Tuesday, October 13, 2009

SF Chronicle talk - Phil Matier on California politics and government

San Francisco Chronicle Columnist Phil Matier is a friend and one-half of the well-known reporting team of Matier and Ross.

I've known Phil since 1993 when I started as a columnist for the Oakland-based Montclarion and he and his professional sidekick Andy Ross were working under the same "Matier and Ross" title. Over the years Phil has always lent an ear and advice.

Now, since I blog on the SF Chronicle's website SFGste.com, I figured I'd take time to do something that was always in the back of my mind: make a vlog featuring an interview with Phil. The result is this 21 minute long video.

Frankly, it also a way of paying back those at the SF Chronicle who've given me the freedom to express myself and bring light to some issues that ordinarily would be ignored.

Phil and I met at Merritt Station, a local cafe near Lake Merritt in Oakland on Sunday, September 27th.

Me: The legendary Phil Matier. Phil, my audience is national and international. Tell people about yourself. You're probably the most well-known - in the United States - 'muckraker', I would say. Ah. I don't really like that term. How would you describe yourself?

Phil Matier: I think I'm pretty much a political columnist, and uh, zeroed in pretty much on the San Francisco Bay Area and the state of California. Which, in a lot of ways, leads the nation both in content and in controversy when it comes to politics.

So I've been doing it for quite a number of years right now and I've seen a lot of interesting changes. In both parties and in the emergence of the third party, which is the 'decline to state' - people who don't really feel aligned with either of the two.

So, California is in some ways again on the leading edge of American politics, including the growth in the sort of disillusionment about the political system.

Me: Let's go with that, but before we get to that, what was your first big scoop?

Phil Matier: You know, Zen, scoops, they come and they go whether they be on the police beat, the court beat sports and politics. Sit back sometimes and flip through your clips and take a look at things. To be quite honest, they just sort of fly by like waves on a beach.

Me: Ha. There's so many you forgot, right?

Phil Matier: Well, its not just - there are a lot of what we call scoops - is that in retrospect what we look at as scoops: somebody, a gaffe, something on the goppip front, nonprofits not being on the up and up.. We've covered them all - me and my partner Andy Ross in the Matier and Ross column.

But sometimes you wonder whether these are the waves on the beach. And while they look big at the time they crash, it's really the tide that dictates sort of what goes in and out of this harbor. So when I look back on them I go 'That's interesting but I try to look at the tied and the bigger shifts that go on.

Me: Is California ungovernable? Because we have the initiative process. We saw the circus with Prop 8 and what happened with the California Supreme Court's decision. I want to hear your view. Is California ungovernable?

Phil Matier: Well, part of your question is (really) is California governable or is it over-governable at this point. We have very active governments on a number of different fronts.

We have, of course, your standard political government, which is elected every couple of years to your state assembly, your state senate, your governorships, different elected offices, your mayors, your city councilors, your town councilors, all down the line. On top of that we have the judicial system which can turn around and say 'yes or no' to whatever laws or decisions those various entities make.

Some say, well, is California being governed by the courts. If you look at things like prisons, roads, schools, and such like that, sometimes it appears that the courts are making the primary decisions.

In California we have another layer over that which is the initiative process. Which was initially the idea that if the voters didn't like something they could put it on the ballot and they could change it. Especially if the legislature or the courts were simply inactive or chose to ignore it.

The first big - it was a dormant thing (the initiative process) for many many year, before it sprang to life a couple of decades back with Proposition 13. The passage of that: the great California tax revolt, which in turn led to the rise of (Ronald) Reagan and other things nationally. As I was saying California in some ways moves the country.

That inspired people to say we can take government into our own hands when government refuses to act. The intiative process became a gauge of the overall political tides. If a City like Oakland didn't want to do tax reform then the people would do it for them.

That morphed into a process where people and businesses were putting things on the ballot to put them on for ballot's sake. So now we have three layers of politics in California. Three layers of governance, all competing at times, but at times all working together.

As an illustration, California's many problems with its budget. The legislature didn't have the will or the votes to pass various things to they said we will put it to the voters and have them decide.

That didn't work.

Another question is, let's say Gay Marriage in California, Proposition 8. Voters said 'no' to it, City of San Francisco said 'yes' to it, triggering a court fight, that turned around and said 'no' to it and then the voters were asked again and they said 'yes' to it, (which was a 'no' to Gay Marriage), but that is a process. Like it or not. People - if it works in your favor, people like it. If you don't get the results you want it needs fixing.

California's having these discussions about having a constitutional convention and try to remake the playing field, yet again.

Me: Can we get there, though?

Phil Matier: We may get to a constitutional convention. I'm not sure we're going to get anything out of it that's going to be substantive.

At the key to all of these problems, as (former Speaker and San Francisco Mayor) Willie Brown likes to say, it's not the system, it's the players.

Speaker / Mayor Willie Brown

And if you're a football team and you've lost the Super Bowl in politics these days in California we say 'Well, we need to change the rules' - make the goal posts closer. We almost could have won if we'd gotten those last 10 yards, so let's make the field 90 yards rather than 110 yards.

We do these under the name of reform and all they do is often times all the do is change the rules. But if you don't have the talent, it's not going to work.

Me: How much of these problems are borne of the fact that we seem to have two states in one? We've talked for years about a split state need. But we've never done anything about it.

Phil Matier: People would say we have two states, Northern California and Sounthern California because they have the water. Now, California's spliting into two states, coastal and interior of California which is exurban and suburban. What the coast has to sell, the inland's going to buy. We have two Californias, now you can say we can split them but I'm not sure it's going to work. Many states have a split; it's just that ours is a little bigger than others. 

Me: Let me ask you a blunt question, first, about San Francisco and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Why is he running for governor when there are those who feel he hasn't finished being Mayor of San Francisco?

Mayor Gavin Newsom

Phil Matier: Well, Zennie, let's be honest. If there was a rule in politics that if you were going to run for another office you could not do so until you were finished with your current one, we wouldn't have a President Obama.

Me: Are you comparing Gavin to Barack?

Phil Matier: Only in that we have this evolution in American politics to where you pass through rather than necessarily complete. So that's not a new phenomenon at all. History is full of governors and senators - congresspeople - who have moved on to other offices midterm and cast their eye high and kept going.

Zennie Abraham: But Phil, come on. I know Gavin. I love Gavin. I think Gavin's a great guy, but I keep wondering why he didn't do the 'Jerry Brown move'. Jerry was Mayor of Oakland; he remade himself. Concentrate on being Mayor, and then..

California Attorney General Jerry Brown

Phil Matier: Zennie you have to dust off your memory a little bit. Jerry Brown, no sooner did he get elected Governor of California with his father's help, did he too run for President.

Me: That's true. I stand corrected.

Phil Matier: Now he says the voters never forgave him for that; he didn't think it was a smart move but that didn't stop him from running for President again and again and again.

Zennie Abraham: Three times, I believe.

Phil Matier: With age comes wisdom. But in California we also have Jerry Brown who, while not declared is going to run for governor and who well could get into the Guiness Book of World Records for having been the first guy to be governor twice - non consecutively. And the first to have gone from governor to attorney general.

I think what you're saying is 'Why the leapfrogging' and you want to know about Gavin Newsom and wha the future holds for him.

He obviously sees himself as a person of destiny of which the mayorship of San Francisco was a step to that. Well, you would say the governorship would be a step to another office? Yes. He is a creature of that world. It's an interesting paradox that he is at once an agent of change and very much something out of a television politician, running from one office to another.

That is politics as well. It is a game of ambition. It is a game of high ideals. Very rarely do we have situations where people who are underestimated wind up in positions where they achieve greater than anyone expected.

Harry Truman, for example, was a pretty much a political machine product and had been parked in the vice-presidency as a caretaker know body though was going anywhere.

Zennie Abraham: Reagan?

Phil Matier: No Ronald Reagan was always a rising star - a man on the move. He was the first true multi-media president - Jack Kennedy was probably the first televised one - Ronald Reagan took it further.

On the next mayor of San Francisco and Black Politics in Oakland

Phil Matier: Gavin has not really laid down a political infrastructure in San Francisco It's going to be a bedoin regime when Newsom picks up his tent and moves on - the sands will, within a day, cover up most of what political tracks he had left.

Zennie Abraham: Any surprises in the City Attorney's Race that might lead to mayor?

Phil Matier: The City Attorney of San Francisco Dennis Herrera's obviously a top candidate for mayor. State Senator Leland Yee would like to see himself the first Chinese-American mayor of San Francisco. Bevan Dufty would like to be the first Gay mayor, We have a number of people out there.

But in politics, Zennie, as you well know, you don't know the field until the bell rings. Because things changes quickly. Here in Oakland, you had the return of Ron Dellums, then before that Jerry Brown. Who knows? In Oakland you have everyone asking 'Who's going to run?'

Zennie Abraham: Perata?

(Fmr.) State Senator Don Perata 

Phil Matier: He's already running but who knows, Sean Penn may move to Oakland and run for mayor. I'm just joking on that, but the point is in politics you just don't know.

Zennie Abraham: In Oakland it seems like (Don) Perata is unbeatable. I can't see anyone that can beat him. I admire Don but I always thought his want was to ascend beyond mayor, instead of be Mayor of Oakland. Am I looking at that the wrong way?

Phil Matier: I think that for Don Perata there's always been a split path there. I think that he thought he could go high in state government and I think he ran for controller on the state level and he didn't make it in the primary. There's ambition there.

But he did go up there. He did get a look inside the governor's office. There are two types of politicians: the executive types and those that enjoy the debate. Willie Brown knew he couldn't win (for governor) state wide, but he went to the state and got as far as he could. I think Perata's more on the executive side. Senator Diane Feinstein's more on the executive side, but she's in the Senate acting as an exective.

Zennie Abraham: If Perata wins, does that mean Black politics is dead in Oakland?

Phil Matier: No. Zennie you have to understand the art of politics can be very obvious on the street or very subtle. You could make an argument that if I was talking in straight political numbers, if I ..OK. I are saying that the absence of a Black mayor would lessen the political power in Oakland?

Zennie Abraham: It's not so much black mayor as councilmembers, people who are active.

Phil Matier: Let's take a look at this.

Zennie Abraham: Sure.

Phil Matier: Two (black) members on the city council.

Me: Right.

Phil Matier: Two members on the (Alameda) county board of supervisors?

Me: Right. But Phil, we...

Phil Matier: Excuse me. Your congress. Your Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

Me: Yes.

Phil Matier: That is a pretty strong..black police chief. Black fire chief.

Me: Right.

Phil Matier: There's a pretty strong front there within the infrastructure of government and on the elected front.

Zennie Abraham: Phil, I gotta ask ya, we had more black councilmembers 15 years ago.

Phil Matier: There's also been a change in the population of Oakland.

Me: Yes. Yes. Yes. Very true.

Phil Matier: Now, is it reflective of the city? If that is the goal is it reflective of the ebb and flow as well.

Me: Yes. It is reflective of the city. We have change. We have our first Lesbian councilmember. We have a large lesbian population per capita. But even with that, my contention is that those who are African American and politically involved are not as cohesive as they used to be.

Phil Matier: What is the reason for that?

Me: I don't know.

Phil Matier: Well, part of it is, possibly, with success comes complacency.

Me: Also lack of leadership.

Phil Matier: I don't think..What leadership. I don't...you have a black congresswoman, a black..

Me: Mentors. Lack of mentors.

Phil Matier: I don't think that's for lack of leadership.

Me: Ok.

Phil Matier: Now, Ron Dellums was congressman he handed it to Barbara Lee. Right?

Me: But they're older than me.

Phil Matier: Well, OK. That is universal in politics - young versus old cuts across all political lines. Now whether the young organize around political issues that remains to be seen. Now whether a Perata ..You could make an argument that a Perata or a Jerry Brown perhaps increased African American participation because they felt like they needed to fight for something.

Me: In Oakland, I see younger talented white women in politics. Frieda Edgette who runs the East Bay Young Democrats is well-liked and moving forward, as just one example. But that's why I say: there's a strong group over there that's unmatched in any area.

Phil Matier: Well, all I can say is at the core of politics in America a person gets to decide their willingness and level of involvement It's not mandated. You don't get drafted. You decide how much you want to be involved or not be involved.

In terms of politics if we go back to the idea of courts, we have organizing tools as economics - getting the piece of the pie. If it attracts quotas or whatever you want to call them is there a need to organize?

Me: Forecast the Governor's Race.

Phil Matier: It hasn't started yet. We have people hovering around. We have Gavin Newsom. We have Jerry Brown. We, on the Republican side, we have Meg Whitman. We have Steve Poisner. Tom Campbell. A race is when the running starts. What we have are people putting on their sneakers and looking in the mirror.

Me: Senator Boxer. Vulnerable?

Phil Matier: Anybody is going to be vulnerable when we have national issues like heath care in this situation. It's no secret that when your party's president is in office and its midterm elections, you're vulnerable. Yes. She's vulnerable. I don't have to say that; every politician feels that in their bones. Even if they're uncontested they always feel vulnerable.

Me: Phil, I can sit here and talk to you all day but I know you're a busy man. We can catch you at SFGate, and Channel Five.

Phil Matier: and on KCBS (radio) in the mornings and the afternoons.

Me: Phil, thank you so much.

FRO's FAVORITE FIVE Top Five NFL Moments - Week 5

Top Five NFL Moments - Week 5
by Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer-At Large, Football Reporters Online

Kyle Orton’s 35-48, 330-yard, 2 TD, 1 INT game, which included Orton’s second 11-yard TD pass to Brandon Marshall of the day, to force overtime, in the Broncos 20-17 big extra session win over New England… Donovan McNabb’s 16 of 21, 264-yard, 3 TD, 0 INT day, posting a 157.2 passer rating, returning from injury in the Eagles’ 33-14 win over Tampa Bay… only to be outdone by Eli Manning’s perfect 158.3 passer rating, as Manning showed his sore heel was healthy, going 8 of 10 for 173 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, while leading two other scoring drives, to put the Giants up 28-0 before being pulled for precautionary reasons before halftime in the Giants’ 44-7 rout over the Raiders.


It didn’t matter that Seattle quarterback Matt Hasslebeck was returning from broken ribs, nor that he was missing seven of his starting teammates, including three-fifths of the offensive line that usually protects him, or even that the Jacksonville Jaguars came into town with two-game win streak off a 20-point win. Hasselbeck still dismantled the Jags, throwing four touchdown passes, including 34-yard and 44-yard scores on successive possessions in the second quarter. He finished 18 of 30 for 241 yards, no turnovers, and a 125.1 passer rating, in the Seahawks’ 41-0 rout of Jacksonville.

Peyton Manning has been so consistent this season, the milestones he’s been reaching have come rather quietly, since it’s well… Peyton Manning, and when it’s done by number 18, such achievements are expected as much as Colts’ regular season wins. Indianapolis rolled to its 14th consecutive regular season victory, a 31-9 win at 0-5 Tennessee, behind Manning’s 36-44, 309-yard, 3 TD, 1 INT performance. Ironically, the Colts haven’t lost a regular season games sine a loss to Tennessee last October. Just how good is Manning? Well, imagine you’re an NFL coach with a 14-9 lead on the road, the ball at your on 7, and just :57 left in the half. Most of you would likely opt to run out the clock or play it safe. Not when you have Manning leading your offense. Going a perfect 5-for-5, Manning took the Colts 93 yards in a ridiculous 40 seconds, for a 21-9 Indianapolis halftime lead. Manning has passed for over 300 yards in all five games this season. His first-quarter touchdown, the 343rd of his career, moved him ahead of Fran Tarkenton into sole possession of third place all-time behind only Brett Favre and Dan Marino. Manning also became the third quarterback in NFL history to have 70 games with a passer rating of 100 or better.
When you beat a first-place team on the road by five touchdowns, your whole team deserves some recognition. It was supposed to have been a big NFC showdown between Atlanta, a 2009 contender looking to return to the playoffs after earning a wild-card berth last season, and San Francisco, who was only a Favre TD pass with :02 left in a Week 3 loss from being a perfect 4-0. Instead, the Falcons took apart the 49ers early and often, jumping to a 14-0 lead just 8:28 into the game. After allowing San Francisco to pull within 14-10 in the second quarter, Atlanta scored the final 31 points of the game putting it away, 35-14, by halftime en route to a 45-10 rout. Defensively, Atlanta forced three turnovers, had three sacks. Offensively, Matt Ryan threw for 329 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, going 22-32. Ryan’s favorite target, Roddy White, caught 8 passes for 210 yards, including touchdown receptions of 31 and 90 yards, while Michael Turner rushed for 97 yards and 3 TD’s on 22 carries. Very impressive way to follow the loss at New England and a bye.


As big favorites, the Cowboys were struggling against the winless Chiefs. So, who bailed them out from being embarrassed in an unexpected overtime game in Kansas City? Undrafted wide receiver Austin Miles, from Monmouth College, making his first career NFL start in place of injured starter Roy Williams, with a huge game. With 10 catches for 250 yards, Austin broke Hall of Famer Bob Hayes’ Cowboys’ franchise record of 246 receiving yards, set nearly 39 years ago. That alone was enough to earn Austin the top spot among FRO’s Favorite Five for Week Five. However, Austin also had the two biggest Cowboy scores of the game: a 59-yard touchdown catch giving Dallas a 20-13 lead with 2:16 left in the fourth quarter, and then winning the game, 26-20, with a 60-yard touchdown catch and run 6:38 into overtime. “It’s a feeling that’s unbelievable,” Austin said. “It’s amazing. I never seen that coming today. I was ready today, but you never expect a huge game like that.” … Side note: Although it was due to both teams wearing their throwbacks, it was great to see the Cowboys in blue jerseys and the Chiefs in red ones, instead of the typical, boring thing we always see with one team wearing white. Let’s see more of that (as long the jersey colors would allow for easily telling the teams apart, of course).


There had already been several entertaining national television games on either Sunday or Monday night this season, but the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins played the best of the bunch -- in fact, the game of the season -- thus far. In an absolutely fantastic NFL game, the Jets rallied from a 7-0 deficit to go ahead 13-10 entering a wild fourth quarter which saw five lead changes on five touchdowns -- only the second time in NFL history in which five go-ahead touchdowns were scored in the fouth quarter. But, it wasn’t just that such history took place, but how, in thrilling fashion, with lots of subplots, twists, and great plays. There was the physicality of two longtime division rivals, and the continued maturation of both Mark Sanchez (making some big throws in just his fifth NFL start) and Chad Henne (going 20-26, for 241 yards, 2 TD, and 0 INT in only his second NFL start). There was the chess match of Rex Ryan’s defensive schemes being surprisingly outmatched by Miami’s effective wildcat offense which helped to roll up 151 rushing yards on long, time-consuming drives. There was Braylon Edwards, playing as only the third NFL player since 1970 to start with one team in one week and start with a new team the next, having a good first game, with 5 catches for 64 yards, including his first TD as a Jet on nice catch in the back of the end zone, to tie the score at 7-7 in the first quarter. Later, Edwards made a sensational mid-air, spinning reception, barely getting both feet down inbounds at the Miami 1, setting the Jets up to go ahead 20-17 early in the fourth quarter. Sanchez said of his new receiver, “Braylon was just lights out. I’ve never seen anyone catch the ball like that.” But then, there was the answer to that play on the next drive, on which former Buckeye Ted Ginn caught an over-the-shoulder 53-yard TD pass from the former Wolverine Henne, with three Jets on Ginn’s back, for a 24-20 Dolphin lead. And then, with Miami trailing 27-24, there was one final, methodical, wildcat drive of 70 yards in 13 plays which included two great throws by Henne on consecutive third downs inside the Jets’ 30 within the final two minutes to set up Ronnie Brown’s wildcat, game-winning 2-yard touchdown run with just :06 left, giving the Dolphins a frantic and exhilarating 31-27 victory.

AFC South Wrap Up Week 5

                    AFC South Wrap Up Week 5
By Rafael Garcia
Sr. Contributing Writer Football Reporters Online
Southeast Region
Indianapolis 31 Tennessee 9
Code Blue turned into Code Red in Nashville Sunday night. The game started well for the Titans as they played the Colts close. The crowd was into the game but when they had the chance to swing the momentum their way they kicked a field goal on fourth and one. This was a night that fans were hoping the team would turn things around. What they saw is a team that couldn’t run or pass. This is a team that shows no sign of playing with enthusiasm or determination. They were supposed to control the football with their running game and that never materialized. Chris Johnson finished with 34 yards and LenDale White had 51. With the Colts pulling away they had to abandon the run and switch to the pass. Well that didn’t go any better.  Kerry Collins continues his struggles but he is not the only problem. Titan receivers are dropping balls in their hands. They are not finishing routes and still do not have that go to receiver. Rookie Kenny Britt dropped a pass and Collins over and under threw passes too. The defense is a really big mess right now as they are making average quarterbacks look like stars. With Peyton Manning at the table with a carving knife the game went as expected. It’s not like he had a slew of veterans catching his passes. He had the likes of Austin Collie catching eight for 97 yards. There were also names like Donald Brown and Pierre Garcon. We see what is means to have a top tier quarterback who can get the ball to his receivers no matter who they are. The Titan defense has rookies trying to get the job done as well as veterans that can’t at this point. Then there is the argument about Vince Young or Kerry Collins. Head coach Jeff Fisher is still standing by Collins and fans and some media members are starting to ask why. Young finally got some playing time, but if you saw him on the sidelines when he was asked to come in, he looked like he didn’t want to. He looked up at the clock and later said that he was not expecting to come in. Some would say words like that hurt him because you should always be ready to play as the backup. Still you have to wonder when they will decide to play him. Next year he will make almost $15M if he is on the roster. Don’t you think its time to see what your investment can do before you find out too late?
Seattle 41 Jacksonville 0
See, this is the thing about this division after the Colts. You never know what team is going to show up in Nashville, Florida or Texas. Here in this one the Jags showed their low side. Just last week they looked like a playoff team against Tennessee. Ok, it was just the Titans. David Garrard looked nothing like last week and receiver Mike Sims-Walker was a scratch for violation of team policy. Matt Hasselbeck returned for the Seahawks and was fantastic going 18-30 for 241 yards and four touchdowns. He did this with most of his offensive line out and after a hard week of practice. Nate Burleson and T. J. Houshmandzadeh each caught two scoring passes and Nick Reed returned a fumble 79 yards for another touchdown. The Jags looked like they were in shock as they had one three and out after another to open the game. Maurice Jones-Drew had 12 carries for just 34 yards and the Jags were held to 199 yards of total offense. Pretty darn bad for a team that can look so good at times. Garrard finished 18-31 for 188 yards and two fumbles he lost. They had a total of 10 first downs and nine penalties to go with that. At the end of the day you could say they failed in all facets of the game including red-zone opportunities. They now stand at 2-3 and the only thing the other teams are fighting for now is who will end up second behind the Colts.
Arizona 28 Houston 21
This was a game of two halves, and then a fantastic finish. The first half belonged to the Cards as they jumped out to a 21-0 lead behind the arm of Kurt Warner and his two touchdown passes to Larry Fitzgerald. It was beautiful to watch these two quarterbacks as they threw to some of the best receivers in the game. In the second half it was the Texans turn to score and they did when Chris Brown ran in from one in the third to make it 21-7. In the fourth Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson went to work connecting twice from 11 and 17 yards to tie it at 21. Schaub had a huge day going 35-50 for 371 yards and the two scores. Johnson and Owen Daniels each had eight catches for 101 and 94 yards respectively. So it came down to one last big play. Kurt Warner had fizzled in the second half after a huge first but had one last chance. It failed miserably, and Houston got the ball back, but on third and seven, Schaub missed intended receiver Kevin Walter and Arizona’s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie picked off the pass and high stepped it to the house for the winning score. So as was noted before, the teams in this division don’t show up all the time. The Texans sit at 2-3 and share second place with Jacksonville. Not much competition for the Colts at this time huh?

Rush Limbaugh in NFL = Modern Slavery

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Right wing Radio talk show blowhard Rush Limbaugh wants to own at least part of the NFL's St. Louis Rams and has joined St. Louis Blues owner and former Madison Square Garden CEO Dave Checketts to do so.

But with Rush Limbaugh comes baggage and a lot of it in this case. Given his statements about African Americans, Rush Limbaugh's even partial ownership of any NFL team is akin to (deliberately capitalized) Modern Slavery.

Rush Limbaugh's record ads up to a view of blacks as alien, second class citizens that are to be feared, held in check, and watched. So imagine Rush owning a team mostly black? What would he say if the St. Louis Rams drafted a black quarterback in the 1st round of the NFL Draft? Would he complain that 'while the league's desirous to see a black quarterback do well, I'm not'?

Rush, with all due respect to his incredible business acumen in securing a $400 million radio contract, has made a ton of statements that put blacks down. For example, he twice used the term "spade" in talking about President Barack Obama in 2008, even though he thought he could get away with it because then presidential candidate and now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used the term "spadework" in a talk about Obama.

NFL and Rush?  No!

Rush is quick to point to a crime where (sadly) black youth were beating up a white young man on a bus (and it wasn't even because he was white), but turns a blind eye to any news of a hate crime against blacks.

He's compared NFL players to the gang members the crips and bloods, using the time worn code words for "black gang member".

Rush has made so many anti-back statements, there's a "top 10" list complied by Casey Gane-McCalla of Newsone in 2008:

1. I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.

2. Zennie's note: There is some question over whether Rush actually said this comment but it's all over the Internet. This entry is mine, not that of the original blogger.

3. Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?

4. Right. So you go into Darfur and you go into South Africa, you get rid of the white government there. You put sanctions on them. You stand behind Nelson Mandela — who was bankrolled by communists for a time, had the support of certain communist leaders. You go to Ethiopia. You do the same thing.

5. Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.

6. The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.

7. They’re 12 percent of the population. Who the hell cares?

8. Take that bone out of your nose and call me back(to an African American female caller).

9. I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. They’re interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well. I think there’s a little hope invested in McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he really didn’t deserve.

10. On Obama : a ‘halfrican American’, an ‘affirmative action candidate.’ Limbaugh even has repeatedly played a song on his radio show ‘Barack the Magic Negro’ using an antiquated Jim Crow era term for black a man who many Americans are supporting for president.

It's obvious Rush Limbaugh doesn't like any African American person save for Bo Snerdley, who works for him. If working for Rush is the price blacks have to pay to gain respect from him, I say forget it. Please don't let Rush Limbaugh own any NFL organization.

Jamie Foxx right about Roman Polanski

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Jamie Foxx has the right idea about Roman Polanski, who's in a Swiss prison as of this writing after being on the run from U.S. authorities for 27 years for raping a 13-year-old girl who's now a 45-year-old woman.

Jamie Foxx

According to MSNBC and Parade, Foxx said that had she been his daughter, Polanski would have been "missing". And..

“If it had been my daughter who was barely a teenager — my daughter is 15 — Roman Polanski would be missing ... period,” Foxx stated in an interview with Parade magazine. “It wouldn’t even get to the court case. But, that’s me and I wouldn’t want anyone else to follow that because you should let the justice system work it out.”

Foxx went on to explain that while his perspective might have been different had he known the director personally, as do many of his Hollywood peers, ultimately he believes “this whole issue is bigger than Roman Polanski.” So big, it forces Foxx to confront his own complex sense of revenge.

Same feeling for me; awful is the term for Polanski's actions and I'd have certainly took some action against him if she were my kid. The legal issues around Polanski are a Gordian knot; the victim should have final say on his fate.

Some people don't read or listen; I wrote and said that the victim's rights and wishes were being ignored. She - who's name or photo I will not use or present - said repeatedly she did not want to be contacted by the media or have the matter brought up again. 

Someone wrote that is was because she got a $500,000 payout.  It's not clear she ever saw that money at all.  When I read her heartfelt request to be left alone I took it to heart and didn't think about money; others should to.

But to then even think I sympathize with Roman Polanski in any way is the musing of a total nut case.

I'm thinking about the victim; I'm not one who sides with mob rule or crowd desires. I just believe the masses are just a little beyond the pale at times. It's about them and what they want and not the victim; that's the reason for my reaction.

In my view, if the victim wants him punished, then do it. If not, then we go with that. A hard call it is, but again, that's the victim's right in my view.

But that said, Polanski's in jail. I'm sure the victim feels some measure of relief from that news.

Someone wrote that it's not the victim's call in general. That's wrong. If I'm hit in the jaw by a pissed off stalker and the police asks me if I want to have my assailant arrested for assault, the ultimate say is with me as the victim.

Look at Oakland Raiders' Head Coach Tom Cable's situation. If now-former Assistant Coach Randy Hanson had said he didn't want to file a complaint in the alleged assault case, that matter would have been over.

But the Raiders fired Hanson with pay (well the team gave him that option) and so he's retaliating by going ahead with the legal charges. (Read my Cal Buddy Mike Silver's incredible interview with Hanson at Yahoo! Sports.)

The Marin County District Attorney's going to determine the next move soon.