10 Thoughts For The Week of October 25, 2020

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

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 October 11, 2020

1. WOLVERINE WATCHMEN

On Thursday, the FBI charged six men with conspiracy to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer. Whitmer’s strong response to COVID caught the ire of the conservative militias. I read an article about this militia movement and it made me consider the possibility of a civil war for the first time. These militias believe that such a war is inevitable and I am feeling like I am behind.

2. COVID HITS THE NFL

This past week, the NFL announced sixteen players who had tested positive for COVID. The biggest names were Cam Newton and Stephen Gilmore of the New England Patriots. Games have been postponed and rescheduled. I am a fan of Tuesday night football and I think it is good there have been no fatalities from the illness.

The positive tests seemed almost inevitable when you considered the NFL was not going to play in a bubble like the NBA and the MLB playoffs.

The NFL is a $3 billion industry so it will take multiple deaths to put an end to the season. Especially when they can postpone.

3. VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

When I think of the VP debate on Wednesday, I think I want to answer questions by answering something totally different. I wonder if you can do that in real life. All you have to do is say “that’s a great question” and then you can talk about whatever you want to talk about.

That would have been ok if Vice President Pence didn’t make a scene by constantly speaking over his time limit.

I didn’t think either person won the debate. It was not an event that was going to change peoples’ minds.

4. BIZARRE TRIBE

As a fan of A Tribe Called Quest and the Pharcyde, I had to put this song as one of the best things I heard this week. It is a mash-up of two of my favorite songs of all time.

5. LAKERS WIN THEIR 18TH CHAMPIONSHIP

Afters years of frustration and futility, the Lakers are back on top. Lebron James and Anthony Davis brought the star power. Rajon Rondo, KCP and Adam Caruso came up with the timely plays to seal the deal. This series was a war until Game 6. Hats off to the Heat for a valiant effort. They are going to be battling for titles for the next couple of years.

The Lakers got back on top the Laker way, they brought in the best free agent who can lift the team to the top. They tried it with the draft and player development but that is not the Laker way. It was good to have all that young talent to trade away for Anthony Davis.

6. DODGERS IN THE NLCS…AGAIN

I am excited for the Dodgers as they are back in the National League Championship Series. The Padres tried to give them a battle, but it was a dominant win. The hitting and the starting pitching are top line. The fact they don’t have a lights out closer is a little scary. They are the best team on paper and I worry the pressure is on them to win it all.

7. THE BEST THING I READ THIS WEEK

Violets, by Bud Smith, is a great story about the ups and downs of marriage and the spark that changes everything.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS

It is hard for me to take the college football ranking seriously when half the teams haven’t played yet or are not playing at all. It is hard for me to believe Cincinnati is ranked eleventh in the country. 

9. COVID SURGE

The rate of COVID cases has surged back up to almost 50,000 new cases a day. Explain it any way you want.

10. RAFAEL NADAL

Congrats to Rafael Nadal who won his 10th Grand Slam Title by winning the French Open. Nadal is truly a legend. He is also not the cookie-cutter tennis player. He was a rival of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. While there are no great American players, this is a great era of tennis.

10 Thoughts For the Week of October 4, 2020

1. TRUMP TAX RETURNS

If Donald Trump has ever had a worse week than this week, I cannot imagine what would make it worse. The week started off with the New York Time releasing Trump’s mysterious tax returns that could not be released because they were being “audited” by the IRS. 

The detail of the tax returns that stuck with everyone is that Trump paid $750 in federal taxes in 2016. My family and I are doing well and we still don’t make as much income as the president did in 2016. However we paid almost ten times as much in taxes. 

There are those who say that the tax law is the true problem. The problem by applying that to the president is that he got himself over-leveraged by applying for loans and telling banks he had several high-value assets as collateral. Then he filed tax returns that he claimed losses of more than $150 million. One of those statements cannot be true and makes the president guilty of committing a crime. 

2. KENTUCKY ATTORNEY GENERAL TO RELEASE THE GRAND JURY RECORDINGS IN THE BREONNA TAYLOR CASE.

After one of the jurors of the grand jury in the Breonna Taylor complained about the proceedings resulting in no charges against the police officers who shot Ms Taylor, Daniel Cameron, the attorney general of Kentucky, said he would release the recordings from the grand jury. 

One of the jurors disclosed Cameron never put the question of wrongful death charge to the jurors. Wasn’t that the most important question to take to the grand jury.

3. THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

President Trump’s worst week continued when he came out too strong at the debate on Tuesday. It was hard to call Tuesday’s event a debate. There was no debating. If there were two black candidates, I would have called it the dozens. I couldn’t understand Biden’s policies because Trump was constantly interrupting him. I couldn’t understand Trump’s policies because he spent the whole event insulting Joe Biden. 

4. TRUMP TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID

It looks like Trumps wear a mask “when appropriate” came back to bite him. It bit his wife in the butt. There are also nine other people who have tested positive connected to the president’s diagnosis. 

Things have come full circle for the president who called the virus a hoax and then said it would miraculously disappear.

5. FOX GUTS ITS FACT CHECKING DEPARTMENT

COVID has even affected Fox News who laid off some 70 people. 30 of those people came from the fact-checking department. I didn’t even know they had a fact checking department.

6. MLB PLAYOFFS

The MLB Playoffs have moved to the Divisional Series round. This round is feeling very personal. Everyone seems to be playing their division rival. For the Astros, the remainder of the playoffs will be personal if they play the Yankees and the Dodgers.

7. WEIRD OREO FLAVORS

On the somewhat weird front, I read an article ranking strange Oreo flavors. I think watermelon made me puke in my mouth just thinking about it.

8. LAKERS ARE UP 2-1 IN THE NBA FINALS

The Lakers are on in front of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Miami lost two of its best players to injury in Game 1. This should allow the Lakers to march to an 18th NBA championship. The question is whether they are tough enough to put Miami away. Jimmy Butler will make sure they do not go quietly.

9. THE BEST THING I READ THIS WEEK

This week, the best thing I read was an article about how social bots and humans spread fake news like wild fire. This is because of the novelty hypothesis.

10. ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE

A piece of art I can get behind.

10 Thoughts for the Week of September 27, 2020

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 September 20, 2020

1. CLIPPERS GONNA CLIP

Last summer, when the Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard and traded for Paul George, everyone thought they were going to be contenders. They added two all-stars to a team of scrappy players who overachieved with no all-stars the year before. Things were supposed to be different. 

Steve Ballmer and Doc Rivers had created a new culture in LA. The addition of Leonard and George was supposed to be a new era for the Clippers. 

The curse of Donald Sterling is hard to break. I never thought about it until the Clippers made it to the 2nd round and people were excited about a Clippers/Lakers conference finals. The Clippers had never been to the conference finals. The last time they were this close, they were up 3-1 on the Houston Rockets and lost three games. This time the Clippers were up 3-1 on the Denver Nuggets and were up late in two of the last three games before losing.

2. PAUL GEORGE

After watching Paul George over the last three seasons, I have decided he is not the difference maker people think he is. He has had good to great regular seasons and when ended in disappointing performances in the playoffs. One season is not a big deal, but three years of not showing up when your team needed you the most is more than a coincidence.

3. WHAT ABOUT THE NUGGETS

I don’t want to take anything away from the Nuggets. They have come back from being down 3-1 in two straight series. Their resilience cannot be underestimated. It seems like the longer a series goes, they seem to figure the other team out and get better. Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr are dynamite when they are hitting on all cylinders.

They are down 3-0 to the Lakers and it is hard to write them off until they lose that fourth game.

4. RIP RBG

On Friday, we lost an icon. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg passed away after years of battling and fighting to stay alive for the election of a new president. She had made so many strides for women and been a force on the bench. We lost a great one.

5. MITCH McCONNELL

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised to quickly get a vote on the president’s next nominee for the SCOTUS. This is the same Senate Majority Leader who would not bring Merrick Garland up for a vote when he was nominated nine months before the 2016 election. He argued it should be up to the American people to decide who picks the next justice. Now that we are forty days away from the election, Mitch has changed his opinion about the American people deciding who should pick the next justice. 

President Trump has promised to nominate a woman. Already two Republican Senators have stood up and said they would not vote for a nominee before the election. Nancy Pelosi has said she will start impeachment proceedings to stall a Senate vote on a nominee. Joe Biden went as far as to say he will demand the nominee withdraw if he is elected.  

6. 8 STRAIGHT FOR THE DODGERS

It’s almost like clockwork. The Dodgers clinched their eighth consecutive postseason this week. As good as the Padres have been this year, I don’t see anyone in the NL West giving the Dodgers trouble for a long time. They have the talent and the farm system to keep this streak going for a long time.

7. WHAT’S UP WITH THE AP POLL?

In its pursuit of normalcy, the Associated Press has released their weekly poll for college football. It seems kind of strange given half of the teams in Division I football are not playing right now. Is there really going to be a national championship this year?

8. JA MORANT GOES AFTER THE ONE REPORTER

Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies was voted the NBA Rookie of the Year. He made a point of forsaking the 99 reporters who voted for him and going after the one reporter that did not vote for him.

9. QUEEN & SLIM

A timely movie I gotta watch this week was Queen & Slim. It had elements of Bonnie & Clyde and a heist movie; while dealing with the civil unrest issues that have plagued our country the last six months.

10. BEST THING I READ THIS WEEK

Check out A Story for Your Daughters, a Story for Your Sons by Rebecca Makkai

10 Thoughts For the Week of September 13, 2020

1. 9/11

After 19 years, it is pretty amazing how 9/11 feels as fresh as yesterday. I still remember when I first heard about the planes hitting the tower. I remember going to work and being sent home. It was confusing and slowly developing for someone living in California. I guess that is what they mean when they say “We Will Never Forget”.

2. MILWAUKEE BUCKS

For the second year in a row, the Bucks have had the best record, the best defense, and the best player in the league. For the second year in a row, they didn’t get to the NBA Finals. The Miami Heat played inspired basketball and Giannis got hurt. Outside of Game 4, it didn’t appear the Bucks had the next gear that championship teams have to make it to the next level.

When I look at comparisons, I think of Jordan’s Bulls and Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers. They were both teams that had spent two or three years to get over the hump.

3. DANUEL HOUSE

When I heard about Danuel House being expelled from the NBA Bubble because he was entertaining one of the on-site testers, I thought of the Morris Day song “Gigolos Get Lonely Too”. The players were in the bubble for two and a half months and I guess it was too much for House; or was it love at first sight?

4. LAKERS ARE BACK IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

Due to Danuel House’s indiscretions, the Lakers destroyed the Rockets en route to the Western Conference Finals. This is the first time the Lakers have been in the playoffs since Kobe hobbled off with an Achilles injury. I would like to think of them as the favorites but their play has not inspired me they will steamroll the rest of the competition. Truth be told, they are a Dame Lillard injury and a Danuel House expulsion from being in two tough playoff series.

5. R.I.P. TOOTS HIBBERT

The music world lost a legend this week when Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals passed away. Their music was so joyful and Pressure Drop is a classic.

6. BLACK REPUBLICANS

This week, I listened to an interesting podcast about Black Republicans. It was a great conversation about the movement of African Americans from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party in the last half of the twentieth century. 

What I found most interesting is that as a people African Americans are conservative. They have conservative views, but they have zero tolerance for racism.

7. A COMPETENT PRESIDENT

Last week, I mentioned the challenging opinions of how many people in the United States would have died of COVID. Well German Lopez, of Vox, claims if the US had the same response to COVD that Canada did, 100,000 would still be alive.

8. THE NFL IS BACK

The NFL is back at a time that does not feel as strange as baseball and basketball. After watching the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, I think they are the favorites by a lot. Tom Brady lost his first game as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Bill Belichick looked like he didn’t miss Tom Brady. It’s only Week 1.

9. DOG MAN

Dog Man is a family favorite at my house. The latest installment of the Dog Man saga Dog Man: Grime & Punishment has been the best selling book in North America for the last three weeks.

10. SOCIAL MEDIA & POLITICS

A recent poll from the Pew Research Center asked Americans their opinions about social media platforms’ ability for raising awareness was very surprising to me.

10 Thoughts for the Week of September 6, 2020

1. R.I.P. JOHN THOMPSON

Basketball lost a great man on Monday. Black America lost a great man on Monday. John Thompson took a little school and made it a national powerhouse for two decades. He did it his way and he did not compromise. As a kid, I thought Georgetown was an HBCU and John Thompson was the epitome of a strong black man. When I was in middle school and high school, you were either a Georgetown or a UNC or Duke fan.

2. TORONTO v BOSTON

Speaking of basketball…let’s talk NBA Playoffs. This series went from almost 3-0 to the best series of the second round. It’s even at 2-2. The next three games are going to be straight war. That’s right…it’s going 7 games. Kyle Lowery is the type of player you love when he is on your team and hate when he is on the other team. It is fun to see him in the same game with Marcus Smart

3. MILWAUKEE v MIAMI

There is a very good chance that Milwaukee is going to get swept. The team that seems to have most benefited from four and a half months off (besides the Phoenix Suns) is the Miami Heat. They play hard and they are getting inspired play from Jae Crowder. Crowder has been nailing three-pointers in a heartbreaking manner if you are a Bucks fan. Giannis is the two-time MVP and Defensive Player of the Year has played hard and has sprained his ankle twice. Miami has neutralized the MVP and the rest of the Bucks have not stepped up. For the last three years or so, everyone has said,  once Giannis gets a jump shot, it is game over. My question is that day may not come.

4. CLIPPERS v NUGGETS

Both teams have each won a game very convincingly. We will see if there are adjustments that make a difference. Game 1 was all Clippers…Game 2 not so much.  Patrick Beverly losing his mind was out of character. Maybe it was a sign of the frustration the Clippers felt as they were outplayed all night. These guys still are the Clippers I guess.

5. LAKERS v ROCKETS

The Rockets stunned the Lakers in Game 1. This is the most curious series of the round. The big men of the Lakers against the small lineups of the Rockets. Lebron and AD should dominate, but it looks like the Rockets pulled out a zone and dared someone else on the Lakers to beat them. This could be a long series or the Lakers could impose their will the next four games.

6. TRUMP AND THE MILITARY

Jeffrey Goldberg’s article about Trump and his habit to denigrate the military has become a big deal this week. Calling people who get captured or die in war “losers” and “suckers” does not sound all that surprising after Trump disrespected John McCain. The only person Trump has shown any respect to is Vladimir Putin.

7. DODGERS ON CRUISE CONTROL

With the best record in baseball, the Dodgers continue to dominate the MLB. They have found their flow and now it is a matter of keeping everyone healthy. With the trade deadline last week, the Padres made moves to show they are going all in. This may be their first postseason in a very long time.

8. BROOKLYN NETS HIRE STEVE NASH AS HEAD COACH

The two-time MVP has all the bonafide to be a great coach. He was a good/not great athlete who dominated the game with vision and skill. I think it is a good move for a team that needs some swagger. It may help keep Kyrie Irving in check as well. My first thought was I hope he doesn’t end up like Jason Kidd. Then I thought about how Steve Kerr was hired for the Warriors where Nash did an apprenticeship.

Byron Scott complained the black coaches don’t get to coach a contender for their first job. Nash and Kerr are bad hiring to make that call on. They have two MVPs and three championships as players between the two of them. Although, it is sad Patrick Ewing was never a head coach after being an assistant coach for a long time.

9. HOW MANY LIVES WOULD HAVE BEEN SAVED BY A COMPETENT PRESIDENT SAVED

The editorial department of the New York Times has been writing about the number of lives saved in this time of COVID-19 if we had a competent president. David Leonhardt argues that 145,000 of the 189,000 death would have been prevented by a competent president. Ross Douthat argues that 22,000 deaths would have been prevented. Either way, there are a lot of people who did not need to die.

10. MESSI TO STAY IN BARCA

The three-week drama regarding Leonel Messi was resolved this week. Messi will stay at the place that has been his home in Barcelona.

10 Thoughts for the Week of August 30, 2020

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 Thoughts for the Week of August 22, 2020

1. UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Last Sunday I watched Barcelona and Leonel Messi, arguably the best soccer player in the world, get completely destroyed by Bayern Munich 8-2. It was a straight-up beat down in any language. Soccer is the sort of game where a scoring a goal is equivalent of ten points in American football.

Soccer, much like football, is a game for one single player to dominate. Malcolm Gladwell has a great podcast about it. So much pressure falls on players like Messi and Ronaldo. The board of FC Barcelona was so disappointed, they considered making Messi available for transfer.

Bayern Munich was on collision course with high scoring PSG for the final which resulted in a 1-0 championship win.

2. DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION

My attention for the DNC was on and off. I didn’t need to be convinced Biden is a better pick than Trump. I uneasily appreciated how the other candidates rallied around Biden. There was a strange was the number Anti-Trump Republicans endorsements also.

3. THE OBAMAS

Seeing the Obamas on Tuesday and Wednesday nights reminded me of what a real President and First Lady look like.

4. AOC

What is up with giving AOC less than five minutes to speak? She is controversial but she needs some shine.

5. KANYE FOR PRESIDENT

Kanye West is getting help from the Trump Campaign to get on the ballot. They believe a vote for Kanye is a vote taken away from Biden.

I love Kanye’s music but I would never consider voting for him to be president. I would think twice about Lebron James long before I would think about Kanye

6. NBA PLAYOFFS – 1st ROUND

When it comes to the NBA playoffs, the matchups make the games interesting.

The Lakers and the Clippers find themselves in tough series because they don’t matchup all that well with Damien Lillard and Luka Donicic.

Denver is an offensive juggernaut but it got matched up with the defensive minded Jazz and Donovan Mitchell.

7. #1 SEEDS

For the first time in 30 years, both #1 seeds lost Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs. Both have bounced back to take control of their respective series.

8. THE DODGERS

With 20 wins in this strange 60-game season, the Dodgers have assumed the top spot in the NL West. Mookie Betts is well worth whatever money he is making this year. Cody Bellinger had a slow start, but he has found his stroke. Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler are shaping into form.

9. NFL TRAINING CAMPS HAVE STARTED

The NFL season is still three weeks away. It is hard to pay too much attention because there is 8 hours of basketball on everyday. I can barely keep track of MLB.

10. KEEP IT 100

A interesting tidbit from the NFL…Leonard Fournette is pinning $100 bills to his practice jerseys. He says it is a reminder that he needs 100 yards a game to be successful. That is an expensive reminder.