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RIP Memoriam thread?

#681 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-July-16, 19:33

John Paul Stevens, Supreme Court Justice

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Justice Stevens had spent much of his service on the court in the shadow of more readily definable colleagues when he emerged as a central figure during a crucial period of the court’s history: The last phase of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist’s tenure and the early years under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

It was a time when the court took an active role in balancing individual liberty and national security and in policing the constitutional separation of powers, asserting a muscular brand of judicial authority that was welcomed by neither the White House nor Congress.

Societal debates over the rights of gay men and lesbians, the role of race, private property rights, environmental regulation and the separation of church and state also made their way onto the Supreme Court’s docket, and Justice Stevens, a soft-spoken Republican and former antitrust lawyer from Chicago, was as surprised as anyone to find himself not only taking the liberal side but also becoming its ardent champion.

It was Justice Stevens who wrote the court’s majority opinion in Rasul v. Bush, in 2004, which brought within the jurisdiction of the federal courts the hundreds of prisoners who had been captured as enemy combatants during the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan and held at the United States Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

It was Justice Stevens who wrote the majority opinion in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in 2006, which repudiated the Bush administration’s plan to put some of those detainees on trial by military commissions. “The Executive is bound to comply with the Rule of Law that prevails in this jurisdiction,” he declared.

On the domestic side, in 2002, it was Justice Stevens who wrote the opinion in Atkins v. Virginia, declaring that the Constitution does not permit executing the mentally disabled. Such defendants “face a special risk of wrongful execution,” he said, because of their limited ability to understand their actions and participate in their own defense.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissenting opinion in that case provided an example of how deeply divided the court was during those years on both methodology and outcomes. He complained that the 6-to-3 majority had simply enshrined its own views as constitutional law. “The arrogance of this assumption of power takes one’s breath away,” Justice Scalia wrote.

Two years before that, Justice Stevens had his own turn at a bitter dissent, in Bush v. Gore, the case that effectively decided the 2000 presidential election by stopping the Florida recount. Justice Stevens, one of four dissenters, said the court’s action “can only lend credence to the most cynical appraisal of the work of judges throughout the land.”

He said that although the actual winner of the presidential election might remain unknown, “the identity of the loser is perfectly clear”: It was “the nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”

As the senior associate justice, with the power to assign majority opinions whenever he was in the majority and the chief justice was in dissent, Justice Stevens was the field marshal for a series of decisions that achieved liberal victories late in Chief Justice Rehnquist’s tenure. He assigned opinions to others in favor of gay rights and affirmative action and kept for himself decisions that upheld the authority of the federal government in the face of what had appeared to be the unstoppable states’-rights tilt of the Rehnquist court’s federalism revolution.

Until this final period, Justice Stevens had been known to the public, if at all, primarily for the jaunty bow ties he usually wore. His reputation was that of a very smart, nonideological, slightly quirky loner who, if a case was decided by a vote of 8 to 1, was as likely as not to be the solitary dissenter, caring neither to lead nor to follow.

He became the senior associate justice in his 19th year on the court, upon the retirement of Justice Harry A. Blackmun in 1994. The role, which he appeared to enjoy, heightened his visibility and showed the world what his colleagues already knew: that he was actually a strategic thinker and canny tactician whose genial personality and impressive analytic power could forge a path that might have appeared blocked by the sheer arithmetic of a majority that was well to his right.

His frequent dissenting opinions, he said, arose from a conviction that both the public and the law were best served when differing views were expressed and explained, rather than suppressed for the sake of surface collegiality.

The court’s ideological spectrum was quite different when John Paul Stevens arrived from the federal appeals court in Chicago in December 1975, named by President Gerald R. Ford to replace Justice Douglas, who had retired a month earlier. The liberal titans William J. Brennan Jr. and Thurgood Marshall were still sitting. So was Lewis F. Powell Jr., an appointee of President Richard M. Nixon, who voted with the conservatives on criminal law issues but stoutly defended abortion rights.

Another colleague was Potter Stewart, the last of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s four Supreme Court appointees and, like Justice Stevens, a moderate Republican from the Midwest. Only five years apart in age despite Justice Stewart’s substantial seniority, the two men bonded. In a speech in 2004, Justice Stevens said that Justice Stewart, who retired in 1981 and died four years later, “probably had the keenest intellect of any judge with whom I have served.”

The court’s membership turned over completely and moved indisputably to the right during Justice Stevens’s long tenure on the bench. The extent to which it bridged two eras of Supreme Court history was underscored on Oct. 3, 2005, when he administered the oath of office to Chief Justice Roberts, a man 35 years his junior whom he had first met 25 years earlier, when Justice Stevens was the court’s most junior member and John Roberts was a law clerk.

But the emergence of John Paul Stevens as the court’s most liberal justice was not simply a result of standing still amid a shifting landscape. His own views changed over time, moving to the left, particularly on the death penalty and on questions of racially conscious government policies.

He was skeptical of such policies at first, voting with the conservatives in the 1978 Bakke case to invalidate an admissions program at a University of California medical school that had set aside 16 places for minority applicants out of an entering class of 100. The court ordered the medical school to admit Allan Bakke, the white applicant who had brought the case.

Two years later, when the Supreme Court upheld a set-aside program that reserved 10 percent of federal public works money for minority contractors, Justice Stevens was one of three dissenters, along with Justices Stewart and Rehnquist. In his dissenting opinion in that case, Fullilove v. Klutznick, he warned that the “slapdash statute,” as he described it, could become “a permanent source of justification for grants of special privileges.”

In 1989, he voted with the 6-to-3 majority that invalidated a 30 percent minority contracting set-aside program in the city of Richmond, Va. Justices Marshall, Brennan and Blackmun dissented, with Justice Blackmun commenting, “I never thought that I would live to see the day” when the former “cradle of the Old Confederacy” would adopt a plan to help its African-American residents overcome a legacy of discrimination, only to see the effort struck down by “this court, the supposed bastion of equality.”

Nonetheless, Justice Stevens’s nuanced separate opinion in that case, Richmond v. J.A. Croson Company, demonstrated that he had begun to distance himself from the court’s increasingly conservative center of gravity. He agreed that the Richmond ordinance had painted with too broad a brush. But he did not agree with the majority’s premise that “a racial classification is never permissible except as a remedy for a past wrong”; sometimes such a classification is permissible, he said, if it takes account of race as a policy tool for building a better future.

He had said as much in a dissenting opinion in 1986 in a case challenging a collective bargaining agreement that shielded African-American teachers against layoffs in a Michigan public school district. The agreement was meant to preserve a hard-won racial balance in an economically troubled district, where the recently hired minority teachers would have been most vulnerable to seniority-based layoffs.

The 5-to-4 majority in that case, Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education, concluded that the policy violated the white teachers’ 14th Amendment right to equal protection. Justice Powell explained that there was no proof of past discrimination for which the policy could be justified as an appropriate remedy.

In dissent, Justice Stevens said the majority’s mistake was to look backward rather than forward. Rather than ask whether the policy could be justified “as a remedy for sins that were committed in the past,” he said, “I believe that we should first ask whether the board’s action advances the public interest in educating children for the future.”

In a speech in 2004, Justice Stevens reflected on the “especially close” relationship he had enjoyed with Justice Powell, despite their differences in the Wygant case. He recalled that as the case was about to be argued, it came up in casual conversation between them.

“We both remarked on the fact that our next affirmative action argument was in an ‘easy case,’” Justice Stevens said. “It was only later that we both learned that we thought it easy for opposite reasons.”

His views on the death penalty similarly evolved. He arrived at the Supreme Court in the aftermath of the 1972 Furman v. Georgia decision, which invalidated every death penalty statute in the country. The urgent question was whether a new generation of statutes that most states had enacted in response to the Furman ruling would now meet the court’s approval.

In 1976, in Gregg v. Georgia, the newly appointed Justice Stevens voted with the 5-to-4 majority to endorse the new approach, which required special procedures to “channel” the jury’s discretion and to allow the resumption of capital punishment.

With the passing years, however, Justice Stevens began to express deep concerns about how the death penalty was being administered. Recent evidence that “a substantial number of death sentences have been imposed erroneously” was “profoundly significant,” he told the American Bar Association in 2005, “because it indicates that there must be serious flaws in our administration of criminal justice.”

Finally, in 2008, he renounced capital punishment expressly, declaring that the time had come to reconsider “the justification for the death penalty itself.” Too often, he said, court decisions and actions taken by states to justify the death penalty were “the product of habit and inattention rather than an acceptable deliberative process.”

The case was Baze v. Rees, a constitutional challenge to Kentucky’s method of execution by lethal injection. A majority rejected the challenge, and Justice Stevens concurred in that result, writing that he felt bound to “respect precedents that remain a part of our law.” But he had made himself clear: in the court’s hands the death penalty had become, for him, a promise of fairness unfulfilled.

One plausible explanation for Justice Stevens’s growing affinity for the liberal side was his response to the polarizing discourse about the Supreme Court that emanated from the administration of President Ronald Reagan in the mid-1980s. After Attorney General Edwin Meese III criticized a long series of Supreme Court precedents that had interpreted the Bill of Rights as binding not only on the federal government but on the states as well — a foundational premise of 20th-century constitutional law — Justice Stevens took him on directly. The attorney general, he said in a speech to the Federal Bar Association in Chicago in 1985, “overlooks the profound importance of the Civil War and the postwar amendments on the structure of our government.”

Justice Stevens’s own explanation for why his views had changed was simply that he had learned on the job. “I know that I, like most of my colleagues, have continued to participate in a learning process while serving on the bench,” he said in 2005 at a symposium held at Fordham University Law School to mark his 30th anniversary on the court and 35th year as a judge.

“Learning on the job is essential to the process of judging,” he continued. “At the very least, I know that learning on the bench has been one of the most important and rewarding aspects of my own experience over the last 35 years.”

Yet in another sense he did not change very much, remaining what he had been at the start of his judicial career: a judge who looked at the facts on the ground rather than theories in law review articles, one who tended to regard doctrinal debates as a distraction from a judge’s real work, which in his opinion was the application of judgment to the case at hand.

His distinctive approach to the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection was perhaps the best example of his disdain for doctrinal formalism.

By the mid-1970s, the court had developed an elaborate grid for evaluating claims of unequal treatment at the hands of the government. Policies that distinguished among people based on their race were subject to “strict” judicial scrutiny and were almost never upheld. Policies that simply concerned economic interests were subject to minimal scrutiny and were upheld as long as they had a “rational basis.” Policies that treated men and women differently fell somewhere in between, subject to “heightened” judicial scrutiny and required to serve an “important governmental interest.”

Justice Stevens rejected all this. “There is only one Equal Protection Clause,” he declared in 1976, concurring in Craig v. Boren, an early sex discrimination case. “It requires every state to govern impartially.” A straightforward application of that principle was all a court needed, in his view, to decide an equal protection case.

One of Justice Stevens’s former clerks, Andrew M. Siegel, a law professor at the University of South Carolina, summed up the justice’s jurisprudence in a paper delivered at the 2005 Fordham symposium. “Perhaps the defining vision of Justice Stevens’s jurisprudence, indeed of his entire life project,” Professor Siegel wrote, “has been an unshakable faith in the capacity of men and women of the law to resolve difficult and contentious issues through the application of reason tempered by experience and humility.”

Professor William D. Popkin of the Indiana University School of Law wrote in a 1989 article in The Duke Law Journal that “a special brand of judicial restraint and creativity” marked Justice Stevens’s approach to the law. Justice Stevens was guided by three principles, Professor Popkin wrote: first, “deference to other decision makers,” based on the view that “the court should not decide cases that other institutions can decide at least as well or better”; second, attention to the facts of a case and avoidance of broad generalizations, based on the view that “the court should decide no more than the facts of the case require”; and third, the belief that the court’s highest substantive goal was to “protect individual dignity,” as reflected in his approach to equal protection.

Justice Stevens gave concrete application to his view of a limited role for the courts in one of his most important majority opinions, the 1984 case Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council. The court held that when a federal statute is ambiguous, judges should generally defer to the interpretation of the agency charged with administering that statute rather than impose their own views of what Congress must have or should have meant.

“Federal judges — who have no constituency — have a duty to respect legitimate policy choices made by those who do,” Justice Stevens wrote. Although the case remained obscure to the general public, it was a landmark of administrative law, and the term “Chevron deference” became a commonplace in judicial decisions reviewing a seemingly endless array of federal regulations. For the rest of his career, Justice Stevens looked back on the Chevron case with fondness and pride.

But while believing that judicial deference was often appropriate, he also believed that the federal courts must be available when other institutions of government failed to do their jobs. “I firmly believe that the Framers of the Constitution expected and intended the vast open spaces in our charter of government to be filled not only by legislative enactment but also by the common-law process of step-by-step adjudication,” he said in a 1991 speech at the University of Chicago.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#682 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-July-23, 09:19

Mark Kleiman

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Despite our differences, Kleiman was always happy to engage in debate, and he was a formidable opponent. He was a lively (and entertainingly profane) interview subject who gave good quotes, and he could be remarkably gracious. After I reviewed Against Excess in Reason, praising his honesty but pulling no punches, he wrote a very kind letter to the editor thanking me for offering "well-reasoned criticism" and "giv[ing] a fair reading to a book whose conclusions he does not endorse." Not long after he attacked me as an uninformed ideologue when I criticized Barack Obama's response to a question about rescheduling marijuana, he and I both participated in a conference where he enthusiastically shook my hand and praised my presentation.

Kleiman, who cut his teeth as a policy analyst at the Justice Department and later held a series of academic positions, most recently as a professor of public policy at New York University, could be counted on to call bullshit where he saw it. He criticized opposition to vaping as a harm-reducing alternative to smoking, for example, and debunked claims that marijuana causes psychosis and drives violent crime. While he tended to overestimate the ability of smart and knowledgeable people like him to fine-tune the nation's drug habits, he was open to evidence and arguments that complicated that mission. Discussions of drugs and criminal justice in this country would be greatly improved if more people followed his example.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#683 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-July-25, 17:39

My favorite former DC area bridge pro posted this reminiscence from the Tuesday morning game with former Supreme Court Justice Stevens:

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Recollections from players all over the country recall a man of warmth, humor, approachability, and palpable intelligence. He loved our game, played for many, many years, and was a tough competitor.

Justice Stevens played bridge at our local Tuesday morning club with his wife Maryan, until her death in 2015. He was such a gentleman, and he always exuded intelligence, and warmth, and oh, those bow ties.

For years, I always addressed him as “Your Honor.” Then I was reading something and learned that the right form of address is “Mr. Justice.”

The next time he and Maryan were at the bridge game, I went to where they were sitting and said, “Mr. Justice, I just learned that I’ve been addressing you incorrectly and, well, I want you to know I certainly wasn’t being flippant.”

He said, “Why don’t you call me John?” I smiled and said, “Not if we had been best friends since third grade.” He said “Why not? It’s a social setting.”

I told him that when I looked at him, I saw 4% of the entire United States government! (Maryan held her head in her hands and said, “Oh my God.”). Justice Stevens asked “What? How do you … ?” I said, “Well, a ninth of a third?” He perked up in his chair and said, “Heyyyyy…” Maryan looked at me with a look that conveyed “I love him, too” but she said with a practiced weariness “Jeff, what are you doing? I can’t get his head through doors …”

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#684 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-July-25, 17:56

Rutger Hauer AKA Roy Batty in Blade Runner

Both died in 2019
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#685 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-August-01, 05:33

Nick Buoniconti, All-Pro Linebacker Championed Medical Research

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Credit: AP
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#686 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-August-01, 07:25

Malcolm Nash - apparently a lovely man, cricketer, never played internationally, known really for only one thing, his worst day at the office.

For those who don't get cricket, comparing to baseball, "pitches" come in sixes (6 balls = one over), once you bowl one, you have to bowl the full 6 barring injury.

Malcolm Nash was the first person ever to be hit for six sixes in one over (think 6 first pitch home runs, except the batter doesn't change) by the great West Indian Sir Garfield Sobers. It's a feat that's been done a few times since (maybe high single figures).
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#687 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-August-01, 08:51

Broadway producer and director Hal Prince. Here are some of his shows that I'm most familiar with:

Pajama Game (probably the first stage show I ever saw, when our synagogue put on an amateur production)
Damn Yankees
West Side Story
Fiorello! (my father was in the synagogue production)
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Fiddler on the Roof (I used to perform this with my friends in our basement)
Cabaret
Zorba
Company
A Little Night Music
Side by Side by Sondheim
Sweeney Todd
Evita
Phantom of the Opera
Kiss of the Spider Woman

He's been nominated for 38 Tony Awards, and won 21 of them, and plenty of other awards.

#688 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-August-04, 06:20

The Warroad Pioneer which recently joined 2,000 other U.S. newspapers that have closed over the last 15 years.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#689 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-August-14, 19:34

Vivian Paley, Educator Who Promoted Storytelling

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Ms. Paley was a keen observer — and listener — of young children. She wrote 13 books about their social and intellectual development, including how they learn from telling stories, and received a MacArthur “genius” grant in recognition of her work.

Her best known works include “You Can’t Say You Can’t Play” (1993), the title referring to a rule she laid down in her classroom to teach children about rejection. The book is “arresting in its title, magical in its appeal, and inspiring in its message,” the Harvard law professor and author Derrick Bell wrote in The New York Times Book Review. He said it illustrated “how the teacher’s art can attack the evil of exclusion at its childhood root.”

In “White Teacher” (1979), she described her reluctance to talk about race as a white teacher in an integrated school. Sixteen years later she wrote “Kwanzaa and Me,” in which she confronted racism head on.

Her book “The Girl With the Brown Crayon” (1997), which followed a girl’s discoveries during a year of reading works by the children’s author Leo Lionni, won Harvard University Press’s annual prize for outstanding publication about education and society.

Ms. Paley’s teaching approach involved asking children to describe an event, sometimes with only a few words, and then to dramatize it with their classmates. This taught them language skills but also compassion, fairness and how to negotiate relationships.

“She was as much an artist as a teacher, creative and playful to the end of her life,” John Hornstein, a child development specialist at Tufts University, said in an interview. “She is known in the field for her use of storytelling, but the method she developed is far more than that. It is a way in which young children join a complex and diverse social world.”

Ms. Paley developed her methods over 37 years of teaching, most of them spent at the innovative, academically rigorous University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. While there, she won her MacArthur award in 1989 at age 60. She is believed to be the only person to win the grant while working as a kindergarten teacher.

In addition to teaching children, she mentored a generation of teachers, held workshops and lectured about her experiences in the classroom. Her methods of storytelling and acting have been adopted elsewhere, notably in Boston, where the public school system has incorporated them into its curriculum.

But they met with some resistance from the education establishment, especially as the No Child Left Behind Act, which required standardized testing, became law in 2002.

“She wasn’t mainstream, and she wasn’t a curriculum person,” Mr. Hornstein said. “To her, teaching was not about meeting a bunch of core requirements that you can quantify; it was about being a human being.”

By using storytelling to make children feel included, Ms. Paley built trust in her classroom and extended that to problem solving, said Sarah Sivright, who taught with her at the Chicago Laboratory Schools.

Storytelling, she wrote in a 2001 essay, “is still the only activity I know of, besides play itself, that is immediately understood and desired by every child over the age of two.”

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#690 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-August-18, 17:22

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Peter Fonda
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#691 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-August-18, 19:19

View Posty66, on 2019-August-18, 17:22, said:




All he wanted was to be free
And that's the way it turned out to be
Flow river flow, let your waters wash down
Take me from this road to some other town
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#692 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-August-22, 20:09

Shelby Lyman

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Shelby Lyman, a chess master who found fleeting fame in 1972 by hosting an improbably popular show on live television as it followed the historic world championship chess match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky, died on Aug. 11 in Johnson City, N.Y. He was 82.

The Fischer-Spassky match was one of the most ballyhooed competitive events of the 1970s, a Cold War confrontation in Reykjavik, Iceland, between the two most brilliant chess players in the world, the elegant Russian grandmaster Spassky and the enigmatic American Fischer. It was the first professional match to offer a prize fund of $250,000 — an unheard-of amount then (the equivalent of more than $1.5 million today).

The match, beginning in July, was not scheduled to be televised live. But at PBS, seeking to capitalize on the event nonetheless — and to fill airtime during the slow summer months — the producer Michael Chase conceived of a program that would follow the match, move by move, from afar. And he thought that Mr. Lyman, a top American player who had taught the game to Mr. Chase, would be the ideal person to host it.

The idea was to direct the program primarily to the public television viewership in New York, where Mr. Fischer, who had scraped his way out of Brooklyn to become the most powerful player his country had ever produced, was a hometown hero. Then it would be made available to public TV outlets across the country.

Mr. Lyman set to work in a public TV studio in Albany, installing two upright demonstration chess boards — one to show the current position of the game in progress, the other to analyze it. A few chairs were reserved for guests, who in the early going were sometimes recruited from the local area based on whether they knew how to play the game.

A phone line was set up to relay moves from the match. Every time there was a move — 30 minutes might pass between one and the next — a bell would ding in the studio. Then a woman would come on to the set with a piece of paper listing the move.

No one expected the show to be a hit. It was chess, after all. But, astonishingly, it became the highest-rated program in public television history up to then.

On the first day of the show — July 11, 1972, when the match began — the plan was to go on for two hours, followed by updates. That plan changed quickly.

So many people called to praise the broadcast, Mr. Lyman told The New York Times in 2008, that “we pre-empted ‘Sesame Street,’ and we became a five-hour, move-by-move show.”

“And we did that for the next 21 games,” he said.

Though he was an accomplished player — he had been ranked as high as No. 18 in the country — the 35-year-old Mr. Lyman was an unlikely choice for television, a frizzy-haired, doughy-faced guide who had come to the show with zero TV experience. Yet he soon attracted a following, not least because of his unpolished manner — charmingly insouciant and sometimes bumbling.

During the broadcasts, Mr. Lyman, wearing a black suit in a hot studio, would run back and forth between the two boards with large cutouts of chess pieces stuffed into his pockets. Often as not, the pieces would tumble to the floor, and Mr. Lyman would stoop to retrieve them, all the while trying to maintain eye contact with the camera.

In the meantime, he would be receiving instructions from Mr. Chase, the impresario, through an earphone. Sometimes Mr. Lyman would look up, startled, as if he were searching for the disembodied voice, and bark out, “What’s that, Mike?”

Within a week the show was regularly drawing a million viewers in New York City and another million or more from around the country. At one point, The New York Post did an informal survey of bars around New York City to see what they were watching. All but one were tuned to chess.

And much to the satisfaction of New Yorkers, if not Americans everywhere, Fischer won the match and, from Mayor John V. Lindsay, received the key to the city.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#693 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-August-23, 09:06

David Koch, half of the Koch Brothers, who have been running Koch Industries. They've been using their fortunes to promote conservative causes for years. But they also fund the arts, medical research, and education.

Last week's "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj" was about how the Koch Brothers have been undermining efforts to improve public transportation infrastructure around the country. They get much of their money from the fossil fuel industry. They also have a big stake in Getty Images, which bugged Hasan to no end, because every time he put a stock photo on the screen, he was effectively paying the Koch Brothers.

#694 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-September-04, 08:12

I just read a great obit about a woman I had never heard of.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/barbara-probst-solomon-writer-who-chronicled-francos-rule-in-spain-dies-at-90/2019/09/02/a13dfc92-cd88-11e9-87fa-8501a456c003_story.html

On the Hijacked thread there is a reference to schools removing Harry Potter books after a parental objection to the books. Forget Potter, do they have this woman's memoirs in their library? A sample:

"After graduating from the Dalton preparatory school not far from her home, a 17-year-old Ms. Solomon applied for passage to Europe on a converted troop ship. Her parents found out only after being contacted by the State Department and persuaded her to move to Paris "in a more normal fashion," she later wrote in Tablet magazine."

I sometimes recall my teenage independence with pleasure and perhaps some pride but this is a whole different level. Or two or three levels.

At any rate, this obit was a great start to the day. My condolences to her family, my congratulations to her.
Ken
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#695 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-September-06, 06:38

Martin Weitzman

From An economist ahead of his time by David Leonhardt at NYT:

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One of the giants of climate economics, Martin Weitzman, died last week, and I want to honor him by talking about how he was ahead of his time.

To do so, it’s worth mentioning a new book called “The Economists’ Hour,” by my colleague Binyamin Appelbaum, a member of The Times editorial board. In the book, Binya talks about a profound shift over the past half-century: The ideas of economists, especially the importance they put on market incentives and efficiency, have become much more influential.

This shift can claim some big accomplishments. By adopting more of a market economy, China, India and other countries have helped lift millions of people out of poverty. But the shift has also had some very big downsides (as Binya explained on the latest episode of “The Argument”).

Large parts of our economy are now built around the idea of maximum efficiency — or at least what seems like maximum efficiency in a theoretical model — with much less concern for the distribution of economic benefits or for the unpleasant side effects of economic activity. The clearest example, and the focus of Binya’s book, is the sharp rise of income and wealth inequality — and with it, the stagnation of living standards for most people.

Weitzman’s seminal work focused on some of the other problems caused by the purest version of market economics. He argued that economists should favor higher taxes on carbon emissions than many economic models called for, because of the terrible uncertainties associated with climate change. “If ever there was an example where there was uncertainty, this is it,” as he once told me. To put it bluntly, reducing the risk that Miami becomes uninhabitable is worth paying an extra 10 cents a gallon for gas.

Weitzman also argued that many of his fellow economists were too obsessed with taxes as the optimal solution to climate change, rather than simple limits on pollution. As Justin Gillis, a longtime climate writer and Times contributor, wrote on Facebook:

“For decades, economists had leaned toward controlling pollution and other socially harmful economic activities with special taxes … The stiff taxes on cigarettes are a familiar example. Lay people tended to think instead: if you want less of it, just regulate it. Weitzman broke with his profession in 1974 and said: economists really have no solid theoretical grounds for their preferences for taxes over volume limits.”

Weitzman’s work suggests that much of what ails economics can be cured by economists themselves. To do so, they need to engage even more with evidence from the real world. There are signs, fortunately, that the field is moving in this direction (as Binya discusses on the podcast). Call it the Weitzman direction.

“Even as some economists were building a brave new world of inequality and corporate power, others were working to make it fairer, more equal and more sustainable,” Bloomberg Opinion’s Noah Smith wrote. “Weitzman was one of them.”

Gillis concluded: “To my mind he was the most important environmental economist in the world.”

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#696 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-September-17, 12:20

Cokie Roberts

I would often hear her on NPR, I think that in recent years she still was a guest sometimes [added, yes, as the obit says.]. I always had the impression of intelligence and judgment and just a pleasure to listen to.
Ken
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#697 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-September-17, 17:31

Cokie Roberts had such an interesting speaking voice. I loved her frequent exchanges with Nina Totenberg back in the day. Those two set a high bar for explaining the news in a way that was always interesting to me and fun to listen to.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#698 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-September-27, 14:59

NYT

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Joseph Wilson, Who Challenged Iraq War Narrative, Dies at 69
He contradicted a statement in President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address. A week later, his wife at the time, Valerie Plame, was outed as a C.I.A. agent.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#699 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-September-30, 10:40

Robert Johnson. Although he died in 1938, his obit was not published in the NYT until last week.

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The chasm between the man Johnson was and the myth he became — between mortal reach and posthumous grip — has marooned historians and conscientious listeners for more than a half-century. It would have made fertile terrain for one of Johnson’s own songs, many of which frankly and masterfully tilled the everyday hopelessness and implausibility of segregated African-American life.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#700 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-October-07, 09:49

A really sad one, somebody I knew and had dealings with on many occasions http://www.worldbrid...ly-passed-away/
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