Survivor Politics: Kamala Harris’ Ambush of Joe Biden

The way to the White House for the herd of Democrat contenders goes through Joe Biden and Kamala Harris showed she knows that in the so-called debate Thursday.  I say “so called” because these shows bear more resemblance to the TV show Survivor than to a debate.  There is no time for any real debate, only for zingers.  The whole point is to survive to the next round which means others must be weakened while you impress.

Congressman Eric Swalwell is a good example of a loser in that his zingers fell flat, so the minimal support he has drummed up so far is destined to become minimaler.

In contrast Harris was impressive throwing Biden for a loop.  Several articles noted much planning went into this, including one generated by the LA Times.  But Harris also was a bit lucky.  When the race issue came up and a moderator tried to reign her in, she made clear as the only black person on the stage she was not going to be shut up, and she wasn’t.  She played that race card masterfully.

This gave her the chance to focus on statements Biden made back in the 1970’s opposing some forms of busing – it’s complicated but Harris made it simple, Biden was anti-busing and that was bad……..   And – surprise, surprise – nobody knew the value of busing better than she, one who actually was bused and obviously benefited from it.  Another trump card well played.

While the show was still going on her staff were tweeting pictures of her, the little black girl who already looked determined.  Soon they were selling T-shirts with the picture, too.  Frankly I thought that was all too cute by half, so blatantly showing how well they planned this hit job.  And what a hit job it was.  But I hear her campaign pulled in two million dollars after the show, and the polls figure to show a nice bump up, so she was the winner all right.

And Biden needs to regroup.  After the debate he bemoaned being mischaracterized and wished he would have been able to talk about the future.  The downside of having such an impressive resume with 40 years in politics, is there is plenty to pick at as Kamala Harris illustrated last Thursday in her time travel back to the 70s.

Biden is in a tough spot.  Being defensive is a bad look, but with so many other candidates attacking him, it is hard to avoid that response and point to the future.

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P. S. –  While what I wrote above may look like a hit job on Ms. Harris, it is actually complimentary.  Part of her campaign is as former prosecutor she will be the one to prosecute Donald Trump.  It was risky to attack popular front runner good old Joe, but  the attack was well planned and well performed and it worked.  She showed a combination of skills suggesting she could take on bully boy Trump if given the chance.

Believing in America on the 4th of July

July 4 is normally a joyous weekend celebrating the birth of our nation.  I realize thoughts of barbecues and the beach usually grab more of our attention than thoughts of our political origins, but we have a president who shows no respect for American political institutions, or even what I believe to be the best of our American character, so July 4 takes on a more serious demeanor this year.

Donald Trump distains the press and tends to appeal to our worse instincts, such as the tendency to blame others for our problems, especially others who look different than ourselves or practice a different religion or are of certain nationalities.

The way Trump drums up hysteria is somewhat akin to what happened to the Japanese Americans, over 100,000 of whom were interned as threats after Pearl Harbor despite virtually no evidence.   Showing a better side of the American character was the small town of Gallup, N. M, where the town’s sheriff said, “They are citizens here, and we are not going to round them up.”

This linked story in the LA Times is about Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura, who was a Japanese American teenager in Gallup at the time and would later earn a Medal of Honor in the Korean war.

While much of America was falling prey to hysteria, this little town did us proud.   There is little that Donald Trump advocates in tweets or through his mouth pieces that make me proud to be an American.  He keeps touting “America First” and I hear a little boy crying “me, me, me.”

Trump keeps pretending he is making America great again, while what he is actually doing is placing a pall over our institutions and what’s left of our common sense of reality.  When I think of Trump world I envision Gotham City.

The story is fairly long, but you can skim much of it.  I like best the early part about Miyamura’s childhood in Gallup.

HAPPY FOURTH!

NEWS FLASH: Trump Confirms Obama was born in the U. S. A.

Seduced into watching what was billed as a major statement by Donald Trump on the birther issue, I soon realized this was a photo op for Trump’s new hotel in Washington, the site of the event.  Also, it was a presidential promo provided by testimony from various former military – medal of honor winners, generals and admirals – in support of the Donald’s presidential candidacy.  There should have been a “Paid Advertisement” notice at the bottom of the screen.  Except the advertising was free.

And the big announcement?  That was Trump providing one more example of how easily he manipulates our media into promoting himself.  I felt like I was watching a matador trifling with a bull before skewering it.   (The media is the bull, just to be clear).

I realize how crazy it sounds that I would be drawn to what turns out to be a free political advertisement for Trump by the question of Obama’s birthplace, but in recent days the issue has been reborn because of statements by spokesmen in his campaign that Trump finally does accept Obama’s American birth.  However, when asked Donald Trump had refused to confirm that belief.   So, I admit it, I was curious.

And the major statement?   After puffing himself up for a half hour as a great builder and a great patriot, implying such a combination would make a great president, he finally got to the issue of Obama’s birth.  And this was the statement viewers had been waiting for:  “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.”

That was it, though he prefaced it with blaming Hillary Clinton for initiating the birther issue in her primary race with Obama (actually, it appears some of her supporters did that, but her campaign never embraced it) and then Trump ended with something about let’s get back to making America great again.

The media having made such a big issue of this announcement will act as if it still has great importance and peck away with more questions regarding Trump’s (supposed) change of mind (I never believed he believed it, just a marvelously effective manipulative tool for him).

But Trump will ignore them, as frankly he should.   It was always a ridiculous issue that was allowed to flourish because the media failed to pin him down on any facts he purportedly had found, while the Republican party was happy to remain mum on the issue figuring that anything that was anti-Obama was O.K. with them.

The birther issue has been a miraculous triumph of B. S. over reality. Trump has ridden that horse a long way… to death so to speak.  This was an opportune time to change horses, and so he did.   The press should stop beating the dead horse by dwelling on silly things like whether Trump should apologize to whomever, and move on to one of the many issues that actually merit consideration.  They lost their chance to be relevant on this issue many months ago.

Frankly, the skill in which Trump has handled this birther vehicle of self-promotion is enough for me to fantasize what he might do as president, but then I remind myself that self-promotion is his genius.  It is unclear to me what else he is really good at.   That genius has served him well in the real estate game and the presidential race, but the role of president is not primarily based on self-promotion.

As president one must actually do things as opposed to promising to do things.  Trump’s promises are endless, but the only thing I am convinced he can do is promote himself, like the little wizzard hiding behind the big screen pretending to be the Great Oz.

The Black White Divide: Sadness and Hope in Dallas

The recent shooting deaths of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota by white police in extremely questionable circumstances and then the vengeance killings of five white policemen and the injury to several others in Dallas Thursday attests, despite steady progress over the past 50 years, our ongoing failure to surpass our long standing racial divide.

While cable chatter is brimming with coverage of these issues and speculation about what could and should be done the plain truth is whatever positive changes can be made regarding this divide will be small and incremental and satisfying to no one in the short run.  That’s the way it has been and will be, but there is still hope.

We are continuing to pay the price of the Faustian pact that underlies the birth of our United States, that to come together as a nation back in the 1700s required that slavery be tolerated.  There would be no United States had the founders not allowed for it, because the Southern states would have rebelled, as they later did.  Most of the founders saw slavery as something that would evolve out of existence, or should I say that was their hope.

It took a civil war to decide the issue, but the results were far from perfect and we continue to try to get it right in imperfect ways.

It boils down to blacks being treated differently by police than whites.  Festering anger in black communities is because of that or the perception of that.  Numerous studies support the assertion that blacks are treated more often with excessive force than whites.  We could consider higher arrest and conviction rates, too, but that gets too complicated for this short post.

At an individual level it is the norm for black parents to have “the talk” with their children, emphasizing the danger of not acting carefully and politely if stopped by the police.  For you fellow whites out there, “the talk” for us more likely means the one about the birds and the bees.

I try to imagine the movement towards bridging the divide between blacks and whites and the most concrete results seem likely to stem from developing better relationships between the police of any given city and their black and Latino minority populations, what is called “community policing.”  I know you have heard it all before, many times as it has been mouthed by many over the years and progress has been uneven and slow.

However, it is heartening that this Dallas police department is arguably the best in the nation in terms of community policing and, according to Police Chief David Brown, the best department in the country overall.  In a press conference this morning he listed various impressive statistics  including a 60% decline over the last six years in excessive-force complaints.

How ironic is that?  That the shooter would take his anger out on the very department that seems to have been doing its utmost to reach out to people like him.  He murdered  police officers who were helping to keep peaceful protestors safe.

The best thing I can envision coming out of this tragedy is for other cities to pay closer attention to the Dallas form of policing because it clearly has worked, despite the exception of this apparently demented shooter whose life goal came down to killing as many whites as possible.  That could happen anywhere.

Unfortunately, the shooter developed his hatred apparently unaffected by the wise words of Martin Luther King:  “That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind.”

In sharp contrast Police Chief David Brown looks like he can see clearly.   Perhaps he and the citizens of Dallas can help the rest of us see better.


P. S. – A recent article by Radley Balko in the Washington Post describes Brown’s work in Dallas.  Balko praises the work overall but fears unrest will prompt authoritarian reactions rather than reformist ones.   I can only hope he is wrong about that.

Focus On Trump’s Bigotry Misses the Point

The fact that Donald Trump makes racist, misogynistic or Islamic-phobic comments  doesn’t get to the heart of what makes him both unfit to be president while still sufficiently attractive to win a race against Hillary Clinton, who has plenty of detractors of her own.

While devout liberals find those criticisms satisfying, they obscure the fact that many Americans who don’t fit those pejorative labels are backing Trump and more might go that way depending upon what happens over the next few months.  While a recent survey of polls show Hillary up by about 5.5% on Trump nationwide, he is up on her by 5% when it comes to the question of who people trust to keep us safe.

Shocking ISIS successes (or a plunge in the economy) might tip a number of Americans in favor of the guy who talks tough and does whatever it takes to win.  They extrapolate that because he has been a winner in business, in entertainment and so far in politics, he will be a “winner” as president.  What they fail to grasp is that he has one outstanding quality that has accounted for much of his success:  his exceptional ability to promote himself.

Being the American president is arguably the toughest job in the world requiring a host of skills that go beyond self-promotion.  Still, the more people feel anxious about our present circumstances the more attractive Trump’s decisive, tough guy persona could become, despite his shortcomings.

But back to those bigotry charges.  I would say a large majority of his supporters are not racist or misogynist and don’t see him that way.  Prejudiced like we all are, but there is not something basically wrong with them as implied by the application of an “ist” (racist, sexist, etc.), the liberal way of labeling one a secular sinner and a well spring of the anti-P. C. sentiments that Trump regularly cashes in on.

Separate out those rationally challenged beings I call the birther bunch, and Trump supporters come in all sorts of mental shapes and sizes.  I have a young rising executive family member who dislikes Hillary so much, he is reluctantly siding with Trump, but would have voted for Bernie had he won the Democratic candidacy.  A friend who is a patient of a neurosurgeon was aghast at learning her doctor backs Trump.

Many of these supporters see Trump just beating the old pols at their own lying game.  All those outrageous things he says are just to get attention, lots of free media coverage, and he certainly has, or to weaken his opponents, which he did so well in the primary.

The more I examine Trump fan reaction the more I see how each picks and choses the information about him that they want to believe, like ordering a burger at Burger King.   They disregard many things he says just as ploys to get an advantage.  Or making an initial offer, a starting point for negotiation, just as he has always done in making deals.

Ben Carson is a case in point.  Despite being trashed by Trump in the campaign, Carson has come to back the Donald.  Carson exemplifies the Trump supporters’ tendency to let Trump slide in a lot of what he says because they believe he will be a “winner as president”.

While Carson is not happy about some Trump statements, he does not feel down deep Trump is a racist.   He got to know the man personally since his own campaign disappeared and sees two Donald Trumps, the private one absent of the bombast of the public persona, a guy surprisingly “cerebral and a good listener.”

A guy apparently Carson can believe in, at least when compared with the Republican version of Satan, Hillary Clinton.

As for the racist statements, I think Carson would say “it’s all politics.”   He seems to have reluctantly come to this sad, cynical conclusion from watching Trump’s success in the primary.  The lesson learned was all politicians are liars, so whatever you say as a politician doesn’t matter as long as it helps you win.   At the announcement of Carson endorsing Trump, the latter admitted as much by saying the reason he became so nasty with Carson was because he saw him rising in the polls.  That’s a sign of Trump respect, a compliment Trump-Style

Now that Carson is a supporter, Trump says wonderful things about the man, just as he has said about Ted Cruz, the former “lying Ted.”  If you’re with Trump he doesn’t care if you are black, or a woman or have a Mexican heritage or whatever.  You just have to be capable and loyal in his eyes.   Just ask Omarosa, a female, black former apprentice on his TV show often a part of his rallies.

On the other hand,  if you are against Trump he’ll  defame you, or sue you or whatever, until you submit.

Donald Trump is a ruthless liar who would have found a line of attack on Mother Teresa had she ever gotten in his way.  For those Survivor fans, Trump is a rendition of Jonny Fairplay,(real name Jon Dalton) a contestant who faked the death of his grandmother as a way of gaining sympathy from the other contestants who disliked him.

Like Fairplay, Trump is willing to fake anything and defame anyone to come out on top.  It is that aspect of the man that makes him particularly unfit to be the President of the United States.


 

Judge Curiel: Trump Truthiness Counter Attacks the Liberal Media

I’m not eager to post again so soon, but I have a matter with a timely nature to talk about.   With the “liberal media,” which apparently includes the Wall Street Journal these days, raking Trump over the coals for his comments on the Mexican-American judge at his University trial, the Trump team is fighting back like the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge.

Trump has been so successful in the campaign with his counter attacks that I want to knock out some of his forces right away, especially after just watching one of his female surrogates, who reminded me of a Stepford wive with her unwavering gaze, sound very convincing on TV tying Curiel to the purportedly violence prone “La Raza,” whatever that is.

As the Trumpeters so often do, they have woven together various facts, often twisted in the process, and created a separate reality that makes Trump appear the victim of a biased judge and the liberal media rather than the instigator.   Apparently social media abounds with their truthy message right now, which is what has prompted me to write.

Here is their lowest, least truthful line of attack.  Judge Curiel is a member of La Raza, which is a terrorist organization who supports illegal immigration and has helped foment riots at Trump speeches.   Actually, Judge Curiel is a member of La Raza Lawyers Association, separate from the National Council of La Raza which,while open to criticism for tactics and positions, is not the evil bunch portrayed by Trump and his surrogates.  As Lisa Navarette, a spokeswoman responded to Trump team attacks:  “We’re sitting around arguing the minutiae of banking regulation, not running around in hoods.” 

Maybe not that innocent, I only have a general idea, but whatever it is it is not the La Raza Lawyer’s Association of which Judge Curiel is a member.

Well, Trump would argue, both organizations have La Raza (the race) in their names and that suggests they hate non-Hispanics.  Neverette points out that there are “thousands” of Latino organizations with La Raza in their names “La Raza as a nod to our common heritage.”

The same way, I would say, the conservative Heritage Foundation is a nod to our common heritage, not a nod to white supremacy.

So, here we have Trump doubling down on another overall lie, promulgated throughout social media and me wondering will he be able to put this one across like he has so many others?   Surely, those strong Trump supporters will swallow this fabrication hook “lie” and sinker.

I can only hope those whose minds are not yet made up can see Trump for what he is, a recent rendition of the fairy tale The Emperor has No Clothes.


P. S. – I’m sure most of you know I am indebted to Stephen Colbert for his creation of “truthiness” as a way of looking at and portraying truth without regard to factual evidence, logic or the like.   Also, if you want to know more about the NCLA and Trump’s illegitimate tying it to Judge Curiel, here’s a link.

Donald Trump Might be Even More Popular than Polls Show

Recent findings by a research group called Morning Consult suggest that as well as Trump does in the polls, he might actually be even more popular than that.  This “group” has found that a number of people who back him, usually college educated, are embarrassed to admit it, so they mislead pollsters.

My favorite columnist, Kathleen Parker, reflected on these findings and, as usual, has written a column that is both witty and insightful, shedding light on the Trump phenonmenon in her own unique way.

“Morning Consult’s revelations got me thinking and, by Jove, I think I’ve got it: Donald Trump is White Man’s last stand.”

This link to that editorial is my Christmas gift to you.

Donald Trump: A Hitler for Our Time?

I have thought for weeks now about writing a post with that title, taking a cue from Donald Trump about how to attract attention.  However, I waited too long to be outrageous.

Since the “keep out all Muslims” comments,  comparisons with the vile dictator abound, even among Republicans.  Hitler is not mentioned as often as fascism, totalitarianism and racism, but who do those words conjure up more than the fuehrer?

I actually began recalling Hitler weeks ago when Trump stated we must deport some 11 million illegal Mexican immigrants and that he would develop a force to do that.  Later he tacked on doing it “humanely ,” but the image of Nazi storm troopers rounding up Jews remained.  Since then he has seemed a little more Hitler-like with each passing day.

With the recent comments about barring Muslims from visiting this country Trump set a new low in outlandishness, so much so that many Republicans decried his words, including the god father of Republican tough talkers, Dick Cheney.   One might think Trump had finally, finally gone too far.  But wrong again.  Not for his base who see the media and the political establishment of both parties as the enemy.

So what if the Donald exaggerates and generalizes to the point of incomprehension.  He gets the gist right.   I saw a poll that 56% of American voters believe that the principles of Islam conflict with American values.  With that sort of sentiment around  refusing Muslims access to this country doesn’t seem so far fetched, especially after the recent massacres by Muslim jihadists in Paris and San Bernardino, CA.

And it would only be temporary until our government sorted things out, says Trump.
What does that mean?  Two months?  Two years?  Two decades?   Well, we’d have to see.

One might reasonably point out that we need Muslim support in the Mid-East to destroy ISIS and that actions here at home against Muslims are not likely to help in that, not to mention it plays into the scenario ISIS vividly describes through social media that this is a war between religions and all good Muslims must pick a side.

But a demagogue like Trump does not appeal to reason.  He appeals to  prejudice, fears, resentments and accumulated anger.   So many are so sick of so much in present day America, they are particularly susceptible to a demagogue.   This especially because we have reached a stage of what has been called fact-free politics.

Since those who support Trump don’t give credence to the reasoned statements of main stream media  nor the Republican establishment, the more he is criticized by them the more they like Trump.   He alone is willing to toss out political correctness and speak the truth to power.  His supporters are so sick of so much they are willing to roll the dice and take a chance that Trump’s leadership  can “make America great again”, as he promises to do every day.

That is the promise of every demagogue.

In his ability to voice the anger and frustration of these people, feelings I’d say a  majority of Americans share to lesser degrees, Trump is very much like Hitler.   Like Hitler he knows there is a lot of fear and resentment throughout the land and like Hitler he is great at portraying himself as the only man smart enough and strong enough to really make things right again.

Having said that I do not think Trump is a megalomaniac like Hitler.   Nor do I think he is a hater like Hitler.   He does not want to conquer the world nor commit genocide. What he is a narcissist willing to be as reckless in his statements as need be to continue to command  the spotlight and to energize his base.

Of course, recklessness tends to cause harm and in Trump’s case it could be harm to many in different ways, including the Republican party.   From the point of view of the Republican establishment he is like a rocket out of control and since criticizing him appears to only provide more fuel, the hope is somehow he’ll run out of gas before blowing the party completely apart.

It makes for bizarre politics but captivating reality TV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Obama’s Week of Amazing Grace

Prior to last week I can’t recall the last really good week for the president.  Which is partially what makes last week so amazing.   The events weren’t so amazing individually, but in their improbable abundance.

From Obama’s point of view, probably most important was the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare which finally makes it pretty much a done deal.  What made this surprising is that Chief Justice Roberts, given his conservative inclinations, made it a 6-3 vote.. He said it boiled down to a matter of common sense. Many conservatives saw it as apostasy.

Of course improvements in the health care law should be made, but hopefully congress can focus upon them rather than on trashing it all together.   One of those huge time wasters that reduces the likelihood of congress actually doing something useful for us all, like some day actually dealing with our grumbling infrastructure.

While I am a center-left kind of guy, I am most concerned with our national government actually providing some solutions to our problems, albeit always flawed, rather than being mired in the dysfunction that has typified recent years…..i. e. the “Obama years”.   Of course, I blame Republican anti-Obama obstructionism, while my more conservative friends blame Obama’s overreach and arrogance, but I don’t care to rehash that one ad infinitum.   “Let’s get on with it” is my motto.

This past week we got on with several “its.”

The Supreme Court provided another gift to Obama in the 5-4 decision on gay marriage, a weak majority, but still good enough since many states have already legalized it.  Also, do we really want a situation where some are married in some states but not in others?  Don’t we have enough bureaucratic head aches already?

Sure, Obama was not in favor of gay marriage awhile back but so what, many liberals weren’t, including me.  People can evolve. (Lincoln was willing to maintain slavery in exchange for retaining a national union. Southerners just didn’t believe him. And he evolved along with changing circumstances).

Awhile back I thought the notion of civil unions was a fair compromise between rights and tradition, but no longer think so.  It’s a little like “separate but equal” was in education years ago:   Civil unions could never be the full deal, always a little less in one way or another, which would have been reflected in a degree of disrespect for the families involved.   America should not be about making people less.

Those who decry the change haven’t thought much about this bumper sticker: “We’re all from dysfunctional families. Get over it.”   In other words, traditional marriages have seldom been what they are cracked up to be.

So, I’m glad the Supreme Court moved us along on that path, too, though I am not gleeful as many liberals must be.   I have other governmental priorities, so my thinking is let’s just stop making it such a big issue.   My thinking being somewhat expressed by comedian/activist Kinky Friedman. “I have nothing against gay marriage. Why shouldn’t they be miserable like the rest of us.”

So, let’s get used to gay marriage (including, yes, guys kissing guys, which the media have rarely shown, and never a long lasting smooch that I recall) and move along (frankly I’m not quite there about Bruce…ah, I mean Catlin Jenner, yet, but I’m working on it).

Probably a bigger victory for Obama than gay marriage was the fast tracking of the Trans-Pacific trade agreement.   This one is interesting because while it is a victory for Obama, many liberals think of it as a defeat and I’ve heard that Nancy Pelosi became infuriated at the way the president manipulated the passage, momentarily bosom buddies with many of those hated Republicans.

Perhaps the deal is bad for American labor while good for the 1%. I have no idea, but then few people do since the pact has been essentially under lock and key, with few allowed to view it and not even take notes.   But as I see it all this fast tracking simply means that when the pact is finally hashed out by negotiators it will be brought to congress for an up or down vote, with no opening for amendments or the usual quagmire stalling tactics.   By the time it gets to that point, I think many liberal concerns will be addressed and if not, well, they rate a good shot at stopping it.

My guess is it’s step forward in dealing with a big American issue, normalizing trade with the Pacific Rim in many ways that favor America (and some that don’t, no doubt). I trust the president’s judgment on the matter.

Finally, there is the moment last Friday when the president was in that arena in Charleston, memorializing that state senator and the other eight victims of another racial hate crime, and Obama’s breaking into the hymn Amazing Grace near the end of the ceremony, leading that large audience in song to cap off a moving speech, one of his best.

This amazing feeling of grace stirred up by the faith shaking unfairness of those nine parishioners being slaughtered at a Bible study no less and then, most striking of all, their relatives forgiving the perpetrator for his awful trespasses, all so pure and moving that it prodded steps throughout the south to demote the status of the confederate flag, long held by many southerners as a symbol of rebel pride, but now more clearly seen as a divisive symbol of black suppression, an accoutrement of race hatred.

So, all in all a great week for the president.  And a pretty darn good one for many of the rest of us.

Unfortunate March Madness Post Game Comments: Just F-ing Foget Abaat It.

A big deal has been made by the media of comments by Kentucky player Andrew Harrison after losing to Wisconsin Saturday and then by Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan after losing in the final game yesterday to Duke.   My aim in this post is to make them smaller deals.

Starting with Harrison.  If you haven’t heard, in their post-loss press conference, a question was asked of another Kentucky player about the challenge posed by Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky, at which time Harrison was caught on a mike saying:  “F….that N-word”  (not exactly, but you get the picture).

That was an example of poor sportsmanship, just as when he and his brother and another Kentucky player or two went straight to the locker room without shaking hands.  But it got such attention because he used the N-word, which is as we all know, radioactive.

Let’s put this in context.  Not only did Kentucky just lose its chance to be arguably called the best college team of all time, it did so to a bunch of white boys, or at least predominantly so.  To paraphrase the great Larry Byrd from years ago:  This is a  “black man’s game” and I’m just trying to fit in.  True now more than ever.  That multiplied the agony of defeat.  How could this happen?  Harrison wanted a target for his frustration and Frank the tank provided a big target.

And he used the N-word because that’s common trash talk in black urban settings.  When you think about it, it’s odd for him to use it on a white guy.  But what was he supposed to mutter:  F ….that big, dumb Polock?   I don’t think he knew quite what he was saying.  He was still in a game frame of mind, disappointed as hell and muttering trash and it was caught on a mike.

OK, Harrison acted a pouty brat, but to lose the chance at eternal glory to a bunch of white boys?  You  think Harrison and his teammates are ever going to stop hearing about this, ever?  Later Harrison called Kaminski and apologized and Frank accepted it and said it was not a big deal.  I’ll take Frank’s word for it.

Moving on to Bo Ryan.  He too was experiencing the agony of defeat when complaining about the refereeing, but his big misstatement was to use the term “rent-a-players” referring to the phenomenon of the most talented kids playing only one year and then going to the pros.  They are also called “one and doners”, a term Ryan usually uses to suggest the difference between his program and other top ones, most notably Kentucky, but Duke employed that strategy this year, too, obviously with great success.  The agony of defeat does not put one in a good mood, so Ryan used the more pejorative “rent-a-player” metaphor.

So what?   It seems clear from previous interviews that he’d take a one-and-doner if that player would fit into his system, but that’s unlikely and Bo’s not going to shape his system around the one-and-doners, like Calipari does so brilliantly at Kentucky and Coach K as well at Duke.   Ryan and his staff have been great at developing players, something that would have been more highly regarded years ago, but now not so much in our climate of winning is everything.  At moments Bo probably feels a bit bitter about that, and when would that be more likely than just after losing a rare chance to be national champion?  Doing it “the right way.”

So, once again the media makes big deals out of little ones.  Surprise, surprise.

But I have to admit that is not all bad.   In trying to develop my own opinion on the two media “events,” I ran across a thoughtful discussion on the nuances of race talk between a white sports show host and a black former football player.

I think it would be worth seven minutes of your time.  You can check it out here.