My thoughts on the top--and top-ish--stories in this week's political, sports, and pop culture news.
I would never in a million years have guessed that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would become one of my favorite writers. Not because I didn’t think you were capable, but because in my mind you were an athlete - and I’m not a sports person. Thank you for reminding me that people can be great at more than one thing. Your writing and analysis are brilliant. So glad I stumbled upon your Substack. Consider me a loyal subscriber henceforth.
As always another fantastic read!! Thank you! I especially liked the advice from Coach Wooden about kindness & compassion! To be a kind & compassionate person should be effortless & yet, there’s all that hate, how exhausting is that!?!
Thank you again!!
The respectful comments to your posts is correlated to the respectful tone of your writing. Intelligent writing attracts thoughtful feedback.
I’m enjoying your newsletter more and more all the time. I read and like your take on our national nightmare of political extremism and still hope for better times ahead. Listening to Etta right now, thanks for the suggestion! Can you list or comment on some of the mysteries you enjoy? I’d like some suggestions from you. Thanks for what you are doing.
Would love to see you comment on the way the GOP has turned “woke” into a pejorative.
I happily accept Ron DeSantis’ lawyer, who said the term means “the belief there are systemic injustices in American society and the need to address them.”
Sounds right to me. Only an idiot would claim our society has no systemic injustices built in...which seems to self define today’s GOP as a bunch of idiots.
I saw what you did there... "Santis DeFies constitution." Couldn't restrain yourself, eh? My respect at seeing such craftmanship is exceeded only by my chagrin that I didn't get there first! And, since you brought it up, there's also: De-rides, De-scriminates, De-vides, De-ficient, De-linquent, De-pressing, De-motivating, and more!
I’ve noted over the years that certain commentators and bloggers by the very nature of their own thoughtfulness, decency and humility have created a community of like minded people, such that one never need cringe in reading the comments section. You are very much within that category. Thanks, Kareem!
Thank you for your column, I am a happy and satisfied subscriber.
As a 30 year AZ resident I am regretful for voting for Ducey to his first term. We have to remember his idiotic shipping container border wall when runs for the Senate or for the Presidency in the next few years. That's where he's pushing to go.
Taking you up on your encouragement to provide edit corrections... the correct term is Arizonans not Arizonians.
Your comment about John Wooden reminds me of a few years that my wife and I lived in LA because we'd been gullible enough to join a psychotherapeutic cult based in Hollywood called the Center for Feeling Therapy. It wasn't the brightest thing we ever did but it was a wonderful lesson in the human capacity to believe what one wants to believe despite obvious clues. The Center, as we called it had an adult basketball league. Our team was coached by a friend of mine who used a book by Wooden as his guide. He took a very relaxed approach and always told us to have fun. We had only two guys who were actually good players but we won the league championship because we played as a team. Our primary rival was a team of hotshots who were, man for man, better players, who got really frustrated every time our bunch of losers beat them.
Center patients were a gullible but fairly well educated bunch. We made the common human mistake of operating from the flawed assumptions. In our case, they were the assumption of the dying human potential movement. Rather than drinking the kool-aid, we revolted and the Center folded on the very day that Ronald Reagan, that champion of individual liberty, was elected to the presidency.
Well, with the wheels completely off the once unstoppable Reagan revolution, its congressional heirs have the clown car up on blocks as they fight among themselves. It occurs to me that the key ingredient to civilization is cooperation, something John Wooden apparently knew in his bones.
As always, a lot to unpack. I can barely comment since there is so much. DeSantis is indeed campaigning for the worst person in the world, taking over from Trump. He is quickly going on my list of most hated people: Nixon, Dick Cheney, Trump….hmmm interesting they’re all republicans. But we need to be ever vigilant and listen no matter how vile they are so they can be countered in fact. Since they don’t live in the world of facts but in the world lies and hatred and every -ism you can imagine, they appeal to the emotional side of their base - they scare their base. No matter what we say about diversity and the facts, they have been taught to be afraid of anyone who isn’t white, christian and male. So, we continue to vote, get our friend, kids and whoever we know to vote. I write postcards to strangers to vote. Be kind and carry on…
Thanks for writing about the right wing lunacy engulfing Arizona politics.
I came to the Phoenix area as a nine year old in 1967, just in time for the Suns’ first season, and have been here ever since.
Over time, conservative politics In Arizona have gone from rational to wacko. Long time Arizona conservatives like my father in law and those elected to office always had a logical basis for their positions. There was no political warfare, score keeping or vindictiveness that I could see.
Now Arizona conservative politics is driven by desperate hatred as the State changes from deep red to a purple state with a huge Phoenix metropolitan area population that tilts more and more blue. The Republicans have had a single seat majority in both the Arizona House and Senate for at least a couple election cycles, and we have just elected our first Democratic governor in many years. This thinnest of Republican majorities has been passing restrictive legislation and doing things like building Governor Ducey’s shipping container wall.
The Republican government has crippled public education in Arizona by giving tax credits for parochial school tuition which reduce the amount available for the public schools.
Arizona was certainly very conservative, but old Arizona conservatives would see Ducey’s wall as a wasteful waste of the tax dollars they were committed to save for no sane or rational purpose. They also would not favor helping well off people send kids to private school at public expense. That’s because Arizona conservatives used to think for themselves instead of blindly following the ranting and rage of others. They never saw conservatism as a tool for social engineering.
My politically engaged 40 year old Arizona born son believes the hatred has come from people moving in to the State rather than the old timers like me who have been here forever. I certainly hope so, because I don’t know where these attitudes have come from.
I am shocked at the in your face hatred I see every day now. Thankfully, a slim majority rejected the slate of election deniers nominated by the Republicans last election, but it was razor close. This is not the Arizona I grew up in, and many of my long time friends have left the Republican Party because of it.
I believe the November defeat of the disgusting election denier Republican candidates shows that the worm is turning away from deep red MAGA politics in Arizona, but the conservative/rational Arizona I grew up in has been overwhelmed by knee-jerk ignorance is bliss conservative voters who just do what they’re told. It never used to be this way here.
I am chilled to the soul at the attacks public education is suffering around the country. And seeing book burning in the country that created the First Amendment brings NAZI/Bolshevik imagery to mind immediately. Indoctrination rather than enlightenment has become the goal of so many.
I have always seen public education in America as a lynchpin of equality. The only benefit of dumbing people down and discouraging free thought is making people easier to control.
Maybe we in Arizona have reached our limits.
BTW, you may have a better skyhook, but I have more hair.
Thank you for all the work you do to produce your newsletter. I look forward to reading all that you have written!
As a retired lawyer, I applaud all efforts to extend legal representation to people who cannot afford attorneys. Can AI do a better job of representing people than the public defenders who have too many cases and no time to prep for individual cases? Probably. But I am concerned that AI will come to replace lawyers for defendants who can afford more. It’s similar to AI art—it competently creates a visual image from all the information programmed into it, but can it be truly creative and make something new? Legal arguments require creativity and sometimes pushing new theories.
The introduction in today’s newsletter is evident in the content in each of your newsletters. I comment on other current events not in today’s newsletter, that I suspect you could fill a book, not just a newsletter: how do we rid our country of all guns (including the police)?
You always make me think. And smile.
As ususal fanstasic read. Below is my video break for the Comments section. Nat King Cole, " Aren't you glad your you !" Can you find a skinnier tie!!!
I don’t know how I was introduced to you newsletter, but I’m very glad I was. I look forward to each weeks newsletter. While your thoughts run parallel to mine, I love reading your angle on a myriad of topics. I have always appreciated and try to incorporate the lessons of coaches like Wooden and Joe Paterno (regardless of others opinions regarding the abuse scandal at Penn State, Paterno was a proponent of making a better person and that would lead to a better team. He was NOT football first). Your takes are well researched and thought out. I very much appreciate reading them. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.