here’s the latest on what I, and some of the public may have  learned since my last version.

Barack Obama was not lying when he said that people could keep their insurers and doctors if the ACA became law.Whatever policies were in place when the law was passed, even if they had sky high deductibles and extra limits to the people and conditions covered, were grandfathered from having to meet the higher standards set by the ACA. Of course premiums can change, insurers can terminate policies or simply go out of business and doctors can retire or die. But that’s always been par for the course.

The only policies subject to cancellation were written during the three years after the law was passed and before it took effect that didn’t meet or weren’t modified to meet minimum ACA standards. Obama has just extended the deadline for compliance an additional year. Surely insurers worth their salt knew that these contracts had a limited life and had an obligation to inform their prospective clients all of whom may not have read the “small print” in the law, although given the direct stake of consumers in this legislation the small print is deceptively bold.

While some of the holders of these inferior policies have been duped by unscrupulous insurers I strongly suspect many of the “victims” are plants, the more pathetic the anecdotes the better. Some of them are ringers. I saw two of these poster boys in business suits on Fox, where else, pleading personal hardship who were later identified on MSNBC, where else, as corporate executives.

Republican spin masters have been referring to this scenario as “Obama’s Katrina,” a bit of a stretch to equate a malfunctioning website and deadly storm in the Gulf of Mexico. Then too this president’s has yet to say to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius, “Katy, you’re doing one heckuva job.”





Saturday, November 16, 2013


One of several mistakes in making the Affordable Health Care Act or “Obamacare” law was that even now too few people are informed of its details. In commenting on it we can only speak of what we know or believe we know. To my knowledge this law by itself has not and cannot order the cancellation of a single policy. Only the insurance companies and policy holders can do this. Sub-par policies in existence before the law was passed have been grandfathered while policies written in the three years since, including those now mandated by ACA, must meet minimum standards. This is the cause of many of the cancellations now making news. Has the government set unreasonably high qualifications? This is a question that might be raised by the insurance companies. Their silence on this subject should be noted.
A typical right wing response to the issue would be to invoke the free market as a guide to what consumers should get for their money. But there is another consideration here. The cheaper the policy the less the coverage, with considerably higher deductibles and more exceptions for customers and ailments. This may be all that poorer people can afford yet they are the ones most vulnerable to these limits to their coverage. Those who need comprehensive coverage the most can afford it the least.
The per capita cost of our health care is by far the world’s highest yet the results are worse than nations that provide universal health care. The discrepancy is that our national health care doesn’t begin until a person reaches the age of sixty five. A lot of people die before that age and many more develop conditions that preventive medicine would have cured or lessened had they been treated before becoming eligible for government sponsored health care. It is common sense that the cost of treating Medicare beneficiaries would be considerably less had their conditions had been tended to earlier.
Unmitigated self-interest is just that. I can think of no part of our complex society in which it is more reprehensible than caring for the sick.