Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hiding History Isn't the Answer; Removing Klan Images from Indiana Mural Is Disservice to Future

Sometimes people just don't think. They become so wrapped up in the sloganeering of the times that they really don't look at the consequences and meaning of what they are spouting.

Panel 10 of Thomas Hart Benton's  Indiana Mural.  Ku Klux Klan which dominated Indiana politics in early 1920s, 
is shown marching in upper right. In foreground, a white hospital nurse cares for a sick black child.

A misguided group at Indiana University is chirping about the KKK image that is on one of the 22 panels in Thomas Hart Benton's magnificent 250-foot "Indiana Mural" which now hangs at the I.U. Auditorium and the Little Theater, as well as Woodburn Hall on the Bloomington Campus. 

First and foremost, this is NOT a tribute to the Klan. 

Read a little history and its amazing what you can find out.  Despite not being a Hoosier, Thomas Hart Benton was hired by the State to do the Indiana Murals for display at the 1933 Chicago Worlds Fair.  He traveled the state and studied its history for a year before creating this spectacular piece of art showing Indiana's heritage.  

The mural was not without controversy at the time -- including protests about the images of the Klan in the upper corner of panel No. 10, which some felt portrayed the entire state as racists.  But others also objected to the image of striking industrial workers carrying signs that stated:  "“Workers-Why vote the rich man’s ticket?” claiming it was depicting socialism.

Despite complaints, the image stayed as created by the artist.  Benton viewed his task as displaying the full history of the State, not just the "Chamber of Commerce" view. 

After the World's Fair closed,  the mural was packed away in storage at the State Fair Grounds. But visionary IU President Herman B. Wells knew the value of Benton's mural.  He convinced Governor  Cliff Townsend to make the mural available to I.U. for its new auditorium.  In 1940, 7 years after it was last seen in public, Benton himself supervised the placement of the mural at I.U., where it has been displayed ever since.

It is one thing to take down monuments to hatred. It is quite another to attempt to sanitise and wipe clean our past.  Those who would wipe out a portion of Benton's magnificent work are of the same mentality that wants to change the name of "Nigger Jim" in Huckleberry Finn, or strip bookshelfs of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, or Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, J.D Salinger's Catcher in the Rye or Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.  

Klan rule of Indiana in the 1920s was a shameful part of our history.  The only thing worst would be to blot it out as if it never happened.  As George Santayana famously said, ""Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it" 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

101st Indy 500: Who Will Win

As last year showed when rookie Alexander Rossi won on a daring fuel strategy, picking a winner of
the Indianapolis 500 is at best, educated throwing a dart on the wall. This year, with maybe 20 drivers or more having a legitimate chance to win, it really does ultimately come down to a guess.

But there are some points to consider:  First, Hondas are faster than Chevys, no question. They just pull more speed down the straights. But that difference will probably even out a bit during actual racing. 

Second, Hondas this season are having real engine reliability problems. Blown engines almost disappeared from Indycar racing the past decade. But Honda's new engine seems to have brought them back. There have been several engine failures already in the Indycar season, and five failures this month at Indy.

Third, Don't count out Team Penske despite not running the fastest so far this month. They know how to win.

So here is my list.

(Most likely to be in Victory Lane:

Scott Dixon -- Speed, top team, and if anyone can make the Honda engine last, it is Dixon
Ryan Hunter-Raey -- Experienced, aggressive and should have won last year if not for pit road accident.
Helio Castroneves -- Still racy and knows how to win at Indy.
Will Power -- Despite lack of speed in qualifying, Penske will be there, and Power is the fastest of the Penske cars

(Just a bit below Tier One, but still among the class of the field)

Ed Carpenter -- Local hero has speed and knows how to race at the Speedway, but somehow he seems to get caught up in incidents in the last part of the race.
Josef Newgarden -- Great young driver, now driving for Penske. Reliability of Chevy & expertise of Penske
Simon Pagenaud --  Quick, experience and smooth.
Juan Montoya  -- He's been quiet and has something to prove after losing his full-time ride at Penske)
J.R. Hildebrand -- If Indy owes anyone a win, it's J.R.   Maybe a surprise to some that I would have him this high, but he is quietly fast, driving for the Carpenter team that has gotten the speed out of the reliable Chevys. He isn't a dark horse anymore.

(Solid contenders. No surprise if one of these drivers win).

This list largely is filled with Andretti team Hondas. Some will finish, but I'm not confident that all of the Hondas will finish.

Fernando Alonzo -- The F-1 champion has taken to Indy like he grew up on 16th Street
Marco Andretti -- Indy owes the Andretti family one, but then it has for nearly 50 years.
Alexander Rossi -- Defending champion. This year he won't need a fuel strategy. He's fast, confident and talented.
Tony Kanaan -- The most popular driver at the track, he's still fast and on a good team.
Graham Rahal -- Would be an incredibly popular winner. His team has a knack of running much better in the race than in practice and qualifying. And he seems to have really matured as a driver.

(These are outside contenders, but it would not shock me to see 
any of these drivers win with the right breaks).

James Hinchcliff -- Running for Schmitt-Petersen, he has the disadvantage of a smaller team, and he's not shown nearly the speed he showed last year. But never count out Hinch.
Takuma Sato -- Now driving for Andretti, he has the speed, the team and the daring to win. But somewhere along the line, Sato usually makes that one mistake -- usually taking himself out of the race. But don't forget, a few years ago, he made that attempted pass on the last lap for the win -- and nearly pulled it off.
Charlie Kimble -- Running for Ganassi, he has four Top 10 finishes in the last 5 Indy 500s, including finishing the past two in the Top 5. I'm not sure I'd bet for him to win, but betting or him to finish in the Top 5 might be smart money.  And if you're in the top 5, you never know what can happen.
Max Chilton -- The least known of the Ganassi drivers, Chilton has been wickedly fast this month. A break or two, and he could win.

(If you draw these guys in the office pool, don't throw away your slip. 
They could be the next Alexander Rossi).

Ed Jones -- The rookie was fastest in the final full practice session. He's been fast all month. He has the speed to compete. Can a rookie win? Just look at last year.
Sage Karem -- Only 22, he's running a "one off" in his fourth 500 for a brand new racing team. It doesn't sound like a winning combination, but Karem has quietly been consistently fast and has kept his car clean. Karem has talent, and as he showed in his rookie race, he can drive a smart race. I don't look for him to win, but I think he will be hanging around near the top 10 when we get to the final 100 miles.

MY PICKS -- I'm cheating and taking two

Long overdue, he's the smartest, coolest and most consistent driver in Indycar. But when it comes time to get racy, he will go wheel-to-wheel with anyone. 

What I said about Dixon -- it applies to Hunter-Raey. I think they are the two best drivers currently in Indycar. And if it comes down to a shootout, I'll take Hunter-Raey over anyone. Exhibit A: Hunter-Raey nearly going in the grass to pass Castroneves in Turn 3, right in front of me, in the final laps on his way to Victory Lane.

Monday, February 20, 2017

2016 MILO AWARDS: La La Land Best Pic; Stone & Bridges Best Actors

It's once again time for the most coveted award of the movie awards season -- The Milos.

The following are my pics for best performances and best movies of 2016. These are not my predictions for Oscars, but my own personal picks. I don't get a chance to see everything before the Oscars, and I consider only movies that I have seen. I have seen all of the movies nominated for Best Picture.

Here are my picks:

Best Actor:  

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea. Affleck is tremendous as a man tortured by his past, and facing a future now filled with the responsibility of caring for his nephew. The acting is understated, with emotions told more through subtle gestures and expressions than dramatic outbursts. This performance stays with you long after the lights come up.

Other remarkable performances:

Joel Egerton, Loving. Egerton gives a remarkable understated performance as a white construction worker who falls in love and marries a black woman Egerton's performance is reminiscent of Heath Ledger's performance in Brokeback Mountain.
Ryan Gosling, La La Land (his piano playing is a revelation)
Denzel Washington, Fences  Washington is sensational in a role that won him a Tony.
Vigo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic 

Best Actress:  

Emma Stone, La La Land. Emma Stone dances, sings, and reveals a world of complex emotions without saying a word. Her performance of Audition (The Fools Who Dream) is mesmerizing.

Other remarkable performances:

Natalie Portman - Jackie. Wonderful performance that looks behind the curtain on how Jackie dealt with the JFK assassination.
Ruth Negga, Loving
Amy Adams, Arrival  (I didn't care for the movie, but Adams performance is a redeeming feature).
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins  (Another movie that I thought missed the mark, Meryl Streep was fantastic).

Supporting Actress:  
Naomi Harris, Moonlight. Naomi Harris performance as a crack-addicted mother is stunning. She wants to love her son, but her addiction controls her life.

Viola Davis, Fences  Davis is such a marvelous actress, and she is outstanding in this role.
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea. This, too, is an incredible performance.
Olivia Spencer, Hidden Figures

Supporting Actor: 

Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water. In an often overlooked movie, Bridges delivers a perfect performance as a Texas Ranger at the end of his career, tracking down one last set of bank robbers before he retires.

Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea 
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight 
Trevant Rhodes, Moonlight

Best Documentary:  
OJ: Made in America  Eight-part series visits all that was revealed about OJ, the legal system, and America in the "trial of the century."

Runner Up:  13th.  An eye-opening documentary about race, mandatory sentencing,  and the prison industrial complex. America jails more of its citizens than any other country on earth. In the 1990s, the number of American's in prison more than doubled, driven by race, fear and for-profit prisons. 

NOTE: I have not yet seen I Am Your Negro. 

Best Animated Movie:  

Kubo and the Two Strings. Far more than just an animated film. This is epic story-telling.

Also considered: Zootopia.  It's a very good animated movie, but doesn't have the magical feel of Kubo

Best Song:  
Audition (The Fools Who Dream), La La Land  This is one of those rare songs that plays an important part in the movie, revealing the emotional underpinnings of Emma Stone's character. The last song of this magnitude in a movie was Jennifer Hudson Oscar-winning performance of "And I'm Telling You" in Dreamgirls. 

Much better song than incipid "City of Stars," also from La La Land and the likely Oscar winner.

Best Movies:

1. La La Land. For those who thought the movie musical was dead, here is the answer: a resounding NO. From the opening musical number on an LA freeway, this movie captures the audience, and you know it will be different. But  just singing and dancing in modern LA isn't enough for a great movie. Rather this movie is about dreams, broken and otherwise,  and love, and finding oneself even if it isn't quiet the dream come true we expect. The performances by Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling and John Legend are simply marvelous, as is the music. 

2.  Hell or High Water.  This movie seems to have been overlooked by many. Maybe it was the "B-movie" title. Maybe it was the fact it was released early in the year rather than in the last two months when most award-quality films are released. But until I saw La La Land, this was the best movie I had seen all year.  Jeff Bridges is remarkable as a Texas Ranger on the cusp of retiring. But he's determined to catch a pair of unusual bank robbers before he hangs up his badge. Like Nebraska a couple of years ago, the cinematography makes the stark landscape of west Texas another character.

3.  Manchester by the Sea. Casey Affleck is a man living in isolation when the death of his brother draws him back to all that he left behind, including the soul-destroying tragedy that he shares with his ex-wife, played by Michelle Williams. The performances by Affleck, Williams and Lucas Hedges as the teenage nephew are all award-winning quality. 

4.  Deadpool.  Not many movies change a genre, and certainly not one that has been as dominant as the superhero genre.  But Deadpool, the first R-rated Marvel movie, does just that. The parade of summer superhero money-making machine movies from Marvel have grown tiresome. But along comes Deadpool. It's funny, original, and like nothing you've seen before.  No doubt that by the time we get to Deadpool 8, it will all seem tiresome. But for now, it was the most fun movie of the year.

5.  Loving.  Until 1968, it was illegal in Virginia and the states of the Old Confederacy for a white man to marry a black woman (or visa versa). But in 1968, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the appropriately named case of Loving v. Virginia changing the nation's laws forever (at least we hope). This movie tells the story of the couple behind that landmark case. But importantly, its focus is on the Lovings and their desire to be a family. Surprisingly, there are minimal courtroom scenes, and only periodic references to their case making its way through the system. Joel Egerton and Ruth Negga bring the Lovings to life with reserved performances that capture the couple that wanted nothing more than to be able to live as a family in their home state

6.  Moonlight.  Powerful movie about an abused gay black man captured through three different segments of his life. Great performances abound, particularly Naomi Harris as the crack adicted mother.

7. Jackie.  This movie pulls back the curtain of privacy around Jackie Kennedy, and reveals her private moments during those four days of November in 1963. Natelie Portman is spot-on perfect as Jackie Kennedy. The movie is drawn from the iconic Life Magazine interview when she first publicly referred to the Kennedy's time in the White House as Camelot. 

8.  Kubo and the Two Strings. Not many animated movies do much more than entertain you for a couple of hours. Kubo and the Two Strings is something more. It is animation as art and storytelling as a fine craft. 

9.  Hacksaw Ridge.  Inspiring story of the first conscientious objector to win the Medal of Honor. Predictable in many ways, but well done, and certainly better than the equally amazing story in Unbreakable from a couple of years ago. 

10.  Lion. Well done but somewhat predictable story of an Indian youth who through happenstance finds himself separated from his family, then adopted by a family in Tazmania. Based closely on true story. As an adult, he uses the new technology of Google Earth to track down his birth family. Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman are stellar, as always.

11.  Hidden Figures.  This is probably the most popular movie nominated this year. It is enjoyable, though predictable. But it is civil rights light. It boils the civil rights movement down to the inconvenience of a colored restroom. Enjoy it for what it is. But if you want to know what life was like for these women in the south, where a black person could be hung for not saying "sir" to a white person or failing to step off the sideway to let a white person pass, read "The Warmth of Other Suns."

12. Jungle Book. Technology makes this telling of Rujard Kipling's classic tale possible as never before. It pays homage to the original Disney animated film, but this is a far superior telling. 

13. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back:  This is my guilty pleasure for the year. I liked the first Reacher movie, but it didn't really stand out. This one is what a true action crime movie should be. Tom Cruise grabs your attention from the opening scene, and the movie never lets go. The plot hangs together without any holes. If you haven't seen this, by all means find a copy for a Friday night on your home screen. 

14. Eye in the Sky.  An underrated thought-provoking movie about the impact of technology and long-distance drone killing on those who much pull the trigger from the safety of a room thousands of miles away. Helen Mirrem, as always, is outstanding. 

15. Captain Fantastic.  Vigo Mortensen delivers a captivating performance as a newly-widowed father trying to raise his family in the woods without exposure to the modern world, much to the displeasure of other family members. The all-too-convenient happy ending that is inconsistent with the lead character brings the movie down on my list.

16. Dr. Strange. Benedict Cumberbatch is perfect as Marvel's Dr. Strange in this mind-bending, gravity-shifting movie. Best Marvel movie since the original Captain America - except for Deadpool.

17. Girl on the Train.  Movie adaption of the best-selling mystery/thriller was true to the book in not only its characters and storyline, but also the tone of the movie. 

18. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.  Tina Fey finds herself assigned as a  reporter in Afghanistan. While the trailer bills it as a light comedy, it has a much deeper resonance about the insanity of the American involvement in Afghanistan.

19.  Hail Ceasar.  If nothing else, this movie is worth seeing for George Clooney as the befuddled movie star Baird Whitlock. But the cast is sensational (Tilda Swenson, Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansen, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Frances McDormand)

20. Arrival.  This is one of those really well-done, well-acted movies that hints at some deep meaning. But I really didn't get it. 

Worst Movie of the Year:  Independence Day: Resurgence. Just awful

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


My mother after she retired worked occasionally as a Republican Party judge on election day. My oldest sister worked every election for years. They were staunch Republicans.

I worked my first election in 1972, handing out flyers for Democrat Phil Sharp, who was running an unsuccessful campaign for Congress (he was elected two years later).  I periodically worked polls, handing out campaign literature for various candidates -- some Republican, some Democrats. 

Then about 15 years ago, I planted my flag firmly with the Democratic Party. Since that time, I have worked primary and general elections in nearly every capacity. I have been a candidate visiting polling places and meeting voters on their way to cast their ballots. I've handed out literature for candidates and party slates. I've served as a runner, relaying voter turnout information during the course of the day.  I've worked inside the polls as the chief officer in charge of the polling place. This year I'm serving as an election day attorney available to protect the right to vote.

Having seen this process close up for years, I am outraged by Donald Trump's assertions that the election at the polling place "is rigged."  

There is no evidence that Donald Trump has ever worked a polling place or taken part in an election other than donating money. He has no idea how it works. As Arlo Guthrie might say, he's "gotta lot of damn gall" to call into question the veracity and honesty of hundreds of thousands of poll workers when he has never participated in the process.

It is a disservice to our American system that has been the envy of the world for 240 years.  

But more personally, it is a disservice to the hundreds of thousands of people in both parties, in every precinct in this country, who sacrifice their time, energy and sleep to put on an election. These are the people that make America's electoral process work. And these are the people Donald Trump is insulting when he talks about "rigged" elections.

Working an election is a thankless job.  First there is the training. Every worker has to go through a training session in which they are instructed on how the election process works, given a brief summary of Indiana election law, and instructed on the specific requirements of their jobs. 

In Indiana, the inspector usually arrives at the polling site at about 5 a.m. to begin setting up  The other workers come wandering in between 5:00 and 5:30,  help set up the machines and materials, and organize the flow from voter check in, to casting ballots.  

Oh, yes. They usually set up a table for the food they bring in and make some coffee. They have to bring in their own food because it is not provided. 

You see, poll workers cannot leave the polling place. They are at the site from before polls open at 6 a.m until after the polls close at 6 p.m.  It is not unusual for the inspector to not be finished with his job until 8 or 9 pm.  That's why you seldom see poll workers at the late night celebration or commiseration parties following elections. They are just too damn tired. 

During the day, these poll workers sit patiently, voter by voter, checking the registration book, checking the photo ID required by Indiana law, making sure the voter gets the correct ballot (more important in primary elections, but there still are precincts that sometimes are split for such things as township boards or school boards). And they deal with issues that inevitably crop up -- someone who is at the wrong polling place, someone who recently moved, or for several elections, someone who registered with the BMV when they got their license plate, but the registration didn't show up. Other times, particularly with elderly voters, their ID is expired because they no longer drive, which under Indiana law makes them ineligible to vote. The poll workers try to get these people to the closest BMV branch to get an ID, so they can return and vote before the polls close.  

Then sometimes there are the voters with disabilities that may need physical assistance. Working with GOP poll workers, we always were able to accommodate the disability and get the person's vote case. In one instance, it was someone whose hand shook so bad that they could not mark the ballot. So we read the ballot to her, she said who she wanted to vote for, and the GOP representative marked the ballot while I watched. On another occasions a young man had driven all the way from Purdue University to cast his first vote. There was a question about whether he had arrived by closing time at 6 pm, but the GOP representative and I conferred and agreed that neither of us could be so sure of the time on our watch as to deny him the opportunity to vote. He cast his vote. For whom, we neither knew nor cared.

That is the way elections in the country work, Mr. Trump. 

They are not liars. They are not crooks. They are not cheats. 

They are hard working people in every single community in this nation. They get up long before sunrise and work long after the sun sets, united by their belief that voting matters. Just like those who serve in the military, or fight fires, or protect and serve, or show up for jury duty, they are everyday American heroes.

To call this uniquely American process "rigged" is the greatest insult of the many Donald Trump has spewed this campaign.

Those poll workers deserve respect and thanks. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

September 11: A Hard Rain Fell --- Fifteen Years Later

Fifteen years ago, the morning of September 11 started as a bright and beautiful late summer day across Indiana. As I did every morning, I took my dogs for a walk, planning my day, thinking about phone calls to make and letters to write. I returned home to get ready for work, help my daughter on to her school bus, and take a quick look at the news while I dressed.

Then at 7:46 everything changed. We changed. America changed.

Solosez is the ABA-sponsored e-mail list of solo and small firm lawyers. At the time, it was an electronic community of more than 900 lawyers, helping each other with legal questions, sharing jokes, bickering over politics. Fifteen years later, Solosez is still much the same, although its growth has meant that there isn’t quite the closeness among its members that there was fifteen years ago.

Like all America, Solosez started September 11 as other work days: postings about bankruptcies, products liability, divorce. But after 7:48, the messages changed. Those messages intimately record the shock, fears, concerns and grief of a nation. Below are the events and emotions of September 11, 2001 as they happened.


Bankruptcy question - You have about about two weeks after the discharge until the case is closed. Sheryl Cramer, Lawton, OK

Subject: Ford recall - Does anyone have any case law about Ford recalling faulty starters? - Jean Moyer

World Trade Center Attack - I am hearing reports that there has been another terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.  Patrick W Begos, New York

Go to or or any news site you can get to. Two jets have crashed into the World Trade Center - one on each tower. There are gaping holes in both buildings and flames are shooting out. Its a horrible scene. I was watching it on the Today Show. A 737 veered into the second tower. Absolutely horrible. I cant believe I just saw this happen.  Ross Kodner, Milwaukee

It has also just been reported that another hijacked airliner has also just crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC! ! Alan Pearlman, Chicago

I just passed by the site on the way to my office. There was mass confusion, running and screaming in the streets while flames were shooting out of one of the towers. My office shook as the second explosion hit.  Joseph Handlin, New York City

The entire southern tip of Manhattan is now covered with smoke or dust from debris as one of the towers may have collapsed. This is bad, very bad. I have friends near the towers and in the Pentagon.  Ed Lawson

I could see the smoke from the Pentagon from the US Dept of Transportation building several miles away in SW DC.  Joel R Bennett, Washington, DC

I am two blocks from the White House .... they are evacuating it...sirens all over town.  Reid Trautz, Washington D.C.

Reid, there were earlier reports on NBC of a fire at the OLD EOB across the street from the White House. Is that happening? Get the hell out of there!  Sterling L. DeRamus

NBC showed footage that clearly showed the top 1/3 or 1/ 2 of the second tower has completely collapsed. It’s completely gone. Ross Kodner, Milwaukee

In NYC the UN has been evacuated. I am no longer receiving TV signals except for CBS and through Cable.  Christina Kallas, New York City

Lets all say a prayer for both the victims and those who must go in harms way to rescue survivors and contain the hazards. Jeffrey Allen McCann, Pensacola

My Associate has come into my room in floods of tears saying the Twin Towers have been demolished by a plane flying into them and Pentagon is on fire. As an expatriate I am just feeling very far away today. This is so upsetting. What is going on?  Valerie Macadam, Edinburgh, Scotland

ln Houston: Chase Tower evacuated, Enron Building evacuated, and Reliant Tower is to be evacuated next. Arlen M. Driscoll, Houston

Upstate New York District Courts are all closing or closed. I havent felt like this since JFK was assassinated, but this is so much larger.  Marion Chase Pacheco, Syracuse

As for Chicago, The Daley Civic Center closed, all suburban courthouses closed, Sears Tower closed. Mass Exodus from the downtown loop back to everyone’s homes !  Alan Pearlman, Chicago

Baltimore Metro Area: Roads leading into and out of the city being closed. Federal Building being evacuated. This is surreal.  Eleanor Naiman, Baltimore

Lots of AW/Cs seen in the sky over Oklahoma City. State offices have been shut down. My Mom called and told me to go home.  Melissa A. Shomben Oklahoma City, OK

My daughter lives in Brooklyn and drives to work through lower Manhattan. She called that she made it to work and was safe. She had seen both crashes into the WTC and the collapses which have traumatized her.  Dick Howland, New York

My former firm, Thacher Proffitt & Wood, had its offices at 2 WTC. I shudder to think how many people I know and worked with died today. Christina Kallas, New York City

Everyone is in a state of disbelief and worrying about friends and family who are stateside. I personally have dealings with several attorneys at Hill Betts and Nash in the World Trade Center, and l fear that I will not see them again. Go home and hug your loved ones.  Andy Simpson, Christiansted, U. S. Virgin Islands

The office upstairs represent pilots and flight crews. They knew several people on the planes that went down from Boston, I had friends working next door to the Trade Center and a partner had two relatives working in the Trade Center. Maybe just too close.  Ed Lawson

I shudder to think how many people I know and worked with died today. My church has scheduled a prayer service at noon today. I suggest everyone with a religious bent take a moment or two today to pray for the victims of this atrocity and for peace.  Charles Kelley

Colleen - Are you okay? I dont know where your office is. . Let us know that you are okay. Saundra M. Gamerove

Has anyone heard from J ay Fleishman? He has an office in the WTC area.  Colleen Samuels, New York City

Colleen (and everyone else):- I as well as my entire office staff are alive and well. We are, of course, not in business right now and l don’t know when we will be. Jay Fleischman, New York City

I went to the hardware store - where they had run out of flags this morning but had since restocked. Now my new flag is flying. God bless America. Jimmy L. Vernet; Jr, Dallas, Texas

I am blocking out Friday afternoon to donate blood. I have also made a donation to the American Red Cross. I urge everyone to do the same. I am going to take my daughters to the park now. I need to watch them play for a while.  Neal A. Kennedy, Marble Falls, Texas

I am a social worker as well as an attorney. Due to the downed telephone lines I am unable to reach anyone in NY If any organization needs someone for crisis counseling or any other help, please let me know. Colleen Samuels, New York City

Well, I waited for SIX HOURS, but one pint of my finest blood is now sitting at the local Red Cross center. Sasha Golden, Needham, MA

In the weeks to come, the people of NYC will be inundated with forms they will need to fill out. There will be insurance forms, FEMA fomis, SBA small business loan. Lets send a busload or two of volunteers to NYC to help with these forms.  Frank J. Kautz, II, Boston

There will be an awful lot of New York lawyers who need fast advice and help on how to get their practices going again from a technology perspective. 1 will happily offer my consulting services at no charge.  Ross Kodner, Milwaukee

Washington Rock - General George Washington stood there 225 years ago while the county was under attack and looked across to Manhattan. He saw the British coming. Standing there today, looking across the river, seeing the void in the skyline, showed the work of another enemy. lt was chilling.  John R. Parker; Flemington, NJ

I can’t help but keep remembering, over and over, how wonderfully quiet and peaceful Washington, D.C., was when I was there last November. Are those times all behind us now?  Gena Holmes

I ask you to join me - Let there be abundant peace from heaven, And lifes goodness for us and for all humanity. He who ordains the order of the universe Will mercifully bring peace To us and to all humanity. Let us say: Amen  Jay Goldenberg

Jay, thanks for reminding me that even at the most awful of times, our prayer is for peace. Susan Freiman

On the street, I could see that WTC One was burning from its upper stories; curlicues of paper were floating down, glittering in the light, I saw people running past, some of them crying, as I stood immobilized, watching the flames. Then there was an explosion, and fragments of glass rained down on my head. I saw a huge hole in the roof of a building two blocks from World Trade Center. I began running away from the burning buildings, wondering what would blow up next. I started to walk, looking back over my shoulder repeatedly at the burning towers. Someone behind me shouted, “there are people jumpingl” and I turned to see a black dot, almost certainly a human dot, fall from the top of a tower. A few minutes after I got home I was watching live coverage on CNN as World Trade Center 2 collapsed, then building 1 a few minutes later. I thought of words of a Bob Dylan song:

I 've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests,
I ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans,
I 've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard,
And its a hard rain a-gonna fall.

The glass I picked out of my hair an hour later was a hard rain.  Jonathan Wallace

Sunday, May 22, 2016

100th Indy 500: The Greatest Starting Field -- 33 Best in Indy's First Century

For the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, here are my selections for the all-time Indy 500 starting field. 
Row 1:

A.J. Foyt: First 4 time winner; 35 consecutive starts.

Rick Mears: 4 time winner; record 6 pole positions

Wilbur Shaw: 3 time winner, and nearly four in a row. Convinced Tony Hulman to buy the Speedway, and served as its President

Row 2:

Bill Vukovich: In short career, 2-time winner, but nearly won 4 in a row; killed while leading in 1955. The stuff of legends.

Al Unser, Sr.: 4 time winner; record top 5 finishes.

Bobby Unser: 3 time winner; 9 times started on the front row. 

Row 3:

Helio Castroneves: 3 time winner, including his first two 500s; close second twice.

Mario Andretti: Only one win, but a Speedway icon. Hampered with bad luck to point that "Mario is slowing down" became an Indy catch phrase. 

Johnny Rutherford: 3 time winner dominated in 1970s through mid-1980s.

Row 4:

Louis Meyer: First 3-time winner; started tradition of drinking milk in Victory Lane; later his engineering firm provided the mighty Meyer-Drake Offenhauser engines that dominated Indycar's roadster era.

Jim Clark: Only 5 races, with one win and two seconds. Shy Scotsman changed the Indy 500, driving successful rear-engine car in 1963, and leading a wave of European drivers to Indy. 

Dario Franchiti: Another Scottsman, won 3 times in 5 years, including the epic battle with Takuma Sato in 2012. Only disappointment -- he never took the checkered flag when the race was under green.

Row 5:

Al Unser, Jr.: 2 time winner continued the Unser legacy, winning the closest 500 ever and losing out in a wheel-to-wheel duel with Emerson Fittipaldi

Roger Ward: 2 time winner. Between 1959 and 1964, he never finished worse than fourth.

Juan Pablo Montoya: 2 time winner, his wins separated by 15 years.

Row 6:

Parnelli Jones: "Rufus" only raced at Indy seven times, breaking the 150 mph barrier in 1962, and winning in 1963. He had victory in sight in 1967, driving the STP turbine, but a $2 part failed with only 3 laps left. He never drove at Indy again.

Mauri Rose: 3 time winner, co-driving the winning car in 1941. Career interrupted during its peak by WWII, when there was no Indy 500 for four years.

Ralph DePalma: The first great legend at the 500. He lead 196 laps in 1912 only to have his car break down with just over 1 lap to go. He and his mechanic pushed the car to the start/finish line, but they were still a lap short. He returned to win the 1915 race.

Row 7:

Dan Weldon: Popular 2-time winner, including 2011 race when race leader JR Hildebrand crashed on the last turn of the last lap. Tragically killed in a 15 car crash later that year

Gordon Johncock: Often underrated driver. Winner of the race no one wanted to remember (1973) and the race no one could forget (1982 duel with Rick Mears).

Tommy Milton:  First 2 time winner (1921, 1923)

Row 8:

Emerson Fittipaldi: 2 time winner and 2 time World Driving Champion. 

Arie Luyendyk: Popular 2 time winner, he still holds the track record for qualifying some 20 years later.

Jim Rathmann: Three times second place, he finally won in 1960 after a 100-lap wheel-to-wheel duel with Roger Ward. Many race historians consider it the greatest Indianapolis 500 ever.

Row 9:

Scott Dixon: 2008 Indy 500 winner and 4 time Indycar national champion. And he's not done.

Mark Donohue: Roger Penke's first driver. His short Indy career changed the sport, making engineering as important as driving. Winner in 1972 

Tony Kanaan: His 2013 win was one of the most popular ever at the Indy 500, following more than a decade of constantly leading and coming close.

Row 10:

Michael Andretti:  Only non-winner on the list. He has led more laps than any other non-winner, but he continued the terrible Andretti luck at the Speedway, including the 1992 race when he led 160 laps before his car failed in the lead with only 11 laps left.

Jimmy Murphy: Won both the Indy 500 (1922) and the French Grand Prix, making clear that American drivers could compete world wide.

Billy Arnold: Won in 1930 by largest margin ever, leading 198 laps.

Row 11:

Ray Harroun: Won first Indy 500, then promptly retired. The legend of his rear view mirror continues to this day.

Frank Lockhart: Only raced twice at Indy, winning the race in his rookie year (1926), then winning the pole the following year and leading 110 laps before mechanical problems sidelined him. He was killed attempting a land speed record at Daytona Beach before he could race at Indy again.

Bill Holland: A rookie at age 41, in his first three races he drove Lou Moore's Blue Crown Spark Plug Special to second, second and first. Many maintain he should have won twice, but teammate Maury Rose ignored an "EZ" sign from the pits while Holland obeyed. When Rose passed Holland late in the race, Holland thought Rose was simply unlapping himself and that he (Holland) still had the race in hand. Holland even waived at his teammate as he passed. But Rose was actually taking the lead and the win.