Friday, January 26, 2018

I think that I’m beginning to see the light

A few days ago, one of the school monitors went on a trip to a school near Phoenix with one of the Cholla High sports teams. By the time they finished their game, the sun had dipped below the horizon, and MOST of the area that they traveled through on the way back to Tucson was pitch black.

What the monitor and everyone on the bus noticed was that they had passed several isolated areas that were brightly lit, which the bus driver used as a teaching tool. The brightly lit areas were correctional facilities, and Arizona has LOTS of them. Arizona does not have the highest incarceration rate in America, but it is close to the top, with an incarceration rate of 831 per 100,000. Only 6 states have higher rates, and Louisiana is on top, with a rate of 1082 per 100,000 population.

In terms of shear numbers, Texas has the most people in prison or jail (221,800) whereas Arizona had  55,200, roughly the same population as the city of Flagstaff.

At the end of 2013, America’s prisons and jails held a total of 2,227,500 people, and the country has the highest incarceration rate in the world (693 per 100,000 of population)  - but that is the rate only for adults. In addition, America also had 54,148 juveniles in detention.

Arizona has 5 immigrant detention facilities, which very likely were the facilities that the people on the bus saw, since they were in Florence or a nearby town.

In addition to the immigration detention facilities, Arizona also has 48 state prisons, which includes 6 privately operated prisons. 5 of the 6 privately operated prisons are run by the GEO group, which contributed $52,000 to help Doug Ducey get elected governor in 2014, a pittance when compared to the $113 million in profits the company made in 2013.

And that’s not all.

There are also 5 Federal Correctional institutions in the state, and 3 of them are in Tucson.

The point that the driver was attempting to make was that the students had a choice. They could either take school seriously, or they could slough off and wind up in prison.

In 2011, Arizona spent almost $22,000 on every inmate it its care.

In contrast, Arizona spends a LOT less on education than most other states (roughly $8000 per student) . In fact, Utah is the only state that spends less:

However, spending money is only part of the solution, since the D.C. school system spends more money per student than anyone, but has some of the worst results.

The best schools in the country can be found in Maryland, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. The worst schools are found in Oklahoma, Idaho, New Mexico, Mississippi, and Nevada. The difference between all these schools is the amount of money they invest in their students.

The United States spends more money on educating its young people than any other nation, but the strategy of “throwing money at the problem” has not produced the results that you would expect. In terms of knowledge gained, 15 year olds in America ranked  31st on standardized mathematics tests, and far below average in reading and science.

As recently as 1996, the K-12 school system in America was ranked the best in the world (due to the establishment of the Department of Education in 1979), but we are currently rated at #18. Our various states created Common Core in an attempt to reverse the slide, but we are still far behind Finland, which is ranked #1.

The reasons for Finland’s excellence (and our decline) can be found in the article below:

Both our educational system and our prison system need fixing; simply spending more money isn’t the whole answer. It should be obvious by now that we spend WAY too much money keeping people locked up, and we need to be a lot SMARTER about how we spend our education dollars (although Arizona DOES need to spend a lot more that the state does now.)

The cure to both problems is competent leadership, and it is a very difficult to find qualified leaders in today’s environment. Diane Douglas is the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Arizona. Prior to her election, the only class that she had taught was a stained glass class. Her degree is in business and marketing.

Betsy DeVos is the current United States Department of Education. Her college degree is a BA in business economics, and she has never attended public schools - and neither have her 4 children. Her father-in-law is one of the founders of the Amway Corporation, and he is worth $5.1 billion, which she and her husband will eventually inherit.

She is big fan of charter schools, and is a fierce advocate for school vouchers, which allow students to attend private schools with public funds. In order to hasten that possibility, her proposed budget for the Department of Education is $9.2 billion less than the current budget, a decrease of 13.5%.

Prior to the 2016 election, 98 of the 100 largest newspapers felt that Donald Trump was not fit to be president, and we are reminded of that fact on a daily basis. As a result, his Cabinet is the worst in the history of our country.

As of October 4, Trump had only had a full, permanent Cabinet for 84 of the 258 days he had been in office at that point. The most recent departure was his 24 year old drug czar Taylor Weyeneth, who will resign from his position in the near future, after having been in office less than a month, Prior to his nomination by Trump, he had had NO relevant work experience since graduating from college in May 2016, but he HAD worked on Trump’s candidate committee and his transition campaign.

In addition to the Cabinet, a large number of people no longer work in his administration. “The mooch” only lasted 11 days.

I’m fairly confident that Trump will either be removed from office or forced to resign  at some point during his first term. However, I’m not sure if that will come after or before his divorce from Melania (after all, things have been a little Stormy lately).

America has been through some tough times before, and has survived and prospered, so I am sure that we will recover from our current mess. All it would take to do that would be for enough voters to “see the light”, and make the necessary changes. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

the Bible tells me so, part 2

If you are a regular reader of this site, you may remember that I published an earlier story about the Bible in 2010, which included a 10 question Bible quiz. To make it as easy as possible, I made it an “open book” test.

A few days ago, I saw a poster in the hallway of a local high school that advocated an after hours Bible club. Since the group met after hours, I would have no objection to the group, even though they met on the grounds of a public high school I also would have no objection if a group of Muslims or Jews met after hours to discuss THEIR religions after hours. Since folks meeting to discuss religion after hours tend to be conservative, it is interesting to note that the same school has a gay/straight alliance group that also meets after school hours, and would likely be a fairly liberal group.

In 2016, the state of Tennessee passed a bill that would make the Bible the official book of Tennessee. Fortunately, the governor vetoed the bill. Tennessee was not the first state to attempt to do so, but none of them have been successful so far.

If you are a student of history, you may remember that the “monkey trial” of 1925 occurred in Tennessee, and it pitted  those who believed in evolution against folks who believed in the literal truth of the Bible. A few years ago, Republicans in the same legislature introduced a sex education bill that defined kissing and holding hands as “gateways to sexual activity”.

A very large majority of the people in this country believe that it is necessary for politicians to place their hands on a Bible when taking an oath of office. One of those people is a man named Ted Crockett, who was the spokesman for Alabama politician Roy Moore. His discussion with Jake Tapper on CNN is enlightening to watch:

As a matter of fact, though, it is NOT necessary for politicians to have their hand on the Bible when they are first sworn into office. In fact, Keith Ellison of Minnesota (a Muslim) placed his hand on a Koran that was formerly owned by Thomas Jefferson in an informal meeting AFTER he was officially sworn in with his left hand empty at this side.

When I sold cars in Evanston, I worked with a couple of guys who were Muslims. One of them brought his Muslim prayer beads to work a few times, since he was diligent about praying 5 times a day, which is a requirement of the Muslim religion. The Muslim prayer beads look like this:

Here’s more information:

If you counted all the beads, you will discover that there are 99, almost the same number of beads found in the rosary (108). Although the rosary is associated with the Catholic faith, other religions also use the rosary. Catholics who are the most devout believers try to say the rosary every single day, but very few Catholics spend much time reading the Bible, even though there actually IS an official Catholic Bible – and I own one. (I’ll have to admit, though, that it has been a long time since I have owned a rosary).

Due to the myriad of problems that result when religion is mixed with politics (read the link below), our Founding Fathers had the wisdom to include freedom of religion in the very first amendment to the constitution. As a result, I am perfectly happy to admit that I don’t read the Bible, I no longer attend church services, and I do not even own a rosary.

However, it one of my fellow countrymen wanted to attend Bible classes, attend church as often as possible, and pray the rosary every single day, I would rejoice at their efforts.

Just don’t try to convert me.

Monday, January 22, 2018

a gift in the mail

About a week ago, I received a free copy of the Reader’s Digest in the mail, which was sent to me courtesy of their marketing development division. Since the magazine business is a tough business, it is not unusual to receive free copies of various publications that have been sent out in order to entice folks to sign up.

It works.

I now have new subscriptions to the Mayo Clinic newsletter and Time magazine because I got free copies sometime in the last year. My subscription to Time was only $25 a year, significantly less than $263.56 it would cost me if I paid full price at the grocery store every week.

A year’s subscription to the Reader’s Digest would only cost $10, a steep discount from the full sticker price of $39.90 – but I’m not buying.

When I was a kid, my parents subscribed to the Reader’s Digest, and they also often received a variety of the Reader’s Digest condensed books.

The Reader’s Digest has been around for a LONG TIME. It was originally founded in 1920 in Chappagua, New York, the same town that Bill and Hillary now call home, but it later moved to Manhattan.

For many years, it was the best-selling consumer magazine in the country, but was finally surpassed by Better Homes and Gardens in 2009. In addition to Braille, it is published in 21 other languages, and is read by 40 million people in more than 70 countries.

Since its inception, the magazine has maintained a conservative and anti-Communist perspective on political and social issues, which may help to explain why it has more readers with household incomes in excess of $100,000 than Fortune, the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Inc. COMBINED. It also explains why I am not buying.

The 1950’s were conservative times in America, so I was pretty conservative as a kid. The decade of the 1960’s, of course, changed me into a liberal, and the economic boom of the 1990’s changed me back to a more conservative outlook on life (I even voted for George W. Bush in 2000).

An unplanned career change in my 50’s caused me to take another look at my priorities, and I came to the realization that the progressive views that I read every day made more sense than conservative views.

In 1990, the magazine’s parent company went public in order to raise money. Unfortunately, the company lost money every year from 2005 through 2010, which caused it to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. On February 13, 2013, the company filed for bankruptcy for the second time.

A large part of the company’s financial problems stem from the sweepstakes that they used to promote in the 1990’s, which tricked elderly people into buying products because they were “guaranteed winners”. After 32 attorneys general filed suit in 2001, the magazines circulation swiftly declined, and it is now a long ways short of its 1970’s peak circulation of 17,000,000.

Since its inception, the Reader’s Digest has had 11 editors-in-chief, but Kenneth Tomlinson, the man who served from 1990 through 1996, was the person who is most responsible for the magazine’s decline. In addition to his responsibilities with the Reader’s Digest, he was also Chairman of the Board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which manages funds appropriated by Congress in support of public television and radio. His misdeeds in that position forced his resignation in 2005.

In November of 2005, investigators uncovered evidence that that he had repeatedly broken federal laws and the organization’s own regulations in a campaign to combat what he saw as LIBERAL NEWS. If you have been paying attention lately, liberal news is now called “fake news” by a man who gets his “information” from the National Enquirer, FOX “news”, Breitbart, and Alex Jones.

Donald Trump celebrated the first anniversary of his inauguration by causing the government to shut down, a fitting capstone to a year of utter insanity. As one senator put it, negotiating with Trump is like negotiating with Jello.

Some of the folks involved in the protest march last year are STILL facing charges from the government for exercising their right of free speech, which had very little effect on the marches that were equally large this year.

We recently saw “The Post”, which is an excellent movie. Since I was a new voter at the time of the release of the Pentagon Papers by the Washington Post, the story was very familiar to me, and the underlying story bears a very strong resemblance to what it happening today.

Two of the newspapers I read every day are the New York Times and the Washington Post. Since its founding in 1851, the New York Times has won 122 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Washington Post was started in 1877, and it has earned 47 Pulitzer Prizes. Its current owner is Jeff Bezos, who is now considered to be the richest man in the world. He bought the newspaper from Catherine Graham’s family for $250 million in 2013.  

(If you don't think that America is a land of opportunity, consider this fact:

Jeff's mother was 17 and still in high school when her son was born. Not surprisingly, her marriage only lasted about a year. Her second husband, Miguel Bezos, emigrated from Cuba alone when he was 15 years old. Even today, some of our "leaders" would consider Cuba to be a "shithole" country.)

Since many newspapers are struggling today, you might not think that owning a newspaper would be a good idea – but you would be wrong. William Randolph Hearst bought his first newspaper when he was 24 years old. Today, the Hearst family is worth $28 billion.

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post would be considered to be “liberal” publications, as would Time magazine. Time has won numerous awards over the years, including the Top Award for Magazine Excellence (the industry’s most prestigious honor) in 2006, and the Magazine of the Year in 2012 at the National Magazine Awards ceremony in New York.  

When the hypocrites that champion “family values” overwhelmingly support a thrice married failed business man as a man chosen by God, you know that their thinking is seriously out of whack. As a result, now is NOT the right time to start reading the Readers Digest again.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The truth about teenagers

A teacher who I used to work with once made the comment that teenagers do everything that adults do – and she is absolutely right.

They drive cars.

They drink alcohol.

They use illegal drugs.

They smoke cigarettes

They vote.

They have sex.

Due to stricter laws, a smaller percentage of 16 year olds drive then when I was 16 years old. In fact, there are increasing numbers that have no desire to ever get their license.

Due to stricter laws, and increased awareness of the dangers of alcohol, there is less underage drinking now than there was when I was a teen.

Despite the fact that marijuana is more readily available (due to legalization) than it was when I was a lad, marijuana use by teens has decreased to its lowest level in 20 years. Only 6.5 % of teens use marijuana on a monthly basis.

Like society in general, teens smoke less than they used to. If they smoke at all, they are more likely to smoke a joint than a cigarette.

I was not able to vote until I was 21, but that changed with the passage of the 26th amendment in 1971. There ARE some seniors that turn 18 before they graduate. In fact, Arizona law allows teens with special needs to stay in high school until they are 21. Most of them are well aware of today’s political issues, and many of them DO vote. Oddly enough, though, out of state college students in Texas are not allowed to vote in the state, but an individual with an expired gun permit from Arkansas has all the proof he needs to vote.


You bet.

According to the Huffington Post, 70% of today’s high school students will have had sexual intercourse at least once by the time they are 19 years old.

Some of them get pregnant.

There are two ways to prevent teenage pregnancy.

1) Provide comprehensive sex education starting in elementary school, and make birth control readily available

2) Pretend that there is NOT a problem with teenagers having sex, and provide no sex education at all other than teaching abstinence, which happens to be what the majority of the states in the Bible belt do.

Just saying “no”, naturally, does little to discourage a 17 year old boy with a hard on, which is why the states that rely on abstinence training have the highest rates of teen pregnancy.

New Mexico tops the list, followed by Mississippi and Texas. The link below will provide the complete list.

Abortion has long been a controversial issue, and my post of 1/27/2011 provides more details:

What should be very obvious is that abortions were still performed in this country before abortion was legalized in 1973. Outlawing alcohol did little to diminish the consumption of alcohol, but the 18th amendment made Al Capone a very rich man.

The “war on drugs” that was started during the Reagan administration did little to reduce the use of illegal drugs, but it made Pablo Escobar one of the richest men in the world for a period of time.

The number of abortions performed in this country is now at the lowest level since Roe V. Wade was passed in 1973, a fact that should be good news for both people that are “pro-life” as well as those who are “pro-choice”, but their approach on how to deal with it differs significantly. In my opinion, the Republic approach to abortion is not only wrong-headed, it is simply WRONG. In fact, the last time the number of abortions INCREASED was when George W. Bush was president.

I know at least one person who voted for Donald Trump (the man who has spoken over 2000 lies since being elected) because she said he was the only candidate who opposed abortion (overlooking the fact that he once changed his position 5 times in a 3 day time period). There are also a LOT of people who did not vote for Hillary Clinton because the Democratic Party supports abortion. In the words of Bill Clinton, abortion should be safe, legal, and RARE.

The artist who painted the picture above, Illma Gore, has been punched in the face. She also has been threatened with rape, death, and lawsuits, which means that Hillary Clinton was right. Some of Trump’s supporters ARE deplorable.

 The 1976 Hyde amendment made if illegal for taxpayer money to be used for abortions, so I am not why how Bruce Rauner, the REPUBLICAN governor of Illinois recently signed a bill that allows taxpayer in his state to do exactly that. Ironically, Henry Hyde, the man who introduced the bill, was a Congressman from Illinois.

A favorite target of the Republicans is Planned Parenthood, even though only 3% of the services provided by the organization are abortions. Because the organization provides sexual education, along with birth control, they have actually REDUCED the number of abortions in this country far more than any “pro-life” politician (many of whom have had extra marital affairs).

In Arizona, Cathi Harrod, the president of the Center for Arizona Policy, has introduced 156 bills in the legislature since her organization was founded in 1998. Not surprisingly, a lot of the bills were aimed at Planned Parenthood. She cares little about the fact that only 3% of the services provided by Planned Parenthood are abortions, and she also cars little about the fact that the vast majority of the services are related to health in general, in addition to BIRTH CONTROL, which prevents unwanted pregnancies.

9 of the top 10 states that have the most abortions performed are, to no one’s surprise, “blue” states (Florida is the lone exception.) They also happen to have lower rates of teen pregnancies.


I don’t think so.

The name “Stormy Daniels”  became known a few days ago when it was revealed that our “pro-life” president paid her $130,000 in hush money to cover up a sexual encounter that he had with her a year AFTER  he married  Melania.. The is the same guy who married Marla Maples two months AFTER their daughter Tiffany was born.

My favorite quote about “pro-life” Republican was uttered by Sister Joan Chittister, who said this:

“I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think that in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there.  That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”

Consider these facts for a minute:

In July of 2017, the number of people receiving SNAP benefits (food stamps) had decreased to its lowest level since 2010. To a certain degree, that’s good news, since it means that more people are working, and have less need for food stamps. However, it has also happened because states have imposed stricter eligibility requirements, which makes it harder for people to apply for the benefits. Donald Trump has long been a critic of SNAP, and he has proposed a budget that would cut $193 billlion from the program over a 10 year period.

Funding for the Children Health Insurance program (which provides coverage for nearly 9,000,000 children) expired on September 30. The renewal of funding for the program has become a bargaining chip in the current discussion about funding the government.

Although folks who live in smarter states have increased funding for education in the last decade, Arizona (under Republican governors) has cut K-12 funding more than any other state from 2008 to 2015. As a result, Arizona is now spending 13.6 percent less on students than it did in 2008.

Dr. Ben Carson grew up in an impoverished area in Detroit, and understands the importance of providing adequate housing for those who are unable to pay for it themselves. Now that he is the head of HUD, he controls a budget of $46 billion. Donald Trump’s 2018 budget would cut HUD funding by $6 billion.

According to Galllup, 80% of Republicans support the death penalty, but only 58% of the Democrats do. Texas leads the nation in the number of people who have been executed, even though not all of the people who were executed were actually guilty of the crimes they were killed for.

When I lived in Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn eliminated the death penalty due to that fact that far too many people on death row had been wrongfully convicted,

On average, thee are nearly 13,000 gun homicides a year in the United States, but the last meaningful gun legislation that was passed by Congress was the 1994 assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, and was not renewed. During the 2016 election, the NRA spent $50.2 million on various races across the country, and only lost one race. The biggest chunk of that money was the $30.3 million that they spend to get Donald Trump elected. As long as Republicans control Congress and the White House, there will not be any meaningful gun legislation passed, in spite of the fact that the Las Vegas shooting in 2017 was the deadliest mass shooting in our countries modern history.

Are Republicans pro-life?

If you review the facts listed above, you’ll readily agree that the term "pro-life Republican" is actually an oxymoron.

Even today’s teenagers would agree with that.

Friday, January 12, 2018

a man of integrity

Being a policeman is not an easy job, and the vast majority of our law enforcement officials are conscientious while carrying out their duties – but not all of them are.

In 2017, police offices in America killed 1129 people. (In the first seven months of 2017 there were eight shootings by police in England and Wales, of which five have been fatal.)

More people died from police violence in 2017 than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in action around the globe (21). More people died at the hands of police in 2017 than the number of black people who were lynched in the worst year of Jim Crow (161 in 1892). Cops killed more Americans in 2017 than terrorists did (four). They killed more citizens than airplanes (13 deaths worldwide), mass shooters (428 deaths) and Chicago’s “top gang thugs” (675 Chicago homicides).

Yet only 12 officers were charged with a crime related to a shooting death.

Here are some facts that are sure to raise your eyebrows:
  • Of the 534 killer cops Mapping Police Violence was able to identify, 43 had shot or killed someone before. Twelve had previously shot or killed multiple people.
  • Most of the people killed (718) were suspects in nonviolent offenses, were stopped for traffic violations or had committed no crime at all.
  • 13 percent of people killed by cops were unarmed.
  • Most of the unarmed victims were people of color. Of the 147 unarmed people killed by police, 48 were black and 34 were Hispanic.
  • Black people accounted for 27 percent of the people killed by law enforcement officers. Of the unarmed victims of police violence, blacks made up 37 percent, almost three times their percentage of the U.S. population (13 percent).
  • Of the people who were unarmed and not attacking, but were still killed by cops, 35 percent were black.
  • 95 people were killed when police shot at a moving vehicle, a practice that many say should be banned.
  • 170 of the people killed were armed with a knife. In 117 of those incidents, police shot the person before trying any other method to disarm the person.
  • 20 percent of the people who had a gun when they were killed were not threatening anyone.
  • Law enforcement training spends seven times more hours training officers on the use of firearms than on how to de-escalate situations.
Colin Kaepernick was named the offensive player of the year twice during his college football career at the University of Nebraska. After graduation, he was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2nd round of the NFL draft. He started as backup quarterback to Alex Smith, but became the starting quarterback the following year when Smith suffered a concussion. That same year, he led the 49ers to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1994.

During the 2016 season, he had a passer rating of 90.7, a very respectable number, and one of the lowest interception rates of the 29 “first string” quarterbacks. His guaranteed salary for the 2016 season was $11.9 million.

At the end of the 2016, he opted out of his contract to become a free agent, which occurred after he started kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice in the United States. In addition, Kaepernick pledged to donate one million dollars to "organizations working in oppressed communities."

In 2017, Kaepernick was named GQ magazine's "Citizen of the Year" for his efforts. He was also nominated to be Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, a fact that likely infuriated Donald Trump, who railed against NFL players who followed Kaepernick’s example during the 2017 season.

Trump wasted over $250,000 in taxpayer money by directing Mike Pence to walk out of an Indianapolis Colts game during the playing of the national anthem because some of the players knelt down.

Ironically, Trump's attitude, instead of intimidating players, has actually strengthened their resolve:

Right in the middle of WWII, when patriotic fever was at its peak, the Supreme Court (in 1943) ruled it was unconstitutional for anyone to be forced to salute the flag or stand for the national anthem. Any attempts to do so are a violation of the 1st amendment of the Constitution.      

Since becoming a free agent, Kaepernick has received no offers from any NFL team. Some of those teams have legitimate reasons for not hiring him (likely due to the fact that they already have good quarterbacks) - but a lot of them do not. The stories at the links below makes for interesting reading:

I am of the opinion that it is more patriotic to fight for the rights of our fellow citizens (even those who have come here from “shithole” countries) than it is to stand for our national anthem.

What do YOU think?

(editors note: On April 21, 2018, Colin Kaepernick was named Amnesty International  Ambassador of Conscience, which is Amnesty International's highest honor. Previous winners include Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, U2, Alicia Keys, and Ai Weiwei.)

In addition, Kaepernick was named GQ's Citizen of the Year in November and in December accepted the 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. He has also received the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California in December.

In addition to all of these awards, Kaepernick was awarded a "Human and Civil Rights award on July 1, 2018 by the National Education Association.  in recognition of the former pro-football star’s campaign “to fight racial oppression through education and social justice activism.” Predictably, conservative websites (like Townhall) are recommending that teachers should quite the NEA to protest the award.

Townhall is an American politically conservative website and print magazine. Previously published by the Heritage Foundation, it is now owned and operated by Salem Communications. The website features more than 80 columns (both syndicated and exclusive) by a variety of writers and commentators, who often appear as guest commentators on the Fox News Channel

Kaepernick's story has also received international attention. The August 24 issue of Al Jazeera published the story below this morning:

Kaepernick has also attracted support from prominent political figures. On August 23, 2018, Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke gave a thoughtful response to a question from the audience about players kneeling during the anthem:

For most of his race to replace Ted Cruz as the senator from Texas, O'Rourke has been virtually tied with Cruz in the polls, and there is a very good chance that he well defeat Cruz in November. As of August 23, yesterday, Cruz only had a razor thin 4 point lead over O'Rourke.

Kaepernick filed a grievance against the N.F.L. in October of 2017, accusing the owners of conspiring to not offer him a new contract because of his decision to protest during the playing of the national anthem, which began in August 2016.

On August 30, 2018, an arbitrator hired by the NFL said the lawyers hired by Kaepernick had uncovered enough evidence to allow the case against the league to proceed. If Kaepernick is ultimately successful, he will receive the money he would have received from playing ($11 million a year) PLUS triple damages:

As of Labor Day, 2018, the Kaepernick story continues to roll on :

Nike's latest ad features a picture of Kaepernick that reinforces the value of sacrifice> By now, he has achieved strong support from most plalyers, as well as international acclaim:

a Christmas Day tragedy

On Christmas Day of 1989, a very well known sports figure was killed when his car slid on some ice on the driveway of his farm in Port Crane, New York, and went into a ditch.

To say that Billy Martin was “colorful” would be a huge understatement. Volatile would be closer to the truth, but so would “highly successful”.

Martin had rocky relationships with just about everyone that crossed his path, a trait that he inherited from his parents. His father (Alfred Manuel Pesano Sr)  abandoned his family 8 months after he was born. Although his actual name was Alfred Manuel Pesano Jr., his mother changed the family name to Martin after she married her third husband, whose name was Jack Downey.

Martin had a moderately successful career as a player, but his mercurial temperament caused him to play for 7 different teams in his 7-year career.

His true gift was as a manager. Over a period of 19 years, his winning percentage was a respectable .553. He took every team that he coached to post season play, some of them more than once. Because he was “hard to get along with”, he signed 9 separate management contracts with 5 different teams, and he was hired (and fired) by the Yankees 5 times.

Not surprisingly, he had a rocky relationship with his 4 wives, one of whom he married a year before his death.

Even though he fought frequently with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, he was working for him AGAIN as a special consultant at the time of his death. He is buried 150 feet from the grave of Babe Ruth in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York. He was eulogized by Cardinal John O’Connor at. St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, and his funeral was attended by George Steinbrenner, former president Richard Nixon, and many former New York Yankee greats.

Billy Martin was never afraid to speak his mind when talking his umpires, and the most famous example of that is when he was ejected from a game on May 30, 1988:

Baseball is no longer considered to be “America’s game” because many people fining it boring to watch. If Billy Martin were still alive, though, it would be an awfully lot more interesting.