by John Walters


In Portland a white man who belonged to a group called Patriot Prayer was fatally shot in the chest on Saturday night. The name of the victim has not been released and no suspects have been identified.

Earlier in the evening a caravan of approximately 600 vehicles (mostly Chevy trucks?) entered the city, the sight of protests and often vandalism the past three months, as part of a pro-Trump rally.

Meanwhile the president is planning on visiting Kenosha, Wisc., on Tuesday.

Trump keeps stumping on “law and order” which, of course, is a dog-whistle for “stamp out free speech.” Here’s what we know: the president is taking the side of vigilante groups and, hilariously enough for a man who refuses to comply with legal decisions and pardons convicted criminals right-and-left, pretends to care about upholding the law.

What he really wants is to stoke a race war and promote white fear. Here’s Oregon governor Kate Brown: “But despite the President’s jeers and tweets, this is a matter of life and death. Whether it’s his completely incompetent response to the pandemic, where nearly 200,000 have died, or his outright encouragement of violence in our streets: it should be clear to everyone by now that no one is truly safe with Donald Trump as President.”

It’s incredible how little respect Trump commands from many politicians. It’s even more incredible that they’re right.

Buffett at 90

Billionaire Warren Buffett, who unlike fellow super-rich peers Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, never created a mega-company out of thin air (other than his own holding company, Berkshire Hathaway), turned 90 yesterday. What do you get for the man who owns everything?

Being the savvy investment guru that he is, Buffett issued a 2:1 split on himself, which means that there are now two Warren Buffetts who are each 45 years old.

If you ever saw the Netflix documentary on Buffett, you know he has a genius for understanding how to grow wealth and a void of knowledge in places the rest of us would take for granted. His ex-wife tells the story of being sick and nauseous in bed, and sending Warren down to the kitchen for a pot so that she’d have somewhere to vomit. He returned with a frying pan.

It should be noted that Buffett, the world’s third-richest man with a net worth of around $80 billion, has given away most of his earthly wealth while still here.

Gone Too Soon

Actor Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed both Jackie Robinson and James Brown in biopics, died over the weekend of colon cancer. He was only 43.

The Howard University grad gained international fame when he played the lead role of King T’Challa in Black Panther. That film was released in 2018, some two years after his first cancer diagnosis. Baseman’s illness was kept secret.

He also played an ill-fated soldier in Spike Lee’s Da’ 5 Bloods, released earlier this year on Netflix. Our personal favorite memory of Boseman comes from this SNL sketch, where the South Carolina native reprised his T’Challa/Black Panther character for the recurring “Black Jeopardy!” sketch.

The Tip Of The Iceberg

After last week’s Republican National Convention, we got to thinking about the 1997 film Titanic. We remembered how at the time Billy Zane’s pretentious and superficial Cal Hockley was the villain and Leo DiCaprio’s penniless but adventurous Jack Dawson was the hero.

And we wondered how anyone watching Titanic in 2020 could do anything but see that Cal is Trump’s Republican party and Jack is Joe Biden’s Democratic party.

Cal is slimy, insincere, dishonest and corrupt. He literally frames Jack Dawson for stealing a watch, knowing that it will result in his likely death. He only cares to possess things, not to actually love them.

Jack is, as he says, happy “with the air in my lungs” and “taking life as it comes.” He is more comfortable in steerage, but his lust for life attracts Rose (I’m not sure what she’s a metaphor for, but pretty sure Titanic is the good ol’ USA and the iceberg is November 3rd). And that scene in which Titanic’s crew are locking the steerage folks on the stairwell as the ship begins to sink, well, that’s good ol’ “law and order” (as is the officer shooting the male steerage passenger who comes too close to the lifeboat, as Micah notes).

Anyway, what has happened to us as a country that so many Americans are now identifying as Cal? Worth noting: Cal, coward that he is, does survive. Jack, our hero, dies nobly. But he does die. Maybe that’s all that matters to these people.

p.s. We’ve often wondered if Zane was too good a villain for his own good in this film. He was so loathsome, it only proves what a fantastic job he did. But did it hurt his career? Was he so inextricably linked to Cal that casting directors were unable to see him as anyone else? How many other big roles did Zane land after this?

Putt-Putt Golf

Two magnificent putts to close the BMW Open or whatever in Somewheresville, Illinois, yesterday. First, Dustin Johnson buries a 45-footer to force a playoff, and then Jon Rahm takes him out in the playoff hole with a 66-footer. Wowza.


(Pat Mahomes is the new face of the NFL)

by John Walters

Listening to Charles Barkley speaking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN the other night, this quote knocked me down: “It’s exhausting being black…especially if you’re a celebrity. I love Tom Brady, but nobody asks him what it’s like in white America.”

The brief NBA work stoppage earlier this week—Wednesday through Friday—demonstrated that athletes are able to be unified in terms of social justice and have even ruminated, seriously, about putting their money where their mouths are. That is, surrendering massive pay days in order to work toward justice.

The National Football League season is slated to begin in less than two weeks. And while I’d never expect Brady, or Drew Brees (or Jake Fromm) to threaten not to play, it’s important to remember that 70% of the players in the NFL are black. 70%.

Tom Brady can’t do much at quarterback with no one to throw to or no one to protect him.

(Tom Brady is the old face of the NFL)

The GOP is annoyed by the NBA’s protest—during the RNC, no less—but you have to think that Donald Trump believes that in terms of sports the NBA is, to use a term the president once used about the now-defunct USFL from decades ago, “small potatoes.”

However, if the 70% of the NFL that is black refused to play in two weeks, well, now that would be something. No league draws the type of television ratings, commands the nation’s attention, quite like the National Football League. An NFL strike would embolden both the NBA and MLB to go on strike. I hope you like hockey, America. Like, very much.

If NFL players simply chose not to play and announced that they were going to dedicate the next two months to helping people register to vote, to do everything in their power to promote the idea of voting on November 3rd, that would send a most powerful message.

It was less than six months ago that, in this space, I wrote that Colin Kaepernick would go down as the most important NFL player of this era with the possible exception of Brady. I wonder how many readers scoffed at that. In the time since I wrote that, Kaepernick’s legacy has only grown in stature.

Do I expect an NFL players strike to take place? No, not unless a few more black men (or women) are shot or killed under the most questionable of circumstances by the police in the next 10 days (and yes, who are we to say that cannot happen?). But if you are asking me what I’d like to see, this is it. No sports of any kind, or at least no black men playing those sports, between now and election day.

That is the most powerful statement these men (and women) could make.


by John Walters

Once Upon A Mud Night Dreary

From what we were able to ascertain, the president gave a speech blaming Joe Biden for what’s wrong with America. Which might have been effective rhetoric if Biden had been president the past four years as opposed to the man who was speaking.

And Ivanka spoke but did not wear her wedding ring. No explanation on that one so we won’t presume to guess why.

As for Trump’s speech, Frank Bruni does a good job of sifting through the bullshit in his column this morning. “It’s not a lie if you believe it, Jerry.”

Also, we thought David Brooks did an excellent job here illustrating what Trumpism is attempting to do: create a Mean World that doesn’t necessarily exist. It’s Bogeyman America.

Meanwhile, we hear that Trump PROMISED that there would be a vaccine “by the end of the year, if not sooner.” And why not promise that? The election is on November 3rd. If he’s wrong and he loses, who cares? And if he’s wrong and he wins, he won’t care. It’s the kind of guarantee a seasoned con man knows how to make, because there’s no downside in promising this lie. And if you think this president hasn’t lied about this pandemic already, well, you’re too dumb to be reading this blog.

A Farce In The Crowd

Meanwhile, the attendees of the RNC on the South Lawn of the White House numbered in the hundreds, seated close to one another, with few wearing masks. Apparently the president invoked his dead brother, Robert, whose death remains a mystery (did he go to a farm upstate to live with other overshadowed siblings?), and you had to wonder how many folks in this Sturgis East gathering might now meet the same fate. Wilbur Ross didn’t look so good, did he?

Posting Dale

This nerdy rant by CNN’s Daniel Dale is magical. You can hear the astonishment and earnestness in his voice as he fact-checks the president’s lies from his speech. Watch Cooper’s reaction at the end of his breathless polemic (“Well, that’s it?”). What’s truly incredible is that there’s no way Dale is reading off a teleprompter. He has all of that stored up in that gigantic brain of his and he’s simply flushing it out. Outstanding.

Lute Leaves

Arguably the most successful big-time coach in the history of Arizona sports, Lute Olson passed away earlier this week at the age of 85. Olson led the University of Arizona to the national championship in 1997—the Wildcats became the first and still only team since teams began being seeded in 1979 to defeat three No. 1’s en route to cutting down the nets in April.

Olson was the head coach in Tucson for 24 years and beat more No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tourney (7) than any coach has with the lone exception of Mike Krzyzewski (8). He took the Wildcats to 23 straight NCAA tourneys and a quartet of Final Four appearances.

We’ve always thought that one of the important factors in Olson’s success wast that in the 2nd through 6th seasons (five years) of his tenure in Tucson, he had a mature coach-on-the-court player by the name of Steve Kerr. In many ways Kerr has blossomed into the NBA style of coach that Olson was in college.

Gubernatorially handsome and always flashing a smile, Olson could have risen far in politics had he wanted. He had the look and the demeanor. Fortunately, he simply retired and enjoyed the 330 days of sunshine a year the Sonoran desert affords.

Karsten’s Koming

The oldest existing world record in men’s track? That belongs to Kevin Young of the USA, who in 1992 ran a 46.78 in the 400 hurdles at the Olympics in Barcelona. At the time Young became the first man in 20 years not named Edwin Moses to break the WR in that event.

But on Sunday in Stockholm Karsten Warholm of Norway, running in front of no fans during the pandemic, clocked a 46.87. That’s the second-fastest time in history…and Warholm struck the last of the 10 hurdles he needed to clear, which definitely slowed him some.

The men’s 5,000-meter world record was broken earlier this month by Joshua Cheptegei (12:35.36) in Monaco. The previous record (12:37.35) had been set in 2004 by Kenenisa Bekele. So on August 14th a 16 year-old world record was broken and on August 23rd a 28 year-old world record was nearly broken.

Are runners better off without fans?

Maria Taylor Goes Ahead And Kicks Ass

This, from Maria Taylor, is eloquent and trenchant. I love how she says that “for years the black body has been a revenue-generating sport.” Or how she notes that the NBA players didn’t have a plan, but they didn’t have to. Because they did not create this problem. Love how she notes that Dylann Roof can shoot up a church of black people and be arrested as if he were jaywalking while Jacob Blake takes seven bullets to the chest for attempting to return to his vehicle.

Roof had murdered nine people. The cops were almost apologetic about it.


by John Walters

The Bucks Stop Here

The Milwaukee Bucks become the first major pro sports team, at least in our memory, to refuse to play a game. The Bucks skipped out on their playoff game with the Magic last night to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back in Kenosha, Wisc., over the weekend by police. Blake was unarmed and it was broad daylight.

The Bucks’ action sparked a reaction all over sports. All three NBA games last night were not played and chances are that all three of tonight’s playoff games will also be called off. Certain Major League teams, including the Dodgers and Giants, also opted to not play.

The entire NBA postseason is in jeopardy. And why not? Players must be tired already of being part of the NBA Truman Show and meanwhile incidents like the Blake shooting continue to transpire.

If you read this space, you know we’ve been calling for black athletes to boycott playing for a variety of reasons over the past year. They do hold power and their leverage is their abstinence. Knowing how much the Bucks’ act must have pissed off POTUS on the third night of the RNC last night already makes it worth it.

We hope (perhaps selfishly) that the NBA players vote to end the season. It’s never mattered anyway after the mid-March interregnum. And those arguing that the players’ power comes from having the platform of playing are either being disingenuous or fooling themselves. Nothing would be more powerful than these players not playing and then being visible in communities extolling people to vote.

Finally, we loved Charles Barkley on CNN last night: “It’s exhausting being black, especially when you’re a celebrity. You know, I love Tom Brady, but nobody asks him about what’s going on in white America.” Yes. Damn!

This Is What ‘White Privilege’ Looks Like

I get tired of hearing “white privilege” used as a cudgel over and over, but to deny its existence is pure willful ignorance. This video clip from Kenosha is as pure example of it as you’ll ever see.

You can skip ahead to 2:30 of the video to get to the meaty part.

I imagine the Tucker Carlsons of the world will whitesplain that Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was under attack by the mob and was only defending himself. I guess the questions I have are why Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Ill., drove some 30 miles with a long gun to be a part of this scene. And why, if he was supposedly “defending businesses,” was he out in the middle of the street with his gun.

What is truly horrifying takes place after the shootings. There’s Rittenhouse walking down the center of the road as three police vehicles slowly approach. People are screaming “He shot somebody,” the gun is clearly visible, and the cops are apathetic. They clearly do not see Rittenhouse as a threat (in an earlier video Rittenhouse and other “vigilantes” are being given water bottles by the cops).

As Don Lemon asked on CNN last night, “What would happen if he had been Muslim, black or Latino?” I think we all know, Don. I share your frustration that the guest to whom you asked that question chose such a milquetoast response.

This was on the same night that AARP Ken Doll Mike Pence pledged “law and order.” How about law and justice, for once?

Oh, and of course, of course, this kid was in the front row of a Trump rally or two. Of course.

You’re Dead To Me, Lou

Here’s former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz speaking at the RNC last night:

You can listen for yourself. What we here don’t understand is how Republicans are able to overlap their “values” with the glaringly obvious failings and/or corruption of Donald Trump. Here’s Charlie Kirk on Monday night:

“President Trump was elected to defend the American way of life…The American way of life means you follow the law, you work hard, you honor God, you raise your kids with strong values and you work to create a civil society.”

As Frank Bruni of The New York Times reacted, “Excuse me? Trump doesn’t bow to the law, not to go by the tax returns that journalists have gotten their hands on, by the hush money paid to a porn star, by his rescue of Roger Stone. The examples abound.”

This is what Trump Republicans don’t seem to get. It’s not (all of) their values that are so misplaced. It’s that they actually believe that Donald Trump is a gatekeeper of such values. It’s laughable. As are they.

By the way, pity the Republicans. In just four short years, Trump, a Democrat most of his life who only a dozen or so years ago seriously considered running for president as a Democrat, has completely hijacked their party. During the first three nights of the RNC speakers America has heard included Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Tiffany Trump, Melania Trump and Donald Jr.’s girlfriend.

It’s like one of those King family Christmas specials from the 1970s when you didn’t quite know who the King family were, you just knew they were wealthy and they were going to occupy your screen for the entire hour.

Never mind, by the way, that the White House is not supposed to be prostituted out as a campaign backdrop or that the Secretary of State is not supposed to take sides in an election.

Man, I cannot wait until Biden is president and all of these same Republicans remember decorum and protocol and emoluments clauses and the like. It’s going to be rich, the irony. And they’ll be unapologetically shameless about it.

More Fun From The Graham Norton Show

Here in America, British expat James Corden attempts (or before Covid-19, attempted) to recreate the magic of The Graham Norton Show, but it just does not translate. How Norton manages to wrangle big stars (I believe the show airs just once a week) and then make them so comfortable with one another (I believe alcohol is involved) always amazes me.

Here, in just a two-minte clip, are two very funny anecdotes. Enjoy. And all four of the celebrities are clearly enjoying themselves. That’s what always stands out about the Norton show and what makes him such an extraordinary host: the guests want to participate and are clearly having a blast.

Laura Blows

The first of the two hurricanes slated to hit the Louisiana and Texas coasts, Laura, made landfall last night (love that word: landfall). Laura is a category 4 hurricane and its effects will be exacerbated by a pandemic that will cause locals to think twice about fleeing to a crowded shelter (thanks, Obama… that’s what I’m supposed to say when anything goes wrong, right? Even if none of the crisis is of his making?).

Anyway, more death. More property damage. More loss. But it’s mostly poor black people so don’t worry about it. You’ll probably hear little about it in the president’s remarks tonight from the RNC.

Tesla (Cont.)

Tesla stock, like the crime rate in New York City as described in the Rolling Stones’ “Shattered,” keeps “going up, up, up, up, up!”

You could’ve owned Tesla (TSLA) for as little as $805 on May 28th, or three months ago. Today, after yet another morning of the stock rising more than $50 (third consecutive day), it’s above $2,200. That’s nearly 200% up in three months.

Now, while we do hear you, Susie B. (“Tulips!”), you’d be wise to remember that the stock’s 4-for-1 split coming on August 31st is going to put the stock price back in the $500 range. And while it doesn’t technically change the value of the stock, you tell that to a millennial with a Robin Hood account who doesn’t care too much about EPS or P/E ratios.

Seeing the price of Tesla stock back at around $500 will stimulate more buying. Will Tesla, after the split, be up near $1,000 in value by year’s end? We think so.


by John Walters

Messi Situation

Is Lionel Messi the best soccer player on the planet? Yes.

The best soccer player ever? Perhaps.

Now the diminutive Argentine , who has been a fixture in the No. 10 jersey at Camp Nou for F.C. Barcelona since 2004, wants out. Messi, 33, has informed his club that he wants to head elsewhere.

For a full decade, from 2009-2018, the world’s top two soccer players, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, played in La Liga, the top Spanish league. England may have been home to the Premier league, but due to these two, La Liga was soccer’s premiere league. It was sort of like Comedy Central when Jon Stewart hosted The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert his semi-eponymous show. You didn’t need the network for anything else, but these two made it must-see.

(Messi and Guardiola in happy times)

Messi, whose six Ballon d’Or trophies (world’s best soccer player) are a record, has designs on reuniting with his former FC Barcelona manager, Pep Guardiola, who’s now the manager at Manchester City. It would be a shot in the arm for the Premier League if Messi, even at this stage of his career, migrated north. And devastating for La Liga, which two years ago lost Ronaldo to Serie A, the top Italian league.

The Screen Door Slams

It was 45 years ago yesterday (August 25, 1975) that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band released Born To Run and changed everything. None of the songs on Springsteen’s third album were radio hits (the title track charted highest at 23 on the Billboard charts; decades later Rolling Stone would place it higher, 21st, on the list of greatest rock songs of all time) but that didn’t really matter to the thousands of fans who would soon be swept up in the gospel of Bruce.

I did not discover the album until five years later, which is odd because our family lived on the Jersey shore when Born To Run was released, but, we had to get out while we’re young, so in 1978 we moved to Arizona. Also in that interim my grade school friend Charlene Accardi, who wrote me once our family moved, found Bruce’s wallet on the boardwalk (perhaps Asbury Park, I’m not sure). This would’ve been in late ’78 or ’79. She really did because she somehow got in touch with Bruce and he showed up at her home in Red Bank, N.J., to retrieve the wallet and snap a few photos. She sent me one. He’s wearing the same outfit he wore on the cover of Darkness On The Edge of Town.

It’s really him.

Anyway, I discovered the album in 1980, during the first semester of high school. Put it on a list of albums as I joined the Columbia Record & Tape Club. Within two days it was my favorite album of all the ones I’d purchased for a penny. Within two weeks I knew every lyric on the album (they were printed on the inside cover, but I would’ve learned them anyway by osmosis) from “The screen door slams…” to “Tonight, in Junglelaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand.”

In November, during announcements at my high school, they staged a contest and said the first person who could come to the office and recite the first ten lines to “Jungleland” would win two concert tickets (alas, not to Bruce, but to see Kansas). I raced out of my Latin class and ran down the hallway of Loyola Hall and blurted, “The Rangers had a homecoming/In Harlem late last night/And the Magic Rat pulled his sleek machine/Over the Jersey state line/Barefoot girl–“

“Stop!” I was ordered. And the vice principal handed me the tickets.

It would be a full 12 years after before I finally saw Bruce live in concert. In 1992.

As the decades pass, I consider Darkness On The Edge Of Town to be this album’s equal, at least. But Born To Run was the album that assured Springsteen that he would never be one of those broken heroes with which the highways are jammed, on a last-ditch power drive.

This is the sound of the Jersey shore where I grew up. And it’s nice to have a soundtrack to your youth that places you right there. Thanks, Bruce.

Cremation Nation

Our latest get-rich-slow scheme: a nationwide franchise of crematoriums. Funeral homes seem to be the last businesses that have yet to go box-store or franchise on us, and meanwhile no one ever seems to talk about how they got a great deal on roasting Uncle Ernie.

But why not? Why not a crematorium that offers low, low prices? We’ve even got our slogan: “We’ll incinerate your loved one without raking you over the coals!”

So who wants to invest in Cremation Nation?

Runaway Model

Sorry to sound catty, but I did not get much past the catwalk entrance stage of the First Lady’s speech last night. After all, that’s what she did best professionally, so why not exploit it? If you’re scoring at home, Melania Trump’s entrance took 44 seconds and required two left turns. Which is odd, considering it’s the GOP. You’d think they’d have reconfigured the setting so that she’d have to turn right.

We lasted until Mrs. Trump, with a look of either paralyzed fear or the type of brainwashing last seen in The Manchurian Candidate, said something about “energy and enthusiasm.” It’s incredible that someone can freeze a smile onto their face for that long in support of a POTUS husband (but Hillary will tell you, it is possible).

Lovely woman. Stunningly beautiful. Rhetoric is not her forte. I don’t know why they force it upon her.

Why Isn’t There Even More Jennifer Garner News?

We visited yesterday (okay, perhaps our first mistake) and spotted not one but two Jennifer Garner headlines. The first story had something to do with the effortlessly appealing actress doing a dance routine in what seemed to be her backyard with a professional ballerina. The second story informed us, the pandemic public, that Garner and her children were in tears…having just finished watching The Office from start to finish (and they didn’t even watch the far superior British version).

What Garner-ian headlines will tomorrow bring? And why aren’t Reese Witherspoon’s and Gwyneth Paltrow’s publicists working more diligently? How many other people recall that Garner and Bradley Cooper got their starts on the same Fox TV show (Alias) in the early 2000s?


by John Walters

Libertine University

You know what’s perfect? When the president of an ultra-right Christian university (yes, that is an oxymoron but we’ll let it go for the moment) may have to step down, resign, due to a sex scandal (or three). And if you were wondering if Jerry Falwell, Jr., is an ordained priest, no, he’s not.

He’s a lay man. So to speak.

For us, the perfect way to kick off the Republican National Convention. Isn’t this the same guy who told the Pope to shut up when His Holiness dared to criticize the then-Republican candidate’s speech about Mexican immigrants back in 2016?

Falwell doesn’t want to step down. Perhaps someone could persuade him to become a Season 2 character in The Righteous Gemstones.

I Don’t Want It

Donald Trump, Jr.’s “You Can Have It” rant (“a perfect family?” Isn’t this the guy who cheated on his wife—I know, I know, it’s a family condition) extolling hard work was sort of funny coming from a man who never earned anything on his own in his life.

In tone and message, he was basically ripping of Shia LaBeouf’s famous “Do It” rant from a few years back. Another Trump RNC speech, another case of plagiarism.

Week 1 Is A Weak One

Eight months ago, Week 1 of the college football season, taking place over the latest possible Labor Day weekend, looked pretty sweet. College GameDay was going to head overseas for the first time to be there for Notre Dame-Navy in Dublin. Alabama was taking on USC. Michigan at Washington! Georgia vs. Virginia. TCU at Cal. West Virginia at Florida State.

Now? None of those games are happening. There will be eleven (count ’em, 11!) games during Labor Day Weekend, the highest profile of which will be BYU at Navy. Will College GameDay head there? Will the panelists wear masks? Will 84 year-old Lee Corso be on hand? Will it be anathema to use the term “spread offense” in a post-pandemic world?

Executive producer Lee Fitting has said that the show will go on. Just how, though, no one seems to have figured out yet.

After All, The Turf Is Blue

The fastest-growing city in the United States? Boise.

The lovely town in southern Idaho is experiencing a major infusion of Silicon Valley tech types who cannot afford to live in the Bay Area and are able to work remotely. Boise’s population has mushroomed 30% in the past few years, due to Californication, with property values spiking.

We visited Boise at length in 2005 (longtime resident Heather Cox gave us a quick tour) and found it utterly charming. A good town to be a runner, hiker, outdoors person. Boulder without as much topiary growth. It even has a small river running through the heart of town. Loved it.

Oh, well. It may already be too expensive (but this is why Billings Bighorns, my idea from a few years ago, is not only good but also inevitable…though it may be Boise Bighorns).

So what’s happening? You’ll see white flight to Idaho and Montana, but also tech types moving there, who may diversify the demo. Could Idaho, the state with the famously blue football field, turn politically blue? Stay tuned.

Is Exxon Out Of Gas?

As recently as 2011, when Elon Musk was probably still stewing over student loan payments, Exxon was the world’s largest company. Not “One of”. But THE.

Today Exxon is being booted out of the Dow Jones, the 30-stock index that seeks to best exemplify the U.S. economy by posting the prices of 30 signature companies. The irony of this is that Apple’s impending 4-for-1 stock split was going to make the tech sector look less represented among the averages, so the Dow is moving Exxon out (after nearly 100 years) and replacing it with Salesforce.

If you love the planet, or even feel like maybe you and the planet should go out on a few more dates and see where this is heading, you have to be thrilled about this. Reducing the influence of oil will not only help save the environment but it will curtain the influence of two of the world’s most dangerous groups: radical Middle East plutocracies and Texans.


by John Walters

Of Course………But Maybe

Revisiting this classic Louis CK bit in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of course—of course! – we should maintain social distancing and wear masks in order to flatten the curve. Of course!

But maybe… if a million or so Americans, most of whom were not the healthiest of our tribe in the first place, are going to die in order for us to continue going to movies and restaurants and bars and school, that’s not too high a price to pay.

Murphy’s Lore

That’s Phoenix area resident Trevor Murphy, 35, who went out for a run on Friday morning (after Thursday night’s monsoons brought much-needed rain but also lightning to the Valley of the Sun) and noticed a small brush fire breaking out.

So Murphy took it upon himself to fight fire with ire. He stamped on it with his shoes, shuffled dirt onto the path to widen it and create a fire break, even phoned the fire department.


The headline of this Jerry Seinfeld Op-Ed in The New York Times says it all: “So You Think New York Is Dead (It’s Not).” *

*At least we’re not in Florida

Russian Meddling

It was Winston Churchill who said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.” In this case, it took the truth nearly four years to hitch up its knickers.

Remember how President Trump accused his opponent of skulduggery heading into the 2016 election and coined the phrase “Lock her up!” Remember how then-FBI director James Comey planned to launch an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and lost his job?

Remember Paul Manaforte? Michael Flynn? Carter Page?

Well, last week a Senate Intelligence Committee (the Senate has a GOP majority, recall) issued a 1,000-page report on its own investigation into this affair and concluded, without a doubt, that the “Russian government disrupted an American election to help Mr. Trump become president, Russian intelligence services viewed members of the Trump campaign as easily manipulated, and some of Mr. Trump’s advisers were eager for the help from an American adversary.”

Certainly President Trump, the one who in the summer of 2016 publicly pleaded for Russia to release any information on Senator Clinton that it had, could not have known any of his associates were working on his behalf. Of course not.

Go Your Conway

In a surprise development on the eve of the GOP convention, America’s most dysfunctional (political) couple appears to have reached detent. KellyAnne Conway, the White House’s most prolific prevaricator this side of the president, has announced that she is stepping down from her post. Her husband, George Conway, a co-founder of the Lincoln Project, which is not a reality show about pimping up over-sized ’70s sedans, has also announced that he will no longer work with that association (a group of Republicans doing their darnedest to oust Trump from office).

They’ve jointly announced they’re stepping away to spend more time with their four children, teens and tweens, who will most likely be begging them to return to work in a week.

UPDATE: The Conways’ 15 year-old daughter, Claudia, is seeking emancipation from her parents (someone has been watching Ozark). No, really. Over the weekend Conway tweeted (which makes her Conway tweety…we beat you to it, Ruth), “I’m (devastated) that my mother is actually speaking at the RNC. like DEVASTATED beyond compare.”

In a follow-up post, she wrote: “I’m officially pushing for emancipation. buckle up because this is probably going to be public one way or another, unfortunately. welcome to my life.”

For someone whose parents work in the capitol, she needs to work on her capitals.

In Your (Field Of) Dreams

So many events have been canceled or postponed these past nearly six months that we forgot that earlier this month the Yankees and White Sox were supposed to play a game at the Field of Dreams site in Iowa. First, those two clubs were supposed to play in the specially constructed 8,000-seat park on August 13th.

Then, Major League Baseball announced after the pandemic began that the game would still be played on August 13 but, due to re-scheduling issues, the Cardinals would replace the Yankees. Then that game was canceled, too (Might it have had something to do with seven Cardinal players testing positive for the coronavirus?)

Now MLB has said the game will take place in 2021. Stay tuned.


Tesla update: In the past week two people I know personally have told me they’ve bought Teslas. News flash: I don’t know that many people (even fewer when I open my mouth). The stock is up another 3% this morning, Susie B. Where it stops? I dunno.

UPDATE: Seems like we’re having a minor Tesla correction as the stock has now plunged 2% from where it was at the open. Don’t worry about me, Susie B., I protected myself.


In which we endeavor to plumb a recent story that you (or we) may have missed during the week and that you’d have probably been too busy to read anyway between Monday and Friday, so here it is.

Our first selection comes from Rolling Stone. The author is Wade Davis and it is just a devastating deconstruction of where this nation went wrong. The title: The Unraveling Of America.

If you want to learn more, after reading this article, here’s an interview Davis did on PBS NewsHour last week:

By the way, I’m both amused and dumbfounded when Trumpers actually defend the president’s record on the Covid response. Mike Pence just this week did the ol’ “We Stopped Incoming Flights From China” soft shoe. They actually want us to believe that no one could have done a better job against the virus the past six months than the president (Note: I could have. You could have. If they’d have put either of us in charge. Sometimes the best way not to break a car is to not pour hydroxychloroquine into the gas tank, you know?)

Anyway, I’m flummoxed at yet another example of Orwellian logic, that no one could have done a better job against Covid-19 and as for the > 1,000 deaths per day, “It is what it is.”

Here’s the analogy I came up with. It’s like you’re going to watch your spouse run a 10-K. And your spouse finishes dead last. Dead. Last. And afterward he/she says to you, “Good thing I didn’t have that third doughnut this morning, or I would have finished 10 minutes slower. So I deserve a pat on the back for that.

Yes, dear (Now what’s the phone number for that divorce attorney Madge suggested to me?).


by John Walters

Elaine Benes to Trump: “Get OUT!”

No, we did not watch this live, either, but apparently Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Lainey!”) did some emceei’ng at the Remote DNC Thursday night. From the clip we saw, her best jab was when she noted that the number to text to learn about voting, 30330, would be easy to remember “because that’s the year Donald Trump will finally release his tax returns.”

And if you’re saying to yourself, Didn’t JLD play the vice-president of the United States who then later became the president in Veep, well, yes, you’d be right. So that’s a little ironic.

Four For Four

Note: “Hosmer Homers” is anagrammatical

Remember Rule No. 7, kids? Some variation of “Every baseball game offers the opportunity to witness that has never before happened.” Well, here you go: In Thursday’s win against Texas, Eric Hosmer of the San Diego Padres hit a grand slam. It was the fourth consecutive night a Padres batter had hit a bases-loaded round-tripper and THAT had never before happened in Major League Baseball history.

All four grand slams came against the Rangers—which makes them the first team to surrender grand slams in four straight games—and the Padres swept the bizarre, no-fans, home-and-home series.

The best note: None of this happens without Fernando Tatis’ Monday night grand slam that he belted on a 3-0 count in the 8th inning with the Pads up 10-3. And he took such grief for it. Turned out the baseball gods had a grander plan all along. Or maybe this is just their way of validating his “violation of baseball’s unwritten rules.”

Let history recall that four different Padres hit the four grand slams. In order: Tatis, Manny Machado, Will Myers and Hosmer.

Tesla: $2,020 in 2020?

Did any of our readers take our advice back in mid-January??? Because we didn’t.

Back when Tesla was hovering around the $500 mark which, to be fair, meant it had run up quite rapidly in the preceding months, we augured that someone should put all their chips on the battery-powered vehicle stock and see how they were doing in six months.

Well, it’s seven months and Tesla just toppled $2,000 per share on Wednesday. It closed at $2,001. This, one day after Apple became the first company in human history to have a $2 TRILLION valuation.

Sean Parker to Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network: “You know what’s cooler than a million dollars? A billion dollars.”

Tim Cook to both of them: “Hold my iPhone.”

We DO own Tesla stock (just not as much as we’d like) and we’ve made a nice little profit what with Tesla’s $330 per-share gain this week. But not as much as Elon Musk, who became $8 billion wealthier just yesterday. He’s now the fourth-wealthiest person in the world. The only people who should ever cover his lunch are Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates or Zuckerberg.

Both Apple and Tesla will have stock splits at the end of this month, which will be a boon for millennial investors. Which is part of the reason they’re doing so.

Bieber Believer

The planet’s best Bieber is now Shane, not Justin. The Indian ace struck out 11 Pittsburgh Pirates to improve to 5-0 thus far in the shortened baseball season. Not only that, the 6’3″ 25 year-old has whiffed 65 batters in just six starts, the most prolific K-rationing through six starts to open a season for a pitcher since 1900.

Putin Gotta Putin

On the left, that’s outspoken Vladimir Putin critic (those four words are maybe the world’s most dangerous job) Alexey Navalny sipping tea at a Moscow airport. On the right that’s Navalny a few hours later on a tarmac in Siberia after an emergency landing due to his falling ill.

He has since slipped into a coma and is on a ventilator. It is suspected that someone slipped poison into his tea. Vlad strikes again. Man, on days like this Trump must wonder how he can cross that bridge and go full-Putin. The dream for him is only 9 1/2 weeks away.

What If ESPN (and Fox and CBS and NBC) Just Said No?

Some of the nation’s more prominent and long-standing college football writers (Pat Forde at and Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post) have published columns the past two days excoriating colleges, particularly the ACC, for their hypocrisy when it comes to college football. They’re not wrong, of course: the Summer of Covid has proven once and for all that football players are not students as much as they are semi-pro athletes. Yes, the tail is wagging the dog.

But what I haven’t seen—and granted, I have not been looking closely—are any columns wondering how come ESPN or any other network that televises college football has to be complicit in this devil’s bargain. What if ESPN, for example, were simply to say, “We don’t think it’s safe for these young men to be playing football right now and we’re not about to contribute to it. So we’re out.”

After all, these schools aren’t pushing to play football for the gate money. They’re doing it for the TV revenue. So what if ESPN and Fox just told them, “For the same reasons that you’re not holding in-person classes, UNC, we’re not going to televise your games.”

Ah, but you say, but ESPN is a business. And what’s college football?