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Stauber skips candidate forum in Duluth — where he loses — but accepts invitations elsewhere

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Stauber Skips Candidate Forum In Duluth — Where He Loses — But Accepts Invitations Elsewhere
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DULUTH, Minn. — U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber has declined an invitation to a Duluth forum held by the Duluth News Tribune and Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, marking the first time a congressional candidate has opted out of participation in the forum’s 12-year history.

His Democratic challenger, state Rep. Jen Schultz, of Duluth, had accepted the invite and sent in available dates, her campaign manager, Ash Northey, said.

“We’re disappointed,” Neal Ronquist, publisher of the Duluth Media Group, said in a statement. “The Duluth Chamber and Duluth News Tribune have a long-standing history of providing a civil forum for candidates to exchange viewpoints and for area constituents to listen and learn. This co-sponsored forum has been a traditional stop in the race for the region’s congressional seat. We hope the congressman reconsiders and agrees to a forum in the most populous city in the congressional district.”

Asked why Stauber, a Republican from Hermantown, denied the invitation, Johnny Elorta, his campaign manager, said Stauber would be participating in three other debates.

“As he does every campaign cycle, Pete is participating in a series of debates that represents a good cross-section of the expanding 8th Congressional District,” Elorta said in an emailed statement Wednesday. “Pete looks forward to debates on WDIO-TV, which combined with sister station KSTP-TV, reaches the entire district, as well as debates on the Range in Hibbing and in the western part of the district in Brainerd.”

The Brainerd debate is set for Oct. 24 at Madden’s On Gull Lake. Dates for the WDIO and Hibbing debates have not been set.

Schultz said she has not been invited to the WDIO debate yet and that Stauber had not confirmed he’ll participate in the Hibbing debate.

Stanley Hubbard, chairman and CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting, which owns WDIO and KSTP, has donated $23,200 to the Stauber campaign this election cycle, according to the Federal Election Commission.

In 2020, voters sided with Stauber at each of Hibbing’s seven precincts and overwhelmingly voted for him in Crow Wing County. Voters in Duluth, however, overwhelmingly backed Quinn Nystrom, his Democratic opponent.

In an emailed statement, Schultz, who in May challenged Stauber to eight debates across the district, said Stauber has become “inaccessible and unwilling to engage in public discourse throughout the entirety of his tenure in Congress.”

“People in the Eighth District are worried about the rising costs of living, reproductive freedom, being able to raise their families in thriving communities, and so much more,” Schultz said. “They deserve an opportunity to hear how we will address these and many other issues. This refusal to participate in an open debate in the most populous city in the region is a disservice to the hard-working people of our district.”

Matt Baumgartner, president of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, said he’s appreciated Stauber’s support of the chamber and its initiatives in the past, but said his lack of participation in the forum was “unfortunate” and “a disappointment.”

“The importance of (a forum) like that would be to show this area and this region, just how important it is to be able to provide articulate answers to important questions that are relevant to our area as opposed to just submitting a letter,” Baumgartner said.

Forums held by the News Tribune and chamber began in 2010 with the late Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar and his Republican challenger, Chip Cravaack, who would go on to win that race.

In addition to 8th Congressional District candidates, the forum has hosted candidates for gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races.

Stauber has participated twice in the News Tribune and chamber forums, appearing onstage with his competitors in 2018 and, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtually in 2020.

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Do the Jets have more magic in their hat against the Bengals?

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Do The Jets Have More Magic In Their Hat Against The Bengals?
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Last weekend’s 31-30 win against the Cleveland Browns was one of the more thrilling Jets victories in recent time.

Now Gang Green (1-1) will look to win consecutive games for the first time since the 2020 season as they will take on a Cincinnati Bengals team attempting to get their first victory of the season.

“They’re AFC Champions and I would think when you look at those games, they can be sitting here going into Week 3 looking a lot different,” quarterback Joe Flacco said.

“Obviously, they haven’t played as well as they would want to, but they’ve had chances even with that said, so they are a really good football team and we got a really tough challenge ahead of us and we’re excited about it.”

Cincinnati (0-2) might be winless, but both of its games have come down to the wire. Despite turning the ball over five times, the Bengals lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers on a Chris Boswell 53-yard field goal with five seconds left. Cincinnati lost again on a last-second field to the Dallas Cowboys as Brett Maher hit a 50-yarder with three seconds left.

Despite the losses, the Bengals still have talented quarterback Joe Burrow, running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. However, Cincinnati’s offensive line and their four new starters have been its primary issue.

In two games, the Bengals have allowed Burrow to be sacked 13 times, which is the most in the league. Also, starting right tackle La’el Collins missed two days of practice this week and is questionable due to a back injury.

The Green and White haven’t gotten a lot of pressure on opposing team’s quarterbacks this season as they have just three sacks on the season.

If the Jets are to come away with the victory, a player like Carl Lawson keeping Burrow flustered could be the key to their success.

“There is definitely room for improvement as far as our rush is concerned,” Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said. “That’s the players executing, that’s me putting them in better positions to be successful, as far as rushing, but I think there’s absolutely validity too to the fact that the first two teams were run teams and, in this day, and age in football, it’s rare you see that.

“Especially to get them consecutively. We should have more opportunities to absolutely go forward and rush and jump out of our shoes as far as [the] rush is concerned.”

Cincinnati remembers the last time it came to MetLife Stadium. On Halloween last season, Gang Green upset the Bengals 34-31 to get its second victory of the year.

Mike White, starting in place of an injured Zach Wilson, threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns against the Bengals’ defense. Running back Michael Carter also had a memorable performance as he rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown. He also hauled in nine receptions for 95 yards.

The loss against the Jets began a two-game losing streak for Cincinnati. However, the Bengals still won the AFC North and eventually represented the conference in the Super Bowl before losing to the Los Angeles Rams.

“I look at the Cincinnati team and I get the narrative outside of it, I see a team that’s still playing their tails off, a team that brings it every day,” said head coach Robert Saleh.

“I see a team that turned the ball over five times and didn’t take it away in Week One and were still lining up for a game-winning field goal in overtime, which was blocked, so they’ve been on the wrong side of luck.

“This team, they’re still the AFC champs in my mind. They’re still playing at a very high level and we fully expect them to be exactly what we’re seeing on tape, which is a really good football team.”

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Chicago Bears vs. Houston Texans: Everything you need to know about the Week 3 game before kickoff

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Chicago Bears Vs. Houston Texans: Everything You Need To Know About The Week 3 Game Before Kickoff
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The 1-1 Chicago Bears will host the 0-1-1 Houston Texans at Soldier Field in a Week 3 matchup. Here’s what you need to know before kickoff (noon, CBS).

Get our free Bears alerts | Get Brad Biggs’ 10 thoughts on the Bears first | More Bears news

Injury updates

Bears linebacker Roquan Smith and cornerback Jaylon Johnson are listed as questionable to play.

Smith didn’t practice all week as he recovers from a hip injury suffered in the Week 2 loss to the Packers. Coach Matt Eberflus said listing Smith as questionable means he’s at a 51% chance of playing.

Rookie wide receiver/returner Velus Jones Jr. was limited in practice for a second straight day as he recovers from a hamstring injury but is listed as doubtful. He’s missed the first two games of the season.

Tight end Ryan Griffin (Achilles) and safety Dane Cruikshank (hamstring) were declared out. Read the full story here.

OC defends the Bears’ run-pass balance

The comparisons were all over social media this week.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields has 28 pass attempts in two games this season. Every other team in the league has at least 28 completions and 52 attempts.

The Bears’ measly passing-game numbers, which total 15 completions and 191 yards, have dominated talk, with coach Matt Eberflus saying the Bears need to strive for a better balance in the running and passing games.

Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy understands it: “I love to throw because I’m a quarterback guy, right?”

And surely Getsy knows Fields needs to throw to develop in his second season. But Getsy also believes in following a plan tailored to what a defense is presenting them. Read the full story here.

Soldier Field guide — and a weather report

There’s a slight chance of rain in Sunday’s forecast, but nowhere near the amount of precipitation fans endured in the Week 1 win over the 49ers (so, no Slip ‘N Slide celebrations this time around). The expected high is set for 69 degrees, with wind of the WNW at 19 mph.

Chicago experiences higher temperatures longer than outlying suburbs due to the heat-island effect. Its location next to Lake Michigan’s warm waters explains why the city and nearby suburbs freeze later in the year than their farther-out counterparts.

Locally, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting temperatures leaning above normal and “equal chances” of above or below precipitation from October through December.

If you’re headed to Soldier Field, here’s our guide — including where (and what) to tailgate. And no, you won’t be hearing the Bear Raid siren this year.

Latest stadium news from Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights officials rejected a petition to ban village financial incentives for Chicago Bears or any other business, stating that the petition didn’t have enough valid signatures — and warning that such a move would hurt businesses and taxpayers.

The petition calls for the village to create an “Anti-Corporate Welfare Ordinance” that would prohibit any financial or other incentive to a business to operate in the village. The petition was submitted by Americans for Prosperity Illinois, part of a libertarian group backed by the conservative Koch brothers. Read the full story here and read all our coverage here.

Miss anything this week? Catch up on our coverage before kickoff.

  • 5 things to watch in the Bears-Texans game — plus our Week 3 predictions
  • Column: Patience is required to evaluate QB Justin Fields — especially with the Bears offense around him
  • Bears QB Justin Fields says ‘my job is not to call pass plays’ after attempting only 11 passes in a lopsided loss
  • 12 eye-catching numbers as the Bears prepare to face the Texans
  • Column: Justin Fields apologized to Bears fans. It was mature and sincere — but also unnecessary.
  • Bears Q&A with Brad Biggs: Do the coaches doubt Justin Fields as a passer? What is with Kyler Gordon’s rookie struggles?

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Aimee Pugh Bernard: An immunologist offers tips for assessing health info in the wilds of the Internet

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Aimee Pugh Bernard: An Immunologist Offers Tips For Assessing Health Info In The Wilds Of The Internet
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As a mom with real concerns about my kid’s health, and as an educator and scientist who appreciates the hard facts, I understand how difficult it can be to make choices that affect your family’s health. This has been made even more challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic; the decisions we make not only impact ourselves but the people around us in our communities.

Being skeptical and learning as much as we can before we make important decisions is a good thing. Researching information regarding our health and well-being can be complicated. Today’s world is filled with conflicting information online, in the media, and among peers and family members – it’s hard to know which sources are accurate and reliable.

Conflicting information during the pandemic has also come from scientists and medical experts. That doesn’t seem right! Why does that happen?

 

It’s important to know that science is always evolving.

At the start of the pandemic, scientists knew just as much as the general public.Until we started collecting and analyzing clinical data and doing experiments with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, we had very little information about how the virus worked and how it spread. The more we learned, the more information we had to make recommendations for the health and well-being of our communities. I know it was (and still is) frustrating. I was right there with you. Mask or no mask? Wipe down the groceries, let them sit without being touched for a day or load them into my cupboards right away? We didn’t know.

What we do know is that the more we learn about the virus, the more information we have to make and update our recommendations. Sometimes new information leads us to revise an earlier recommendation. This is even more complicated as variants emerge that act and work a little bit differently than the original virus.

You can think of variants as kids. While kids have the same genetic information as their parents — it’s a little bit of a mixture with some unique changes — it often results in a human that looks and acts differently. This is the same with viruses. It means that we, as scientists, are always chasing after the newest variant of the virus to learn as much as we can to update our recommendations to the general public based on the most recent clinical and scientific data.

We all want to do what’s right and make the best decisions possible. With all the conflicting messages we see in the media, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and maybe even be led down a path of inaccurate and sometimes harmful information. The internet and endless number of social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, etc.) have made finding credible information challenging. Anyone who wants to share their message with the world has the ability to do so. This means that experts and non-experts alike have found an equal voice in the wild world of the internet and social media.

This is where I come in; I’ll use my expertise as a scientist and my experience as an science communicator and educator to help you distinguish between the facts and fake news.

 

What can you do to make sense of conflicting information?

How can you find information that comes from credible sources and experts who are sharing their expertise to empower you to make decisions based on facts and the truth?

Here are four quick tips that I always use to help me decipher facts from fakes news:

1.      Check my emotions. Does what I just read or watched make me feel strong emotions?

2.      Check the author. Is the author an expert in the field? Does the author have experience and/or training in the area for which s/he is writing about?

3.      Check the source. Is this a reputable source? Is it source that medical doctors and scientists would use to get and/or share information?

4.      Check the references. Does the article or video share the source of information?

 

My motivation to share these tips came from a Letter to the Editor the Pioneer Press published on Aug. 28 titled, “Ongoing debate on vaccines for kids.”

As a PhD immunologist for over 20 years, I can tell you that there is no debate in the medical community about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. We agree that vaccines are one of the greatest medical advancements in existence and they have saved millions, if not billions, of lives. The author of the letter shared a YouTube channel from an individual who is not an expert in the field of medicine and, contrary to what was stated in the opinion piece, is not “respected by persons on all sides of the COVID issue.”

How did I figure this out?

Let’s use that YouTube video recommendation (which I will not list here for reasons stated above) as an example and go through my list of four quick tips together.

1. Check my emotions. How did this YouTube video make me feel?

The video was definitely created to spark strong emotion. It was designed to invoke fear and anger; the author conveyed that he was revealing information that the medical establishment did not want the public to know. The desired outcome was to inspire fear and anger against the medical establishment but trust in him, since he was (allegedly) letting us in on a secret.

2. Check the author. Who is this person? What makes him an expert?

After a little digging, I found out that he is not a medical doctor or a biologist. He also has no training in immunology, vaccine biology or infectious disease. He calls himself a doctor because he has a PhD in the study of open education resources. Having a PhD does make it legitimate to call oneself “doctor” (as I know from personal experience) but his expertise and training are not in the area this video was focused on – COVID and vaccines. Bottom line is that he is not an expert in the field that was the focus of the YouTube video.

3. Check the source. Is this a reputable source of information? Is this a source that scientific experts would use to find factual information?

No. YouTube is not a source that medical doctors or scientists use to gather factual information. The most legitimate sources of information about infectious disease and medicine used to treat them come from science articles that are published in scientific journals, medical textbooks, and reputable academic and medical institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Although YouTube can be a source for factual information, much of the time when scientific information is revealed on YouTube, it is coming from people who are not experts and do not have the scientific data to get their news published in a reputable source.

Can YouTube be a source of factual information? Absolutely! Scientists and medical professionals use YouTube as a communication tool to disseminate information about exciting new developments in disease treatments and research studies that have been published in scientific journals. Furthermore, there are fascinating YouTube videos created by music professors discussing the elements of music theory, mechanics explaining how braking systems work, chefs talking about the latest and most innovative cooking techniques, and so much more! YouTube is an audiovisual library filled with hours of informative and entertaining  videos. To figure out if the YouTube video you are watching is factual, go back to Tip #1 (check emotions) and Tip #2 (check the author).

4. Check the references. Are there any references listed? If so, what are they, and are they reputable and valid?

First item of business here, if there are no references listed, that’s a red flag. For our investigation, this video did use a reference known as a “pre-print.” In science, pre-prints are versions of articles that communicate the results of scientific findings that have just happened but have not yet been validated and reviewed by other scientific experts through a process called peer review.

Peer review is a big deal in science. It is the process by which science experts in the same field as the author of the paper, but who are not part of the study, scrutinize the data and determine if the findings in the paper are accurate and valid. Peer review is the process in science by which we determine if the scientific findings are fact or fake news. Pre-prints have not yet undergone this intense scrutiny and should not be accepted as fact. It’s kind of like telling all your buddies about a huge fish you caught without having any witnesses with you on the fishing excursion. It could be true but could also be fake news.

During the early days of COVID, pre-prints were valuable to the medical community. The peer review process is time-consuming and when we needed to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible, pre-prints allowed us to do so. Those of us trained in science could distinguish good data from bad data by analyzing the methods and statistical analysis in the pre-prints. We know from years of training which pre-prints had information that might be valid. We also know that pre-prints need to go through peer review and only those that go on to publication in a scientific journal would prevail as fact. Those that did not, would be chalked up to fake news.

 

Walking through the four quick tips together, we found out that:

1.      The video sparked strong emotion (even for a Minnesotan)

2.      The author is not an expert in COVID, vaccines, or pandemics

3.      The source is YouTube, which is not an accepted platform for the communication of scientific information

4.      The reference is a pre-print, which can be a source of information but has not yet undergone the scrutinous peer review process and should not be accepted as fact

Using the 4 quick tips, the result of our investigation suggests this is not a valid source of information and we should not accept this particular YouTube video as accurate.

 

As a scientist and educator, I encourage you to remain curious and skeptical when it comes to your health and decisions that will impact your life and the lives of your loved ones and the greater community.

Knowledge is power. As you do your own research to learn as much as possible before making important decisions regarding your health and the health of your family, keep in mind the four quick tips listed above. Distinguish fact from fake news by remembering that credible information rarely comes from sources that evoke strong emotion, people who are not experts in the field of which they write, in a YouTube video, and without references from credible sources.

For more information on how to become a pro at deciphering facts from fake news, I encourage you to visit the News Literacy Project ( website.

For more information about how vaccines work with the immune system to train our bodies to fight infectious diseases, check out my “Immunology 101” blog series at Immunize Colorado Team Vaccine (

Aimee Pugh Bernard is an immunologist and professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz medical campus. She was born and raised in South St. Paul and attended college at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter. 

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Trudy Rubin: Putin’s threat to use nukes is a sure sign his war is failing

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Trudy Rubin: Putin’s Threat To Use Nukes Is A Sure Sign His War Is Failing
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Twenty-two years ago, at the Davos World Economic Forum, when a little-known Vladimir Putin had just become president, I asked four senior Russian leaders: “Who is Mr. Putin?”

Seated in a row on stage, all four refused to answer, apparently fearful of their new boss. The audience burst out laughing. Russian TV, in the front row, filmed the whole episode and ran it repeatedly — for years. “Who is Mr. Putin?” became a meme that has endured until the present.

Now, as Putin threatens (again) to use nukes to rescue his failed war in Ukraine, his psyche is once more being dissected. Is he bluffing? Is he mad? Can he be enticed to negotiations?

These are the wrong questions. Vladimir Putin is a bully who only stops when confronted. He has made clear that he is a danger to Europe, the United States and the world — not just Ukraine.

Now is the historic moment, when Putin is reeling from a string of Ukrainian military successes, to take advantage of his weakness. At long last, the West must give Kyiv the critical weapons it needs to push Russian troops out of Ukraine.

Putin’s Sept. 21 speech — in which he called for a “partial” military mobilization of 300,000 soldiers and hinted that Russia might use nuclear weapons — was a clear sign of weakness. Ukraine’s advances in the north of the country led to the collapse of the ill-equipped, poorly led Russian occupation troops, and his call-up won’t rejuvenate his troubled army.

“There is almost no chance they will get anywhere close to 300,000, because nobody wants to do it,” I was told by Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, former commander of the United States Army Europe, by phone from Romania.

“It will be months before any of these guys show up, never mind get trained,” Hodges added, especially since Russia is running short of uniforms, supplies — and capable commanders. And fears of the call-up are already generating social unrest in big cities.

Knowing this, Putin has trotted out his veiled nuclear threat, stating that, if any nation jeopardizes “the territorial integrity of our country … we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff.”

Yet Putin and his circle have made nuclear threats frequently in recent years — and they have always been a bluff. “They typically back down if you ignore them or you make a very clear response,” said Hodges.

The reason that Putin’s use of tactical nukes is highly unlikely is that it won’t gain the Russians any military advantage.

“There is zero strategic upside,” Hodges explained. Putin is not going to start a strategic nuclear war with NATO, which would destroy him. As for using tactical nuclear weapons (which have a much smaller yield), Hodges noted that they wouldn’t do as much damage as Moscow’s conventional missiles have done to major Ukrainian cities such as Mariupol.

But their use would provoke a global outcry against breaking the nuclear taboo that has existed since 1945, forcing even China and India to condemn Putin. “It would be impossible for the U.S. not to respond, and the response would be devastating,” said Hodges.

President Joe Biden told “60 Minutes” last Sunday that the U.S. response would be “consequential.” One hopes private White House messages to Putin make clear that Biden’s retort is not a bluff.

Of course, many observers wonder if that response to any Russian escalation would be nuclear. But the U.S. has many non-nuclear options — from so-called bunker busters to cyber counterattacks — to seriously punish such a strike. Their extent should be made clear to Moscow.

“Of course, good people worry (about the nuclear threat),” Hodges said, “but if we give in to Putin’s blackmail there is no end to this. Where does it stop?” Such threats could be used against small NATO countries. China and North Korea are also watching how the West responds to Putin’s nuclear threats.

Which brings us to the pipe dream of peace talks, a frequent proposal by those who fear a Putin who runs “crazy.” The Russian leader has so far rejected peace talks (despite lies to the contrary), and would only use them to regroup his military. Putin has said Ukraine has no right to exist and is preparing to annex occupied Ukrainian lands via rigged referendums.

So there is no possibility of serious talks before Russia is forced to give up most or all of the lands it has annexed. Indeed, the administration should stop talking about “strengthening Ukraine’s hand” at the negotiating table.

On the contrary, this is the moment, when Putin is on the back foot, that the West must expedite delivery of the weapons systems Ukraine needs to win this conflict.

“Yes, we have a few HIMARs” — the precision multiple rocket launchers sent recently by Washington, that have enabled the Ukrainians to knock out Russian logistics and command centers — I was told via WhatsApp by Brig. Gen. “Marcel” Melnik, commander of the Ukrainian Army’s Kharkiv garrison, as he drove around newly liberated towns last week. “But if we would have more HIMARS, along with air defense systems, and armored cars, we can win.”

There is no reason for the U.S. and its allies to keep denying the Ukrainians the air defenses, long-range missiles, tanks and planes that could defeat Putin. It is critical to deliver them now, before winter sets in, before Russia mobilizes, before Putin bombs every bit of civilian infrastructure left in Ukraine.

Let’s stop letting fear of “mad” Putin’s nukes spook us. Get off the stick, Biden administration (which has done much right, but is still holding back key weapons systems)! Put your weapons where your mouths are, France and Germany! Now is the moment to help Kyiv push Putin’s army out of Ukraine.

Trudy Rubin is a columnist and editorial-board member for the The Philadelphia Inquirer. Readers may write to her at: Philadelphia Inquirer, P.O. Box 8263, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101, or by email at [email protected]

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Movie review: ‘Blonde’ a tour de force take on Marilyn Monroe’s fabulous, tragic life

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Movie Review: ‘Blonde’ A Tour De Force Take On Marilyn Monroe’s Fabulous, Tragic Life
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Andrew Dominik’s “Blonde” is a “Phantom of the Opera” whose phantom hides her psychological scars behind the mask of a Hollywood screen goddess. Based on the 2000 novel by Joyce Carol Oates, the beautifully shot, almost three-hour film, which switches back and forth from color to black and white, presents Marilyn Monroe as both a damaged flesh-and-blood human being and a semi-divine, hyper-sexualized product of the 1950s studio system. This creation was fodder for gossip columns, abused and victimized by powerful men and designed to lure audiences, especially men, into movie theaters.

As the blonde of the title, Cuban actor Ana de Armas is genuinely heartbreaking. Her Monroe is, yes, beautiful and sexy, but also delightful, vulnerable, profoundly talented, far more intelligent and knowledgeable than she was ever given credit for and tragic. It is an exciting, star-making performance.

Also brilliant is Medford’s Julianne Nicholson as Gladys, the mother of little fatherless Norma Jeane Baker (a fine Lily Fisher). Following Oates’ Freudian lead, Dominik creates a father myth for Monroe when mentally unstable Gladys gives her daughter a dramatic photo of a dark-haired man, telling her that he is her father, but that she cannot utter his name. The film’s Marilyn calls her male partners, “Daddy,” for the rest of her life. After getting a start in modeling, Marilyn breaks into acting and is assaulted at her first major studio audition. Much of “Blonde” is prefigured in a scene in which Norma Jeane’s mother drives her as a child into the smoke and flame-filled hills of Hollywood. Welcome to the inferno, honey. Marilyn learns to place herself in a “circle of light” from an acting coach. She will need that skill to shield herself from most of the men she meets.

Marilyn gets a break playing the troubled Nell in “Don’t Bother to Knock” (1952). She also gets involved in a scandalous threesome with the sons of Charlie Chaplin and Edward G. Robinson. De Armas is topless in a lot of “Blonde.” We see simulated sex acts. But that NC-17 rating is as over-the-top as some of the dialogue (Dominik adapted the novel). Dominik chooses to distort the image to make it look like the threesome bodies are merging. “Niagara” (1953) makes Monroe a sensation, if not a human waterfall. Daryl F. Zanuck buys “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” for her. But Jane Russell makes 20 times more. Also, Monroe will be forced to have an abortion to keep the production moving along.

Giant, voluptuous images of Monroe appear over theater marquees. She’s bigger than life, a modern-day sex goddess. We see de Armas recreate the “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” routine. She is very good. But Monroe was iconic. The film’s Marilyn begins to use pills and booze to self-medicate. She marries Joe DiMaggio (Bobby Cannavale) in part to get out of Hollywood and study acting in New York City. But he is viciously jealous and beats her. Monroe did not invent the “male gaze.” But she turned it into her superpower. She marries celebrated playwright Arthur Miller (Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody) and almost clasps the happiness that has perversely eluded her. In the end, she becomes the cruelly treated plaything of an unnamed JFK. “Am I meat to be delivered?” she wonders. Her life is a wilderness of broken mirrors, ringing phones, talking fetuses, booze, drugs and voice-overs by a probably imaginary, letter-writing father. She needs a doctor on set to complete “Some Like It Hot” (1959). “Blonde” is a spooky, troubling evocation of Hollywood’s most obsessed-over star. If you liked “Mank,” “Blonde” will once again send you to movie heaven … and hell.

‘BLONDE’

Grade: A-

MPAA rating: NC-17 (for some sexual content)

Running time: 2:46

How to watch: Now in theaters and streaming on Netflix Sept. 28

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ASK IRA: Are Heat keeping trade options open to potentially seize a moment?

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Ask Ira: Are Heat Keeping Trade Options Open To Potentially Seize A Moment?
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Q: Hey Ira, I am intrigued by the process of signing/waiting to sign Tyler Herro. Since Tyler was not a starter (but did play significant minutes) last season, it would seem logical for the Heat to argue that Tyler could sign a larger contract next offseason, or take less now on the laurels of a non-starter this past year. I would think that Tyler needs to decide if he wants to be paid prior to the season starting (for less) or bet on himself for further success this season to enhance the contract offer next summer. – David, Venice.

A: While I appreciate the logic, all the financials and analytics are secondary to this: The Heat effectively cannot trade Tyler Herro this season should an agreement be reached on an extension prior to the extension deadline at the start of the regular season. So even more than Tyler’s value in the moment is whether he could stand as a trade component by February’s NBA trading deadline (or before). And the Heat won’t know where they stand with Tyler as a rotation component until they first see where they stand with players such as Victor Oladipo, Max Strus and even Gabe Vincent.

Q: I see some upside in fringe players such as Marcus Garrett, Darius Days, et al., that could have Max Strus-like impact. That’s why I agree with Pat Riley’s philosophy of nothing being given, but rather earned. Right now saying the team’s rotation will be the same as the roster in April entering the playoffs is premature. – Leonard, Cornelius, N.C.

A: Exactly. A year ago at this time who thought that Caleb Martin would become a primary rotation component, or Max Strus? The Heat have a way of making it work. That is why I already mentioned keeping an eye on Haywood Haysmith. Now, it might not be Marcus Garrett or Darius Days. But the Heat are known for presenting opportunity. Will there be someone this time around to seize it?

Q: Ira, the 5 at 35 segments have really taken me back through the years. What are your professional Top 5 Heat moments in the last 35? – J.J.

A: Honestly, just being able to be here for all of it, including starting season No. 35 on Monday at media day at FTX Arena.

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