Tag Archives: chess

Finally, impeachment proceedings are going to start. It’s about damn time. A powerful new video from the Sandy Hook Promise folks. And why do chess players need to be in great physical shape? An eye-opening story explains why

A brief look behind the curtain of my brain as it operates in relation to this here blog…
So for about a week now I’d been planning to write a long post today about an issue in our political landscape that continues to perplex me: Just what Republican Senators and Congressmen are so afraid of when it comes to pushing back even the slightest at the lawlessness of this President.

Are they so, so afraid of pushback in their states, and their districts, from Trump supporters that they’re incapable of finding any fault in the lawlessness, corruption, and overall asshole-ery of the current Commander-in-Chief?

I mean, I’m not stupid or naive: I understand a lot of these elected GOP officials are afraid of being primaried, of having the Trump MAGA crew find a halfway-sane candidate to run against a Ben Sasse in Nebraska or a Cory Gardner in Colorado or whoever and possibly even beat them. And I also understand that for many of them, like Mitch McConnell, Trump can shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York City and they’ll be fine with it, such is their lust for power and passing legislation (and installing judges) who agree with their worldview.

But come on, NONE of these people have any sense of country, of decency, of morality?

Anyway, that was going to be my post. I consulted some friends whose opinions I trust to sound them out, got some feedback, and it was going to a nice long Wednesday rant.

And then… Tuesday happened, and shit finally got real for Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democratic party in the House and a woman with whom millions of us have been pleading, begging, cajoling and calling on to please, please, pretty please with a sugar on top, start impeachment proceedings against the most deceitful, lawbreaking, corrupt President we’ve ever had (and Richard Nixon was once President!).

It took years, it took dozens of Trump administration crimes, but by golly, it took one more giant one (Dear Leader threatening/witholding foreign aid to Ukraine unless they investigate Joe Biden’s son’s business dealings) for Pelosi to finally, praise the Lord, agree that impeachment proceedings are in order. Here’s a great little overview of 40 of the many, many things Trump has done in his Presidency to deserve to be impeached/brought up on charges.

Nancy! Bubeleh, we’ve been waiting for you! You’re the last Democrat in America to reach this conclusion, but we’re just so happy you finally got there! It’s like you’re the final kid in school to find out you’re allowed to ditch school on Senior Cut Day!

In all seriousness, Pelosi did give a great speech announcing her decision, and people like Congressman Adam Schiff of California echoed her in quoting Thomas Paine, the great 18th century writer and Founding Father.

“The times have found us,” Schiff told his colleagues during the Democratic caucus meeting. “And in light of the damning allegations the president has admitted to, the time is now.”

The time is now. It’s been now for a good while. I hold out no grand illusion that Trump will be impeached by the Senate. But the more digging that goes on, the more sunlight proves to be a disinfectant, who the hell knows what the House impeachment investigation will find. Maybe it will be so much overwhelming evidence of awfulness that a few Republican Senators actually…

Hey, a guy can dream.

***Next up today, I like to run these powerful ads from the Sandy Hook Promise group, formed from the ashes of the devastating Sandy Hook school massacre in 2012, because they’re incredibly well-done, they are attention-getting, and even though I am still incredibly pessimistic about anything ever getting done to curb gun violence in schools in our country, I still have to try.

And so does Sandy Hook Promise. To coincide with students across the country returning to school this month, they’ve released this ad called “Back to School Essentials.” Please watch to the end, for as always the message is in the juxtaposition from the beginning of the ad, to the end.

Fantastic, devastating. ad.

**Finally today, this was one of those stories that would’ve been totally off my radar if a few people I follow on Twitter hadn’t pointed it out, and I’m so glad they did.

On ESPN.com, a writer named Aishwarya Kumar has written a fascinating piece on why chess players must train, physically, so hard and put on weight and muscle mass before big tournaments.

On the surface, it sounds ridiculous: They spent hours, and days at a time sitting on their butts in a chair, making moves, getting up only to go to the bathroom.

And yet…

“The 1984 World Chess Championship was called off after five months and 48 games because defending champion Anatoly Karpov had lost 22 pounds. “He looked like death,” grandmaster and commentator Maurice Ashley recalls.

In 2004, winner Rustam Kasimdzhanov walked away from the six-game world championship having lost 17 pounds. In October 2018, Polar, a U.S.-based company that tracks heart rates, monitored chess players during a tournament and found that 21-year-old Russian grandmaster Mikhail Antipov had burned 560 calories in two hours of sitting and playing chess — or roughly what Roger Federer would burn in an hour of singles tennis.

Robert Sapolsky, who studies stress in primates at Stanford University, says a chess player can burn up to 6,000 calories a day while playing in a tournament, three times what an average person consumes in a day.”

There’s lots more great stuff in the story about this. Really, really well done, and well worth your time. I learned a whole lot.


Good News Friday: LeBron’s school showing great early promise on test results. Some teenage boys make a lonely 5-year-old’s life so much better. And a youth chess champion who was homeless before the kindness of others kicked in.

And a Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all of you fine folks out there. I hope you’re having a wonderful day, as you read this my wife and I are preparing to host a Passover seder in our home for the first time, as the new rule seems to be “Michael and Shelley have a house now, they can host everything,” which is fine by us.

Passover is a fun holiday, kinda; the food isn’t all that tasty and sometimes the seder can drag on (“Really, we gotta read ALL FOUR questions???”) but it’s family and togetherness and the desserts are usually good.

Anyway, lots of goodies in Good News Friday this week (the full, unredacted Mueller Report is here! OK, not really, just trying to drive up clicks, ya know), but I want to start with LeBron James and his extraordinary school he founded and opened last year in Akron, Ohio, LeBron’s hometown.

The I Promise School has, in just a few months, shown extraordinary gains in scholastic development and test scores already.

This story in the New York Times the other day has some details:

“This time last year, the students at the school — Mr. James’s biggest foray into educational philanthropy — were identified as the worst performers in the Akron public schools and branded with behavioral problems. Some as young as 8 were considered at risk of not graduating …

“The academic results are early, and at 240, the sample size of students is small, but the inaugural classes of third and fourth graders at I Promise posted extraordinary results in their first set of district assessments. Ninety percent met or exceeded individual growth goals in reading and math, outpacing their peers across the district.”

NINETY PERCENT. That’s astonishing. For kids who were so far behind their peers to come that far, so fast, is such a beautiful thing.

“These kids are doing an unbelievable job, better than we all expected,” Mr. James said in a telephone interview hours before a game in Los Angeles for the Lakers. “When we first started, people knew I was opening a school for kids. Now people are going to really understand the lack of education they had before they came to our school. People are going to finally understand what goes on behind our doors.”

A wonderful start to a school driven by the passion of one man, to give something back to his community.

**Next up today, this is yet another heartwarming story from CBS News’ Steve Hartman.

When 13-year-old Gavin Mabes and some friends went to a skate park recently, nobody was there except Carter Bruynell, a little boy celebrating his 5th birthday with his Mom.

Then something extraordinary happened. Watch this and feel good about our future generation.

**Finally today, I’m a few weeks late on this but it’s such an inspiring story. An 8-year-old homeless refugee just won first place in the New York State scholastic chess championships.

Tanitoluwa Adewumi and his family arrived in America in 2017; he and his family fled northern Nigeria to avoid being killed by Boko Haram terrorists. (You may remember that Boko Haram made international news a few years ago when it kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls).

For a little more than a year, according to this story, Tani and his parents lived in a homeless shelter, as they searched for employment and money while awaiting to see if they will receive asylum.

Thanks to the publicity surrounding Tani and his unusual story, a GoFundMe was set up for the family to secure housing for them, and within a week $200,000 was raised for the family.

“The U.S. is a dream country,” Kayode, Tani’s father, told The New York Times. “Thank God I live in the greatest city in the world, which is New York, New York.”

He’s not wrong (says this native New Yorker).