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10 Thoughts for the Week of January 31, 2021 – Hall of Shame, Fascism and Reparation Beer

1. BASEBALL HALL OF FAME HAS NO NEW INDUCTEES FROM THE BASEBALL WRITERS

In what I would consider a bad look for the Baseball Hall of Fame, the baseball writers were unable to get enough votes to have any new inductees this year. Curt Schilling got 71% of the necessary 76%. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens both got somewhere in the 60% range. 

Everyone knows this comes down to PED’s for Bonds and Clemens, and Schilling’s big mouth on politics. All three should be shoe-ins, but the writers have invoked the character clause. I am not saying doing PED’s is not wrong. My argument for Clemens and Bonds has always been that they were already Hall of Famers before their names could be connected to PED’s. 

I also want to call out the hypocrisy of the Hall of Fame, there are a number of guys in the Hall of Fame who would not pass the character clause test. Here is a short list:

  1. Ty Cobb
  2. Kenesaw Landis
  3. Cap Anson
  4. Charlie Commiskey
  5. Tom Yawkey
  6. Gaylord Perry
  7. Orlando Cepeda 
  8. Rogers Hornsby

I could support the character clause argument if they purged some of these guys retroactively.

2. KOBE DEATH ANNIVERSARY

Courtesy of USA Today

Even with the Lakers winning the championship last year, the loss of Kobe Bryant is still very real for a lot of people. It is all complicated for me. It is hard to wrap my head around like reparations

3. VIOLENT DOMESTIC TERRORISTS

As the pursuit of those involved with the attempted coup continues, I am blown away by the information that comes to the surface. I have to call it a coup because people started planning and training for this day right after the election. There were Proud Boys who had plans for making a bomb.

4. FASCISM

The most interesting podcast I listened to this week was from Vox about fascism. The way the terms socialism and fascism have been thrown around, it was eye-opening. 

5. NFL ROONEY RULE AND ERIC BIENEMY

The NFL has the Rooney Rule which stipulates a NFL has to interview a minority candidate during its interview process. It is a good rule to increase the diversity of head coaches. 

What boggles my mind is how Eric Bienemy cannot get a head coaching job. As the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs, he has a record of 37-8 with a Super Bowl victory (maybe two). Somehow he cannot get a job. 

6. ROBINHOOD FIASCO

I don’t know enough about the stock market. All I can say is the stock market is not a casino and bad things can happen when people treat it like a casino. What is crazy about Robinhood is they stopped trading GameStop because of what was happening. In Las Vegas, you shut the table down when you catch a cheater. You don’t shut the table down when the cheater is getting his just desserts.

7. DESHAWN WATSON REQUESTS A TRADE

It goes to show the McNair family is not worried about winning. By even trying to trade someone who is arguably a Top 5 football player and Top 5 person, you cannot get equal trade value for Deshawn Watson. The Texans are a hot mess without Watson.

8. REPARATION TALKS

My reparations subject for the week is Temperance Brewery in Evanston, Ill donates a 100% of the proceeds from their Where I’m From beer to reparations.

On a different money note, an Episcopal church in Maryland donated $500K to reparations because they found out one of the founders was a slaveholder.

9. DODGERS LOSE KIKE HERNANDEZ AND JOC PEDERSON

The Dodgers lost Kike Hernandez and Joc Pederson this week. The Dodgers have built the franchise and their farm system to have plenty of talent down the pipeline.  I do worry about the chemistry that is lost with their departures. 

10. QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.” ― Paulo Coelho, Author of The Alchemist

10 Thoughts for the Week of January 10, 2021 – A Coup, Tommy Lasorda, and 4,000 Dead

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1. TRUMP MOB STORMS THE CAPITOL

It was a very dark day for our country. After a rally where they were incited by President Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani that they should “never concede” and this is a ”trial by combat”.

All I really want to say about Wednesday’s events are:

  1. Things would have gone completely different if a Black Lives Matter group stormed the Capitol.
  2. Please stop calling this a “protest”. There is way too many similarities between what happened on Wednesday and attempting to overthrow a government than a protest.

2. JACOB BLAKE DECISION

This was not a good week for the nation. Perhaps, what amplified Wednesday’s events, was the announcement that officer Rusty Sheskey, who shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times would not be prosecuted. Officer Sheskey claimed he feared for his life, so he shot Mr. Blake in the back. That was reasonable to the district attorney. Shooting a person in the back seven times doesn’t seem all that reasonable to me.

3. 4,000 PEOPLE DIED OF COVID ON THURSDAY

Amidst all the drama taking place in politics, it is easy to forget there is a pandemic going on. I was pulled away from the distractions when I saw that 4,000 people died of COVID on Thursday. The vaccine is being administered but the surge is still surging. A couple of weeks ago, I talked about COVID confusion and it seems to get more confusing.

4. R.I.P. TOMMY LASORDA

A fixture of my childhood was sitting at Dodger Stadium and watching Tommy Lasorda waddle out from the dugout to yell at the home plate umpire about a disputable call. In those days, a manager taking a trip to home plate was the greatest theater. The whipped cream on the Lasorda Sundae was my dad yelling “Tommy tell him what you had for lunch!” More recently I would see Tommy sitting in his seat by the Dodgers’ on-deck circle nodding off to a nice evening nap at the stadium.

Tommy passed away on Friday and I was happy he got to see the Boys in Blue win the Series one last time. He will be missed.

5. DR. DRE SUFFERS AN ANEURYSM

Last week, after MF Doom died, I said hip-hop was behind the other genres when it came to grieving. Then I heard Dr. Dre suffered an aneurysm last week. It sounds like he will pull through, but I feel like this is another sign I am becoming an old man.

6. NFL WILDCARD WEEKEND

Wildcard Weekend went as expected. The only surprise for me was Cleveland putting a beat down Pittsburgh. Last week Cleveland barely beat the Pittsburgh second-stringers. I figured they didn’t have much of a chance against the starters. I didn’t figure Pittsburgh would turn the ball over and spot the Browns 28 points in the first quarter.

7. A LITTLE HOUSEKEEPING

My housekeeper was exposed to someone with COVID so my family has been on their own to clean our home for the last two weeks. Many years ago, my wife and made a decision that if we were going to work as hard we do during the week, we didn’t want to spend the weekends. We also have two standards of “clean” and the difference in standards was going to lead to some serious marriage troubles.

Two weeks ago, it was cute to clean the house. This past week, I felt like cleaning the house dominated my weekend. I am grateful it was Wild Card Weekend to keep me distracted from my wife’s conflicting standard of “clean”. I am holding my breath until my housekeeper comes back. I know….First World Problems.

8. REPARATIONS FOR SOUTH KOREANS

A South Korean court order the nation of Japan to pay reparations for sex-slavery instituted during World War II. The women were snatched from their homes and forced to work in brothels near the frontlines of the war. They were called “comfort women”. The judge said they needed to compensated for their suffering.

It is common sense for “comfort women”. However, reparations always become complicated when it comes to America.

9. QUOTE OF THE WEEK

The quote of the week comes from Lucille Clifton – “You might as well answer the door, my child, the truth is furiously knocking.

10. ART FOR THE WEEK

The Art for the Week comes from Shawn Perkins and is called “Red Carpet Treatment”. I don’t have to say much else.

10 Thoughts For The Week of December 20, 2020 – Black Cowboys and Reparations

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1. BIDEN ELECTION AFFIRMED BY ELECTORAL COLLEGE

The election drama is almost over. The Electoral College affirmed President Biden’s election. There was suspense building up to this event with Republicans not admitting that Biden won the election and lining up to join hopeless election lawsuits.

The drama may have continued after the vote but Mitch McConnell fell on his sword. I never thought he would be the voice of reason in all of this. I think the drama would continue if there was not a Senate run-off in Georgia. McConnell knows they have to put away the crazy to save his job.

2. WILLIAM BARR IS OUT

The president announced that attorney general William Barr will be resigning. Barr’s usefulness to the president has run its course since he won’t pursue false election claims and he will not appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hunter Biden.

3. RIP – JOHN LeCARRE

The master spy-novelist passed away this week. I was fortunate to read a number of his novels this year. I highly recommend The Spy Who Came In From the Cold.

4. ENGLISH PM SUED FOR REPARATIONS

Member of Parliament Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax is being sued for reparations by residents from Barbados. The Drax family has owned a sugar plantation there since 1650. This includes when they had slaves. When slavery ended, the British government paid the Drax family what is equivalent of $3 million to compensate for the loss of slaves. To this day, the Drax family has profited from the sugar plantation and manages to pay its workers half the national average of wages. The PM has said these claims are false.

Normally, when I think of reparations, I get overwhelmed with all the details and minutiae. This case makes a lot of sense for reparations.

5. SELF MUST DIE

An art exhibit worth checking out is Self Must Die by Derek Fordjour. His work is life-giving.

6. COWBOYS IN HARLEM

20201215-120233I read an interesting article about the first black rodeo in Harlem in 1971. The cowboys wanted black kids to know there was such a thing as a “black cowboy”. Muhammad Ali even made an appearance. I am sure a black cowboy was the unicorn of westerns when they were en vogue.

The only black cowboys in my memory are Cleavon Little’s character in Blazing Saddles, Danny Glover’s character in Silverado, and Mario Van Peebles’ character in Posse. Just recently, there was Django Unchained and Denzel Washington lead the Magnificent Seven.

I am sure it is a culture that deserves more discovery.

7. STIMULUS PACKAGE APPROVED

Congress passed a stimulus bill that would give everyone $600 in aid. There are numerous other benefits of the package. Both President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden say $600 is not enough. Some countries are giving their citizens $600 a month. Hopefully, this is the beginning and not just a hollow token that doesn’t help all that much.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

2020 College Football Playoff bowl games: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State,  Notre Dame make four-team field - CBSSports.comThe. College Football Playoff teams have been announced. Clemson and Ohio State will have a rematch from a very competitive game in last year’s playoff. Alabama is back and will play Notre Dame.

I am not sure if Notre Dame belongs in the playoff. Their signature win was beating Clemson without Trevor Lawrence in double overtime. Last week, with Trevor Lawrence, Clemson smoked Notre Dame by twenty-four points.

It would have been nice to see a rematch between Texas A&M and Alabama.

9. WORLD’S BIGGEST AFRO

The world record for the biggest Afro was broken. The record Afro means four feet ten inches in circumference. The record was broken by six more than six inches.

10. USC OPTS OUT OF BOWL GAME

After losing a game they should have won to Oregon in the PAC-12 Championship Game, USC opted out of playing in the Alamo Bowl. There are mixed reviews about the Trojans’ 5-1 season.

Once again, Clay Helton is on the hot seat. In a regular season, most teams like having the bowl prep time to get some more practice time with their players. Maybe they just want to put this season behind them.

I feel bad for Clay Helton. He is never going to get the love of a “big name” coach. He is a blue-collar guy who does a great job recruiting. He hasn’t done himself any favors with the lackluster results.

10 Thoughts For the Week of November 22, 2020

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1. IT’S OVER FOR TRUMP

Two and a half weeks after the election, it appears that Donald Trump and his hopes for a second term as president is OVER. The state of Georgia certified Joe Biden as the winner of the state’s electoral votes; despite Lindsey Graham’s attempts to influence things. President Trump tried to start a coup in the state of Michigan which fell short. Just about all Trump’s frivolous lawsuits have been dismissed due to lack of evidence.

The events that convinced me the presidential election was finally over when people started turning on Ivanka. Ivanka had one job during this administration. She was supposed to be the only influential person in the president’s circle with a conscience. She failed. Now that the ship is sinking, nasty stories about Ivanka have been surfacing.

The events that convinced me the presidential election was finally over when people started turning on Ivanka.

2. TRUMP PETTINESS CONTINUES

Last week, I talked about Trump firing Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper. It was an unnecessary move for a president who was about to lose an election. Trump had probably wanted to do it since June when Esper publicly contradicted the president.

The pettiness continued this week when Trump fired Christopher Krebs who was the head of cybersecurity for the presidential election after he declared the 2020 election was “the most secure election in American history.” Once again, another petty move.

3. NBA TRADES

The highlight of the week has to be the NBA trades made before, during and after the NBA Draft. The Oklahoma City Thunder were at the center of the trades. The week started off with Dennis Schroeder being traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Los Angeles Lakers for Danny Green. By everyone’s understanding, this is an upgrade for a team that just won the NBA championship. It felt like the rich getting richer.

Oklahoma City then traded Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns. Paul had a renaissance season with OKC last year. There is an excitement that comes from hoping he has the same kind of season with a Suns team that went undefeated in the NBA Bubble.

The Al Horford experiment in Philadelphia ended after one season when he was traded to Oklahoma City.

All these trades make me curious who are going to be on the roster for Oklahoma City next season.

4. NBA DRAFT

The NBA Draft was fun for the first ten picks. Then there was all the minutiae of what kind of skills people were bringing to the table. Anthony Edwards was the first pick for the Minnesota Timberwolves. I think the pick may have been influenced by the relationship between Timberwolves star D’Angelo Russell and the Ball Family. I am happy for Edwards who had to overcome some serious blows losing family members.

LaMelo was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets which is a good place for him. Personally I appreciated the quiet of having Lonzo in New Orleans. It would be really nice if LaMelo was super quiet and humble.

My highlight of the draft was Obi Toppin going full crybaby after being drafted by the New York Knicks. I am rooting for this dude to be the guy to help turn the franchise around.

 

5. NBA FREE AGENCY

The beginning of NBA free agency started off with Gordon Hayward leaving Brad Stevens and Boston Celtics to join the Charlotte Hornets. It doesn’t feel like a move that puts him in better contention to win the title, but time will tell.

Rajon Rondo used a brilliant performance in the Finals to get some money from the Atlanta Hawks.

I think the Miami Heat are going to miss Jae Crowder and Marc Gasol going to the Lakers is another example of the rich getting richer.

6. PATRIOTIC EDUCATION

Tate Reeves, the governor of Mississippi, has set aside $3 million for the Patriotic Education Fund. The funding would go to schools that don’t engage in what Reeves calls “revisionist history” that is “poisoning a generation.” He claims its a far-left agenda to make sure students learn about all the complete history of our country instead of just the achievements. It’s ironic the governor of the state that hosted the most public lynchings would not like to talk about them and would rather focus on a man on the moon.

It’s ironic the governor of the state that hosted the most public lynchings would not like to talk about them and would rather focus on a man on the moon

7. PITTSBURGH STEELERS ARE 10-0

The 1972 Miami Dolphins have not cracked their annual bottle of champagne when the final undefeated team loses their first game. The Pittsburgh Steelers at 10-0 are the current challenger to the perfect season. Pittsburgh’s defense is straight nasty. T.J. Watt is now the best Watt brother in the NFL. Big Ben looks like having a year off has made him a better quarterback. It doesn’t hurt to have JuJu Smith Schuster and Chase Claypool to throw the ball to. They seem to be the most complete team in the NFL.

 

8. USC IS 3-0

USC is 3-0 after dominating the Utah Utes. This game has determined the PAC-12 South champion the last couple of years; so USC is in the driver’s seat. Utah’s lack of a quarterback and the USC pressure led to too many turnovers.

The USC receiving corps is so talented. They have five guys who could be “the guy”; it really depends on what game it is.

 9 THE BEATS “YOU LOVE ME” COMMERCIAL

No words necessary.

10. WONDER WOMAN 1984

After being frustrated by Disney/Marvel’s continual delay of the next wave of the MCU, DC has announced that Wonder Woman will be released on HBOMax at the same time it is released in theaters. I understand that these movies are a business and money-makers but we all need a good superhero movie after all the crazy stuff we have been through in 2020.

10 Thoughts For The Week of October 25, 2020

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Sorry for the delay getting this post out…I think online learning and too many Zoom meetings caught up with me.

1. LOST BORDER CHILDREN

What has to be the most shocking story of the week is the release of ICE losing track of 545 children who were separated from their parents when they were caught crossing the border. The separation was supposed to be a deterrent for future crossers. A common sense assumption for such a deterrent is a plan to reunite the children with their parents. After all, who would want to be responsible for caging and feeding these kids for a long period of time. Maybe they think losing kids will be a bigger deterrent.

2. PASTORS FOR TRUMP

In a survey of Protestant pastors who plan to vote in the presidential election, more than half intend to vote for Donald Trump. The supposed moral leaders of our country have sold their souls to a real estate shyster to overturn Roe v. Wade. I wish they felt as strongly about criminal justice reform or income disparity. I guess they don’t really know what it means when God says “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”

3. E. JEAN CARROLL v. TRUMP

This week the Justice Department attempted to defend Donald Trump in a lawsuit filed by E. Jean Carroll. She accused Trump of sexual assault. He called her a liar. She filed a slander and defamation lawsuit claiming calling her a liar damaged her reputation. The Justice Department, which should not be the president’s personal attorney, claims they should represent him because he made the statement as part of his job as president and you cannot sue the government for defamation.

4. RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE CHARGED WITH HACKING AND ELECTION TAMPERING

The Justice Department, in a completely different move, charged six Russian Intelligence officers with hacking including the 2016 election, the 2018 Winter Olympics and many other events. Just in case there was any dispute about that.

5. 2020 WORLD SERIES

The World Series has been all a baseball fan can ask for. The Dodgers dominated in Game 1 behind Clayton Kershaw and Cody Bellinger. Blake Snell and Brandon Lowe lead the Rays to a win in Game 2.

Game 3 was dominated by Walker Buehler. In Game 4, the Dodgers were let down by their manager and their bullpen. Dave Roberts left Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen on the mound too long and the Rays took advantage.Kershaw was dominant again in Game and the bullpen was solid.

So much of past postseason failures have fallen on Kershaw in an unfair manner in my opinion. I am glad that he has been able to shine this World Series.

6. FINAL PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

The presidential debate was a vast improvement from the first debate. The mute button played a big part. I cannot understand why Trump goes out of his way to talk about conspiracy theories. Maybe there are people who see it differently, but I always think that he is shooting himself in the foot. I do understand I am not part of the demographic he is trying to reach. The only thing that makes sense to me is he is getting ready for a civil war and he wants to make sure all the people with guns and crazy agendas know he is with them.

7. TRUMP CHINESE BANK ACCOUNT

The New York Times published a story about the discovery of a bank account in China that was not disclosed on the president’s list of assets. It may be that he has bank accounts everywhere. The fact that the account has never been disclosed before is a little disturbing.

8. 50 CENT SAYS VOTE FROM TRUMP

Last week, I brought up Ice Cube shopping his Contract with Black America plan to both presidential campaigns. This week, 50 Cent announced that he was voting for Trump because he would pay more taxes if Biden was elected.

If I gave Ice Cube flack for trying to help black people, I have to give ten times as much to 50 Cent for just thinking about himself.

 9. GOOGLE ANTITRUST LAWSUIT

The Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google. It is convoluted and will take a long time to work out. All I can really say about the lawsuit is this is just the beginning.

10. PENN STATE BASKETBALL COACH RESIGNS

Pat Chambers, coach of the Penn State basketball team, resigned this week after months of turbulence about a racially insensitive statement he made to a player. He told the player he wanted to “loosen the noose around his neck”. The player blasted the statement all over social media.

I am debating who was right and who was wrong. I was more curious if there was a racially offensive statement I could say to a white person that could cause the same kind of response.

10 Thoughts For the Week of October 18, 2020

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1. ACB CONFIRMATION

There is nothing more frustrating than a Supreme Court Justice confirmation hearing. Particularly when you only need 50 votes, and you already have them, there is no incentive to honestly ask a question.  Even though she had made statements in the past, she refused to comment on them. She didn’t have any serious skeletons in the closet like Brett Kavanaugh to make things more interesting. I am not sure if there was enough time to dig up the skeletons. Outside of her sexual preference comment, she was backed by people calling her a woman of faith. 

I am glad the Democrats didn’t just sit around trying to trip her up. They made sure to talk about the 215,000 people who have died from COVID-19, Republican hypocrisy and the end of Obamacare. She may be confirmed. But I like the way they didn’t waste their time.

2. NLCS

The Dodgers and the Braves have battled into what is aptly called a championship series. Each team has given the other their best shot. The Brave shut the Dodgers down for the better part of two games. The Dodgers had a 15 run explosion in game three. Atlanta put up 10 runs in Game 4. The Dodgers pounded the Braves at the end of Game 5. Then they put up three runs in the first inning of Game 6 and that was all they needed.  

Game 7 was a battle that was climaxed by Cody Bellinger’s 7th inning home run. Corey Seager was the MVP of the NLCS which he completely deserved. What I was most impressed throughout the series was the Dodgers defense.

3. ALCS

The Tampa Bay Rays and the Houston Astros went the full seven games in their series with the Rays coming out on top. The Astros battled back from being down 3-1 in the series. They were on a mission to clean up their reputation. They were the team everyone couldn’t wait to lose. It would be a great karmic mistake if they were to win the World Series the same year after they were exposed for cheating. 

4. TRUMP AND Q’ANON

The President’s love of conspiracy theories appears to have come back to bite him. During his town hall this week, President Trump was given a chance to denounce Q’Anon. Instead of being rational the president ducked and dodged and made Q’Anon look like white supremacists. 

The whole event was supposed to be an opportunity for the president to bounce back from his terrible showing at the first presidential debate. Unfortunately Trump is a one-trick pony and the trick is not working anymore.

5. TRUMP AND ICE CUBE

So I heard a lot of buzz about Ice Cube being connected to the Trump campaign. I had to get to the bottom of this; so this is what I know. Ice Cube has been shopping his Contract With Black America Plan to both presidential campaigns. He was being courted by both campaigns.

The Trump campaign, desperate for black votes, put in more work. They add one of the items of Ice Cube’s plan to their own. Then Katrina Pierson, a Trump advisor, announced Ice Cube helped the administration with its economic plan. In response, all hell broke loose.

Ice Cube is treating this whole issue like a mercenary. He has more loyalty to his plan and his people than he does to a particular party. I am not sure if that is right or wrong. Trump had four years to do something economically for black people, but has really only made promises in the last six months. I tend to lean toward Diddy’s movement to get rid of Trump.

6. THE TRUMP-WHITMER WAR

Last week, I talked about the plot to kidnap Michigan governor Meg Whitmer. This week another man who was surveilling her home was included in the number of people charged with the conspiracy and it was discovered that the plot included kidnapping Virginia governor Ralph Northam.

Governor Whitmer has gone around calling this incident domestic terrorism. President Trump blames Whitmer and has called her a dictator. I wonder if the president would feel the same way if the FBI had arrested a ring of men plotting to kidnap and execute him. I doubt he would take responsibility and call himself a dictator. He has even brought back the “Lock Her Up” chant…one trick pony

7. THE HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP

How Hunter Biden’s laptop ended up with Rudy Guiliani is one of the most unbelievable stories in this whole election cycle. It is the equivalent of a murder suspect’s weapon being delivered to the prosecutor’s office. No wonder Facebook and Twitter have marked a New York Post article about the laptop as misinformation. Guiliani himself has acknowledged there is a 50/50 chance the laptop was given to him by the Russians.

8. NEW ZEALAND PM RE-ELECTED IN A LANDSLIDE

Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, won re-election in a landslide this weekend. Her re-election was fueled by the way she handled COVID-19. She swiftly locked down the country and began reopening things back in June. She also brought stability to the country with her leadership.

I know we are not New Zealand, but decisive stable leadership is not how I would describe the president’s response to the pandemic.

9. HUBBLE TELESCOPE SHOWS STARS BEING BORN

No words necessary.

10. 23-0

23-0 is Alabama football coach Nick Saban’s record against his former assistants who have gone on to coach other teams. The big question is why the SEC continues to hire these guys. It is obvious they don’t have the secret sauce.

10 Thoughts for the Week of September 27, 2020

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1. BREONNA TAYLOR INDICTMENTS

The most insane thing to pop up this week was the state of Kentucky’s refusal to charge any of the officers who shot Breonna Taylor with murder. Ms. Taylor was shot ten times and there was no charge. The only charge was a wanton recklessness for the three bullets that went through her walls into her white neighbors apartment. 

With no charge for the death of Ms. Taylor, the wanton recklessness charge feels like a slap in the face. As Derrick Johson of the NAACP said “the justice system has failed us”. He forgot to put “again” at the end of that sentence.

2. DANIEL CAMERON

The Republican superstar and attorney general of Kentucky made sure to claim he could not find facts for murder. The Mitch McConnell protege made sure to say that mob justice was not justice. What Mr Cameron fails to recognize is the same “mob justice” was used to break the back of Jim Crow in the 1950’s and 60’s.

3. RAIDERS ON MNF


The Las Vegas Raiders opened their new stadium with a very impressive win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. It was a signature win of the second Jon Gruden Era.

4. MICHAEL JORDAN ENTERS NASCAR

Michael Jordan (The GOAT) has started a NASCAR team with Bubba Wallace as the driver. This is a big move for Jordan and it feels like he is kicking the hornet’s nest. I hope he is a better NASCAR team owner than he is a NBA team owner.

5. MARVEL PUSHING BACK BLACK WIDOW MOVIE…AGAIN

Disney announced they were going to back up the release date of the Black Widow movie to some time next year. This is disappointing because it delays the next chapter in the MCU. Disney is delaying it because they want the money that comes from showing it in movie theaters. With all that is going on, why not give it Premiere Access like Mulan? I wouldn’t pay $30 for Mulan but I would for Black Widow.I believe Star Wars and Marvel are cultural property. Disney should not be able to exploit them for profits. Just my feeling.

6. THE ROSA PARKS OF THE PANDEMIC

I read an article in the New Yorker about the Michigan Militia and a barber who refused to close his business during the government imposed shutdown. His supporters claim he is the Rosa Parks of the pandemic. He compared the government control to the Third Reich and he was not going to be a Jew who naively walked into a freight train and to certain death.

I am not sure how refusing to shutter your business to prevent the spread of deadly virus is the same as refusing to move to the back of the bus to protest a system that made black people second class citizens. I am also not sure how it compares to the extermination of a race of people.

7. TRUMP’S ATTACK ON CRITICAL RACE THEORY

I also read an article about Trump’s war against critical race theory. The biggest tenant of critical race theory is that America must reckon with how its values and institutions feed into racism. First Trump issued an executive order banning federal contractors from conducting racial sensitivity training, emphasizing his desire to stop “efforts to indoctrinate government employees with divisive and harmful sex- and race-based ideologies”.

He also believes it is attacking our “patriotic education.” I guess the truth is a dangerous thing.

8. KANYE WEST VISITS HAITI

The Kanye West for President campaign made stops in Jamaica and Haiti last week. In Hait, he said he came to “complete the revolution and rebuild Haiti”. As someone who has spent some time in Haiti, I am grateful someone is giving it some attention. I love the island of Haiti and it breaks my heart all at the same time.

9. THE U

The University of Miami is back in the AP Top 10 (for what it is worth) after spanking the Florida State Seminoles 52-10. There have been many false sightings of the return of “The U”. I have been a sucker for some of them and skeptical of others. This time may be legit. They have a real quarterback and the defense was dynamite.

10. LAKERS ARE BACK IN THE FINALS

The Lakers have returned to the Finals for the first time since the Kobe Bryant Era. This would be a great year to win to honor Kobe. They will face the Miami Heat who are more formidable than anyone believed pre-bubble. The Heat actually scare me because of people like Tyler Herro and Goran Dragic will be the X-factors in this series.

10 Thoughts for the Week of August 30, 2020

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INTRODUCTION

What a week! Putting this piece together took a lot more decision making than I normally make. There are so many diverse things to talk about as well.

1. Republican National Convention

I could only stomach so much of the Republican National Convention this week. I did suffer through the last half of Tim Scott’s speech. I even heard Herschel Walker spoke at the RNC. The true spectacle was Wednesday night where President Trump turned the convention into a true reality television show. First Trump pardoned Jon Ponder (well deserved). Then he oversaw a naturalization ceremony for five people. I was waiting for him to push the button to launch a missile into Iran or China.

2. JACOB BLAKE

Much like George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks before him, Jacob Blake is a name I should not know that I know. Jacob was breaking up a fight between two women when the police arrived. They tased him and Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times at close range. No matter what he was doing, he didn’t deserve that. The video is horrifying.

3. NIKKI HALEY

Two night after Jacob Blake was shot, Nikki Haley spoke at the Republican National Convention and said America is not a racist nation. 

4. NBA BOYCOTTS

Wednesday was Boycott Wednesday. It started with the Milwaukee Bucks boycotting their game which led to three days of no NBA basketball and questions of whether the playoffs were going to continue. It’s rare that I feel as proud of the NBA players as I do now. Their boycott has led to the teams turning their arenas into voting centers with more to follow. A basketball returned on Friday, the boycott was not over; it was paused to see if NBA owners were going to keep their word and move forward with initiatives for change.

Boycott Wednesday reminded me of the Montgomery Bus Boycott led by Dr. Martin Luther King. You mess with peoples’ money and they become more open-minded to change.

5. MLB BOYCOTTS

On Boycott Wednesday, only three games were postponed due to boycott. I am proud of my Dodgers being one of those games (Thank you Mookie Betts). It would be super ironic the franchise that opened the door to Jackie Robinson would ignore people of color at this time.

The fact that only a fraction of the games on the schedule for Wednesday were postponed says a lot about the game itself. There are very few African American players in the game and there are fewer who stand up at times like these. 

They should take a note from Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from a tournament she was favored to win to protest the Jacob Blake shooting.

6. KYLE RITTENHOUSE

Rittenhouse is another name I should not know…but I do. He showed up at a protest in Kenosha with a Smith and Wesson AR-15 style rifle to protect a friend’s shop. After he allegedly shot two people to death because he felt his life was threatened and wounded another, a photo showed how Kenosha police ignored him as he walked down a street with his hands up. He was charged with first-degree murder.

7. HURRICANE LAURA

In the midst of all this drama, Louisiana has been battered by Hurricane Laura. It is

sad that with everything going on this #7 on my 10 thoughts this week.

8. BACK TO SCHOOL

My son started 2nd grade this week and school was online. He worked in my office with me while I was working. It was super EXHAUSTING. I am trying to be patient because I know there is no proven playbook for online learning. We were all volunteered and our kids are guinea pigs to figure it out or all the kids get the vaccine; whichever happens first.

9. BOLAWRAP

The LAPD has been testing out BolaWrap as a safer alternative to chokeholds and shootings. The LAPD has requested an extension of time to continue testing. I support anything that would reduce chokeholds and shootings.

10. MESSI WANTS TO LEAVE

Last week, I mentioned FC Barcelona’s loss in the Champions League and the leadership’s contemplation of making Leonel Messi available for transfer. Messi got his feelings hurt and now there are rumors of Messi moving on to Manchester City or Juventus with Cristian Ronaldo.

10 Most Interesting Books I Have Read This Year…So Far

If you are looking for something to read or listen to during COVID sheltering, here are ten books of the most interesting books I have read this year.

1. Themes & Variations — David Sedaris — This has to be the 1. funniest book I read so far this year. Sedaris’ humor about the most mundane things are a gift

2. Other People’s Trades — Primo Levi — Essays that are mentally challenging and humorous. Levi is a magician of language.

3. No More Mr. Nice Guy — Dr. Robert Glover — As a reforming nice guy, this book helped me figure out what is so frustrating about being a “nice guy”.

4. The Nickel Boys — Colson Whitehead- I may be biased because I am a serious fan of Colson Whitehead, but The Nickel Boys is classic material. The research combined with brilliant writing tells a compelling story. The timing of the publication of this book couldn’t better with all the civil unrest in our nation.

5. African Folktales — A. Kwada- A great collection of short tales from all over Africa. The origin stories are my favorite

6. The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories — Leo Tolstoy — Tolstoy is a master storyteller. His descriptions of the human condition are on point. It is difficult to believe it was written more than 100 years ago

7. Manage Your Day to Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind— Jocelyn Glei — A great book to help a great platform for creative productivity

8. Those Who Ride the Night Wind — Nikki Giovanni — A collection of poetry by a woman I consider the Jill Scott of poetry

9. Malcolm & Me — Ishmael Reed- A great story about Reed’s meeting and interactions with Malcolm X.

10. Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison – Classic material at a very relevant time. The book was written in the 1950’s and still cuts too close to home.

10 Thoughts on George Floyd

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  1. Rodney King — This is where it all begins for me. It always goes back there for me.
  2. Ahmad Aubrey — The spark of the latest fire. A jogger is harassed and shot. The video released two months after the fact. I can still see Ahmad trying to run away and collapsing to the ground.
  3. Breonna Taylor — In the past a number of people have died resisting or fleeing from arrest. The death of Breonna Taylor was an example of pure incompetence. The officers who killed her were trying to serve a warrant on the wrong address. The address had actually been canceled earlier in the day.
  4. George Floyd — Another name that I should not know. I am disgusted I know his name the same way I know the Kardashians. I know George Floyd because he died needlessly. I know the Kardashians because they are famous for being famous…I guess.
  5. 8:46 — Eight minutes and forty-six seconds was the amount of time Derrek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck. I listened to the audiobook for Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. In the book, Gladwell interviews the officers who tortured Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of 911. The torture exercises were timed and extended for the terrorist. The time is there to make sure they torture but do not kill the party. It seems there should be a time limit for kneeling on someone’s neck to make sure you apprehend them but not kill them.
  6. Mama — George Floyd called for his mama while all of this was happening. That indignity angers me more than I can put words to at this time.
  7. Protests — I have watched and taken part in protests in the last couple of weeks. The diversity of the protesters has surprised me in a good way. My inner cynic wants to know where all the “woke” people will be in six months. At first, I was creeped out when I see white people chant “Black Lives Matter”. Then I started thinking that if racism is taught, anti-racism needs to be taught as well.
  8. Trump and His Bible — DISGRACEFUL!!! What was that photo-op supposed to achieve? What was the message supposed to be?”I use violence so I can show the new media I am all about peace”? I am amazed at how many people can’t see through this garbage.
  9. Candace Owens — I appreciate Candace Owens making sure the whole world knew that George Floyd had a criminal record. I guess that makes it ok for what happened. Did he deserve to die? She is up there with the Kardashians for me.
  10. Rashard Brooks — Another name I should not know. He fell asleep in a Wendy’s drive-thru. Then he was shot in the back by a cop. He did struggle and he did run away. Is falling asleep in a Wendy’s drive-thru the type of crime that puts the whole city in danger? If he got away, couldn’t you arrest him later?