by baldilocks

For the last few days, it’s been all about Donald Trump and his fiery words to NFL owners regarding players who choose to sit down or kneel during the playing of the National Anthem. Lots of mischaracterizations out there about the state of this feud, including that it’s a “First Amendment” issue or a “Free Speech” issue. It’s neither. It’s a contractual issue between the employer – the NFL – and the employees –the players. And if the employer chooses to allow its employees to react in any way that an individual employee sees fit, then that’s the way it should be.

And, of course, the consumers — ticket-buyers and viewers — should respond in the way each individual consumer sees fit. Nothing new there.

Consumers should remember that

[t]he league regularly clamps down on social messaging, like wearing cleats commemorating the heroes of the 9/11 attacks or decals honoring slain Dallas law enforcement officers. Taking a knee for God can also be problematic, just ask Tim Tebow. But the anthem protests are explicitly league-sanctioned activities.

Emphasis mine.

I think that the ultimately goal is to bankrupt the NFL. Why owners would go along with this is open to speculation, so that’s what I will do. Speculate.

The elite know things about which we non-elites can only conspiracy theorize and I think they see which way the wind is blowing in this country – toward socialism. And many of them are undoubtedly assisting the wind’s direction. So, they want to cut their losses sooner than later and, therefore, are willing to see their Golden Egg-laying Goose destroyed. No big deal because, for most of them, the NFL isn’t their only Goose. One wonders whether President Trump’s son-of-a-female-dog commentary was intended to speed up this process; to inflame anger in the true tools in this saga: the players and the consumers, not to mention the taxpayers who often fund the construction of stadiums.

But there’s something else to consider:

The last thing Americans (and particularly American men) need is agenda-spreading bread and circuses, either paying for the “privilege” or wasting hours in front of the telescreen. With the accelerated pace the Republic is being internally subverted, and with the enhanced and extended dangers that appears to be making inevitable, I’m sure we could all find more productive uses for our limited time and resources.

If my theory is correct, I don’t think the elite bargained for the fact that they might be removing a distraction from those who would oppose their true agenda, but that’s what they are probably doing.

Speaking of dead geese and removing a distraction, this is from the Instagram account of Sonequa Martin-Green, the star of the new Star Trek: Discovery:

The cast is kneeling in solidarity with the NFL players.

I watched the first two episodes free via CBS All Access and I was impressed. Because of that, I had been thinking about buying the service, but now I think I’ll pass. I already have to ignore enough Leftist political musings from members of the older Trek casts.

Maybe I’ll check it out when it’s free – assuming there aren’t more pressing things on all of our plates by then.

(Thanks to Big Hollywood)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on

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“We are moving to Sioux Falls, South Dakota,” my father said matter-of-factly.

I don’t think I knew exactly where South Dakota was, having spent my formative years in Denver, a truly wonderful place to live as a kid back then. I could obtain an occasional Coors beer—an exclusive adult beverage only available in the area around Colorado, where it was brewed. I could grab a train every weekend to ski. Life was good! No, life was great!

My family moved to Sioux Falls in 1966, the year I started high school, and left in 1969, the year I graduated. Our class was the first to spend all three years at Lincoln High, which had just been built.

Those years still provide my moral compass as a journalist and an educator.

This past weekend I was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Lincoln High, an honor indeed for someone who spent much of his time exploring the boundaries of teenage life in flyover country.

I thanked the committee who overlooked my smoking and drinking in the school parking lot, my suspension for fighting in the hallways, my arrest for car theft, and my protests against Vietnam.

I was one of the better students in the class of more than 600—technically No. 21 in the days when everyone knew everything about one another. No one got trophies for participation back then.

My main contribution at Sioux Falls Lincoln, however, was rock ‘n’ roll. I was the lead singer of The Trippers, a garage band before garage bands became vogue. We practiced in a basement because garages in South Dakota were too cold!

Along with other bands, The Trippers brought psychedelic music from the West Coast and rhythm and blues from Detroit. We traveled throughout South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota, playing small towns like Lane, a bump in the road of 25 people where hundreds turned out from the farmlands every Saturday to listen to rock music, to large venues where we played with Neil Diamond, The Turtles, and The Lovin’ Spoonful.

The Trippers had one recording, “Have You Ever?,” which made it into Billboard’s Top 100. Well, it made it to No. 99 for a week. The Trippers, a band of great desire and somewhat limited talent, were inducted into the rock ‘n’ roll halls of fame in South Dakota in 2010 and in Iowa in 2016. Here is a short video about the band:

In the 1960s, the radio provided the window on the world for the teenagers of Sioux Falls. KISD served up the top of the pops from The Beatles to Jimi Hendrix, with a lot of bubble gum in between.

It wasn’t an easy time. The 1960s almost tore the country apart because of war and race relations. Some of my classmates went to Vietnam. Fortunately, no one died, but many returned broken and unappreciated.

In a book I wrote a few years ago called “Flyover Country,” I told the story of the Class of 1969 and its students. The class produced doctors, lawyers, business people, and educators. It also produced criminals and con men. Many from the class died way too young. See

Most importantly to me, Lincoln High School sculpted me. It took a cocky kid from Colorado who wanted to be anywhere but South Dakota and made him into young man with an appreciation for people who didn’t complain about 100 inches of snow every winter or the vagaries of how the world treated them. If there was a job to do, it got done. If there was a neighbor to help, it got done. If there was a problem to fix, it got done.

I learned a lot about life in my three years in South Dakota. I learned about friendship and kindness. I learned about truth and trust. I learned about community and caring.

No excuses! No complaints! That’s what I learned in South Dakota; lessons I still hold dear today.

It’s also wonderful spending time with folks from flyover country. I saw an old friend, former U.S. Senator Jim Abourezk, a longtime liberal. He is an original. He and I don’t agree on much. But we can talk about politics as a discussion rather than an argument.

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 4.09.33 PM
Former U.S. Senator Jim Abourezk (right) and I have some apple pie in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I even saw a man with a T-shirt for Reagan-Bush in 1984 at a diner in Sioux Falls. Imagine wearing one of those outside of flyover country! It was a reinvigorating visit that will help me deal with the insanity of urban politics in Philadelphia.

Here is an added bonus. My cover of Light My Fire at the induction of the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame:

I don’t usually watch the sunday shows anymore but with the Trump NFL business I was interested in what would be said and on Jake Tapper’s state of the Union and on the panel Jake Tapper’s first commentator Nina Turner had this to say about America

 I mean, really, he should use his energy to fight for our sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico who have no power or the states in Florida where the citizens still need help and other areas where the hurricanes hit.

It is utterly ridiculous for him to pick up this fight. Is he talking about our heritage, as in the heritage of this country that enslaved black folks or took lands from native Americans or the heritage that still has systemic racism in this country? Which heritage is he talking about?

And to pick a fight with NFL players? I mean, this flag and this country is just as much about Patrick Henry saying, give me liberty or give me death. As it is about Fannie Lou Hamer saying, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

These players have every right to express themselves and to challenge the system and in the same spirit of Muhammad Ali or even when James Baldwin said that, I love this country more than any other country, and that is why I reserve my — you know, the right to critique this country. That is what those NFL players are doing. They’re upholding their first amendment right and they are pushing this country to recognize its bigotry, its oppression, and its racism.

And that is very much American.

Check out the video (she starts at 28:35) and watch how the contempt for this country she has come out in a very vivid way.

I found her tirade very interesting about how horrible and oppressive America has been but what was much more interesting was comparing it to a conversation I had the previous Thursday at work before President Trump had said a word.

I was working in a section of the warehouse where I would only occasionally run into someone else.  There was a rather friendly fellow from Africa whose English was iffy who I bumped into.  During on and off conversation I found out he was from the Congo and had been here 3 years. I asked him the question I always ask of any immigrant I meet:  Why America?  In the two clearest words of English I would hear in our on again off again conversation he said with a huge smile:

“America Good”

In broken and halting phrases he talked about being able to work and feed himself and clothe his family.  He spoke the violence in Congo and how so many others had died (actually he said “Congo and made a movement of his hands and a machine gun noise” ) he thanked God that he was here and free to do these things in safety.

Now this man is working in a warehouse and make’s an hourly wage 300 times less than the lowest paid athlete who took a knee on Sunday.  I suspect he makes a lot less than Nina Turner as well.

How is it then that he, a hard working poor man in a job that I suspect those athletes would think beneath them, can see America for what it and what it means is and they can’t?

Closing thought: Funny how so many of those who scream about the evils of oppressive America are always insisting on open boarders. If America was as evil as they say you’d think they’d want keep them away from such a horrible place.

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