When you think of Augusta, Georgia in April, one thing naturally comes to mind: The Major Rager concert series! Okay…SOME of you may make mention of some golf tournament happening the same weekend, but whatever. With The Flaming Lips, Moon Taxi and The Eric Krasno Band playing, and for a great cause to boot, the place to be in Augusta that blustery Thursday wasn’t on a putting green…it was front and center at a rocking downtown day-long jam.The charity clearinghouse Friends With Benefits pairs great bands with great causes. The Major Rage uses the opportunity presented by The Masters coming to town to create unique fund raising opportunities. Since their founding, they have raised a quarter of a million dollars for a variety of worthy non-profits.Sunny skies were filled with gusting winds and unseasonably chilly temperatures for the event but music lovers were undeterred. There were plenty of opportunities for craft beer and BBQ but the main course on the menu was served onstage. After a fun warm-up set from Stop Light Observations, one of the hardest working men in the music scene did what he does best…bending his guitar strings until they sang the blues.Eric Krasno BandEric Krasno brought his new band to the Major Rager and wowed the fans with his blues licks and wailing solos! While still getting the funk down with his bands Lettuce and Soulive, Krasno seems to relish the chance to do his own thing. Krasno has gathered a band he seems to trust, including multiple members of the Dap Kings, to form the Erik Krasno Band.Keyboard player and vocalist Deshawn Alexander brought a burst of energy and stage presence with his contributions on the mic and ivories. Vocalist Mary Corso had the crowd in awe of her emotional, bluesy delivery. Krasno got in on the act as well, singing while playing the blues. While his schedule may not allow much time for sleep, with this many amazing bands to play with, Krasno doesn’t have time to rest anyway.Watch Krasno and company pump up the jams below:“Jezebel”“Move Over”People Of The Sun (Moon Taxi)Nashville’s own indie-rockers Moon Taxi have a secret. Though they write artful, melodic rock songs for themselves they secretly kinda wish they were the most bombastic rap rock protest band of all times! So, whenever they can’t fight the urge to go buck wild, they metamorphose into “People Of The Sun” and play tribute to Rage Against The Machine, pioneers of the anger-rock movement of the nineties.Organizers of The Major Rager were more than happy to let them work out their identity issues on stage. Throughout the crowd, fists were raised and middle fingers were unfurled. Classic RATM tunes like “Bulls On Parade” and “Guerilla Radio” were dropped left and right as People Of The Sun quickly moved from hit to hit. Check out a couple of their most brutal jams below:“Bulls On Parade”“Bombtrack”The Flaming LipsSince their inception, the Flaming Lips have purposefully followed a path all their own. Mercurial frontman Wayne Coyne serves as nexus for the swirling mayhem the band has created in the studio and on stages for decades. Whether The Flaming Lips are building a monument to the psychedelic insanity in their hearts, or pleading for love to conquer all, they are always remembering to first and foremost…ENTERTAIN!Flips shows are a senses shattering cacophony of sights and sounds designed to overwhelm onlookers and leave them receptive to new ideas. Wild man Coyne serves as the eye of the storm, urging listeners to embrace love and insanity. Music fans at the Major Rager were lost in a wave of jubilation. Confetti filled the air, Coyne ventured out into the crowd on a giant LED illuminated unicorn, and the general ridiculousness factor needle was buried on eleven.That sense of irreverence has served to connect the band and their fans on a very instinctive level. Humor has a way of disarming a situation. In the context of a Flaming Lips show, it allows the overall message the band shares, peace, love and unbridled artistic expression, to resonate on a more personal frequency.See The Flaming Lips play a pair of the most beloved tunes below:“Race For The Prize”“Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robot (Part One)”
Laurence Ralph, a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellow, has been studying the issue of police violence in Chicago from the perspective of its survivors and community organizers. Drawing on his research, he says there is a need to think critically about the state and practices of policing. A scathing report released yesterday by a task force appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that the Chicago Police have “no regard for minority lives.”The Gazette sat down with Ralph, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences in the Departments of Anthropology and African and African American Studies, to talk about his research, the limits of the American legal system in addressing issues surrounding police violence, and the current climate on the matter. GAZETTE: You’ve been doing research on police violence in Chicago for the past decade, and the topic is very relevant today. What can your research tell us about the issue of police brutality against unarmed black men?RALPH: The national debate about police violence in America stems from the growing collective awareness that police officers are contributing to an alarming number of violent deaths. My research shows that instead of assuming that lethal force was either necessary or the momentary overreach of a rogue cop, instead of assuming that these cruel events are accidents, many Americans now question whether lethal force is a fundamental aspect of modern-day policing.GAZETTE: Part of your research has focused on the actions by Chicago activists to air issues of police violence before international bodies. Could you tell us more about this?RALPH: I’ve been looking at activist organizations in Chicago that have gone to the United Nations in Geneva to try to make police violence a human rights issue and to get accountability. I’m also looking at the case for reparations for victims of reported police torture in Chicago. I’ve been studying the history in Chicago. The first case is from 1984, but since then more and more victims have come out. The city of Chicago has already paid over $200 million on legal fees and settlements to victims, and recently some of the victims have been awarded $5.5 million in reparations. There is an increasing effort to make the public aware of this problem, but also to find creative ways of addressing it. The international arena is one example.GAZETTE: Can you tell us more about this? Is there a precedent for U.S. groups taking their grievances to the international arena?RALPH: There is a group in Chicago called We Charge Genocide that went to the UN in 2014. They get their name from a petition of African-Americans, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, among others, who went to the UN in 1951 to address the issue of systematic racism against African-Americans. The Chicago group takes its inspiration from this prior group and is making some of the same arguments. They’re trying to follow a historical precedent. They’re saying that although we had the Civil Rights movement in the United States, there are still big hurdles to overcome, particularly when it comes to race and legal justice.GAZETTE: What happened with the first group? What do you think is going to happen with the efforts of the Chicago group to find justice?RALPH: Back in 1951, people in the United States were afraid of the threat of communism. People were afraid that African-Americans would be more sympathetic to communism and subvert the United States from inside. There was a lot of effort not to talk about the first trip to the UN, but black newspapers talked about it. In the Chicago case, the goal is not merely to get particular sanctions on the Chicago Police Department, but also to give victims of police violence an outlet to express their grievances.GAZETTE: For these activists, what does the international stage offer that the American legal system may lack?RALPH: International laws give people a different language to talk about systematic racism and the fact that African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by police violence. Often within the U.S. legal system, police violence cases are looked at individually, and everything else is irrelevant. There is no way to talk about the fact that a particular racial group is overwhelmingly being impacted by police violence. So the international stage gives you another set of terms and allows for a broader set of arguments to be made. I think that beyond sanctions, the language is important, and also, since this latest group went to the UN, a lot of other incidents of police violence have happened in Chicago. Their efforts have helped the public mobilize around the issue. The activism that took place last year wouldn’t have been that effective if they hadn’t gone to the UN.GAZETTE: What do activists in Chicago think about the American legal system?RALPH: The group I’m researching is frustrated in the sense that, oftentimes in the American legal system, racial factors are excluded. You can’t talk about race; you can’t talk about social position. And oftentimes, the police are given the benefit of the doubt and they’re more trusted in court than the victims of police violence. But the international organizations can look at patterns of police abuse, and they take into consideration the rights and the word of citizens first, when filing a petition. While in the U.S. this could be an open-and-shut case, that’s the starting point for the international bodies.GAZETTE: How would you describe the police violence situation in Chicago compared with other American cities?RALPH: Part of the problem is that we don’t actually know the scope of police violence. We can’t make an assessment about which cities are better or worse in terms of police violence because a lot of what we need to keep track of, we haven’t been keeping track of on a large-scale level. What I’m focusing on is the culture of policing. I ask: What gives people an incentive to enact violence when they don’t necessarily need to? What kind of incentives are there to rise up the ranks within the police department? And why do some police officers keep silent when they know that misconduct is taking place? I hope that these cultural factors will be relevant to other police departments in other cities across the United States.GAZETTE: What were the findings of your research in Chicago?RALPH: I wanted to examine the contradiction between the fact that the police are supposed to safeguard citizens and yet they’re contributing to an alarming number of violent deaths. I’m focusing on the factors that keep police misconduct hidden. Much of my work looks at the phenomenon of police torture, specifically. I’m interested in criminal suspects who have been brutalized or tortured in order to coerce confessions, and what keeps these methods under wraps. I find that, although many officers might know or suspect misconduct, they don’t want to tell anyone because it could compromise them or put them in a position to risk their careers. Some develop strategies to avoid getting knowledge. The larger issue is how the police departments operate in America today.GAZETTE: Would you say that there is a climate of looking the other way in most police departments when it comes to issues of misconduct?RALPH: In the cases I have studied, there is a climate of looking the other way, definitely. There is a lot of pressure to both get arrests and confessions. And there are disincentives for outing police officers.GAZETTE: What do you hope to see happen with grievances of police violence?RALPH: My hope is that more creative solutions can be imagined to solve the problem. I don’t know what those solutions will be yet. But what I’m seeing in the research is that the same solutions are being imagined as a way to solve the problem. Some examples are: another report, another committee created to address the problem, and more personnel being fired. But if we look at this from a long, historical perspective, we see that those changes don’t affect what’s actually going on. My hope is that we find another way to think about what can be done, and that’s the importance of going to the UN. Not to say that’s the answer, but it gives people a space to air grievances, an alternative vision of the law than what we currently have in the United States.Ralph, a Joy Foundation Fellow at the Institute this year, will present “Witnessing Death: Policing, Race, and the Limits of Democracy in the 21st Century” on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the Sheerr Room, Fay House, 10 Garden St., Cambridge. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Beans are a great source of protein in diets. But some lesser-known cousins of black-eyed peas and kidney beans may have something far better. They may hold the key to fighting cancer, leukemia and Parkinson’s disease. Working at the University of Georgia Experiment Station in Griffin, Brad Morris maintains more than 190 legume species. Most originated in tropical countries. Morris is a special legume curator with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For the past year, he has been on a mission to unlock potential medicinal qualities hidden inside 13 of the legume species.”Who’s ever heard of velvet bean, jack bean, winged bean, fish poison bean or crotalaria?” Morris said. “These beans all contain useful, potentially therapeutic, phytochemicals that could someday be of great benefit to humankind.” The “phyto” means, simply, “plant.” These bean plants contain chemicals that, for most, are inedible. Some contain alkaloids that are toxic to people and animals. “For example, fish poison bean contains rotenone, which South American natives use to stun fish so they can be scooped from rivers,” Morris said. “But rotenone is also known to fight tumors in humans. In small quantities, alkaloids can have therapeutic value and could help fight cancer and ulcers.” Winged bean and crotalaria also contain phytochemicals known to fight tumors. Crotalaria contains monocrotaline, too, which is known to fight tumors and leukemia. And jack bean contains canavanine, which combats flu, bacteria, fungi and viruses. To unlock the health benefits of these legumes, Morris is attracting interest from biochemists and ethnobotanists. “My job as an agronomist and curator is to let researchers know the potential uses of these legumes,” he said. “I’m in search of collaborators.” Over the past year, Morris’ search has had some success. A California scientist requested winged beans for research on edible vaccines. Winged beans contain high levels of lectins. Medical researchers use lectins as diagnostic tools because they bind to certain blood cells and specialized transport cells. The winged bean lectin, when fed to mice, reportedly stimulated their immune systems to produce antibodies that recognize the lectin. The same response is noted from a vaccine. “Edible vaccines are a new area interesting to both scientists and the public,” Morris said. “I’m sure everyone would much rather ingest a vaccine instead of getting a shot.” A group of Italian researchers also contacted Morris. The group is studying velvet bean as a source of dopa, which the human brain converts into the neurotransmitter dopamine. Parkinson’s disease occurs when brain cells that produce dopamine are destroyed. Morris calls the legume collection his “unopened medicine chest.” “I’m trying to gain as much interest in the scientific community as possible,” he said. “I want to spread the word as far as possible and maybe reach a pharmacologist or phytochemist who is interested in this area of research.” Americans don’t have to wait, though, to reap the benefits of legumes. “Beans and other legumes are a delicious and inexpensive way to add nutritious, healthy foods to our diets,” said Connie Crawley, a nutrition and health specialist with the UGA Extension Service. “Research indicates a cup of beans eaten daily can lower cholesterol as much as 12 percent, cut the risk of colon cancer, slow the rise of blood glucose after meals and increase a sense of fullness in those trying to control their weight,” she said. Crawley said soybeans in particular have received a lot of research attention of late. “No one is sure how much soy is needed to see the beneficial effects,” she said. “It may be more than what can be eaten in a normal Western diet.” She said the main problem is finding soybean products the average American will eat. “Tofu and soynuts are probably the most widely accepted,” she said. Download the grayscale .TIF file.
“It is always about the three points,” he said. “Those memories will stay with me, the area and the people I met, not just around the football club. “Ourselves and Sunderland were cut off at one stage. Sunderland have come back and we have come back at it. What we have to do is make sure you push on from there and that is the important thing. “We are looking at all areas and we need to strengthen in all areas. “We have got injuries we need to deal with, but I think we need to get players in to help us. We haven’t done it yet but we certainly need to.” Pulis will be low on numbers for the visit of Mark Hughes’ Stoke, with on-loan striker Cameron Jerome ineligible to face his parent club and midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi still sidelined with a calf injury. Glenn Murray remains a long-term absentee, along with full-back Jack Hunt and club-captain Paddy McCarthy. The latter has started to make his comeback following a lengthy spell out with a groin injury, and the former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international has been impressed by Palace’s transformation under Pulis. Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis will treat Saturday’s game against former side Stoke the same as any other as he looks to steer the Eagles back out of the Barclays Premier League bottom three. “The lads have applied themselves unbelievably well,” McCarthy said. “They have bought into the new ideas the new manager has brought to the club and we are moving forward at a rapid pace. With the group we have, I’m quietly confident we have enough in the squad to pick up the points to keep us safe this year.” Former Leicester and Charlton defender McCarthy did not feature at all during Palace’s promotion campaign last season but has played some reserve football of late, and was also an unused substitute in the recent FA Cup third round victory at West Brom. Now McCarthy, 30, is hoping his recent injury woes are behind him as he looks to get closer to a first-team outing. “I have come through two games now with no problems, so I’m just building up my match fitness,” he added. “I have trained for a few weeks now with no problem, I feel physically fit and it is all about building the game-time now and hopefully I will be in contention soon. “It has been a tough 18 months for me but I have worked my socks off and come in day in, day out. And hopefully I will reap the rewards for my hard work and not pick up any more injuries. “We have left no stone unturned. We have been to Germany and Italy to see the best people for my specific injury, so I’m hoping I’m over the worst of it now. “I think it took a few months for people to understand what had happened, it took quite a while to get on top of it. I’ve done all the groundwork and now I’m starting to feel better in the games I’m taking part in, and as the weeks go by I will pick up more minutes.” The 56-year-old ended a 10-year reign as Stoke boss last summer and was soon back in top-flight management when he replaced Ian Holloway at Selhurst Park in November. Results have improved since, but a run of just one point from their last three league outings has seen Palace drop to the foot of the table, meaning a Stoke reunion in south London this weekend is all about the result for Pulis, who remains keen to add to his squad during the transfer window. Press Association
The Sports Minister, Isaac Asiamah is expected to brief Parliament this week on Ghana’s participation in the African Cup of Nations in Egypt.The Majority leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, said on the floor of Parliament, the minister could face MPs “either Tuesday or Wednesday.”Ghana’s AFCON budget and the future of the coach, Kwasi Appiah, have remained the biggest talking points after the Black Stars underwhelming exit from the continental tournament.Ghana’s interim football administrators, the Normalisation Committee, are saddled with questions about the coach’s future and the factors surrounding the disappointing campaign.Photo: The Black Stars failed to reach its semi-final target.Budget matters is thrusted to the Sports ministry which was compelled to deny media reports, Ghana budgeted $8million for the tournament with a $4.5m prize money for the winner. The Sports ministry would now have to reveal the amount budgeted and actual expenditure which has remained a mystery as the level of transparency in football administration in Ghana remains questionable.The Majority leader explained parliament has been arranging an appropriate schedule for the minister to answer such questions even before MPs like Kumbungu legislator Ras Mubarak raised it in Parliament.““I have been in communication with the minister and the agreement had already been done” he said. The only matter left is a choice between Tuesday and Wednesday, he said.Ghana football reached a new low after the Black Stars crashed out at the 1/16th stage of the tournament, losing to Tunisia via penalty shoot-out. The loss also meant the Black Stars lost out on the money zone where a quarter-final berth would have earned Ghana $1million.It is the first time since 2006 that the Black Stars failed to reach the semi-finals. Fans remained pessimistic even before the campaign to end a 37-year old trophy drought. Player performance on the pitch did little to change the negativity surrounding the Black Stars since Ghana football washed its dirty linen in public during a disastrous World Cup campaign in Brazil 2014.