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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Nat Hentoff

The Village Voice, facing budget problems like so many other media outlets, has laid off Nat Hentoff after 50 years.

Long acknowledged to be one of the country's best writers about jazz music, Hentoff also wrote a long-running and highly-respected column on civil liberties. He has often been among the most vocal and staunch defenders of our constitutional rights, never more so than in recent years, as he continued to tap out columns into his 80s.

I had a lengthy discussion with Hentoff about the Patriot Act and other post-9/11 abuses in March, 2004, when he published, "The War On The Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance." With Hentoff's voice squelched in at least one media outlet, I have dug that interview out of my archives for you.

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By the way, his daughter, Jessica Hentoff, runs the Everyday Circus here in St. Louis. It's a wonderful training ground for kids of all ages. They bring crowds to their feet regularly at The City Museum, and have traveled internationally to perform as well.