Monday, August 26, 2019

Bold Predictions for 2019 Michigan Football: 13-1 or 14-1!!! 50 Years After Bo

Michigan’s football season begins August 31 at home against Middle Tennessee State. Enough about that for now. Let’s go back 50 years to November 22, 1969. The arrogant, brutish, cocky Ohio State Buckeyes came to Michigan Stadium. They were the returning national champions, having defeated USC and O.J in the Rose Bowl. They were on a 22 game winning streak. Some were calling them the greatest college football team of all team. They had destroyed Michigan 50-14 in 1968. They poured salt into open wounds near the end of the game when the Buckeyes scored a touchdown and then went for a two point conversion. Coach Woodrow Wilson Hayes, when asked why he want for 2, replied, “Because I couldn’t go for 3.” Michigan football was in the pits. The glory days of Fielding Yost and Fritz Crisler were ancient history. Michigan Stadium was far from selling out. Coach Bump Elliott was fired. Don Canham, the athletic director, hired Glenn “Bo’ Schembechler from Miami of Ohio as the new coach. The anguish cry went out: “Bo Who?” Bo whipped the returning players in shape. Many dropped out. Bo posted the famous sign: “Those who stay will be champions.” He also painted a sign on the floor as they entered practice. It was OSU 50, Michigan 14. The players had to daily walk on it. Michigan started out 3-2. Oh No, more of the same with Bo. The Wolverines jelled, caught fire and ran the string. And yet, they were penciled in as the next human sacrifices for the Mighty Buckeyes. I was not at the game. I was in my last year of law school at the University of San Francisco, working Saturday morning, got back at halftime. The score was 24-12 Michigan. What! 24-12 Michigan. Someone forgot to tell Bo, also known as “Little Woody,” the Michigan players, and the 103,588 fans that Michigan was supposed to roll over for the greatest team of all time. The final score was 24-12. Little did I know on November 22, 1969 that 9 months later on August 28, 1970 that I would arrive in Ann Arbor as a graduate student/ Michigan out-toughed TOSU. The vaunted Buckeyes offense committed 6 interceptions and one fumble. Bo was no longer Bo Who? November 22, 1969 restored Michigan football to the pinnacle of Big Ten football. Bo went 5-4-1 against his mentor. The UM-OSU seesaw went back and forth between Michigan and Ohio State with Michigan going 10-2-1 against John Cooper, who was fired on 2000 for consistently losing to Michigan. Jim Tressel was hired as the Buckeye’s coach, and begin Ohio State’s mastery of Michigan. Michigan only won one game against Ohio State from 2001 to the present. Michigan’s sole victory was in 2001 against a scandal ridden depleted, demoralized Ohio State team. Even then Michigan had to hold on to a 34-28 victory. A W is a W. Urban Meyer was then hired as TOSU’s coach and went 7-0 against Michigan. Some games close – some blowouts Last year was a blowout Short slants over the middle Little pressure from defensive line September 1, 2007 marked the collapse of Michigan football. The pre-season 5th rank Wolverines lost at home 34-32 to Appalachian State as their few fans in attendance yelled: “It’s great to be a Mountaineer.” Lloyd Carr resigned as coach at the end of the season, defeating Florida in the 38-30 in the Outback Bowl. Lloyd retired a winner. The decision was made to hire an inventive coach with a vastly different non-smash mouth football approach. Rich Rod was a master of the spread offense, which often bedeviled Michigan’s defense. The experiment was a disaster with Michigan only winning three games the first season and losing to Toledo. Rich Rodriquez was Three and Done, to be replaced by Brady Hoke. Coach Hoke’s first year was great. Michigan went 11-2 defeating Ohio State and then Virginia Tech in the Bowl. Michigan was back. Or not! Brady was Four and Done as each season was progressively worse. The really nice guy was too soft on the players. Then came Jim Harbaugh 4 years ago. He’s gone 38-14 in four years with three 10 game winning seasons. The Michigan family has been patient, but have higher expectations. Michigan is on the cusp of college football greatness. I predict this is the year. Michigan will sweep the regular season, defeating Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Ohio state at home as well as Penn State and Wisconsin on the road. This year’s team has purely Harbaugh recruits. The Wolverines will surmount their multiple problems since the Appalachian State debacle. The first is a consistently weak offensive line. There’s been good, and even great players, on the line, but never a consistently great line. They have been unable to play Jim Harbaugh’s power game, smash mouth, which he was able to do at Stanford. The result has been quarterbacks and running backs banged up by the Ohio State game. On a couple of occasions the fleet, elusive Denard Robinson was physically unable to pass. That also happened with Devin Gardner. The result was that Ohio State would defend against the run, ignoring the pass. This year’s line is said to be at the level of the offensive lines of a decade ago. A third problem was being unable to win on the road, especially against powers such Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. Harbaugh’s Wolverines have shown they can defeat the Spartans in East Lansing. This is the year to step up on the road at Penn State and Wisconsin. A fourth problem is a constant change of systems, especially on defense. Stability has set in on the defense. Michigan has a new offense this year – much more wide open than in the past. The quarterbacks and wide receivers love it. One of the problems Michigan faces in the big game is that Ohio State knows it will win. Michigan hopes it will win. The Wolverines can only get back the swagger that wins close games by defeating by defeating the Buckeyes, not to mention Notre Dame in the same year. This is the year. Ryan Day is the new head coach of TOSU. He was last year’s offensive coordinator who created the game plan that was devastating to Michigan’s vaunted defense. Michigan’s defensive coordinator, Don Brown, learns from defeat. He will not be defeated the same way twice, and usually not once. Michigan will be prepared for the Buckeyes. Michigan will never fully be back until they defeat Ohio State – not just once, but regularly. This is the year they begin the process. Why this year? Because I’m sick of saying “Wait Till Next year.”

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Today's Democratic Candidates for President Lack the Political Genius and Good Fortune of President Obama

Today’s Presidential Democratic candidates are trying to reunite the Obama Coalition based on identity politics. They failed to understand the political genius of President Obama. He ran an optimistic campaign. He understood Americans like to vote for a positive, reassuring candidate. His campaign was the positive, “Hope and Change,” without being too specific. Senator Joe Biden in his usual transparency gaffes said of Senator Obama during the 2008 campaign He is “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Senator Biden was right. Senator Obama did not come across as an angry, radical, flame throwing firebrand. The future President was moderate, reassuring, non-threatening. He knew the American public was not yet ready for gay marriage or government run healthcare. He knew America did not want a black power candidate. He projected a campaign of unity. He was not going to express his anti-Jewish, anti-Netanyahu bias. He had been careful over the years not to leave a paper trail. He voted present 129 times, often on sensitive issues, as a state senator. Professor, now Supreme Court Justice, Elena Kagan recruited Obama to the University of Chicago Law School. The young lawyer would only accept a contract position rather than a tenure track position because as a tenure track professor he would have to publish articles that might haunt later in political campaigns. He subordinated his radical views of socialized medicine, gay marriage, liberation politics, disdain of the police and military, and his view of America as an oppressor nation. He disavowed The Reverend Jeremiah Wright even though he sat in the pews for 20 years soaking up liberation theology. The future President was moderate, reassuring, non-threatening. He knew the American public was not yet ready for gay marriage or government run healthcare. He knew America did not want a black power candidate. He projected a campaign of unity. He was not going to express his anti-Jewish, anti-Netanyahu bias. President Obama’s concealed views are not unusual. President Lyndon Baines Johnson as a Representative and Senator from Texas was a segregationist. He befriended the rabid Senate segregationists. They thought he was one of them. Yet, LBJ never forgot growing up poor. He never forgot the students he taught at age 20. Welhausen School in Cotulla, Texas 69 miles from Mexico was a segregated school for the children of Mexican American farmers. LBJ was saddened they wouldn’t be going to college because of their poverty. LBJ never forgot. President Johnson got the Civil Rights Act of 1964 enacted followed the next year by the Voting Rights Act. Both Presidents Johnson and Obama dropped their masks when they were in a position to act as President of the United States. Voters don’t like gloom and doom politicians. Not today’s Democrats. They are spewing out hatred, yelling racist and white privilege at President Trump’s supporters and whites in general. Let me summarize their campaign themes: America has never been great, but has always been racist. Today’s Democratic candidates, preaching the politics of identity, are vengeful apostles of hate. They espouse hatred of America. Even the white candidates are ashamed of their whiteness in a field that despises white privilege. That’s not the way to the white vote, which is still a majority, albeit shrinking majority. They are campaigning on Medicare for All, meaning you lose your doctors, health insurance and hospitals. Most are arguing for reparations for the descendants of slaves. Senator Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, who passed herself off as an affirmative action Native American is seeking amends by promising them everything. She has a plan and freebies for everyone. The Democrats also don’t understand Senator Obama won the Iowa Caucuses because the community organizer out-organized the over-confident Senator Hillary Clinton. The American people took a hard and close look at the junior senator from Illinois once he won Iowa. They liked what they saw and heard. President Obama spoke in warm tones with the voice and cadence of great African American ministers. It was a wow moment, and yet when you looked at the substance of his talks, there was often, to use Gertrude Stein’s famous line, “there is no there, there.” President Obama was lucky throughout his political rise. He won the Democratic nomination for the Senate in the 2004 primary. His Republican opponent, Jack Ryan, was a successful businessman and popular politician. Barack undoubtedly would have won, but a stroke of political lightning struck Jack Ryan. The Chicago Tribune and the local Chicago ABC TV station successfully petitioned a judge in Los Angeles to open the sealed Ryan divorce files. Jack’s ex-wife, Jeri, is an actress. She made the allegation that he had tried to coerce her into having public sex in New York City, New Orleans, and Paris. Are the allegations true? I don’t know. Some divorce lawyers are known to create fanciful allegations in divorce proceedings to improve their client’s position, but I don’t know. I know that Jack Ryan had to quickly drop out. Senator Obama defeated Alvin Keyes, Ryan’s replacement, in a landslide, 70%-27%. Senator Obama was on his way. He ran for President 4 years later. He was fortunate in timing. Any Democrats would have won the Presidency in 2008 because of the Great Recession and public displeasure with the war in Iraq. President Obama was immune from many of the vicious attacks on the president, any president because people were scared of being labeled a racist. A sycophantic media would have crucified any vicious criticism of President Obama by Republican office holders and candidates. The Democrat who limps to the nominated regardless of race or gender will lack President Obama’s immunity. Their campaign promises and statements will be hurled at them. Senator Obama would have won anyway, but he benefitted from the inept campaign of Senator John McCain. Governor Romney ran a poor campaign four years later. Not so next year with President Trump. The New York street fighter will run a no-holds barred campaign. President Obama needed 60 Democratic votes to break a filibuster. He was politically lucky in 2009. He had 60 Democratic Senators, including Senator Bernie Sanders, technically an independent, who caucused with the Democrats, because of a rare chain of events. Senator Arlen Spector (R. Pa.) converted to the Democrats. Al Franken defeated incumbent Senator Norm Coleman (R. Minn.) by 312 votes in a rigged recall, and Anchorage Mayor Paul Begich defeated incumbent Senator Ted Stevens (R Alaska) by 3,953 votes after Senator Stevens was convicted of federal corruption charges due to gross prosecutorial misconduct. Senator Stevens was belatedly vindicated. President Obama prioritized his legislative goals with 60 Senate votes to break through a filibuster. His priority was ObamaCare. He ignored the Dreamers. Identity politics, anti-Trump animus, and negativity will not win the 2020 election.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Hong Kong's Fate Was Settled on June 9, 1898!

An increasingly disruptive “uprising” is underway in Hong Kong. It will fail with increasingly sad results for the people of Hong Kong. The current disruption is by a shrinking, but violent, minority of the population. They temporarily won a victory with the withdrawal of the extradition proposal to China. That was almost two months ago; yet the increasingly violent protests continue. They are doomed to fail; indeed, they never had a chance. Their fate was sealed on June 30, 1897. They just didn’t know it. The British Empire was a mercantile empire based on free trade between the colonies. Much of the trade was sordid, especially the Slave Trade between Africa and the Americas. Just as corrupting was the shipment of opium to China. The Chinese rulers rebelled. The First Opium War ended with the Treaty of Nanking. Hong Kong was ceded to the British as a Crown Colony in perpetuity. The Second Opium War gave the British a perpetual lease on the Kowloon Peninsula. The British were not satisfied. They wanted more – a grant of the New Territories. China refused, granting the British a 100 year, rent-free lease on June 9, 1898. 100 years seemed like an eternity at the time. The New Territories comprise 86.2% of Hong Kong’s land and half its population. The British increasingly incorporated the New Territories into Hong Kong proper and its port. Hong Kong was one unit except for preexisting boundary lines. Hong Kong residents include refugees and their descendants who fled the Communist takeover of China. They are not looking forward to becoming part of China. Cantonese is the prevailing language of Hong Kong, but China mandated Mandarin become the official language. The Honk Kong population still resents that. The British were an occupying force, but they basically left the people alone, including the freedom to get rich. Their Hong Kong was a successful entrepot, along with Singapore. Singapore is independent. Hong Kong was never independent. 1997 was approaching with the New Territories leasehold coming to an end. The odds Beijing would renew it were ZERO. The odds that the United Kingdom had either the will or means to force a renewal were equally ZERO. The UK could in theory hold onto the original grant of the island and Kowloon Peninsula. But that was realistically impossible. Granting independence to that part of Hong Kong was also impossible. Singapore was an island onto itself. Hong Kong was not. England negotiated the best deal possible under the circumstances. China agreed to a one country, two systems policy, recognizing for 50 years the independent economic and political structure of Hong Kong. Hong Kong residents retained the British legal system, due process, freedom of speech, press, religion and the right to protest – none of which are available in China. Hong Kong has its own currency, culture and immigration and visa rules. It does not have true democracy, and will not – demonstrators not-withstanding. About half a million residents and billions in capital fled Hong Kong prior to the turnover. Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia were major beneficiaries of the flight. China has generally honored the agreement for the past 20 years, but has gradually increased its power over Hong Kong. The spark of the riots was a proposed extradition agreement to quickly extradite residents to China. The residents are resentful. They were never going to be independent. Even if the British had obtained a lease in perpetuity over the New Territories, they could not have held onto Hong Kong in perpetuity. Any modus vivendi with China would have given China effective control over Hong Kong. It was increasingly integrated into the Chinese and not British economy. Today’s Hong Kong rioters are accelerating the end of the One Country – Two Systems relationship. The Chinese have proven through millennia their patience. Beijing is showing patience, knowing it can outlast the dissidents. It can be subtle in exerting control, but it too can be pushed over the line. Democracy is not in the cards for Hong Kong.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Charm of Baltimore, President Trump, Senator Sanders, Mayor Pugh, and Representative Elijah Cummings

Baltimore, The Charm City, was once one of America’s Greatest Cities; it has seen better days, but there’s much too highlight about the city: Johns Hopkins University and Medical School, among the best in the country and world; Camden Yards B&O Railroad Museum The National Aquarium The Inner Harbor Fort McHenry Fells Point U.S.S. Constellation Nancy Pelosi’s childhood home Little Italy Crab Cake Baltimore is often known today for the highest homicide rate among the largest cities, a major drug problem, high unemployment, rampant rats, and great inequality with a 22% unemployment rate. Baltimore’s population peaked at 905,787 in the 1950 Census. It’s been declining ever since. Today’s population is estimated at slightly over 602 thousand. Baltimore is a mini version of Detroit’s decline. America mostly forgot about Baltimore in recent decades as its economics situation declined. Baltimore was one of America’s great industrial cities. It is a city of both beauty and squalor. Americans learnt of Baltimore from two TV series and the tragic death of a prisoner: “Homicide: Life on the Street, and “The Wire.” Freddie Gray, after being transported in a police cruiser, died from trauma to his head while in the back of the cruiser. Riots ensued after the “alleged” act of police brutality. The public watched on national TV as parts of Baltimore, especially a CVS, burnt to the ground while police stood down. The order was given to stand down, but no one in authority admitted to it. Fire Fighters did not enter these areas without police protection, which was not provided. Six officers were indicted by an incompetent district attorney. None were found guilty or copped a plea. All are innocent in the law. Baltimore is a dysfunctional city with a high crime rate: 309 homicides in 2018, the fourth straight year with over 300 homicides; 185 homicides so far this year; 5 police commissioners in 5 years; 3 mayors in 4 years. Orkin’s Rat Rates of Top 50 Cities ranks Baltimore #9. Chicago(#1), New York City (#2), and the District of Columbia (#4) set the pace for America. Baltimore’s major problem over the past half-century is deindustrialization with high paying factory jobs giving way to lower paying service jobs, if available. Baltimore is also a victim, like many American cities, of past housing segregation with African Americans squeezed into ghettos, continuing poor education in the inner city, and too many non-traditional families. Congressman Elijah Cummings has represented West Baltimore for seemingly eternity. He chairs the powerful House Oversight Committee. Congressman Cummings exercised his prerogatives, both as a member of Congress and as Chair of the Committee, as the Grand Inquisitor to harangue and Crucify Kevin McAleenan, the acting director of ICE, who under the understood rules of Washington, had to sit back, suck it up, and demurely object. Representative Cummings got his national soundbite. President Trump does not play by Washington’s rules. He had the balls, bluster, brass, chutzpah, effrontery, gall, and nerve to call out Representative Cummings. He lambasted Cummings and Baltimore, never directly tweeting or uttering a racist remark about either. However, whenever President Trump criticizes a member of a minority, such as “The Squad,” he is viciously attacked by Democrats and the media as racist. The premise is if President Donald Trump says it, it’s racist. Identity politics in the main Democratic strategy to defeat President Trump’s Reelection in 2020. The economy is booming with record low unemployment among African Americans and Hispanics. Therefore the Democrats and mainstream media have to paint President Trump as a racist. The President tweeted about Baltimore and Representative Cummings: “Rep. Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His District is considered the worst in the U.S.A.” He added “If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.” He further tweeted Baltimore is a “Disgusting rat and rodent infested mess” and said “No human being would want to live there.” Remember, Baltimore lost 300,000 inhabitants, 1/3 of its population since 1950. What is racist about those statements? Representative Cummings house as broken into last Saturday. Daniel Murphy was recently hired as Deputy Police Commissioner of Baltimore. He and his wife were walking Friday night, July 19 around 9:00pm near Patterson Park when two 16-year minors at gunpoint robbed them. The culprits took a purse, wallet, cash and cell phones, but fortunately did not physically harm the victims. The Lexington Market is a famous, historic public market a short distance from downtown and the Inner Harbor. Tourists are told it is unsafe to go there. A 20-year old tape recently emerged of Representative Cummings saying : “This morning, I left my community of Baltimore, a drug-infested area, where a lot of the drugs that we’re talking about today have taken the lives of so many children. Was African American Representative Cummings racist when he said that? Mayor Catherine Pugh walked through abandoned buildings in East Baltimore on September 11, 2018 and exclaimed: “What the hell? We should just take all this XXX down.” A short time later she said “Whoa, you can smell the rats,” and “Oh my God, you can smell the dead animals.” Was the African American Mayor Pugh being racist? Senator Bernie Sanders echoed the racism refrain against President Trump. He found it unbelievable that we have a President who attacks American cities, who attacks Americans, who attacks somebody is a friend of mine.” Is this the same Senator Sanders who during his 2016 presidential campaign walked the streets of West Baltimore? He was moved by the pathos (my word – not his) of Baltimore: “Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you’re in a wealthy nation. You would think that you were in a Third World country.” He noted that Baltimore is “a community in which half of the people don’t have jobs,” and that “We’re talking about a community in which there are hundreds of buildings that are uninhabitable.” He found it disgraceful that “Residents of Baltimore’s poorest boroughs have lifespans shorrter than people living under dictatorships in North Korea. That is a disgrace.” Was Senator Sanders, who recently called President Trump a racist, a racist himself in his comments about Baltimore? How is it racist to tell the truth? Baltimore, The Charm City, is sadly a microcosm of many of America's inner cities.