comics, des moines, humor, Iowa, Pop Culture

HOT SHEET: This post affirms all your confirmation biases and also talks about Busch Light and ranch dressing

Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: Watching the New York Yankees this season and in the playoffs has provided about as much joy as chewing aluminum foil. Where have you gone, Mariano Rivera? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

ITEM TWO: I filled out my absentee ballot in the front seat of my battered Dodge Charger. I mailed the ballot about 11 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. I voted. I decline to say who I voted for, but incumbents did well at least on the soil and water commission and county hospital board of trustees.

ITEM THREE: Anyone who calls me, sends me mail or otherwise shows up in my feed jibber-jabbering about their favorite candidate or how their opponent will destroy America like Godzilla far gone on cocaine and Guinness, please see Item Two and fuck right off.

ITEM IV: Please welcome Item IV, who replaces Item 4 who had replaced the late Item Four. Anything you’d like to say to the Hot Sheet audience, Item IV? “Yes. Thank you. We’ve got to play them one day at a time. I’m happy to be here and hope I can help with the ball club. … Hey, Item Five? Is that … is that a Caesar salad you’re eating? Is this some kind of ethnic joke you’re making because of my Roman heritage? I say unto thee, I shall not let such a slight pass. CRY HAVOC AND LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR!”

ITEM FIVE: Shit. What is it with these guys in the four slot?

ITEM SIX: Hawkeyes. Cyclones. Murder. Busch Light. Best tenderloin. Ranch dressing. The typist doesn’t have anything to say about these topics. He simply includes them because he’s trying to pander to the people who can only talk about these things by tricking search engines to get said audience to click on this website by accident.

ITEM SEVEN: The preceding item was a joke, but I guarantee you pandering and trickery are the primary drivers of news judgment in most corporate news outlets today.

ITEM EIGHT: It’s probably too late to mention this, but aren’t the challengers who spit out the words “politician” and “Washington insider” seeking to become exactly the same thing?

ITEM NINE: Belated new comics Wednesday recommendations:

  • Batman: The Three Jokers concludes its excellent three-issue run on Oct. 28. Pick up the first two issues at your local funny book shop. The exploration of the fractured relationship between Batman and Jason Todd, the second Robin, engages fresh character development in the Bat Family. It also challenges the wisdom of Batman bringing his surrogate children into a war with super psychopaths capable of such villainy as paralyzing Batgirl and murdering the second Robin. (He got better. It’s comics.)
  • Marvel Fanfare No. 10 Facsimile Edition features one of the best Black Widow stories in the character’s history from 1982. These facsimile editions are fun to both read a comic with its original advertising and have to display. This one is an especially good value because the artwork is by master craftsman George Perez.
  • Wonder Woman No. 1 Facsimile Edition (1987) reprints the late 1980s reboot for Wonder Woman. And how lucky are we to get two reprints of George Perez’s artwork in the same month. Both the Wonder Woman and the Black Widow reprints were meant to hype movies — “WW84” and “Black Widow” — whose release dates were delayed due to the pandemic.

ITEM LAST: The Chicago Bears play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a pro football game Thursday night. The typist has night class and will miss the first part of the game. He will periodically punch himself in the face to simulate the experience of rooting for the Bears.

Daniel P. Finney is a middle-aged loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the semicolon, the emdash, the pilcrow in a world where criminals operate above the paragraphs.

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way telling stories about his city, state and nation. No more metrics or Google trends, he writes stories about people and life ignored by the oligarchy. is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I launch this new venture continuing the journalism you’ve demanded. Visit

humor, People, sports

Moments: What we can all learn about 2020 from the last day of the 1951 baseball season

Today is the last day of the Major League Baseball season.

Well, maybe.

It depends on how the St. Louis Cardinals do. They might have to play as many as two more games after today because of byzantine complications brought about by a COVID-19-shortened season that proved acute in the Cardinals’ clubhouse.

The Cardinals play for a playoff berth, a customary position for the team that trails only the New York Yankees in World Series titles won.

Another St. Louis team played for another kind of glory some 69 years ago — one that I think provides a lesson for this rugged year.

The current Baltimore Orioles once played in St. Louis as the St. Louis Browns.

They shared Sportsman’s Park with the Cardinals, but they seldom matched the success of their roommates.

Writers described St. Louis, once an industrial titan in footwear and, of course, Budweiser beer: “First in booze, first in shoes, last in the American League.”

That certainly held true in 1951. The Browns won 52 games against 102 losses and finished the year 46 games behind the New York Yankees.

But on Sunday, Sept. 30, Pitcher Ned Garver took the mound in pursuit of his 20th win.

Garver held the curious distinction of being the best player on the worst team in the league. He pitched 24 complete games in 30 starts and won 19 games with 12 losses.

Garver had won nearly 40 percent of the team’s games that year.

He possessed athleticism so great that when pitched, manager Zach Taylor batted Garver sixth. Garver hit .305 that season, an average the beat all the Browns’ regular position players.

The season had been a joke in which Browns owner Bill Veeck made the team its own punchline. Veeck signed 3-foot-7 Eddie Gaedel to a one-game contract. Gaedel came to bat as a first-inning pinch-hitter in the second game of a doubleheader against Detroit.

Detroit pitcher Bob Cain tried to squeeze a ball into Gaedel’s strike zone, estimated at being less than 2 inches tall. Gaedel walked on four pitches and was replaced by a pinch-runner.

Garver, though, was a serious star for the Browns. Boston Red Sox hitting savant Ted Williams once said of Garver: “He could throw anything up there and get me out.”

(The Splendid Splitter was being generous. He batted .419 against Garver.)

The Chicago White Sox were in St. Louis for the final series of the year. The White Sox played to a more respectable fourth in the American League that season but were well out of the hunt that Sunday at Sportsman’s Park.

Garver retired the side in order in the first. He allowed a single to Ray Coleman in the second and walked Bud Stewart, before getting out of trouble with a strikeout and a groundout.

The Browns scored twice in the bottom of the first, including an RBI single by Garver to centerfield.

Staked to a 2-0 lead, however, Garver faltered in third and surrendered a two-run single to Ray Coleman with two outs in the frame.

St. Louis’ Earl Rapp singled in two more runs for the Browns in the third to put them up 4-2.

Again, Garver struggled with a lead. Chicago’s Joe DeMaestri hit a two-run home run to tie the game.

Garver made up for his own struggles by hitting a home run in the bottom of the fourth off Chicago’s Randy Gumpert. The Browns again led 5-4.

Garver settled and allowed just one more run on a fielder’s choice in the top of the eighth inning.

The Browns scored four more times, including a two-run home run by Fred Marsh in the fifth.

The Browns won 9-5 and Garver, the kid from the village of Ney, Ohio, pop. 350, won his 20th game.

Garver became just the second pitcher in Major League Baseball history to win 20 games for a team with 100 or more losses — and the only one to do so with a winning record.

(Irv Young went 20-21 for the Boston Braves in 1905.)

The lesson of Garver’s 20-win season should be obvious for our age. The year 2020 has been one of loss and derision from the pandemic to politics.

At times, we’ve made ourselves the punchline to the world.

But in 1951, once every four or five days, Ned Garver took the mound for the Browns and they were as good or better than any team in the American League.

We should all seek our inner Ned Garver. We should seek to be our very best even when those around us and circumstances produce the very worst.

Garver did not win those 20 games alone. He was one of nine in the lineup each game he pitched.

Those men who otherwise struggled to produce wins raised their level of play because the man on the mound knew how to win in way that they otherwise did not.

Garver could have easily thrown away the 1951 season. He could have been a joke, like Eddie Gaedel.

He chose, instead, to be outstanding.

Though the baseball season (maybe) ends today, the year 2020 is far from finished.

Remember Ned Garver and go out each day with intent to succeed.

We can still rise to be our very best amidst this parade of horrible.

Daniel P. Finney is too legit, too legit to quit.

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way telling stories about his city, state and nation. No more metrics or Google trends, he writes stories about people and life ignored by the oligarchy. is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I launch this new venture continuing the journalism you’ve demanded. Visit

Crime and Courts, des moines, Des moines police, humor, Iowa, Media, News, People, Pop Culture, sports, Uncategorized

HOT SHEET: #OldManStudent update, NFL notes, Iowa celebrates small COVID-19 gain, absentee ballot confusion and police success stories

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Precinct Station.

ITEM ONE: Update on #OldManStudent. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker takes all his classes online via Zoom meetings at Drake University. This format works better than anticipated, but there are pitfalls. Example: Your typist’s bathroom is about 12 feet from his computer. Always remember to mute your microphone when you answer nature’s call because mics will pick up certain sounds one would just as soon remain private.

ITEM TWO: Other Zoom meeting notes: No one looks good eating a sub sandwich on camera. If you happen to have the NFL season opener on in the background, mute the TV and make sure the TV is not in direct line of the camera.

ITEM THREE: The NFL season began Thursday. The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs beat the Houston Texans. It still feels odd to say “defending champion Kansas City Chiefs,” perhaps the only good thing to occur in 2020. Then again, I’m old enough that it feels weird not to say Houston Oilers. The Bears also did well Thursday evening. The team owes this mostly to not having played.

ITEM FOUR: The typist turns almost all his sporting attention to pro football. His beloved New York Yankees cling to the eighth seed in the American League playoffs. This spot only exists because baseball executives expanded the playoffs to make up for the coronavirus-shortened 60-game regular season. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker questions the wisdom of Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman’s “protect all prospects” approach. The typist grimly notes the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals have won more World Series in the last decade than the Yankees. The Yankee batters may be “savages in the box,” but they’re sad sacks in the standings.

ITEM FIVE: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds held a press conference to celebrate Iowa dropping from No. 1 in coronavirus spread to No. 3. Wow. What an accomplishment. What did Reynolds do, bus some people to Missouri?

ITEM SIX: Just a day after Hot Sheet warned of absentee ballot confusion from well-meaning non-profits, two Iowa judges ruled absentee request forms that were pre-filled with the voter’s name and address were improper, per the Associated Press. The county auditors in Woodbury and Johnson counties sent the request forms to make it easier for people to seek absentee ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic. Again, the typist supports efforts to increase voter turnout. However, at some point people must take responsibility for themselves — especially in challenging circumstances. To quote retired Drake University professor Herb Strentz, “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”

ITEM SEVEN: Recommended viewing for the weekend:

  • Louisiana at Iowa State, noon, Saturday, ESPN. The Cyclones are playing without fans in the stands and the Hawkeyes aren’t playing until spring. Regardless of your allegiance in the Cy-Hawk rivalry, you might as well give ISU your eyeballs.
  • Philadelphia Eagles at the Washington Football Team, noon, Sunday, regional coverage. Hot Sheet knows no teams of regional interest play in this game, but we want to see how many times the announcers accidentally say “Redskins” and then fall all over themselves to apologize.
  • The Boys, Season 2, streaming on Amazon Prime: Superheroes with sex, blood and breast milk reheated with heat vision. I’m not making this up.

ITEM LAST: Lest we be cajoled into thinking the local constabulary only makes news in officer-involved shootings or amid racial tensions, Hot Sheet turns your attention to three items of note in the most recent Des Moines city news letter.

  • Chief Dana Wingert promoted Lillie Miller to captain, naming her the first Black female captain in the department’s history. Miller, an officer since 1999, was also the department’s first Black female lieutenant under former chief Judy Bradshaw.
  • Jeff Edwards, a former public information officer and DMPD Medal of Valor recipient also attained his captaincy.
  • Wingert recognized Senior Police Officer Scott Newman, a 21-year veteran and a member of the department’s tactical unit, with the DMPD Lifesaving Award. Newman rescued five people from a burning car wreck on his way home from work early July 5.

The typist takes a lot of heat from liberal extremists for his support of police. That’s fine. Honorable people disagree. And who gives a damn what dishonorable people think? The ol’ Paragraph Stacker recognizes every police department has problems. No one lives in a utopia. But the typist notes that no matter how bad things get, no matter how many people hate them — when the shit breaks bad and the citizenry cries out for help, the police come running.

OK. That’s it. Listen to our podcast. Be careful out there and, as always, donations welcome and appreciated.

Behave and be kind.

Daniel P. Finney hopes Rick will finally return him to Earth C-137.

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way poking fun at the passing parade. is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I launch this new venture continuing the journalism you’ve demanded. Visit

News, sports

Why a depressed football player and an anxious baseball player should give us all hope

Photo by Owen Lystrup via Unsplash

Two sports stories popped up Saturday that I thought were important beyond the ongoing and exasperating discussions of pandemic preparedness and social justice.

The University of Texas cornerback Kobe Boyce announced he was “taking a step away from football” to focus on mental health. Boyce cited depression.

Boyce is a junior who played in 19 games for Texas, including six starts.

I commend this young man for being so open about something that society still has a hard time talking about — mental health.

I know how hard it is to live with depression. I have lived with it most of my life. I control it with medication and talk therapy.

I have been open about this for years. I’ve talked about it. I’ve written about it. I’ve podcasted about it. I’ve tweeted about it. I will continue to do so.

I have my own kind of recognition from my time as a paid paragraph stacker for the local corporate news outlet store.

But I am not a player for the Texas Longhorns, one of the premier programs in college football.

Boyce openly said he was depressed. That is tough.

Sports comes with a culture that despises weakness or the perception of weakness.

Some of that, I suppose, is necessary. To compete at the top levels of amateur and pro sports, one must meet the highest physical and mental demands of the game.

If you cannot reach those levels, you cannot contribute in the way that your coach, your team and your sport demands.

Sports accepts injuries of the physical kind. Broken bones and ligament tears of all kinds are understood.

There was a time when this wasn’t true. I know older sports fans — and older retired players — who glorify playing with injuries that left players crippled after their careers.

Today, people expect top quality medical treatment for all sport-related injuries. Even an obese wobbler like me goes to a sports medicine doctor for pain in his knees and back.

What Boyce has done is say he is injured in another kind of way. He’s hurting in a way that you can’t see.

There’s no limp with depression. His body may look shredded, but his mind is not right.

I am sorry he is dealing with depression. It’s hard to describe the disorder to people who have not walked that path. It’s like looking directly into the sun and not being able to see light. It’s like taking a deep breath and feeling like a tank is parked on your chest.

And, if it goes on long enough, it’s a numbness. You can see joy. You can recognize fun. But all you feel is the dull desire to sleep and shut out all stimuli.

I don’t know Boyce, of course. I don’t know what he’s been through or how he came to recognize he was in pain.

But he has done the most important thing any of us with mental health issues can do: Admit that it’s a problem and take steps to take care of it.

I pray for Boyce. I hope his care is top-flight. And I hope he saw the other sports story that caught my interest Saturday.

That is the story of Daniel Bard, a right-handed pitcher. Bard made the roster for the Colorado Rockies after a seven-year absence from baseball.

Bard came up with the Boston Red Sox but developed control problems, a condition baseball fans colloquially refer to as “the yips” or “hiccups.”

The issue is a legitimate mental health problem. Something goes wrong and an athlete starts to overthink motions that were once routine. Pretty soon they can’t find the strike zone or can’t make a throw to first base.

Baseball people are sympathetic to it, but they also fear it. The idea that one day you suddenly can’t do what you’ve always done — and done at such a high level — is absolutely terrifying.

Bard developed anxiety disorder. He remade his life. He got treatment. He got back into baseball as a pitching coach.

The guys he played catch with told him he still had good stuff. He should try to make camp.

He did. And he made it — from out of the game to all the way back.

Now, sometime in this bizarre, 60-game season, he’ll toe the mound again as a Major League Baseball player and whip the ball to the catcher.

I hope Bard has a terrific year, but even if his ERA or win-loss record isn’t great, he’s already an MVP.

The weight of mental health issues is one of the most difficult burdens for humans to bear. That Bard was able to regroup after all those years and earn a second chance in an unforgiving sport that casts aside people for far less faulty performance is a testament to his mental toughness.

“Mental toughness” is to sports what “resilience” is to psychology. All it means is you refuse to let your troubles define you.

I hope Texas’ Boyce reads about Colorado’s Bard and sees a path forward.

And I hope soon both men are enjoying the sunlight again.

Daniel P. Finney, independent journalist

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way telling stories about his city, state and nation. No more metrics or Google trends, he writes stories about people and life ignored by the oligarchy. is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I launch this new venture continuing the journalism you’ve demanded. Visit

Iowa, People, sports

MLB is telling rural Iowa it doesn’t matter

Photo by Jon Eckert via Unsplash

Major League Baseball keeps making me angrier.
The players and owners continue to squabble about money while Americans suffer through a necessary-but-excruciatingly painful national confrontation with racism, the coronavirus pandemic and unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression.

Baseball ceases being fun when sports writers become labor negotiation writers. No one cares about this. They just want to watch some games.

MLB was already on my turd list even before the pandemic. They plan to gut the minor leagues, a move that would destroy 42 teams — including three Iowa clubs.

The Burlington Bees, Clinton LumberKings and Quad Cities River Bandits in Davenport, all Class A affiliates, die under the plan and it looks like nothing can save them. The Cedar Rapids Kernels are exempted from extermination as are the Class AAA Iowa Cubs in Des Moines.

Some teams, like the urban Staten Island Yankees, a short-season club owned by the New York Yankees, might be saved by their MLB partners.

But good luck to clubs in communities like Burlington, Clinton and Davenport. Burlington and Clinton are cities of about 26,000 each, midsized by Iowa standards but small compared to the big cities MLB clubs make their home.

Davenport, with a population nearly 100,000, is Iowa’s third-largest city. Davenport is one of five cities in the Quad Cities that combine for a population of about 385,000. One would think MLB could squeeze a few bucks out of baseball fans in these communities, but it’s chump change compared to the big cities.

Make no mistake, because the message is clear, MLB doesn’t give a good goddamn about fans outside the big TV market cities. This is a poke in the eye to every lover of baseball in rural America or in a city less than 1 or 2 million people.

Actually, it’s far more than a poke — it’s a stab right in the heart of the identities of these communities.

“The implied message, intended or not, is you’re not viable, you’re not important,” said Paul Lasley, Iowa State University professor of sociology who focuses on rural American life. “They’ve crunched the numbers and said the return on investment is not paying off and they’re willing to lose fan loyalty and community support to get rid of it.”

Rural Iowa has faced consolidation in a slow march to extinction for almost 100 years. Schools close and consolidate. All but a handful of the state’s 99 counties continue to shrink each year. Post offices close. Iowans feel their identity, their way of life fading away.

Now big corporate America, the billionaires who own MLB teams, are coming for minor league clubs.

No sport trades on its history as much as baseball. MLB doesn’t care. If they did, they wouldn’t be in such a hurry to wipe out the Quad Cities River Bandits. In 1858, the first baseball game west of the Mississippi was played in Davenport, home of the River Bandits who are in a very real way a descendant of baseball’s early expeditions into the Midwest and beyond.

Each of those doomed clubs boasts great players who’ve travelled through their ranks: Matt Williams, Orel Hershiser, Mike Scoscia, Dave Stewart, Grady Sizemore, Denny McClain and Steve Sax all played ball — and that’s just the Burlington Bees.

MLB’s argument is they want to streamline the minors to improve the development of players. That’s a worthy goal. There has to be a way to do that without trashing rural America.

MLB doesn’t seem to care that at every one of those soon-to-be-expunged minor league games, somebody sees a baseball game for the first time.

A kid gets a ball autographed by a bonus baby on his way to stardom. 

They buy a hat and a soft-serve ice cream in an upside-down helmet. Parents teach their kids to keep score.

Someone falls in love with this beautiful, complicated, wonderful game for the first time.

Bonds are made. Stories are told. Memories minted.

But this kind of thing isn’t worth much to MLB. They’re a money machine. Their job is to make a handful of rich, white people fractionally richer. I guess that’s almost everybody’s job in post-middle class America.

Iowa, MLB is telling you that you don’t matter.

Don’t buy it. Even if they take your teams, remember this: These people are so greedy they can’t figure out how to play baseball in one of the worst periods in American history.

Maybe it’s Major League Baseball that doesn’t matter.

Daniel P. Finney, independent journalist

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way telling stories about his city, state and nation. No more metrics or Google trends, he writes stories about people and life ignored by the oligarchy. is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I launch this new venture continuing the journalism you’ve demanded. Visit

des moines, sports

Dear MLB players and owners: 2020 stinks and you’re making it worse

Photo: Ben Hershey via Unsplash

Dear Major League Baseball,
This year is awful enough and you’re making it worse.
Play ball already.

I get it. The coronavirus pandemic is a brutal bummer that’s fouled up just about everything in this country.

Whatever you do, someone is going to complain about it. That’s the nature of American discourse at this point.

That’s also the nature of baseball. We are fans who worry about the kind of chalk used to mark the first- and third-base lines. We don’t take well to new things.

But the thing we take to even less well is no baseball.

Remember 1994? 

Surely it takes more than 26 years for you to forget the strike that cancelled the World Series and bred a year’s worth of some of the most visceral anger ever seen outside of an MMA cage.

You screwed over the Montreal Expos’ one great chance to make the World Series. 

You may have ripped Don Mattingly’s best chance of winning the pennant out of the hands of the longtime New York Yankees first baseman. 

Both teams had the best records in their leagues when the strike wrecked the summer.

That was pain you brought on yourselves. No true fan really cares how much the owners and players make. They care about the game. 

They want to root, root, root for the home team, eat popcorn and ice cream, maybe throw 41 mph on the pitching machine under the stands.

They want to teach their kids how to keep score and why the outfielders and infielders move around when the big sluggers come up to bat.

They want to smell fresh-cut grass and stale domestic beer.

So in the pandemic, the fans can’t go to the parks. That stinks, but you better believe we would watch on TV.

Hell, we’ve been watching Korean baseball at 4 a.m.

Yesterday, we caught ourselves watching a video game competition on the internet.

Please, please, please play some games.

Nobody really cares how many games: 82, 114, 76 or 89.

Just play.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Derrick Gould, who covers the Cardinals, tweeted this: “There are more reasons for there to be baseball than reasons for there not to be. I see more ways for MLB to return and play than ways it does not happen.”

That sounds positive. Derrick is a smart guy, even-handed, not the kind of guy who goes around throwing his opinions about like a lunatic. That’s what I do.

I started to feel a little swell in my chest that things were going to finally be OK.

But the old journalistic maxim is: “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.” (This kind of talk is probably why most of America hates us.)

Against my better judgement, I texted Michael Gartner, owner of the Iowa Cubs. I asked if he thought they would get any games in at Principal Park this season.

“I don’t know,” he wrote back. “I don’t think anyone knows.”


Look, baseball is entertainment. Of the problems this country faces right now from the pandemic to confronting racism, baseball should be low on the list.

That said, everybody — even the most ardent protester, even the most socially distanced first responder, even the most unemployed independent newsman — needs a break.

And baseball is the break we need.

No, I don’t want owners to go broke for short-term good tidings. 

And, yes, I want players to be compensated for the risks they take playing in the middle of a pandemic.

I don’t know what the right number is for either of those problems.

What both players and owners should aim for is a July 4 start. It’s a Saturday. It’s the middle of summer. Fireworks at every stadium. 

Everybody understands 2020 is screwed. It won’t be like other summers, especially if there’s only a few or no fans at the park.

Noted and accepted.

Now, play ball.

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way telling stories about his city, state and nation. No more metrics or Google trends, he writes stories about people and life ignored by the oligarchy. is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I launch this new venture continuing the journalism you’ve demanded. Visit