Since I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in any quick play Chess event this story failed to appear on the AWdar until this morning when it was brought to my attention. Most people involved with Chess assumed there would be major changes after the pandemic ended, and it has been interesting watching the change from my perspective, but it has not been good for the older players who seem to either have “lost something” like the “edge” they had prior to the pandemic. On the other side of the board it has been very interesting watching the much younger players, many of whom have seemed to come from nowhere to threaten the hegemony of their elders. Just the other day Chessbase published an article, Which countries have the most inflated Elo ratings? (https://en.chessbase.com/post/which-countries-have-the-most-inflated-elo-chess-players) Those of us old enough to remember a time ‘back in the day’ when the United States Chess Federation ratings were frozen for quite some time recall the “shake-out” that followed. Then there has been the ‘Rise of the Programs’. Again ‘back in the day’ we followed the moves and ideas produced by Grandmasters because, well, you know, they were GRANDMASTERS. These daze grandmasters utilize Chess programs to learn the correct way to play Chess. It must be difficult for grandmasters to wrap their minds around the fact that compared to the Chess programs, such as the Stockfish program used at Lichess.com, they have been regulated to second class status. Such is life…
The following story headlines the “TOP 10 RIGHT NOW” on the CHEAT SHEET at The Daily Beast:
Chess Grandmaster Banned From Prize Events After Racist Rant
‘NO PLACE’ AJ McDougall
Breaking News Rrporter Published Feb. 06, 2023
Another day, another scandal in the cutthroat world of online chess. On Monday, Chess.com—one of the largest such platforms in the world—said that it would hit a 2578-rated Georgian grandmaster with a partial ban after he was caught spewing racist vitriol and berating staff on a tournament stream. The grandmaster, Baadur Jobava, launched into the rant last Friday after losing to Xiangyu Xu, a Chinese grandmaster,
at a qualifier for the Airthings Masters, according to Esports.gg. In footage of a conversation between Jobava and a moderator that surfaced on Reddit that day, the Georgian player can be heard saying, “This bitch fucked up. Ban all Chinese too. These motherfuckers. Not right. Call them. Not right.” (https://www.reddit.com/r/chess/comments/10srym0/jobava_during_the_airthings_qualifiers_ban_all/) After getting off the call with the moderator, Jobava continued to rant, accusing Xu of cheating and Chess.com of failing to take action, “just sit and commentating bullshit.” In a statement to the “Global Chess Community” on Monday, a Chess.com official said that Jobava’s account would be banned “for all prize events” through the end of the year in light of his “racial and incendiary comments.”
Two United States Senators, Richard Burr, from North Carolina, and Kelly Loeffler, from Georgia, both Republicans, have been caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar. Excerpts from an article written by The Editorial Board of the New York Times follow, with a focus on Senator Loeffler. Loeffler was appointed to the seat vacated by Johnny Isakson by the Republican Governor, Brian Kemp. Kemp obtained office by thwarting eligible voters from voting, even when called on to resign his position as Georgia’s Secretary Of State. It is the Secretary of State who controls voting, proving it’s not just who votes, but who counts the vote. (https://whowhatwhy.org/2018/11/02/its-not-just-who-votes-its-who-counts-the-votes/)
In Georgia, as in much of the South, this has just been ‘business as usual’. The woman has no background in government. Her only qualification is MONEY! I cannot help but wonder what it cost the woman to become US Senator? When the COVID-19 virus runs its course this will change because the volcano is rumbling as I write.
Kelly Loeffler should have already resigned the office of US Senator. Since she has not resigned, the woman should resign IMMEDIATELY! Read on and you will understand why…
Did Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler Profit From the Pandemic?
At least two senators engaged in suspiciously timed stock sales. All stock trades by members of Congress should be barred.
By The Editorial Board
March 20, 2020
Crisis often brings out the best in a people. As the coronavirus spreads its devastation, countless Americans are stepping up to perform acts of heroism and compassion, both great and small, to aid their neighbors and their nation.
Then there are certain not-so-inspiring members of the United States Senate.
Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, and Kelly Loeffler, Republican of Georgia, are in the hot seat this week, facing questions about whether they misused their positions to shield their personal finances from the economic fallout of the pandemic, even as they misled the public about the severity of the crisis. According to analyses of their disclosure reports filed with the Senate, the lawmakers each unloaded major stock holdings during the same period they were receiving closed-door briefings about the looming pandemic.
These briefings were occurring when much of the public still had a poor grasp of the virus, in part because President Trump and many Republican officials were still publicly playing down the threat. Instead of raising their voices to prepare Americans for what was to come, Mr. Burr and Ms. Loeffler prioritized their stock portfolios, in a rank betrayal of the public trust — and possibly in violation of the law.
It is unclear precisely what information about the pandemic either Mr. Burr or Ms. Loeffler received in the briefings before their stock sales. But any use of nonpublic information in guiding such dealings would have been not only unethical but almost certainly illegal. Lawmakers and their aides are explicitly barred from using nonpublic information for trades by the STOCK Act of 2012 (the acronym stands for Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge). Mr. Burr of all people should know this, since he was one of only three senators to vote against the bill.
As chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Mr. Burr is privy to classified information about threats to America’s security. In February, his committee was receiving regular briefings about the coronavirus. He is also a member of the Health Committee, which, on Jan. 24, co-sponsored a private coronavirus briefing by top administration officials for all senators.
Ms. Loeffler, who also sits on the Health Committee, is in a similarly sticky situation. On the very day of the committee’s coronavirus briefing, she began her own stock sell-off, as originally reported by The Daily Beast. Over the next three weeks, she shed between $1,275,000 and $3.1 million worth of stock, much of it jointly owned with her husband, who is the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. Of Ms. Loeffler’s 29 transactions, 27 were sales. One of her two purchases was of a technology company that provides teleworking software. That stock has appreciated in recent weeks, as so many companies have ordered employees to work from home.
Early Friday, Ms. Loeffler issued a statement asserting that neither she nor her husband is involved in managing her portfolio.
Even as she was shedding shares, Ms. Loeffler was talking down the threat of the coronavirus. “Democrats have dangerously and intentionally misled the American people on Coronavirus readiness,” she tweeted on Feb. 28, assuring the public that the president and his team “are doing a great job working to keep Americans healthy & safe.”
As anxiety spread, she talked up the economy. “Concerned about the #coronavirus?” she tweeted on March 10. “Remember this: The consumer is strong, the economy is strong & jobs are growing, which puts us in the best economic position to tackle #COVID19 & keep Americans safe.”
Faced with calls for his resignation from across the political spectrum, Mr. Burr on Friday issued a statement insisting that his stock sales had been based solely on public information and that he had asked the Senate Ethics Committee to “open a complete review of the matter with full transparency.”
There is pressure for Ms. Loeffler to step down as well, and the recent stock dealings of other senators are now being dissected — as well they should be.
One might have expected lawmakers to be more circumspect about even the appearance of self-dealing after what happened to the Republican Chris Collins, the former congressman from New York, who was sentenced to 26 months in prison earlier this year after pleading guilty to insider trading charges. While at a White House picnic in June 2017, Mr. Collins repeatedly called to alert his son that a small pharmaceutical company in which the family was deeply invested had failed a critical drug trial. Based on the not-yet-public information, Mr. Collins’s son unloaded his holdings in the company, avoiding hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.
“What I’ve done has marked me for life,” Mr. Collins said tearfully at his sentencing hearing in January.
Apparently, more needs to be done to protect lawmakers from themselves. Last May, two Democratic senators, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, introduced legislation requiring members to place personal investments in a blind trust, or hold off on making any trades, during their time in office. They would also be prohibited from serving on corporate boards.
There may, of course, be perfectly reasonable explanations for what, initially, appears to be illegal — and morally reprehensible — behavior. Mr. Burr and Ms. Loeffler deserve the opportunity to provide those explanations. The Senate should initiate an ethics investigation of all accusations, and, if warranted, refer relevant findings for criminal prosecution
That said, explicit criminality aside, the real scandal here is the way in which these public servants misled an already anxious and confused public. In times of crisis, the American people need leaders who will rise to the occasion, not sink to their own mercenary interests.
Jimmy Carter Calls For Georgia Secretary Of State’s Resignation In Personal Plea
I was born and raised in the Great State of Georgia. I recall reading about a study some time ago in which Americans were asked how strongly they identified with their region. Unsurprisingly, Southern people identified most strongly with their region. As the saying goes, “You can take the boy out of the South, but you cannot take the South out of the boy.” We Southern folk know it goes even further than just region. During a conversation while living in the beautiful North Carolina mountain area of what is called the “WNC,” I mentioned something about “we,” as in “We are from the South.” One fellow shot a question, “Where are you from?” After answering, “The Atlanta area,” he fired back, “You ain’t one of us!” Obviously, some of the folks in the WNC region identify strongly with that area…
Georgia is a large state, geographically speaking. Most of the population is concentrated in the larger metropolitan areas. Politically speaking, the forward looking and thinking people live in the cities. The more conservative thinking people, who oppose change of any kind, live in the rural areas, which was known during the last election cycle as “Trump country.” Georgia is, therefore, a greatly diverse, and divided, state.
If you live in the US you are probably aware of the Republican State Congressman, Jason Spencer,
who greatly embarrassed our state on TV recently. If you live in other parts of the world, as do many of my readers, you may not have heard of the debacle. In case you missed it, here is Jason, the Republican, in all his glory:
Here are a few articles written after Jason made a fool of himself on national TV:
GOP Lawmaker Jason Spencer Strips Down, Screams ‘N-Word’ on Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Who Is America?’
The second episode of Baron Cohen’s Showtime series upped the ante with Dick Cheney and a seriously unhinged state representative from Georgia.