I don’t go on many vacations and didn’t plan to write a blog on this one, but the most unusual thing happened while trying to visit my grandfather’s grave at the cemetery in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Pedro and I had gone to Flint to visit, and for me to meet his family for the first time.
We decided today, we would drive to Detroit and possibly visit an aquarium on the way back.
First stop was going to be visiting the grave of my Grandpa Leo, my father’s father who died in 1954. That means he lived 52 years and has been gone for 64. There wasn’t much warning. After that, my father moved to Florida, at 13, along with my Grandma Lillie and then my Aunt Diane.
I’ve been to the Oakview Cemetery twice before. First, I was with the family in 1989.
Then, I went by myself in 2001, while I was on a job interview and ended up getting offered the job to produce the 11:00 news at CBS-owned WWJ-Channel 62 in Detroit. Good thing I got the opportunity to stay in Philadelphia because not only did Channel 62 get rid of its newscasts, it also canceled the 10:00 news on its new sister-station WKBD-Channel 50, which was UPN and now The CW.
Anyway, I was with Pedro, his sister Olga, and their mother. We stopped off at the cemetery office and got directions to the grave. And we looked. And looked. And looked.
No sign of the headstone.
I had some idea of the area and was able to find some cousins, the Coltons, but no sign of my grandfather. Eventually, Pedro called the cemetery office and a guy named Peter came out to try to help us find it. And he couldn’t.
Then, he called a woman from the office who has a good reputation for finding missing graves. She was able to locate some stone markers but they’d been covered with dirt and were very dry, so we had trouble reading them.
Eventually, we figured out numbers 85, 86 and 87 in the area. I went to the place and started digging with my fingers, trying to find grave number 1 in the right section.
And there it was, under at least four inches of dirt! There were others completely covered, and pretty deep, as well.
Uncovering all the dirt wasn’t easy. Pedro found some sticks that we used to try to get the dirt off the headstone. Even his elderly mother was on the ground, pulling grass out of the way!
Finally, the cemetery people called a worker with a shovel to lift the stone up a few inches.
We had baby wipes in the car and used those to clean the stone, and were finally able to read it clearly.
Peter said he put a work order in and tomorrow morning, the stone should have extra dirt underneath to keep it above ground. Pedro and I have a few more days here and will fly out of Detroit, so we’ll probably be back to check.
This just goes to show what regular visits to cemeteries mean. They’re supposed to provide perpetual care, but how do you know? How often do you visit?
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are popular. So are birthdays, anniversaries and Memorial Day. The time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for Jews.
Of course, it’s not easy traveling from Philadelphia to Michigan, or my family from Miami to Michigan. What about all the people in Florida with loved ones buried in New York?
The decision to have my Grandpa Leo buried at that location was made many years ago. Then came the decision to move to Florida, and my Grandma Lillie died and was buried down south in 1976. She has an upright headstone. He has a flat one. Times changed a lot in those almost 20 years, and there’s nothing I can do — or have the right to do — to change anything.
It gets me thinking that people have to decide what they want, and make sure their wishes are known, and will be followed. And also make sure the money is there.
Thanks to Pedro, his sister and their mother for digging, patience and other help with the search. And I’m sorry that what should’ve been a 15-20 minute stop, including directions at the office, turned into a two-hour ordeal.
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I also want to remind you I’m NOT RELATED to President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, who’s being investigated for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations. The Washington Post named those possibilities “according to three people with knowledge of the case.”
Nobody in my family is under investigation, as far as I know. We have no comment in English or Russian.
Yesterday, FBI agents raided Cohen’s Manhattan office, home and hotel room as part of the investigation, seizing records about his clients and personal finances. The Post didn’t mention why he needed both a home and hotel room in the same New York borough.
It did report,
“Among the records taken were those related to a 2016 payment Cohen made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump, according to a fourth person familiar with the investigation.”
The New York Times went even further (I didn’t say all the way), reporting the FBI wanted info on payments to Karen McDougal, who also had an affair with now-President Trump. They were also looking for any potential role from the publisher of The National Enquirer.
The feds even collected communications between Cohen and his clients, including between the president and his lawyer.
The raids were part of an investigation referred by special counsel Robert Mueller to federal prosecutors in New York but
“the agents were acting on a warrant ‘personally signed off on’ by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Axios mentioned The Times noted. President Trump has increasingly pushed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to shut down the broader Mueller probe.”
“Here’s what must have happened: Mueller bumped into evidence of criminal conduct that was beyond his scope, so he referred it to the Rod. … Stormy is almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg. Cohen’s lawyer said the [search warrant] was based ‘in part’ on referral by Mueller. I expect that after getting the initial referral, the SDNY (federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York) started poking around and developed independent interest for obtaining the SW (search warrant).”
A Cohen lawyer called the tactics “inappropriate and unnecessary.”
Trump repeatedly called the raid a disgrace, saying,
“I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now or longer. It’s an attack on our country in a true sense; it’s an attack on what we all stand for.”
According to The Post, the fraud allegations
“suggest prosecutors have some reason to think Cohen may have misled bankers about why he was using particular funds or may have improperly used banks in the transfer of funds. Cohen has acknowledged facilitating a $130,000 payment in October 2016 to Daniels, who claims she had a sexual relationship with Trump in 2006.”
Last week was the first time Trump talked about the payment. He said he didn’t know about it.
The Post also reports “Cohen has said he used a home-equity line of credit to finance the payment to Daniels” and “Banks don’t usually require much explanation from customers about how they use such credit lines.”
But Cohen may have been asked about making – get this – “large-dollar transfers he made when he moved the money to a shell company and then to a lawyer for Daniels.”
He said “neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign reimbursed the $130,000.”
According to The Post, the payment allegation could mean investigators are looking into possible violations of election law.
“yet another example of the legal walls closing in on one of the people closest to Trump — someone who may have a wealth of information about the president’s own conduct.”
He points out Mueller didn’t obtain the warrant himself, but referred it to New York prosecutors, so “Whatever the subject matter of this particular investigation, it apparently falls outside of Mueller’s jurisdiction” like a conspiracy with Russians to influence the election or related crimes such as obstruction of the special counsel’s investigation.
Also, it takes more to get a search warrant than a grand jury subpoena, so prosecutors had “to go before a federal judge to demonstrate probable cause that a crime has been committed and evidence of that crime can be found in the premises to be searched.”
Plus, “that the raid took place at a lawyer’s office further highlights the seriousness of the investigation. Searches of an attorney’s office are extremely rare and are not favored, due to their potential to impinge on the attorney-client relationship.”
Eliason adds, “And to the extent that Cohen, part of Trump’s innermost circle, might have knowledge relevant to Mueller’s inquiry, we can’t rule out the possibility that his own legal troubles could induce him to cooperate in the Russia investigation.”
He started his column with the summary,
“When your lawyers need lawyers, it’s usually a bad sign. When your lawyers have their offices and homes raided, it’s a really bad sign.”
Sanders said she isn’t sure if Cohen still represents Trump, but Trump hasn’t spoken to Cohen since the raid and thinks he has the power to fire Mueller if he – as Sanders put it – “chooses to do so.” We’ll see if that happens and what Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ future holds.
Again, to reiterate, no relation, but I’m sure my whole family is equally as interested as the rest of the country.
Fox News “Media Buzz” host Howard Kurtz has defended the president and also his network, but something may have slipped through the cracks.
Sunday, reports “said his Sunday show mistakenly posted a graphic that showed the cable network is less trusted than its competitors.” Actually, a new poll shows that’s absolutely true, by far.
The Washington Post explained, “Kurtz had been talking about a new Monmouth University poll on ‘fake news’ and American trust in the media.”
That’s when this graphic appeared on-screen that Chris Cuomo, of CNN’s New Day, later tweeted out.
'Take that down!': Watch Fox host Howard Kurtz after graphic shows Fox News least trusted https://t.co/R7IO4JnFhu via rawstory haha aside, the real ‘raw’ story is from Trump on down the main political currency is tearing down anything you disagree with as fake.
“Do the media report fake news regularly or occasionally?” Kurtz asked, according to The Post. “Seventy-seven percent say yes.”
But “Kurtz quickly noticed” and said, “This is not the graphic we’re looking for. Hold off. Take that down please.”
Yesterday, Kurtz he went on a diatribe against the A.P. on Facebook because the control room put the graphic up too early, causing the A.P. to say it created “a false impression by not mentioning that I called for the very same graphic shortly afterward.”
Kurtz wrote as part of that diatribe you can read in full, below, if you wish, “The Associated Press should be embarrassed by a story that utterly distorts what happened. … The news agency had published a story with the headline, ‘Fox News mistakenly posts graphic showing it lags in trust,’” which has since been corrected.
What Kurtz wrote matches the graphic.
The most trusted cable networks vs. Trump – in order – are CNN first, MSNBC just three percentage points behind and Fox News way behind. Another major point: Trump loses to all three cable news networks in trust. Now, let me ask: Do you trust the cable news networks?
Keep in mind that Monmouth reports the 77 percent “believe fake news reporting happens at least occasionally has increased significantly from 63 percent of the public who felt that way last year.” So trust in news reporting is down significantly and trust in Trump is even lower than that.
“He said Facebook is going through a ‘broader philosophical shift in how we approach our responsibility as a company’” after “data firm Cambridge Analytica inappropriately accessed the data of 87 million Facebook users.”
Some other takeaways from the man at the top, and Axios:
– Facebook didn’t tell the Federal Trade Commission, with whom it has a privacy settlement, about the Cambridge Analytica situation when it occurred because it thought the firm had deleted the data. You know what happens when you assume!
– Zuckerberg didn’t know if Special Counsel Robert Mueller subpoenaed Facebook, but Mueller’s team interviewed Facebook staffers.
– Why didn’t Facebook tell millions of users they’d been affected by the Cambridge Analytica incident in 2015, or ban the data firm then? Zuckerberg initially said the company hadn’t been an advertiser in 2015, but found out after meeting with his staff that in fact they had been later in that year — so they could have been banned.
– Question from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on privacy concerns. He asked Zuckerberg what hotel he’s staying at in Washington. Zuckerberg wouldn’t say.
– Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and others wanted to know whether Facebook handles content in a way that skews liberal. Zuckerberg denied that, and also Cruz’s suggestion Facebook might weigh job candidates’ political views.
– Some good news for many: Senators talked about regulation but Zuckerberg responded, “there will always be a version of Facebook that is free.”
– Even better for some: Facebook shares climbed 4.5 percent, mostly while Zuckerberg testified. There could be three reasons, according to Axios: Zuckerberg is considered a competent leader, Congress probably won’t impose strict regulations and a possible paid product for users demanding stronger privacy protections could make money. Zuckerberg made about $2.8 billion in the market, this afternoon. What about you?
“many TV local news stations are focusing more on national politics and have taken a rightward slant over the past year. And that move is stemming from ownership of the stations, not the demands of a local audience.”
Poynter notes, “The study comes just as many are raising concerns about a coordinated effort by one major owner of TV stations that forces its anchors to record a segment about ‘the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.’” Want to take a guess which one that is?
The researchers examined 7.5 million transcript segments from 743 local news stations and saw huge differences between other stations, and outlets owned by the nation’s largest local broadcasting chain, Sinclair Broadcast Group.
“The authors found Sinclair stations, on average, carried about a third less local politics coverage and a quarter more national politics … (including) commentaries the stations are forced to run by former Trump official Boris Epshteyn.”
Researchers warn this programming could spur nationalistic and polarizing movements, “be expected to reduce viewers’ knowledge of the activities of local officials” — and hurt accountability, especially “given the decline of local print media,” they write.
BTW, the GOP is saying IDK when it comes to deregulating legacy media companies, like Sinclair. It would let them compete with tech companies like Facebook, which could face more regulation. Regulating industry usually takes consensus, which is one thing Congress is lacking. (FYI, BTW=By the way and IDK=I don’t know.)
Why should a lower salary history apply to just women? Don’t most minorities suffer the same way, and even white men?
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, relatively liberal, would’ve done better by taking all workers into account.
A woman who trained educators on how to better teach math sued her employer of three years after learning her male colleagues made significantly more money, despite having less experience.
In court, her
“employer admitted that her salary was lower and argued that the discrepancy stemmed from her prior salary — which, it asserted, had nothing to do with her gender.”
The Post reports in the U.S., women earn an average of 82 cents for every dollar paid to men, according to the latest Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings – up from 60.2 cents for every dollar in 1980 “but the chasm hasn’t narrowed much over the last 15 years.”
Then, the article goes into how much less minorities make, which I already mentioned.
There is one victory: Since the suit, Delaware, Massachusetts, California, Oregon and Puerto Rico all passed laws blocking managers from requesting an applicant’s prior salary.
That should go for every state. A person’s worth when they’re hired should not depend on what they made at a previous job. It’s also another reason labor unions should be more powerful.
PRESIDENT CANCELS PERU VISIT: Friday and Saturday’s Summit of the Americas in Peru “was to be the centerpiece of President Trump’s first visit to Latin America, and the first time he met many of the region’s leaders.” Instead, Trump suddenly announced he won’t go and will send Vice President Mike Pence instead. Trump will stay in Washington to focus on Syria.
Same thing in New England. Their team was in the Super Bowl and they don’t get sick of Tom Brady nor Bill Belichick. They watch.
But what about the rest of America? Apparently two thirds of Americans did not watch. And this was the Super Bowl!
Imagine how that would translate to Thursday night National Football League games, known for having bad matchups and also being available on the NFL Network and streaming, besides being broadcast on a local TV station.
But three weeks ago, Fox decided to pay a fortune — $3.3 billion for the rights for five years, and expanded digital highlight rights — and the money it’ll cost is going to trickle down to you and me.
Let’s talk schedules, the reason and then the money.
(Not many remember Fox trying to take Monday Night Football from founder ABC back in early 1987, even before it started programming. That didn’t work and it took until 1994 for Fox to get an NFL package. Oh, and five times as much money as CBS would bid!)
These days, Fox doesn’t have much of a regular Thursday night lineup. The NFL would draw viewers.
“We look forward to continuing our terrific long-term partnership with the NFL on Sunday afternoons with more than 100 games per season (Lenny: many in markets where the home teams are playing) including next year’s Super Bowl LIII.”
The last NFL schedule expansion was in 1987 when ESPN started carrying some Sunday night games. It was the first time the NFL aired games on cable and they only took place in the second half of the regular season. Two years later, the NFL added games on TNT in the season’s first half. TNT aired those games until 1997, when ESPN took the whole season. Like today, games in each competing team’s home market also aired on a regular TV station, so the games were not cable-exclusive but close. But the arrangement ended after the 2005 season.
That’s because NBC had no football for seven seasons and was desperate to get it back. It had lost AFC team away games to CBS, which itself had been outbid by Fox for NFC team away games.
NBC was given flexible-scheduling for most of the second half of the season, meaning it can “steal” regular Sunday games from CBS or Fox that are better than what was on its original schedule, and the whole country can watch.
When that happens, NBC will tell the league at least 12 days (two Tuesdays) before, and move that CBS or Fox game to NBC. However, CBS and Fox can “protect” five Sunday afternoon games over six weeks, weeks 11-16. Also, the league can move games between 1pm to the more-watched 4pm ET slot.
Now that you understand that, Thursday night games were actually added back in 2006 and air on The NFL Network, so the NFL could push cable and satellite companies to carry the network very few people were able to watch (and thus charge the subscribers more, which is the crux of this post).
It wasn’t until 2014 that Thursday Night Football got real recognition. The NFL decided to let a network produce the game – which would air on The NFL Network — but let the producing network simulcast some of the games. That’s what CBS did in 2014 and 2015, and NBC joined to split the Thursday package in 2016 and 2017. The contracts for the rights were short.
That’s when Fox decided to pay a fortune – much more money – for a longer period of time, over five years.
There are several reasons, which may or may not turn out to be right.
Add the Thursday rights fee of $3.3 billion to the cost of producing all the games, estimated to be even more than that, and you wonder how Fox will pay for it all.
That’s where you and I come in.
For years, if a TV station wanted to appear on a cable or satellite company’s lineup, then the cable or satellite company would have to pay the TV station. Otherwise, the TV station could take away the right to carry it, the station would not air on the cable or satellite company’s lineup, the viewers wouldn’t be able to watch it, both sides would blame each other, and finally there would be a secret agreement and our prices would go up.
That happens all the time.
But the TV station doesn’t get to keep all that money the cable or satellite companies pay it. The networks figure they’re the reason the TV stations are worth so much to the cable and satellite companies, and demand their share in retransmission fees.
Also, it used to be that a network would pay its affiliates in every city to carry its commercials (which kept them in business), and the programming that surrounds them (that attracts more people to the commercials and therefore more money). That has been completely reversed and it’s called – of all things – reverse comp, meaning compensation. The stations now pay the networks.
And when a network decides to pay for a special event, it asks its affiliates to help out.
He also says it can happen to stations in AFC markets because Thursday night games have teams from all over competing, not mostly the NFC but nearly equally the AFC.
That means Fox stations can expect a call from the network demanding more money for providing better programming – especially in cities with NFL teams – and that may not be so bad, considering what Fox airs on Thursday nights these days? (Do you know?)
And where will these stations get that extra money? Sure, selling ads for higher prices, but also demanding to charge your cable or satellite company more when its contract is up — Fox will insist they do — and that will raise your bill.
It has been estimated cable and satellite companies pay ESPN about $6 per month per subscriber. Think about what your cable or satellite bill is. Do you watch ESPN? Would you be willing to go without it and save $6 every month? If your answer is yes, then do you have a choice?
It’s the same story here, but on a much lower, local level. We may be talking about a quarter – 25 cents – every month for the local station if Fox gets Thursday Night Football. Check out your bill and see what you’re paying for local stations (as a whole) every month. And while you’re at it, see what it costs to get your regional sports networks.
And besides calling on stations, New Fox — much smaller after selling what it plans to sell — needs to make money somehow.
It has two possibilities and is reportedly looking into both.
First is to air as many live events as possible. Scripted sitcoms and dramas are expensive. Live programming, especially sports that’s also expensive, is supposed to draw viewers.
Second is to buy more stations. A TV station used to be a license to print money. That’s not the case anymore, with so much competition and paying networks instead of getting paid by them, but life isn’t so bad.
However, there is concern that in the filing, Sinclair said it has buyers for New York and Chicago, and it intends to run the stations through an “options and services agreement” with those buyers. Media watchdog groups have long criticized Sinclair for using shared-services agreements to control stations without owning them, which they see as a loophole around the FCC’s ownership rules.
Sinclair did admit there are eight cities — including Seattle, St. Louis, Salt Lake City and Oklahoma City — where it needs to sell a station to comply with FCC rules on the number of stations a single owner can have in a given market. But again, Sinclair said it has buyers for Seattle, Oklahoma City, and Greensboro, N.C., so it can continue operating those stations after a sale.
On the other hand, Sinclair also made a case it should be able to own more than one of the top four stations in Harrisburg, Indianapolis and Greensboro, N.C.
Last week, The Times learned from New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone and two congressional aides, “The top internal watchdog for the F.C.C. opened an investigation into whether Mr. Pai and his aides had improperly pushed for the rule changes and whether they had timed them to benefit Sinclair.”
People strongly opposed to the mega-deal argue it would reduce the number of voices in media and diminish coverage of local news.
So Fox wants to buy more stations and number one is KCPQ, its Seattle affiliate in the home of the NFC’s Seahawks, and where Sinclair already owns a competing station.
Other NFL cities where Fox doesn’t already own a station are the next biggest possibilities. Keep in mind, we don’t how how the late news of Sinclair’s FCC filing and the FCC’s inspector general’s investigation could change or stop things.
Preseason doesn’t count. Those rights are usually bought locally. Not all of the NFC games air on Fox. Not when an AFC team comes to town. Not when the game is on Sunday or Monday nights, or Thursday night until now.
And a competing station can be the local team’s “official station” even if its network doesn’t carry the games. That means special promotions with the team, greater access and maybe a show with the coach. Not too bad.
I didn’t plan on writing two blogs in two days completely from scratch, but the news calls for it.
Yesterday, around this time, I was cramming on another blog and then dragged out even though I couldn’t care less about St. Valentine’s Day. Despite personal protests as long as I can remember, it’s not my holiday. That’s why I didn’t find out about the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland until today.
In case you’re just learning about it, click here for the latest article on this blog at the moment, since you can always come here for the latest news – on the side on your desktop, or on the bottom on your tablet or phone.
Notice I wrote Parkland, rather than adding Florida, because I grew up down there, and have family and friends nearby, so I consider the deadly mayhem a local news story on several levels.
Parkland’s website calls it “a tranquil city nestled in a serene, wooded environment in Northwest (sic) Broward County, Florida,” which means in the outskirts rather than an urban environment — too close to Douglas’ beloved Everglades National Park, if you ask me.
I’m disgusted for all the same reasons you are. There’s no need to explain the obvious.
This is also a disgrace to Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ name. She was known most throughout her long life as an environmentalist — which by “nature” has to do with life — first getting involved in the Everglades way back in the 1920s. She promoted responsible urban planning when Miami saw a population boom of 100,000 people in the decade.
Then, according to Wikipedia,
“By the 1960s, the Everglades were in imminent danger of disappearing forever because of gross mismanagement in the name of progress and real estate and agricultural development. Encouraged to get involved by the leaders of environmental groups, in 1969—at the age of 79—Douglas founded Friends of the Everglades to protest the construction of a jetport in the Big Cypress portion of the Everglades. She justified her involvement saying, ‘It is a woman’s business to be interested in the environment. It’s an extended form of housekeeping.'”
Photos via Wikipedia
Douglas had been honored by practically every environmental group for defending the Everglades against efforts to drain it and reclaim land for development. She convinced people it’s a treasured river instead of a worthless swamp.
Unfortunately for so many people in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, suburban sprawl has taken its toll. This isn’t like areas around other cities because it’s obvious from maps, including those in this article, you can’t build east. There’s the Atlantic Ocean. You also can’t build too far south. There’s Biscayne Bay and the Florida Straits, if you don’t hit the Everglades first.
But builders and sugar farmers try to make their livings further and further west. They keep fighting to move Miami-Dade’s Urban Development Boundary back, and commissioners keep approving, affecting the Everglades and its rural and natural resource protection areas.
Douglas wasn’t just about the environment. She also supported the ACLU, Equal Rights Amendment and mental health support, due to her mother’s deterioration.
She served as a as a society columnist — writing about tea parties and society events, starting in 1915 — since her father, Frank Stoneman, was the first publisher of the paper that became The Miami Herald. From 1920 to 1990, Douglas published 109 fiction articles and stories.
Douglas was best known for her 1947 call to arms, The Everglades: River of Grass, which she began simply, ”There are no other Everglades in the world.”
“‘river of grass’ caught the public imagination but it was also a reference to the fact that the Everglades is really a vast, slow-moving stream of shallow water and saw grass that covers much of the final 100 miles of South Florida.”
Of the people of South Florida, The Times reported she said,
“They could not get it through their heads that they had produced some of the worst conditions themselves, by their lack of cooperation, their selfishness, their mutual distrust and their willful refusal to consider the truth of the whole situation.”
She added that unless people acted more responsibly, ”overdrainage will go on” and ”the soil will shrink and burn and be wasted and destroyed, in a continuing ruin.”
“Once an area of more than 4,000 square miles, the Everglades has shrunk to less than half its original size, the result of overdrainage, urban sprawl and pollution from government-supported sugar cane and dairy farming. Many think its long-range future is still tenuous.”
(The article has much more on government attempts to buy land, how the sugar farmers blamed the government for the Everglades’ problems, sugar farmers convincing Florida voters to reject a penny-a-pound tax on sugar, other attempts to restore the Everglades’ natural water flow — and much more on Douglas’ life, short marriage and accomplishments. Click here for even more, from longtime Miami Herald managing editor Rick Hirsch, published two years ago tomorrow.)
Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles explained her impact, saying,
“Marjory was the first voice to really wake a lot of us up to what we were doing to our quality of life. She was not just a pioneer of the environmental movement, she was a prophet, calling out to us to save the environment for our children and our grandchildren.”
In 1993, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Chicago Tribune wrote she “was thrilled when President Clinton called and invited her to the White House” for the nation’s highest civilian honor.
On April 22, 2015, while giving an Earth Day speech in the Everglades, President Obama announced that Interior Secretary Sally Jewell had designated her house in the Coconut Grove section of Miami — built in 1924, and where she wrote all of her major books and stories — a National Historic Landmark.
It’s now owned by the state of Florida and a park ranger lives there to maintain it from the disrepair it had suffered from as early as the 1926 Miami Hurricane and also an infestation of bees.
One tidbit from PBS: Marjory Stoneman Douglas didn’t like to go out in the buggy Everglades!
It’s hard for me to believe the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Elementary School in Miami-Dade County weren’t even born when she was alive. Both schools opened in 1990. Douglas was still alive. I wonder what she thought about the schools’ openings and more specifically, their locations.
I look at the maps and consider both locations suburban sprawl, since the schools had to be built as late as 1990, and that meant families moving into places nobody hadn’t been living before.
“In 1990, the (Miami-Dade County School) board hired Roma Construction to build Marjory Stoneman Douglas Elementary. The project was 390 days late, and Roma forfeited $45,000 for pulling out before the work was complete. Just four years later, the board rehired the company to build Paul Bell Middle”…
“Two South Florida Republicans, Senator Marco Rubio, who received millions of dollars in political help from the National Rifle Association, and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, the single largest recipient of direct NRA campaign cash among Floridians in the House of Representatives since 1998, said gun control legislation won’t stop mass shootings.”
R.I.P. to Marjory Stoneman Douglas and also yesterday’s victims. Unfortunately, I don’t see progress in solving South Florida’s, or the country’s, problems.
Throw that white nationalist kid in jail with Larry Nassar.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the @DouglasHigh community tonight. At the end of the day, we are ONE community of students, teachers, administrators, families, and neighbors. Know that Pine Crest will be here for you to lean on, always. ❤️🖤💚🖤 pic.twitter.com/hY7IDzfUtm
PREDICTABLE: In response to the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas shooting, Republicans this afternoon in Tallahassee scheduled a hearing for next week on a bill allowing teachers to be armed in classrooms. Bill not expected to go far but it is a sign of the gun debate divide. @CBSMiami
Interesting that the same group of people who are against ending a fetus’ life in a womb are the same people who think little children getting shot at school, is perfectly fine and do nothing to stop that.
We are all heartbroken over the terrible tragedy in Parkland, FL yesterday. @IsraelinMiami expresses our solidarity and offers our help to the South Florida community on this sad day 🇮🇱🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/x6mfVOIYDT
“It’s been a wonderful run, but I just felt now was the right time to step away and I’m grateful that NBC left that decision to me.”
It’s a huge job, day after day, with so many events and athletes to know all about. At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, he went on the air after catching an eye infection.
Now, NBC took Mike Tirico from ABC and ESPN to do the chore, which may have doubled because the network brilliantly decided to carry everything live on the west coast (starting at 5pm) and go until 2am in the east, when west coast prime time ends at 11. Of course, the South Korea time zone helped get everything live, but it’s still six long hours on the air.
It’s kind of fitting, in a way. Costas had hosted every Olympic Games since 1992. Tirico was the first student to receive the Bob Costas Scholarship at Costas’ alma mater, Syracuse University, back in 1987.
Costas is at the point in his career and life that he can say what he wants, and I love that. I hope I come across just as honestly these days, as well. It’s almost a waste to keep your mouth shut, if you know what you’re talking about.
As for the Super Bowl, it’s one game and just over three hours of time that most of America and much of the world would be watching. And he’d only have to be an expert on two teams. Sounds much, much easier — something he can handle with his eyes closed.
But in November, he said, “This game (football) destroys people’s brains,” referring to players’ concussions and other head injuries.
He’s absolutely right! Don’t think so? Look at all the damage done. Look at the behavior of some former players who got hit too hard too many times. Keep reading for the names of some players who died too young because of the damage, and a description of how the damage happens.
Parents, is it worth a four-year scholarship to college? Do the students getting the scholarships actually study for a job in the real world, or is football an extra responsibility that’s much more important than regular studies and credits?
Don’t get me wrong. I love watching football, especially when I know the team and the players. But I’m no die-hard who would watch some college football game between two west coast teams I know nothing about.
I like watching the players give it all to catch a pass, the defense trying to block and then tackle the runner if necessary. And the runner doing whatever it takes to get an extra few feet or make it out of bounds while keeping control of the ball. But first, the defensive line trying to blitz the quarterback, with his offensive counterparts protecting him.
“an estimated 130-plus plays, hundreds of hits, tackles, spears, and lay outs. For a young and healthy athlete, that can lead to serious brain trauma.”
“According to the NFL, there were 271 documented game-related concussions this past season — the most recorded by the league since 2011. Roughly one-third of those were caused by helmet-to-helmet contact.”
The magazine describes “one of the season’s dirtiest” games. It happened in January 2016.
“How dirty? With 22 seconds left in the game, the Steelers’ star wide receiver, Antonio Brown, was midair, ready to catch a ball that he hoped would put the Steelers within range of a game-winning field goal. Instead, Bengals’ linebacker Vontaze Burfict launched himself at Brown as he came down, slamming his helmet (which in the NFL can weigh four to six pounds) into the side of Brown’s head, whipping it sideways on his brain stem. The hit, at an estimated 707 miles per hour, carried about 1600 pounds of tackling force. It flattened Brown on his back, seemingly knocking him unconscious. Jim Nantz, the NFL’s normally unflappable play-by-play guy, was apoplectic, calling the assault ‘disgraceful.’
“The Steelers, who ended up winning the game 18 – 16, later said Brown had suffered ‘concussion like symptoms.’
“In the NFL, that’s code for ‘has a concussion.’”
A co-director at Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center told the magazine “what mostly likely went on inside Brown’s head that day.”
“As Burfict slammed into the left side of Brown’s head, he twisted it up and to the right. The slo-mo is painful just to watch. According to (Dr. Robert) Cantu, a hit like that would lead to a textbook rotational concussion, among the worst a player can suffer. There are several things happening inside Brown’s skull, the moment of impact. Brown’s brain begins to twist and spin. It does this in the opposite direction of the hit and inside his skull’s cerebrospinal fluid, a clear fluid that cushions the brain. In that same moment, his brain’s nerve fibers stretch and rotate.”
Also, according to the magazine,
“A large percentage of NFL concussions are the results of T-bone hits (at the ear hole) or right between the eyes. These hits rattle the brain’s center of gravity. What they do is make the brain to rock dangerously backwards and forward, repeatedly hitting the skull. In young athletes (think teenagers), the brain is flush with the bone. So this effect is not as pronounced as in older players, who have a one-eighth to a quarter-inch space, more room for the brain to ricochet off the skull, and thus to cause more harm.
“Blows to the side of the head, like the that laid out Brown, are far more dangerous. The spinning a brain undergoes during a rotational concussion can cause significant structural issues.
“As Brown’s body recoils, his brain continues swirling back and forth before finally oscillating to a stop. That’s where things fade to black, both in Brown’s consciousness and in our scientific understanding.”
Stanford bio-engineer David Camarillo recently told PBS KQED’s Quest blog, “One of the serious issues is the wobbling of the brain.”
“The exertion caused by a rotational hit puts a much greater degree of stretch and strain on the nerve tissue than a linear hit,” Dr. Cantu explained. “It isn’t just going in one direction. It is going side to side, front and back.”
The magazine describes the injury.
“As soon as Brown’s head is hit, his brain violently accelerates. Neurotransmitters — chemicals that allow neurons to communicate with each other — are released, but since the trauma is so great, these neurotransmitters are chaotic and rendered effectively useless. At the same time, the new membranes surrounding the brain’s neuronal cells stretch so thin that ions like potassium and sodium flow out of the neurons and into the fluid-packed extracellular space. These ions are quickly replaced by calcium, which flows into the cell and basically paralyzes the neuron.”
“The cell is unable to transmit nerve impulses. So what you have is a cell that is alive, but is greatly impaired and nonfunctioning. Cantu calls it ‘an energy crisis in the brain.’ And it can last not just minutes, but for months. That means whatever responsibility that cell controls, whether it be memory, speech or rage control, it can’t do its job. ‘So if the cell affects vision, you won’t see properly,’ says Cantu.”
But that’s not all.
“Microseconds after the ion chemical reaction, Brown’s nerve cells and fibers start to stretch. Once the blood vessels in those parts break, microscopic hemorrhages occur. Doctors using specialty MRI scans have seen these ruptures in injured NFL players as tiny holes where vessels have bled out. If the vessels bleed into the brain’s tissue, the fluid could kill neurons, which can already be in bad shape from a hit as severe as Brown’s.
“Scientists do not know how to measure the number of cells injured in a concussion. They just don’t know. But for athletes who suffer from CTE, a degenerative condition that can only be diagnosed through autopsy (90 out 94 former NFL players who authorized the examination over the past eight years have had it), the cell death is crippling. It leads to massive atrophy in the medial surface of the brain’s temporal lobe. That’s the region and area of the brain that is associated, in part, with memory and language. If the cells don’t have enough rehab time (say, a player takes the field too soon), they ‘tip over,’ says Cantu, and die, causing brown stains to develop throughout that region (a phenomenon noted by medical examiners during autopsies on NFL players).”
Players like Dave Duerson and Terry Long wasted away due to the ravages of CTE and then ultimately committed suicide.
No football fan could forget Junior Seau. A team of scientists who analyzed the brain tissue of renowned NFL linebacker after his 2012 suicide concluded he suffered a debilitating brain disease likely caused by two decades worth of hits to the head, researchers and his family told ABC News.
That January 2013 article reported,
“More than 30 NFL players have in recent years been diagnosed with CTE, a condition once known as ‘punch drunk’ because it affected boxers who had taken multiple blows to the head. Last year, some 4,000 retired players filed lawsuits against the league over its alleged failure to protect players from brain injuries.
“The NFL has said it did not intentionally hide the dangers of concussions from players and is doing everything it can now to protect them.”
Ken Stabler suffered from CTE, died of colon cancer in 2015 and donated his roughly three-pound brain to Cantu’s CTE Center for analysis. Shortly before his death, he established the XOXO Stabler Foundation to take
“up a cause that directly affected the foundation’s chairman: sports-related brain trauma.
“The foundation’s new initiative XOXO Game Plan for Change is focused on changing the course and culture of contact sports to increase sports safety and reduce brain trauma in athletes. To facilitate change, the XOXO Stabler Foundation funds research on related brain diseases, methods of treatment and prevention, and educational outreach.”
Antwaan Randle El, 36, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he suffered severe memory loss and couldn’t even walk down the stairs.
Calvin Johnson announced he’d retire at age 30 likely because of fears relating to his post-retirement health.
“The very severity of the disease, at least that we’re seeing in American football players, seems to correlate with the duration of play. The longer they play, the more severe we see it,” Dr. Ann McKee told The New York Times.
“Not only do I not have a problem with it, I am actually happy about it. I have long had ambivalent feelings about football, so at this point, it’s better to leave the hosting to those who are more enthusiastic about it.”
Again, Costas not part of the Olympics nor the Super Bowl seemed like a surprise. And again, it’s great to be able to do what you want and not do what you don’t want.
But Costas says we should not be surprised. His Olympics decision was made way back. And as for the Super Bowl,
“I have been making the same points for several years, often on NBC. In halftime commentaries, interviews with (NFL commissioner) Roger Goodell and other prominent NFL figures, appearances on CNN and elsewhere, I have addressed the issue of football and its undeniable connection to brain trauma many times.
“Because the evidence is overwhelming and the effects are often devastating. It’s the elephant in the stadium at every game whether others choose to acknowledge it or not. And it’s not going away. So the idea that I am only now finding my voice on this, or that NBC was taken aback by what I said at Maryland is just wrong. It’s all simple and straightforward.”
I love people who speak freely!
Yes, there are benefits to being a popular, rich athlete. A lot of good needs to be done in the world. It costs money. People need food and clean water. Children here need examples, especially the ones without fathers.
But would you go out on the field, even with a ton of protection, and do something that has destroyed so many people’s lives?
ESPN reported last April, owners were not happy with the weeks-long “intermissions” every four years and wanted “conciliatory offers from the International Olympic Committee and/or the NHL Players’ Association.”
“Any sort of inconvenience the Olympics may cause to next season’s schedule is a small price to pay compared to the opportunity to showcase our game and our greatest players on this enormous international stage.”
A deal didn’t happen, the players can’t compete and be Olympians this year, so Costas could call hockey. I don’t think he ever has, but he’s probably too smart to compete against the Olympics!
P.P.S. I couldn’t resist! Please forgive me.
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Every situation is different, but death always seems to be a hard topic. We could be talking about a close relative, an acquaintance from years ago, a pet, or a famous person. How people respond is unique and usually understandable.
Usually. And I will say it. Tom Petty’s younger daughter seems to be an exception.
Monday afternoon, I heard about her father’s sad situation as a quick breaking story on some local newscast. It all but said he was dead. I think it also credited TMZ which, like it or not, would’ve been sued out of business if it wasn’t so right on the money. Again, it turned out to be true.
Then, since I get emails from People magazine for some reason, this came: “Rock Legend Tom Petty Dead After Full Cardiac Arrest at Age 66.”
I really didn’t think much of it because it had become expected, and being in the news business for decades jaded me. I was tired after watching hours of Las Vegas shooting coverage and if I had thoughts at the moment, they would’ve been to get file video, old facts, and be on top of whatever new was being reported.
But there seemed to be no update on TV for far too long. I’m not so heavily into music but even I was familiar with Tom Petty. Maybe it was the Florida connection.
I became interested. This one-time soap opera fanatic knows real people don’t come back to life, and doesn’t waste time on fake news, or the people and sites that publish it.
My friend Eric, in the media whom I completely trust, posted on Facebook about what he’d done earlier:
“My Petty post was based on information from LAPD. Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office now says: LAPD did not handle Petty call. WE did. Petty has a DNR (legal Do Not Resuscitate order: Lenny) and is “clinging to life,” “not expected to make it through the night.” So, to recap, Petty not dead yet… but soon.”
Then, the LAPD (police department) heard reports of Petty’s passing and tweeted this:
“The LAPD has no information about the passing of singer Tom Petty. Initial information was inadvertantly (sic) provided to some media sources. However, the LAPD has no investigative role in this matter. We apologize for any inconvenience in this reporting.”
Yes, this was a huge story. Also, keep in mind most of the east coast media had been woken up early that morning for the Las Vegas massacre I alluded to, and members of the west coast media may have been up 20 hours. And nobody is perfect.
Back to a family tragedy. Loved ones rush to a hospital room. Nobody knows what’s going to happen, or when. There’s panic and confusion. People aren’t thinking clearly.
Then, between early Monday afternoon until about midnight (Pacific time), seeing the network’s first tweet caused other major media outlets and celebrities to react incorrectly.
Maybe Rolling Stone had something to do with it. I don’t know why Violette, in her 30s, picked on them, but the barrage of vulgarity was completely unreasonable to do by her dying dad’s bedside. I can’t think of any reason for her to be interacting with anyone she doesn’t know personally at that time, much less constantly be interacting with the whole world. (Last warning is over comments below this picture.)
I don’t know what she was doing besides typing but if I was there with reason, I would’ve wanted her out of that hospital room.
Could anyone imagine Tom Petty wanting any of us to think about her misbehavior when they remember the end of his life?
Sorry to break it to you, AnnaKim, but your father was your father and also a human being, and he was also a celebrity whose premature death was news, whether you like it or not. A family statement would’ve solved a lot of this and you had too much time on your hands.
So take your inheritance (including any possible genetic gifts) and consider it the price of being born into a famous family, not that you chose to. Others would’ve appreciated your luck. You’re far from the only mourner out there. Millions are. You just seem to be the angriest and most out of line. Let’s hope.
P.S. The media should be embarrassed enough. At least this time, they’d been given incorrect information and had been up too many hours. They were wrong. Maybe there’s no excuse, but this comes close.
I love being back in news. Sure, the hours are long, especially when you don’t have a boss. (My new one starts November 30th). But obviously it’s true when news breaks.
Friday, I was coming off a tough week. Again, no boss. Demands from the sales and weather departments. Plus, lots of plans, work, and expenses at home.
But I didn’t think of any of that when the A.P. urgents from Paris started coming down in the late afternoon. I just wanted to make sure our website and social media had the latest on the story, and that I’d get to go home at a reasonable hour. (I start with the social media at 8am.)
Of course, I worked for hours from home on Saturday and Sunday. I’m a department of one.
One thing about news people I picked up after 9/11 is that they don’t get to personally react to news until well after it happens. The reason, simply, is that we’re working under deadline, trying to get the information out best, first, and without technical problems. Professionals focused only on work.
That’s done, as of the moment. Now, I have a moment to breathe and think.
Since late Friday, I’ve covered the story from home, read so much of what you’ve posted on Facebook, and watched last night’s Democratic debate.
So now, my thoughts:
The first thing to strike me was French president Francois Hollande, immediately vowing a tough response. “We will lead the fight and we will be ruthless,” he said, and also be “merciless” against the extremists.
What’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing! In fact, it’s about time. Was he in the moment and taking it back after calming down and thinking clearly? So far, no. And that’s a good thing. I hope it happens.
But when Israel is attacked and shows restraint when going after attackers (warning civilians to get out, not turning Gaza into a parking lot), the world feels otherwise. The rules are different and there is a double standard, even coming from America.
Dresden and Hiroshima solved problems for the rest of us, didn’t they?
Go back to my very first blog, written on Jan. 11, shortly after the Charlie Hebdo and Jewish supermarket attacks. Back then, I wrote: “The world ignores terrorism against Israelis. Now, they feel a lot more sympathy because it happened in France. Probably won’t be the last attack against a Western democracy. The world has to act and put an end to it, wherever it is.” Sad but true.
That leads me to our leader, commander-in-chief, President Obama. We’ve contained ISIS? Even if he was misquoted, as was suggested on one of this morning’s public affairs shows, he should’ve known by now to choose his words more carefully. Even yesterday, I thought about President Bush and this picture (thanks for posting, Ariel):
At last night’s debate, Hillary Clinton said ISIS “cannot be contained” but instead must be “defeated.”
I’d like to hear Democratic presidential candidates talking about foreign affairs more. Last night, there was too much back-and-forth about Wall Street reform and reinstating Glass-Steagall. We get it. But did anybody mention “radical Islam” rather than simply jihadists?
My advice to politicians: Name the enemy. Call it what it is. Keep it simple. Make people understand. Show them you understand! (And really mean it.)
The world has to decide what’s right and what’s wrong, and take the proper side consistently. Don’t equate the good with the bad. Sadly, this posting from The Israel Project is really the case:
Don’t believe me? This was posted on my own station’s home page on October 22nd:
I discovered it at about 8am that day. Nobody at work put it up. A company in Minneapolis posted it on about 100 different stations’ sites, including one in most U.S. cities.
This was my note to them: (Click to enlarge.)
And these were their responses:
Look at the article now: “Two Palestinian men armed with knives tried to board a bus carrying children in Israel but were forced back by people inside the vehicle, police said.” Exactly the opposite.
Job done, but I wonder how many people saw it, especially in big cities, before it was changed.
In Nov., 2013, Hollande called on Israel to stop building, saying settlements in the West Bank were “hampering the creation of a Palestinian state” – as if suburban sprawl, mostly near the pre-1967 line, is such a big deal, the source of so many problems, for a country that pulled its people out of Sinai and Gaza, hoping for peace.
C’mon! Treat your friends like friends and your enemies like enemies.
By now, there’s a very long track record. These days, killings in Beirut (40+ on Thursday) would not normally make big news in the U.S. but it did because of Paris. Are these isolated incidents? See for yourself. (Thanks, Mathew. Unfortunately, there have been a lot this month. You’ll have to click to enlarge the print.)
Sometimes the truth hurts. Every group has radicals. If they can’t take care of their own, then somebody else will have to in order to save lives in the long run and stop history from repeating itself.
So let’s recognize the enemy for what it is and defeat it, once and for all. (Dresden and Hiroshima helped Germany and Japan change in big ways, wouldn’t you say?)
P.S. Politically, I’m moderate (I think) and undecided. Right now, most of the candidates on both sides have a shot at my vote. There’s no party registration in Virginia so everybody is game. I want to know who’s viable and who to believe.
I haven’t posted anything in about 3 weeks. (I also haven’t heard from you asking for a post. Unbelievable! What’s up with that?) I haven’t been relaxing at the beach. Been doing plenty of writing. Just very busy at work and home.
My parents’ visit has come and gone. Went very well. Wasn’t sure for a while. Garry cleaned and made sure things were pretty good around the apartment. The only shortcomings were the bedroom carpet, kitchen, and the stickers still on items from the move. (I brought up that one.) My mother didn’t mention my hair. Mom and Dad both LOVED spending time with the kids. (Click any pictures to make them larger.)
Cousins Barry and Ellen stopped by on their annual drive from Florida to Massachusetts, and brought presents for the kids.
Around the same time, Garry installed a portable screen to keep bugs out when the door is open and also a fence to keep Yeti in the patio area (but he hasn’t tried that yet).
Now, I’m left with a ton of travel brochures and I’m learning a lot more about Bristol and the rest of the area. Should help at work.
Speaking of work: several accomplishments since I last wrote here.
Red Nose Day to support the poor is Thursday and NBC will air a three-hour special. I was able to take a button, place it on the homepage, and link it to a page I wrote. Also, we have a daily Facebook contest going with viewers submitting pictures of themselves with red noses. (Check out the app. You can have red noses implanted on your photos!)
I was also able to get Web links onto email signatures at work. The digital manager should have Web links, right?
We had big coverage of a Miami-style murder trial. It’s known as the Facebook murders. In short, Dad killed a young couple because the woman unfriended his adult daughter on Facebook. Dad was already convicted. This trial was for adult daughter and also Mom. (Daughter’s ex-boyfriend was also going on trial, but turned state’s evidence just before.) Oh, and the female victim was murdered with her infant son in her arms. Anyway, our reporter at court tweeted out everything, and I wrote the stories and created a section with photo galleries, videos, and old stories. (By the way, both were guilty. Life in prison.)
I was able to put the new app button from the regular desktop Web site onto the mobile Web site as well. Analytics are looking good.
A big spring story here has been a good number of bear sightings. I started a picture gallery and think it was my first to make the “Most Popular” area.
There was some sad (arguably more shocking) news and that’s Kelley Mitchell died. Those of you who visited me at WSVN in the 90’s met her. She was great on TV. We had our ups and downs from the beginning to the end, but she seems to have gotten raw deals on jobs and proved her dedication by taking her dog to chemotherapy regularly for months. RIP, Kelley.
There’s good and bad news on the Miami condo rental front. I got tenants! There were finally approved and they moved in. Of course, they’re complaining about things I never complained about. Things will get done (at least some) but luckily, I have a manager so I don’t have to hear whining. Worth the price. Still thinking I should’ve sold.
Another interesting week ahead. Tuesday is Election Day in three Sullivan County municipalities. I wrote up a voter guide and plan to stay late, to put results on our Web site.
Definitely more important (except if you’re a candidate) is Casey’s 7th birthday on Friday! I still don’t know the exact details on the celebration, other than singing. Yeti will be there. She has occasionally been picking me up from work.
Anyway, off to get a haircut so I look good in Casey’s birthday pics!