Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Self-fulfilling Racism

If I had to pick the one thing that ails this country more than any other thing, it would certainly be the inability of individuals to see the world through the eyes of people unlike themselves. I'm reminded of this every time an unfortunate event like Ferguson happens, or Trayvon Martin. But I can even stretch it out into school shootings, drug use, teenage prostitution, poor education, or something as simple as just being a black man walking down the street.

The people who view the world only through their own lens are the ones who give this nation it's black eyes.

There's a narrative in this country that black people, especially black youths, are dangerous and naturally inclined to be this way. People will point to statistics to back up this false fact. Yet glaringly lost in front of the eyes of those who believe this, is their own role in causing this "reality" to exist. That people in this country, largely white, actually believe a certain class of people is predetermined to act a certain way has come to justify their own behaviors in helping to create this very "reality."

It is disgusting. It is racist. It is wrong.

And most of all, it is destroying this country, that many of those very same people love to call "the greatest."

What happened in Ferguson is merely a symptom, no different from Trayvon, or any other situation, that gives a class of people a feeling of being second class. This is something white people come to recognize during moments of tragedy, but that blacks (and others) have to live with every day.

As recently as 1970 people in the south were still challenging school integration. But I'm told the ills of slavery no longer exist. Really? People might not be kept on plantations anymore, no. But they're locked into awful neighborhoods plagued with violence, drugs, terrible schools, and a stacked deck against them when trying to escape. And I know the deck is just as stacked today as it ever was before when the supporters of racism managed to find themselves a black man to rule in favor of keeping it stacked.

Conservative inspired racism is the greatest ill on this country. Not every conservative is a racist, and not every other person isn't. But it's systematic among the conservatives, who have the greatest sway in fixing the problems. And who refuse to because they themselves believe there are classes.

This country cares more about profit than it does the lives of not only black youths, but youths in general. You don't need to look at Trayvon or Ferguson to see that when we have Newtown, CT as well. And the promoters of this profit are the same people who promote the racism, which in turn creates their self-fulfilling reality to justify their actions.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no saint. I've made racist comments, held prejudices, and done some shitty things. But I'm concerned for the lives of other people, and know that a rising tide lifts all boats. Unfortunately, we live in a country where many people want the tide to rise. They just don't want everyone to have access to the boats.


If you think FOX News is reputable then you clearly view the world through that same jaded lens I was referring to above.

Last night on Sean Hannity's program a protester in Guy Fawkes mask said, "Fuck Fox News" and then broke their camera. At the time this was happening, Hannity was repeating the tired old comment, "people are just using this as an excuse to vandalize and loot", while the reporter was focused in on the all important "New Amsterdam vodka" bottle on the sidewalk.

Yes, people are burning buildings and looting because they're bored on a Monday night. Nailed it!

Hannity wants to paint the picture, one he believes in because it has lined his pockets, that black people in Ferguson are the problem here. That Officer Wilson is innocent. That black people are violent, drinking and looting, when there is no need to be. Etc. Etc. You get the picture.

However, when it comes to our military, specifically something like Abu Ghraib, guys like Hannity would defend the US Military. You consistently heard things like, "it's just a few people. It's not the entire military."

Yet this line of reasoning is seemingly lost when reporting on Ferguson, or any other situation pitting a white man vs a black. It's never "a small bunch of people" or "the majority of people are not doing this." Rather, the minority is the majority.

Hannity wants to focus on the problems being caused by the people in Ferguson, and not the problems people like him, and his network, are causing for them; perpetuating.

Yet the reality is when it comes to something like the military, or even the police, there should be no excuse for terrible behavior at all. When it comes to black people in Ferguson, or elsewhere, the reasons for why things are happening rarely become the focal point for a Fox News host. Who gets defended and who gets excoriated pretty much tells the story.

Once again, the profits of the company and its hosts more important than the lives of the people in this country.


After protesters shut down some roads last night, a driver on the east bound I-580 in Oakland was interviewed, and he said something like, "I can understand the frustration people are having about racism in America, but...interrupting people trying to get home is probably not the best way to deal with it..." Is that so?

This whole idea that "people need to handle this in other ways" is a joke. I don't know what the best answer is, but the idea that being pliant and calm is going to get you anywhere is a farce.

If peaceful marches had the effect of fixing problems, there would be no problems. People have marched peacefully. These are reactions to those actions having resulted in no gains. Shutting down traffic does not result in injury, and yet it forces people to focus on the anger people have.

Peaceful marches are easy to ignore. Easy to drive past. Easy to honk your horn at.


If you ever needed proof that the old soul of San Francisco has crossed the bridge, last night in Oakland offered us a bit of it. The Occupy movement was a clear indication as well.

San Francisco is no longer the place for artists and thinkers and revolutionaries and beatniks and those truly concerned for others. Maybe the aging class of these types still exist there, but it is the youth that foments change. And that youth is showing itself on the East Side of the Bay (in conjunction with Berkeley, of course).

This is not necessarily a bad thing, as Oakland becomes a better place because of it, while San Francisco becomes a different place. Different does not always mean bad. But the reality of what San Francisco is has changed drastically. Hopefully the national narrative of it does as well.

However, if you want to come to Oakland, get in quick, because like San Francisco you are probably running out of time.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Carmelo Anthony is Painful, Off the Court

I believed in Carmelo Anthony because when he was at Syracuse he carried a team on his back, as a freshman, to a national championship. For years I've supported him as a player because of what he did 12 years ago. But after reading this article about him from ESPN, I now must admit, the guy is a headed straight toward Loser Town on the downtown express train.

Where to begin, where to begin...

If you read the article, you'll understand this. If you didn't it has to do with Carmelo wanting to craft a certain image for himself that is apart from basketball. This came about because his 7 year old son had a write something about his father for school, and all he could come up with was "basketball player." Some might say he's being kind...

It's worth reading if you want to really delve in the life of a delusional almost-star.

First off, Carmelo should probably surround himself with people who don't need his money, so at the very least he'll get honest opinions.

What Carmelo wants to be is the next Greg Norman, and I would argue their careers are quite similar. Norman fell far short of the greatness he could have achieved, winning the Open Championship twice, but never a major stateside. That definitely rankles him.

Melo won the NCAA tournament, and will forever be known for that, but on some level that's like winning the Open Championship (don't want to argue the merits of individual vs team sports).

They've both won, but not to the level they want to.

Melo is compared in this article to the likes of Jordan, Agassi, Elway & Beckham, but all of these guys are WINNERS ON THE COURT FIRST. Melo isn't. Their success is derived from their WINNING IMAGE. Melo wants to craft an image around himself equal to these other people, except he doesn't have the "Winner" moniker naturally bestowed upon him by society.

You can't buy this.

Yet at the end of the day, my gut tells me Melo has already GIVEN UP on trying to achieve the on the court success, which leads him to focus on this "next stage" of his life. To me it wreaks of being a quitter, or someone without their priorities in order.

I understand his infatuation with money considering his background, but investing in a new share economy, or social media, which in turn gives you many more millions won't make you a winner. It will only mean you're a person with connections, who took a lot of swings, and one of them hit. I don't look at John Paulson and think, "What a winner!" I think, "that guy got lucky, and he still kind of sucks."

So Melo can be average on the court, and maybe financially lucky afterward. And? That doesn't change his image one bit. In fact, it kind of makes his image somewhat lame.

If he wants to do something about his life and image, maybe take less money, build a championship team on the court, become a winner in the field that gave you a platform, and at least show people you can win. If that doesn't work out, be bigger than money. Help people in Baltimore, like Mike Bloomberg. Build a damn hospital that tries to help babies born with HIV. Give your money away like Warren Buffett. How about Be BIGGER THAN MONEY AND IMAGE?

That's attractive!

Maybe then people will give a shit about who you are...after you lost.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

More Sports Stuff 11/19/14

The world is boring me otherwise.

I mean, is it official yet, or what? Colin Kaepernick, kinda not good/douchey?

Roger, that.

What was so obvious to me is now becoming obvious to all. Yet I understand why you thought he'd be great, or merely good. Physically he can do things few other people can do, and that's exciting. Plus, San Francisco 49ers/Santa Clara 1%ers fans wanted to believe in him, so you did. We've all been there.

But all the things he can do today are the same things he could do in college. Yet still not a first round draft choice for a reason.

Can he get you to the playoffs? No. He can be on a team that goes to the playoffs, and along the way he can make some plays that help out. But he's not GETTING YOU to the playoffs.

Jury is still out, but I'm feeling pretty good about this one.

I also have a soft spot for Alex Smith, who won me over when he told me he owns a Carcetti for Mayor T-shirt.


Btw, I'm no better. I predicted 6 wins for the Raiders even though I knew how bad of a signing Matt Schaub would be. Like you, I believed. But if 6 wins is believing, well, call me a dreamer.

Man they are awful.

Up until about 9 days ago I believed Derek Carr was going to be the answer. I'm not as sure now, but I also don't believe Marcus Marriota is either (he won't suck). I do believe Rapeis Winston is the best player in the draft, and could definitely help the Raiders rape some fools, but you can't take him with first pick.

I also think I'd rather roll the Carr dice for another season, AT LEAST, and see what comes of it.

I also want to see Latavious Murray as the starting RB for the Raiders. Not sure of the bowl game, but he shredded Georgia like a sheet a couple of years ago. I was pretty shocked by that performance. AJ Green played that day so it wasn't like yesterday. But it happened.

Time for the Raiders to see what they have.

Oh, and please don't let what they have next season be Tony Sparano. Nice guy, and all, but c'mon. I know he has a condition regarding why he wears sunglasses indoors, and I feel for him, but still...he's wearing sunglasses indoors.

That's definitely a thing.


When Carson Palmer gets hurt I don't get upset. It's wrong to say that, but I just did.

You may not believe this but he just threw another pick for the Raiders...in my mind.


Sooo, Alabama is #1 because they handled Mississippi State with ease.

Mississippi State is #4 because they really played Alabama tough.

This is an argument/line of reasoning.

Now, I don't write the logic portion for the SAT, but I'm also not a complete effing moron.


I always thought Quarterbacks mattered in football. Guess not.

Based on college level ability, here we go:

1) Alabama - SEC - average quarterback

2) Oregon - PAC 12 - great quarterback

3) Florida St - ACC - great quarterback

4) Mississippi St - SEC - average quarterback (don't let them fool ya, ohh no...)

5) TCU - BIG 12 - very good quarterback

6) Ohio St - BIG 10 - very good quarterback

7) Baylor - BIG 12 - very good quarterback

8) Ole Miss - SEC - average/good quarterback

9) UCLA - PAC 12 - very good quarterback

10) Georgia - SEC - bad quarterback

11) Michigan St - BIG 10 - very good quarterback

Notice a trend here of which conference has some pretty average to shitty quarterback play?

Get ready for the "quarterback isn't that important anymore" conversation.


I will say this as a Buckeye fan, and not a blind one: there is no great team in college football this year, and probably not last year either. That said, if this is really about putting the best teams in the Top 4, and Ohio State was ranked 1st or 2nd when the season began, there's no reason they're not in that Top 4 now. Their current QB is better than Braxton Miller.

That said, it will all work out, and at least 3 of the best 4 teams will be in the mix, which is more than you can hope for.

I like the system, but the Rose Bowl should be removed from it. Orange, Fiesta, Sugar rotation, and the Rose goes back. There's a chance Ohio State doesn't make it, and neither a Pac 10 or Big 10 team is in the Rose Bowl. That's disgusting.


Has Lebron James turned Kevin Love into Ryan Anderson? We'll soon see.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Quick Thoughts on Politics

I will admit to not paying much attention to national politics anymore. The game is just silly at this point. As long as there is a free flow of money in campaigns we will never have an honest system. That our political system is a business just typifies all that is wrong with the country in general.

Not EVERYTHING needs to be a business.

But beyond that I will say this: Democrats didn't get slaughtered because of President Obama's policies, or anything President Obama did. They got slaughtered because they refused to stand behind the things that he has done, and in some cases even going so far as to not being able to admit voting for the man.

In the state of Kentucky, the Affordable Care Act is helping so many people get insurance, and therefore live more productive lives. In light of this, Candidate Grimes chose to act as if Obama is the problem, rather than embrace it. Someone like this deserves to lose when they cannot acknowledge the benefits of a program she herself supports. If you cannot standby your record, then you're not worthy of any office.

While it may be true President Obama doesn't do enough to help candidates, these candidates have not wanted it. The economy has done well, but not for regular folks. And yet people voted for Republicans. That an amazing mistake. Because Democrats couldn't capitalize in numbers. The health care bill will go down as revolutionary. Check the numbers. He didn't start the wars; the Republicans did. And yet the candidates bailed on him; not the other way around.

It's not an indictment of President Obama, or his policies. It's an indictment of candidates who, like their counterparts, chose to stand for nothing.

Meanwhile, I'm glad I live in a progressive place, run by Democrats, and is the most successful region in the world. It's not an accident.

Monday, November 3, 2014

How I'm Voting

My thoughts:

Prop 1: YES - Water Bond - While it is a corporate giveaway, I've come to realize in America, all things are. More important to me that people who don't have access to clean drinking water, get access to it.

Prop 2: NO - Gov Brown Rainy Day Fund - I don't think so. It's currently raining, and we need money on things happening now.

Prop 45 - YES - Initiative to regulate insurance rates - Forces insurance companies to justify hikes. Medical and Insurance account for 20+% of the US Economy. That's disgusting. And these companies are too rich.

Prop 46 - YES - Higher Med Malpractice Penalties/Drug Testing Doctors - Haven't adjusted penalties for inflation in 40 years. And while I think it's wrong to drug test doctors, I am voting for this because I want the drafters to recognize they have support on part of this issue. Do away with the drug testing part, but change the rates issue.

Prop 47 - YES - Smaller Sentencing for Non-violent Criminals - This is such an obvious issue. It's time to rollback years and years of racist policies enacted throughout the 80s. Plus, it cuts costs to taxpayers, and helps take away money from the prison INDUSTRY.

Prop 48 - NO - Referendum on Indian Gaming - While most labor groups support this, I am vehemently against it. Yes, these things create jobs. BUT Casinos are terrible for society across the board, and do nothing to help municipalities become better places to live. All they do is move money from one area to another, and leave a wake of the dead behind.

Show me a classy town that has gambling as it's primary source of income.

Mayor: Jean Quan.

I've seen all the pretty ads, and the new faces, etc. etc. I like Libby Schaff, Joe Tuman, and others. But when I think about it logically, Oakland continues to become a place people want to be. All around me things are getting better. None of these candidates is going to change the direction for the better, imo, so I may as well stay with the horse that got this town where it is now.

She ain't perfect, but she isn't causing any real problems.