Trump May Weigh In On H-1B Visas, But Major Reform Depends On Congress

U.S. lawmakers are once again weighing changes to the popular but troubled H-1B work visa.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

hide caption

toggle caption

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

President Trump has pushed aggressively against illegal immigration, while his specific plans for legal immigration — including the popular but troubled H-1B work visa — remain unclear. He has said he wants to crack down on abuses and protect American workers, but it’s Congress that holds the power to fundamentally reform the program.

A broken system

For months last year, California lawmakers Darrell Issa and Zoe Lofgren tried to hash out a joint bipartisan bill to reform the H-1B visa, the popular program that lets thousands of highly skilled foreigners work in the U.S., particularly in tech jobs.

As far as immigration reforms go, high-skilled immigration programs are some of the least controversial. The H-1B program covers many fields, but is especially known to benefit tech companies. Its description often invokes a recurring line about America’s interest in attracting the world’s “best and brightest.”

But H-1B also has elements known to be broken: A lottery decides who gets the visa; the demand has far eclipsed the quota; and options for permanent stay differ by country of origin. And the biggest complaint is that Indian IT companies like Wipro, Infosys and Tata have hijacked the system. They are three of the top H-1B employers.

“They’re taking the H-1B visas a real U.S. tech company needs,” says Gary Shapiro, the head of the Consumer Technology Association. “And they’re using them … to basically replace American workers at a cheaper rate by having people come here temporarily, not paid well, not housed well, not on any way to becoming citizens.

“Everyone loses under the system today,” he says, “so it’s part of the reason we need an H-1B overhaul.”

Efforts to do that kind of overhaul have been undertaken by federal legislators over recent years, but haven’t progressed. The latest concerted effort came under President Barack Obama — but stalled in Congress, folded into a massive, broad immigration reform bill, Shapiro says.

“President Obama meant well, but … he had the chance and he lost it,” he says. “Now we have another chance.”

Attempted joint effort

Lofgren is the top Democrat on the immigration subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, where Issa is one of her Republican colleagues. Her district covers a chunk of Silicon Valley; his is in San Diego County. She is, by profession, an immigration lawyer. He is a former electronics executive with family members from Lebanon balancing lives in several countries.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., says he’s got the votes to pass his narrow H-1B bill in the House and hopes for support in the Senate.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

“We tried to work before the election with the ranking member on the subcommittee and she pulled out of it, preferring partisan politics,” Issa says.

“We talked for probably six, seven months … every day it was a new” thing, says Lofgren. “I tried to work with Darrell, but it’s impossible to work with Darrell.”

Each says the other kept moving the goal post or altering the bill. In the end, the two of them introduced separate bills. With Republicans controlling the majority, Issa’s has more potential — at least he says he’s got the votes to pass it in the House. Shapiro’s CTA supports it.

This piece of legislation is small, it’s focused, and it’s highly bipartisan,” Issa says, “and that gives it an opportunity to break a logjam that has gone on for approaching two decades.”

Dueling bills

Issa’s bill is small indeed. Without reaching for changes to the quota or how the system operates, Issa’s legislation — in simplest terms — raises the bar for companies with more than 15 percent of H-1B employees to “attest” that they could not hire Americans.

Currently, these “H-1B-dependent” companies only have to certify this if a foreigner displaces an American worker for a job that pays less than $60,000 — far less than an average tech wage. Under Issa’s bill, the threshold would rise to $100,000 and holders of master’s degrees would lose an exemption.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., says the H-1B program needs a broad reform, including changes to the lottery process that awards the visas.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

hide caption

toggle caption

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

However, Lofgren and other critics — which include the engineering group IEEE-USA — say that this won’t do much. They argue companies have figured out how to game the so-called attestation process, and in a highly paid field of tech work, even the new wage threshold would allow for displacement of Americans.

“Some people think (attestation) works, but my observation is it doesn’t work and it hasn’t worked,” Lofgren says. “I think if we place all eggs in that basket, we’re going to be disappointed.”

Lofgren’s bill sweeps wider. It proposes replacing the lottery process with a system that prioritizes the highest-paying companies. Then it goes beyond H-1B, suggesting changes to work-based immigration and other types of visas.

Issa sees merit in Lofgren’s bill — he says parts of it came from their joint effort. But, he says, the time for broader legislation is after anarrow bill passes.

“I support comprehensive high-skilled reform,” Issa says. “But there’s a difference between plugging a leak and building a better ship. … In this particular structure of Republicans and Democrats, simplicity may be the best way to at least get a partial fix.”

Presidential power

Issa’s and Lofgren’s bills aren’t the only ones under consideration in Congress. And Trump is expected to weigh in on the matter.

A leaked draft of his executive order earlier this year took aim at H-1B and other work visas, but with few specifics. It recommended a review of the programs to ensure protections for American workers.

“The president made it clear when he was asked by [Apple CEO] Tim Cook and other tech leaders to put a priority on this that he would and they agreed with him,” Issa says about Trump’s December meeting with tech executives.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer was asked about plans for legal immigration earlier this month. He replied that they would shape up, but for now illegal immigration was a priority.

And ultimately, experts say that key elements of the program, including the number of the visas that get issued, are written into statute, meaning Congress holds the power to change them.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

North Koreans Arrive In Malaysia Seeking To Claim Kim Jong Nam's Body

Ri Tong Il (left), former North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to reporters on Tuesday outside the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

AP

hide caption

toggle caption

AP

The body of Kim Jong Un’s slain half-brother has become the subject of a diplomatic turf war between North Korea and Malaysia, where he was poisoned earlier this month with a powerful nerve agent.

A high-level delegation of North Koreans arrived in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Tuesday to try to claim the body of Kim Jong Nam, NPR’s Elise Hu reports from Seoul.

“The North Korean delegation — which includes former North Korean diplomats — told reporters it is seeking the body of Kim as well as the release of one North Korean suspect that’s in custody in connection with the death,” Elise reports. “Malaysia is refusing to give up the body until it gets DNA samples from Kim Jong Nam’s immediate family for positive identification of the body.”

Kim suddenly fell ill at the Kuala Lumpur airport, and surveillance video shows two women approaching him and holding a cloth over his face. Malaysia’s health minister later said that he died within 20 minutes due to the effects of the VX nerve agent, one of the world’s deadliest chemical weapons.

North Korean officials have demanded that Malaysia turn over the body and accused Malaysian authorities of performing the autopsy “without their participation or witnessing.”

It’s worth noting that North Korea has not formally acknowledged that Kim was the victim; according to The Associated Press, the isolated nation “has identified him only as a North Korean national with a diplomatic passport bearing the name Kim Chol.”

Malaysian authorities have apprehended the two women purportedly seen in the video — who have been identified as Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam and Siti Aisyah from Indonesia.

Now, Malaysia’s attorney general has told the AP and Reuters that his office is preparing to file formal charges against the two women on Wednesday, which could carry the death penalty.

And in perhaps the strangest aspect of this very strange case, both women have reportedly claimed that they believed they were taking part in a TV prank. According to the AP, “Indonesian officials have said Aisyah told them she was paid the equivalent of $90.”

Kim had been estranged from North Korea’s leadership since he attempted to enter Tokyo on a fake Dominican passport in 2001, reportedly to visit Disneyland. He was the oldest son of former leader Kim Jong Il, and at one time he was believed to be the heir apparent.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Austerity measure: Britain's PM May gives up crisps for Lent

FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Theresa May smiles as she greets her French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve at Number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, February 17, 2017.

REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is not known for her self-indulgence, has revealed she will be giving up crisps in the run-up to Easter — a period called Lent when many Christians fast or give up luxuries.

Lent, which begins on Wednesday, commemorates the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert preparing for his ministry. May, a vicar’s daughter, is a regular church goer.

Crisps, known as potato chips in the United States and often high in salt and saturated fat, are a staple snack in Britain.

“The prime minister will be giving up for Lent: crisps,” her spokesman told reporters, adding that May’s favorite flavor was salt and vinegar.

He was unable to say how many packets of crisps the prime minister consumes in a typical day.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Chicago Tries To Burnish Image With Tourists In An Era Of Bleak Headlines

Tourism in Chicago was up last year, thanks in large part to the Chicago Cubs’ historic World Series win and a robust conference industry. But tourism officials are concerned the trend may not continue if the city fails to stop the violence that’s captured headlines around the world.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Danny Ecker (@DannyEcker), reporter at Crain’s Chicago Business covering tourism.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Racist Assault On A Child's Birthday Party Yields Long Prison Terms In Georgia

Jose Torres (left) weeps in his seat during his sentencing at the Douglas County Courthouse in Douglasville, Ga., on Monday. Superior Court Judge William McClain sentenced Torres and Kayla Rae Norton to lengthy prison terms Monday for their role in the disruption of a black child’s birthday party with Confederate flags, racial slurs and armed threats.

Henry P. Taylor/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

hide caption

toggle caption

Henry P. Taylor/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

A Georgia judge has sentenced Kayla Norton, 25, and Jose “Joe” Torres, 26, to spend a combined 19 years in prison for their role in a group’s racist rampage at an 8-year-old’s birthday party — an assault that included shouting racial slurs, making armed threats and waving Confederate battle flags.

“I’m so sorry that happened to you,” Norton told the family that endured the assault, weeping in the courtroom at Monday’s sentencing. “I am so sorry.”

After telling the court that she accepted responsibility for her actions, Norton turned to the area of the courtroom where families who attended the birthday party were seated.

“But I want you all to know that that is not me,” Norton told them. “That is not me.”

Norton and Torres, who are not married, have three children together. Prosecutors say they were part of a gang of white supremacists who targeted African-Americans with racist taunts and threatened to murder minorities.

In court Monday, both Norton and Torres sat hunched over and crying after Superior Court Judge William “Beau” McClain handed down his sentence: 13 years in prison and seven years’ probation for Torres, and six years in prison with nine years’ probation for Norton. Both of them are also banished from Douglas County, McClain said.

The sentencing comes weeks after a jury found Torres and Norton guilty of making terroristic threats and violating the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act. The jury also convicted Torres for aggravated assault. Although Georgia doesn’t have a law specifying a hate crime, that’s the term both McClain and District Attorney Brian Fortner used to describe the group’s behavior.

The assault occurred in July of 2015, one month after a racist gunman killed nine worshipers at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C. Prosecutors say Norton, Torres, and other members of a group that called itself “Respect the Flag” went on an alcohol-fueled racist spree in Douglas and Paulding counties, west of Atlanta.

With Confederate battle flags affixed to the beds of their pickup trucks, the group gathered for a ride that was purportedly meant to celebrate the flag’s heritage.

“However, Paulding County 911 began immediately receiving calls that members associated with this group were threatening African American citizens at various locations in Paulding County and hurling numerous racial slurs in the process as well,” according to the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.

After threatening black motorists, the group headed to Douglasville, where they happened upon an outdoor birthday party that included a cookout and bouncy castle.

“Victims and witnesses from the party, who were predominantly African American, testified to observing the group of trucks whose passengers were hurling a litany of racial slurs at them as they passed by,” prosecutors said.

Several members of the group — some of whom are now serving prison terms of their own — got out of their trucks and approached the partygoers, threatening to kill them all. According to their fellow defendants and witnesses, it was Norton who retrieved Torres’ shotgun — a tactical 12-gauge with a pistol grip — and loaded it before giving it to him.

Cellphone footage from the party shows police attempting to form a barrier in front of the families as the trucks drove off.

During his trial, Torres told the court he was carrying the shotgun for this own defense. But he then acknowledged lying to police about the gun — and to selling the weapon before he was arrested.

Months after the attack, the “Respect the Flag” group was indicted as a street gang by a Douglas County grand jury.

“They recognized that it was not about flying a flag but it was about pointing a shotgun at other people and threatening to kill them because of the color of their skin,” Fortner said Monday.

Testifying for the victims at Monday’s sentencing, Hyesha Bryant, who attended the party, said she forgave the couple.

“I never thought this would be something I’d have to endure in 2017,” Bryant said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “As adults and parents, we have to instill in our children the values of right and wrong. That moment you had to choose to leave, you stayed.”

“I forgive you. I forgive all of you,” she said, as Torres and Norton sat weeping. “I don’t have any hate in my heart. Life is too short for that.”

The stiff punishment is being both celebrated and questioned, in a debate that touches on both free speech and the nature of terrorism.

Some of those points are summed up in two top-rated responses to the district attorney’s Facebook posting that announced the punishment.

One commenter writes:

“To all the people on here saying the punishment was unjust. Let’s be real, if it had been any other terrorist group committing these felonies you guys wouldn’t bat an eye if they went away for life…. but when the terrorist look like you all of a sudden you get a soft heart.”

But another commenter says:

“Did they actually attack anyone or just guilty of being racists? Not condoning their actions by any means but I’m not sure the punishment fit the crime here. If they attacked the kids or something, let them rot, but just being ignorant racists shouldn’t constitute a 20 year sentence. Does that not seem a little extreme?? What am I missing? If everyone in Douglas County that is ignorant and racist (on both sides of the fence) had to serve 20 years, they’d have to build many new jails.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

A New Lawsuit Brings Fresh Scrutiny To Milwaukee's Troubles With Race And Policing

A Milwaukee police officer stands before the remains of a bar in last summer, after police there faced off with protesters following the police shooting of a black man. For decades, interactions between police and people of color in the Midwestern city have been fraught, and those encounters are the subject of a new lawsuit brought by the ACLU.

AFP/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

AFP/Getty Images

Charles Collins and his wife, Joyce, were cruising down one of the main streets in Milwaukee’s North Side one spring evening in 2014, headed home after a day of babysitting their infant granddaughter. They had just dropped the little girl off with his son.

“You know how you have a leisurely ride?” Collins said this week by telephone. “That’s just what we were doing, just enjoying my lady.”

A police cruiser with two officers in it signaled for their car to pull over. Collins, then 64, worried that he was about to get a ticket. “At the time, [the officer] said, ‘I’m not the ticket police,’ and I said, ‘Okay — I’m good with that,'” he chuckled as he told me this part of the story. But if he wasn’t being pulled over for a moving violation, why were the police stopping him?

The officer took his identification, went back to the cruiser and returned a few minutes later. They told the couple they were free to go. They did not receive a citation, summons or explanation.

Their mood soured, Collins and his wife drove straight home. “You know how you feel after an encounter like that,” he said. “We were wondering, what was that all about it?”

What frustrated him, he said, is that he was usually on alert for the city’s police as he drove, but that day, with his wife, he had been relaxed and not paying attention. Collins, a Milwaukeean for most of his life, had been stopped by the Milwaukee police before, as had his son, whom he described as a straight arrow. For black men here, he says, encounters with the police are a rite of passage. “That shouldn’t be your normal, but that’s what it was,” Collins said.

Collins was unnerved enough by those stops that he joined a lawsuit filed this week by the ACLU against the city’s police department. The civil liberties group argues that these police stops were baseless and unconstitutional and targeted black and Latino men. They pointed to available records for police stops in Milwaukee from 2010 to 2012 and found that officers there had made hundreds of thousands of stops of pedestrians or motorists. The majority — seventy-two percent — were stops of black non-Hispanic people. (The city’s population is about 34 percent black non-Hispanic, according to the most recent census data.)

In most instances of stop-and-frisk, officers canvass certain neighborhoods to stop and question pedestrians and motorists they deem suspicious; if the officers suspect the person they stopped is carrying contraband, like drugs or guns, they can proceed to frisk them.

Nusrat Choudhury, a lawyer with the ACLU, said that there was often no reason cited for the stops in the written reports that officers filed. “Where a reason could have been supplied, there was ‘none’ or vague descriptors like ‘suspicious person’ or ‘suspicious vehicle,'” she said. Choudhury said that police records show that few police stops ended in frisks, which is “what raises the red flags that innocent people are being stopped and questioned.”

The ACLU’s lawsuit calls for an end of stop-and-frisk by the Milwaukee Police Department.

But the city’s police chief, Ed Flynn said in a written statement to theMilwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the department “has never used the practice of stop-and-frisk, nor has there ever been a quota for traffic stops.” Flynn went on: “However, traffic stops in high-crime areas have been proven to reduce the number of non-fatal shootings, robberies and motor vehicle thefts.”

Choudhury says that Greg Chambers, another plaintiff in the suit, was not stopped in an area known for high crime, per Chief Flynn’s explanation, but for “race out of place” — being black in a neighborhood that is not.

In big cities across the country, stop-and-frisk policies have been contentious, and possibly the best-known application of the debunked “broken windows” philosophy of policing, which holds that aggressive policing of low-level, petty infractions prevents more serious crime from occurring. In recent years, stop-and-frisk has been the subject of lawsuits in cities across the country. Critics say that the practice violates constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure, and that flooding black and Latino neighborhoods with police who have a wide berth to stop anyone for any reason is tantamount to racial profiling. They also argue that the practice rarely yields “hits” on illegal activity or contraband.

The ACLU lawsuit rests atop Milwaukee history of discord between the police and black residents, stretching back to when blacks moved from the South to the Midwest en masse during the Great Migration. During the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s, Harold Breier, the city’s combative, all-powerful police chief regularly antagonized the city’s black communities, who said that Breier’s department brutalized and mistreated black residents. The city remains among the most racially segregated in the country, which means that black and white residents are having vastly different experiences with policing in volume and texture: a report from the Public Policy Forum last year found that black people made up 72 percent of all arrests for marijuana possession in Milwaukee, while there is no evidence that black people use marijuana at vastly different rates than white people.

Wisconsin locks up a larger percentage of its black men than any other state — and it isn’t particularly close; a large chunk of that cohort of incarcerated black men comes from Milwaukee, the state’s largest city. (The city’s 53206 zip code is 95 percent black and has the highest incarceration rate in the country.)

These tensions between black Milwaukeeans and the police department seem to have contributed to a crisis of legitimacy among the city’s police that has only been exacerbated by several high-profile local cases of police violence. A study last year by three sociologists found that one such incident prompted residents in the city’s black neighborhood to make fewer emergency calls to 911 dispatchers. “Police work of every kind relies on citizen participation, especially reports of law breaking … If police misconduct lowers crime reporting throughout black communities, it directly threatens public safety within those communities, many of which already have high levels of crime,” the authors wrote.

For his part, Collins, the plaintiff in the ACLU stop-and-frisk suit, said that he simply wants younger black people in the city to be able to grow up and not take as a given that they will have random, unexplained contact with the police. “You haven’t committed a crime or anything, you’re innocent, you should have the freedom to flow,” he said. “You don’t want to be looking over your shoulder, you know what I’m saying?”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Why Are More Young Americans Getting Colon Cancer?

This computer-enhanced barium contrast X-ray shows colon cancer in red. Researchers have been trying to figure out what looks to be a decade-long rise in colon cancer among people younger than 50.


Scott Camazine/Science Source
hide caption

toggle caption


Scott Camazine/Science Source

One of the great treats of following an Agatha Christie mystery (my favorite being Hercule Poirot) is that you know there will be an “Aha!” moment at the end. The fastidious, mustachioed detective will pull together all the disparate facts and present a compelling answer.

I’m frequently reminded that science doesn’t work that way. The latest case in point is an article published Tuesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that sets out to explore a trend in colorectal cancer among younger Americans.

More than a decade ago, scientists noticed an odd quirk in the data: While overall rates of colorectal cancer have been falling dramatically since the mid-1980s, there’s been a steady uptick of this disease among people younger than 50.

The numbers are small. Cancer incidence is creeping up by 1 or 2 cases per 100,000 people under 50. By way of comparison, the disease rate among older Americans has plummeted by more than 100 cases per 100,000 people.

And the vast majority of colorectal cancer cases are among people over 50: These older Americans are 16 times more likely to get colon cancer, compared with adults who are younger. That’s why a small trend in younger adults is far outweighed by the dramatic decrease of disease among people over 50.

Still, the under-50s will eventually grow older. What will happen to their risk then?

Will the trends that started in their 20s and 30s continue? If that’s the case, overall colorectal cancer rates might ultimately end their steady decline, and could start to rise.

Another possibility is that, once people turn 50, they will follow the current medical guidance and get colonoscopies or other recommended screening tests, which can actually prevent colorectal cancer by finding and removing precancerous polyps. And their risk profile could end up looking much like it does today.

Here’s where even Poirot would be stumped. There simply isn’t enough information to know what will happen.

Epidemiologist Rebecca Siegel and her colleagues at the American Cancer Society have published their take in the JNCI. In their study, they break down the population into generational cohorts, focusing on millennials and members of Generation X.

By breaking down the cases by age group, Siegel says, it’s easier to disentangle generational changes such as differences in diet from trends in medical diagnosis and treatment, which vary less by age. Still, she and her colleagues can only say so much.

“[T]he results do not provide any direct evidence about the role of specific exposures or interventions,” they note in the study. Even so, the researchers say, because trends in the young “could be a bellwether of the future disease burden, our results are sobering.”

Siegel tells Shots, “It appears that under the surface, the underlying risk for this disease is actually increasing in the population.”

What’s driving that is hard to say. Obesity is more common among younger than it used to be, so perhaps it’s partly to blame.

Or it may not be obesity itself; it could be that poor diet and lack of exercise, which contribute to obesity, are also influencing colon cancer rates.

One study found that people from Africa who were suddenly switched to an American diet had signs of inflammation in their colons within just two weeks, Siegel notes, “so this change can happen fairly rapidly.”

But that’s far from a complete explanation. A large British study published a few years ago suggested that only 11 percent of colon cancer cases could be tied to trends in obesity.

There’s also a scenario in which this seemingly glum cancer trend is in fact good news.

Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, says what look like additional cancers in people under 50 may simply be cases that are being diagnosed earlier than they would have been. Some people are getting colonoscopies for reasons other than cancer screening these days, and doctors are surely coming upon early cases of colon cancer they might not have turned up so soon.

There’s some evidence to back that claim: While the rate ofnew cases of colorectal cancer has been climbing in under-50 Americans since the mid-1990s, the death rate among that group has remained remarkably flat. And death rates may be the more telling statistic.

Something similar happened with breast cancer in the 1980s — there was a temporary spike in the number of breast cancers diagnosed, as large numbers of women went in for mammography screening for the first time. But death rates didn’t rise, and incidence rates of breast cancers fell again after that uptick.

Welch notes that we’re seeing that again with the rates of thyroid cancer, which are skyrocketing due to intensive screening and diagnosis; but, again, there’s been no increase in mortality from thyroid tumors.

Welch offers yet another possibility: Maybe the apparent rise in colon cancer among young people is real, but it won’t affect them as they age. “The biology of the disease may be different between the young and the old,” he says.

Welch himself has explored the much larger trend of declining colorectal cancer rates. Some of it is no doubt caused by vastly increased screening for colorectal cancer, though he notes that the decline was well under way before colonoscopies became routine.

There’s no question that diet and other factors can also have a profound effect on cancer rates. “One of the most dramatic cases of that is stomach cancer, which used to be a very common cause of cancer and has now virtually disappeared, at least in the United States,” Welch tells Shots.

On one point there is broad agreement among doctors and researchers treating and studying this disease: The increased screening for colorectal cancer has been a significant factor in reducing the burden of this illness.

Another point of agreement: If the Trump administration eliminates the current insurance benefit for colon cancer screening as it does away with the Affordable Care Act, fewer people are likely to get screened for this deadly malignancy. And the likely impact of that is not a mystery.

You can contact Richard Harris atrharris@npr.org.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Dirty Dozen Brass Band: Tiny Desk Concert

They’re simply an abundance of euphoria. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band blasted the Tiny Desk with a Sousaphone, trumpets, saxophones, guitar and drums, at stunning volume, for a joyful celebration.

This band has been mixing be-bop and funk for 40 years. Around this time of year, when Mardi Gras revelry is fueled by New Orleans jazz, it was so good to feel their sounds in the office. Since today is Fat Tuesday — just before Lent and its fasts begin for some — we are sharing the party we hosted, filled with brass and sass from this fixture of great American music. Enjoy.

Funeral For A Friend is available now. (iTunes) (Amazon)

Set List

  • “Use Your Brain”
  • “Best Of All”
  • “Tomorrow”
  • “My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now”

Musicians

Roger Lewis (baritone sax); Gregory Davis (trumpet, vocals); Kevin Harris (tenor sax, vocals); Efrem Towns (trumpet, vocals); Kirk Joseph (sousaphone); Julian Addison (drums); Takeshi Shimmura (guitar)

Credits

Producers: Bob Boilen, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Morgan Noelle Smith, Bronson Arcuri; Production Assistant: Maia Stern; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR.

For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)