How white Americans view their country — and their president — appears to be almost split down the middle. In a recent Gallup poll, 49 percent of white Americans said they do not approve of President Donald Trump’s job performance. Anecdotally, the number sounds high, and I suspect it’s because far too many white Americans have a passive, almost silent disapproval of Trump. They might disapprove, but they aren’t saying so out loud; they simply don’t use their voices, their influence, or their privilege to call Trump out the way he truly deserves.Enter Gregg Popovich, head coach of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.At a time when black athletes and even black sports reporters are being targeted by Trump, Popovich has spent much of the past year stepping outside of his normally reserved role to use his white privilege in ways perhaps no white man in sports ever has.
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The view southward from the Asomante hills outside the Puerto Rican town of Aibonito is spectacular, reaching all the way to the Caribbean coast. A pretty little town situated in the island’s southeastern Cayey mountain range, Aibonito has the highest altitude in Puerto Rico—twenty-four hundred feet. It’s known for its cool climate, its bucolic scenery, its flowers, and its chicken farms.In the small valleys around the town, many of the long, low, tin-roofed chicken breederies—polleros—were smashed to smithereens, and their occupants killed, during Hurricane Maria. In the middle of last week, when I visited, the dead chickens had been buried, but there was still wreckage strewn around the blasted polleros. The eye of the storm came right through these hills on September 20th and was especially fierce along the exposed ridgelines. The winds, whipping in at a hundred and fifty-five miles an hour, ripped apart wooden houses; they also turned most of the leaves on the trees in the surrounding forests from green to brown. Along the road leading up to Aibonito from the capital city of San Juan, which is a two-hour drive, there is—as everywhere else on the island—a dismal panorama of ruined houses and businesses, toppled and twisted trees, and downed utility poles.
The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen Yulín Cruz, is a petite woman with a large personality. Yulín, as she is known, has earned international renown since Hurricane Maria for criticizing Donald Trump’s lackadaisical response to the catastrophe. She has at the same time earned the ire of the President, who, in typically petty fashion, has lashed out at her several times in response to her criticisms, at one point tweeting that she had been “nasty” to him. Soon afterward, she appeared in public wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with that same word.Last week, despite her feud with Trump, Yulín joined the island’s other mayors for a brief meet-and-greet session with the President during his hasty visit Puerto Rico. When her turn came to shake hands with Trump, she recalled to me recently, she said to him, “It’s nothing personal, Mr. President, it’s about the people of Puerto Rico.” But Trump didn’t respond to that, she said, and avoided direct eye contact by staring over her head. “That wasn’t hard for him to do, since I’m only five feet tall,” she said, laughing.
On Friday afternoon, more than two weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, and three days after President Trump’s breezy, condescending visit to the island, ominous black rainclouds appeared in the sky above the community of Sabana Seca, a strip of houses on the scrubby western outskirts of San Juan. As a damp wind kicked up, a horse galloped, inexplicably, down the neighborhood’s main road, a broken tether trailing behind it.A huge percentage of the island’s population still lacked access to power or drinking water—people were rigging PVC pipes to distribute mountain spring water in some communities where the faucets were still useless—and officials continued to worry about how to get relief supplies to the places where they were needed. The residents of Sabana Seca, meanwhile, were trying to clean up the mess made by Maria as best they could. Along the road, like some kind of miserable yard sale, they had stacked the possessions they’d been able to extract from the mud: sofas, mattresses, refrigerators, chests of drawers, lamps, clothing, toys. Hard-earned objects, all ruined beyond repair.
The day Hurricane Maria swiped through these mountains, the loose, wet dirt started to tumble and roll. It broke through the gate and through the door. It moved with ferocity and determination. It covered and filled everything.“It looked like chocolate,” said Ferdinand Ramos, a 63-year-old retired police officer whose home was directly in the path of massive landslides. The viscous mud crashed into his living room and kitchen, leaving a shin-high sludge.
The first reports about the horrific attack in Las Vegas on Sunday night will surely evolve into more detailed knowledge. But there are three lessons we might draw from the information already available. First, automatic rifles like the one the shooter apparently used have the potential to kill large numbers of people, particularly when aimed at a crowd in a confined space. Second, a shooter positioned in a high-rise building hundreds of meters away can render moot many of the security measures now used to protect crowds. And third, despite what gun advocates tend to say in response to shootings, it’s incredibly unlikely that any armed bystander could have made a difference, given the distance, elevation, and darkness that separated this shooter from his victims. These three facts made the Las Vegas shooting a nightmare scenario for police agencies, and for the rest of us too.
Two different NFL teams, the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys, have now publicized that they are forcing their players to stand for the national anthem or risk punishment from the team. There are rumblings among players for other teams that their outfits have already done or are about to do the exact same thing. In doing so, these teams are caving to the very public demands of the president of the United States — and questions have been raised about whether Donald Trump may have broken the law in issuing these demands. Let me break it down.For months on end, Trump demeaned NFL players who took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial violence in America. But his complaints hit a crescendo last month at a political rally in Alabama when he not only described kneeling players as sons of bitches, but said that they should be yanked off the field. Capitalizing on the political momentum and attention he received from the remarks, Trump has now either commented or tweeted about the NFL nonstop for weeks on end.
It’s strange how some things really catch on and go viral and others don’t. These days, nothing quite makes a story blow up — no pun intended — like the president’s fixation with it. That’s why it’s so peculiar that what sure looks like an attempted terrorist attack was narrowly thwarted at an American airport this past Friday without so much as peep from Donald Trump about it. No tweets. No nicknames for the alleged would-be-terrorist. Nothing. You’ll see why in a minute.On past Friday morning, at 12:39 a.m., security footage from the Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina showed a man walking through the front doors wearing black clothing and a black cap, while carrying a bag. “Based on a review of the video, the individual walked near the entrance to the terminal, went out of sight momentarily, and was then seen departing the area without the bag,” according to the criminal complaint.
We live in a sick country. A country where it’s legal for someone to purchase 30 assault weapons and unlimited ammunition, weapons that really only have one purpose: to hunt and kill other human beings. A country where a cabal of high-powered lobbyists, bought-off politicians, and gun manufacturers profits off of massacres, where the meaning of the Second Amendment has been twisted so intensely that it no longer matters why it was written or what it was actually intended for.The leaders of the National Rifle Association, who would be viewed as terrorist enablers and promoters in a sane society, they don’t like the first part of the Second Amendment — so much so that they don’t include it in their very public memorializing of their Holy Bible of gun addition.
Source: A Sick Country Filled With Guns
Around 3.30am on 23 November 2013 a stray bullet shattered the window of an apartment in Indianapolis where a couple watched television while their two-month-old baby slept. The man called 911, with panic in his voice. “I need to get out of here,” he told the dispatcher. “Can you get a car so I can get out of here?”“I think there’s several officers already over there,” the dispatcher replied, calmly. The 911 recordings reveal the man breathing heavily as he talks to his partner. “Put the stuff in the baby bag. Find it tomorrow. We’ll carry it to a hotel.” He urges the dispatcher to hurry up and rescue them until she loses her patience. “They’ll be there as soon as they can, all right?” she says. “As. Soon. As. They. Can. OK? Just stay inside your apartment. Do not go out. We’ll get an officer to you.”