Dear Adam Silver

Do you really want to restart the National Basketball Association season in Orlando, FL with the 346 cases per 100,000 people in Orange County rising rapidly?Screen Shot 2020-06-21 at 10.04.47 AM

Especially when you could push “restart” in Thurston County, Washington with only 78 cases per 100,000?Screen Shot 2020-06-21 at 10.02.43 AM

I would be happy to work with your advance team who will find the Olympia, Tumwater, Black Hills, Capital, North Thurston, River Ridge, Timberline, South Puget Sound Community College, and Evergreen State University gyms to their liking. And I have no doubt the players will love the Motel 6 Tumwater mostly due to the outdoor pool and it’s proximity to McDonald’s, Subway, and Lemon Grass.

And then there’s the local golf courses which will be welcome respites from Florida’s brutal heat and humidity. Tumwater Valley is a fine test not to mention Capital City and  the underrated Delphi Golf Course.

Assuming a team is not scheduled to play, nighttime entertainment is no problem. The hotel provides free wi-fi.

Also, unlike Florida, Washington State’s politics are much more in line with the Association’s. The person posing as President even called our Governor a snake, so we have that going for us.

I challenge you to find a nicer place to be in July, August, and September.

Look forward to hearing from you.

“I Never Told My Father I Was Proud of Him”

Maureen Dowd, “Good Cops, Bad Cops”.

Going against type, Dowd plays it straight. And the result is moving.

“As we rein in and reimagine how a police force should work, we should avoid that word ‘all’.”

If you’re fortunate enough to have a kind and caring dad in your life, avoid Dowd’s mistake of waiting far too long to express your own particular appreciation.

Down Goes Bolton!

If this book review of John Bolton’s tell all was a fight, a ref would’ve stopped it in the early paragraphs.

Early in my academic career, I wrote a lot of book reviews. Overtime, I only agreed to review books that I liked since telling people not to read a particular book didn’t feel like a constructive use of time.

Fortunately, Jennifer Szalai of The New York Times does not share my philosophy.

Her take-down of Bolton is exquisite. Her intro tweet to her review is an appetizer of sort:

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The highlights, or if you’re John Bolton, lowlights:

“The book is bloated with self-importance, even though what it mostly recounts is Bolton not being able to accomplish very much. It toggles between two discordant registers: exceedingly tedious and slightly unhinged.”

Szalai on Bolton’s impeachment dodge:

“‘Had I testified,’ Bolton intones, ‘I am convinced, given the environment then existing because of the House’s impeachment malpractice, that it would have made no significant difference in the Senate outcome.’ It’s a self-righteous and self-serving sort of fatalism that sounds remarkably similar to the explanation he gave years ago for preemptively signing up for the National Guard in 1970 and thereby avoiding service in Vietnam. ‘Dying for your country was one thing,’ he wrote in his 2007 book ‘Surrender Is Not an Option’, ‘but dying to gain territory that antiwar forces in Congress would simply return to the enemy seemed ludicrous to me.'”

The finishing touch:

“When it comes to Bolton’s comments on impeachment, the clotted prose, the garbled argument and the sanctimonious defensiveness would seem to indicate some sort of ambivalence on his part — a feeling that he doesn’t seem to have very often. Or maybe it merely reflects an uncomfortable realization that he’s stuck between two incompatible impulses: the desire to appear as courageous as those civil servants who bravely risked their careers to testify before the House; and the desire to appease his fellow Republicans, on whom his own fastidiously managed career most certainly depends. It’s a strange experience reading a book that begins with repeated salvos about ‘the intellectually lazy’ by an author who refuses to think through anything very hard himself.”

Szalai with the technical knock out.

Thursday Assorted Links

1. Young Americans are having less sex than ever.

Jean M. Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University, said . . . ‘First, adolescents and young adults are taking longer to grow to adulthood. This includes the postponement of not just sexual activity but also other activities related to mating and reproduction, including dating, living with a partner, pregnancy and birth.’ These reproductive trends are “part of a broader cultural trend toward delayed development,’ Twenge said, and had not occurred in isolation. ‘It is more difficult to date and engage in sexual activity when not economically independent of one’s parents.”

What about the not young?

“. . . researchers were also quick to point out that the trend of ‘growing up slowly’ did not explain why sexual activity had decreased among older and married adults, noting that ‘the growth of the internet and digital media’ could be affecting sex lives. ‘Put simply, there are now many more choices of things to do in the late evening than there once were and fewer opportunities to initiate sexual activity if both partners are engrossed in social media, electronic gaming or binge-watching,’ Twenge added.”

This sentence is pick up line gold.

“A number of health benefits have been linked to regular sex, including reduced stress, improved heart health and better sleep.”

2. Khruangbin, you had me at Thai funk.

“Khruangbin (pronounced KRUNG-bin)gets its name from a Thai word that means airplane, its members are low-key and shun the spotlight, and its music is an atmospheric collage of global subgenres, including reggae dub, surf-rock, Southeast Asian funk and Middle Eastern soul. In an era of oversized pop gloss, where the music is loud and the characters are even louder, how did a band like Khruangbin break through the din?”

Who knows, just glad they did.

3. What it’s like to be black at (Anti) Liberty University. When are Falwell’s legal beagles going to send me a cease and desist order?

A former employee confided in Ruth Graham:

“‘I suppressed so much of my humanity as a black and queer man in being here.’ He remembered being called an ‘Oreo’ to his face, being introduced as ‘the black friend,’ and being asked during Black History Month why there’s no White History Month. ‘I want to be hopeful, but until the university recognizes their past history with racism, apologizes for it, and enacts significant policy implementation from the board level, I do not foresee any changes for students or staff.'”

4. ‘The Bureau’ Is an International Hit. Why Did Its Creator Hand It Off? Starting the final season. Nervous about life after The Bureau.

A Public Service Announcement

For right wing reactionaries. Read. The. Room.

Chuba Hubbard starts Oklahoma State boycott after Mike Gundy pictured in OAN shirt.

“The nation’s top running back could lead a boycott against his own coach. Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State’s Heisman contender, is threatening to sit out of all team activities after seeing a picture posted of head coach Mike Gundy wearing a t-shirt promoting One America News Network, a right-wing station. ‘I will not stand for this’ Hubbard tweeted. ‘This is completely insensitive to everything going on in society, and it’s unacceptable. I will not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE.'”

If you don’t believe there’s structural racism in the (dis)United States, you may want to think through a little more carefully the t-shirts you wear, what you write, what you say, and whom you associate with. More simply, if you want to keep your job, start reading the room. Which has shifted, markedly, in short order.

As conservatives are screaming, of course Gundy has the right to wear whatever t-shirt he wants when he goes fishing.

And Jemele Hill has the right to tweet the truth:

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More specifically, his players are free to not follow his leadership. Or transfer. And recruits are free not to choose Oklahoma State.

In the end, out-of-step right wing coaches are free to field less talented teams, and to lose games, then fans, meaning money.

And in the end, university President’s are free to fire them. If the Presidents’ are not fired first for not reading the room themselves.

 

West Pointless

Robin Wright in The New Yorker, “Trump’s Vacuous West Point Address and the Revolt Against It.”

Could it be, a faux Conservative Republican losing the military establishment?

Ironically, for being so media savvy, Trump is not an orator. This was further confirmation:

“In contrast to the tradition of big ideas and new initiatives, Donald Trump’s first graduation address at West Point was vacuous—or, as Slate put it, in a headline, ‘West Pointless.’ Danny Sjursen, of the Class of 2005, who is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and also a former West Point instructor, noted that Trump said nothing to heal a fractured nation. He didn’t address the protests over racial injustice which are taking place in more than two thousand America cities. . . . He didn’t mention a single theatre of U.S. military operations—not Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, or the many places where special forces are deployed or U.S. warplanes have bombed,’ Sjursen, who has chronicled Presidential appearances at West Point since Kennedy, told me.

Trump also offered no words of comfort about the coronavirus pandemic—or thanks to the cadets for the most complicated commencement address ever held at West Point. It was a stark and lonely graduation, because family and friends could not attend. The cadets paraded onto an empty field, in white face masks and their famed gray jackets, to sit on white folding chairs more than six feet apart. Instead of marching onstage to get their degrees, they exchanged salutes with Trump from a distance. It was another Trump photo op—writ large.”

How do you really feel Barry McCaffrey?

“Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star general from the Class of 1964, who taught at West Point, called Trump’s address ‘a collection of awkward, badly delivered bromides. It was dead, disjointed. The good news is that it’s over.'”

Exactly what we’ll say on Tuesday, January 19th, 2021.

The Lonely Majority

How loneliness could be changing your brain and body.

“A  2018 study. . . found that 54% of 20,000 Americans surveyed reported feeling lonely. In the span of a bit more than a year, the number rose to 61%. Generation Z adults 18-22 years old are supposedly the loneliest generation, outpacing Boomers, Gen X and Millennials, despite being more connected than ever.”

Wowza. The silent, underreported epidemic.

“Loneliness might conjure images of being apart from friends and family, but the feeling runs much deeper than not having plans on a Friday night or than going stag to a wedding. Evolutionarily, being part of a group has meant protection, sharing the workload and increased odds of survival. After all, humans take a long time to mature. We need our tribes.

‘It’s very distressing when we are not a part of a group,’ said Julianne Holt-Lundstad, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University. ‘We have to deal with our environment entirely on our own, without the help of others, which puts our brain in a state of alert, but that also signals the rest of our body to be in a state of alert.’

Staying in that state of alert, that high state of stress, means wear and tear on the body. Stress hormones like cortisol and norepinephrine can contribute to sleeplessness, weight gain and anxiety over extended periods of exposure, according to the Mayo Clinic.”

What to do? Doug Nemecek, chief medical officer at Cigna:

“‘We need to reach out to some friends and make sure we maintain those connections and have meaningful conversations. It’s important for all of us to be comfortable asking other people how they feel.”

And for the lonely majority to risk being vulnerable when asked.