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Dennis Donovan

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Member since: Wed Oct 15, 2008, 06:29 PM
Number of posts: 17,740

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41 Years Ago Today; Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park goes south on promoters


Disco Demolition Night was an ill-fated baseball promotion on July 12, 1979, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois. At the climax of the event, a crate filled with disco records was blown up on the field between games of the twi-night doubleheader between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers. Many of those in attendance had come to see the explosion rather than the games and rushed onto the field after the detonation. The playing field was so damaged by the explosion and by the fans that the White Sox were required to forfeit the second game to the Tigers.

In the late 1970s, dance-oriented disco music was popular in the United States, particularly after being featured in hit films such as Saturday Night Fever (1977). Disco sparked a backlash from rock music fans. This opposition was prominent enough that the White Sox, seeking to fill seats at Comiskey Park during a lackluster season, engaged Chicago shock jock and anti-disco campaigner Steve Dahl for the promotion at the July 12 doubleheader. Dahl's sponsoring radio station was 97.9 WLUP, so attendees would pay 98 cents and bring a disco record; between games, Dahl would destroy the collected vinyl in an explosion.

White Sox officials had hoped for a crowd of 20,000, about 5,000 more than usual. Instead, at least 50,000—including tens of thousands of Dahl's adherents—packed the stadium, and thousands more continued to sneak in after gates were closed. Many of the records were not collected by staff and were thrown like flying discs from the stands. After Dahl blew up the collected records, thousands of fans stormed the field and remained there until dispersed by riot police.

The second game was initially postponed, but forfeited by the White Sox the next day by order of American League president Lee MacPhail. Disco Demolition Night preceded, and may have helped precipitate, the decline of disco in late 1979; some scholars and disco artists have described the event as expressive of racism and homophobia. Disco Demolition Night remains well known as one of the most extreme promotions in Major League history.



Comiskey Park in 1990

In the weeks before the event, Dahl invited his listeners to bring records they wanted to see destroyed to Comiskey Park. He feared that the promotion would fail to draw people to the ballpark, and that he would be humiliated. The previous night's attendance had been 15,520, and Comiskey Park had a capacity of 44,492.[18] The White Sox were not having a good year, and were 40–46 going into the July 12 doubleheader. The White Sox and WLUP hoped for a crowd of 20,000, and Mike Veeck hired enough security for 35,000.

Owner Bill Veeck was concerned the promotion might become a disaster and checked himself out of the hospital, where he had been undergoing tests. His fears were substantiated when he saw the people walking towards the ballpark that afternoon; many carried signs that described disco in profane terms.

The doubleheader sold out, leaving at least 20,000 people outside the ballpark. Some leapt turnstiles, climbed fences, and entered through open windows. The attendance was officially reported as 47,795, though Bill Veeck estimated that there were anywhere from 50,000 to 55,000 in the park—easily the largest crowd of his second stint as White Sox owner. The Chicago Police Department closed off-ramps from the Dan Ryan Expressway near the stadium. Attendees were supposed to deposit their records into a large box, some 4 by 6 by 5 feet (1.2 by 1.8 by 1.5 m) tall; once the box was overflowing, many people brought their discs to their seats.

The first game was to begin at 6 pm CDT, with the second game to follow. Lorelei, a model who did public appearances for WLUP and who was popular in Chicago that summer for her sexually provocative poses in the station's advertisements, threw out the first pitch. As the first game began, Mike Veeck got word that thousands of people were trying to get into the park without tickets, and sent his security personnel to the stadium gates to keep them at bay. This left the field unattended, and fans began throwing the uncollected disco LPs and singles from the stands. Tigers designated hitter Rusty Staub remembered that the records would slice through the air, and land sticking out of the ground. He urged teammates to wear batting helmets when playing their positions, "It wasn't just one, it was many. Oh, God almighty, I've never seen anything so dangerous in my life." Attendees also threw firecrackers, empty liquor bottles, and lighters onto the field. The game was stopped several times because of the rain of foreign objects.

Dozens of hand-painted banners with such slogans as "Disco sucks" were hung from the ballpark's seating decks. White Sox broadcaster Harry Caray could see groups of people, who were clearly fans of music rather than baseball, wandering through the stadium. Others sat intently in their seats, awaiting the explosion. Mike Veeck recalled an odor of marijuana in the grandstand and said of the attendees, "This is the Woodstock they never had." The miasma permeated the press box, which Caray and his broadcast partner, Jimmy Piersall, commented on over the air. The crowds outside the stadium threw records as well, or gathered them and burned them in bonfires. Detroit won the first game, 4–1.

The first game ended at 8:16 pm; at 8:40 Dahl, dressed in army fatigues and a helmet, emerged onto the playing surface together with Meier and Lorelei. They circled the field in a Jeep, showered (according to Dahl, lovingly) by his troops with firecrackers and beer, then proceeded to center field where the box containing the records awaited, rigged with explosives. Dahl and Meier warmed up the crowd, leading attendees in a chant of "disco sucks". Lorelei recalled that the view from center field was surreal. On the mound, White Sox pitcher Ken Kravec, scheduled to start the second game, began to warm up. Other White Sox, in the dugout and wearing batting helmets, looked out upon the scene. Fans who felt events were getting out of control and who wished to leave the ballpark had difficulty doing so; in an effort to deny the intruders entry, security had padlocked all but one gate.

Dahl told the crowd:

This is now officially the world's largest anti-disco rally! Now listen—we took all the disco records you brought tonight, we got 'em in a giant box, and we're gonna blow 'em up reeeeeeal goooood.

Dahl set off the explosives, destroying the records and tearing a large hole in the outfield grass. With most of the security personnel still watching the gates per Mike Veeck's orders, there was almost no one guarding the playing surface. Soon, the first of 5,000 to 7,000 attendees rushed onto the field, causing Kravec to flee the mound and join his teammates in a barricaded clubhouse. Some climbed the foul poles, while others set records on fire or ripped up the grass. The batting cage was destroyed, and the bases were pulled up and stolen. Among those taking to the field was 21-year-old aspiring actor Michael Clarke Duncan; during the melee, Duncan slid into third base, had a silver belt buckle stolen, and went home with a bat from the dugout. As Bill Veeck stood with a microphone near where home plate had been, begging people to return to the stands, a bonfire raged in center field.

Years later, Lorelei remembered that she had been waving to the crowd when she was grabbed by two of the bodyguards who had accompanied the Jeep, who placed her back in the vehicle. The party was unable to return to home plate because of the rowdy fans, so the Jeep was driven out of the stadium and through the surrounding streets, to the delight of the many Cohos outside the stadium, who recognized the occupants. They were driven to the front of the stadium, ushered back inside, and taken up to the press room where they had spent most of the first game.

Caray unsuccessfully attempted to restore order by the public address system. The scoreboard, flashing "PLEASE RETURN TO YOUR SEATS", was ignored, as was the playing of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". Some attendees danced in circles around the burning vinyl shards. Dahl offered his help to get the rowdy fans to leave, but it was declined.

At 9:08 pm, Chicago police in full riot gear arrived, to the applause of the baseball fans remaining in the stands. Those on the field hastily dispersed upon seeing the police. Thirty-nine people were arrested for disorderly conduct; estimates of injuries to those at the event range from none to over thirty.

Bill Veeck wanted the teams to play the second game once order was restored. However, the field was so badly torn up that umpiring crew chief Dave Phillips felt that it was still not playable, even after White Sox groundskeepers spent an hour clearing away debris. Tigers manager Sparky Anderson refused to allow his players to take the field in any event due to safety concerns. Phillips called American League president Lee MacPhail, who postponed the second game to Sunday after hearing a report on conditions. Anderson, however, demanded that the game be forfeited to the Tigers. He argued that under baseball's rules, a game can only be postponed due to an act of God, and that, as the home team, the White Sox were responsible for field conditions. The next day, MacPhail forfeited the second game to the Tigers 9–0. In a ruling that largely upheld Anderson's arguments, MacPhail stated that the White Sox had failed to provide acceptable playing conditions.

Reaction and aftermath

Dahl in 2008

The day after the event, Dahl began his regular morning broadcast by reading the indignant headlines in the local papers. He mocked the coverage, saying: "I think for the most part everything was wonderful. Some maniac Cohos got wild, went down on the field. Which you shouldn't have done. Bad little Cohos." Tigers manager Anderson said of the events: "Beer and baseball go together, they have for years. But I think those kids were doing things other than beer." Columnist David Israel of the Chicago Tribune said on July 12 that he was not surprised by the events, writing: "It would have happened any place 50,000 teenagers got together on a sultry summer night with beer and reefer." White Sox pitcher Rich Wortham, a Texan, said: "This wouldn't have happened if they had country and western night."

Although Bill Veeck took much of the public criticism for the fiasco, his son Mike suffered repercussions as the front-office promoter. Mike Veeck remained with the White Sox until late 1980, when he resigned; his father sold the team to Jerry Reinsdorf soon afterward. He was unable to find another job in baseball for some time and claimed that he had been blackballed. For several years, he worked for a jai-alai fronton in Florida, battling alcoholism. As Mike Veeck said: "The second that first guy shimmied down the outfield wall, I knew my life was over!" Mike Veeck has since become an owner of minor league baseball teams. In July 2014 the Charleston RiverDogs, of whom Veeck is president, held a promotion involving the destruction of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus merchandise. Dahl is still a radio personality in Chicago and also releases podcasts.

Cultural significance
The popularity of disco declined significantly in late 1979 and 1980. Many disco artists continued, but record companies began labeling their recordings as dance music. Dahl stated in a 2004 interview that by 1979 disco was "probably on its way out. But I think [Disco Demolition Night] hastened its demise". According to Frank, "the Disco Demolition triggered a nationwide expression of anger against disco that caused disco to recede quickly from the American cultural landscape".

Rolling Stone critic Dave Marsh described Disco Demolition Night as "your most paranoid fantasy about where the ethnic cleansing of the rock radio could ultimately lead". Marsh was one who, at the time, deemed the event an expression of bigotry, writing in a year-end 1979 feature that "white males, eighteen to thirty-four are the most likely to see disco as the product of homosexuals, blacks, and Latins, and therefore they're the most likely to respond to appeals to wipe out such threats to their security. It goes almost without saying that such appeals are racist and sexist, but broadcasting has never been an especially civil-libertarian medium."

Nile Rodgers, producer and guitarist for the disco-era band Chic, likened the event to Nazi book burning. Gloria Gaynor, who had a huge disco hit with "I Will Survive", stated, "I've always believed it was an economic decision—an idea created by someone whose economic bottom line was being adversely affected by the popularity of disco music. So they got a mob mentality going."

University of East London professor Tim Lawrence states, "Following the unexpected commercial success of Saturday Night Fever, major record companies had started to invest heavily in a sound that their white straight executive class did not care for, and when the overproduction of disco coincided with a deep recession, the homophobic (and also in many respects sexist and racist) 'disco sucks' campaign culminated with a record burning rally that was staged at the home of the Chicago White Sox in July 1979." Historian Joshua M. Zeitz suggests that, while "an obvious explanation for the Disco Demolition Night riot might center on the desire of white, working-class baseball fans to strike out against an art form that they associated with African Americans, gays and lesbians, and Latinos", he notes that that demographic group (from which many of the July 12 participants came) swung wildly in the 1980 presidential primaries and election, first supporting liberal Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy in the Democratic primary, then the conservative Republican nominee, former California governor Ronald Reagan, in the general election, both times opposing President Jimmy Carter, a centrist. "Viewed in this light, Disco Demolition Night supports an altogether different interpretation of the 1970s as a decade that saw ordinary Americans gravitate to radical grassroots alternatives, both left and right, out of frustration with the political center."

Nevertheless, Harry Wayne Casey, singer for the disco act KC and the Sunshine Band, did not believe Disco Demolition Night itself was discriminatory, and stated his belief that Dahl was simply an idiot.

Dahl denies that prejudice was his motivation for the event. "The worst thing is people calling Disco Demolition homophobic or racist. It just wasn't ... We weren't thinking like that." In a 2014 op-ed for Crain's Chicago Business, Dahl defended the event as "a romp, not of major cultural significance". He wrote that it had been "reframed" as prejudiced by a 1996 VH1 documentary about the 1970s, in a move he described as "a cheap shot made without exploration".

In response to Dahl's op-ed, NBC Chicago political journalist Mark W. Anderson, who attended Disco Demolition aged 15, described the fear that white neighborhoods would be taken over by blacks and the anxiety around shifting pop culture trends. He wrote:
The chance to yell "disco sucks" meant more than simply a musical style choice. It was a chance to push back on a whole set of social dynamics that lay just beneath the surface of a minor battle between a DJ and a radio station that decided to change formats. More importantly, it was a chance for a whole lot of people to say they didn't like the way the world was changing around them, or who they saw as the potential victors in a cultural and demographic war.

The unplayed second game remains the last American League game to be forfeited. The last National League game to be forfeited was on August 10, 1995, when a baseball giveaway promotion at Dodger Stadium went awry, forcing the Los Angeles Dodgers to concede the game to the St. Louis Cardinals. According to baseball analyst Jeremiah Graves, "To this day Disco Demolition Night stands in infamy as one of the most ill-advised promotions of all-time, but arguably one of the most successful as 30 years later we're all still talking about it."


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sun Jul 12, 2020, 11:32 AM (16 replies)

30yo COVID party attendee's deathbed confess: "I think I made a mistake. I thought this was a hoax."

Dan Diamond @ddiamond

A sad, shocking story from the chief medical officer of San Antonio’s Methodist Hospital: A 30-year-old who attended a “Covid party” and then made a deathbed confession to the nurse. “I think I made a mistake. I thought this was a hoax.”

9:36 AM · Jul 11, 2020

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Jul 11, 2020, 09:49 AM (26 replies)

Expert warns the US is approaching 'one of the most unstable times in the history of our country'


By Madeline Holcombe, CNN

Updated 8:12 AM ET, Sat July 11, 2020

(CNN)With rising Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations sending many states backward in their reopening plans, one health expert warns that if the US continues on its current path it will reach "one of the most unstable times in the history of our country."

"We will have hospitals overwhelmed and not only in terms of ICU beds and hospitals -- and that's bad -- but exhausted hospital staff and hospital staff that's getting ill themselves," Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN Friday night. "So, we won't have enough manpower, human power, to manage all of this."

Only five states are seeing a decrease of at least 10% in average new daily cases over the past week. And the US set a record for the highest single day of new cases for the second time this week with 66,627 cases on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The resurgence has many local leaders returning to actions taken in March and April to slow the spread of the virus.

At least 26 states have paused or rolled back their plans to reopen.


Pretty grim assessment from Dr Hotez.

On edit - more from Dr Hotez:

Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD @PeterHotez

Latest #TexasCovid19 deaths: Mr. President the nation needs you to lead a #COVID19 response. It's actually not that difficult. With a concerted evidence-based effort we can bring the entire nation back to containment mode in a few weeks, then open schools, colleges, even the NFL

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

“COVID-19 (China Virus) Death Rate PLUNGES From Peak In U.S.” A Tenfold Decrease In Mortality. The Washington Times @WashTimes Valerie Richardson. We have the lowest Mortality Rate in the World. The Fake News should be reporting these most important of facts, but they don’t!

#COVID19 has become an urgent national security issue. I'm happy to help you...this is very doable. It's just some RNA stuffed inside a little fat with spike proteins. It's an old school problem in virology, we can do this. But if we don't take action now the nation will tank

9:26 AM · Jul 11, 2020



Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Jul 11, 2020, 09:25 AM (3 replies)

Mittens speaks: "Unprecedented, historic corruption"

Mitt Romney @MittRomney

Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.

9:06 AM · Jul 11, 2020

Well, thanks for that. Can you see if your GOP colleagues are awake yet this morning?
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Jul 11, 2020, 09:09 AM (17 replies)

DC's Tortilla Coast restaurant (Freedom Caucus hangout) reportedly closing on Capitol Hill July 19th

Jake Sherman @JakeSherman

Where Ryan waited tables. Where the freedom caucus plotted. Where lots of hill people ate Tex Mex and got loaded.

PoPville @PoPville

Tortilla Coast Reportedly Closing on Capitol Hill July 19th https://popville.com/2020/07/tortilla-coast-reportedly-closing-on-capitol-hill-july-19th/

8:26 AM · Jul 11, 2020


1st and D Street, SE via Tortilla Coast

Ken Farnaso @KLF

CONFIRMED. I literally just called @tortillacoast to see if it was true. Devastating news.

Ninio Fetalvo @niniofetalvo

Hearing that Tortilla Coast closes on July 19. cc @PoPville

6:43 PM · Jul 10, 2020

Oh my goodness. I too tried to call but the phone just rang without being picked up at 7:30pm anyway.

Tortilla Coast is, of course, “A Tex-Mex tradition on Capitol Hill since 1988”

Tortilla Coast closed their Logan Circle location at 15th and P St, NW back in 2017.



Rio Room
Tortilla Coast's Capitol Hill location is known as a frequent meeting place for members of the United States Congress. Many meetings take place in a private, windowless basement room called the "Rio Room". Texas Senator Ted Cruz hosted Tea Party meetings there in the lead up to the 2013 government shutdown. Media subsequently referred to Republicans meeting there as the "Tortilla Coast Caucus".

Members of the Freedom Caucus have had meetings in Tortilla Coast's basement. The irony of anti-immigration lawmakers meeting at a Tex-Mex restaurant has not been lost on journalists, with The Washington Post also noting "the hilarity of high-level talks going down in a place with a name just stinking of suburban strip-mall kitsch." Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan was a server at the Capitol Hill location in the early 1990s.

The Sunlight Foundation found that Tortilla Coast was among the seven most used venues for political fundraisers.

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Jul 11, 2020, 08:36 AM (5 replies)

Phoenix mayor: "local community has requested refrig trucks because it has no more morgue space"

Kelly O'Donnell @KellyO

Phoenix AZ @MayorGallego tells @msnbc one community in Maricopa County has requested refrigerated trucks because it has no more morgue space.

1:16 PM · Jul 10, 2020

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Fri Jul 10, 2020, 01:37 PM (7 replies)

Anthony Fauci: 'We are living in the perfect storm' (new interview 👀)


Hannah Kuchler 3 HOURS AGO

I hear Anthony Fauci before I see him. Out of view of our video call, he asks his tech assistant: “Have you wiped down the table?” The assistant, who has already sprayed down the 79-year-old’s chair, hurries to disinfect the desk. The top adviser on the White House’s coronavirus task force cannot afford to fall ill. 

Of all the unenviable jobs in this pandemic, Dr Fauci may have the trickiest. He is a leading public health scientist in a world growing suspicious of expertise; an affable self-described humanist in a society where soundbites get more play than sound advice. After 36 years as director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, he is facing a challenge that eclipses even the epidemics he has previously battled — Aids and Sars. 

Now, Fauci reports to his sixth president: Donald Trump. The president flouts his advice — refusing to wear a mask and holding rallies — and, Fauci tells me, hasn’t even met him for more than a month. Trump appears to me to be preoccupied with polls and economic data, rather than the soaring case counts in the country hardest hit by Covid-19 in terms of confirmed cases and deaths. 

We meet this week as the situation is becoming even more dire. Overflowing hospitals in Houston are beginning to look like New York’s in April, while areas of states including Texas, California, Arizona and Florida are starting to shut back down. 

“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say we have a serious ongoing problem, right now, as we speak,” Fauci says, in an accent tinged by his native Brooklyn. He warned Congress late last month that the number of new cases could rise to 100,000 a day. “What worries me is the slope of the curve,” he explains, using his fingers to draw a chart in the air. “It still looks like it’s exponential.” 


“I have a reputation, as you probably have figured out, of speaking the truth at all times and not sugar-coating things. And that may be one of the reasons why I haven’t been on television very much lately,” he says.


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Fri Jul 10, 2020, 10:32 AM (6 replies)

RW Radio Bigot Jay Severin is dead... (*cough*)


Longtime conservative political operative, civics connoisseur, and radio personality Jay Severin has passed away after battling cancer. He was 69.

Severin became a giant force in political talk in New England before spending years as a host on TheBlaze Radio Network's national platform.

"Jay was one of the rare talents that could not only see beyond the headline, but had the empathy to understand how it affected the listener," Glenn Beck told TheBlaze. "He was a good man, and I'm a better one for having known him."

Tom Shattuck, podcaster and senior editor of the Lowell Sun, paid tribute to Severin after news broke of his death on Thursday, calling him "the Boston talk titan."


Controversies and termination from WTKK
In April 2004, when a caller said United States citizens should "befriend Muslims living in the United States," Severin replied, "the vast majority" of those Muslims "... are not loyal to the United States and are ready, when the time comes, to take over this country ... You think we should befriend them. I think we should kill them." On 25 April 2004, Severin said his comments were directed at terrorists, not Muslims in general, and stated, "I certainly regret any discomfort that may have been caused by the misunderstanding of my remarks." The Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) unsuccessfully called for Severin's dismissal.

On 30 April 2009, Severin said Mexicans were "the world's lowest of primitives". He said "Its [Mexico's] millions of leeches from a primitive country come here to leech off you and, with it, they are ruining the schools, the hospitals, and a lot of life in America." Severin was suspended until June 3, 2009, at which time he apologized by saying (in part), "My remarks were hurtful, unkind and wrong. For these remarks and for failing to meet the standards you are right to expect of me, I am sincerely sorry."

In March 2011, Severin said, "I slept with virtually every young college girl I hired to be an intern or an employee for my firm." Following this statement, Severin was fired from WTKK. Greater Media said, "Severin was let go because he did not maintain an appropriate level of civility and adhere to a standard that respects our listeners and the public at large....it had become clear at several points in the past two years that Jay was either unwilling or unable to maintain our standards on the air. It's for that reason we have made the decision to end our relationship."


Cross gentl... oh, fuck that shit. Those pitchforks poking your arse are going to be a bit uncomfortable thru eternity, Skippy.
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Fri Jul 10, 2020, 07:05 AM (36 replies)

Milley says Confederates committed 'treason,' backs review of Army base names


President Donald Trump has threatened to veto any defense policy legislation that changes the names of the bases.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley testifies during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday. | Greg Nash/Pool via AP


07/09/2020 05:14 PM EDT

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley on Thursday condemned Confederate leaders as traitors and said he supports a review of Army bases named after those who fought against the Union, a viewpoint that puts him at odds with the commander in chief.

Pressed by Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) about the 10 Army installations named for Confederate leaders, Milley told the House Armed Services Committee that the military needs "to take a hard look at the symbology" of the Civil War — such as base names, display of the Confederate battle flag and statues — as well as improve in other areas such as "the substance of promotions."

"The American Civil War … was an act of treason at the time against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the U.S. Constitution — and those officers turned their backs on their oath," Milley said. "Now, some have a different view of that. Some think it's heritage. Others think it's hate."

"The way we should do it matters as much as that we should do it. So we need to have, I've recommended, a commission of folks to take a hard look at the bases, the statues, the names, all of this stuff, to see if we can have a rational, mature discussion."

President Donald Trump has threatened to veto any defense policy legislation that changes the names of the bases, and earlier tweeted that the discussion is off the table for his administration.

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Thu Jul 9, 2020, 05:19 PM (0 replies)

Back to school sale

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Thu Jul 9, 2020, 12:26 PM (5 replies)
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