This is how sports fans should behave

I wrote yesterday about my astonishment at the huge crowds that were attending the cricket matches between Australia and Sri Lanka despite the devastating economic crisis in Sri Lanka that has resulted in a chaotic and tragic situation with massive shortages that has brought the country to a halt.

After the final game of the five one-day matches, the local crowd gave the visiting Australian team rousing expressions of gratitude for coming despite the problems . Many wore yellow shirts, the color of the Australian team, carried banners saying “Thank you Australia”, and chanted “Australia! Australia!” as the visitors took a lap of honor around the stadium.

I have rarely seen such a display of affection for a visiting team by home team fans. One that comes to mind is back in 1961 when half a million people turned out in Melbourne to give Frank Worrell’s visiting West Indian team a ticker tape parade. I hope there is more of this.

Australian player Glenn Maxwell expressed his surprise and appreciation.

News you can’t use?

Becoming old is no picnic but it does provide one advantage, at least as far as I am concerned. I do not worry much anymore about taking major efforts to prolong life, since any precautionary steps I take are likely to have only a small effect. It is not that I now live recklessly. It is just that I can be more relaxed about what is worth doing and what is not. One liberating area is food. What I care most about now when it comes to food is that as long as I eat a balanced diet and not too much junk, what matters is whether it is tasty and enjoyable, and I pay little attention to factors like its cholesterol or fat or sugar content. I figure that whatever damage I have done to my body because of past consumption of those items is too late to rectify. The one thing I do do is take daily walks because it is enjoyable to get out and about and meet and chat with my neighbors. The reputed health benefits are a bonus.

But I do read the occasional article about health tips and found the results of this study to be intriguing because even if the results are replicated and robust, it does not seem actionable.
[Read more…]

Cricket success boosts Sri Lankan morale

The economic crisis in Sri Lanka shows no sigs of ending soon. That is not surprising since the immediate cause of the current crisis is the severe lack of foreign exchange reserves to import even the most basic goods such as fuel, medicines, and food, and only other nations and foreign agencies can ameliorate the situation by giving loans and grants but that takes time to negotiate and then implement.

Meanwhile the government has issued desperate appeals to the population and ordered government employees to work just four days a week and to use the fifth day to grow food in their backyards in order to help with the food crisis. They have asked all workers to work from home as much as possible so as to reduce the need for transportation. But that has not been enough to stop protestors from marching to demand that the president and prime minister resign immediately.
[Read more…]

Trump’s attempts to subvert the justice department exposed

The January 6th hearings yesterday focused on the attempts by Trump and his minions to use the Department of Justice to advance his lies that the election was fraudulent. In yet another gripping day of testimony, three of the most senior justice department officials during the last days of his presidency (acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, acting deputy assistant general Richard Donoghue, and Steven Engel, assistant attorney general for the office of legal counsel) describe how Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and others enlisted the assistant attorney general for civil affairs Jeffrey Clark to try and get the justice department to send a letter drafted by Clark, to Georgia elections officials saying that the election in that state was invalid. Clark would meet with Trump, defying rules that prevented justice department officials from meeting with White House officials without approval of the attorney general, a policy designed to prevent undue political pressure.

The committee’s top Republican Liz Cheney is offering more details about the actions of justice department official Jeffrey Clark, who had his house raided today by federal investigators.

According to Cheney, Clark and another justice department lawyer drafted a letter addressed to the Georgia state legislature, which would have said the department had “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states, including the state of Georgia”, and that the legislature should convene and consider approving a new slate of electors.

[Read more…]

Texas is an example of how low Republicans have sunk

An example of the depths to which the Republican party has sunk can be seen in Chris Cillizza’s description about what went down at the convention of the Republican party in Texas last weekend.

* They approved a measure that stated that President Joe Biden “was not legitimately elected.”

* They rebuked the 10 Senate Republicans involved in the bipartisan talks on gun legislation — including Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who was booed during his speech Friday at the convention.

* They voted to advance language in the party platform that describes homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice” and calls on students “to learn about the humanity of the preborn child.”

* They harassed Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw, calling him “eye patch McCain.” (Crenshaw lost an eye during military service in Afghanistan.)

Taken together, the message was simple: This is Donald Trump’s party. Period. End of sentence.

“Donald Trump radicalized the party and accelerated the demands from the base,” University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus told the Texas Tribune. “There simply aren’t limits now on what the base might ask for.”

So what was Crenshaw’s sin that so offended his Republican colleagues? It was that at an event late last year in Texas, Crenshaw said this:

“There’s two types of members of Congress: There’s performance artists and legislators. The performance artists are the ones that get all the attention, the ones you think are more conservative because they know how to say slogans real well, they know how to recite the lines that they know our voters want to hear.”

Later, he added this: “We have grifters in our midst … in the conservative movement. Lie after lie after lie.”

So his sin was telling it like it is. If you do not buy completely into the fantasy world created by Trump, you have gone over to the enemy and must be destroyed.

Cornyn and Crenshaw are as right-wing as they come but that is not enough these days. The Republican party is beginning to eat its own.

The scandalously slow police reaction to the Uvalde shooting

Immediate post-tragedy statements by the local police chief said that the long delay in responding to the Uvalde school shooter was because they were waiting for protective gear and firepower and a key to open the door to the school. All those turn out to be false, as Trevor Noah discusses. There were many police equipped with weapons and equipment just standing nearby and the door was unlocked.

Once again, ‘the good guy with the gun’ (in fact many of them heavily armed and supposedly highly trained) did not solve the problem of dealing with a single, heavily armed person with murderous intent.

Trump’s potentially criminal behavior becomes ever more apparent

The revelations of Trump’s utter contempt for democracy because of his attempts to overturn the election results get worse with each day of public congressional hearings, if you can believe it. The fourth day of congressional hearings yesterday saw a stream of solidly Republican state election officials in Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania, all of whom voted for Trump, describe the awful abuse and harassment they experienced when they refused to go along with the Trump gang’s demands that they reject the results of the elections in their state and substitute alternate delegates, and the blatant lies that they were told as to the supposed evidence that existed of mass fraud. It should be emphasized that Trump was not simply uttering falsehoods about fraud. He consistently displayed a blatant disregard for truth, repeatedly telling lies that he had been told were lies even by his own administration officials.

The evidence is mounting that the events of January 6th, 2021 were not isolated but the culmination of a concerted effort by Trump and his cronies to overturn the election, and that they were willing to go to almost any lengths to do so. After listening to these hearings, what surprises me is that he did not order the military to act to keep him in power, so determined was he to stay in power.
[Read more…]

Boris Johnson follows the Trump playbook

When the UK voted to leave the EU in what was known as Brexit, it was known that the status of Ireland would cause problems. This is because the UK leaving the EU meant that there would have to be a customs and tariffs border between the two trading blocs. A line in the English Channel would not work since the Republic of Ireland was in the EU while Northern Ireland, being part of the UK, would be out. Hence where would the border line be drawn? It was unthinkable to have a land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland as there was during the time of the bitter conflict between Catholics and Protestants. The Belfast agreement that ended that conflict also resulted in the free movement of Irish people between the two parts of the island and almost no one wants to see a border reintroduced. Boris Johnson, one of the chief proponents of Brexit, breezily claimed that he could solve the problem somehow. But his actions seem to be making the situation much worse.
[Read more…]

Four myths about Juneteenth

Today is a federal holiday that commemorates June 19, 1865 that has come to be known as Juneteenth. NPR tries to dispel four myths about what actually happened that day. Myth #4 is that “The Juneteenth Order was basically a Texas version of the Emancipation Proclamation.” The order that was posted in Texas was different.

Fact: General Orders No. 3 stated unequivocally “all slaves are free,” but it also contained patronizing language intended to appease planters who didn’t want to lose their workforce. Forty-one words of the brief 93-word order urged enslaved people to stay put and keep working.

“The freed are advised to remain at their present homes, and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

Sam Collins: “The last two sentences advised the freedmen to remain at their present homes and work for wages. So you’re free, but don’t go anywhere.”
[Read more…]