Surprise! Patrick Mahomes Has Big News (UPDATED)

By Terrance Turner

On Feb. 2, quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl win in 50 years. On July 6, he signed the most lucrative sports deal in history: a 10-year, $450 million deal worth up to $503 million. On Sept. 1, Mahomes received his Super Bowl ring at Arrowhead Stadium and proposed to longtime girlfriend Brittany Matthews. And now, just four weeks later, Mahomes is adding yet another highlight to an unforgettable year.

Mahomes and Matthews are expecting!

Matthews shared the announcement on social media this afternoon. The surprising news came via a picture of her and Mahomes, with a sonogram of their unborn baby. The two have been together for over eight years; they began dating in high school, when Mahomes was a sophomore and Matthews a junior.

The news comes just hours after Mahomes and the Chiefs stunned the Baltimore Ravens with a bravura performance. On last night’s highly anticipated “Monday Night Football” match, Mahomes scored the team’s first points with a six-yard touchdown run. Then he tossed a 5-yard shovel pass to fullback Anthony Sherman and a dazzling 20-yard TD to receiver Tyreek Hill. But the game’s highlight was arguably Mahomes’ jaw-dropping 49-yard touchdown pass to receiver Mecole Hardman. (He later threw in a two-yard TD courtesy of offensive tackle Eric Fisher.)

But it was his 13-yard pass to Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce that put Mahomes over the edge. According to ESPN, it took just 34 games for Mahomes to break the record set by quarterback Kurt Warner. Last night, Mahomes became the fastest quarterback to reach 10,000 passing yards.

And now, he’s about to become a father.

“Being able to kind of grow up and have these dreams of having a family and playing in the NFL […] it’s really cool,” said Mahomes on Wednesday. During the virtual call with reporters, Mahomes was apparently asked which of his teammates could look after his child. “As far as like an uncle? I would say like Matt Moore, or someone like that, that’s responsible. I can’t let Trav or anybody do it. You never know what would happen,” Mahomes said, smiling.

UPDATE (Oct. 19): Mahomes may not trust Kelce to babysit, but he certainly trusts him on the field. On their match with the Bills Monday night, Mahomes found Kelce for two touchdowns in the first half. One of them was a diving catch that put the Chiefs ahead 7-3 in the first quarter. The other came in the second quarter, with the Chiefs down 10-7. Mahomes threw a dart to Kelce in the end zone, making it 14-10. The team added another TD courtesy of Darrel Williams in the third quarter, then tacked on two field goals to win 26-17.

UPDATE (Oct. 21): Mahomes and Matthews are expecting a baby girl! Matthews announced the news on Twitter today via video. Mahomes shared the video on his profile, adding the hashtag #GirlDad:

Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Decision Announced

By Terrance Turner

No officers have been directly charged in the death of Breonna Taylor.

In case you’ve been under a rock: On March 13, emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor was in bed with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. They had fallen asleep after watching the movie “Freedom Writers”, according to USA Today. The Louisville Metro Police began banging on her door around 12:40 am. They had a no-knock warrant, which allows them to enter a home without warning. The police were carrying out a drug investigation for a suspect that had already been arrested. (Jamarcus Glover, who was also named on the search warrant for Taylor’s apartment, was arrested the same night, 10 miles away, at a house on Elliott Avenue in the Russell neighborhood, per USA Today.)

So officers broke into Taylor’s home — the wrong house — wearing plain clothes, allegedly without identifying themselves, to arrest a suspected drug dealer who had already been arrested. (There were no drugs in Taylor’s apartment, by the way.) The two called out, asking who it was, but got no response, Walker said in a police interview. The officers used a battering ram to break into the apartment, according to the New York Times.

Kenneth Walker, believing his home was being burglarized, asserted his 2nd Amendment rights. He grabbed his gun and began firing at what he thought were intruders. The police responded with a torrent of gunfire. The officers — Brett Hankison, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, and Myles Cosgrove — fired 20 bullets into the apartment, hitting Taylor five times.

Dispatch logs obtained by USA Today show that Taylor laid where she fell in her hallway for more than 20 minutes after she was fatally shot at approximately 12:43 a.m. She received no medical attention; officers were too busy trying to put a tourniquet on Mattingly’s thigh after he was shot. An ambulance had left Taylor’s street an hour before the raid—counter to standard police practice—meaning she didn’t get help for more than 20 minutes after the shooting, per the Daily Beast.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family reveals that she lived for another “five to six minutes” while officers ignored her injuries. Breonna Taylor died from those injuries. She was 26. Her death certificate, reviewed by the New York Times, showed she had been struck by five bullets.

None of those officers have been directly charged in her death.

Today, it was announced that of the three officers, only Brent Hankison was charged. He was charged, however, with wanton endangerment — with endangering the other people in the apartment complex (officers’ bullets also hit a neighboring unit, per the Times.) But no one — NOT ONE OFFICER — was directly charged in her death. Mr. Hankison was the only officer fired; the other two officers were placed on administrative duty. And none of them will be held directly liable for her death.

The Louisville justice system had the audacity to charge Kenneth Walker for attempted murder. (Those charges were eventually dropped.) But not one of the officers who killed Breonna Taylor will be held responsible for her death. In a press conference held today, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the three officers fired a total of 32 shots. Rounds fired by Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove struck Ms. Taylor, he said. But that apparently still wasn’t enough to justify charging the officers with manslaughter or murder.

“According to Kentucky law, the use of force by [Officers Jonathan] Mattingly and [Myles] Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves,” Cameron said. “This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Miss Breonna Taylor’s death.” He added: “But my heart breaks for the loss of Miss Taylor. And I’ve said that repeatedly. My mother, if something was to happen to me, would find it very hard,” he added, choking up. He was emotional discussing the case, according to the AP.

Black writer and author Michael Arceneaux was unconvinced by Cameron’s display:

Other voices were equally outraged. LA Charger Justin Jackson had this to say:

Activist Brittany Packyetti wrote:

New York Times writer Jenna Wortham was simple and blunt:

The family of Breonna Taylor was dismayed by the decision. “How ironic and typical that the only charges brought in this case were for shots fired into the apartment of a white neighbor, while no charges were brought for the shots fired into the Black neighbor’s apartment or into Breonna’s residence,” they wrote. The Taylor family’s lawyer, Ben Crump, denounced the decision as “outrageous and offensive,” and protesters shouting, “No justice, no peace!” began marching through the streets. Some sat quietly and wept, according to the Associated Press. Protests continue in Louisville as of this very moment.

This is a developing situation; please check back for updates.

Houston Restaurant Weeks Extended Through Sept. 30

By Terrance Turner

Sept. 1, 2020

News broke yesterday that Houston Restaurant Weeks has been extended through the end of the month. It typically runs from Aug. 1 through Sept. 7, but this year it has been extended through Sept. 30. The annual fundraiser allows people to order from top-shelf local restaurants and donate to a worthy cause.

Cleverley Stone
Food journalist Cleverley Stone with a box from the Houston Food Bank. (Photo by Evin Thayer.)

Houston Restaurant Weeks (HRW) was founded by Cleverley Stone, who hosted a food radio talk show on Houston’s CBS 650 AM (KIKK-AM). According to the HRW website, “The Cleverley Food Talk Radio Show” became the longest-running on CBS 650, running for over 13 years. Stone also worked as a food service contributor to Fox 26 Morning News, beginning in 2008. Stone founded HRW in 2003 as a fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank — the largest food bank in the United States (per its website).

Stone died at 68 in May from uterine cancer. Her final wish was that HRW continue in perpetuity in her name, per the Houston Chronicle. Her daughter Katie Stone now chairs the event, and she remembers that her mother felt compassion for those suffering from hunger. “She was really driven by stories she would hear in Houston about people not having enough to eat,” Katie Stone recalls. That drive helped make HRW the largest annual fundraiser of its kind.

This year, the event will look different, due to COVID-19. But it is arguably more vital than ever. “This year’s Houston Restaurant Weeks is probably the most important year that we’ve ever seen,” Stone told ABC 13. The HRW fundraiser has raised over $16 million for the Houston Food Bank, which distributes food to those in need. This takes on new significance in the wake of Hurricane Laura, which hit Louisiana hard last week. According to KPRC, the Houston Food Bank has sent trucks of water, cleaning supplies, and ready-to-eat food to a Second Harvest Food Bank in Vinton, Louisiana.

A map of the 18 SE Texas counties the HFD serves. (Photo courtesy of houstonfoodbank.org.)

The Houston Food Bank serves 18 counties in southeast Texas, including Harris, Liberty, Chambers, Brazoria, Fort Bend, and Austin. (It also provides food for localized food banks in Montgomery and Galveston counties, which in turn provide it for their residents.) Founded in 1982, the Houston Food Bank distributes fresh produce, meat and nonperishables and prepares nutritious hot meals for kids. According to houstonfoodbank.org, the charity distributed 104 million meals in 2019. It does so via a network of 1,500 community partners, including schools, shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries.

One of those pantries is in the mostly black Trinity Gardens neighborhood. Chef Jonny Rhodes, who grew up in Trinity Gardens, called the area a “food desert” in a Houston Chronicle article in Oct. 2019. The article also defined nearby neighborhood Kashmere Gardens as a “food desert” — a low-income area where residents struggle to find healthy, affordable food. In 2010, the USDA reported that 18 million Americans live in food deserts — places more than a mile from a supermarket in urban/suburban areas and more than 10 miles in rural areas.

One food pantry helping to bridge that gap is in Trinity Gardens First Baptist Church, which shares its name with the surrounding neighborhood. On one Saturday morning per month, food is delivered and distributed. The pantry is headed by Sis. Barbara Brown, who has worked with the Houston Food Bank (HFD) since 2010. She says the Houston Food Bank is essential for the pantry’s operation.

“The Food Bank is 100% of where we get our food,” Brown says via phone. She adds that the pantry is not easy to maintain. “I have to take classes; I have to do online meetings,” she says. “We come in; we have to get inspections.” With the start of the pandemic, trainings and meetings have moved offline. And now, workers and volunteers must deliver food to people’s cars in order to minimize contact.

Mrs. Brown also mentions that she has to have paperwork in multiple languages — and serve people from multiple locales. “We get people from Pasadena and La Porte,” she says, “and we cannot turn people away.” She estimates that the pantry serves around 125 people each month (not counting the pantry’s volunteers, who are often allowed to take home leftover food items.)

Those that come will be given mostly non-perishable food — canned corn and green beans, walnuts, cereal, boxed spaghetti. But the Houston Food Bank truck also delivers some perishables: gallons of milk, bags of ham, even some eggs. And last month, Brown says, fresh vegetables were added to the mix: “We gave out eggs and meat, onions and bell peppers.”

Pantries like these benefit directly from the HFD — and indirectly from the HRW fundraiser. Typically, restaurants would donate $3–$7 from each meal sold to the Food Bank. But with so many restaurants struggling due to COVID-19, this year they will donate $1 per meal. Each dollar can provide three meals for those in need.

For the first time, diners can order using pickup, takeout, or delivery options. Some restaurants allow walk-in orders. According to the website, brunches and lunches each cost $20. Dinners cost either $35 or $45 (for a four-course meal). The featured restaurants are located in Harris, Galveston, and Montgomery counties. (Please call or visit the website of each chosen restaurant to verify dates and times for meal service. Be sure to mention that you would like the HRW special menu.) For more information about HRW’s participating restaurants, please visit https://houstonrestaurantweeks.com. To donate or volunteer with the Houston Food Bank, visit https://www.houstonfoodbank.org.

UPDATE (Sept. 16-19): With just two weeks left until the end of HRW, I decided to do a quick overview of notable brunch and lunch spots in the area. Given the comparatively low cost of these menus (just $20), I’m presenting those options first. (Dinner is another story — literally; I’ll cover the $35-$45 dinner spots in another post.) Only some of the over 100 HRW participants offer brunch, but I did manage to find some participating restaurants in various areas.

If you’re in the downtown area, you could start with Hearsay Market Square (218 Travis St.). Hearsay serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am until 3 pm. Menu options for the first course include deviled eggs with candied jalapeno and bacon. The second course offers choices like fried chicken & waffles and bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp with grits.

In Midtown, Nuksy’s Table (1926 W. Dallas St.) only serves brunch on Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm, per its website. On the bright side, Nuksy’s also serves up plantain beignets with each meal. (They’re deep-fried, with caramel rum sauce — or chocolate bourbon sauce — and berries.) The entrees include crab cake eggs benedict (lumped crabmeat, poached egg, and hollandaise sauce, with sautéed spinach and kettle chips). The breakfast platter has bacon, pork sausage, eggs, and hash browns. Nuksy’s “Shrimp and Orange Corn Grits” include seasoned Gulf shrimp “with Cajun gumbo gravy, served over orange corn grits”. Nuksy’s beverages include mimosas in classic, strawberry, mango,
and raspberry flavors

Also in Midtown, Brennan’s (3300 Smith Street) is offering up an extensive HRW brunch menu. Brunch is served Thursday through Saturday, from 11:00 am-2:00 pm; on Sundays, it lasts from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Famous for its “Creole Jazz Brunch” on Sundays — featuring live jazz for those dining in — the restaurant is also known for its top-rated food.

The “Texas Shrimp and Grits” at Brennan’s Houston.
(Photo courtesy of the Houston Press.)

This year, Brennan’s is doing a hybrid menu for both lunch and brunch. Items include chicken & andouille gumbo and “snapping turtle soup” (!) for the first course. Another option is “Brennan’s Salad” (field greens, grape tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, Brioche croutons with red wine & ripped herb vinaigrette). The second course features “Texas Shrimp and Grits” (goat cheese stone ground grits, roasted sweet peppers, and “chippewa sauce”). In honor of Cleverley Stone, Brennan’s has a vegetarian option they call “The Cleverley”: a summer squash enchilada with tomatillo & hatch pepper salsa, plus lime “crema”. The crema is made with 1 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup heavy cream, the grated zest and juice of 1 lime, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, according to foodnetwork.com.)

In Montrose, Napoli’s Wine Cafe (4601 Washington Ave) offers a varied three-course brunch menu. For the first, there’s fried calamari and a “brochette board”. Choose three from:

  • fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil
  • cheese, bacon, arugula and tomato
  • smoked salmon cheese and capers
  • almond hummus and fresh tomato
Sassy Italian Ricotta Pancakes at Napoli’s Wine Cafe. (Photo from YouTube.)

But that’s just the first course. Napoli’s offers lobster bisque, soup and salad for the second. But the third course is where things get really interesting. Options include “Sassy Italian Ricotta Pancakes”, topped with maple syrup, banana slices, strawberries, walnuts, a dollop of whole milk ricotta cheese, and whipped cream. Or you could try the “Texas Breakfast Sandwich” (eggs, roasted tomato, fresh mozzarella, avocado, lamb bacon and roasted jalapeños, with pesto sauce served on biologiques loaf bread). The “Brioche French Toast” comprises freshly baked brioche topped with vanilla custard, banana slices, strawberries and walnuts. Alternatively, there’s “Napoli’s Breakfast” (“two poached eggs served over sautéed spinach, potatoes, onions and mushrooms, topped with hollandaise sauce served on a toasted biologiques loaf bread.”).

In the Galleria area, 51Fifteen Cuisine and Cocktails (5175 Westheimer Road) delivers an array of brunch selections. The first course serves up items like garbanzo soup and chopped wedge salad; the second course delivers braised short ribs benedict (two poached eggs on english muffin, hollandaise sauce, braised short ribs, asparagus, sliced tomatoes). Also included in the 2nd course is a 6-oz. New York strip steak and eggs combo.

Also, note the fairly self-explanatory “3 Jumbo Blackened Shrimp Omelet Avocado Toast”, which is topped with arugula, young manchego cheese, tomatoes, and light lemon beurre blanc. (According to Wikipedia, “Beurre blanc—literally translated from French as “white butter”—is a hot emulsified butter sauce made with a reduction of vinegar and/or white wine (normally Muscadet) and grey shallots into which, softened, whole butter is whisked in off the heat to prevent separation.” You learn something new every day.) Editor’s note: 51Fifteen, according to its website, is part of the Landmark Houston Hospitality Group, which also owns Hearsay Lounge.

In the Heights, Harold’s Restaurant (350 W. 19th St., Suite C) also offers guests beignets, like Nuksy’s. And like Brennan’s, it too has a vegetarian tribute dish for Cleverley Stone: “Cleverley’s Quinoa and Chickpea Salad”. The salad is “plant-based and dairy-free with quinoa, chickpeas, cucumber, red bell peppers, onions, lemon garlic vinaigrette”, according to its HRW menu. More conventionally, Harold’s features the “HRW Big Dang Breakfast”: two eggs, cooked any style, roasted potatoes, bacon, homemade biscuit and house-made jam.

Bon appetit!

 

#RIPRBG

By Terrance Turner

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died. She was 87.

The cause was complications from pancreatic cancer, the Court announced. Ginsburg valiantly fought colon cancer in 1999, early-stage pancreatic cancer in 2009, lung cancer in 2018, and another bout of pancreatic cancer in 2019. Just last May, she was hospitalized for a gallbladder condition but continued to hear oral arguments from her hospital bed.

Ginsburg died at her home in Washington, D.C., surrounded by family, according to CNN. Her departure leaves open a vacancy on the Supreme Court; Judge Amy Coney Barrett. But more importantly, her death represents a loss for the nation — the loss of a groundbreaking cultural icon who inspired two high-profile films and in recent years was dubbed “The Notorious RBG”. Her remarkable life was capped by a 27-year tenure on the Supreme Court — the longest ever by a woman.

She was born Joan Ruth Bader in Brooklyn, New York, on March 15, 1933. She grew up in Flatbush, NY, according to the New York Times. Her parents were immigrants and haberdashers who were often short on money. Tragedy struck early: her only sister died of meningitis when Joan Ruth was just 14 months old. She was raised as an only child and later said she grew up “with the smell of death.”

In her memoir In My Own Words, it was revealed that when Joan Ruth went to elementary school, there were several other girls named Joan in her class. Her mother suggested that her daughter be called Ruth to avoid confusion. So she was.

Ruth’s mother Celia never went to college, but was determined to make sure that her daughter would. She stored away money her husband gave her so that young Ruth could attend college. The fund eventually reached $8,000, per the Washington Post. Ruth ended up going to college on a scholarship. But her mother didn’t live to see that. Celia Bader died of cancer in 1950, the day before Ruth graduated from high school. She was unable to attend the ceremony.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

Ruth Bader went to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. While still a freshman in 1950, she met a sophomore named Martin Ginsburg. They met on a blind date and hit it off immediately; Mr. Ginsburg “was the only boy I ever met who cared that I had a brain,” she said. They began dating more seriously. By her junior year, the two were engaged.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on her wedding day in 1954.
(Photo via Reddit.)

They married in 1954, after she graduated at the top of her class. The marriage would last 56 years. “I have had more than a little luck in life, but nothing equals in magnitude than my marriage to Martin D. Ginsburg,” she wrote in her memoirs. “I do not have words to describe my super-smart, exuberant, ever-loving spouse.”

The Ginsburgs in 1954. (Photo courtesy of Supreme Court.)

The couple moved to Lawton, Oklahoma shortly after the marriage (he got drafted to the Army). During Mr. Ginsburg’s two-year stint, Mrs. Ginsburg applied for a civil service job. According to the Washington Post, she came close to landing a job in the Social Security office. But she was demoted when she revealed she was pregnant. (Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave birth to her daughter Jane in 1955). Instead, she took a lower-paying job as a typist.

After Martin Ginsburg was discharged from the Army in 1956, he and his wife moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, per the Post. Mrs. Ginsburg enrolled at Harvard. She was one of only nine women (out of 500 students) in the Harvard Law School. And she became the first woman in the Harvard Law Review. (In those days, the dean expected each of the female students to argue why they belonged at Harvard in the place of a man. Mrs. Ginsburg said that the school would better help her understand her husband’s job.) She later transferred to Columbia University Law School after her husband found a job in Manhattan. He went on to become a tax lawyer.

Mrs. Ginsburg graduated in 1959, tied for first in her class — without one job offer from a New York law firm. “I struck out on three grounds — I was Jewish, a woman, and a mother,” the Washington Post quotes her as saying. She took a job as clerk for a federal judge in Manhattan. But soon she had another obstacle to contend with: Martin Ginsburg was diagnosed with aggressive testicular cancer. The prognosis was poor; he was debilitated by radiation treatments. Other students (his classmates) took notes on his behalf, and Mrs. Ginsburg typed them up so that her husband could study. Mr. Ginsburg eventually recovered and graduated on time. Later, he would become her caretaker as Mrs. Ginsburg battled cancer several times.

From 1963 to 1970, she worked on a project regarding Swedish civil law. The project required her to spend time in Sweden and learn Swedish. But it also forced her to confront changing social mores. Feminism was in the air. Child care was available in Sweden, and women balanced both career and family. Mrs. Ginsburg noticed that — and an article by editor Eva Moberg: “We ought to stop harping on the concept of women’s two roles,” she wrote. “Both men and women have one principal role, that of being people.”

In 1971, Ginsburg began volunteering with the American Civil Liberties Union on sex discrimination cases. A pivotal case was Reed v. Reed (1971), which dealt with estate law. The case concerned a married couple — Richard Reed and Sally Reed — who were separated. Their son had committed suicide with his father’s rifle, and both parties were fighting for control of his estate. Mr. Reed was automatically named executor. The decision was based on an Idaho statute that preferred males over females in estate ownership. Per Thought Catalog, the state code literally said “males must be preferred to females” (Section 15-314).

Mrs. Ginsburg and lawyers successfully argued that the statute was discriminatory; the Court agreed. In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that the Idaho law violated the Equal Protections Clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. It was the first U.S. Supreme Court case to declare sex/gender discrimination a violation of the 14th Amendment. Ginsburg’s 88-page brief for the case was an inventory of all the ways that the law reinforced the oppression of women. It became known as the “grandmother brief,” according to the New York Times, and feminist lawyers drew on it for years.

In 1972, Ginsburg left Rutgers for Columbia Law School, becoming the first woman to have a tenured position there. That same year, the ACLU formed its Women’s Rights Project and hired Ginsburg as its first director. She argued six cases before the Supreme Court between 1973 and 1979; she won five of them, according to ABC News.

One of those victories was a landmark case called Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld (1975). Stephen Wiesenfeld became a widower after his wife died in childbirth. He became the sole provider for their newborn son Jason. To help care for his baby son, Wiesenfeld was seeking Social Security survivor’s benefits. He was denied because federal law allowed benefits for widows, but not widowers (per Reuters). Ginsburg successfully argued on his behalf, asserting that the Social Security Act’s provision was discriminatory. The Court agreed, finding that the provision violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The Washington Post notes that Wiesenfeld eventually sold his bicycle shop so that he could care for Jason and collect the benefits. But he and Ginsburg stayed in touch. In fact, when Stephen Wiesenfeld remarried in 2014 — at the age of 71 — Ruth Bader Ginsburg performed the ceremony! (She also officiated at the Florida wedding of his son Jason.)

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals, where she spent 13 years. She wrote hundreds of opinions there. While serving in her post, she became friends with the conservative justice Antonin Scalia, who was also on the Court. The unlikely friendship would last for decades; despite their sharply divergent views, the two often met for dinner (cooked by Mr. Ginsburg, who playfully described his wife as a terrible cook). Scalia and Ginsburg even appeared as extras in a Washington National Opera production in 1994. By then, her life had changed dramatically.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court of the United States. The appointment was somewhat contentious. activists took issue with a 1984 speech in which she criticized the landmark ruling of Roe v. Wade (1973). Ginsburg felt that the ruling was too sweeping, too broad; she felt the Court should’ve simply overturned the Texas abortion law that was at issue, per the Post. The Times cited a 1993 speech just months before her nomination in which Ginsburg said that the ruling “halted a political process that was moving in a reform direction [and] prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue.” The Times countered that the “reform” process had already ground to a halt — thanks to lobbying by the Catholic Church — and that divisiveness and backlash around the ruling had been stirred up by Republican strategists. Nonetheless, Mrs. Ginsburg made clear to the Senate Judiciary Committee that her support for abortion rights was indubitable.

Still, some women’s groups and abortion activists were bothered by the comments and worked quietly to oppose her nomination. But Ginsburg had a powerful ally. The Post reports that Martin Ginsburg launched a campaign for his wife’s appointment; it included “a torrent of letters and telephone calls to the White House that prompted Clinton to give her a second look.” Mrs. Ginsburg was also popular with the public, and Clinton eventually decided to offer her the job.

Bill Clinton had several reasons for his decision. “She was brilliant and had a good head on her shoulders. She was rigorous but warm-hearted. I thought she had the ability to find common ground in a country increasingly polarized,” ABC News quotes Clinton as saying of Ginsburg. “In short, I liked her and believed in her.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 96-3 on Aug. 3, 1993. Upon taking the job, she delivered a speech at the Rose Garden and paid tribute to her late mother. The Times said President Clinton was moved to tears by the tribute. “It is to my mother, Celia Amster Bader, the bravest and strongest woman I have ever known,” Ginsburg said. “I pray that I may be all that she would have been had she lived in an age when women could aspire and achieve and daughters are cherished as much as sons.” 

PHOTO: In this June 15, 1993, file photo, President Bill Clinton applauds as Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg prepares to speak in the Rose Garden of the White House, after he announced he would nominate her to the Supreme Court.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivers a speech at the Rose Garden after becoming a Supreme Court Justice in 1993. (Photo from ABC News.)

Over the course of her 27-year career, Ginsburg heard a slew of notable cases. One of the most important cases, she said, was United States v. Virginia (1996). The Virginia Military Institute had a males-only admissions policy. It claimed that its physically challenging curriculum was unsuitable for women. Ginsburg disagreed: “Neither the goal of producing citizen soldiers nor VMI’s implementing methodology is inherently unsuitable to women,” she wrote. “Women seeking and fit for a V.M.I.-quality education cannot be offered anything less under the state’s obligation to afford them genuinely equal protection,” she wrote, quoted by the Times. The Court agreed; Ginsburg was joined by five other justices in her majority opinion. Together, they found that the males-only admissions process violated the 14th Amendment.

Another pivotal ruling came in Olmstead v. L.C. (1999). Ginsburg delivered the majority opinion, which affirmed the rights of those with disabilities to receive state-funded support and services in their communities. The Court ruled that, per the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), states were required to place people with mental disabilities in community settings instead of designated institutions. According to Justia.com, that decision rested on two principles: 1) Unjustified placement or retention of persons in institutions severely limits their exposure to the outside community; 2) To avoid unjustified isolation of people with disabilities, states can resist modifications that would fundamentally change their programs and services.

An even more impactful ruling came via Bush v. Gore (2000). The close election between George W. Bush and Al Gore came down to Florida, where the vote was initially too close to call. The margin of victory for Bush was so small that it triggered a recount. After the recount, the victory margin shrunk from 1784 to a mere 327. Democrats requested recounts in four counties; Bush sued in court to stop the recounts. Gore sued after Bush was declared the winner by 537 votes, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The case made it all the way to the Supreme Court. The court ruled 5-4 that the recounts must stop, thus making Bush the president-elect.

“I dissent,” Ginsburg wrote. “I cannot agree that the recount adopted by the Florida court, flawed as it may be, would yield a result any less fair or precise [than a certification].” Nevertheless, the Court’s ruling allowed the previous vote count to stand; it resulted in Bush being named the winner. Bush remembered Ginsburg as “a smart and humorous trailblazer”, adding: “She dedicated many of her 87 remarkable years to the pursuit of justice and equality, and she inspired more than one generation of women and girls.”

Ginsburg was even more renowned for her dissents than her concurrences; both loomed large in major Supreme Court decisions. In 2007, the Court heard the case of Lilly Ledbetter, who worked as a supervisor at a Goodyear Tire plant in Alabama. Ledbetter discovered that there was a pay disparity between herself and her male co-workers. She filed a claim arguing discrimination based on gender; the Court ruled against Ledbetter, claiming she had waited too late to file a complaint. Ginsburg disagreed.

“The Court’s insistence on immediate contest overlooks common characteristics of pay discrimination,” Ginsburg wrote in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co (2007). She urged Congress to address the issue, and it did. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act requires employers to keep the records needed to prove fair pay. The statute of limitations for pay discrimination claims is 180 days; the Ledbetter law applies that 180-day period to each new paycheck “tainted” by discrimination. Thus, “An employee hired 10 years ago may now challenge her starting pay on the ground that each current paycheck is tainted by that 10-year old discriminatory decision.” The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill ever signed into law by former President Barack Obama. Mr. Obama signed the bill into law on January 29, 2009.

In 2013, Ginsburg again dissented sharply with her fellow justices. This time, the issue was the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. Section 4 of the Act describes a “coverage formula” to identify areas where racial discrimination in voting persist, and thus which areas pertain to Section 5. Section 5 prevents such areas from making changes to their voting procedures without federal approval. In Shelby County v. Holder (2013), the Court gutted the VRA by ruling Section 4 was unconstitutional. Without Section 4, Section 5 is essentially unenforceable. Ginsburg sharply dissented. “The sad irony of today’s decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the VRA has proven effective,” she wrote.

In 2015, Ginsburg participated in another landmark case. Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) legalized same-sex marriage, ruling that the right to marry is covered under the 14th Amendment and Due Process Clause of the Constitution. Ginsburg joined the majority opinion, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family,” he wrote. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it […] They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

Significantly, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the first Supreme Court justice to officiate a same-sex marriage. And it was on marriage that she had some of her most poignant thoughts. In 2019, she relayed marital advice to Jennifer Lopez, who accepted a proposal from baseball legend Alex Rodriguez in March. Asked what she had told Lopez, Ginsburg relayed advice that her mother-in-law had given her on her wedding day in 1956:

The advice must have worked: Ginsburg enjoyed a long, happy marriage until 2010, when her husband Martin died from cancer. Before he died at 78, Mr. Ginsburg wrote a note for his wife on a yellow legal pad. She found it near his hospital bed. Mr. Ginsburg wrote: “My dearest Ruth: You are the only person I have loved in my life, setting aside [my] parents and kids, and their kids. And I have admired and loved you almost since the day we first met, at Cornell.”

The Ginsburgs are survived by their two children and four grandchildren.

Cardi B Files for Divorce from Offset

By Terrance Turner

Rapper Cardi B has filed for divorce.

Cardi (born Belcalis Almanzar) filed papers today in Fulton County Court to dissolve her three-year marriage to Offset (born Kiari Kembrell Cephus), per People magazine. People reported that the filing came after yet another incident of infidelity by Offset. USA Today adds that Cardi is seeking full custody of the couple’s two-hear old daughter Kulture. She is also asking Offset to pay both legal fees and child support.

A court date is set for Nov. 4. According to People, Cardi’s divorce filing says the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and that “there are no prospects of a reconciliation”. The pair have reconciled before — just last year, in fact — but this latest break appears permanent. The sudden breakup caps a dramatic roller-coaster ride of a relationship.

Things started with a bang: Cardi and Offset’s first date was at the Super Bowl (in Houston!) on Feb. 6, 2017. At that game, the Patriots ended up defeating the Atlanta Falcons in rather memorable fashion (Offset is from Atlanta). Offset later said that making the Super Bowl their first date was a “power move”.

It appears to have worked. The two enjoyed a whirlwind six-month romance before secretly marrying on Sept. 20, 2017. It was far from a traditional ceremony: the wedding took place in a bedroom. Cardi later revealed: “I said I do, with no dress, no makeup, and no ring!”

She got the ring. A month later, on Oct. 27, Offset got down on one knee and proposed during a Power 99 concert in Philadelphia. (with an engagement ring that cost $500,000, according to Elite Daily.) Cardi happily accepted. “I can’t wait to spend FOREVAAA with you,” Cardi wrote on social media. “I loveee you so much […] Thank you for seeing the potential in me,” she wrote on Instagram.

But by December, it became clear that trouble was already brewing. That month, Offset became embroiled in a cheating scandal. Newsweek reported that “video surfaced online of him engaging in a sex act with another woman.” The publication added that although the record date of the video was unclear, “it was reportedly recorded while Cardi and Offset were technically together.” Cardi referenced the fracas onstage at a show, fittingly quoting Beyoncé’s “Lemonade”. Cardi told the crowd: “I let him know though. You try this s–t again, you gon’ lose your wife.” Nevertheless, they remained together.

In April 2018, Cardi confirmed that she was pregnant. It wasn’t until June, however, that the public learned she and Offset were already married. By that point, Cardi was almost ready to deliver; she gave birth to daughter Kulture on July 10, 2018. Nine days later, she tweeted that Kulture was melting her heart:

But by August, more trouble had begun. That month, Cardi was involved in an altercation at Angels Strip Club in Flushing, New York on August 29. She reportedly ordered an attack on two bartenders there, believing one of them had an affair with Offset. A police spokesman told CNN that Cardi B was “throwing chairs, bottles and hookahs [smoking pipes] in the club at 3 a.m.” In October, Cardi turned herself in to the authorities. She was arrested, fingerprinted, and charged with two counts of reckless endangerment and one count of assault, per People. No verdict has been issued yet as of press time.

In December 2018, Cardi shocked fans with a video announcement. “I’ve been trying to work things out with my baby father for a hot minute now, and we’re really good friends — and, you know, we’re really good business partners, [and] we got a lot of love for each other, but…things just haven’t been working out between us for a long time,” she said in an Instagram video. “It’s nobody fault — and I guess we just grew out of love — but we’re not together anymore. I don’t know; it might take time to get a divorce, [but] I’m always gonna have a lot of love for him, because he is my daughter’s father,” she said.

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Offset begged Cardi to take him back. In December, he apologized (via Instagram, of course): “I want to apologize to you Cardi. I embarrassed you. I made you go crazy, doing things I ain’t have no business,” he said. “I was partaking in activity that I shouldn’t have been partaking in, and I apologize […] For breaking your heart, for breaking our promise, for breaking God’s promise and being a selfish, messed-up husband.”

He even showed up during her set at the Rolling Loud music festival that month. Offset crashed his wife’s performance onstage, bringing her an elaborate flower arrangement and signs that said “TAKE ME BACK CARDI”. Cardi shook her head no and confronted him off-mic before having the display removed. She told Harper’s Bazaar that Offset asked her to see a marriage counselor; she refused. “I didn’t want to go to marriage counseling. He suggested it, but it’s like, ‘I don’t want to go.’ There’s no counselor or nothing that could make me change my mind.”

By the beginning of the year, however, things had begun to improve. In early 2019, Cardi told an Entertainment Tonight reporter, “We’re working it out…taking it slow.” On Feb. 10, Offset accompanied Cardi on the red carpet at the Grammys. In fact, Cardi even brought him onstage with her after her surprise win for Best Rap Album. (She is the first solo female rapper to win that award, per Elle.) Shocked and emotional, Cardi thanked both her husband and daughter during her acceptance speech.

Cardi later opened up to Vogue about her decision to stay. “Everybody has issues,” Cardi said. “I believe in forgiveness. I prayed on it. Me and my husband, we prayed on it. We had priests come to us. And we just came to an understanding like: Bro, it’s really us against the world. He has my back for everything, I have his back for everything, so when you cheat, you’re betraying the person that has your back the most,” she continued. “Why would you do that? We have come to a clear understanding. For me, monogamy is the only way. I’ll beat your ass if you cheat on me.”

In the September issue of Elle — evidently conducted before the divorce filing — Cardi said:  “I do know that my relationship has a lot of drama and everything. But there’s a lot of love there’s a lot of passion, there’s a lot of trust, there’s a big friendship. It’s always us against the world.” She also revealed that she will address the relationship on her upcoming sophomore album.

Brady & Bucs Stymied By Saints In Season Opener

By Terrance Turner

Today was the first time since 2000 that Tom Brady hasn’t started for the New England Patriots. Instead, he served as quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But while the Patriots cruised to a win earlier this afternoon, Brady and the Bucs…didn’t. The New Orleans Saints’ sensational offense and bruising defense obstructed them at every turn.

The game began promisingly enough. Brady scored the team’s first points himself, rushing into the end zone for a touchdown that made it 7-0. But the Saints answered with a touchdown of their own: running back Alvin Kamara scored a rushing TD to tie the game. After Brady was intercepted by Saints’ Marcus Williams early in the second quarter, Kamara seized the moment and scored again, putting his team up 14-7. It was his second touchdown in 90 seconds.

By the midpoint of the second quarter, the game was already getting chippy. On one play, the jostling between Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans and Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore turned serious. After the play, when Evans’ back was turned, Lattimore shoved him from behind. Evans turned around and appeared to throw a punch at Lattimore, knocking off his helmet. The two began scuffling, and their teammates joined in. The referees had to break up the action before it turned into a brawl:

Lattimore got flagged for unnecessary roughness; the 15-yard penalty went against the Saints. But they recovered rather quickly. A Buccaneers drive stalled when Brady got sacked; their field goal was blocked by a Saints defender. The Saints ended up scoring a field goal of their own to end the half, making the game 17-7.

After halftime, more woes awaited the team. Brady was intercepted again by Saints’ Janoris Jenkins, who returned the ball for a pick-six. That made it 24-7. The Buccaneers rallied to narrow that lead, helped by a 45-yard penalty against the Saints. That set up a touchdown for the Bucs. Brady found tight end O.J. Howard for a 9-yard touchdown to make it 24-14. Later, kicker Ryan Succop nailed a field goal to bring the Bucs within one score.

A volley of sorts ensued: Saints receiver Emmanuel Sanders scored a touchdown to make it 31-17; that was followed by a field goal from Saints kicker Wil Lutz. The Bucs responded when Brady hit receiver Mike Evans for a 2-yard TD. But the Saints recovered an onside kick, and a 38-yard catch by Kamara set up 1st and goal. Kamara rushed in for a touchdown, but it was overturned on replay. (Kamara had stepped out of bounds just nanoseconds before the ball crossed the plane.)

It didn’t matter. Kamara (who just signed a $75 million, five-year extension yesterday, after rumors of a trade) was all smiles. It wasn’t hard to see why. The Saints began their season with a convincing win, 34-23.

Chiefs and Texans Unite on NFL Season Opener

By Terrance Turner

Tonight, the NFL season began with a highly anticipated match. The Super Bowl-defending Kansas City Chiefs played against the Houston Texans — but not before a major statement. The national anthem was performed by Chloe and Halle, who wore T-shirts that honored George Floyd and Breonna Taylor — both Black people slain by police this year.

After the anthem, Alicia Keys’ version of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (informally known as “the black national anthem” played at Arrowhead Stadium. The Texans remained in the locker room for both anthems, then emerged for an unusual display. After they came on the field, both teams locked arms in a show of unity; in the center were Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. Remarkably, fans (who only filled 22% of the stadium) began booing.

There were many opinions about this development:

Another distressing development: the absence of intros. Despite being a Thursday night game, tonight’s contest happened on NBC, which typically airs “Sunday Night Football”. Tonight’s match unfolded much like a typical Sunday night contest, with SNF commentators Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. But the very thing that made “Sunday Night Football” different from every other broadcast — the player introductions, where each player appears on the screen to state his name and the college he went to — were gone. Michaels explained the disappearance of the intros by saying that “we couldn’t get into [training] camps to do them.”

Do players not have smartphones? Are they not able to record their introductions on the field before (or after) the game? Are they not allowed to be filmed in the locker room? Can the players not record intros during the Zoom press conferences while they answer questions? Many observers lamented their absence during tonight’s broadcast:

OK. Back to the game.

The first touchdown of the NFL season came courtesy of running back David Johnson, who rushed into the end zone early to put the Texans up 7-0. Johnson temporarily silenced the deafening chatter of fans who objected to the trade that brought him to the Texans and sent DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals. But it would be the last time the Texans held the lead.

The Chiefs responded almost immediately, with a successful 11-play drive. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw a touchdown to tight end Travis Kelce, tying the game. Then the Chiefs gained the lead when Mahomes found Sammy Watkins in the end zone. A field goal by their kicker Harrison Butker put the Chiefs up 17-7 at the half.

In the third quarter, we saw further dominance by rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. (He replaces Chiefs RB Damien Williams, who opted out this season due to concerns about COVID-19. His mother has cancer.) Edwards-Helaire made his debut with a sensational performance, running for 136 yards. His 27-yard touchdown in the third quarter padded the Chiefs’ lead. Then Chiefs rookie L’Jarius Sneed picked off Watson’s pass near the end of the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Mahomes’ interception was negated by a pass interference call against the Texans. Saved by the flag, Mahomes threw a dart to wide receiver Tyreek Hill. That gave the Chiefs a commanding 31-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Texans managed to make things more respectable: Watson himself rushed in for a touchdown, then later found Texans tight end Jordan Akins for another score. But that would be the end of the scores for the Houston Texans. The Chiefs sealed their fate when Butker drilled another field goal to give them the win: 34-20.

“There’s a lot to fix,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said after the Texans’ loss. “It’s only one game. We have to improve pretty quickly. But it’s only one game . We have to get back to work pretty soon and fix these things.” They play the Ravens on Sept. 20.

In Bombshell Interview, Mariah Carey Reveals Inspiration Behind Two Classic Songs

By Terrance Turner

Sept. 3, 2020

“It wasn’t raining yet
But it was definitely a little misty on a warm November night
And my heart was pounding
My inner voice resounding
Begging me to turn away
But I just had to see your face
To feel alive…

My apprehension blew away/I only wanted you…
To taste my sadness as you kissed me in the dark.
Every time I feel the need
I envision you caressing me
And go back in time
To relive the splendor of you and I
On the rooftop that rainy night.”

“The Roof” (1997), feat. Mobb Deep

With this vivid, evocative prose, singer Mariah Carey recalls a memorable night on the roof, in the rain. She wrote the lyrics to “The Roof” — a dreamy, romantic love song with a hard hip-hop edge — for her 1997 album Butterfly. The album represented a liberation of sorts for Carey; it was released the same year she split from Tommy Mottola, former CEO of Sony Music. (Sony is the parent company of Columbia Records, to which Mariah was signed until 1998.)

In a jaw-dropping interview with Vulture this week, Carey reveals that she wrote the song about Yankees baseball legend Derek Jeter.

According to Vulture, Jeter and Carey “met at a dinner party and started text-flirting, secretly, while she was at the end of her marriage to Mottola”. Jeter and Carey shared “a clandestine kiss” on the roof of his apartment building, writes Vulture reporter Allison P. Davis. “There was Moet. She wore a buttery leather Chanel skirt. She remembers her boots and the rain and her hair curling in stunning detail.”

“Of course I do!” Carey told Davis. “I could never forget that moment.” Carey went on to say that “it was a great moment, and it happened in a divine way because it helped me get past living there, in Sing Sing, under those rules and regulations.”

Carey is referring to the $20 million compound that she shared with Mottola. She called it “Sing Sing” — a reference to the famous maximum-security prison in upstate New York. Mariah and Mottola married in 1993, when he was 43 and she was 23. But the marriage soon went south; Carey reportedly felt trapped in it. “He’s controlling,” a friend of Carey’s told People around the time of the breakup. That matches what Carey herself has said over the years. “It was very controlled,” Carey told Cosmopolitan in 2019. “There was no freedom for me as a human being. It was almost like being a prisoner.”

Carey and Mottola at the CFDA Awards in 1995. Photo from MariahJournal.com.

She elaborates further in excerpts quoted in the book: “Every move I made, everywhere I went, I was monitored—minute by minute, day after day, year after year,” she writes. “I was living my dream, but couldn’t leave my house.” The situation epitomized Mottola’s control over Carey, which soon became evident to those in the media.

A 1996 profile of Mottola in Vanity Fair by writer Robert Sam Anson says: “Mariah’s career was soaring, and Tommy was guiding it every step of the way. He approved her material, oversaw her arrangements, checked her promotion, and, to no one’s surprise, made sure her attorney was Allen Grubman, who, in addition to handling a goodly chunk of Sony’s legal chores, now represented a third of its talent roster and the bulk of its key executives. ‘Allen Grubman is my best friend in the world,’ Tommy says in response to questions about conflicts. ‘End of subject. Over and out’.”

“Mariah, friends say, is a very young 26-year-old. They also portray her as increasingly antsy about her husband’s wardening (‘Always being up my ass,’ a former staff member quotes Mariah as saying), which includes the employment of two bodyguards, whose duties extend to accompanying her to the bathroom door, and the placing on Sony’s payroll of a constant shepherdess, the wife of Epic Pres. Dave Glew.”

Anson continues: “For all of Tommy’s precautions, though, there have been slips: a Concorde flight during which Mariah poured out her problems to Diana Ross; an unwelcome friendship with an old high school boyfriend (‘Tear his eyes out,’ an aide recalls Tommy saying after he saw his wife being ogled, but Tommy says, ‘No, I never said anything like that’) and the most public incident, a noisy quarrel in a Beverly Hills hotel lobby after [the 1996] Grammy Awards.” (Carey had been nominated for a handful of awards, but went home without a single trophy.)

The Vulture profile mentions security cameras in the compound that watched her every move. In the book, she details that surveillance. The Daily Beast notes that Carey describes having to sneak downstairs “for a snack, or to sit at the table and write down some lyrics. But every time, right as I would start to settle into the calm of the quiet dark and begin to find my breath—Beep! Beep! The intercom would go off. I’d jump up, and the words ‘Whatcha doin’?’ would crackle through the speaker.”

Davis also notes that, when they started discussing Mottola during a Zoom call, Carey began to cry. Those tears were a long time coming. In 2008, Carey told Parade magazine: “On my new album [E = MC2], the song “Side Effects” says, ‘Kept my tears inside, ’cause I knew if I started I’d keep crying for the rest of my life.’ It’s really true. At that point in my life, I didn’t cry because I had to be so emotionally cut off to deal with it.”

Sure enough, the lyrics reveal a fraught emotional state that continues to haunt Carey: “Wakin’ up scared some nights still thinkin’ ’bout them violent times/Still a little protective of the people that I let inside/Still a little defensive, thinkin’ folk be tryna run my life/Still a little depressed inside, but I fake a smile/And deal with the side effects.”

In his 2013 memoir, Mottola apologized for “any discomfort or pain” he had caused Carey: “If it seemed like I was controlling, I apologize. Was I obsessive? Yes. But that was also part of the reason for her success.” Carey, too, acknowledged to Parade: “I do believe that I learned a lot from him and that he really did believe in my talent and I am very grateful for that.”

By 1996, however, it was clear that the marriage was crumbling. “In the beginning,” Carey writes, “I was walking on eggshells. Then it became a bed of nails, and then a minefield. I never knew when or what would make him blow, and the anxiety was relentless.” Into this oppressive situation stepped Derek Jeter.

The two met at the aforementioned dinner party, and sparks began to fly — inspiring one of Carey’s most memorable singles. “It was a little misty on a warm November night”, she writes on “The Roof”. The accompanying album, Butterfly, was released in Sept. 1997. That would place her clandestine meeting with Jeter ostensibly at Nov. 1996 — just after his star-making rookie season with the Yankees.

Jeter spent his entire 20-year career with the New York Yankees. He is the Yankees’ all-time leader in hits, singles, stolen bases, and games played, according to New Jersey newspaper The Record. He won five World Series championships with the Yankees, including one during his rookie season in Oct. 1996 and three consecutive championships from 1998-2000. (The Yankees won again in 2009.)

When he wasn’t playing shortstop and hitting home runs, Jeter was quietly seeing Carey. In December 1997, he showed up on the set of a video that Mariah was shooting — a clue that a romance was already brewing. “The Roof” wasn’t the only Mariah Carey song inspired by Derek Jeter. In the Vulture profile, Carey revealed that she also wrote “My All” with Jeter in mind. The lyrics outline intense but conflicting feelings:  “I am thinking of you / In my sleepless solitude tonight / If it’s wrong to love you / Then my heart just won’t let me be right / ‘Cause I’ve drowned in you / And I won’t pull through / Without you by my side.”

The song was written after a trip the two took to Puerto Rico — which may explain the Spanish guitar and Latin percussion. In an interview with Fred Bronson, Carey explained: “I had gone to Puerto Rico and was influenced by Latin music at that moment. When I came back, the melody was in my head. It was at a melancholy point in my life and the song reflects the yearning that was going on inside of me.” Released in April 1998, “My All” became Mariah’s 13th #1 single.

By then, the romance was public — and in full swing. According to ESPN, Mariah joined Jeter in Florida for Yankees spring training in March 1998. The team began the season 1-4. Tongues began wagging in the sports world, and some blamed Mariah for Jeter’s hitting slump. But the Yankees won 25 of their next 28 games, according to Yankees Magazine. Jeter would eventually earn his first All-Star honor and his second World Series ring. By June, however, he and Carey had fizzled out. Constant media attention was cited as a reason for the breakup.

Still, Carey spoke warmly of Jeter for years afterward. “I think he’s a great guy,” she told Larry King in 2002. “And I really, really love his family. They taught me something special,” she said. “I never saw an interracial family that had stuck together and stuck it out that way. I learned a nice lesson from them.”

Like Mariah Carey, Derek Jeter is biracial. Both grew up encountering racism. Jeter has spoken about being pulled over while driving down the street and being accused of stealing things from stores. Carey’s mother Patricia was disowned by her family for being marrying and having children with her father, Alfred. Mariah writes in her book about being invited to a friend’s house in the Hamptons only to be called the N-word. (Comedian Sandra Bernhard reopened those wounds after Butterfly‘s single “Honey” was released, saying during her standup that Carey ‘was acting real ni**erish up there at the Royalton Hotel suite with Puff Daddy and all the greasy, chain-wearing Black men.’)

Carey speaks explicitly about growing up biracial in the Vulture interview and in her new book, The Meaning of Mariah Carey. The memoir, published by Andy Cohen Books, will be released Sept. 29. Until then, enjoy one of the songs inspired by Jeter — with a remix featuring rap group Mobb Deep. “The Roof” is embedded below.

PATRICK MAHOMES IS ENGAGED

By Terrance Turner

Tonight, Patrick Mahomes was presented with the Super Bowl ring that he earned in such memorable fashion on Feb. 2nd:

According to ESPN, the Super Bowl ring contains 234 diamonds and the player’s name in gold, along with his jersey number in diamonds. But tonight, Mahomes presented longtime girlfriend Brittany Lynne Matthews with a diamond ring of her own. Matthews alerted her followers of the news via Instagram Stories:

The proposal apparently happened after the Super Bowl ring ceremony at Arrowhead Stadium, according to Today. Mahomes, 24, and Matthews, 25, are high school sweethearts. According to the Kansas City Star, they started dating at Whitehouse High School in Texas, when Mahomes was a sophomore and Matthews a junior. (Mahomes is from Tyler, Texas.) When their relationship began, Mahomes was still a safety on the football team. He would eventually become a standout on the football and basketball teams, becoming a star quarterback while Matthews played on the soccer team.

Matthews went on to play at the University of Texas at Tyler and later signed to play professionally in Iceland. Meanwhile, Mahomes attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX, and later became a superstar QB for the Kansas City Chiefs. After a series of come-from-behind victories in the playoffs, Mahomes led the Chiefs to a stunning fourth-quarter comeback in this year’s Super Bowl. Powered by two touchdowns by running back Damien Williams, the Chiefs racked up 21 points in six minutes to win, 31-20. Now, after a record-breaking contract extension, Mahomes has added yet another milestone to an unforgettable year.

Houston Restaurant Weeks Extended Through Sept. 30

By Terrance Turner

Sept. 1, 2020

News broke yesterday that Houston Restaurant Weeks has been extended through the end of the month. It typically runs from Aug. 1 through Sept. 7, but this year it has been extended through Sept. 30. The annual fundraiser allows people to order from top-shelf local restaurants and donate to a worthy cause.

Cleverley Stone
Food journalist Cleverley Stone with a box from the Houston Food Bank. (Photo by Evin Thayer.)

Houston Restaurant Weeks (HRW) was founded by Cleverley Stone, who hosted a food radio talk show on Houston’s CBS 650 AM (KIKK-AM). According to the HRW website, “The Cleverley Food Talk Radio Show” became the longest-running on CBS 650, running for over 13 years. Stone also worked as a food service contributor to Fox 26 Morning News, beginning in 2008. Stone founded HRW in 2003 as a fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank — the largest food bank in the United States (per its website).

Stone died at 68 in May from uterine cancer. Her final wish was that HRW continue in perpetuity in her name, per the Houston Chronicle. Her daughter Katie Stone now chairs the event, and she remembers that her mother felt compassion for those suffering from hunger. “She was really driven by stories she would hear in Houston about people not having enough to eat,” Katie Stone recalls. That drive helped make HRW the largest annual fundraiser of its kind.

This year, the event will look different, due to COVID-19. But it is arguably more vital than ever. “This year’s Houston Restaurant Weeks is probably the most important year that we’ve ever seen,” Stone told ABC 13. The HRW fundraiser has raised over $16 million for the Houston Food Bank, which distributes food to those in need. This takes on new significance in the wake of Hurricane Laura, which hit Louisiana hard last week. According to KPRC, the Houston Food Bank has sent trucks of water, cleaning supplies, and ready-to-eat food to a Second Harvest Food Bank in Vinton, Louisiana.

A map of the 18 SE Texas counties the HFD serves. (Photo courtesy of houstonfoodbank.org.)

The Houston Food Bank serves 18 counties in southeast Texas, including Harris, Liberty, Chambers, Brazoria, Fort Bend, and Austin. (It also provides food for localized food banks in Montgomery and Galveston counties, which in turn provide it for their residents.) Founded in 1982, the Houston Food Bank distributes fresh produce, meat and nonperishables and prepares nutritious hot meals for kids. According to houstonfoodbank.org, the charity distributed 104 million meals in 2019. It does so via a network of 1,500 community partners, including schools, shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries.

One of those pantries is in the mostly black Trinity Gardens neighborhood. Chef Jonny Rhodes, who grew up in Trinity Gardens, called the area a “food desert” in a Houston Chronicle article in Oct. 2019. The article also defined nearby neighborhood Kashmere Gardens as a “food desert” — a low-income area where residents struggle to find healthy, affordable food. In 2010, the USDA reported that 18 million Americans live in food deserts — places more than a mile from a supermarket in urban/suburban areas and more than 10 miles in rural areas.

One food pantry helping to bridge that gap is in Trinity Gardens First Baptist Church, which shares its name with the surrounding neighborhood. On one Saturday morning per month, food is delivered and distributed. The pantry is headed by Sis. Barbara Brown, who has worked with the Houston Food Bank (HFD) since 2010. She says the Houston Food Bank is essential for the pantry’s operation.

“The Food Bank is 100% of where we get our food,” Brown says via phone. She adds that the pantry is not easy to maintain. “I have to take classes; I have to do online meetings,” she says. “We come in; we have to get inspections.” With the start of the pandemic, trainings and meetings have moved offline. And now, workers and volunteers must deliver food to people’s cars in order to minimize contact.

Mrs. Brown also mentions that she has to have paperwork in multiple languages — and serve people from multiple locales. “We get people from Pasadena and La Porte,” she says, “and we cannot turn people away.” She estimates that the pantry serves around 125 people each month (not counting the pantry’s volunteers, who are often allowed to take home leftover food items.)

Those that come will be given mostly non-perishable food — canned corn and green beans, walnuts, cereal, boxed spaghetti. But the Houston Food Bank truck also delivers some perishables: gallons of milk, bags of ham, even some eggs. And last month, Brown says, fresh vegetables were added to the mix: “We gave out eggs and meat, onions and bell peppers.”

Pantries like these benefit directly from the HFD — and indirectly from the HRW fundraiser. Typically, restaurants would donate $3–$7 from each meal sold to the Food Bank. But with so many restaurants struggling due to COVID-19, this year they will donate $1 per meal. Each dollar can provide three meals for those in need.

For the first time, diners can order using pickup, takeout, or delivery options. Some restaurants allow walk-in orders. According to the website, brunches and lunches each cost $20. Dinners cost either $35 or $45 (for a four-course meal). The featured restaurants are located in Harris, Galveston, and Montgomery counties. (Please call or visit the website of each chosen restaurant to verify dates and times for meal service. Be sure to mention that you would like the HRW special menu.) For more information about HRW’s participating restaurants, please visit https://houstonrestaurantweeks.com. To donate or volunteer with the Houston Food Bank, visit https://www.houstonfoodbank.org.

UPDATE (Sept. 16-19): With just two weeks left until the end of HRW, I decided to do a quick overview of notable brunch and lunch spots in the area. Given the comparatively low cost of these menus (just $20), I’m presenting those options first. (Dinner is another story — literally; I’ll cover the $35-$45 dinner spots in another post.) Only some of the over 100 HRW participants offer brunch, but I did manage to find some participating restaurants in various areas.

If you’re in the downtown area, you could start with Hearsay Market Square (218 Travis St.). Hearsay serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am until 3 pm. Menu options for the first course include deviled eggs with candied jalapeno and bacon. The second course offers choices like fried chicken & waffles and bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp with grits.

In Midtown, Nuksy’s Table (1926 W. Dallas St.) only serves brunch on Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm, per its website. On the bright side, Nuksy’s also serves up plantain beignets with each meal. (They’re deep-fried, with caramel rum sauce — or chocolate bourbon sauce — and berries.) The entrees include crab cake eggs benedict (lumped crabmeat, poached egg, and hollandaise sauce, with sautéed spinach and kettle chips). The breakfast platter has bacon, pork sausage, eggs, and hash browns. Nuksy’s “Shrimp and Orange Corn Grits” include seasoned Gulf shrimp “with Cajun gumbo gravy, served over orange corn grits”. Nuksy’s beverages include mimosas in classic, strawberry, mango,
and raspberry flavors

Also in Midtown, Brennan’s (3300 Smith Street) is offering up an extensive HRW brunch menu. Brunch is served Thursday through Saturday, from 11:00 am-2:00 pm; on Sundays, it lasts from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Famous for its “Creole Jazz Brunch” on Sundays — featuring live jazz for those dining in — the restaurant is also known for its top-rated food.

Texas Shrimp & Grits - Photo
The “Texas Shrimp and Grits” at Brennan’s Houston. (Photo courtesy of Brennan’s website.)

This year, Brennan’s is doing a hybrid menu for both lunch and brunch. Items include chicken & andouille gumbo and “snapping turtle soup” (!) for the first course. Another option is “Brennan’s Salad” (field greens, grape tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, Brioche croutons with red wine & ripped herb vinaigrette).

The second course features “Texas Shrimp and Grits” (goat cheese stone ground grits, roasted sweet peppers, and “chippewa sauce”). In honor of Cleverley Stone, Brennan’s has a vegetarian option they call “The Cleverley”: a summer squash enchilada with tomatillo & hatch pepper salsa, plus lime “crema”. The crema is made with 1 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup heavy cream, the grated zest and juice of 1 lime, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, according to foodnetwork.com.)

In Montrose, Napoli’s Wine Cafe (4601 Washington Ave) offers a varied three-course brunch menu. For the first, there’s fried calamari and a “brochette board”. Choose three from:

  • fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil
  • cheese, bacon, arugula and tomato
  • smoked salmon cheese and capers
  • almond hummus and fresh tomato
See the source image
The “Sassy Italian Ricotta Pancakes” at Napoli’s Wine Cafe.
(Photo courtesy of YouTube.)

But that’s just the first course. Napoli’s offers lobster bisque, soup and salad for the second. But the third course is where things get really interesting. Options include “Sassy Italian Ricotta Pancakes”, topped with maple syrup, banana slices, strawberries, walnuts, a dollop of whole milk ricotta cheese, and whipped cream. Or you could try the “Texas Breakfast Sandwich” (eggs, roasted tomato, fresh mozzarella, avocado, lamb bacon and roasted jalapeños, with pesto sauce served on biologiques loaf bread). The “Brioche French Toast” comprises freshly baked brioche topped with vanilla custard, banana slices, strawberries and walnuts. Alternatively, there’s “Napoli’s Breakfast” (“two poached eggs served over sautéed spinach, potatoes, onions and mushrooms, topped with hollandaise sauce served on a toasted biologiques loaf bread.”).

In the Galleria area, 51Fifteen Cuisine and Cocktails (5175 Westheimer Road) delivers an array of brunch selections. The first course serves up items like garbanzo soup and chopped wedge salad; the second course delivers braised short ribs benedict (two poached eggs on english muffin, hollandaise sauce, braised short ribs, asparagus, sliced tomatoes). Also included in the 2nd course is a 6-oz. New York strip steak and eggs combo.

Also, note the fairly self-explanatory “3 Jumbo Blackened Shrimp Omelet Avocado Toast”, which is topped with arugula, young manchego cheese, tomatoes, and light lemon beurre blanc. (According to Wikipedia, “Beurre blanc—literally translated from French as “white butter”—is a hot emulsified butter sauce made with a reduction of vinegar and/or white wine (normally Muscadet) and grey shallots into which, softened, whole butter is whisked in off the heat to prevent separation.” You learn something new every day.) Editor’s note: 51Fifteen, according to its website, is part of the Landmark Houston Hospitality Group, which also owns Hearsay Lounge.

In the Heights, Harold’s Restaurant (350 W. 19th St., Suite C) also offers guests beignets, like Nuksy’s. And like Brennan’s, it too has a vegetarian tribute dish for Cleverley Stone: “Cleverley’s Quinoa and Chickpea Salad”. The salad is “plant-based and dairy-free with quinoa, chickpeas, cucumber, red bell peppers, onions, lemon garlic vinaigrette”, according to its HRW menu. More conventionally, Harold’s features the “HRW Big Dang Breakfast”: two eggs, cooked any style, roasted potatoes, bacon, homemade biscuit and house-made jam.

Bon appetit!